The refugee crisis must not be used as a vehicle for Turkey to assert sovereignty in the Aegean Sea

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“Greece has only de facto, and also temporary, rule over EGAYDAAK and its administration there does not invalidate the fact that those islands are the territory of the Republic of Turkey,” *Turkish Minister of Defence, İsmet Yılmaz, (Statement made in March 2015) “I suggested, and came across with strong reactions, Greeks and Turks to form together a coastguard which will patrol the sea areas between Turkey and the Greek islands. Turks agree, Greeks don’t,…should we fight over for a sea ... Read More »

Indonesia denies offering Australia an island to house refugees

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One of Indonesia’s most senior cabinet ministers has denied offering Australia an island to temporarily house refugees and asylum seekers. Brisbane Times – Jewel Topsfield and Nicole Hasham The Jakarta Post on Friday reported on its front page that Coordinating Minister for political, legal and security affairs, Luhut Panjaitan, had suggested offering an island as a temporary refugee camp. The newspaper reported Mr Panjaitan had said Indonesia’s “kind offer” would come with strict requirements, ranging from requiring Australia to entirely ... Read More »

Pollard, spy for Israel, released from prison after 30 years

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Jonathan Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst turned spy for Israel, walked out of a North Carolina prison before dawn Friday, ending one of the thorniest points of friction between the United States and its close ally. The Washington Post – Carol Morello and Ruth Eglash Pollard, 61, was freed on parole, almost to the day 30 years after he was arrested when he was turned out from the Israeli Embassy, where he and his wife, Anne, had sought asylum ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It

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Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology, women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does the same things. The New York Times – By KAMEL DAOUD Lire en français (Read in French) » The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial ... Read More »

East Timor belongs in ASEAN

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The impending launch of the ASEAN Economic Community is being marked this week at a summit in Kuala 
Lumpur. It is a time to showcase ASEAN’s commitment to a region made prosperous through economic cooperation and integration. The Phnom Penh Post – Shane Rosenthal It should also be the time for ASEAN to consider opening the door to a new member. East Timor is Asia’s youngest country – a stable democracy positioned at the crossroads of Southeast Asia and the ... Read More »

Turkey is Playing the Worst Part of Syrian Crisis – Assad

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Syrian President Bashar Assad believes that by being passively supporting the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State terrorist groups, Turkey is playing a most destructive role in the Syrian crisis. Sputnik “Turkey is playing a most negative role in our crisis. That’s related directly to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan himself and [Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu, because they both reflect the real ideology that they carry in their hearts, which is the Muslim Brotherhood ideology,” Assad said in an interview with the French newsmagazine Valeurs Actuelles ... Read More »

Israel to push ahead with 454 new settler homes in East Jerusalem

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‘The terrorist was shot and killed; that is the right response’ Israelis and Palestinians turn their eyes to Jerusalem after a bloody week Jerusalem:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the marketing of land for the construction of 454 homes in two settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, according to a government official. The building of 436 of the housing units, in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo on land Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, was approved in 2012, but ... Read More »

Kenya’s Somali North East: Devolution and Security

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Devolved government in Kenya’s newly formed north-eastern counties, designed to address decades of political marginalisation and underdevelopment, has been undermined by dominant clans monopolising power and growing corruption. ICG – Nairobi/Brussels – OVERVIEW – Africa Briefing N°114 Violent clan competition and antipathy between elected county elites and the remaining national administrative structures have allowed the violently extremist Al-Shabaab movement to expand and operate with relative impunity across large areas of the North East. Its attacks exposed security-service disarray and caused ... Read More »

Australia should ensure opposition to the death penalty is reflected in foreign policy and international police cooperation

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Australia must ensure that its opposition to the death penalty is consistently reflected across all its laws, policies and practices, the Human Rights Law Centre has told the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade’s Human Rights Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee is currently inquiring into Australia’s advocacy for abolition of the death penalty. The HRLC’s Director of Advocacy and Research, Emily Howie, said that although Australia had long ago abolished the death penalty, the country’s strong abolitionist stance is ... Read More »

Australia’s Legal Justification For Bombing ISIS In Syria Is Still Missing In Action

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James O’Neill provides a simple guide to why our actions in the Middle East, once again, are illegal under international law. New Matilda In August of this year the then Abbott government made a number of statements indicating that they were planning to use Australian war planes to bomb ISIS targets in Syria. The government has since confirmed bombing has commenced. The legal basis upon which this policy rested is unclear. Julie Bishop, the Foreign Minister then as now, said ... Read More »

 France Should Stop Listening to Saudi Arabia on Syria

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ISIS is the most urgent threat to the West stemming from the Syrian war and must be destroyed. Assad’s murderous dictatorship can be dealt with next. The Nation – By Juan ColeTwitter The West should take the horrific occasion of the Paris attacks to reconsider its acquiescence in Saudi priorities for Syria and the Middle East. From the vantage point of Riyadh, the great danger emanating from the Middle East is the spread of Iranian influence. But from a European ... Read More »

Will the Ma-Xi Meeting Backfire for Taiwan’s KMT?

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It is possible that the Ma-Xi summit will hurt the KMT in the upcoming elections more than help it. The Diplomat – By Phoebe Benich * The data is in: less than a week after the meeting between Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping, a plurality of Taiwanese believe Ma does not reflect their views and that he failed to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty and dignity. Any objective observer would agree last week’s summit was a historic event. ... Read More »

How Saudi/Gulf Money Fuels Terror

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Exclusive: With the death toll in the Paris terror attacks still rising, French President Hollande is condemning an “act of war” by the Islamic State, but the underlying reality is that France’s rich friends in the Persian Gulf are key accomplices in the mayhem, writes Daniel Lazare. Consortiumnews – By Daniel Lazare In the wake of the latest terrorist outrage in Paris, the big question is not which specific group is responsible for the attack, but who’s responsible for the Islamic ... Read More »

Calendar agreed for Syria polls at Vienna talks, Assad’s fate undecided

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World diplomats agreed on Nov. 14 on a path to Syrian elections in 18 months at talks in Vienna driven by a fresh sense of urgency after the Paris attacks that killed at least 129 people, although the fate of President Bashar Al-Assad remained a sticking point. Hurriyet – Vienna The wave of attacks in Paris dominated the second round of talks to end the war in Syria, spurring delegations from 20 countries and organization to find common ground despite ... Read More »

Why has Europe gone soft on Syria’s Assad?

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Europe has unmistakably softened its posture on Bashar al-Assad recently, with leaders of key countries in the refugee-plagued bloc coyly acknowledging the beginnings of unified policy on Syria. ARA News – By: Raed Omari Given the shock of the non-stop influx of refugees, Europe’s longstanding narrative on Syria has shifted from being anti-Assad to something of a grey area – neither in favor, nor against, the embattled president. For the Europeans, ISIS is now the embodiment of all terror in ... Read More »

Beirut Bombing Widens Lebanon’s Shiite-Sunni Divide

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At least 40 people were killed and more than 200 injured in a 12 November attack in Beirut that combined a suicide mission and an explosive device in a densely populated street of Bourj al-Barajneh – a predominantly Shiite neighbourhood in Hizbollah’s southern suburb stronghold. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Senior Lebanon Analyst Sahar Atrache explains the background and significance of the attack.  ICG – By Sahar Atrache What do we know about the attack? Was it linked to, or distinct ... Read More »