Legacy Articles On Iran

2024-04-15 Spotlight on Vatanpour, Iran’s “Most Active” Airbase (Michael Rubin)
2024-04-15 Iran Hints It Will Supply Air Defense Weaponry to Palestinians (Michael Rubin)
2024-04-15 Iran Rationalizes Russia’s Pro-Arab Position on Disputed Islands (Michael Rubin)

2024-03-01 Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Seeks Dominant Role in Maritime Development (Michael Rubin)
2024-03-01 Iran’s Supreme Leader Announces Maritime Development Strategy (Michael Rubin)
2024-03-01 Iran Seeks To Assert Global Leadership in Determining International Cyber Policy (Michael Rubin)
2024-03-01 Belarus and Iran Form Alliance Against the West (Paris Gordon)

2024-01-03 Iran Announces Integration Of Artificial Intelligence Into Drone Fleet (Michael Rubin)
2024-01-03 Iran Equips Drones With Heat-Seeking Missiles (Michael Rubin)
2024-01-03 Iran Demands Disarmament Of Kurdish Dissidents In Iraq (Michael Rubin)

2023-11-08 Iran Promoting Medical Tourism To Generate Hard Currency (Michael Rubin)
2023-11-08 Iran’s Supreme Leader Accuses West of Ukraine War Conspiracy (Michael Rubin)

2023-10-03 Iran Claims Development of Cruise Missiles Guided by Artificial Intelligence (Michael Rubin)
2023-10-03 Requirements for Desirable Iranian Oil Ministry Jobs Revealed (Michael Rubin)
2023-10-03 Iran’s Supreme Leader Warns of Declining Fervor of New Generation (Michael Rubin)

2023-08-25 Iran Claims New Flight Simulator Will Enhance National Power (Michael Rubin)
2023-08-25 Iran’s Simorgh Transport Plane Makes Maiden Flight (Michael Rubin)
2023-08-25 Iran Indicates Plans To Commercialize Nuclear Technology, Sell Heavy Water (Michael Rubin)
2023-08-25 Iran’s Persistent and Growing Influence in Latin America (Ryan Berg)

2023-06-01 Iran Unveils New Thermobaric Warhead (Michael Rubin)
2023-06-01 Iran Opens New Helicopter, Drone Base in Southeastern Provincial Capital (Michael Rubin)
2023-06-01 Iran Ready To Help Syria Rebuild Its Defense Infrastructure (Michael Rubin)

2023-05-01 Iran Installs New Precision Missiles on Army Helicopters (Michael Rubin)
2023-05-01 Iran Seeks To Reestablish Embassy and Consulate in Saudi Arabia Before Hajj (Michael Rubin)
2023-05-01 Iran Considers Rapprochement With Pakistan (Michael Rubin)

2023-04-01 Iran Unveils Updated Yasin Training Jet With Possible Close Combat Applications (Michael Rubin)
2023-04-01 Iran’s Increased Defense Budget Leading to More Arms Exports (Michael Rubin)
2023-04-01 Iran Capitalizing on Post-Earthquake Conditions To Deepen Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)

2023-03-01 Iran Praises Revolutionary Guards’ Proxy Afghan Brigade (Michael Rubin)
2023-03-01 Iran Profiles the Female Police Seeking To Quell the Women’s Protests (Michael Rubin)

2023-02-01 Iran Moves Sea-Borne Drone Fleet Closer to Reality (Michael Rubin)
2023-02-01 Iranian General Reiterates Goal To Expel United States From Region (Michael Rubin)
2023-02-01 Iran Fires Indigenous Torpedoes From Submarines for First Time (Michael Rubin)

2023-01-01 Iran Asks Tajikistan Not To Use Iranian Drones in Dispute With Kyrgyzstan (Michael Rubin)
2023-01-01 Iran Claim of Hypersonic Missile Capability Probably Exaggerated (Michael Rubin)

2022-11-01 Iran Vaunts Persian Language as Marker of National Identity Despite Country’s Ethnic Diversity (Michael Rubin)
2022-11-01 Iran’s Proposal To Build Railroads and Housing in Syria Could Enrich IRGC (Michael Rubin)
2022-11-01 Iran Lauds Air Defense, Claims Sepehr Radar Will Soon Be Operational (Michael Rubin)

