Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados a partir del 1 de enero de 2009.

Europe Died in Pristina?

Not to be accused of plagiarism, I at once confess that this title was prompted by the excellent book by Jacques Hogard’s1, I read already some years ago. This highly decorated French colonel, a participant of the 1999 NATO war against Serbia over Kosovo, became utterly disillusioned by double standards of Western countries in the process of this so-called ‘humanitarian war’. I do not know whether the damage done to the body, and especially to the soul, of the Old Continent is indeed mortal, but the wounds inflicted by this cowardly aerial bombardment in alliance on the ground with a terrorist organisation (recognised earlier as such by the US State Department) has indeed left deep scars on the body politic of Europe and beyond.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Golden Hammer: What’s Wrong with NATO?

Twenty years ago, on March 24, 1999, NATO aircraft dropped the first bombs on Yugoslavia, a sovereign and independent country. The air attacks were preceded by the absolutely symbolic negotiations at Rambouillet that resulted in the US and the UK putting forward a demand that 30,000 NATO troops be deployed in Kosovo, which amounted to Belgrade’s actual loss of control over that territory. Henry Kissinger wrote that the “Rambouillet text, which called on Serbia to admit NATO troops throughout Yugoslavia, was a provocation, an excuse to start bombing. Rambouillet is not a document that an angelic Serb could have accepted. It was a terrible diplomatic document that should never have been presented in that form.”

The nearest analogy is the ultimatum, with which Austro-Hungary presented Serbia in the summer of 1914.…  Seguir leyendo »

On March 4-5, 2019, Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid an official visit to Bulgaria. The purpose of the trip was the normalisation of bilateral relations in connection with the European Union’s sanctions policy against Russia, the deepening of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Bulgaria, the discussion of topical issues of Russian-Bulgarian investment, scientific, technical and cultural/humanitarian cooperation, as well as the implementation of joint projects in the energy, industry and tourism sectors.

During the talks, the Russian prime minister and his Bulgarian counterpart Boyko Borisov discussed the prospects for Russian-Bulgarian rapprochement on the most pressing issues affecting bilateral cooperation, mainly regarding a possible resumption of “frozen” energy projects.…  Seguir leyendo »

The BRICS countries are creating a single payment system, BRICS Pay, as part of the drive to establish a common system for retail payments and transactions between the member countries. In the near future, these countries plan to introduce a special cloud platform, which will connect their national payment systems. An online wallet will be developed with access to these payment systems, as well as a mobile application similar to Apple Pay, which can be installed on smartphones for purchases in any of the five BRICS countries, regardless of which currency the payment and the money in the account of the buyer are denominated in.…  Seguir leyendo »

The development of Algeria’s relationship with Russia has been sufficiently constructive, writes Oleg Barabanov, Programme Director of the Valdai Discussion Club. Therefore, it is in Moscow’s interests to promote stability in Algeria, taking measures to prevent civil chaos, especially in the form of a new civil war.

The current president of Algeria, 82-year-old Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has been in power since 1999. In recent years, he has not appeared in public for months at a time, and has received very few people. According to rumours, he has suffered a stroke and is currently in hospital in Geneva, Switzerland with serious health complications.…  Seguir leyendo »

Elections in Spain: Is It Finally Time for a Coalition Government?

The Spanish exception has ended. With the arrival of VOX into the scene Spain will join its neighbours in having an ultra-right-wing party in the Parliament. This circumstance will be confirmed on April 28 when the country will go to the polls to vote for a new Government. The current one, led by the socialist Pedro Sánchez, lasted less than a year, a record in modern Spanish history. Sanchez arrived to power thanks to the votes of the Catalan independentists, who supported his motion of no confidence against his centre-right rival Mariano Rajoy, who was weakened after several corruption scandals in the PP party, and the same independentists were also the ones who brought him down by voting against Sanchez’ 2019 budget.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zarif Returned Before He Had Time to Leave

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced he would be stepping down, in a surprise statement posted on his Instagram account. His statement caused a stir both in Iran and abroad. Political scientists and journalists vied to try to explain what prompted him to take this step. The prevailing story is that Zarif was not invited to the meeting between Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President of Syria Bashar al-Assad who arrived in Tehran for the first time after the start of the Syrian crisis. Many experts interpreted the presence of Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force Maj-Gen Qassem Soleimani alongside President Hassan Rouhani as a sign of the reduced role of the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Syrian affairs.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hanoi Summit Misfires

The meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un, held on 27-28 February in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, was a disappointment. The parties announced that they had failed to reach an agreement. According to the post-summit statements made by Donald Trump and DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, the main stumbling block was the price that the North Koreans demanded in exchange for the dismantling of their nuclear centre in Yongbyon.

Pyongyang insisted that the Americans should lift their economic sanctions against the DPRK, which were detailed in five resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council in 2016 and 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sanctions Against Syria Taking Aim at Russia

In early February, the US Senate approved Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, which is yet to pass through the House of Representatives and be signed into law by the President. More likely than not, it will be accepted in its present wording. For Russian public and private companies it is of importance from the point of view of its further codification of anti-Syria sanctions. Russia has consistently supported the government forces and is Syria’s crucial long-term partner in terms of its rebuilding as well as its economic development. To some extent, the bill enhances the sanction risks for them but will do little to change the situation in a fundamental way.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Clash of Globalizations: The Next Frontier in International Competition

Ex Oriente Lux, Ex Occidente Lex

The rising trade tensions and contradictions among the largest economies of the world in the past several years have been largely ascribed to factors ranging from increasing inequality within countries to cross-country asymmetries in trade balances as well as the reign of the “new normal” of lower growth rates in the world economy for longer. While all these explanations could well be valid, there may be another possible factor at play, namely the crystallization of alternative visions of economic globalization espoused by the largest economies of the Global South. The changing balance in the world economy is giving rise to new dimensions of competition and rivalry on the world scene.…  Seguir leyendo »

New Trump-Kim Summit: Double Freeze Proposal Seems to Work

The first summit outlined the general framework of the new relations but the second should be devoted to solving more specific tasks. During the negotiations the sides will try to agree on specific mutual concessions. On the one hand, each side will seek to present the outcomes of the summit as its own victory, and this is much more important for Trump, since he relies on public opinion to a much greater extent than Kim. On the other hand, neither side is ready to take any actions that may affect its prestige and/or defense capability.

