March 17, 2017

Summary

AFP PHOTO / Mohammed SAWAF
Iraqi government forces supported by fighters from the Abbas Brigade, which fight under the umbrella of the Shiite popular mobilisation units, advance in village of Badush, some 15 kilometres northwest of Mosul, during the ongoing battle to retake the city's west from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on March 8, 2017.
Iraqi government forces supported by fighters from the Abbas Brigade, which fight under the umbrella of the Shiite popular mobilisation units, advance in village of Badush, some 15 kilometres northwest of Mosul, during the ongoing battle to retake the city's west from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on March 8, 2017.

In this issue, Diplomaatia again explores events in the Middle East and Russia, since these places can greatly influence the Baltic States’Estonia’s fate.

How can tensions in the Middle East be defused? Peeter Raudsik, an expert on the region, thinks that the formation of a common front against ISIS in Iraq and Kurdistan should give us hope. “The spirit of cooperation was also evident in the military operations against ISIS in which Kurds and Arabs basically fought side by side,” writes Raudsik.
Hille Hanso and Vladimir Sazonov comment on Raudsik’s article.
Māris Andžāns, a researcher at the Latvian Institute of International Affairs, looks at the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU and its potential lessons for Estonia. “Preparing and conducting the presidency can be considered a strategic foreign policy objective, just like acceding to the EU, NATO and OECD and adopting the euro,” he writes.
Diplomaatia’s interview this month focuses on what Estonia could do if Russia launched a military attack. A. Wess Mitchell, a security policy analyst and President of the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), says that Vladimir Putin would get a bloody nose from Estonia. “… on a national level, all Baltic States have learnt their lessons from the war in Ukraine … we see that defence expenditure has doubled since the beginning of the war, we see that the membership of voluntary defence organisations has increased dramatically, and conscription has been established in Lithuania. The situation isn’t as it should be to strengthen deterrence in the region. However, an invasion would not be a piece of cake, either,” says Mitchell.
Military historian Kaarel Piirimäe continues his series on the Baltic States during the Cold War, and in the latest instalment reaches the present day. “Russia is not interested in conquering and subduing the Baltic territories and population as it did during World War II—at least not now—but it may test the Ukrainian model here as well, if the international situation should prove favourable,” he writes.
Self-professed concerned reader Raivo Vare reviews two recently published books on war: Leo Kunnas’s Taavet (“David”) and General Sir Richard Shirreff’s War with Russia.

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