2022-10-01 Iran Wants Sukhoi-35 Fighters From Russia (Michael Rubin)
2022-10-01 Iran Intercepts Crystal Meth Shipment From Afghanistan (Michael Rubin)

2022-09-01 Iran Reportedly Using New Carrier, Submarines To Expand Reach of Drones (Michael Rubin)
2022-09-01 Iran Unveils Stealth Speedboats (Michael Rubin)
2022-09-01 Iran’s Flawed Statistics and Growing Drug Addiction (Michael Rubin)

2022-08-01 Iranian F-14 Crash Highlights Iran’s Need for New Fighter Contract (Michael Rubin)
2022-08-01 Iranian Trade With China Is Up, but So Is Political Risk (Michael Rubin)
2022-08-01 Iran’s Revolutionary Guards To Expand Drug Treatment Center (Michael Rubin)
2022-08-01 Iran Believes Turkey’s Rapprochement With Israel and Saudi Arabia Is a Threat (Ihsan Gunduz)

2022-07-01 Iran Unveils New Drone-Fired Cruise Missile (Michael Rubin)
2022-07-01 Iran Opens New Drone Plant in Tajikistan (Michael Rubin)
2022-07-01 Iran Warns UAE Against Allowing Israel in the Persian Gulf (Michael Rubin)

2022-06-01 Khamenei Speaks on Necessity of Palestinian “Resistance” (Michael Rubin)
2022-06-01 Iran Initiates and Defends New Bread Subsidies Amid Deteriorating Economy (Michael Rubin)
2022-06-01 Iran Seeks To Counter Misinformation Circulating on Social Media (Michael Rubin)

2022-05-01 Iran Digs into Central Syria, Filling Vacuum Left by Russia (Lucas Winter)
2022-05-01 Iran Tries To Justify Abstention in UN Vote Condemning Russian Invasion of Ukraine (Michael Rubin)
2022-05-01 Iranian Navy Joins Indian Naval Exercises (Michael Rubin)
2022-05-01 Iran’s New Damavand Destroyer Set To Join Navy (Michael Rubin)

2022-04-01 Iran: Emphasizing Religiosity in Regular Army Promotions (Michael Rubin)
2022-04-01 Iran Uses Online War Games To Teach Younger Generation of Officers (Michael Rubin)
2022-04-01 Iran’s Supreme Leader Condemns Alleged Corruption of the West (Michael Rubin)
2022-04-01 Iran Repositions Its Proxies in Syria as Russia Turns Focus to Ukraine (Lucas Winter)

2022-03-01 Iranian Authorities Arrest Alleged Deputy Leader of Royalist Terrorist Group (Michael Rubin)
2022-03-01 Iran’s Prosecution of Arab Separatist Highlights Supposed Saudi Ties (Michael Rubin)
2022-03-01 Russia and China To Help Iran Build New Airports (Michael Rubin)

2022-02-01 Iran and Syria Discuss Transportation Cooperation (Michael Rubin)
2022-02-01 Iran’s Purported Counter-Hijacking Record (Michael Rubin)
2022-02-01 Iran Busts Weapons and Ammunition Smuggling Ring (Michael Rubin)

2022-01-01 Iran-Pakistan Bolstering Naval Cooperation (Michael Rubin)
2022-01-01 Iran Agrees To Gas Swap with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (Michael Rubin)
2022-01-01 Iran and Syria Seek To Jumpstart Economic Ties (Michael Rubin)

2021-04-01 IRAN Unveils New Baman Radar System (Michael Rubin)
2020-10-01 Iran Stockpiling Supplies through Chahbahar (Michael Rubin)

2020-09-01 More Iran in Venezuela (Geoff Demarest)
2020-09-01 Iran Increases Range of Smart Bombs (Michael Rubin)
2020-09-01 Iran: Passive Defense Organization and Basij Sign Memorandum of Understanding (Michael Rubin)
2020-09-01 Iran: Khamenei Speaks on Sanctions, Enmity toward America, and Nuclear Power (Michael Rubin)

2020-08-01 Iran: Khamenei Speaks on Corruption (Michael Rubin)
2020-08-01 Iran: What’s Behind the Government’s Secrecy on Handing Over Kish Island to Chinese? (Michael Rubin)
2020-08-01 Iran Eager to Enter the Global Market as a Military Equipment Exporter (Jerrilee Plude)
2020-08-01 China and Iran Announce $400 Billion Trade Deal (Peter Wood)