Both Trump and Kim are taking risks but in different ways.…  Seguir leyendo »

Spanish Socialists: From Crisis to Crisis

Spain can hold extraordinary general parliamentary elections as soon as April 28, this year, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said after the national parliament voted against the draft state budget. The “technical” socialist government has not worked even nine months, having taken over in June 2018, not through a PSOE victory in the elections, but after a vote of no confidence for the conservative People’s Party cabinet due to the National Court verdict on the political corruption scandal, known as the Gurtel case, implicating right-wing officials.

The socialists’ position in the current Cortes Generales, the country’s legislative body, is relatively weak: the PSOE parliamentary group accounts for 84 of 350 members.…  Seguir leyendo »

Security in the Middle East

The security situation in the Middle East is in flux. Since 2011, the region has been undergoing a major historical transformation. Reaching the culmination of this transition will take much more time, according to Randa Slim, Director of the Track II Dialogues initiative at the Washington-based Middle East Institute and a non-resident fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute, who was interviewed by on the sidelines of the Valdai Club Middle East Conference.

The war in Syria, when it started, constituted an apex in the evolving security and political dynamics of this historical transformation.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Role of Russia, Iran and Turkey in the Post-War Reconstruction of Syria

According to Iran’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Seyed Kazem Sajjadpour, who is also president of the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS), Russia, Iran and Turkey complement each other well in the post-war reconstruction of Syria, which is a multi-dimensional process. He was interviewed by on the sidelines of the Valdai Club Middle East Conference in Moscow.

Iran, Russia, and Turkey play an important role in Syria. An interesting aspect of the process is the way that the three nations complement each other: each adds value in restoring peace and security in the country. They can be of equal help in the nation’s multi-layered reconstruction process.…  Seguir leyendo »

Reconstruction of Syria

The Syrian civil war erupted in 2011 between forces loyal to President Assad and rebel forces demanding political freedom and an end to corruption and the high unemployment the country was suffering at that time. To exacerbate the problem, in 2007 – 2010the country had also been suffering from a severe drought, which resulted in an estimated 1.5 million Syrians relocating from rural areas to towns and cities, causing an additional strain on resources.

Since then, the Syrian population has faced war, genocide, terror and sectarian violence. The power struggle between Assad’s forces and the rebels left a power vacuum in various parts of the country, which ISIS and the remnants of al-Qaeda were able to exploit.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russian Peace Efforts in Afghanistan

Despite the direct talks between Taliban and the US, the Russian peace efforts are establishing “new channels” of communication, which in turn will help setting the framework of a regional solution to Afghan problem. Taliban’s reaffirmation to continue to commit for a peaceful solution is very clearly attached to several conditions including direct talks with the Afghan government and withdrawal of all foreign forces. The ensuing analysis of this idea also suggests that a firm commitment from present Afghan government is crucial to materialize any mechanism for peace.

However, it is still unclear as to how and when US is going to withdraw its troops.…  Seguir leyendo »

Astana Troika Meets in Sochi

According to the statements made at the final press conference, the summit was rather constructive: there is progress in terms of its functionality and interaction within the Astana troika. The absolute need to respect the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic was confirmed, regardless of any actions to combat terrorism, or remove threats to other countries and their own security. It is especially important that these statements included Turkey.

On February 14, 2019, another round of the Astana talks on the Syrian peace process between Russia, Iran and Turkey ended in Sochi. It was dedicated to bringing an end to the conflict in Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »

Munich Security Report 2019

The Munich Security Report 2019 gives a clear answer to the question “Who is to blame”? We can argue with the conclusions reached by the authors, but they are clarified for us. Of course, Russia is among the guilty: the report reproduces in one way or another the official line of the EU and the US on key issues, although this was done quite correctly and without additional Russophobia. The problem is with another question – “What to do”?

The organizers of the Munich Security Conference have released their annual report. As usual, it is a good and well-founded text. The analysis of key international trends is combined with the contours of the doctrinal guidelines of European security policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Islamic Revolution in Iran

The revolution in Iran in February 1979 toppled the Shah and put an end to US domination in that country. In Moscow the revolution was called anti-imperialist, while in Europe it was called democratic. In Iran itself, it was declared Islamic. While all these names are fair, the Iranian revolution was, primarily, a people’s revolution. Almost all strata and groups of the population took an active part in it, regardless of political and ideological views, or ethnic and religious affiliation. United by a single goal and a will to win, they quickly overcame the resistance of the Shah’s regime with its powerful army, extensive SAVAK secret police network and the seemingly unconditional support of the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

How Can the EAEU Produce a Better Economic Effect?

The treaty establishing the EAEU marks its fifth anniversary in 2019. The Eurasian Intergovernmental Council held its first meeting of the year in Almaty, bringing together the prime ministers of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, as well as the deputy prime minister of Armenia and the chairman of the board of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

The participants discussed economic cooperation formats and ways to further step up trade among EAEU member countries by harmonizing laws on trade, taxes, logistics and transportation. One thing to take into consideration is that the countries joined the EAEU at different times and on different terms, with some benefiting from transition periods and various temporary exemptions.…  Seguir leyendo »