Russia

The Russian Agent Who Escaped

The Russian Agent Who Escaped

Mayorov would this time travel under a cover name and plant flash drives with compromising material on Belova so that she could be turned over to the French authorities. He’d asked his recruiter, Galiakberov, “Aren't you afraid that I’ll just stay there?” Galiakberov replied that if he did, he’d “come back in a zinc coffin.”

Lines in the Sea

Lines in the Sea

The maritime dispute between Israel and Lebanon has implications for the claims of other states and the energy industry’s perception of the region as a viable space for development. If Israel and Lebanon manage to work out their differences, others may follow suit.

Syria’s Wretched Foreign Legion

Syria’s Wretched Foreign Legion

Thousands of Syrians have fought as mercenaries in Libya, Azerbaijan, and possibly elsewhere, on both Russia and Turkey’s behalf. Dozens have been killed, and hundreds have come back after their contractual deployments, but none return to the life they left behind.

Isabel Ivanescu,
Eva Kahan
Zarif’s Beefs

Zarif’s Beefs

Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif is, in a sense, more of a true believer than many in the Revolutionary Guard. He genuinely appears to be under the illusion that the ideals of the Islamic Republic still have popular support and that Iran should rely on them instead of brute force. Few in the IRGC seem to harbor such illusions.

Arash Azizi
The Soviet Origins of Putin’s Mercenaries

The Soviet Origins of Putin’s Mercenaries

Where did the notorious Wagner Group come from, and why has Vladimir Putin relied so heavily on Russian mercenaries in the last decade? Ruslan Trad argues it’s because they’re good for business, and they have a proven track record — from Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.

Ruslan Trad
What the CIA Did (and Didn’t Do) in Soviet-Occupied Afghanistan

What the CIA Did (and Didn’t Do) in Soviet-Occupied Afghanistan

Western leftists think the CIA created al Qaeda by helping the mujahideen shoot down Russian helicopters. They’re wrong. The CIA program to arm anti-Soviet Afghan mujahideen with Stinger missiles saved lives.

Emran Feroz
How an Email Sting Operation Unearthed a pro-Assad Conspiracy—and Russia’s Role In It

How an Email Sting Operation Unearthed a pro-Assad Conspiracy—and Russia’s Role In It

Attempts to undermine the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons' investigation of the 2018 Douma chemical weapon attack involved Russian diplomats, Russian state media, WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange’s personal lawyer.

Michael Weiss,
Jett Goldsmith