2020-07-01 Russian Arms Sales to Iran? (Ray Finch)
2020-07-01 An Afghan Perspective: A New Phase in Afghanistan-Iran Relations (Michael Rubin)
2020-07-01 More Iran in Venezuela (Geoff Demarest)
2020-07-01 The Three Main Missions of the Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran (Michael Rubin)

2020-06-01 Iran: Prosecute Cybercriminals (Michael Rubin)
2020-06-01 Iran Improves its UAV Technology (Robert Bunker and Alma Keshvarz)

2020-05-01 Iran: Khamenei on Power and Patience (Michael Rubin)
2020-05-01 Iran Unveils Ghadir Submarine Upgrades (Michael Rubin)
2020-05-01 India Evacuates its Citizens from Iran (Michael Rubin)
2020-05-01 Iran Announces Mass Production of COVID-19 Test Kits (Jerrilee Plude)

2020-04-01 Israel Establishes New ‘Strategy and Iran Directorate’ Under General Staff (Zachary Fesen)
2020-04-01 Iran: Sanctions Don’t Impact Military Spending (Michael Rubin)
2020-04-01 Iran: IRGC Establishes Biological Defense Headquarters (Michael Rubin)

2020-03-01 Counterfeit Bank Notes Seized in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2020-03-01 Iran-Increasing Domestic Production of Rare Earth Elements (Michael Rubin)
2020-02-01 Iran to Send Astronaut into Space? (Michael Rubin)

2020-01-01 Iran: Identity Theft and Extortion in Isfahan (Michael Rubin)
2020-01-01 Iran and Russia to Establish Visa Waivers (Michael Rubin)
2020-01-01 Iran: Use Suicide Drones as Air Defense (Michael Rubin)
2020-01-01 Iran, China, and Russia Plan Joint Naval Drills in Indian Ocean (Zachary Fesen)

2019-12-01 Iran- Khamenei Speaks on America (Michael Rubin)
2019-12-01 Iran Establishes Official VPN Operators (Michael Rubin)

2019-11-01 Iran and Turkey- Friend or Foe (Ihsan Gunduz)
2019-11-01 Iran Opens Persian Gulf Air Defense Command Center (Michael Rubin)
2019-11-01 Iran- Mobile Rocket Systems and Underground Tunnels (Michael Rubin)
2019-11-01 Iran Announces Dome Defense against Drones (Michael Rubin)

2019-10-01 Iran- Khamenei Speaks on Kashmir (Michael Rubin)
2019-10-01 Iran- Armed Forces Ready to Take Over National Intranet Project (Michael Rubin)
2019-10-01 Israel- Iran’s Military Entrenchment in Iraq Poses Threat (Karen Kaya)

2019-09-01 Iran Warns of Phone and Text Scams (Michael Rubin)
2019-09-01 Iran – Mohajer-6 UAV Strikes Targets in Iraq (Michael Rubin)
2019-09-01 Iran’s Negotiations with Domestic Kurdish Opposition Groups (Ihsan Gunduz)
2019-08-01 Iran: Optoelectronic Military Developments (Michael Rubin)

2019-07-01 Iran: Progress on National Intranet (Michael Rubin)
2019-07-01 Iran: Nationwide Curriculum for Computer Programming (Michael Rubin)
2019-07-01 Iran: Preparing for Zafar III Satellite Launch (Michael Rubin)
2019-07-01 Iran: Admiral Fadavi Selected as Revolutionary Guards Deputy (Michael Rubin)
2019-06-01 The Dynamics of Trilateral Relations between Turkey, Russia, and Iran (Ihsan Gunduz)

2019-05-01 Iran Cements its Presence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2019-05-01 Iran: Khamenei Threatens to Use Precision Missiles (Michael Rubin)
2019-05-01 Iran Conducts its Largest UAV Exercise (Michael Rubin)

2019-04-01 Iran: Hovercraft successfully fires cruise missiles (Michael Rubin)
2019-04-01 Iran Diverting Money from Development to Military (Michael Rubin)
2019-03-01 Iran Builds Up Syrian Proxies on the Western Banks of the Euphrates (Lucas Winter)
2019-02-01 IRGC: Iran Can Extend Ballistic Missile Range (Michael Rubin)

