Press Digest: Moscow and Beijing mull agreement on information security

The Kommersant daily writes that Russia and China may sign a cooperation agreement on international information security in the near future. Source: Getty Images/Fotobank

The Kommersant daily writes that Russia and China may sign a cooperation agreement on international information security in the near future. Source: Getty Images/Fotobank

RBTH presents a selection of views from leading Russian media on international events, featuring news of a possible information security deal between Moscow and Beijing, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's first official foreign visit, and analysis of the aims of Islamic State (ISIS) militants in attempting to take the Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria.


The Kommersant daily writes that Russia and China may sign a cooperation agreement on international information security in the near future, specifically on confidence-building measures and steps to prevent cyber incidents from growing into a full-scale conflict. So far, a similar agreement exists only between the United States and Russia. Meanwhile, information security cooperation between Beijing and Washington has ground to a standstill.

Russia and China are already working together on cyber security, albeit on a multilateral basis in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are also expected to come to an agreement on confidence-building measures in cyber security. According to Valery Yashchenko, first deputy director of the Institute for Information Security Issues at Moscow State University, “The signing of a bilateral agreement between Russia and China – major cyber powers – is long overdue."

“In the last several months, we have been witness to particularly close interaction between Russia and China in this field. This agreement would be the natural result of that process," a source told Kommersant. Asked whether these negotiations indicate that China and Russia fear clashes online and want to insure themselves against this possibility (as was done in the case with the U.S.), the source replied, “Not necessarily. Moscow and Beijing are just aiming to cooperate." 

Nezavisimaya Gazeta

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reports on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's first international trip.

The Iraqi official's visit to Tehran has reaffirmed Iran's status as a key ally to the government in Baghdad. This is also evidenced by al-Abadi's decision to appoint Mohammed Ghabban, a little known Shiite politician from the so-called Badr Organization, as Iraqi Interior Minister. The Badr Organization is the military wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a pro-Iraq Shiite movement.

Yelena Suponina, advisor to the director of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that she has already heard anxious commentary from several Arabic politicians and experts regarding Ghabban's appointment as Iraq's new Interior Minister. Representatives of the Gulf monarchies believe that he is a pro-Iran figure and that Tehran is behind his appointment – which could not but cause concern among Iraq's Arab neighbors in the region. “Iran's positions in Iraq have always been very strong,” said Suponina. “They have not weakened at all in recent times. So this appointment can be viewed as a continuation of Iran's influence in Iraq.” 

Moskovsky Komsomolets

Moskovsky Komsomolets writes about why Islamic State (ISIS) rebels are trying to seize the city of Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish border.

In an interview with the newspaper, Farhad Patiev, who chairs the Council for the Federal National and Cultural Autonomy of Russian Kurds and is a member of the Russian Presidential Council on International Relations, said that ISIS considers it important to secure control over as much territory as possible that would offer free access to Turkey.

The Kurd uprising in Syria started in Kobane. Kobane first proclaimed self-rule on July 29, 2012, and Afrin and Jizire followed suit based on its example. Subsequently, Kurdish cantons (autonomous territories) were created in Kobane, Afrin, and Jizire. For this reason, the city is symbolic for Kurds in the fight for their rights and freedoms.

Patiev added that Kobane is between the Afrin and Jizire cantons. If Kobane falls, Afrin will be left vulnerable because it is too far from Jizire. “As long as there is Kobane, there is a likelihood that the Kurdish regions will be connected with each other, and access between them will be eased, bypassing Turkey. In other words, the cantons will be able to communicate with each other while bypassing Turkish territory,” Patiev said. 

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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