RUSI in the News Week Beginning 8 February 2016


CNN International: Karin von Hippel discusses the role of Russia in the Syria crisis

BBC Daily Politics: Karin von Hippel ongoing conflict in Syria

CNN International: Karin von Hippel discusses the role of Russia in the Syria crisis

BBC Daily Politics: Karin von Hippel ongoing conflict in Syria

Andrea Berger on the Today programme on China and North Korea

Igor Sutyagin on Syria deal and Russian involvement on AlJazeera’s Inside Story

Michael Stephens on Syria and the Kurds on BBC World Service and others

Afzal Ashraf on the Syria deal on BBC World News

Op-Eds by RUSI staff and fellows

Will Saudi jets change balance of power in Syria

As a result, and the fact that Saudi aircraft are at least a match for its own, Russia may be forced to leave the Saudi contingent unmolested to conduct strikes against ISIL in areas of northern Syria where rebel forces are the main beneficiaries.

Justin Bronk for Al Jazeera 15 February

China’s new silk road is designed to cut Russia out of Eurasian trade

President Xi Jinping’s ( 習近平 ) visit to Tehran – the first by a foreign leader since the lifting of sanctions – highlights the potential centrality of Iran to China’s broader regional foreign policy. The opening up of Iran, a country in which China has long maintained substantial interests, means Xi’s “One Belt, One Road” vision can now go cleanly across Eurasia without ever going through Russia. Moscow can be cut out.

Raffaello Pantucci in  South China Morning Post 16 February

Why Assad’s Army has not defected

As another round of Geneva peace talks collapses and the world wonders what’s next for Syria, it is time to begin with the warnings of Henry Kissinger and Zbignew Brzezinski. Kissinger and Brzezinski, the most seasoned and influential U.S. policymakers on the Middle East since World War II, have gone against popular opinion and stated that President Bashar al-Assad has more support than all the opposition groups combined.

Kamal Alam in The National Interest 12 February

Quoted in the Media

The Syria Crisis

Chechen Volunteers Fighting in Syria and Iraq: Report

“Regarding Chechens fighting on Assad’s side—yes, it is quite possible that they fight other Chechens on the other side,” Sutyagin says. “Ramzan Kadyrov recently stated publicly that members of the local Chechen law-enforcement units participated in guarding the Russian air base in Syria. I do not see reasons to doubt that.”

Igor Sutyagin in Newsweek 09 February

Syria ceasefire deal 'will NOT stop Putin bombing moderate rebels'

Moscow's warplanes bombing terrorist groups in Aleppo will also fall outside the piecemeal agreement.
And Dr Igor Sutyagin, a senior research fellow at defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute, said the Kremlin could now use the cover of attacking ISIS - also known as Daesh - to strike other targets.

Igor Sutyagin in The Express, 12 February

Global Terror and Radicalisation

Terrifying weapons cache found at bomb factory 'where ISIS jihadis plotted Russia attacks'

Igor Sutyagin, a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said the war in Syria, state oppression of religious minorities and high youth unemployment had combined to create the "perfect" conditions for radicalisation.

Igor Sutyagin for The Express, 09 February

Is Al-Shabab Training Boko Haram Fighters?

The structure of Boko Haram in particular is “nebulous” and so differences in official allegiance may not preclude ground-level cooperation, according to Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI).

Raffaello Pantucci in Newsweek 15 February

British Effort to Identify Potential Radicals Spurs Debate Over Profiling

However imperfect, Prevent is about “making teachers aware that some of their kids might go in the direction” of terrorism, said Raffaello Pantucci, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute. He raised the example of four girls from the Bethnal Green Academy in London who traveled to Syria last year.

“Clearly a mini social movement was going on within that school,” he said. “Those teachers now know what to look for and how to tell authorities.”

Raffaello Pantucci in New York Times  and in Straits Times 09 February

Charities and terrorism: 'deadly threat' or a distraction from real issues facing sector?

“Charities have the potential to be a weak link,” agrees Tom Keatinge, director of the Royal United Services Institute’s Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies, who has studied the issue in depth.

Tom Keatinge in The Guardian 09 February

Criminal Threats

‘Use aid budget to reward countries that help us seize criminals’ assets’

Helena Wood, the report’s author, said: “Criminals are moving their assets to countries outside the diplomatic reach of the UK, or to areas where the local technical and legislative ability to trace and seize assets is more limited. 

Helena Wood in the Evening Standard, 09 February

Irish premier Enda Kenny suggests not all IRA weapons were put beyond use

Margaret Gilmour, a senior associate fellow and terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said it was likely that the Irish police, or Garda, would be able to identify the source of the weapons from the photographs.

Margaret Gilmore in The Telegraph 08 February

Trident and Deterrence

Labour splits deepen over renewal of Trident

Malcolm Chalmers, director of UK defence policy at the think-tank Rusi, said the move was akin to putting the programme on “special measures”.

Malcolm Chalmers for The FT, 09 February

Trident: the British Question

In the words of Professor Michael Clarke, formerly of the Royal United Services Institute, support for nuclear weapons came to stand “for the defence of the realm in general”. What Clarke calls “the prevailing party folklore” – that embracing unilateral nuclear disarmament had cost Labour the 1983 election – turned it into a party that, at least until Corbyn became its leader, had to be more loyal than the king.

Michael Clarke in The Guardian 11 February

Royal Navy relied on Nato to protect British waters 20 times in 2015

Peter Roberts, a senior research fellow in sea power at the Royal United Services Institute, said the figures followed a “resurgence of Russian submarine activity” off British coasts. He said: “It serves to underscore the need to fast-track the arrival of the UK¹s own MPA, announced in the SDSR, so that as a nation we do not have to be dependent on others.”

Peter Roberts in The Independent, and in Times of India 12 February

UK-Asia Trade

As Trade Shifts East, U.K. Seeks to Expand Security Ties With Asia

In January, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond visited Japan to meet with their Japanese counterparts. Following the meeting, both sides agreed to explore ways to deepen and expand their security cooperation.

An interview with Edward Schwarck for World Politics Review (Paywall)

EU Referendum

PM 'must change tack over refugee crisis or he will lose EU referendum'

In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute defence thinktank, Cooper will argue that voters who see the EU in chaos over the refugee crisis may respond by wanting to pull up the drawbridge on Europe.

The Guardian 10 February

Britain Will “Drift” Towards EU Exit Unless PM Tackles Refugee Crisis, MP Warns

Speaking after a speech at the Royal United Services Institute, a defence think-tank, Cooper said: “I am worried that we will drift towards Brexit if the prime minister doesn’t do more in order to be able to be part of a Europe-wide strategy to deal with the refugee crisis.

Buzzfeed 10 February

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