Since the start of hostilities in 2011, Pakistan has shown consistent support for the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Despite protests coming from Pakistan’s security partners - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States, as well as from domestic Islamist actors, Islamabad has remained persistent in its approach. What can explain this policy? This paper will examine the historical legacies of the Pakistan-Syria partnership, the presence of global Jihadist actors in both countries, as well as key geopolitical considerations in an attempt to identify the logic in Islamabad.
The dispute between Russia and Japan over the southern Kuril Islands represents one of the longest territorial disputes in East Asia. In recent years, Japan and Russia have been attempting to resolve the dispute through bilateral cooperation and economic trade. What are the prospects for success however? What might the implications be for the wider region?
Since the collapse of the Yanukovych government in 2014, Ukraine has found itself destabilized, divided, and vulnerable to outside attacks - military or otherwise. Though the annexation of Crimea and subsequent war in south-eastern Ukraine captured international headlines, careful Western observers have also been following the cyber dimension of the conflict with great interest. While most observers have focused on the cyber-attacks harming Ukrainian infrastructure, might there be another objective? Might the ongoing cyber conflict in Ukraine be about influence, rather than subversion?
Russia has been rapidly expanding its military and political footprint across South Asia over the past several months. Simultaneously pursuing military exercises with Pakistan and signing bilateral cyber pacts with India, Moscow has found itself as the middle man between two nuclear-armed rivals. But why is this happening now? This series will examine Russia's relations with both India and Pakistan to try to identify what long-term trends are at work in the region.
After decades of stagnation, Russia and Indonesia have signed a number of new defense agreements. Russia has returned to South East Asia in a dramatic fashion, but why now? What are the implications for the region? Leksika's new Asia specialist investigates.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that the US and Russia have agreed to terms for a general ceasefire in Syria. Leksika explores the terms of the ceasefire agreement, promises of new US-Russia counterterrorism coordination, and the reactions of various factions active in the conflict. This ongoing report will be revised as new developments come to light.
Moldova's Presidential elections have once again put democracy in this small Eastern European country to the test. Candidates from outside the political mainstream are making serious progress, and come from both pro-EU and pro-Russian camps. In part one of this new series Leksika will provide an overview of the existing candidates and explain why Moscow is likely to gain more influence in Moldova regardless of outcome.
The failed coup attempt has resulted in a widespread and thorough crackdown in Turkey, providing President Erdogan with an unprecedented opportunity to centralize power. Less publicized however are the similar crackdown attempts against the Gulen movement throughout Eurasia, which has left few in the Caucasus and Central Asia unaffected.
Despite some recent diplomatic improvements, Russia has consistently been one of the greatest critics of Erdogan's Turkey and its role in the Syrian War. To what extent can these criticisms be validated? Are the United States and other Western powers starting to distance themselves from Turkey in Syria? Leksika's Sean Crowley offers an in-depth investigation.
Russo-Turkish relations are old and complex. From an imperial rivalry in the 19th century, being Cold War adversaries in the 20th, and to contemporary competition for influence in the Middle East and Caucasus, Moscow and Ankara have long been the main actors in an often volatile borderland between the East and the West. How does this long history influence current events? Leksika's Sean Crowley offers an in-depth look of the background to the current rivalry.
While America’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have played a significant role in shattering the hierarchies of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, they have become rather controversial as they have lead the charge in the War on Terror. How did UAVs “take off” to play a key role on the battlefield, and do they help or hinder US efforts in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Theater?
Turkey's confrontation with Russia and the ongoing US Presidential election have complicated the already delicate situation in Syria. Where do relations stand now, and what can be expected going forward? What capabilities does Russia still poses in Syria after withdrawing a major portion of their troops? Leksika's Sean Crowley investigates.
Belarus has long been Moscow's most reliable ally in the former Soviet heartland, but recent developments have led some to wonder if the country may be re-evaluating its stance. Is Belarus drifting further away from Russia? Where do relations stand currently? What progress has there been toward political and economic integration projects between Minsk and Moscow? Leksika's Breellen Plucknett offers insight.
France renewed its war efforts in Syria in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. In so doing, France entered an environment already dominated by the US and Russia. How does this effect the already complicated balance between Washington and Moscow? What role did Paris have in initiating the Russo-American ceasefire agreement? Leksika's Sean Crowley offers an in-depth examination.
Georgia continues to position itself to be at the center of a new economic zone connecting Europe to Iran and Central Asia. Recent agreements with Azerbaijan -though largely under reported by Western media - serve to foreshadow more extensive arrangements with other regional players.
Russia's intervention in Syria has captured international headlines for months, but what kind of blowback has Moscow been facing? Leksika's Sean Crowley investigates, taking an in-depth look at the negative side-effects Russia has faced since launching its Syria campaign, both at home and abroad.
Recent developments in the Republic of Georgia have largely gone unreported in the Western press. The significant economic, political, and security implications however warrant close attention, as Georgia is positioning itself to be at the center of a new economic order connecting Europe to Iran and Central Asia.
The all-but-certain involvement of Russian military forces in Eastern Ukraine has caused widespread international criticism. But what about the voices of opposition at home? Leksika's Sean Crowley investigates, taking a look at how the rising casualty rate is effecting the Russian public's support for their comrades in the Donbass conflict.
Russia's entry into the Syrian fight has radically changed the country's battlefield, but exactly what kind of firepower is Moscow bringing? Leksika's Sean Crowley investigates, providing an in-depth open-source look at Russia's air campaign in Syria.
Russia's direct entry into the Syrian War has been met with widespread controversy. What are Moscow's strategic aims? How does this benefit Russia in the long-term? Examining the targets of Russian airstrikes in the country can help foreign observers to make better sense of the situation.
The Russian government released its latest national security strategy in December 2015. A close look at this document provides valuable insight into what the country will seek to accomplish in the foreign policy and security spheres over the coming years.