Russian Strikes from Iran Point to Burgeoning Anti-Western Pact

Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia speak on the sidelines of a summit in Astrakhan, September 29, 2014
Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia speak on the sidelines of a summit in Astrakhan, September 29, 2014 (Presidency of Iran)

For the first time in an almost year-long bombing campaign, Russian aircraft have used facilities in Iran to conduct strikes against in the Syrian cities of Aleppo, Deir ez-Zor and Idlib.

Iranian-Russian military cooperation is not unprecedented. The two took part in joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea last year and Russia launched a salvo of missiles across Iranian territory into Syria. However, this latest news underlines the budding relationship between the two.

I have previously written that the close proximity of Russian air forces and Iranian ground forces in Syria raises questions about the two powers’ relationship. Fighting wars together — even those as convoluted as Syria’s — is something allies tend to do. This particular cooperation has been controversial, though, with many commentators suggesting that the Iranian-Russian alliance in Syria is one of convenience. Read more “Russian Strikes from Iran Point to Burgeoning Anti-Western Pact”

A “Russian Hand” in the Dutch Referendum?

Amsterdam Netherlands
The sun sets on the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in Amsterdam, the Netherlands (iStock/Fotolupa)

A month after the Dutch political fringe claimed victory in a referendum that rejected the European Union’s association agreement with Ukraine, rumors of a “Russian hand” in the campaign that influenced voters to sabotage Ukraine’s European integration still swirl.

Can this referendum really be chalked up as a Russian triumph? Or is there an altogether more worrying lesson to be drawn? Read more “A “Russian Hand” in the Dutch Referendum?”

The Moral Case for a Minimum Deterrent

The British nuclear-armed submarine HMS Vigilant returns to Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde in Scotland, April 17, 2014
The British nuclear-armed submarine HMS Vigilant returns to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde in Scotland, April 17, 2014 (MoD/Thomas McDonald)

Nuclear disarmament is once again addling Britain’s Labour Party. Unfortunately, the debate is riddled with the all-too-common and internalized falsehood that nuclear arms are in themselves immoral and that the world would be better off without them. Read more “The Moral Case for a Minimum Deterrent”