Diplomacy

ExxonMobil makes biggest natural gas discovery in two years off the coast of Cyprus

ATHENS- Exxon Mobil announced on Thursday that it has made the world’s third-biggest natural gas discovery in two years off the coast of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean at the Glaucus-1 well. Nasos Koukakis CNBC The region is already know for some of the world’s largest such discoveries. It wants to become an alternative energy source for Europe. Based on preliminary interpretation of the well data, the discovery could represent a natural gas resource of approximately 5 trillion to 8 ... Read More »

Gold and Grief in Venezuela’s Violent South

Across swathes of southern Venezuela, army units, Colombian guerrillas and crime syndicates jostle for control over gold mines funnelling hard currency to President Nicolás Maduro’s government. ICG Outside powers should stop considering military intervention and instead help broker a peaceful transition in Venezuela, lest chaos ensue. What’s new? Venezuelan crime syndicates and Colombian guerrilla groups are creating new threats across southern Venezuela as they compete for control of the region’s valuable mineral resources. Tensions and violence have spiked in recent ... Read More »

India says many militants killed in Kashmir retaliation strike

India said Feb. 26 its warplanes launched a strike on a militant camp that killed a “very large” number of fighters preparing an attack, in a move that worsens tensions with arch-rival Pakistan over disputed Kashmir. NEW DELHI – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Pakistan’s military earlier announced Indian jets had crossed into its airspace over the ceasefire line in the Himalayan region and dropped payloads, although it said there were no casualties. The escalation comes in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed ... Read More »

Bashir Moves Sudan to Dangerous New Ground

Faced with the most serious protests against his 30-year rule, President Omar al-Bashir’s declaration of a state of emergency will not save his bankrupt, unpopular regime. ICG Instead, security forces must halt worsening violence, Bashir should step down and all sides should work on a broadly inclusive transitional government. President Omar al-Bashir’s address to the nation on the evening of 22 February attempted to defuse the crisis that has engulfed his administration in the longest wave of protests in decades. ... Read More »

Turkey’s Lack of Vision in Syria

Ankara’s scare tactics in Afrin and state building in Azaz highlight Turkey’s continued attempts to inhibit Kurdish expansion, yet neither approach is sustainable. Ferhat Gurini Carnegie While all eyes have been fixed on Ankara’s plans in Manbij, Turkey’s creation of a buffer territory farther west of the Euphrates since 2016 has largely gone unnoticed. Turkey has taken a two-pronged approach to the areas it currently holds in northern Syria. In the northwestern areas captured under Operation Olive Branch, such as ... Read More »

UN court rejects UK’s claim of sovereignty over Chagos Islands

Judges advise Britain that separating archipelago from Mauritius in 1960s was wrong Owen Bowcott The Guardian The UK has been ordered to hand back the Chagos Islands to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible” after the United Nations’ highest court ruled that continued British occupation of the remote Indian Ocean archipelago is illegal. Although the majority decision by the international court of justice in The Hague is only advisory, the unambiguous clarity of the judges’ pronouncement is a humiliating blow to Britain’s prestige ... Read More »

Eamonn McCann: Why Chagos Islanders should be hailed as heroes

UN court finding may open the way for Chagos Islanders’ to return home The Irish Times In The Hague last month, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration found that the United Kingdom’s declaration in 2010 of a Marine Protection Area around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean was illegal. The decision endorsed the claim of the government of Mauritius that the UK did not have jurisdiction to make rulings relating to the status of the area. The finding ... Read More »

At the Hanoi summit, Trump and Kim Jong Un may declare the Korean War over. Does it still matter?

The signing took all of 10 minutes. Neither man uttered a word as they inked nine documents agreeing to halt more than three years of brutal fighting. Victoria Kim Los Angeles Times When it was done, the American and North Korean generals exchanged one long, cold stare before leaving the room. It was July 1953. U.S. 8th Army commander Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor reminded reporters the war wasn’t yet over. The cease-fire agreement was “just a suspension of hostilities, which ... Read More »

Ukraine’s crisis of faith

The Kiev-Kremlin conflict catalyzes a religious schism centuries in the making. Christopher Miller Politico VORSIVKA, Ukraine — For years, Father Vasily spent his Sundays behind the altar at St. Nicholas, a church in the small town of Vorsivka, in north-central Ukraine. That all changed in early January, not long after the Ukrainian Orthodox Church officially split from the Moscow-based Russian Orthodox Church in one of the biggest schisms in Christian history. That’s when the village faithful held a vote to decide whether their ... Read More »

All Eyes on Tangible Results from U.S.-North Korea Summit

The North Korean and U.S. leaders enter their second summit under pressure to achieve concrete progress toward their respective goals, sanctions relief and denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Crisis Group senior adviser Chris Green suggests risk reduction measures each side can take. What has happened since the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore? At the conclusion of the Singapore summit last June, the U.S. and North Korea issued a statement calling for a new bilateral relationship, a stable peninsular peace ... Read More »

Lessons from the Syrian State’s Return to the South

Russian mediation helped reduce bloodshed during the Assad regime’s reconquest of southern Syria. ICG But for similar arrangements to work in remaining rebel strongholds, better security guarantees by outside powers are needed to prevent regime reprisals, improve aid flows and, down the road, facilitate refugee return. What’s new? When the Syrian regime retook the south from rebels in mid-2018, Russian mediation limited the violence. Six months later, security and living conditions remain precarious; the regime has re-established authoritarian rule; and ... Read More »

The Conflict of Fener and Moscow Patriarchs about Church of Ukraine

Significant developments happened in the Orthodox world in the last autumn of last year. Arif Asalioglu POLITURCO Metropolitan Epifaniy, the Archbishop of the Independent Church of Ukraine established in Kiev, and his accompanying committee arrived in Istanbul in order to receive the “Tomos”, which recognizes the independence of the Church, from the Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomeos. Ceremonies, which were also attended by the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, were held for the occasion. And in those ceremonies, Ukraine officially obtained an ... Read More »

No-deal Brexit throws up really big calls on jobs, the rural economy and peace

Cliff Taylor: Government would need to embark on a major programme of assistance for the companies affected The Irish Times The Omnibus Bill on Brexit, published yesterday, is an important piece of work to prepare for a no-deal Brexit. But the big decisions lie elsewhere. How do we support the sectors worst hit? And what about the Border? There is an almost irresistible temptation among the political classes to reassure us that everything is ready, and it will all be alright ... Read More »

Are Freedom of Navigation Operations in East Asia Enough?

Are periodic cruises through waters where a coastal state claims rights and prerogatives beyond those codified by treaty enough to safeguard maritime freedom? James Holmes The National Interest The question is a hardy perennial among those who hold forth about maritime strategy in Asia: are “freedom of navigation” operations enough? Are periodic cruises through waters where a coastal state claims rights and prerogatives beyond those codified by treaty enough to safeguard maritime freedom? Answer: freedom-of-navigation operations are necessary but not ... Read More »

Saudi crown prince defends China’s use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman turned a blind eye to the plight of China’s Uighur Muslims when he met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. 22. ANKARA – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The Uighur community both inside and outside China had expected bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, to raise the issue of China’s human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs. Instead, he… “We respect and support China’s right to take ... Read More »

Georgian leader revives French connection

Salomé Zourabichvili aims to bring country closer to EU and NATO, with help from her past life. Rym Momtaz Politico PARIS — Goodwill only gets you so far — even if you used to represent a country you’re asking for help. That’s the reality Georgia’s new President Salomé Zourabichvili had to contend with this week as the former French diplomat visited Paris to seek closer ties with the EU and NATO. Zourabichvili met President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday at the Elysée ... Read More »