2019-01-01 Iran’s Basij in Cyberspace (Michael Rubin)
2019-01-01 Iran Unveils JDAMs? (Michael Rubin)
2019-01-01 China, Russia and Iran Seek to Revive Syrian Railways (Lucas Winter)

2018-11-01 Iran to Build New Missile System? (Michael Rubin)
2018-11-01 Supreme Leader’s Advisor- United States Common Enemy of Iran and China (Michael Rubin)
2018-09-01 Will Iran Pivot to the East (Michael Rubin)
2018-09-01 Iran: IAEA Shouldn’t Inspect Universities (Michael Rubin)
2018-09-01 Russia and Iran Hamper Turkey’s Aspirations to Become Energy Hub (Ihsan Gunduz)

2018-08-01 Questions on Shortfalls in Electricity Generation in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Achieving Gasoline Self-Sufficiency in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Visit of Chinese Military Delegation to Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Iran to Re-Launch “Helicopter Carrier” (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Iran Preparing to Host Nanotechnology Festival (Michael Rubin)
2018-08-01 Iran to Launch New Satellite by Year’s End (Michael Rubin)

2018-07-01 Group Planning to Hack Bank in Iran Arrested (Michael Rubin)
2018-07-01 Who Took $30 Billion out of Iran? (Michael Rubin)
2018-07-01 Iran to Attend Russian Military Trade Show (Michael Rubin)
2018-07-01 Iran Cracks Down on Internet Café VPNs (Michael Rubin)

2018-06-01 Iran, Russia to Jointly Manufacture Helicopter (Michael Rubin)
2018-06-01 Iran Unveils New Unmanned Helicopter (Michael Rubin)
2018-06-01 Russia and Iran Compete for Syria’s Phosphates (Lucas Winter)
2018-06-01 Is Iran Ready to Send Its Navy to Japan (Michael Rubin)

2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2018-05-01 Will Iran Interfere in Kashmir? (Michael Rubin)
2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)
2018-05-01 Will Iran Interfere in Kashmir? (Michael Rubin)
2018-05-01 Iran and Russia Compete for Influence in Syria (Lucas Winter)

2018-04-01 13 Million Users of Domestic Messaging Apps in Iran (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran: Supreme Leader Advisor Lauds Russian Strategic Ties (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran: Muslims Supported by US, UK are Illegitimate (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran: Israel’s Missile Defense Can Be Overwhelmed (Michael Rubin)
2018-04-01 Iran Unveils New Anti-Armor Missile (Michael Rubin)

2018-03-01 Iran: Warship Sinks after Mishap (Michael Rubin)
2018-03-01 Iran: Winning Hearts and Minds in Deir Ezzor (Lucas Winter)
2018-03-01 Iran Develops UAS with “Smart Bomb” Capability (Alma Keshavarz and Robert Bunker)
2018-03-01 Iran: US Sponsoring Islamic State in Afghanistan (Michael Rubin)
2018-03-01 Iran: Winning Hearts and Minds in Deir Ezzor (Lucas Winter)
2018-03-01 Iran: Telegram Giving Data to US and Israel (MIchael Rubin)

2018-02-01 A Malaysian Perspective on US-Iran Relations (Jacob Zenn)
2018-02-01 Turkish Perspectives on Iran (Karen Kaya)
2018-02-01 Iran: Was America Behind Uprising? (Michael Rubin)
2018-02-01 Iran: Lifting the Ban on Instagram was Illegal (Michael Rubin)

2018-02-01 Iran Approaches the Syria-Jordan Border (Lucas Winter)
2018-02-01 Indonesian Perspectives on the Iran Protests (Jacob Zenn)
2018-02-01 India’s Interest in Stability in Iran (Matthew Stein)
2018-02-01 China Limits Internet Exposure to Iran Protests (Jacob Zenn)
2018-02-01 Saudi-Iran Tensions Seen in Nigerian Crackdown on Shia Group (Jacob Zenn)

2018-01-01 Iran: New Military Budget Proposed (Michael Rubin)
2018-01-01 Iran-Khamenei Speaks on Views toward America (Michael Rubin)
2018-01-01 Iran’s Amphibious Aircraft from Russia (Michael Rubin


Venezuela’s Dictatorship Strengthens While Opposition Is in Disarray

Then Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó with Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro during a trip to Washington, D.C.

