Diplomacy

Nawaz Sharif’s Exit and the Pakistan-China-India Triangle: Why Islamabad needs a serious re-think

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All eyes in the next few months, into the elections of 2018, will be on how Nawaz Sharif, who  resigned last month, as Prime Minister of Pakistan after being disqualified from Parliament by the Supreme Court, will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. TRIDIVESH SINGH MAINI IPP Review Will Sharif, who was also forced to resign as president of his party, PML-N, adopt an aggressive posture with the Pakistan army, or play it smartly? In his first two tenures as Prime Minister, his ... Read More »

Myanmar refuses visas to UN team investigating abuse of Rohingya Muslims

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Government led by Aung San Suu Kyi says it will deny entry to mission after UN report said treatment of minority group could amount to ethnic cleansing Reuters The Guardian Myanmar will refuse entry to members of a United Nations investigation focusing on allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims, an official has said. The government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, had already said it would not cooperate with a mission set ... Read More »

EU ‘will not step back one millimetre’ from defending citizens’ rights during Brexit

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Brussels has insisted that citizens’ rights, the Northern Ireland border and how much Britain owes the EU must be settled before talks on trade can begin Jon Stone The Independent The European Union will not step back “one millimetre” from defending the rights of EU citizens during Brexit negotiations, the president of the European Parliament has said. Antonio Tajani said EU citizens in Britain were “still facing as much uncertainty now as they did when the British government formally triggered Article 50 ... Read More »

Artificial intelligence researchers must learn ethics

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Scientists who build artificial intelligence and autonomous systems need a strong ethical understanding of the impact their work could have. James Harland Conversation More than 100 technology pioneers recently published an open letter to the United Nations on the topic of lethal autonomous weapons, or “killer robots”. These people, including the entrepreneur Elon Musk and the founders of several robotics companies, are part of an effort that began in 2015. The original letter called for an end to an arms ... Read More »

China, Japan and the Energy Quest in the East China Sea

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In early August 2017, Japan lodged a protest with China over its gas exploration in a disputed area of the East China Sea. Confirming the presence of a Chinese drillship close to Tokyo’s proposed median line, Japan accused China of conducting “unilateral development in the area” which remains yet to be demarcated between the two countries. IPP Review Amrita Jash In its defence against Tokyo’s accusations, Beijing categorically pointed out that its oil and gas activities in the maritime areas in ... Read More »

Turkey’s Downward Spiral

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It is becoming harder by the day to make sense of the strategy behind Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy choices—assuming there is one at all. Marc Pierini Carnegie To Turkish analysts, Ankara’s policies may make sense. For Western politicians and analysts, including eternal hopefuls, summer 2017 will be remembered as a time when Turkey spiraled downward into more rule of the arbitrary, increased political inconsistencies, and aggressive postures on the international scene. It is becoming harder by the day to ... Read More »

The Balkans Between Competing Poles

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MADRID – Few world regions are more culturally and politically complex than the Balkans. And there may be no clearer illustration of the region’s freighted past and present than the life and legacy of one of its exceptional sons: the physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla. Javier Solana Project Syndicate Born into an Orthodox Serbian family in 1856 in a town that is now part of Croatia, Tesla’s nationality remains an object of debate in the region. Tesla believed that scientific ... Read More »

With Referendum Approaching, Kurds Wait for More U.S. Military Aid

MOSUL, IRAQ - OCTOBER 20:  A Kurdish peshmerga tank moves forward during an assault to recapture the village of Tiskharab on October 20, 2016 near Mosul, Iraq. Kurdish and Iraqi forces, supported by numerous countries including Britain and the USA, have continued their advance towards towards Iraq's second largest city of Mosul which has been held by Islamic State militants since 2014.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

A $22 million U.S. Defense Department fund that has helped pay the salaries of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq is due to run dry in September, worsening a financial crunch as the government in Erbil struggles with billions of dollars in debt. Paul McLeary Foreign Policy The timing couldn’t be worse, as the one-year program runs out at the same time the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) plans to hold a referendum on formally leaving Iraq, a vote the United ... Read More »

