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RUSI in the News: 30 July - 5 August

News, 5 August 2016
From 30 July to 5 August RUSI experts were quoted on a range of international issues including countering terrorism across Europe, cyber security, the International Army Games in Russia and the Syria Crisis.

Broadcast

Karin von Hippel on the Syria Crisis, BBC Newsnight, 5 August 2016

Ewan Lawson on cyber warfare, SC Magazine, 4 August 2016

Pete Roberts on Trident, Forces TV, 2 August 2016

Rafaello Pantucci on terrorism in Europe, Shareradio, 30 July 2016

Tahir Abbas on security at the Rio Olympics, SABC News, 2 August

Op Eds

We must raise the standard of public discourse

Mr Trump may yet prove to have provided the United States with a priceless service: an example of how not to engage in politics. If the American people reject his model of politics, and not simply his candidacy, that will be a firm step in the right direction. But that step has to be taken not only in the US, but worldwide, including our region.

HA Hellyer, The National, 4 August

May unlikely to budge on move to delay nuke plant

Intelligence agencies believe such a project will provide China with unique access to sensitive technical know-how, as well as offer Beijing a plug into one of the most critical national networks of all: Britain's electricity grid. The intelligence agencies of the United States and Japan were particularly strong in voicing their concerns on this matter.

Jonathan Eyal, The Straits Times, 4 August

The Kremlin factor in the White House race

The hacking of the US Democratic Party's computer systems is, therefore, precisely the sort of activity Russia has been doing for years in many European countries. And the purpose in the case of the US hacking would be the same as in Europe: to obtain material harming the career of Mrs Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate who is seen as anti-Russian.

Jonathan Eyal, The Straits Times, 1 August

Quoted in the Media

Countering terrorism in Europe

Extra Armed Police And How The Danger From Islamist Extremists Compares To Historical Terror Threats

Raffaello Pantucci, Director of International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute, says the nature of terrorism has changed. “The fundamental problem is that previously when you were looking at terrorist threats you tended to see instances that were fairly self-contained, by individuals who were trying to make a statement,” he told HuffPost UK. “[Terrorists] were interested in making prisoner exchanges, attracting attention to themselves, they weren’t necessarily interested in killing as many people as they could in a single strike.”

 Raffaello Pantucci in The Huffington Post, 4 August 2016

What is the UK terror threat level? How likely is a terrorist attack on Britain?

Raffaella Pantucci, International Security Expert for the Royal United Services Institute, believes that the “success” of the recent spate of lone-wolf attacks could inspire home-grown jihadis. He said: "If you think about the methodology of this attack it could easily happen."

Raffaello Pantucci, The Express, 4 August

Terrorist Suspects in Europe Got Welfare Benefits While Plotting Attacks

“We’ve identified that the benefit system is vulnerable to abuse for terrorist financing purposes,” said Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London. “What are we going to do about that?”

Tom Keatinge in The Wall Street Journal, 4 August

Terror shows signs of 'contagion' in fragile Europe

"It's a tipping point. Where do we go from here?" asked radicalization expert Tahir Abbas of London's Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank."My fear is that it could get a lot worse because of the underlying conditions, and the economy is weak."

Tahir Abbas in Daily Sabah, 30 July

Cyber Security

Nearly 100 SK officials hacked, NK suspect

Cristina Varriale, a research analyst on the Royal United Services Institute's proliferation and nuclear policy team told SC, “the cyber-incidents should not be considered in isolation, but should be placed in a broader understanding of the tactics used by the North to instill fear in the South.”

Cristina Varriale in SC Magazine, 3 August

Russian government admits agencies were hacked

“In a word, unsurprising”, Ewan Lawson, an expert in cyber-warfare and fellow at the Royal United Services Institute told SCMagazineUK.com. He added, in the great game, this is par for the course: “There is  little doubt that western agencies, the Chinese and others will wish to access Russian data for intelligence purposes.”

Ewan Lawson for SC Magazine, 1 August

Russia's International Army Games

Putin holds ‘Tank Olympics’ in Russia where lads show off war skills with massive weapons

Russian military specialist Igor Sutyagin – based at London's Royal United Services Institute – says: "It was always a very important thing to do this so you can motivate morale and self-esteem among troops." As well as a way to show off their skills, the competition is also a recruitment technique, says Igor. "The U.S. makes Top Gun, whereas Russians broadcast these games. You do need to popularize your armed forces to the people because otherwise it is not that easy to attract people to join."

Igor Sutyagin in The Daily Star, 3 August and Newsweek, 27 July

 Syria Crisis

Russia and Damascus regime need to 'show restraint' in Syria says John Kerry

The latest broadside by Kerry against Russia comes as think tank the Royal United Services Institute released a report on Monday 1 August saying that western policy-makers needed to work between Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict in Syria. The London-based security think tank said that the Syrian regime knows Tehran is central to prevent its collapse although it prefers Russian support as Moscow is less focused on the role of militias. "While Iran and Russia are co-ordinating closely on the ground to advance the war, they are less bound together in terms of their goals, and there is little trust between the two over their respective long-term aims in Syria," the report titled Understanding Iran's role in the Syrian Conflict, said.

International Business Times, 2 August

Conflict within a conflict: Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud

Michael Stephens of the Royal United Services Institute think-tank in London, said that although Sheikh Maqsoud might appear anomalous or strategically isolated on a map, for the PYD it has become "absolutely integral to everything they're trying to do in Rojava", the Kurdish name for the self-declared autonomous region in northern Syria.

Michael Stephens for Aljazeera, 3 August

US-Iranian relations

Is a ‘secret’ American NGO blocking French investments in Iran?

“UANI in itself cannot take any legal action,” said Dr. Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi of the Royal United Services Institute, a UK security and defense think tank. “It can just warn companies that investing in Iran is not worth the cost of having to deal with the legal, financial and reputational costs, and trying to deter them from returning or entering in the Iranian market.”

Tahir Abbas for France 24, 4 August

Turkish Security

The west is supporting terrorism against Turkey, claims Erdoğan

 But the dispute is likely to complicate relations for some time, said Hellyer, who is also a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. “As of yet, no US or European political establishment agrees with Ankara’s claims on Gülen, and the United States has made it clear that no extradition will take place without the provision of indisputable evidence of direct culpability. “Despite Ankara’s claims to have provided such, [Washington] as yet disagrees, and that impasse is unlikely to disappear any time soon.”

HA Hellyer, in The Guardian, 2 August

Countering Daesh in Iraq

The liberation of Mosul is a deja vu all over again

"The primary fear of Maslawis," notes a recent paper published by the Royal Uniformed Services Institute (RUSI), "appears to be not continued IS[IL] rule, but a vengeful Shia army descending into the city."Washington is unmatched in its ability to define what needs to be done "the day after" a military victory is achieved in Mosul.

Al Jazeera, 30 July 2016

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