Diplomacy

Increasing the Stakes in DR Congo’s Electoral Poker

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A moment of waning international attention has led some in President Kabila’s camp to revisit the idea of an internationally-opposed third presidential term. Nairobi/Brussels ICG African and Western leaders must maintain unity, redouble efforts to dissuade Kabila from pursuing this course and ensure preparations for elections in 2018 continue apace. What’s new? Allies of President Joseph Kabila suggest increasingly overtly that he could seek a third term in office; international actors, led by Angola, firmly reject that idea. Meanwhile, preparations ... Read More »

NATO welcomes ceasefire with Taliban, calls for peace talks

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed on Thursday Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban, and he called on the militants to lay down their arms and negotiate a peace… “The announcement of a ceasefire shows the seriousness of President Ghani and the Afghan government … I call on the Taliban to join the ceasefire,” Stoltenberg told… “The Taliban will not win on the battlefield. The only way for them to achieve a solution is to ... Read More »

Bangladesh body count mounts; group urges U.N. action to stop drug war

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DHAKA/MUMBAI (Reuters) – The death toll in a Bangladeshi “zero tolerance” crackdown on drugs has risen to 140, with about 18,000 people arrested, the government said on Thursday, as a group of activists urged the United Nations to step in to stop the… Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the anti-narcotics campaign in early May to tackle the spread of methamphetamines but the killings have raised fears among rights groups of a bloody Philippine-style campaign to wipe out… “In a manner… ... Read More »

The epic story of a 97-year-old Palestinian freedom fighter

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Born in 1921, Abu Nihad remembers the toughest battles against Zionist militias after the British left Palestine. Zena Tahhan AlJazeera Sur Baher, occupied East Jerusalem – In the village he defended from Zionist militias 70 years ago, Muhammad Mahmoud Jadallah is celebrated as a “blessing”. Born in 1921, the 97-year-old, known as Abu Nihad, witnessed the unfolding of what has been dubbed by some as “the world’s most intractable conflict”. He is one of the few Palestinian men who fought against ... Read More »

EU faces Poland test

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Law and Justice party (PiS) and twin brother of late Polish president Lech Kaczynski (unseen), his co-workers and supporters attend a ceremony marking the sixth anniversary of the presidential plane crash in Smolensk, in front of the presidential palace in Warsaw, Poland, on April 10, 2016. / AFP / AFP PHOTO / WOJTEK RADWANSKI        (Photo credit should read WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The showdown with Warsaw is about more than the rule of law. It’s about the bloc’s very identity. Paul Taylor Politico PARIS — The European Union has a last chance in the next few weeks to stop Poland from emasculating its justice system by forcing dozens of Supreme Court judges into early retirement and packing the courts with government supporters. It must not blink. This is not just about preserving the rule of law in the largest of the ex-communist member countries ... Read More »

The Presidential Fight over War Powers Could Strip the Constitution of Its Value

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The Trump administration is trying to render Congress irrelevant on matters of war and peace. That would be a big mistake. Daniel R. DePetris The National Interest In the late evening of April 13, 2018, President Donald Trump delivered a brief statement to the nation announcing that the U.S. military—in partnership with its French and British allies—launched a… The strike was designed to send a warning to Bashar al-Assad that any additional chemical attacks on the battlefield would elicit a ... Read More »

Block 9: Flashpoint for the Next Lebanon War?

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Israel and its neighbor are embroiled in a dispute over the boundaries of resource-rich maritime territories. Which country’s claims are better supported by international maritime law? Andrew Norris Tablet The discovery of vast hydrocarbon reserves in the Levant Basin, estimated by the United States Geological Survey in 2010 to contain an estimated 122 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas and 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil, holds the promise of a significant economic boom to nations in the region, ... Read More »

