Kazakhstan Plays Mediator for Middle East Conflicts

 by Derek Bisaccio, Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Russian President Vladimir Putin,
at a recent CSTO meeting in St. Petersburg.
Source: Russian Presidency website

Starting with the decision in the mid-1990s to relinquish its inherited nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan has maneuvered itself on the international stage as a responsible global player. That decision, which saw Kazakhstan return Soviet nuclear weapons to Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, may have been made for a number of reasons, but Astana regularly points to it as an indicator of Kazakhstan being a positive international force. Continue reading

Forecast Roundtable, Inaugural Podcast

By Matthew Beres and Richard Pettibone, Forecast International.

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And now for something a little different.  Welcome to Forecast International’s first podcast, dubbed the Forecast Roundtable.  Each podcast will feature several analysts discussing various aerospace and defense-related issues. Continue reading

Ukraine Working to Modernize Its Forces Amid Conflict

By Derek Bisaccio, Forecast International.

Ukraine FlagAbout a year ago, on August 7, 2014, the Ukrainian Army launched an operation to capture the city of Ilovaisk, situated close to the border with Russia. Though the battle initially fared well, rebel fighters, reportedly aided by Russian regular soldiers, defeated the Ukrainian Army toward the end of the month.[i] The defeat and subsequent massacre of Ukrainian troops led to an agreement known as the Minsk Protocol that sought to emplace a ceasefire and establish political negotiations. The Minsk Protocol, as well as another one negotiated months later referred to as Minsk II, failed to stop the conflict or advance talks, as both sides accused the other of breaking ceasefire terms on a daily basis. Continue reading

Yemen to Request GCC Membership

By Nicole Auger, International Military Markets Analyst, Forecast International.

2000px-Flag_of_Yemen.svgYemen will make a formal request to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), according to a government spokesman. Yemeni leaders will present the plan for membership in Saudi Arabia this month.

Yemen has long sought greater integration with – and eventual accession into – the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.  The six GCC states – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – remain divided over Yemen’s request for membership, with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia consistently vetoing Yemen’s entry into the council.  Worries over Yemen’s domestic climate (tribal culture rife with infighting), poor economy, rapidly growing population burdened with high unemployment, loose borders used for trafficking weapons and militants, and fledgling democratic structures (potential threats to the authoritarian sheikdoms) make GCC members hesitant to proffer membership in their group anytime soon.

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