Diplomacy

China Is Moving into the Indian Ocean

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China is pushing westward in the Indian Ocean while New Delhi is pushing eastward through its Act East and Indo-Pacific strategies. Vivek Mishra The National Interest In the past few years, the Maldives has quintessentially exemplified the shortcomings of India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy. But there is a larger geopolitical premonition that could be anticipated from the recent crisis in the Indian Ocean islands of the Maldives, one that points to the immediacy with which China and India are approaching towards a… At ... Read More »

Brexit: Ministers get ready for defeats in the House of Lords on key piece of EU withdrawal legislation

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Government expects to lose a key vote aiming to make Theresa May rethink her position on an EU customs union Joe Watts Independent The government is bracing itself for defeats in parliament on Brexit this week, including over its plans to take the UK out of a customs union with the EU. Ministers have resigned themselves to the fact that the House of Lords will almost certainly pass amendments backed by Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat peers aimed at forcing Theresa ... Read More »

China’s Worst Fear: Can America Turn Taiwan into a Submarine Power?

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Even as they tussle over trade, China and the United States are entering into a more under-the-radar dispute over Taiwan. Last week, the State Department approved a marketing license that allows U.S. defense companies to explore selling Taiwan technology it needs to build submarines. Zachary Keck The National Interest The approval was reported by Taiwanese media outlets who cited Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi, a Ministry of National Defense spokesman. Sidney Lin, a spokesperson for Taiwan’s president, also confirmed the news. The United ... Read More »

The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

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President Donald Trump is ordering U.S. strikes against government targets in Syria after a suspected chemical attack. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic The Middle East is a “troubled place,” President Donald Trump said Friday night as he described his decision to use America’s “righteous power” in a retaliatory attack against government targets in Syria following a suspected chemical attack… Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war in his country—but that doesn’t mean peace is coming. In fact, ... Read More »

Why the EU must support the African Continental Free Trade Area

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The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) by 44 African countries at a summit of the African Union (AU) in Kigali, Rwanda last month marked an historic moment. Emmanuel Dupuy EUtoday The AfCFTA has the potential to bring over 1.2bn people together into the same market, worth trillions of dollars in GDP. The bloc would be the largest in the world by member states, eclipsing the European Single Market, writes Emmanuel Dupuy, President of the Institute for Prospective ... Read More »

Keeping the Hotline Open Between Sudan and South Sudan

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A UN mission has largely succeeded in keeping the peace in Abyei, an oil-rich area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. But there has been less progress made on the mission’s work in aiding political mechanisms to determine the final status of Abyei and demilitarise and demarcate the border. As the UN Security Council debates the mission’s scope, these mechanisms deserve ongoing support. ICG In 2011, Sudan and South Sudan sought outside help to prevent a return to war along what would become their international border. This effort followed ... Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

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ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

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Among those glancing at Syria’s seven-year conflict, a simple but misleading declaration is circulating: “Assad is winning”. Authors The Conversation But the Assad regime has only survived because of the political, economic and military life support it’s had from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. It is now entirely dependent on them. And that’s for rule over just a part of Syria. The opposition, though very dependent on Turkish protection, holds much of the north-west, and it also – for now – ... Read More »

Iran’s Priorities in a Turbulent Middle East

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Divergent views of Iran’s ambitions are driving proxy wars from Syria to Yemen. To stop disastrous direct confrontation, it is crucial to close the perception gap and that Iran and its adversaries take mutual steps toward de-escalating tensions. What’s new? Iran is a rising power in the Middle East, having exploited opportunities arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wars in Syria and Yemen. ICG But where the Islamic Republic’s enemies see a grasping would-be empire, its own strategists ... Read More »

Russia accuses UK of staging Syria gas attack

TOPSHOT - A Syrian man waits to receive treatment at a makeshift clinic following reported air strikes by government forces in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, on April 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Abd Doumany        (Photo credit should read ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations says Russia’s claims are ‘grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie.’ Paul Dallison Politico The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend. The U.K. denounced the allegation as “grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie,” the Guardian reported. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said he had evidence that showed “special services of a country, which is now seeking to be in the first ranks of ... Read More »

Summit of the Americas begins amid regional tumult

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The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border. AlJazeera The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begins in Lima, Peru, on Friday amid continued political instability throughout the region. Business leaders are set to convene the first meeting of the summit on Monday morning. The topics to be discussed include Latin America’s economic outlook and recommendations from ... Read More »

Pompeo vows diplomatic approach to Iran nuke deal

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President Donald Trump’s pick to become Washington’s top diplomat has pledged to work with U.S. allies to strengthen the Iran deal and played down fears he is bent on regime change in North Korea. WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mike Pompeo, the outgoing director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), disavowed his reputation as a “war hawk” and an anti-Muslim hardliner as he sought to woo support from senators on April 12 to become the next U.S. secretary of state. ... Read More »

Netanyahu is picking the wrong friends in Europe

TOPSHOT - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the Muni World conference in Tel Aviv on February 14, 2018. 
Netanyahu said today his government was "stable" and criticised the police investigation against him after detectives recommended his indictment for corruption, prompting calls for him to resign. / AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Siding with Hungary over Brussels undermines Europe’s positive anti-Semitism efforts. Here’s something for Benjamin Netanyahu to consider: The Israeli prime minister should spend less time in Europe praising nationalists like Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and more time listening to people in Brussels, like European Commission Vice President Frans… William Echikson Politico Look at the recent Hungarian election. During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, ... Read More »

UK to challenge Scotland’s Brexit bill in Supreme Court

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The UK Government will launch an unprecedented legal challenge against Scotland’s emergency Brexit legislation early next week in the country’s highest court. Chris Green The Scotsman The Attorney General and the Advocate General are expected to lodge a formal application over the legality of the Continuity Bill at the Supreme Court on Monday or Tuesday. The legislation, which is designed to plug any gaps in Scottish laws on the day of Brexit, was passed by MSPs at the Scottish Parliament ... Read More »

Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria

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Four years after the abductions in Chibok, and months after more kidnappings in Dapchi, over 100 schoolgirls are still missing. Nigeria must act to make schools safe – beefing up security, learning from past mistakes and, ultimately, working to end the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s new? In February, a faction of the jihadist Boko Haram movement, seized 113 children from Dapchi in north east Nigeria. ICG It later released 107 of them. Five reportedly died; one remains captive. This comes ... Read More »

Eight Big Questions on War and Peace for Mike Pompeo

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With a dizzying range of international crises and conflicts facing the U.S., the confirmation hearing of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday 12 April is a chance to gauge the administration’s future tack. Crisis Group’s U.S. Program Director Stephen Pomper identifies eight critical issues that are likely to dominate Pompeo’s incumbency and… Stephen Pomper ICG When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has ... Read More »