Diplomacy

I’m not a ‘Brexit mutineer’. I’m proud to fight for democracy

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Dressed up in the Telegraph as the ‘will of the people’, the attempt to strong-arm me and my Tory colleagues is shoddy journalism – and it won’t work Bob Neill is Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst The Guardian The Telegraph’s front page on Wednesday branded me, along with 14 of my Conservative colleagues, a “Brexit mutineer”. No matter how much they seek to strong-arm politicians, business leaders and the judiciary to conform to their narrow ideological agenda, this sort ... Read More »

Standoff in Zimbabwe as Struggle to Succeed Mugabe Deepens

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President Robert Mugabe plunged Zimbabwe into political crisis by firing his long-time ally and enforcer Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 6 November 2017. In this Q&A prior to an apparent army coup in Mnangagwa’s favour on 14-15 November, Crisis Group’s Senior Southern Africa Consultant Piers Pigou gives the background to the struggle to succeed the 93-year-old… Piers Pigou This Q&A on the background to Zimbabwe’s political crisis of November 2017 was published just before an apparent army coup on the ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: Brexit means we are bordering on the absurd

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The UK’s move may result in a return to the pointless rituals of inspection at the Border Fintan O’Toole In 1962, the Ulster poet John Hewitt published a short poem called The Frontier. The Irish Times It is ostensibly about crossing the Alps between France and Switzerland but, of course, not really. Hewitt’s reflection on the absurdity of border-crossings is inevitably resonant of more insular experiences. The train he is on stops and “small men in uniform drift down the corridor, thumb ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

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The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

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In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... Read More »

Turkey’s Africa Presence

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In Somalia this past September, Turkey opened its first military base on the African continent. Over the past ten years, Turkey has expanded its presence in Africa, establishing 36 embassies and major trade links. VoA Turkey has a long history with North African countries, says David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. In 2016, Turkey had more than $10 billion in trade with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Now Turkey is expanding into African countries ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

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US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

FILE PHOTO: Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol at Woody Island, in the Paracel Archipelago, which is known in China as the Xisha Islands, January 29, 2016.   REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis, the Bad-Boy Former Finance Minister, Is Back

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In a new book, a star of the European left argues that Greek’s financial crisis prefigured the fissures afflicting Europe today. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic PARIS — In the often-dismal European landscape of technocrats and party hacks, few figures are as colorful and polarizing as Yanis Varoufakis. Remember him? The bad-boy Greek finance minister who, in a heated moment in the European debt crisis in 2015, showed up to meet the chancellor of the exchequer in a long black leather ... Read More »

Small EU states caught between France and Germany

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In Greek mythology, the hero Odysseus was sailing home from the Trojan War through the Strait of Messina (which separates Italy from Sicily) when he was beset by two monsters – Scylla and Charybdis – one on either side. Lisbeth Kirk EUobserver Odysseus had to figure out which was the lesser of the two evils as he passed through the strait to reach home. The old trope came up again when Nordic countries recently met in Helsinki for their annual ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

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The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

A Huthi Missile, a Saudi Purge and a Lebanese Resignation Shake the Middle East

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Volatility is rising across the Middle East as local, regional and international conflicts increasingly intertwine and amplify each other. ICG Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of the new risks of overlapping conflicts that involve Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Israel. On 4 November 2017, Huthi/Saleh forces in Yemen fired a Burkan 2-H long-range ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It was intercepted and destroyed before reaching its target. The attack occurred during a profound political ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia Comes for Hezbollah

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Lebanon was stunned on Nov. 4 when its prime minister, Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, delivered a halting resignation speech. Mohamad Bazzi The New York Times Mr. Hariri said he left Beirut because he feared assassination. He placed the blame for his long-distance resignation on Iran and its main ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. In the days since, Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of plotting against the kingdom and ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. Threats from top Saudi officials ... Read More »

Xi’s up, Trump is down, but it may not matter

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(CNN) – On the face of it, summit meetings this week between China’s domineering leader Xi Jinping and the scandal-plagued, unpopular US President Donald Trump are shaping up as a massive mismatch of political fortunes. Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN Xi is fresh from a Communist Party Congress that enshrined him as the strongest Chinese patriarch since Mao Zedong. His personal prestige is mirrored in his nation’s soaring self-confidence: China is now stronger than at any time in the modern era ... Read More »

Jihadism in Southern Thailand: A Phantom Menace

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Thailand’s Malay-Muslim insurgency appears to some observers a potential seedbed for transnational jihadism, but the separatist fronts do not share ideologies or objectives with ISIS or al-Qaeda. ICG The future is uncertain, and a resolution of the conflict, based on political decentralisation, could help deter prospective jihadist expansion in southernmost Thailand. What’s the issue? Media reports and some observers suggest growing potential for Islamic State (ISIS) activity in Thailand’s southernmost provinces. Crisis Group argues that to date there is no evidence of ... Read More »

Bridging Pakistan’s Gender Divide

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Embarking on field research into Pakistan’s chronic crises sixteen years ago, our South Asia Project Director Samina Ahmed was a woman in a man’s world. Samina Ahmed ICG But her experiences persuade her that understanding conflict requires rigorously incorporating the perspectives of women and girls whose opportunities are frequently inhibited by violence. “Our people won’t let a girl study beyond the third grade (eight or nine years old). But this girl here cries and says: ‘I want to learn’. And ... Read More »