RUSI in the News Week: 11 January 2016

Quoted in the Media

Iran breaks free of sanctions as UN confirms nuclear plants are scaled down

 "The underlying assumption of the U.S. administration is that most of this cash is going to be used to improve the lot of ordinary Iranians and kickstart economic reform", said Jonathan Eyal, the head of security studies at the Royal United Services Institute. 

Jonathan Eyal in The Telegraph and the NYSE Post 17 Jan 

See also on Implementation Day: Analysing Iran's Compliance of the Nuclear Deal

Inquiry into foreign backers of UK extremists gets green light 

Shashank Joshi, senior research fellow at the London thinktank at the Royal United Services Institute, urged the review to focus on the cash flow to extremists within the Gulf region, warning that the UK would find it challenging to mount an investigation in isolation. “I support looking into regional financial flows to extremist groups but the UK can’t do that alone, we don’t have the power to do it alone. Lots of these flows are going to be through networks that have absolutely nothing to do with the UK, for example from Emirate banks to Jordanian financial intermediaries to Lebanon into Syria. Is this review about funding into the UK or is it about the region [the Gulf]? If it’s about the UK it’s a little bit of navel gazing because that’s not really where the problem is.”

Shashank Joshi in The Guardian 17 January

British video aimed at stopping radicalized women's trips to Syria

Counterterrorism expert Afzal Ashraf of the Royal United Services Institute has interviewed many women who have escaped Islamic State territory. He said he'd encountered the "stories of women being forced to divorce their husbands and marry other people; women being separated from their families; women being killed because they didn’t conform to the dress code; rape; and all sorts of horrible things.”

Afzal Ashraf in Turkish Weekly

Black Gold Drowns Middle East Arms Race

It’s the first example of a Saudi Arabia that is being forced to tighten its belt, according to Shashank Joshi, a Middle East expert at the London-based military think tank, the Royal United Services Institute.

“The huge rises seen in military defense spending over the last 10 years is totally unsustainable, especially for Saudi Arabia, whose leader is setting out very ambitious programs of state economic reform recently that is aiming to help the country ride the poor price of oil,” he said.

Shashank Joshi in International Business Times 15 January

ISIS army set for new wave of recruits as 'thousands' of Chinese militants flee to Syria

Raffaello Pantucci, a terrorism analyst at the London-based think tank Royal United Services Institute, Xinjiang was feeding ISIS in Syria and Iraq with fighters. 

But he questioned the likelihood of those fighters retrying to China: "Whether individuals are able to make the journey all the way back seems difficult, especially given the difficulty people from Xinjiang seem to have in getting passports.”

Raffaello Pantucci in The Express 15 January

Why ISIS Hit Indonesia 

“It’s a country that is very largely peaceful,” said Raffaello Pantucci, the director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute based in London. “A lot of the problems there are about minority issues or clashes and they [ISIS] can parasite off of these kinds of problems.”

Raffaello Pantucci in the International Business Times 

Russia accused of clandestine funding of European parties as US conducts major review of Vladimir Putin's strategy

Igor Sutyagin, the Russia specialist at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said that Russia’s propaganda machine was currently “very active”, deploying what security experts call “hybrid warfare” that blends conventional military power with guerrilla tactics and cyber warfare.

Igor Sutyagin in The Telegraph and Financial Review 16 January

Cold War 2.0: US investigates claims Russian spies are influencing major EU decisions

Igor Sutyagin, a Russia analyst at the defence think tank Royal United Services Institute, said the Kremlin was carrying out "hybrid warfare" that combines traditional military force with clandestine and cyber attacks.

He told the Telegraph: "The Russian campaign exists in a grey area, operating covertly - and often legally - to avoid political blowback, but with the clear aim of weakening Western will to fight, maturing doubts over Nato, the EU, Trident and economic sanctions."

Igor Sutagin in The Express 18 January

Putin facing 'substantial' threat of homegrown terrorists plotting attacks inside Russia

Mr Sutyagin told "There is the threat [of homegrown extremists] because of the multinational structure of Russian society."

There are approximately 30million Muslims in Russia, he said, and if just 0.5 per cent of those were tempted by the extremist cause, that could produce thousands of twisted fighters.

He added: "The Russian government provides the excuse and reason for people to get radicalised.

"It is not only involved in the Syrian war but it is suppressing its own Muslims in the country."

Igor Sutagin in The Express 15 January

Return of the Cold War? Russia to DOUBLE military presence along Europe's border in 2016

Mr Sutyagin, who specialises in strategic armaments developments and anti-ballistic missile defence systems, said the Kremlin could use the new military stations to "advance from their to Ukraine" and onwards through Eastern Europe.

He said: "They want to create the image, to say to the world, 'we are powerful, do not mess with us, if you want to have sanctions we will react'."

Commenting on the five new strategic nuclear missile regiments, he said the announcement could be a "trick" employed by the Kremlin to create a false impression Russia was growing its nuclear programme.

Igor Sutagin in The Express 12 January 

Syrian civil war: Putin hints at asylum for Assad 

Middle East expert Shashank Joshi from the Royal United Services Institute says the incident was proof of the "toxic cocktail" of dangers in the region, which could easily erupt into crisis. "The situation is dangerous because Russia is quite probably deliberately probing Turkish air space both for military reasons and political reasons," he says. If Moscow responds provocatively, Joshi warns, there is a risk of the crisis escalating. "These things always proceed in a very unpredictable fashion. We have seen how conflicts can begin when there are large alliances," he says.

Shashank Joshi in The Week 13 January

North Korea overcomes poverty, sanctions with cut-price nukes

Although heavily sanctioned, North Korea still sells small arms to buyers who turn to Pyongyang because of a lack of viable alternative supplies, according to a recent report by Andrea Berger at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London.

Andrea Berger  and RUSI Whitehall Paper for  Reuters and others  11 January

Liam Fox at RUSI

Watch his speech: The War of the Invisible Enemy

Reported in: Daily TelegraphCity AMGovernment Computing, TechWeekly Europe, Professional SecurityCyber Parse

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