Even with a buffoon in the White House and an assertive Russia under Putin, the latter remains vulnerable in Central Asia where the US has much room for mischief.
Russian-Iranian relations form the backdrop of this review in which Western writers are found to lack understanding of other societies because they have little knowledge of local languages, culture or access to primary sources. Dmitry Shlapentokh, associate professor at Indiana State University, South Bend, Indiana, reviews Russia-Iran Relations Since the End of the Cold War by Eric D. Moore (Routledge, 2014; 242 pp., $8.84 hbk).
Mosques have become battlegrounds in more places than one can imagine. In the West, regimes are refusing permission for Muslims to open new mosques...
Bandar bin Sultan, the most venal character of the House of Saud, was in Moscow early last month but his offer to buy $15 billion worth of Russian arms to get Vladimir Putin to change his policy on Syria was rebuffed.
The Russians are not doing as well militarily in Ichkeria (formerly the Caucasus republic of Chechenya) as they claim, nor are the Chechen fighters doing as badly as the Russian media reports. What Moscow is clearly winning is the propaganda war, having learnt the important lessons from its former enemies in the west.
Moscow has been desperately trying to involve the west in its futile war in the Caucasus by invoking the name of Osama bin Laden, the US’s current villain of the month, but with little success so far.
The Taliban government in Afghanistan has reacted angrily to Russian plans to establish a permanent military base in Tajikistan. The Taliban foreign minister, Mohammed Hasan Akhond, complained about the plans in a letter to UN secretary general Kofi Annan on April 11.
The Kremlin rulers continue to speak with forked tongue when dealing with the Chechens. Russian prime minister Sergei Kiriyenko met president Aslan Maskhadov of Ichkeria on August 1 in Nazran, the Ingush capital, and promised to pay for rebuilding the devastated Caucasus republic.
Anti-Islam animus is not confined to the US or Europe even if it is most pronounced in these lands. The virus appears to be permanently lodged in the genes of most non-Muslim westerners.
Following the April 23 treaty between Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in Moscow, perhaps Harvard professor Samuel Huntington should go back to the drawing board and revise his ‘clash of civilizations’ theory.
Old habits dies hard. This time-worn refrain is as applicable to Russia today as it was when it existed in its communist mutation. Moscow has traditionally used the bogey of non-existent threats to maintain its grip on countries that it perceives as falling under its sphere of influence.