President Putin’s decision to lift the ban on the transfer of the S-300 air defense system to Iran signals a new departure for Moscow’s policy in the Middle East.
Many North Caucasus natives have joined the Islamic State, and some are returning home. If the socioeconomic and political situation in the region deteriorates and popular discontent increases, this may lead former Islamic State fighters to join the armed struggle.
The ISIS cannot be defeated through military strikes only. The Islamic State is just a tip of the radical Islamist iceberg, which is firmly entrenched in the Muslim world.
Russia’s purpose in arranging the meeting between representatives of the Assad regime and its opponents is to promote the idea that Syrian reconciliation can be achieved through dialogue between all non-extremist Syrian groups and without involvement from outside.
2014 was a year of crisis. Ebola, ISIS, and Donbas are now part of the global lexicon. Eurasia Outlook experts weigh in on how crises on Russia’s periphery affected the country, and what these developments mean for Moscow in 2015.
President Vladimir Putin’s recent state visit to Turkey outlined the long-awaited breakthrough in the bilateral relations of the two countries. The meeting brought new life to a relationship that had been characterized by the “limits of growth” problem and that required a qualitative broadening of the established model of cooperation.
Vladimir Putin’s trip to Turkey could help him recover from the cold-shouldering at the G20 summit in Brisbane, but it will not make Ankara abandon its great strategic goal to become an indispensable supplier of natural gas to Europe and a major competitor for Gazprom.
The situation in Russia’s Muslim community is generally stable. However, the economic crisis creates fertile soil for the growth of Islamic radicalism, for which the country should be prepared.
Over a few months the Islamic State has asserted itself as the strongest—militarily and politically—extremist organization in the Middle East. Russia must develop a policy to deal with the Islamic State.
Turkey hesitates to fully embrace the U.S.-led coalition’s actions against the Islamic State. Ankara’s most crucial hesitation relates to the Kurdish issue which plays such a central role in Turkish policy in the Middle East.