Diplomacy

A Dangerous Gulf in the Horn: How the Inter-Arab Crisis is Fuelling Regional Tensions

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The Gulf crisis and the scramble for military outposts in the Horn of Africa are exacerbating regional tensions that risk triggering a conflict. Rashid Abdi ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director Rashid Abdi untangles the complex web of relations that tie the Horn and the Gulf. How has the Gulf crisis affected security and stability in the Horn? The Gulf and the Horn are intricately intertwined regions that face common threats and vulnerabilities: armed conflict, ... Read More »

Can Boris Johnson deliver on his colossal naval expectations?

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Boris Johnson’s ebullient pronouncements last week on a future Royal Navy freedom of navigation ‘operation’ in the Indo-Pacific region have attracted attention, but also criticism. Euan Graham Interpreter At the press conference following the “2+2” meeting of Australian/UK defence and foreign ministers (AUKMIN), on 27 July, Mr Johnson initially said this: ‘One of the first things we will do with the two new colossal aircraft carriers that we have just built is send them on a freedom of navigation operation ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis at the Crossroads

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Since October 2016, protests and strikes related to sectoral demands have escalated into a crisis over the economic and political marginalisation of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority. ICG Although the government has made some concessions, it must rebuild mutual trust with Anglophone actors in order to avoid instability ahead of the 2018 general elections. Executive Summary The Anglophones of Cameroon, 20 per cent of the population, feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral ... Read More »

Why is Turkey buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system?

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Why is Turkey buying the Russian S-400 missile defence system? TRT World and agencies Ali Topchi Turkey, which boasts the second-largest army in NATO, announced last week, on Tuesday, it had inked a deal to buy an S-400 (NATO version SA-21 Growler) missile defence system for $2-3 billion from Russia. The deal led NATO members to question Turkey’s move and what it means for their alliance with NATO. The parties did not share the details of the S-400 agreement due to its… Why is Turkey… Read More »

North Korea’s new ICBMs change little about threat to the US

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Pyongyang’s development of a missile capable of reaching most of the continental US is not a game-changer that everyday citizens should worry about. ROBERT E. MCCOY Asia Times North Korea’s launch of an ICBM (inter-continental ballistic missile) in early July, followed by another even longer-range missile 24 days later, has generated a lot of buzz. While the detailed analyses of those launches have yet to be published, we do know that both missiles are clearly of a class whose range is at least 3,400 ... Read More »

Essential Guide to Kenya’s High Stakes Election on 8 August

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Kenya’s 8 August elections are rapidly approaching and concerns continue to mount over the prospect of electoral violence. Murithi Mutiga ICG In this Q&A, Senior Kenya Analyst Murithi Mutiga looks at what is at stake and assesses efforts to prevent another violent fallout from the balloting. Kenya is scheduled to hold a general election on 8 August. The vote comes ten years after a disputed presidential poll brought the key East African country to the brink of civil war. Hundreds ... Read More »

Germany Urges EU Retaliation Over US Sanctions on Russia

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Economy Minister: US Sanctions a Violation of International Law In comments today, German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries declared the latest round of US sanctions against Russia a violation of international law, pushing for the European Union to retaliate against the US to protect its economic interests. Jason Ditz Antiwar Several European nations, but particularly Germany, have been concerned with the wording of the latest US sanctions, which intend to target foreign investment in Russia’s energy industry. Germany, and indeed much ... Read More »

The Week Donald Trump Lost the South China Sea

HONG KONG - JULY 07:  China's first aircraft carrier Liaoning aircraft carrier arrives on July 7, 2017 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, made a five-day port call in Hong Kong over the weekend to mark its 20th anniversary of the city's handover to Chinese rule. The military allowed 2,000 Hong Kongers aboard the only in-operation aircraft carrier of China for the first time as its been reported the presence of the carrier is a show of military force in Hong Kong, days after China President Xi Jinping warned the city against independence forces.  (Photo by Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Vietnam’s capitulation shows China’s neighbors fear the U.S. no longer has their backs Bill Hayton Foreign Policy Vietnam’s history is full of heroic tales of resistance to China. But this month Hanoi bent the knee to Beijing, humiliated in a contest over who controls the South China Sea, the most disputed waterway in the world. Hanoi has been looking to Washington for implicit backing to see off Beijing’s threats. At the same time, the Trump administration demonstrated that it either ... Read More »

