The European Geopolitical Forum

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Monday 1 August 2022

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From the EGF Head of Research:

The Russian invasion of Ukraine by what it called a “special military operation” has crushed the European order, as we had known it, and triggered a huge leap to insecurity for All. Right now there is blatant lack of geopolitical vision on how a new, stable European order should look like. We must develop a new realistic vision and proactive common policy, inclusive of how to deal with Russia’s and the other East European states’ legitimate security interests and concerns. 100 issues+ May 2022 April 2022 March 2022 February 2022January 2022December 2021November 2021October 2021September — November 2019mid May – July 2019 February-April 2022November-January 2022August-October 2021June-July 2021April-May 2021February-March 2021Previous IssuesTweets by EGF_Brussels


Russia in historic foreign debt default, reports suggestJune 27, 2022G7 face battle for unity as cost of Ukraine war mountsJune 27, 2022Where is Russia taking Ukraine's stolen grain?June 27, 2022MoreEGF Head of Research Recommended ReadingExternal RelationsRussia and Iran in Syria: A Competitive Partnership?

By Igor MATVEEV, PhD, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies, and RIAC expert, Moscow
Yeghia TASHJIAN, Beirut-based regional analyst and researcher, columnist, "The Armenian Weekly”

Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine has sparked broad and intensive debates about future modalities of the relations between Russia and Iran in Syria. Western and Israeli analysts predict an essential growth of the political, military, and economic presence of Tehran due to Moscow’s attention switching from Syria to Ukraine. This, in turn, may shift the whole dynamics of the Russian-Iranian relations on the Syrian dossier. On the contrary, despite reports of minor pull-outs from Syria along with international media leaks about transfers of military sites to Iran and Hezbollah, Russian representatives consistently reject such forecasts, referring to a “routine rotation” but “absolutely not a withdrawal” of the Russian troops. Those speculations have intensified on the eve of the trilateral meeting of the Iranian, Russian, and Turkish leaders on Syria scheduled for July 19, 2022, in the Iranian capital. READ MORE

Thursday, 21 July 2022, 10:09External RelationsRealism Should Be the Basis for the Armenia-Turkey Normalisation

By Benyamin POGHOSYAN, PhD, Chairman, Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies

There should be realistic expectations of what can result from ongoing discussions on the normalisation of relations between Armenia and Turkey. Given the current situation in the South Caucasus, the region is far away from peace, and no one should have hopes that Armenia – Turkey normalization will solve conflicts and bring an era of peace to the region. However, in the current situation, even a contribution to regional stability is too significant an opportunity to miss.
The 2020 Karabakh war has significantly changed the geopolitics of the South Caucasus and triggered new processes. Turkey’s war involvement seemed to worsen further Armenia – Turkey relations. The Armenian government imposed a ban on imports from Turkey from January 2021 due to Turkey's open and evident promotion and support for the Azerbaijani war effort. However, after the early parliamentary elections in Armenia held in June 2021, Armenian officials started to speak about the necessity to normalize relations with Turkey. These discussions ended with the assignment of a special representatives to start negotiations, and the first meeting took place on January 14, 2022. READ MORE

Thursday, 21 July 2022, 10:08External RelationsRussia’s Need to Circumvent Sanctions Gives New Life to North-South Project

By Fuad SHAHBAZOV, Baku-based independent regional security and defence analyst

With the unprovoked military intervention in Ukraine, Russia has been isolated economically and politically due to the Western-imposed sanctions. But while the sanctions banned Russia from trading with the Western states, particularly in the energy field, some nations still prefer to maintain trade relations with Moscow. Countries like Iran, China and India are seeking to strengthen trade turnover by pushing the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project for a better connection via a multimodal transport network that spans rail, road, and sea. READ MORE

Thursday, 14 July 2022, 23:04MarketsAzerbaijan’s Latest Steps Toward Becoming a Regional Digital Hub

By Ayaz MUSEYIBOV, Head of Department, Center for Analysis and Communication of Economic Reforms of the Republic of Azerbaijan

After implementing a number of trans-Eurasian energy and logistics mega-projects, such as the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan oil pipeline, Southern Gas Corridor and Trans-Caspian International Transportation Route, Azerbaijan has also strategically committed itself to policies designed to turn the South Caucasus country into a regional digital hub. This initiative has already secured buy in from several countries and major companies in the IT space. Notably, this past April, Italy’s largest internet service provider and one of the world’s leading operators, Sparkle, and Azerbaijan’s top wholesale telecommunications operator, AzerTelecom, signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation within the framework of the Digital Silk Way project (not to be confused with China’s Digital Silk Road), aimed at creating a digital telecommunications corridor connecting Europe and Asia via Azerbaijan. READ MORE

Friday, 1 July 2022, 14:34External RelationsIsraeli-Turkish Relations: Challenges and Opportunities

