Diplomacy

Iranians feel the pressure of new US sanctions

After the latest round of US sanctions, ordinary Iranians are likely to suffer the most. Wesley Rahn, Mitra Shodjaie DW While some optimism remains about back door support through oil exports, the long-term outlook for Iran’s economy remains dire. The full force of US sanctions on Iran was re-imposed Monday in an attempt to isolate the country’s leadership and force a change in its behavior by crippling the Iranian economy. Iran has been absorbing a series of domestic crises even before the ... Read More »

Turkey warns oil companies against drilling near Cyprus

President Erdoğan calls foreign energy firms ‘bandits of the sea’ for defying Ankara over hydrocarbon resources Agence France-Presse in Istanbul The Guardian The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has warned foreign oil companies against energy exploration near Cyprus, describing those defying Ankara as “bandits of the sea” who would face a similar response as its foes in Syria. Drilling for hydrocarbon resources off the coast of Cyprus, an EU member, is hugely sensitive. The northern third of the island is occupied ... Read More »

Chinese think tank launches National Committee for China-US Relations

Recent deterioration in China-US relations has prompted leading Chinese non-governmental think tank The Charhar Institute, headed by Dr Han Fangming, vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the… Asia Times The new committee, founded today in a small opening ceremony in Beijing, will bid to build private channels for discussion and contributions to resolution of China-US disputes with US think tanks and… Dr Bruno Wu, a leading media entrepreneur and investor, has been appointed the committee’s vice chairman. Committee members ... Read More »

‘Don’t criticise DEMOCRATIC choices!’ JHB savages political elite in furious rant

RADIO host Julia Hartley-Brewer launched a scathing attack on Europe’s political elite and warned they will be “punished” by voters if they “criticise democratic choices”. Charlotte Davis Express Ms Hartley-Brewer ridiculed the decision of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, in 2015, declared all Syrian asylum-seekers welcome to remain in Germany no matter which EU country they first stepped foot in. The radio host hit out at Mrs Merkel’s decision and said “no one bothered to ask the people” in Germany. A party ... Read More »

The Arab Winter Is Coming

Gulf states are asserting themselves more than ever, and that’s a problem for the U.S. Hassan Hassan The Atlantic Three years ago, then Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter attributed Iran’s growing dominance to its being “in the game, on the ground.” He urged its regional rivals to do the same, thus expressing a widely shared sentiment in policy circles at the time: Arab Gulf states need to rely less on the U.S. and play a greater role in their neighborhood. ... Read More »

George Soros on the new world disorder

His enemies paint him as all-powerful, but the billionaire philanthropist believes his political legacy has never been in greater jeopardy. Michael Steinberger Brisbane Times * On a clammy Tuesday morning in Paris at the end of May, George Soros, the world’s second-most-vilified New York billionaire (but worth many billions more than the other one), is addressing the European Council on Foreign Relations, an organisation he helped found a… Described by the woman who introduces him as a “European at heart”, ... Read More »

Former UN climate chief says world doesn’t need Australia’s ‘toxic’ coal

Former United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres has repudiated Australian mining giant BHP for its refusal to stop mining coal, suggesting the decision is uneconomic and poor nations do not need the “toxic” and “expensive” fossil fuel. Nicole Hasham The Canberra Times BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie said this week the company is “not going to move away from coal mining”. His position comes despite a warning last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that coal must be ... Read More »

Iran’s Khamenei says the world opposes Trump’s decisions

Iran’s top leader said on Saturday U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies face opposition across the world as Washington prepared to reimpose sanctions on Iran’s vital oil-exporting and financial sectors, state television reported. DUBAI – Reuters Hurriyet Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said Iran’s arch-adversary the United States had failed to reassert its domination over Iran since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the U.S.-backed Shah. “The world opposes every decision made by Trump,” Iranian state television quoted Khamenei as saying during a meeting with thousands of students. “America’s goal has been ... Read More »

Four ‘invisible countries’ that could redraw the world map

No matter where you are on the Earth’s landmass, you are almost certain to be in a country. ABC – RN – By Joey Watson for Saturday Extra But what makes a country a country? Agreed legal definitions are surprisingly loose, but an internationally recognised government, citizens, and the exclusive authority over a piece of land are among the universal ingredients. However, these principles of nationhood, refined over the centuries, are being challenged by war, technology, and climate change. Here are four examples ... Read More »

Understanding and Defeating China’s Maritime Insurgency in the South China Sea

China is treating ocean space in the South China Sea as if it were land territory. How should the United States? Hunter Stires The National Interest The rule of an international system that upholds the legal and philosophical principle of the “freedom of the seas” ranks among America’s most important if uncelebrated national interests. The preservation of a free and open maritime order is imperative for a country whose ability to connect with over 80 percent of the world’s population ... Read More »

Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry

The U.S. is pursuing a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that includes the re-imposition of key energy and banking sanctions. Naysan Rafati ICG With Tehran refusing to capitulate over its nuclear program or regional policies, the U.S.-Iran rivalry could escalate across the region. The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive ... Read More »

Pressure mounts on Ireland to accept EU digital tax

The Republic continues to resist proposal as European opposition to the levy slips away Pat Leahy, Cliff Taylor The Irish Times The Government is under increasing pressure to agree to European Commission proposals for an EU-wide 3 per cent digital sales tax ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels next week. Government sources says it will resist the proposal in its current form, but there has been heavy lobbying from the commission, the French government and the ... Read More »

Georgian presidential front-runner aims at multilateralism to thaw frozen conflicts

Born in exile, the career diplomat Salome Zurabishvili faces a runoff vote after a narrow lead in the first round. Zhanna Nemtsova In an interview with DW, she stressed the importance of democracy and multipartyism in her country. Salome Zurabishvili is an independent candidate for the Georgian presidency endorsed by the Georgian Dream party. Born in Paris to a family of Georgian emigres, she was educated in France and served as a career diplomat, and was appointed ambassador of France ... Read More »

Why Europe still needs Merkel

Even the German leader’s biggest critics are worried about what will happen when she goes. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — Europe’s queen is dead! But is she really? And if so, will there be a new queen? Or maybe a king? As if Europe didn’t have enough to worry about at the moment (Italy, Brexit, Poland, Hungary, populism … Italy!), Germany is back on the boil. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision this week to step aside from the leadership of her Christian Democrats may ... Read More »

Sri Lanka: Stepping Back from a Constitutional Crisis

The return to power of controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s prime minister is unconstitutional and destabilising. ICG International actors should make future security and economic cooperation contingent on parliament reconvening immediately to select a prime minister through legal channels. What’s new? On 26 October, Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena abruptly dismissed the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and appointed controversial former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the premier’s post, in a move that contravenes the constitution and threatens to destabilise ... Read More »

Angela Merkel’s African business summit marred by protest

The German chancellor welcomed 11 African leaders to Berlin to introduce them to the CEOs of Germany’s biggest firms. Ben Knight DW Outside, protesters demanded Germany stop doing business with dictatorships across the continent. “Africa is open for business.” South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa couldn’t have made the basic purpose of the G20 investment summit any clearer. Ramaphosa was one of 11 African leaders in Berlin on Tuesday for what the German government said was the biggest African event ... Read More »