RSC Blog

The RSC BLOG offers a new series of informal publications on various issues of relevance, in both English and Armenian.

Unlike our peer-reviewed publications, RSC Blog entries are shorter, less academic and more opinion-oriented, aimed at offering a “rapid response” analytical assessment of timely events and developments.

31 August 2012

Statement by NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor on Azerbaijan’s Decision to Pardon Ramil Safarov

President Obama is deeply concerned by today’s announcement that the President of Azerbaijan has pardoned Ramil Safarov following his return from Hungary. Safarov confessed to the murder of Armenian Army officer Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest in 2004, and was serving a life sentence in Hungary for this brutal crime. We are communicating to Azerbaijani authorities our disappointment about the decision to pardon Safarov. This action is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions and promote reconciliation. The United States is also requesting an explanation from Hungary regarding its decision to transfer Safarov to Azerbaijan. 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/08/31/statement-nsc-spokesman-tommy-vietor-azerbaijan-s-decision-pardon-ramil-

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18 August 2012

Syria on the brink: It seems increasingly clear that the Syrian government’s position is untenable, and well past the “tipping point,” as new reports in the Middle East are saying that Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa has defected to the opposition and fled to neighboring Jordan. Saudi-owned broadcaster Al-Arabiyah quoted an activist with the opposition Syrian Free Army as saying Sharaa disappeared about 10 days ago and was believed to have traveled to Amman. 

After the defection of the Syrian prime minister, this particular defection, if true, is very significant, reflecting al-Sharaa’s stature and prominence and as a confirmation of the near complete breakdown in security and erosion of trust and confidence in Assad’s inner most circle of advisers and officials. 

Even Assad supporters in Russia seem to be hedging their bets, reaching out to the rebels seeking to prepare for the near certain collapse of the Assad regime. After 17 months of mounting conflict, it now seems only a matter of time, but closing fast.

http://www.rferl.org/content/reports-say-syria-vice-president-defects-to-opposition/24680976.html

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10 August 2012

A slickly produced film featuring some leading Russian military figures who accuse then-President Dmitry Medvedev of indecisiveness on the eve of Russia's brief August 2008 war with Georgia continues to produce shockwaves among the country's political elite.

The film has been seen as an attack on Medvedev, who is now prime minister, and a bid to portray President Vladimir Putin as a far-seeing and reliable leader.

http://www.rferl.org/content/putin-medvedev-russia-georgia-war-rift/24672701.html

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9 August 2012

The latest insightful piece by the prolific and impressive Tom de Waal…..what I value most of de Waal's work is not that I almost always AGREE with his analysis, but that I almost always LEARN something new from his analysis. As a disclaimer, he is friend, but more importantly he is a professional and whether the reader agrees with him or not, he never ceases to offer new and objective insight.

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/the-mystery-competitive-caucasus-elections-7310

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8 August 2012

Amid the clutter and clatter of analyses and analysts commenting onSyria, this brief excerpt from an 8 August interview withJordan’s King Abdullah offers significantly new, fresh and penetrating insight into the current situation inSyria. 

Most notably, Jordanian King Abdullah is that rare example of a statesman amid strongmen and, despite the inherent deficiencies and even defects in today’s Jordan, he is a unique leader who has, and continues to, ride the wave of revolutionary unrest around him.

This is an excerpt from Charlie Rose show, an always impressive talk show shown in the US on the Public Broadcasting Corporation (PBS)……