By Eugene KOGAN, Tbilisi-based defence and security expert

Even though Israel and Turkey normalised relations in June 2016 following the May 2010 Mavi Marmara Flotilla incident when Israeli soldiers killed ten people on board a Turkish vessel and the subsequent diplomatic rupture, Ankara’s support of the Hamas movement situated in the Gaza Strip continues to undermine bilateral relations.
The establishment of an official office in Istanbul in 2012 and its members are perceived as a thorn in the eye by the Israeli Government. Tel Aviv would like Erdoğan to close the Hamas office and expel its members from Turkey; however, this Israeli wish is not going to be granted any time soon since Erdoğan’s words do not translate into deeds. The signature of the Abraham Accords highlighted two divergent trends in the region: Turkey’s continued isolation and Israel’s strengthened position. This resulted in Erdoğan’s intention to improve relations with Israel. READ MORE. Thursday, 23 June 2022, 06:48External RelationsThe South Caucasus from War to Peace: 30 Measures between Now and 2030

Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on confidence-building measures

The Joint Armenian-Azerbaijani Liaison Group on confidence-building measures in support of lasting peace in the South Caucasus has published its report in which it proposes 30 short, medium and long term measures in support of ongoing efforts to establish peace in the region. On Wednesday, 6 April, members of the Working Group, presented their report to the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, and other EU officials at a special briefing in Brussels. In their report, published on the eve of the meeting between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the president of the European Union in Brussels on 6 April, the group says that "all the ingredients for peace exist in the South Caucasus. All the ingredients for war exist too. What is in front of us is a choice". The group says that the proposed measures are a building block in the quest for peace but if the ideas being proposed are implemented the objective of building a peaceful, secure and prosperous South Caucasus will be much closer to being achieved. It was now necessary that all concerned should put effort into turning the thirty measures being proposed in the report into tangible action.
The work of the Joint Liaison Group was co-ordinated and facilitated by LINKS Europe - an independent foundation based in The Hague, The Netherlands - in the framework of the European Union's EU4Peace initiative. READ MORE

Wednesday, 13 April 2022, 06:55External RelationsPutin and the 2022 Russian Military Conflict in Post-Soviet Lands

By Alan WHITEHORN, Professor Emeritus in Political Science, The Royal Military College of Canada

Coming to power after the break-up of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, Lukashenko had ruled Belarus in a highly autocratic fashion for almost three decades, while seeking to navigate his country within Moscow’s sphere of influence. However, the aging leader’s arbitrary rule began to teeter and he faced a major challenge in the election of 2020. When skewed and rigged election results were announced, hundreds of thousands of voters of Belarus peacefully protested their strong objections.
The West echoed moral support to the mass of citizens voicing democratic demands on the streets, but provided little material assistance. Somewhat optimistically and naively, the West trusted that the unarmed people would peacefully prevail over the coercive might of the internal and external dictators in Minsk and Moscow. Putin, by contrast, sensing a vulnerable and weakened regime, provided his fellow authoritarian colleague with external assistance to forcefully crush the peaceful demonstrators. READ MORE

Thursday, 17 March 2022, 07:54All discussions

EGF Head of Research, Dr. George Vlad Niculescu, responded recently a query from an Azerbaijani journalist on the prospects for Russian peacekeepers leave Karabakh after the expiration of their mandate. He concluded that peace in Karabakh was rather hanging on the broader balance of power between Russia and Turkey, and it was becoming increasingly entangled with the ongoing Russia-West geopolitical confrontation. In such circumstances, Russian peacekeepers might need to stay in Karabakh beyond November 2025, as a key element of maintaining the local balance of power, and implicitly preserving regional stability and peace in the South Caucasus. READ MORE

EGF Affiliated Expert Benyamin POGHOSYAN appeared in a new episode of the new English-spoken weekly TV program Viewpoint, where he discussed the visits to the Middle East of president J. Biden and to Yerevan of the CIA Director, W. Burns. READ MORE

On March 24-27, 2022, George Vlad Niculescu, Head of Research of the EGF, co-chaired the 23rd workshop of the Regional Stability in the South Caucasus Study Group of the PfP Consortium of Defence Academies and Security Studies Institutes on “Peace Building through Economic and Infrastructure Integration in the South Caucasus”, held in Naples (Italy). Please click here for the programme and agenda outline, here for his speaking points, and here for policy recommendations.

On June 10th, 2021, Dr George Vlad Niculescu, EGF Head of Research, participated in the commemorative event: “Uzbekistan and its International Partners: Thirty Years of Independent Statehood, Energy Cooperation, and Openness towards Reform and Investment” organized by the Uzbek Embassy to the Kingdom of Belgium and the E.U. and by the Brussels Energy Club. On that occasion, he delivered a speech highlighting Uzbekistan’s relevance for the European Union strategy in Central Asia and a couple of challenges ahead for Uzbekistan and its Central Asian neighbours. Click here to read his speech.

The Daily BriefJuly 18, 2022Stratfor 2018 Second-Quarter ForecastMarch 11, 2018Stratfor 2018 Annual ForecastDecember 26, 2017MoreEGF Featured Publication, from Affiliated Expert Anna OhanyanEGF Featured Publication from Affiliated Expert Alan WhitehornClick to choose region/discussion in progressTerms and ConditionsPrivacy PolicyContact us

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