Liberalizing U.S. Energy Trade Can Promote European Security

 27 October 2014

Author: Jordan Kearns

For much of Central and Eastern Europe, all gas pipelines still lead to Moscow. Despite over two decades since the Soviet collapse, infrastructure continues to tie former members of the Soviet Union to Russia. U.S. LNG exports to Europe would strengthen European security by reducing this dependency while promoting investment in the U.S. gas industry, but archaic U.S. law revising lng export process ebinger avasarala/revising the lng export process.pdf prevents gas exports without regulatory approval finding these exports congruent with the national interest – in recent years, a lengthy and unlikely prospect. The result of the regulation is a de facto ban on U.S. gas exports to Europe. As tensions have risen with Russia, the United States has bolstered its European allies with military materiel and personnel, but has neglected the fundamental benefits of trade liberalization.

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posted by: RKK/ICDSComments

Russian Hacking Group Infiltrates Major Targets: NATO, EU, Ukraine

 16 October 2014

Author: Eve Hunter

In the latest episode of cyber espionage, a Russian hacking group has infiltrated some networks of NATO, the EU, and the Ukrainian government. The group, which researchers have named ‘Sandworm’, due to its frequent references to Frank Herbert’s Dune, obtained its illicit access through spear-phishing techniques (targeted emails that when opened infect the host computer) as well as through zero-day exploits. A zero-day attack is one that exploits a previously undiscovered vulnerability—in this case, one found in all modern Microsoft operating systems.

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posted by: RKK/ICDSComments

Russian Forces Target Three Key Objects in Ukraine’s East

 10 October 2014

Author: Vladimir Socor

Beyond the newly imposed partition lines, Russian regular and irregular forces are incessantly attacking Ukrainian positions in the Debaltseve salient, the Donetsk airport, and around Mariupil on the Azov Sea. Capturing these positions—a centrally located rail and road transport hub, the international airport, and the maritime port of Donbas (eastern Ukrainian region encompassing the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces), respectively—would be fully within the logic of creating an economically and logistically sustainable, de facto state entity under Russian protection in Donbas.

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posted by: RKK/ICDSComments

Moscow’s Cold War Against Ukraine Undiminished After the Armistice

  9 October 2014

Author: Vladimir Socor

The ceasefire agreements, signed on September 5 and 19–20, have, in no sense, halted Russia’s multi-dimensional war against Ukraine. This includes a still-“hot” military conflict and a “cold” propaganda war. Nor could these agreements stop Russia from prosecuting the conflict in the absence of effective enforcement mechanisms, while Western powers are minimally involved if at all. In this situation, it is largely up to Russia to decide whether, when or on what conditions to respect the armistice or not.

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posted by: RKK/ICDSComments

Improving Cyber Security: NATO and the EU

  9 October 2014

Author: Eve Hunter

In ICDS’ latest cybersecurity report, “Improving Cyber Security: NATO and the EU”, Piret Pernik examines the future for cyber cooperation between the two largest collective organizations acting in security and defence issues in Europe – the EU and NATO. The author chronicles the oft delayed development of cyber capabilities of both groups. In doing so, Pernik highlights the core distinctions between them.

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posted by: RKK/ICDSComments

LNG and the Gulf of Finland

  6 October 2014

Authors: Emmet Tuohy and Kristiina Visnapuu (ICDS research assistant)

Although the crisis in Ukraine has finally made all of Europe acutely aware of the need to diversify natural gas supplies and reduce dependency on Russia, outside of Lithuania there is still little progress towards that direction in the other two Baltic states and Finland. All four countries are, for the moment, still fully dependent on Russia for their natural gas imports. While Lithuania has almost finished its floating LNG terminal in Klaipėda, the long-awaited regional LNG terminal in the Gulf of Finland is no closer to completion than it was before Russian troops entered Crimea.

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Western Sanctions Against Russia: Putin’s First and Last Major Defeat?

  2 October 2014

Author: Kalev Stoicescu

Russian president Vladimir Putin thus far has not suffered a single defeat that could have seriously threatened his regime. He has been the undisputed Russian czar for almost 15 years, enjoying now absolute power that even Louis XIV of France would envy. But Putin has more in his arsenal to rely on than his “musketeers” (that is, his newly reshuffled and strengthened corps of bodyguards). He has much more powerful instruments and weapons at his disposal: most notably, the FSB and the state controlled media, to suppress and impress his own people (and many others in the West), the quickly upgraded armed forces, and the hydrocarbons exports used to intimidate Europe and – eventually – attack neighbours of choice and opportunity. There are only two failures in Putin’s foreign policy until 2014 that are worth mentioning: the independence of Kosovo in February 2008, and the NATO-led military intervention in Libya in 2011, which Russia could not or failed to prevent. Both of them enraged Putin, and have been used as pretexts for doing nasty things in the international arena.

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posted by: RKK/ICDSComments

Russian Military Presence Enforces Division of Ukraine’s Donbas

  2 October 2014

Author: Vladimir Socor

The armistice, slowly taking hold in Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk provinces (collectively known as the Donbas region), basically consigns parts of those territories to Russia’s military and political control, both directly and through local proxies. Facing Russia one-on-one, on the battlefield as well as in the negotiation format, Ukraine was left with no other realistic choice.

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Armistice Opens Way to Russian Partition of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk Provinces

 26 September 2014

Author: Vladimir Socor

On September 20 in Minsk, negotiators from Ukraine, Russia, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)—which together constitute the Tripartite Contact Group—as well as the Russia-installed Donetsk and Luhansk leaders finalized an agreement on the main elements of an armistice in the ongoing conflict.

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Afghanistan: Light at the End of a Very Long Tunnel?

 24 September 2014

Author: Pauli Järvenpää

After more than three months of intense political arm-wrestling and vote-counting and re-counting, the two presidential contenders, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, signed on 21 September 2014 an agreement in Kabul to establish a government of Afghan national unity. The deal gave the presidency to Dr. Ghani, but it also created a new position of “chief executive officer” (CEO), which could be approximately likened to the position of the prime minister in Western governments.

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