Then Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó with Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro during a trip to Washington, D.C.


“A few hours after the fragmented Venezuelan opposition put an end to the figure of the interim government of Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, launched a diplomatic and political offensive.”


Venezuela’s long struggle against the Maduro dictatorship began 2023 with yet another setback. In 2019, the opposition established an interim government structure to push for a democratic transition in Venezuela, replete with an interim president (Juan Guaidó) who was recognized by nearly 60 countries. That experiment was recently terminated when three of the country’s four main opposition parties voted to dissolve the interim government structure, a move that had been rumored for several months.[i] Since voting to dissolve its own constitutional arrangement, the opposition to Maduro’s regime has fractured.[ii] According to an article from Peruvian media conglomerate Redacción RPP, three of the opposition parties voted to dissolve the structure because it had failed to achieve its objective of a democratic transition away from Maduro’s dictatorship. The article also notes that opacity in the financing and management of international assets had made some opposition legislators uneasy about extending the arrangement. The second excerpted article from Spanish daily La Voz de Galicia reports that the Maduro regime has transitioned to a more offensive posture after several years of being on the back foot, rattled by the opposition’s interim government structure that had been recognized by dozens of countries. Maduro is looking to reassert himself diplomatically and shore up key allies. The Maduro regime’s survival and strengthening serves as a conduit for Chinese, Russian, and Iranian influence in South America and the Caribbean because of their support for Maduro during the regime’s darkest days.[iii] Close security relationships with other authoritarian states mean that Venezuela will continue to represent a hemispheric security threat and an important staging ground for countries like Russia and Iran.


Sources: 

“Venezuela: El ‘Gobierno interino’ de Juan Guaidó se extinguió sin claridad en sus cuentas (Venezuela: The ‘interim government’ of Juan Guaidó was extinguished without clarity in its accounts),” Redacción RPP (the largest radio and television broadcasting company in Peru), 10 January 2023. https://rpp.pe/mundo/actualidad/venezuela-el-gobierno-interino-de-juan-guaido-se-extinguio-sin-claridad-en-sus-cuentas-noticia-1459150?ref=rpp

The ‘interim government’ of Juan Guaidó, eliminated… by the majority of the former deputies who supported him in 2019, leaves a shadow in Venezuela due to poor accountability. No one knows how much money he managed or what this sort of parallel power that had the support of foreign powers spent it on… in the next 45 days, Guaidó is obliged to account for the period given to him by the former anti-Chavista deputies who abolished the interim government, considering that the structure did not achieve its objectives, not to mention that they do not know the status of the resources managed under this arrangement.

“Maduro pasa a la ofensiva tras la disolución del Gobierno interino de Guaidó (Maduro goes on the offensive after the dissolution of the interim government of Guaidó),” La Voz de Galicia (a Spanish daily newspaper with good coverage of Latin America), 2 January 2023. https://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/internacional/2023/01/03/maduro-pasa-ofensiva-tras-disolucion-gobierno-interino-guaido/0003_202301G3P18993.htm 

A few hours after the fragmented Venezuelan opposition put an end to the figure of the interim government of Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, launched a diplomatic and political offensive… Maduro also stated in the interview that he awaits the release of the country’s resources frozen in the United States and the United Kingdom.


Notes:

[i] For more information on some of the international legal implications of this decision to dissolve Venezuela’s interim government, see: Ryan C. Berg and Alexandra Winkler, “The Interim Government of Venezuela was Dissolved by its Own Promoters,” CSIS Commentary, 12 January 2023. https://www.csis.org/analysis/interim-government-venezuela-was-dissolved-its-own-promoters

[ii] For information on infighting in the opposition and its impact on the Venezuelan opposition’s standing among voters, see: Luis González Morales, “Knives Out: Venezuelan Opposition Edition,” Caracas Chronicles, 29 December 2022. https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2022/12/29/knives-out-venezuelan-opposition-edition/

[iii] For more information about Venezuela’s deep security relationship with Russia, in particular, see: Vladimir Rouvinski, “Russia’s Continued Engagement with Venezuela in 2019 and Beyond,” Wilson Center, February 2020. https://www.wilsoncenter.org/publication/russias-continuing-engagement-venezuela-2019-and-beyond-update


Image Information:

Image: Then Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó with Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro during a trip to Washington, D.C.
Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oasoea/49499293397
Attribution: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Erdoğan Relying on Russia To Bolster Support Ahead of Turkish Elections

Putin with Erdoğan.

