Diplomacy

Opportunities and Challenges Await Kyrgyzstan’s Incoming President

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The inauguration of Kyrgyzstan’s new president on 24 November is a tribute to the country’s parliamentary democracy Deirdre Tynan  ICG But to overcome continued vulnerability, Sooronbai Jeenbekov must manage powerful southern elites, define the role of religion in society and spearhead reconciliation with Central Asian neighbours Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Sooronbai Jeenbekov will be inaugurated as Kyrgyzstan’s fifth president on 24 November, the victor of a tight, unpredictable, contested but ultimately legitimate election. The new leader, a loyal member of the ... Read More »

Venezuela: Hunger by Default

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Economic mismanagement, corruption and dwindling reserves have forced Venezuela into penury and now into missed payments and partial default on its debts ICG Full-scale, internationally supervised negotiations involving a restored parliament are essential to pave the way to a debt restructuring and a free, fair presidential election. What happened?  On 14 November, credit ratings agencies declared Venezuela in partial default on its foreign debt, after the country failed to meet a $200 million payment to bondholders. Why did it happen?  Economic mismanagement ... Read More »

Is Indo-Pacific the ‘New’ Pivot?

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It is unclear exactly what the Indo-Pacific concept entails—especially regarding the future relations between New Delhi and Beijing Zhiqun Zhu  The National Interest Government officials and scholars around the world have quickly switched their labels for Asia from “Asia Pacific” to “Indo-Pacific” after President Donald Trump popularized the latter during his first Asia trip in November 2017. “Indo-Pacific” as a geopolitical concept first appeared in European publications in the 1920s. For example, it was mentioned in retired German general Karl Ernst ... Read More »

What next for the unresolved Cyprus question?

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Despite high expectations, the conference on Cyprus at Crans-Montana in Switzerland from 28 June to 5 July did not lead to a breakthrough. Andreas Theophanous Friends of Europe The stakes were high, given the conference’s broader goals, which included addressing the need for multilateral cooperation, involving Turkey, in the Eastern Mediterranean on energy and security issues. Furthermore, a solution to the Cyprus problem in times of regional turmoil and conflict would have been considered a success for the United Nations ... Read More »

Uganda’s Slow Slide into Crisis

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Growing discontent threatens the dysfunctional and corrupt political system built by President Museveni, who is now manoeuvering to extend his three decades in power by raising a 75-year age limit on presidential candidates. ICG As security, governance and economic performance deteriorates, Uganda needs urgent reforms to avoid greater instability. What’s the issue?  Popular discontent is growing over President Museveni’s apparent desire to remain in power while governance, economic performance and security deteriorate. Why does it matter?  Uganda is not in danger of ... Read More »

Buldan: Isolation on Öcalan is the reason behind today’s attacks

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HPD) MP Pervin Buldan said that the isolation on Abdullah Öcalan and cessation of the negotiations with him is the main reason behind the massacres and attacks today. ANF Speaking about the isolation on Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan at the final event of HDP Women Assembly’s campaign, Pervin Buldan underlined his role in the building of peace in the country. “We will continue to struggle until Öcalan is free. The main reason behind today’s massacres and attacks ... Read More »

Eamonn Mallie: With Gerry Adams nothing is what it seems

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Sinn Féin’s outgoing president is a master strategist who took risks for peace Ascribing the favourable adage “E pluribus unum” – “One out of many” – to Gerry Adams will doubtlessly aggravate some readers. Eamonn Mallie The Irish Times Yet even as a teenager the outgoing president of Sinn Féin was marked out by his elders for higher things. The old Official IRA leader in west Belfast Jim Sullivan once told me, “We always got young Adams to draft the ... Read More »

How to Avoid an ISIS 2.0 in Iraq

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Washington and Baghdad have a golden opportunity, but it is slipping away. Michael O’Hanlon Sara Allawi With Mosul and other key cities now liberated from the horrible scourge of ISIS, Iraq stands at a crucial crossroads. The National Interest Iraqis and Americans have squandered historic opportunities to build a new, stable and prosperous country together before. We must not let that happen again. The key danger, as before, is this: extremism combined with sectarianism build on each other in a vicious ... Read More »

5 Points On The Cleric Targeted In Mike Flynn’s Shady Dealings With Turkey

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The focus of former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s tangle of business dealings with Turkey is one man: Fethullah Gulen, an ailing septuagenarian Muslim cleric who lives in a Pennsylvania compound. Allegra Kirkland Talking Points Memo Plenty of ink has been spilled about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Flynn received to produce negative PR materials about Gulen and about Flynn’s alleged discussions with Turkish officials about forcibly removing him from the U.S. What’s received less attention is why Turkey would ... Read More »

Cambodia faces int’l action after opposition party ban

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The United States promised “concrete steps” against Cambodia and the European Union raised a threat to vital trade preferences after the main opposition party was banned ahead of elections. PHNOM PENH – Reuters Hurriyet The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the Supreme Court on Nov. 16 at the request of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose rule of more than three decades faces a major challenge at next year’s general election. The ban on the ... Read More »

The evolution of Turkish-Russian relations

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The past decade has seen considerable change in Russia’s Middle East policy, with greater involvement in regional crises and engagement in good relations with key countries and non-state actors. Sinem Cengiz Arab News Russia’s policy at times converges with Turkey’s, and at other times challenges it. Turkish-Russian relations have survived several crises, the most severe being in November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian jet along its border with Syria. Neither Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his Russian ... Read More »

Why Did Israel Support the Kurdish Referendum?

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An independent Kurdistan would have created the possibility for Israel to reap a major strategic advantage: a well-positioned ally. Ari Heistein  The National Interest Israel was alone in its support for the Iraqi Kurdish referendum in September, and it has since become evident that KRG President Masoud Barzani miscalculated in deciding to hold the vote then. The Kurds overestimated both U.S. support for their independence movement and their own internal solidarity, while simultaneously underestimating the intensity and the near unanimity of the… ... Read More »

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 »

Erdoğan’s Kurdish Gambit

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan perceives the Kurdish belt along Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi borders as the country’s top security threat, and has recalibrated his policies accordingly. Burak Bekdil But he has a Kurdish constituency inside Turkey and will need their votes in 2019. BESA During the upcoming presidential campaign, Erdoğan will have to find a miracle equilibrium: how to win Kurdish votes without losing nationalist Turkish votes? In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, ... Read More »

Open Letter to Theresa May

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OPEN LETTER The Rt Honourable Prime Minister Theresa May MP 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA 15 November 2017 Dear Prime Minister Your speech in London on 13 November 2017 I have read with interest the transcript of your meaningful and timely speech which was delivered on 13 November 2017 to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London. I agree with you that the United Kingdom has the capability to overcome the difficulties and challenges ahead not only due to the Brexit ... 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 »