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    Alexander Nicoll: UK vote underlines poor options on Syria

    30 August 2013.  By Alexander Nicoll, Editor of Strategic Survey: The Annual Review of World Affairs British members of parliament have surprised themselves with last night's momentous vote to stop the government from taking military action against the Syrian regime. The defeat by 285 votes to 272 was a substantial blow to David Cameron, the prime minister, who had been the most activist of world leaders in seeking international action on the Syrian conflict. In...

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    Samuel Charap: Russia is not the Soviet Union

    29 August 2013.  By Samuel Charap, Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia It should be obvious to any observer of international affairs that the US–Russia relationship matters for both countries, and for the world. The fact that such a question even gets asked is revealing, however. It seems to result from an implicit comparison with the centrality of the US–Soviet relationship, which of course, in relative terms, was far more important for both countries, and for...

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    Dina Esfandiary: All US can do is punish Syria

    28 August 2013.  'The red line has now been crossed in Syria, and calls for intervention have intensified,' writes IISS Non-proliferation and Disarmament Research Associate Dina Esfandiary on CNN's Global Public Square blog. 'Yet as things stand today, the United States has little or no hope of making a decisive impact on the course of the war,' she continues. 'If President Barack Obama wants to maintain credibility by responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad's...

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    Emile Hokayem: Lebanon fractures

    26 August 2013.  By Emile Hokayem, Senior Fellow for Regional Security, IISS–Middle East Three massive bombings just over a week apart – the deadliest since the end of the civil war in 1990 – have rattled Lebanon and revived talk of impending civil strife. The first bombing killed 27 people on 15 August in a Shia-majority suburb of Beirut, where Hizbullah is dominant. The other two, on Friday, hit two Sunni mosques in the...

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    Dina Esfandiary: Another Syria chemical attack

    23 August 2013.  While the latest chemical attack in Syria – reported on Wednesday – is undoubtedly more serious than previous alleged incidents, it is still not clear who is responsible, which means the options for the international community remain limited. ‘It is clear some kind of chemical attack has occurred in the rebel-friendly area of Ghouta,’ writes Dina Esfandiary, Research Associate in the IISS Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme, inThe National Interest. ‘But once again...

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    Becca Wasser: Israel and the Gulf states

    22 August 2013.  By Becca Wasser, Program Officer and Research Analyst Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently created a ‘virtual embassy’ to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in the form of a Twitter account ‘dedicated to promoting dialogue with the people of the GCC region’. This highlights one of the region’s worst-kept secrets: Israel’s relations with Gulf states. Relations between Israel and members of the GCC – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, the United...

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    Alexander Neill: Xi’s ‘to do’ list

    21 August 2013.  By Alexander Neill, Shangri-La Dialogue Senior Fellow for Asia-Pacific Security China’s top leaders descended quietly upon the seaside resort of Beidaihe in early August for its customary summer retreat. This year, in contrast to the last party conclave, may have been less political horse-trading and more of an attempt by General Secretary Xi Jinping to clean the Augean stables. Belying the peaceful setting, running the world’s future superpower will have provided a...

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    Dina Esfandiary: Changing Iran’s nuclear programme

    21 August 2013.  Hassan Rouhani has been sworn in as Iran’s new president, his cabinet has been approved, and now the world waits to see if Iran and the West will be able to move closer towards addressing the nuclear issue. ‘But scheduling talks is only the first step,’ writes Dina Esfandiary, Research Associate, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme, in the Lobe Log – the US foreign-policy blog for IPS News. ‘What needs to come next –...

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    Steven Simon: America has no leverage in Egypt

    20 August 2013.  Many Americans are outraged that the Obama administration has not exerted its supposed leverage, in the form of military aid, to pressure the Egyptian army to restore a democratic form of government. But, as Steven Simon, Executive Director of the IISS–US and Corresponding Director of IISS–Middle East, argues in a New York Times op-ed, it is time for some realism about what its annual contribution of $1.3 billion can actually...

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    Sanjaya Baru: Credibility crunch

    20 August 2013.  By Sanjaya Baru, Director for Geo-economics and Strategy Like war, economics is more an art than a science. If wars were won by superior technology alone, the United States would not have been vanquished in Vietnam or waylaid in Afghanistan. If economic crises could be dealt with by the power of knowledge and money alone, the EU would not be in the mess in which it wallows. If economics was just...

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