Putin with Erdoğan.


“…Putin is making “gesture after gesture” to…President Erdoğan… No Turkish administration in the past has received such political support from a world power… Putin is behaving like a provincial AKP leader, to get [Erdoğan] reelected…” 


As he prepares for elections in June 2023, Turkish President Erdoğan will face a more united and determined domestic opposition than ever. Polls show that the most important issue for the Turkish electorate is the economy. Given the high inflation and economic crisis in the country, polls also show that if elections were held today, Erdoğan’s victory is not guaranteed. It is in this context that a series of recent moves made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in support of Erdoğan, are significant. As the first accompanying passage taken from respected Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin’s YouTube channel details, Russian President Vladimir Putin is making “gesture after gesture” to secure Erdoğan’s victory in 2023 elections by helping him claim that he is improving Turkey’s economy.  

In the second accompanying passage from independent news and analysis platform Medyascope, former Turkish diplomat Sinan Ülgen points out that the current pronouncements about making Turkey the largest natural gas center for Europe is a significant change in Russia’s stance on the issue.  He begs the question: “Why now?” and suggests that Putin prefers Erdoğan to win. Ülgen also notes that Russia’s state-run Rosatom, which is building Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, wired around $15 billion to its Turkish subsidiary recently, helping relieve a shortage in Turkey’s foreign currency reserves, a notable benefit for Turkey in an election year.  In the third excerpted passage, also from Medyascope, expert Ömer Taşpınar claims the transfer of funds represents Putin’s “investment in Erdoğan’s election victory.” Shortly after the transfer, Erdoğan criticized the West’s sanctions on Russia, while voicing support for Putin’s decision to block natural gas sales to Europe. Taşpınar says this was Erdoğan thanking Putin for the transfer.  In addition to Turkey’s economic woes, Erdoğan also faces resentment from the Turkish public regarding the approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees that it currently hosts. From the fourth excerpted passage, also from Medyascope, expert Gönül Tol predicts that Putin may help Erdoğan with this challenge too, by allowing Erdoğan to conduct an operation into northeastern Syria before the elections, something Putin has objected to in the past. This would enable Erdoğan to claim that such an operation would allow for the creation of a safe zone where Syrian refugees could be resettled back in Syria. Turkish observers would seemingly not be surprised if Putin gave the green light to Turkey to conduct at least a limited operation in the coming months.


Sources:

Murat Yetkin, “Erdoğan Putin’le aylık olağan görüşmede: Rusya yeniden seçilsin istiyor (Erdoğan in his monthly regular meeting with Putin: Russia wants [him] to get reelected),” Murat Yetkin via YouTube (veteran journalist Murat Yetkin’s own YouTube channel providing neutral analysis on Turkish developments), 12 October 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzz1YSqsOUc&t=2s

Russian President Putin is making “gesture after gesture” to Turkey, specifically to President Erdoğan… Back to back statements coming from Moscow about natural gas are surprising even for Ankara.  No Turkish administration in the past has received such political support from a world power… Our journalist friend Nevsin Mengu says that Putin is behaving like a provincial AKP leader, to get [Erdoğan] reelected… 

Sinan Ülgen, “Putin’in Türkiye’deki “seçim yatırımları” ve tüm yönleriyle gaz merkezi (Putin’s “election investments” in Turkey and the gas hub [debate] from all angles),” Medyascope.tv (independent Turkish news and analysis platform), 15 October 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOPh5Hrd53o&t=16s

Russia’s capital investments into the Turkish banking system for the Akkuyu nuclear plant, certain statements, other ways that Russia has provided financial help to Turkey such as sending the money for the Akkuyu nuclear plant in advance, suggest that Putin prefers that Erdoğan stay in power, since he knows how to work with Erdoğan and has a working relationship with him, one that has produced results for Putin.  Because it does seem like sending the money for Akkuyu in advance has no benefit for Russia, but a notable direct benefit for Turkey.   The natural gas issue is a bit different.  On this issue, Russia has a benefit, but… if Russia is really proposing to make Turkey a gas hub, as opposed to a transit country, this points to a huge policy change for Russia, …which begs the question, “Why now?”… given that Turkey has wanted this for 25 years.  So it does seem that Putin is taking steps to help Erdoğan in the upcoming elections. 

