Diplomacy

The ‘political cult’ opposing the Iranian regime which has created a state within a state in Albania

In Tirana, Borzou Daragahi meets defectors of the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran, a controversial group which has found itself the darling of Washington Independent An Iranian exile group that is a darling of Washington conservatives has set up what critics describe as “a state within a state” inside the tiny Balkan nation of Albania. From a well-guarded 84-acre (340,000 square metres, or 34 hectares) property it has forged on a hillside in the Albanian countryside, the group – called the People’s Mujahedin Organisation of Iran, commonly ... Read More »

A Small Nation That Thinks It’s a World Power

Brexit emerged from its supporters’ nostalgia for a supposedly glorious past. Gary Younge The Nation “There are two kinds of European nations,” said Kristian Jensen, the Danish finance minister, last year. “There are small nations, and there are countries that have not yet realized they are small nations.” With Brexit, it’s become painfully obvious that the United Kingdom is among the latter. In their melancholic yearning for a time long past, those who ran the campaign to leave the European ... Read More »

Remarks by Donald Tusk to the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

The European Union is fighting intensely to preserve the rules-based international order, which is currently under great strain, in terms of trade, security, climate change or human rights. Donald Tusk Voltaire We say this not only as countries strongly supporting the United Nations, but as a continent that cares deeply about respect, mutual understanding and solidarity between nations. As leaders, we must equip the United Nations with the means to fulfil its mandate successfully. More unity and collective action are ... Read More »

Brussels rolls out red carpet for Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader met with chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Secretary-General Martin Selmayr. By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN Politico It was the European Commission’s own vote of no-confidence in Theresa May. Top EU officials rolled out the red carpet for Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn on Thursday, welcoming May’s arch-rival to the Commission headquarters and giving him a platform at a… Corbyn, who has criticized May and her Conservative Party for mismanaging Brexit, has yet to unveil a credible departure plan of ... Read More »

South Sudanese doctor wins prestigious UN prize for lifetime spent tending to refugees

In the single functional hospital in war-ravaged South Sudan’s Upper Nile region, the only X-ray machine is broken, the sole surgical theatre is lit by a single light, and electricity is provided by generators that often break down. The World – By Holly Robertston ABC But a team of medical staff led by head surgeon Evan Atar Adaha works tirelessly to treat all those in need, regardless of their background, at Maban Referral Hospital, which serves more than 200,000 people. While ... Read More »

Comment: ‘People actually laughed at a president’: At U.N. speech, Trump suffers the fate he always feared

President Trump has long argued that the United States has been taken advantage of by other nations — a “laughing stock to the entire World” he said on Twitter in 2014 — and his political rise was countenanced on the… David Nakamura The Washington Post But at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump got a comeuppance on the world’s biggest stage. Delivering a speech that aimed to establish U.S. “sovereignty” over the whims and needs of other nations, the… ... Read More »

How to Respond to Venezuela’s Humanitarian Emergency

Numbers tell the grim tale of Venezuela’s continuing slide into socio-economic ruin. ICG With 1.6 million people fleeing the country since 2015, international donors should step up aid to neighbouring states, while concerned parties fine-tune pressure for political change in Caracas and prepare for worst-case scenarios. Colombia’s hosting of a meeting on Venezuela today stands as an important opportunity to draw attention to the severity of the nation’s crisis, the suffering of its people and the burden it puts on ... Read More »

Terrorists in Idlib Should not Hope on the Help of Foreign Sponsors

There are about 10,000 terrorists linked with al-Qaeda on the territory of the Syrian province of Idlib. Editor ISF This statement was unexpectedly widely quoted in the Western media, contrary to the established tradition of representing members of illegal armed groups as “rebels” and “fighters for freedom”. Perhaps the reason for the change in rhetoric was the fact that it came from the mouth of the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura. As the statement ... Read More »

Court orders Peter Dutton to transfer ill family of three from Nauru

Judge stipulates no treatment by Border Force contractor or health provider IHMS Saba Vasefi and Helen Davidson The Guardian The federal court has once again enforced the medical evacuation of dangerously ill asylum seekers and refugees from Nauru, ordering the home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, to transfer a family of three over the weekend. The order, delivered by Justice Tom Thawley on Friday, also stipulated that they not be treated by anyone contracted by Australian Border Force or detention health provider ... Read More »

Australia has the wealth to ensure a sustainable future, but too many people are being left behind

The purpose of our social, economic and political systems is to enable all Australians to lead good lives. Australia is doing well on some fronts. Sue Richardson The Conversation It ranks third out of 188 countries on the UN Human Development Index, which takes into account life expectancy, education and national income per capita. We also rank 19th on national income per capita. This suggests Australia is rather good at converting national income into social well-being. But a key question ... Read More »

Iran’s Ahvaz Attack Worsens Gulf Tensions

An attack on a military parade in Iran is raising tensions in an already volatile Gulf region. Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of perspectives in Tehran, Riyadh, Abu Dhabi and Washington and warn that a single attack can trigger further escalation. ICG An attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz on 22 September, which killed 29 people, dangerously raised tensions in an already volatile Gulf region. Iran accused a local insurgent group (which ... Read More »

Turkey Must Choose the Tough Option and Leave Syria

Ankara doesn’t want to leave, but it doesn’t want armed conflict either. On September 17, Erdoğan reached an agreement with Putin at a meeting in Sochi to create buffer zones between government forces and those of the opposition confronting each other in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib in a… Mohammed Ayoob The National Interest This may have postponed the military showdown for the moment but is unlikely to lead to a lasting solution as the regime of President Bashar al-Assad ... Read More »

The United Nations has entered its darkest hour

If the United Nations were a stock or an index fund, you might want to short it. Founded in 1945 to “maintain international peace and security,” the UN in recent years has been powerless to stop slaughter in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar. James Gibney Brisbane Times Bloomberg Civil conflicts are nearing post-Cold War highs. The number of displaced people has hit a new record. After decades of improvement, more of the… The gap between what the UN seeks and receives ... Read More »

Washington’s Farcical “Certifications” Enable the War Crimes of Allies

And violate U.S. law. Ted Galen Carpenter The National Interest Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s certification that the Saudi-led military coalition in the Yemen war was taking adequate steps to avoid inflicting civilian casualties may have achieved a new low in U.S. foreign-policy ethics. There is abundant evidence of multiple atrocities that Riyadh and its United Arab Emirates (UAE) junior partner have committed and continue to commit. The coalition’s war strategy has created a famine as well as a cholera ... Read More »

James Ricketson’s family elated following Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon

James Ricketson’s family has expressed joy and relief following the Australian filmmaker’s royal pardon after 15 months in a Cambodian prison on “outrageous” espionage charges. Fergus Hunter & Bevan Shields The Canberra Times Targeted by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s authoritarian government, Ricketson was sentenced in June to six years’ imprisonment. His relatives had feared the 69-year-old would not survive the harsh conditions. Ricketson has left his Phnom Penh jail and will soon be deported to Australia, possibly by Sunday. Fairfax ... Read More »

Major hurdles – and rewards – as China and Philippines try to forge deal to share South China Sea resources

If the two sides manage to reach an agreement, an outcome that is far assured given the myriad political and legal complexities, it could radically alter the dynamics of a vexing geopolitical dispute. South China Morning Post Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s expected visit to Manila in November, the Philippines and China have taken a major step towards resolving their maritime disputes. Last month, the Philippine government announced the formation of a technical working group to iron out the legality ... Read More »