Use it or lose it: Why Canada’s navy needs to be in the South China Sea

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Canada’s diplomatic and strategic engagement in East Asia has been erratic over the past two decades. Successive governments have been incapable or unwilling to clearly articulate a regional strategy, remaining virtually silent on major geopolitical tensions. Adam P. MacDonald iPolitics  Some observers have advocated regular deployments of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to create a visible, routine presence in the region. One unexplored question is whether Canadian naval ships should participate in U.S. freedom of navigation (FON) patrols in the ... Read More »

China’s PLA readying missiles to counter Indian air power

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As tensions mount between India and China in a border dispute, Beijing is strengthening its mobile missile defenses to counteract India’s perceived air supremacy Zi Yang Asia Times Every summer the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a major air defense exercise at its western theater command’s air force experimental training base. The anti-aircraft brigade of the 79th group army was the main participant in this year’s drill, on August 22. The exercise evaluated the unit’s radar system, command and control ... Read More »

Myanmar Tips into New Crisis after Rakhine State Attacks

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The Rohingya insurgent attacks that killed twelve Myanmar soldiers and officials and perhaps 77 of their own number is a serious escalation of a ten-month-old crisis. ICG They make implementation of this week’s recommendations to address Rohingya grievances from Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission both harder and more urgent. In the early hours of 25 August, militants from Harakah al-Yaqin– a Rohingya insurgent group that now refers to itself in English as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – mounted coordinated attacks ... Read More »

Alex Salmond has backed independent Scotland to have own pound

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Alex Salmond has backed Scotland to have its own currency if it becomes an independent country. The former first minister has changed his position from ahead of the 2014 referendum when he proposed sharing the sterling with the rest of the UK. Russel Jackson The Scotsman That suggestion was rejected by the UK Government, but now, with the effects of Brexit, Salmond believes Scotland should have its own pound. At his Edinburgh Fringe show, Alex Salmond… Unleashed, he was joined ... Read More »

Turkey ‘Searching for Ways to Reconcile With Assad’ Amid Situation in Idlib

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Lately, Turkey has been actively engaged in contacts with regional states and allies, discussing the situation in Syria. Leading political observer Zeynep Gürcanlı, from the Sözcü newspaper told Sputnik Turkey that the attempt to alter foreign policy strategy and seeking a thaw with Damascus could be behind Ankara’s recent diplomatic efforts. Sputnik “Currently, perhaps the most significant steps have been made in the country’s [Turkey’s] foreign policy in terms of departing from the traditional 16-year political strategy  of the ruling the Justice and Development Party ... Read More »

Labour makes dramatic Brexit shift and backs single market membership

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Party opens clear divide with Tories, with support for free movement and paying into EU budgets for up to four years Toby Helm Political editor The Guardian Labour is to announce a dramatic policy shift by backing continued membership of the EU single market beyond March 2019, when Britain leaves the EU, establishing a clear dividing line with the Tories on Brexit for the first time. In a move that positions it decisively as the party of “soft Brexit”, Labour will support ... Read More »

Washington lobbying firms receive subpoenas as part of Russia probe

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Lawyers for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, have issued subpoenas to several prominent Washington lobbying firms as the probe examines the finances of two former Trump campaign advisers, according to people with knowledge of the requests. Carol D. Leonnig and Tom Hamburger  The Washington Post The subpoenas asked the firms to answer questions and provide records regarding their interactions with the consulting firms led by Michael Flynn, a former national ... Read More »

Sudanese minister calls for normalisation with Tel Aviv

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The Israeli newspaper Haartez has welcomed statements made by the Sudanese Minister Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahdi who expressed his support for the establishment of official relations with Israel, claiming that Palestinians are to blame for selling their land in the first place. Middle East Monitor Al-Mahdi, who is Minister of Investment in Sudan, stated during an interview with a Sudanese TV channel yesterday that there should be no objection to the idea of normalising relations with Israel, pointing out that this ... Read More »