“Transatlantik: Ankara-Atina hattında gerilim: Savaş kapıda mı? Enerji krizi | Biden-Trump çekişmesi (Transatlantic: Tension in the Ankara-Athens route: Is war knocking on the door?  The Energy crisis | Biden-Trump Competition),” Medyaskope.tv (independent Turkish news and analysis platform),7 September 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szU-hgn-6_w&t=2270s

The billions of dollars that came from Russia, I’m not sure how that’s coming, but… it seems that Putin is making an election investment for Erdoğan.  He wants Erdoğan to win elections… and he gave this money for him to win.  And in return, we see that Erdoğan is protecting Russia in his statements.  Erdoğan’s comments [criticizing Europe’s sanctions and voicing support for Russia’s decision to cut natural gas to Europe] are pro-Russia…and his position is one that is closer to Russia on the issue of energy… He is criticizing the EU for the sanctions and saying that Russia is a strong country when he should be saying that Russia should not weaponize gas…

“Transatlantik: Kılıçdaroğlu’nun ABD ziyareti | ABD’den F-16 kararı | Erdoğan-Putin görüşmesi (Transatlantic: Kılıçdaroğlu’s USA visit | The USA’s F-16 decision | Erdoğan-Putin meeting),” Medyaskope.tv via YouTube, 13 October 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG3YglxALwAErdoğan has been a lifeline for an isolated Russian economy…  Putin is also a lifeline for Erdoğan [domestically]…  In this context, Putin’s injection of money into the Turkish economy … is important for Erdoğan… I think Putin can provide important help for Erdoğan in Syria… Before the elections, I think an operation into Syria would be beneficial to Erdoğan because he could use the narrative that “I know you are resentful about the refugees but I can fix this problem.  I will conduct an operation into Syria to establish a zone [for the refugees to be resettled].  Until now, Putin had not given a green light to Turkey on this, but today, given how much Putin depends on Erdoğan, he might give a green light for this, which would be a huge favor to Erdoğan.


Image Information:

Image: Putin with Erdoğan.
Source: Kremlin.ru, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Putin_with_Erdo%C4%9Fan.jpeg
Attribution: CC BY 3.0

The Appeal of “Duginism” in the Middle East

Aleksandr Dugin, at the Civilizations of the Eurasian Area meeting on February 26, 2018 at the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran.

Aleksandr Dugin, at the Civilizations of the Eurasian Area meeting on February 26, 2018 at the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran.


A special role in the project is given to Sufism, not only in Turkey but also in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.


Whatever one thinks of Russian political theorist Aleksandr Dugin’s esoteric cultural-geopolitical theories, his influence in Arabic-speaking countries is worthy of attention. Dugin, a Russian political philosopher who rose to prominence among Russian military and foreign policy elites with the 1997 publication of his book “Foundations of Geopolitics,” has long called for Russia to annex Ukraine to counter “Atlanticist” encroachment. Several of Dugin’s books are available in Arabic translation, most recently a tome published last July by prominent Qatari think tank The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. Two elements of Dugin’s ruminations on culture and geopolitics are finding receptive audiences in the Middle East: one, his opposition to U.S. regional involvement; and two, his appeals to cultural conservatism and civilizational identity.

Dugin’s strident critique of U.S. presence in the Middle East has been attractive to members of the Iranian-led “Resistance Axis,” which includes Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon and opposes the “West,” Israel, and Saudi Arabia.  Following the assassination of Dugin’s daughter Daria in August 2022 in Russia, allegedly by the Ukrainian government, a top Lebanese Hezbollah official issued a condolence statement that praised Dugin’s support for “the Palestinian cause and the legitimate struggle against American hegemony, Zionist occupation and takfiri terrorism.” Indeed, Dugin’s strong critiques of Israel seemingly appeal to a broad spectrum of the Arab public, including leftists and liberals who may otherwise disagree with many of his far-right-leaning ideas.

