Diplomacy

How to Avoid an ISIS 2.0 in Iraq

Washington and Baghdad have a golden opportunity, but it is slipping away. Michael O’Hanlon Sara Allawi With Mosul and other key cities now liberated from the horrible scourge of ISIS, Iraq stands at a crucial crossroads. The National Interest Iraqis and Americans have squandered historic opportunities to build a new, stable and prosperous country together before. We must not let that happen again. The key danger, as before, is this: extremism combined with sectarianism build on each other in a vicious ... Read More »

5 Points On The Cleric Targeted In Mike Flynn’s Shady Dealings With Turkey

The focus of former national security adviser Mike Flynn’s tangle of business dealings with Turkey is one man: Fethullah Gulen, an ailing septuagenarian Muslim cleric who lives in a Pennsylvania compound. Allegra Kirkland Talking Points Memo Plenty of ink has been spilled about the hundreds of thousands of dollars Flynn received to produce negative PR materials about Gulen and about Flynn’s alleged discussions with Turkish officials about forcibly removing him from the U.S. What’s received less attention is why Turkey would ... Read More »

Cambodia faces int’l action after opposition party ban

The United States promised “concrete steps” against Cambodia and the European Union raised a threat to vital trade preferences after the main opposition party was banned ahead of elections. PHNOM PENH – Reuters Hurriyet The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) was dissolved by the Supreme Court on Nov. 16 at the request of the government of Prime Minister Hun Sen, whose rule of more than three decades faces a major challenge at next year’s general election. The ban on the ... Read More »

The evolution of Turkish-Russian relations

The past decade has seen considerable change in Russia’s Middle East policy, with greater involvement in regional crises and engagement in good relations with key countries and non-state actors. Sinem Cengiz Arab News Russia’s policy at times converges with Turkey’s, and at other times challenges it. Turkish-Russian relations have survived several crises, the most severe being in November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian jet along its border with Syria. Neither Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan nor his Russian ... Read More »

Why Did Israel Support the Kurdish Referendum?

An independent Kurdistan would have created the possibility for Israel to reap a major strategic advantage: a well-positioned ally. Ari Heistein  The National Interest Israel was alone in its support for the Iraqi Kurdish referendum in September, and it has since become evident that KRG President Masoud Barzani miscalculated in deciding to hold the vote then. The Kurds overestimated both U.S. support for their independence movement and their own internal solidarity, while simultaneously underestimating the intensity and the near unanimity of the… ... Read More »

I’m not a ‘Brexit mutineer’. I’m proud to fight for democracy

Dressed up in the Telegraph as the ‘will of the people’, the attempt to strong-arm me and my Tory colleagues is shoddy journalism – and it won’t work Bob Neill is Conservative MP for Bromley and Chislehurst The Guardian The Telegraph’s front page on Wednesday branded me, along with 14 of my Conservative colleagues, a “Brexit mutineer”. No matter how much they seek to strong-arm politicians, business leaders and the judiciary to conform to their narrow ideological agenda, this sort ... Read More »

Erdoğan’s Kurdish Gambit

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan perceives the Kurdish belt along Turkey’s Syrian and Iraqi borders as the country’s top security threat, and has recalibrated his policies accordingly. Burak Bekdil But he has a Kurdish constituency inside Turkey and will need their votes in 2019. BESA During the upcoming presidential campaign, Erdoğan will have to find a miracle equilibrium: how to win Kurdish votes without losing nationalist Turkish votes? In 2015, soon after the Turkish people went to the ballot box, ... Read More »

Open Letter to Theresa May

OPEN LETTER The Rt Honourable Prime Minister Theresa May MP 10 Downing Street London SW1A 2AA 15 November 2017 Dear Prime Minister Your speech in London on 13 November 2017 I have read with interest the transcript of your meaningful and timely speech which was delivered on 13 November 2017 to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London. I agree with you that the United Kingdom has the capability to overcome the difficulties and challenges ahead not only due to the Brexit ... Read More »

Standoff in Zimbabwe as Struggle to Succeed Mugabe Deepens

President Robert Mugabe plunged Zimbabwe into political crisis by firing his long-time ally and enforcer Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa on 6 November 2017. In this Q&A prior to an apparent army coup in Mnangagwa’s favour on 14-15 November, Crisis Group’s Senior Southern Africa Consultant Piers Pigou gives the background to the struggle to succeed the 93-year-old… Piers Pigou This Q&A on the background to Zimbabwe’s political crisis of November 2017 was published just before an apparent army coup on the ... Read More »

Fintan O’Toole: Brexit means we are bordering on the absurd

The UK’s move may result in a return to the pointless rituals of inspection at the Border Fintan O’Toole In 1962, the Ulster poet John Hewitt published a short poem called The Frontier. The Irish Times It is ostensibly about crossing the Alps between France and Switzerland but, of course, not really. Hewitt’s reflection on the absurdity of border-crossings is inevitably resonant of more insular experiences. The train he is on stops and “small men in uniform drift down the corridor, thumb ... Read More »

EU countries sign key defense pact

The EU took a step towards closer defense ties yesterday, with 23 states signing a landmark pact aiming to boost cooperation after Brexit and as Russia flexes its muscles to the east. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The permanent structured cooperation on defense agreement (PESCO) seeks to improve EU coordination on defense and weapons systems development. It is part of efforts led by Germany and France to reboot the European Union after Britain’s shock decision to quit and follows the ... Read More »

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... Read More »

Turkey’s Africa Presence

In Somalia this past September, Turkey opened its first military base on the African continent. Over the past ten years, Turkey has expanded its presence in Africa, establishing 36 embassies and major trade links. VoA Turkey has a long history with North African countries, says David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. In 2016, Turkey had more than $10 billion in trade with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Now Turkey is expanding into African countries ... Read More »

Is US naval assertion in the South China Sea legal?

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

Are US naval assertions in the South China Sea necessary?

US freedom of navigation operations in the Spratly Islands are pre-emptive challenges to China’s potential claims and thus are beyond normal international practice Mark J. Valencia Asia Times  On October 10, the US Navy carried out yet another freedom of navigation operation (FONOP) against China’s claims in the South China Sea. The USS Chafee, a US Navy Arleigh Burke Class guided missile destroyer, conducted what the Pentagon said were “normal maneuvering operations” in China’s claimed 12 nautical mile territorial sea ... Read More »

UN slams Australia’s human rights record

Last night, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its recommendationsfrom its review of Australia’s compliance with a key human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Anna Cody  Maria Nawaz The committee harshly criticised Australia for failures in key areas. The Conversation These included the treatment of refugees, Indigenous rights and inadequate protection of human rights, including the lack of a national human rights act. What is the UN Human Rights Committee? This is the treaty body for the… UN slams Australia’s… Read More »