Diplomacy

Why India and Pakistan hate each other

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Hissing cousins Three score and ten years after their acrimonious split, India and Pakistan remain at daggers drawn. Max Rodenbeck asks if they can ever make up The Economist EVERY AFTERNOON AT sunset, at a point midway along the arrow-straight road between Amritsar and Lahore, rival squads of splendidly uniformed soldiers strut and stomp a 17th-century British military drill known as Beating… Barked commands, fierce glares and preposterously high kicks all signal violent intent. But then, lovingly and in unison, ... Read More »

Turkey’s PKK Conflict Kills almost 3,000 in Two Years

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20 July 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of a collapsed ceasefire that previously held for two-and-a-half-years between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Berkay Mandıracı ICG Crisis Group’s new analysis of open-source data reveals that the ongoing cycle of violence has now killed three times as many as the 2011-12 escalation. On 20 July 2015, an Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bomb attack killed 33 and injured more than 100 mostly pro-Kurdish young activists in… Turkey’s PKK Conflict… Read More »

Chinese Warships Enter Baltic Sea — For Drills With Russia

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As NATO exercises in the Black Sea Russia welcomes the Chinese navy A Chinese naval squadron has sailed into the Baltic Sea to join the Russian navy for annual two-nation drills. RI The Chinese squadron consists of a supply ship, missile frigate and a Type 052D destroyer. The latter is the most advanced guided missile destroyer in Chinese service which is highly significant: “By sending its most advanced guided-missile destroyers, China is expressing its sincerity to Russia and… Chinese Warships Enter… Read More »

India searches for way out of border standoff with China

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Despite hawkish commentary emanating from China recently, New Delhi is studiously playing down the tensions between the two Asian giants M.K. Bhadrakumar Asia Times The Indian Defense Ministry has contradicted reports of Chinese troop mobilization on the border. In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said there had only been a general state of alert on the Chinese side and a routine annual military exercise was held near Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, in… India searches for… Read More »

North Korea drought: Children at risk in ‘worst crisis since 2001’

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North Korea is facing severe food shortages after being hit by its worst drought since 2001, a report from the United Nations says. BBC Crop production in the country has been hampered by a prolonged dry period and food imports are now urgently required to fill the gap, the UN has warned. The most vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, will be worst hit. In the 1990s, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are believed to have died… North ... Read More »

A coup in the House of Saud?

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The secret is out: the ascension of Mohammad bin Salman, displacing CIA favorite Mohammad bin Nayef as Crown Prince, was in fact a white coup… Pepe Escobar  Asia Times What has been an open secret across the Arab world is not a secret anymore even in the US: What happened last month in the deep recesses of the House of Saud with the ascension of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, aka MBS, was in fact a white coup. Nearly a ... Read More »

Palestinian Activism Reawakens in Jerusalem after Holy Esplanade Attack

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A deadly attack on 14 July 2017 at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade revealed the growing precariousness of the site’s Status Quo. Ofer Zalzberg ICG In this Q&A Ofer Zalzberg, Senior Analyst for Israel/Palestine, says the mobilisation of Palestinians to reverse Israeli security measures around the site could signal a revival of activism in East Jerusalem after years of decline. What do we know about the attack and how unusual was it? On Friday 14 July 2017, three Palestinian citizens of Israel attacked ... Read More »

US calls for smaller deficits in new NAFTA talks

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The US government says trade deficits and market access will top the agenda as it renegotiated trade terms with Mexico and Canada. BBC US President Donald Trump has described the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a “disaster” and ordered fresh talks earlier this year. The objectives have been released in advance of the start of meetings with Canada and Mexico next month. Economists have warned that reaching the goals might be… US calls for… Read More »

The Politics of Islam in Mali: Separating Myth from Reality

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Settling the place of Islam in Mali’s society and politics is a less visible but longer-term challenge to the state than its rebellious north and stalled peace… ICG The government should work toward a partnership with religious authorities to enable them to play a stabilising role. Executive Summary The 2012 crisis, during which self-proclaimed jihadi armed groups took centre stage, intensified the debate on the role of Islam in Malian society and… Although religious leaders have become powerful lobbyists, public ... Read More »

UN seeks $421 million for African refugee flow

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MILAN:The United Nations’ refugee agency is appealing for $421.2 million to help improve protection of refugees in sub-Saharan and North Africa and back efforts in… AP ArabNews The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said Tuesday the plan, which incorporates previous appeals, is needed “to help provide meaningful alternatives to refugees and others undertaking… It says 2,171 refugees and migrants were reported dead or missing as they tried to cross the central Mediterranean in this… UN seeks $421… Read More »

Tasoula Hadjitofi – from refugee to icon hunter

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A refugee’s quest to reclaim her nation’s stolen heritage Tasoula Hadjitofi will discuss her experiences of war and injustice; her ongoing campaign to preserve cultural heritage worldwide and her tireless work to combat art trafficking. In 1974 Tasoula Hadjitofi and her family were forced to flee their home in Famagusta, Cyprus during the Turkish invasion. As a refugee living in the Netherlands, Tasoula devoted her life to infiltrating and exposing the shady underworld of art traffickers. It all began when ... Read More »

Diplomats to Tillerson: don’t eliminate state department’s refugee office

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National security officials are arguing the elimination the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration would have ‘profound and negative implications’ Reuters in Washington The Guardian Forty former US diplomats and national security officials urged the secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, not to eliminate the state department office that handles refugees, in a letter seen by Reuters on Monday. The letter argued that a Trump administration proposal to transfer the… Diplomats to Tillerson… Read More »

Exclusive: Iran’s Foreign Minister Warns Donald Trump That Tehran Can Abandon the Nuclear Deal

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TNI’s Jacob Heilbrunn just sat down with Tehran’s top diplomat—and he was not happy with the Trump administration. Mohammad Javad Zarif The National Interest Jacob Heilbrunn, editor of the National Interest, spoke with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister in an interview in New York on Monday, July 17, 2017. The following is a lightly… Jacob Heilbrunn: Yesterday you were on Fareed Zakaria’s show. And if, as you alleged, the Trump administration is indeed violating the… Exclusive: Iran’s Foreign… Read More »

Will the Americans Abandon Us?

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Our Senior Analyst for Syria Noah Bonsey visits the north east of the country to meet a Syrian Kurdish organisation that has made the region relatively secure, yet knows that it still has far to go in its… Noah Bonsey ICG QAMISHLI, Syria ­– Abd al-Menaam picks me up as usual from the customs shed on the Syrian bank of the Tigris… As we drive west toward the town of Qamishli, we pass beneath a hilltop command centre bombed by ... Read More »

Are we sleepwalking to World War III?

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Analysis Australia is plunging headlong into catastrophe and we are utterly unprepared. Stan Grant  ABC In fact, we may be past the time when we can prepare. The time-bomb is ticking and it will explode in our lifetimes. All certainty will be lost, our economy will be devastated, our land seized, our system of government upended. This isn’t mere idle speculation or the rantings of a doomsday cult, this is the warning from a man who has made it his… ... Read More »

Secretary of State Tillerson has been in over his head from the get-go

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We were not alone in criticizing the pick of Rex W. Tillerson as secretary of state. Jennifer Rubin Miami Herald He had no government experience, no feel for human rights or the values that (should) underlie American foreign policy and no deep knowledge of the world beyond that of an oil company executive accustomed to transactional… With an experienced and sophisticated president, a Tillerson might have been effective; with President Trump, Tillerson has proven… Secretary of State… Read More »