RSC Reading Room

RSC Reading Room

The RSC “Reading Room” contains a regularly updated electronic library of reports, documents and other research resources. The RSC collects and compiles this set of electronic material and research resources in order to provide access to a wider body of work for researchers and analysts. Most notably, the RSC “Reading Room” is a key element of our efforts in the areas of public education and research and analysis, as we construct and expand a virtual “knowledge base” of resources covering a wide range of topical issues and geographical areas, many of which are neither widely known nor available in Armenia or the South Caucasus region.

Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI)
IAI Working Paper 1303
Nicolo Sartori
January 2013

Summary: The proceedings opened by the European Commission against Russia’s gas giant Gazprom for allegedly violating European Union competition rules is likely to have a considerable impact on the future of EU-Russia relations. There are widespread concerns that the probe will contribute to consolidate Russia’s apparent zero-sum game approach to foreign policy, thus risking to undermine its long-established energy relationship with the EU. However, while involving risks, the Commission’s inquiry also presents itself as a unique opportunity to reorganize Gazprom’s business structure in Europe and eventually help both Gazprom itself and EU buyers to best adapt to a rapidly changing global gas market.

The European Commission vs Gazprom: Fair Competition or Political Quarrel?


The National Interest
By Ilan Greenberg
18 January 2013

Summary: Hosting the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest did not contribute to a lot of good press for the government of Azerbaijan. European media in particular vacillated between derision over ostentatious spectacle and outrage over authoritarian fiats.  But 2013 may get a lot worse for Baku. A troubled oil sector, an upcoming presidential election, and the potential for rising tensions with archenemy Armenia portend a challenging year for Azerbaijan’s ruling class. 



Brookings Presidential Briefing Book

Summary: The Brookings' Foreign Policy program released a set of 20 memos to the president, Big Bets and Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book, which both outlines these key issues and offers innovative policy recommendations that the administration might pursue.  Brookings Foreign Policy experts have created a series of memos addressing "big bets"—policies in which the president should invest his power, time and prestige—and "black swans," the low probability, high-impact events that could derail the administration’s priorities.  In response to these and a host of other international crises, the president can choose to place some “Big Bets” that could define his foreign policy over the next four years. However, a number of “Black Swans” –low probability, but high-impact events –may derail  President Obama’s second term foreign policy agenda. Brookings’s Foreign Policy experts have released a set of 20 memos to the president—Big Bets and Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book—offering innovative policy recommendations that the administration might pursue.

“Big Bets and Black Swans: Foreign Policy Challenges for President Obama’s Second Term”


The Project on U.S. Middle East Nonproliferation Strategy
Mark Dubowitz, Orde Kittrie, David Albright (ISIS), Leonard Spector (Monterey), and Michael Yaffe (NDU)
16 January 2013

Summary: It is imperative for the United States to develop and implement a comprehensive nonproliferation strategy for the Middle East (defined by this report to include North Africa). Factors lending urgency to this need include the threat of proliferation in and by Iran, the vulnerable Syrian chemical arsenal, the challenges and opportunities posed by the Arab revolutions, the relatively frequent prior use of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East, several regional states already possessing WMD, and a tense and unstable regional security situation.

The U.S. government has in recent years invested considerable resources on intelligence community, diplomatic, military, and other nonproliferation efforts to detect, interdict, deter, and defend against proliferation in the Middle East. Relevant treaties; high-level diplomatic initiatives; U.N. Security Council, coalition, and unilateral sanctions; strategic trade controls; and military measures (both defensive and, potentially, offensive), are all in play. Intelligence capabilities of the United States and its allies are an instrument of crucial, crosscutting importance, providing both essential knowledge regarding activities of concern and tools for disrupting them. This report reviews these nonproliferation efforts in light of the paradigm shifts sweeping the region and recommends a comprehensive set of improvements, adjustments, and innovations designed to maximize U.S. (and allied) effectiveness in achieving these nonproliferation goals in the evolving Middle East. 

These U.S. nonproliferation efforts in the Middle East have been complemented by a set of poorly funded (and sometimes uncoordinated) collaborative and cooperative programs to promote nonproliferation norms and practices among Middle Eastern governments, civil society, and other local partners. Obstacles to spending Department of Defense funds on such cooperative threat reduction and related efforts in the Middle East were recently removed, permitting significantly expanded U.S. activities in this sphere. The report therefore also includes a comprehensive set of recommendations for how the United States can and should more effectively assist Middle Eastern governments and other local partners to develop their own nonproliferation capacities, cultivate a culture of nonproliferation responsibility, and enhance regional cooperation on nonproliferation issues.

U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East



Summary: Whether you are an NGO active on human rights at local or regional level, wandering through the complex maze of EU and its obscure machinery, this guide is designed as an excellent tool that will navigate you through the latest developments in the EU sphere and is jam-packed with useful tips to help you make the changes that really matter to you.  Written in clear and simple language, our guide brings to you every EU tool available, and helps you spot the most appropriate actors for the type of action you are planning to take. This guide comes with a toolkit that provides you with a compilation of good practices showcasing how other NGOs have achieved the desired impact.  This manual lists the challenges commonly faced by local NGOs face, often feeling alienated from decision-making processes. Our guide offers valuable tips on how to make optimal use of the EU missions in their respective countries.

EMHRN Training Guide

EMHRN Toolkit on EU Advocacy