Diplomacy

Paris Gourtsoyannis: Not enough fish in the sea for Brexit

Fishermen were told Brexit would make them winners. That looks difficult to achieve, writes Paris Gourtsoyannis The Scotsman Until now, it’s been easy to dismiss the debate over fishing after Brexit as a parochial one. The industry makes up less than half a percent of UK GDP. Fishing interests are concentrated in a small number of communities, so the issue is wrapped up in retail politics. Because fishing disproportionately affects Scotland – six of the ten biggest ports for fish ... Read More »

Climate change: CO2 emissions rising for first time in four years

Global efforts to tackle climate change are way off track says the UN, as it details the first rise in CO2 emissions in four years. The emissions gap report says that economic growth is responsible for a rise in 2017 while national efforts to cut carbon have faltered. Matt McGrath BBC To meet the goals of the Paris climate pact, the study says it’s crucial that global emissions peak by 2020. But the analysis says that this is now not likely even ... Read More »

Through confusion and panic, Ukraine digests what martial law will mean

Increased security around ports and stations already being reported, but consequences for ordinary Ukrainians are unclear Oliver Carroll Independent A day after the Ukrainian parliament voted to introduce martial law across 10 border regions, there was little clarity about what it would actually mean in practice. With parts of the government on different pages, and the introduction of measures that could cover most aspects of life, even family, some areas of the country bordered on panic mode. In the southern city of Odessa, there ... Read More »

Intel: Why the US opposes UN calls for a Yemen cease-fire

CNN reported today that the United States is pulling its support for a Yemen cease-fire resolution at the United Nations after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed frustration over language calling for increased humanitarian aid and… Al-Monitor Why it matters: The report indicates that the Donald Trump administration is contradicting its stated policy goal in Yemen, which was to get the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Iran-backed Houthis to the… US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has signaled for weeks that the ... Read More »

Trump’s tariff tactics could make no-deal Brexit work for Ireland

Security exemption in WTO rules could enable tariff-free cross-Border trade David Singh Grewal, Richard Tuck The Irish Times It is widely agreed, on both sides of the Irish Sea, that a no-deal Brexit would be bad for Ireland. The UK’s Northern Ireland secretary, Karen Bradley, has even claimed that “no deal” would mean a hard border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, which in turn could end the Common Travel Area agreement between Ireland and… But, surprisingly, when World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules ... Read More »

Afghanistan: the Hazaras are not safe

In late October 2018, the Taliban in Afghanistan launched a new campaign of attacks, taking them into areas which until then had been “peaceful”. Niamatullah Ibrahimi and William Maley Lowy Interpreter The attacks started in the Khas Uruzgan district, part of the very province where Australian defence personnel served as part of their lengthy deployment in Afghanistan. In the first week of November, the Taliban extended the campaign into the Jaghori and Malestan, districts of the neighbouring province of Ghazni. ... Read More »

The Coming War over Ukraine?

The danger of escalation is real and must be treated as such On November 25, Russian warships attacked and seized three Ukrainian navy boats that tried to cross the Kerch Strait. Jonas J. Driedger The National Interest The Ukrainian navy reports that Russian vessels opened fire and wounded at least six Ukrainian naval officers. On the same day, Ukrainian President Poroshenko and his Military Cabinet passed a resolution to impose martial law in Ukraine. The Ukrainian parliament is scheduled to decide on ... Read More »

Xi-Duterte deals stir a furor in the Philippines

Chinese President and Philippine leader entered 29 new agreements that opposition critics claim lack transparency and could undermine sovereign interests in the South China Sea Richard Javad Heydarian Asia Times One week after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s historic visit to the Philippines and domestic opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s engagement policy towards Beijing is on the boil again in Manila. The nationalistic criticism has flared up periodically during Duterte’s two-years in office and underscores the structural challenges ahead for Philippine-China ... Read More »

