On Oct. 30, Murat Zyazikov resigned as president of Ingushetia — a small, mainly-Muslim republic in Russia’s North Caucasus region. Zyazikov’s fate was likely sealed two weeks previously, on Oct. 18, when a military convoy was ambushed by insurgents between the villages of Alkhasty and Surkhakhi, leaving approximately 50 servicemen dead. The ambush was the largest of its type yet seen in the republic. Ingushetia lies directly to the west of Chechnya (the Ingush and the Chechens are close ethnic relatives), and the leaders of the insurgency in Ingushetia have drawn inspiration from their Chechnyan counterparts, who have been fighting […]

The Turkey Fan Club Grows

Regular readers of he blog will know that I’ve had my eye on Turkish foreign policy for a while. For one thing, Turkey’s emergence as a regional mediator demonstrates the power of maintaining good relations across the faultlines of conflicts (its so-called “zero problems” policy). For another, it serves as a model of what I’ve called “Middle Power Mojo,” or the use of regional middle powers to lighten America’s footprint while at the same time advancing its interests. Now a flurry of posts responding to Turkey’s offer to mediate between the U.S. and Iran — from Democracy Arsenal (Patrick Barry […]

EU-Russia Talks

The EU Observer reports that Lithuania is the last holdout against restarting EU-Russia strategic partnership talks. France has proposed restarting the talks while simultaneously condemning Russia’s violations of the Georgia ceasefire agreement: The proposal was good enough for Russia-critical states Sweden, the UK,the Czech Republic, Estonia and Latvia, which agreed that major EUsecurity and financial interests outweigh the niceties of the Georgiaconflict. . . . “If you look at this issue, legally there is no reason to relaunch thetalks. But political reality dictates that we need to communicate withRussia,” an EU diplomat said. For some more on that political reality, […]