Furthermore, Dugin’s cultural conservatism seemingly endears him to a spectrum of Middle Eastern religious movements and organizations, both Sunni and Shi’ite.  Perhaps most interesting in this regard are Dugin’s appeals to Sufism, a diverse and varied Sunni school of thought and practice.  Broadly speaking, Sufism is associated with a mystical, esoteric approach to Islam, in contrast to the strict textualism of fundamentalist Salafi or Wahhabi groups.  The accompanying excerpt from the leftist, pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, translates a 2020 piece written by Daria Dugin on Russia’s approach to the Middle East.  In it, she argues for establishing a Russian alliance with the “Islamic Civilization” via Iran and Turkey, with special emphasis on Turkey due to its historical links with Sufism. Dugin’s appeal among Arab intellectuals and pundits has its limits, however.  Arab liberals, in particular, are likely to be skeptical of Dugin’s “anti-imperialism” and distrust his appeals to cultural conservatism.  As a recent piece in the independent Lebanese news website al-Modon argues, Dugin supports the idea of self-determination yet also “theorizes conquests, profit-sharing, and access to the warm waters of oceans and seas,” and as such is little more than an ideologue seeking to justify Russia’s imperial ambitions.


Sources:

Source: The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (prominent Qatari think tank), July 2022. https://bookstore.dohainstitute.org/p-2276.aspx

As part of its “translation series,” The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies has published a book titled “Geopolitics of Postmodernity: The Age of New Empires, General Outlines of Political Geography in the Twenty-First Century,” by Alexander Dugin.

Source:

“الموسوي: جريمة اغتيال داريا دوغينا تشكل عملاً ارهابياً قذرا

(Al-Moussawi: The assasination of Daria Dugin is a dirty act of terrorism),” al-Manar (Lebanese Hezbollah media outlet), 24 August 2022. https://almanar.com.lb/9887506

Hezbollah’s official in charge of Arab and international relations, Ammar al-Moussawi, issued the following statement:

On the occasion of the tragic incident that claimed the life of Mrs. Daria Dugin, the daughter of the Russian thinker and philosopher Alexander Dugin, I would like to express my condemnation of this crime, which constitutes a filthy terrorist act. I also take this occasion to express my great appreciation for Mr. Dugin’s position and courageous stances in defense of his country and people, as well as of just and righteous causes, including the Palestinian cause and the legitimate struggle against American hegemony, Zionist occupation and takfiri terrorism.

Source:

“روسيا والشرق الأوسط: استراتيجيات آفاق وتوقعات

(Russia and the Middle East: Strategies, Prospects and Expectations),” al-Akhbar (leftist, pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily), 22 August 2022. https://al-akhbar.com/World/343506

A special role in the project is given to Sufism, not only in Turkey but also in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa, with the exception of countries where Wahhabism, Salafism and Takfirism predominate (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar)… Reviving the traditions of Rumi, Bektashi, and Yunus Emre may also change the role of Ankara, which has a chance to become a true leader of the Sunni world. Sufism, while remaining outside Middle Eastern operations, is at least as mobilizing as Salafism, and could play a role in uniting the Muslim world against Atlanticism and the Wahhabism it supports…

Thus, Moscow, Ankara and Tehran will return to their traditional roots and become centers of three spiritual civilizations (Orthodox, Sunni and Shiite). Together, they will oppose the West. It is interesting to note that these three nations, with imperial traditions, may have fought each other in the past, but today they have learned to overcome historical contradictions and realize the geopolitical inevitability of this tripartite partnership. 

Source:

“الدوغينيون العرب

(The Arab Dugins),” al-Modon (independent liberal Lebanese news website), 25 August 2022.

https://tinyurl.com/2p978ntr

Indeed, in some of his books, Dugin theorizes conquests, profit-sharing, and access to the warm waters of oceans and seas. In short, the Russian Dugin is nothing but the other side of the American ideologues who have exposed us to creative chaos and what resulted from creative chaos, and democracy and what resulted from democracy…


Image Information:

Image: Aleksandr Dugin, at the Civilizations of the Eurasian Area meeting on February 26, 2018 at the Faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran.
Source: https://www.farsnews.ir/photo/13981126000814/نشست-تمدن-های-حوزه-اوراسیا
Attribution: CCA 4.0 INT