Even a ‘Diplomat’s Diplomat’ Can’t Solve Syria’s Civil War

The United Nations’ Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura, is stepping down. Is there any role left for the international community to play in ending Syria’s slaughter? David Kenner The Atlantic BEIRUT—If the only thing you knew about Syria was UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura’s briefing to the Security Council this month, you might assume dramatic events were afoot. There had been an important meeting in Istanbul, he said, while equally vital summits in Astana, Kazakhstan, and of the G-20 countries in ... Read More »

Life Under Gang Rule in El Salvador

Over the last three years, gang violence has killed nearly 20,000 people in El Salvador, propelling tens of thousands northward in search of safety. ICG With U.S. help, the Salvadoran government should try to counter gangs with crime prevention as much as with law enforcement. Nearly 20,000 Salvadorans were killed from 2014 to 2017. That’s more violent deaths than in several countries that were at war during those years, such as Libya, Somalia and Ukraine. The murder rate – an ... Read More »

Ukraine imposes martial law after Russia seizes naval ships

Seizure of Ukrainian military boats marks ‘a new stage of aggression’, says president The Irish Times Ukraine on Monday imposed martial law for 30 days in parts of the country most vulnerable to an attack from Russia after president Petro Poroshenkowarned of the “extremely serious” threat of a land invasion. Mr Poroshenko said martial law was necessary to bolster Ukraine’s defences after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval ships and took their crews prisoner at the weekend. Parliament approved the introduction of martial law after ... Read More »

E.U. Leaders and U.K. Agree on Brexit Divorce Terms

BRUSSELS — More than four decades after Britain tied itself to its Continental neighbors, Prime Minister Theresa May obtained the approval of the other 27 European Union members on a… By Stephen Castle and Steven Erlanger The New York Times The journey has been long and tortuous for both sides, and the drama is hardly over. Mrs. May must still get approval for the deal — a dense, legally binding divorce settlement and a… Since Britons voted in 2016 to ... Read More »

EU leaders have endorsed Brexit deal at summit in Brussels

Leaders met to agree text of UK Brexit deal and political declaration on the future relationship between the EU and UK Patrick Smyth The Irish Times European Union leaders formally agreed a Brexit deal at a Brussels summit on Sunday morning, urging Britons to back British Prime Minister Theresa May’s package, which faces furious opposition in the… The 27 leaders took barely half an hour to rubber-stamp a 600-page treaty setting terms for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union on March 29th and a 26-page ... Read More »

Brexit: Emmanuel Macron in EU customs union threat to Scottish fishing

Emmanuel Macron has put fishing at the heart of a fresh row over the future trade with the EU by threatening to keep the UK inside the customs union unless European fishermen keep the same rights in British waters after Brexit. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The French President said that unless a new fishing agreement is agreed by the end of 2020, maintaining reciprocal access to waters and imposing the same quotas as today, he would seek to trigger the ... Read More »

The anti-Brexiters can get by without a leader. But not without a plan

As the chances of securing a people’s vote increase, the campaign needs to address the discontents of those who voted to leave the first time Andrew Rawnsley The Guardian If there were another Brexit referendum, who should lead the campaign to stay within the European Union? Pop this question to a prominent politician on the Remain side and you sometimes get the response, usually after a faux modest pause, that maybe the best face of the cause would be the person ... Read More »

Tensions Flare as Ukraine Says Russia Fired on Its Ships

Tensions escalated late Sunday as Ukraine accused Russia of attacking its navy near Crimea. By Aliaksandr Kudrytski , Daryna Krasnolutska , and Ilya Arkhipov Bloomberg Russian warships opened fire on a group of Ukrainian military vessels that had previously tried to enter the Kerch Strait near the disputed peninsula, Ukraine’s Navy said on Facebook. Two men were wounded as the Russians “fired to kill,” according to the statement. Ukraine said three of its ships were captured. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency cabinet meeting ... Read More »