Diplomacy

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

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.

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

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 »

Norwegian PM to UK: Why would you want our EU deal?

‘It’s quite frustrating to find the way through and find solutions’ for Brexit, the prime minister added. By ANCA GURZU AND JAMES RANDERSON Politico The prime minister of Norway asked why the U.K. would want a relationship with the EU that’s similar to the one her country has with the bloc. Supporters of a soft Brexit often cite a version of the “Norway model” — with close regulatory alignment with Brussels and membership of the single market — as a less economically damaging ... Read More »

‘Brussels is SPINNING out the talks’ Ministers urged to UNITE to stop EU ‘wasting time’

BRITISH Cabinet members arguing over the Government’s Brexit position should “come together” to keep the European Union from delaying withdrawal talks with the UK, think tank director Henry Newman said. Aurora Bosotti Express Mr Newman suggested arguments between Cabinet members over the Government’s Brexit position do not help securing a beneficial deal from the European Union. Theresa May has been facing increasing pressure from both Remainers and Brexiteers because of the proposals for the future trade relationship with the bloc she presented. Brexiteers ... Read More »

How Istanbul’s man-made canal project could trigger an arms race in the Black Sea – and why China is watching closely

The Kanal Istanbul project will not be subject to the international treaty that limits the access of warships to the strategically pivotal waters in central Europe Helene Franchineau South China Morning Post In the conservative Istanbul neighbourhood of Üsküdar, couples sit near the July 15 Martyrs bridge and sip cups of tea as oil tankers and cargo ships pass. The sight is common for the city’s residents: every day about 115 vessels cross the Bosphorus Strait. Accidents can happen in ... Read More »

7 Reasons US Should Not Ratify UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

President Donald Trump recently proclaimed June 2018 to be National Ocean Month and stated his support for better utilizing the vast resources contained in America’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the 200-nautical mile zone off U.S. coasts over which the U.S. has jurisdiction.j Authors: The Daily Signal There are now sure to be renewed calls for the United States to accede to the United Nations’ Convention on the Law of the Sea—also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty—as a useful ... Read More »

US disregards Beijing’s nonsense, says it can take down South China Sea islands

The US issued a stark warning to Beijing on Thursday, as Chinese militarization of the South China Sea creates a potential flashpoint in a longstanding battle for control of the Pacific. Alex Lockie Business Insider For years, Beijing has dredged the South China Sea to build artificial islands in waters it claims as its territory. Six of China’s neighbors also lay claim to conflicting patches of the South China Sea. The body of water is home to natural resources, and ... Read More »

Ex-Israeli spy chief: Netanyahu planned Iran strike in 2011

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave the order in 2011 for the military to prepare to attack Iran within 15 days, a former Mossad chief said in remarks released on Thursday. Jerusalem (AP) Hurriyet Tamir Pardo, who served as head of the Israeli intelligence agency from 2011 to 2016, told Israeli Keshet TV’s investigative show Uvda that the order was not given “for the sake of a drill,” according to excerpts of the interview released ahead of the broadcast on Thursday evening. “When he ... Read More »

The U.S. to bar sale of fighter aircraft to Turkey

During the debates on the draft National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA), both chambers of the US Congress took parallel initiatives to bar the delivery of F-35 advanced fighter aircraft to Turkey. Yaşar Yakış Ahval In the Senate Armed Services Committee, Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Senator Thom Tillis submitted an amendment asking the secretary of defence to prepare a plan to exclude Turkey from the F-35 programme. Tillis said the amendment was proposed as a reaction to Turkey’s detention ... Read More »

Misery as Strategy: The Human Cost of Conflict

In conflicts across the world, levels of displacement and hunger are increasing. The tactics used by leaders, governments and non-state armed groups have much to do with that misery. Caroline Flintoft ICG From Syria to Yemen, from South Sudan to Venezuela, war and political crisis are causing human anguish on a scale unseen in a generation. That conflict and crisis take a high human toll is hardly new, of course. Yet the scope of suffering today is striking. The number ... Read More »

The shriveling ally

Only yesterday, Turkey was considered a candidate for membership in the European Union, a reliable friend of the West. The Washington Times Turkey was reasonably modern, forward looking, and Western oriented. Turkey was already a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and membership in the EU would only cement its alliance with the West. Alas, over the past several years Turkey has devolved from something unique to something close to just another depressing redoubt of Middle Eastern despotism. Recep ... Read More »

Accountability is key to building trust in Australia’s intelligence community

Intelligence doesn’t have to be, and rarely is, James Bond-esque. Indeed, 007 is the world’s worst spy: everyone knows who he is, meaning he is compromised, exposed and susceptible to blackmail before he… Daniel Baldino The Conversation But the September 11, 2001, terror attacks, and the all-encompassing “war on terror” that followed, did have a major transformative impact on the handling of secrecy and surveillance activities in… One impact has been the growth of executive authority in national security. This ... Read More »

Turkey-Israel Tension: What Does President Erdogan Want to Achieve?

Turkey’s relations with Israel are determined, in no small part, by Ankara’s relations with other power blocs, its domestic and broader foreign policy. Guney Yildiz Valdai The roots of Ankara’s May 14th decision to recall its ambassadors to Washington and Tel Aviv shouldn’t therefore solely be sought in US President Donald Trump’s decision to relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem or alternatively the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli Defence Forces at the Gaza border. The Turkish government’s ... Read More »

Nuclear Weapons: Pakistan’s National Security Assets

In the 1970s, the then prime minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, famously declaredthat, “We will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will have our own,” while referring to the attainment of nuclear weapons. Usman Ali Khan ModernDiplomacy Forty years after that declaration, we attained this capability by ensuring the neighbors that national security would not be compromised. In late May of 1998, Pakistan revealed its nuclear capability by conducting six nuclear tests, a move necessitated by the India’s nuclear tests ... Read More »

Operator of world’s top internet hub sues German spy agency

The operator of the world’s largest internet hub challenged the legality of sweeping telecoms surveillance by Germany’s spy agency, a German court heard on May 30. Berlin Hurriyet The BND foreign intelligence service has long tapped international data flows through the De-Cix exchange based in the German city of Frankfurt. But the operator argues the agency is breaking the law by also capturing German domestic communications. “We have grave doubts about the legality of the current practice,” said a statement Wednesday on the website of De-Cix Management GmbH, ... Read More »