The Ethnic Cleansing of Northern Cyprus

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Confessions of a Turkish-Cypriot Mass Murderer “Why is there not peace yet? How can we make peace when we have rabid murderers living among us? Instead of prosecuting them, we enable them to appear on TV and to boast about their murders…. If you do not even bring to account a murderer who says, ‘killing was my art,’ who will you bring to account?” — Şener Levent, the editor-in-chief of the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Afrika. So far, these “rabid murderers” have ... Read More »

Dr Anwar Gargash: solving the Qatar crisis must involve tackling the ‘trust deficit’

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In an exclusive interview, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs says a solution to the Yemen war must be UN-led Naser Al Wasmi and Arthur MacMillan The National The UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash has said there will be no backing down over a year-long boycott of Qatar, saying the onus is on Doha to change its policies. In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with The National addressing regional affairs, he said a “deficit of trust” ... Read More »

Trump’s Nixonian Moment has Arrived

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Trump just had his Nixon moment. In asserting via a tweet that he had the power to pardon himself President Trump veered into the direction of Richard Nixon who said to David Frost in the famous 1977 interviews that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal, ” or he was aping Nixon from a 1973 press conference when the latter declared “I am not a… David Schultz CounterPunch In either case, Trump’s tweet shows increased ... Read More »

Kurdish militia to exit Syria’s Manbij under US-Turkey deal

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WASHINGTON — An American-backed Syrian Kurdish militia said Tuesday it will leave the strategic town of Manbij under a delicate U.S.-Turkey deal that could ease tensions between the NATO allies and force a realignment of troops along the volatile Syria-Turkey frontier. Josh Lederman and Philip Issa | AP The Washington Post Illustrating the fragility of the arrangement, the United States and Turkey offered differing descriptions of what the deal entailed, how it would be carried out and when. But ultimately, the Kurdish ... Read More »

Should Europe try to save the Iran nuclear deal?

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Donald Trump is (according to Donald Trump) the master of the deal. Yet, as the world waits to see if Trump can strike a deal at the US-North Korea summit next week (12 June), another important nuclear deal is on the verge of collapse. debating europe In May 2018, the US decided to withdraw from the Iran deal, which Trump famously called “the single worst deal I’ve ever seen drawn by anybody”. Europe has been scrambling to save the deal but, despite political assurances, European ... Read More »

Change in Eastern Europe?

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The 2018-19 elections in Russia and Ukraine (1) will change Eastern Europe’s political landscape. Le Monde diplomatique That could mean new chances for an end to (or escalation of) the war between Russia-led irregular separatists and Russian regulars, on the one side, and Ukrainian governmental forces (as well as some paramilitary units) in the… In both cases the Russian and Ukrainian political leaders’ behaviour has more to do with internal than foreign factors. But the domestic political implications of the Russia/Ukraine conflict in ... Read More »

Labor and Coalition agree on espionage laws that critics fear would ‘criminalise’ journalism

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Sources say agreement struck between members of joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and security Michael McGowan The Guardian The major parties have agreed to changes to proposed foreign espionage laws that critics have warned would “criminalise” investigative journalism. The Guardian understands that, after months of negotiation, a bipartisan agreement on the controversial foreign espionage bill has been reached between members of the joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and… The recommendations of the… Labor and Coalition… Read More »

U.S. and Turkey almost came to blows over this Syrian town. A new deal may avert that.

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The United States and Turkey have reached agreement on the withdrawal of U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters from the northern Syrian town of Manbij, and the military forces of the two countries will begin joint patrols of the area, U.S. and Turkish officials said. by Karen DeYoung and Erin Cunningham The Washington Post The agreement is designed to defuse one of the most serious and long-running disagreements between the two NATO allies, whose troops in Syria have come perilously close to conflict ... Read More »

Somalia and the Gulf Crisis

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The quarrel between Gulf monarchies has spilled into Somalia, with the fragile state now caught between the rival interests of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. ICG The competition has already aggravated intra-Somali disputes. All sides should take a step back before these tensions mount further. What’s new? The rivalries underpinning the June 2017 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) crisis – particularly between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on the one hand and Qatar and, by extension, Turkey on the other ... Read More »