How Libya’s Fezzan Became Europe’s New Border

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The principal gateway into Europe for refugees and migrants runs through the power vacuum in southern Libya’s Fezzan region. ICG Any effort by European policymakers to stabilise Fezzan must be part of a national-level strategy aimed at developing Libya’s licit economy and reaching political normalisation. Executive Summary European policymakers increasingly are looking at the Fezzan, Libya’s vast and scarcely populated south west, as their frontier against sub-Saharan African migrants and refugees traveling the Central Mediterranean route to Europe. In 2016, ... Read More »

Brexit: Race to host EU agencies relocated from London

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EU countries have until midnight to submit bids to provide a new home for two agencies that will be relocated from the UK after Brexit. BBC The European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA), based in Canary Wharf in London, employ just over 1,000 staff between them. The banking and medicines agencies are seen as the first spoils of Brexit by the 27 remaining members of the EU. About 20 countries are expected to enter the bidding process. ... Read More »

Fossil Fuels Are Powering Trump’s Foreign Policy

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The president is remarkably consistent when it comes to pushing coal, oil, and gas on foreign leaders. Michael T. Klare The Nation Who says President Trump doesn’t have a coherent foreign policy? Pundits and critics across the political spectrum have chided him for failing to articulate and implement a clear international agenda. Look closely at his overseas endeavors, though, and one all-too-consistent pattern emerges: Donald Trump will do whatever it takes to prolong the reign of fossil fuels by sabotaging ... Read More »

Chinese spy ships: The devil in the detail

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Recent posts in The Interpreter (by Iain Henry, Euan Graham and James Goldrick) have commented on the presence of a Chinese intelligence-gathering ship off the Queensland Coast during Exercise Talisman Sabre. Sam Bateman The Interpreter All these posts are broadly correct – the incident suggested Chinese hypocrisy with its objections to foreign military activities in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), specifically its objections to American surveillance and intelligence-collection in its EEZ. However, we need to be careful in making assessments ... Read More »

US Senate looks to have ended Trump’s honeymoon with Russia

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Russia’s tit-for-tat retaliation against Senate vote to impose new sanctions on Moscow may herald the beginning of a new downward spiral in relations. Arshad Mohammed Reuters Asia Times Russian President Vladimir Putin tossed President-elect Donald Trump a bouquet in December when he chose not to retaliate over the US expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic compounds. The honeymoon is over. Russia’s tit-for-tat decision now to expel hundreds of US diplomats and seize two US compounds may be ... Read More »

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Gulf crisis

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently embarked on a two-day trip to the Gulf, in the latest international effort to help resolve the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and the… Sinem Cengiz Arab News The trip included Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both actors in the crisis, as well as Kuwait, the main mediator, whose role is difficult and should be appreciated. The good, the… Read More »

Sri Lanka signs Hambantota port deal with China

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Billion-dollar agreement reached despite trade union opposition and protests over security fears, including from India. Al Jazeera and news agencies<imgheight=”1″width=”1″style=”display:none”src=”https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=968100353246427&ev=PageView&noscript=1″/> Sri Lanka has signed a $1.12bn agreement with a state-run Chinese firm to operate a port in the southeast of the country, despite security concerns and protests from trade unions. According to the long-delayed deal reached in the capital Colombo on Saturday, Sri Lanka Ports Authority agreed to sellΒ a 70 percent stake in the Hambantota port to China Merchants Ports ... Read More »

Iran’s Newest Benefactor: China

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Is Iran becoming a Chinese proxy? More than two years after Secretary of State John Kerry and his European Union counterpart Federica Mogherini acquiesced to the last Iranian demands and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has the… MICHAEL RUBIN Commentary Iran’s ballistic missile program continues to expand rapidly. Yesterday, Iran inaugurated its new launch facility by sending a rocket into low earth orbit. The same technology could be used to launch an intercontinental ballistic… Iran’s Newest Benefactor… Read More »