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AssessmentsOct 14, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This picture taken on Aug. 25, 2019, from a tourist lookout point at an Israeli army outpost on Mount Bental in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a directional sign for Damascus.
For Israel, It's Open Skies Over Syria and Iraq
Syria and Iraq are facing a common conundrum in their respective skies: a persistent Israeli air campaign that has targeted Iranian and Iran-linked assets. Limitations of both countries' air defense capabilities, has given Israel free range to conduct its campaign. Now, however, they may be trying to rectify this disadvantage amid recent reports that Russia is considering the sale of high-end radar systems to unidentified Middle Eastern countries. If they made such a purchase, however, it could cause unexpected problems for Damascus and Baghdad: The systems won't be enough to completely halt the Israeli campaign, but they would pose a significant enough challenge to Israel's jets that their use could touch off a new round of conflict in the area.
AssessmentsMar 11, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
In Russia, Defense Cuts Were Inevitable
Russia's worsening economic crisis has forced the Kremlin to make further budget cuts for 2016. Going into 2016, the federal budget was tightened in all ministries, except defense, in which spending was kept largely flat. But in January, the Finance Ministry ordered another 10 percent spending cut for all ministries -- including defense. And on March 6, Russia's deputy defense minister said the Defense Ministry would cut spending by another 5 percent this year. The fact that it happened at all suggests Russia is willing to make cuts to anything, including all-important military expenses. The following are a selection of analyses on how Russia has handled its tightening finances by reducing military-related spending, even before the additional 5 percent defense cut.
AssessmentsFeb 23, 2016 | 10:15 GMT
Russia Can No Longer Afford to Buy Allies
Russia Can No Longer Afford to Buy Allies
Russia's limited financial resources continue to hurt its ability to comfortably operate as it has in the previous decade. High oil prices, and resulting energy revenues, were largely responsible for skyrocketing economic growth since Russian President Vladimir Putin's government took over in 2000. Prosperity enabled Moscow to spend liberally on its military, its economic development and, more subtly, its loans to countries in exchange for influence. However, oil prices have fallen, domestic industry has slowed and the West has placed sanctions on the country that have soured investment sentiment, together creating an economic crisis for Russia. The Kremlin must now make painful decisions to keep its economy floating, and everything is open to cuts, including foreign loans.
AssessmentsMay 16, 2008 | 20:00 GMT
Russia: The FSB Branches Out
The Russian Federal Security Service's growing involvement in new areas ultimately will dilute its operational effectiveness.
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