The leak this week of sensitive technical data on India’s French-designed Scorpene-class submarines has sent ripples across Asia. India and France have launched investigations and both have implied that the source of the leak was at the other end.

The leak was initially blamed on a “hack” and concerns were raised about whether this information would give China an advantage in any future regional confrontation. It has also set off a fresh round of handwringing in Australia over the government’s recent decision to acquire a variant of the submarine design, which represents the country’s largest ever defense project. All major parties involved, including the Indian and Australian governments as well as the French manufacturer, have downplayed the impact of the leak. But the incident has served to highlight the outsize role that a handful of European defense companies play in Asian security matters, and hints at future risks. 

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On July 7, 2014, Russian-backed separatists entered Donetsk and occupied four dormitories at Donetsk National University; armed gunmen expelled students from their rooms in the middle of the night. Nine days later, the separatists seized the entire university. During that summer, separatists stole at least seventeen university vehicles and converted student dorms into barracks for their fighters.

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Offshore natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean have created critical opportunities for cooperation among countries in the region, especially Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey.

Of these five countries, Cyprus and Israel have discovered more gas than either can consume over the next thirty years. Turkey and Jordan have no indigenous gas and need to import all of their needs, and while Egypt used to be a net gas exporter, it can no longer meet its own needs.

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When driving a car, it is essential to look forward to assess changing road conditions, new obstacles, and new opportunities. Prudent drivers—and investors—regularly check the rear view mirrors, but their main focus is on the future.

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The recent scandal surrounding alleged payments made to Paul Manafort by the former Ukrainian government has again cast a spotlight on corruption in Ukraine. Whatever one thinks of the Manafort story, no one can dispute that Ukrainians are entitled to an honest government that does not steal from them. But how can Ukraine achieve this goal? And what can the US do to help? 

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Colombia is at the brink of a historical moment. With the conclusion of peace negotiations in Havana on August 24, the country is on the verge of signing an accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Important steps must be taken before Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as Timochenko, can officially sign the peace deal. Congress must call for the deal to be put to the Colombian people in a plebiscite. The FARC still needs to hold its tenth conference, a crucial meeting at which FARC members will likely ratify the accords. Nevertheless, August 24 marks the day Colombia took the leap to end more than sixty years of internal armed conflict. As a Colombian, I know what this means for my country.

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Turkish-backed Syrian rebels on August 24 seized an Islamic State stronghold in Syria. The military operation marks a significant escalation of Turkey’s role in the war against the Islamic State and comes days after the Turkish government vowed to “cleanse” its borders of the militants.

Aaron Stein and Faysal Itani, both senior resident fellows in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, discussed latest developments in the region with the New Atlanticist’s Ashish Kumar Sen. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

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Colombia’s president must focus on shoring up support for peace and reintegration, says Atlantic Council’s Peter Schechter

On the brink of ending Latin America’s longest-running armed conflict, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos must now make a concerted effort to convince Colombians that the peace deal he struck with the leftist guerrillas is worthy of their support.

Santos on August 24 said government negotiators and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebels were putting the final touches to a peace deal. A formal announcement was imminent. [Update: The deal was announced later on August 24.] The deal will be put to the Colombian people in a plebiscite.

“There has been an enormous and very emotional opposition led by former President Alvaro Uribe that has basically said that this peace deal is far too generous for people who have murdered and destroyed at the length and breadth that the FARC has done over the past forty-five years,” said Peter Schechter, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center at the Atlantic Council.

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Twenty-five years ago, after seventy years of Soviet dominance and over three hundred years of rule by Russia, Ukraine declared its independence. This occurred after a national referendum in which over 90 percent of Ukraine’s voters chose independence. Every part of the country, including Crimea—which at that time had a population that was over 60 percent ethnic Russian—chose independence by a majority vote. 

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In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been doing what he is best at: war mongering. It began with the Kremlin’s accusation that Ukrainian leaders had “chosen terror over peace,” despite the fact Russia has not been able to produce any credible evidence of the alleged “sabotage plot” in Crimea. Additionally, neither the OSCE’s monitors, witnesses on the ground, nor any independent media have confirmed Russia’s claims of an armed confrontation or bombardment by Ukrainian forces.

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