The global energy market continues to be driven by the political economy of oil production and trade. Energy markets have come full circle returning to their fundamentals: oil is there to stay and play an important role in the era of slow melting of the oil surplus.
This article reviews key dynamics in the Middle Eastern oil and gas to explain how they shape the global energy picture. The author makes sense of the Saudi-Iran relations and the role OPEC is set to play in the emerging energy landscape. Finally, political developments in the broader region, including Turkey, are discussed.
Russia and Iran have found themselves to be partners of convenience in Syria. Their interaction is limited due to different motives behind their interference in the conflict and the possibility to harm their relations with third states.
The Syrian conflict has provided an example of the profound virtualization of politics (and even its power component) and of creating stable pre-engineered actors exclusively for the communication space. The “moderate opposition” is the most noteworthy one.
Numerous international competitors see the use of force as a solution to their challenges. In relations between Russia and NATO, China and Japan, Iran and Saudi Arabia, power plays unfold with unpredictable repercussions.
On July 14, 2015, the United States, Russia, China, France, UK, Germany, the European Union and Iran concluded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the “Iran deal,” with the goal of ending the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program.
The Valdai Discussion Club hosted the 5th meeting of the Valdai Middle East dialogue, «The Middle East: From Violence to Security.» The following is a summary of the discussions and conclusions reached by its participants.
The hackneyed saying “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” is as relevant today as never before, but there is no stopping to the audacious flight of imagination. Popular as it is, extrapolation of current trends to future periods does not work as something always gets in the way, while attempts to draw a completely different picture look like imaginative writing. And still we have taken the risk.
The three pillars of Saudi power projection, namely Islam, oil, and the U.S. patronage, have grown considerably weaker in recent years. The era of checkbook diplomacy is truly over and Riyadh will have to invest more in diplomacy.
The fast build-up of China’s military power is a natural and inevitable process, albeit belated. China is only bringing its military capability into line with the scale of its economy, territory and population. More importantly, it is taking systematic and very costly efforts to make its armed forces ready for active combat operations in remote regions of the world.
In the fall of 2015, Russia resolved to raise the stakes in Syria by launching an air campaign at the request of Damascus.
Material for discussion at the middle east dialogue of the Valdai discussion club, Moscow, February 25-26, 2016
In 2015, the global context fever continued. It was characterised by non-linearity and unpredictability with opposite processes going on simultaneously and relationship between countries becoming increasingly tangled and complex.
All of the parties with a stake in the conflict are pursuing their own goals
We need a substantial strategy of pricing policy and implementation mechanisms to avoid emotional shocks every time oil prices drop. The fuel market should be more controllable, balanced, and fair, as Russia’s national interests demand.
At a roundtable event in Moscow, top experts debated the “hypocritical” and “insincere” foreign policies of both Russia and the West in the post-Cold War era.
Vladimir Putin has mentioned several times that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a geopolitical mistake. Although these words were often interpreted as his desire to constitute that country, there is little reason to believe this.
The April 16 referendum will focus on power distribution rather than institution building. In other words, the organizers saw it as an opportunity to expand the President’s powers and allow him to rule longer. In their turn, Turks perceived it as an institutional choice to contribute to the development of the state.
If the larger picture defies prediction, the immediate future is scarcely more transparent. In the U.S. case, the known unknowns are numerous. They begin with the question of how much deck furniture Trump is willing to overturn in order to pursue an “America First” strategy.
In the wake of the For Fair Elections protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, the Kremlin initiated a new strategy of state-society relations that was aimed at diminishing the propensity for protest in the next election cycle.
Belarus’ traditional structural dependence on Russia is increasing, and Minsk’s freedom of maneuver continues to shrink.