The active initiative taken by Russian President Vladamir Putin by bombarding the antigovernment forces in Syria at the end of September 2015 startled the world by its precalculated boldness. Russian intervention has radically changed the dynamic of the war by empowering the Syrian government of Bashar Assad, and has resulted in a ceasefire agreement which starts on 27th February 2016, led by Russia and the US. No one can predict at present the next stage of conflicts in Syria or whether it will result in a positive solution to the tragic wars there. However, there is no denying the fact that Russia has played an important role in the development of the game. This paper analyzes the motivations of Putin in intervening in the Syrian crisis and the factors which have enabled Russia to play an enlarged role in the Middle East, seemingly beyond its objective capabilities. Legacies of international networks built during the Soviet period; shrewd tactics in making use of the inconsistency and vacillation of US policies, particularly towards the Middle East; its historical experience of interaction with the Muslim cultures, including domestic ones; its geopolitical perception of world politics, and the export of energy resources and military weapons as tools of diplomacy are some of the factors which explain Russian behavior. At the same time, the personal leadership and accumulated experience of President Putin in formulating Russian diplomacy and in manipulating different issues in a combined policy should be taken into account. His initiative in Syria succeeded to some extent in turning world attention away from the Ukrainian issue, aimed at changing the present sanctions imposed by the West. Another phenomenon to be noted in the international arena is the newly developed mutual interaction between Russia and the Arab countries in the Gulf. Frequent visits to Russia by autocratic leaders, including kings, emirsand princes do not always reflect a shared common interest between Russia and the Arab leaders. On the contrary, in spite of sharp and fundamental differences in their attitude toward the issues related to Syria, Iran and Yemen, the Arab leaders find it necessary to communicate with Russia and to know Russia’s expected strategies and intentions towards the Middle East, apart from its oil and gas policies. The Iran deal on the nuclear issue in July 2015 may have been a factor behind the phenomena.
It is a well-known and well-studied fact that after the 1979 revolution, Iran’s economy went through a process of fundamental change and as a result a totally different economic system was established. Among the most remarkable changes was the emergence of so-called para-statal organizations, which were supervised by some institution within the state, while not being controlled by the government. Because of their politically strong position, they enjoy many privileges such as tax exemption or easy access to credit.
Although deeply regarded as one of the most striking features of the post-revolution economic system, published studies about para-statal entities have been very limited so far. In this paper, I will focus on one of the biggest para-statal organizations, Mostaz`afan (Oppressed) Foundation. I will attempt to examine the historical and political background behind the formation and transformation of this conglomerate, its system of corporate governance, and its economic scale and scope over the past 35 years.
Para-statal conglomerates together with state owned companies are going to be the two most important pillars of Iran’s economy in the foreseeable future. Understanding their history will not only help us learn about the current economic system of Iran, but also give us some insight into the future of the economy, too.
In Turkey, the political system in which Recep Tayyip Erdoğan plays the most important role – the “Erdoğan regime” – has been in place since November 2002. After Erdoğan’s party, the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), won the general elections and he became the prime minster, they were successful in maintaining the single-party administration over ten years. Even since becoming the president and devolving the premiership to Ahmet Davutoğlu in August 2014, Erdoğan has been at the center of the Turkish parliamentary system.
However, in the Turkish general elections in June 2015, the AKP failed to get a majority of parliamentary seats for the first time, and the Erdoğan regime seemed to be faced with a crisis. The regime was able to regain the single-party administration in the early general elections in November 2015 by carrying out significant political change after their first electoral defeat. In this sense, for Turkey and the Erdoğan regime, the year 2015 was not only the year of the election, but also of political change.
This paper analyzes these two general elections in 2015 and the changes of the political tendencies of the Erdoğan regime which have been observed since the general elections in June 2015 in particular. It also focuses on the changes in the strategies and the relationships among Turkish political actors including President Erdoğan, the AKP government, and the other major political parties.
This paper investigates the changes in economic relations between Iran and the UAE, which historically has continued maintaining close economic intercourse with Iran in the Gulf Area, examining the prospects for change in their relationships in the future. By focusing on their trade relations and workers’ remittances among the GCC and Iran, this paper discusses changes in their economic linkages. The result of the analysis shows that the economic linkages with the UAE were closer with Iran than other GCC countries during the period 2000 - 2014.