Topics // Events // Sunnis

03 november 2015

Russia in Syria: Obscure Solutions to Obscure Challenges, and the Risks Surrounding them

Vasily Kuznetsov PhD in History, Director, Center for Arab and Islamic Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, RIAC expert


Pursuing an active policy in Syria up to direct involvement in the military conflict seems to be bringing Moscow both fresh opportunities and new risks, both internal and external, that range from the palpable to the obscure.

07 april 2015

Moscow Handling Yemen Dilemma

Maxim Suchkov PhD in Political Science, Associate Professor at Pyatigorsk State Linguistic University, editor at Al-Monitor (Russia Pulse), visiting fellow at Georgetown (2010/11) and New York (2015) Universities, RIAC expert


Moscow is wary of any involvement in the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, to say nothing of the Sunni-Shiite face-off. While direct dividends are barely visible, the risks and prospects for realization of Russia's long-term interests in the Middle East seem much more palpable. This is why Moscow is lingering over recognizing or closely cooperating with the Houthi on the official level, at the same time maintaining certain contacts.

05 february 2015

Lebanese Presidential Elections

Mario Abou Zeid Research Analyst Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut


Eight months of continuous presidential vacuum are placing Lebanon on high alert. The absence of a president means that the constitution is being violated and substituted by minimal consensus among political players to keep the government working. Political negotiations through democratic institutions among conflicting parties are replaced by bilateral dialogues among the major political parties.

16 december 2014

Iran’s Regional Policy: A Fresh Start?

Sergey Demidenko PhD in History, expert at the Institute of Strategic Estimates and Analysis, Assistant Professor at the Higher School of Economics, RIAC expert


The time seems to have come to note that, after several years of emasculation, Iran has begun to progressively strengthen its regional stance thanks to the nuclear deal reached with the six-nations negotiating group (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on November 24, 2013, and the broader changes in regional politics due to the rise of Islamism. By softening its until-recently rigid approach to the nuclear issue, Tehran has alleviated the international embargo, improving its domestic economy and expanding its financial ability to sustain its regional interests.

08 may 2014

Iraq Continues to Disintegrate

Gevorg Mirzayan Correspondent, Expert magazine, Research fellow of the RAS U.S. and Canadian Studies Institute


The civil war in Iraq is raging on – local Sunnis have risen up against the Shiite authorities. According to UN figures, a total of 7,800 civilians and more than 1,000 security forces were killed in Iraq in 2013 alone. However, in January 2014 instability escalated into a full-scale insurgency against the authorities. The causes of the uprising lie in the Sunni elite’s resentment of its position in the country and in the role played by external forces.

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25 april 2014

Shiites and Sunnis: The Danger of Major War from Syria to Pakistan

Elena Suponina PhD in Philosophy, Adviser to the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Asia and Middle East specialist, RIAC expert


Both the exodus of refugees and concerns over terrorism are on everyone’s lips today due to recent developments in the Middle East. However, there is another sensitive, but much less frequently discussed issue. The point at stake is that the conflict in Syria, which being not religious in nature, has often provoked hostility on religious grounds.

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