Features

ISIS Returnees Bring Both Hope and Fear to Chechnya

The return of ISIS fighters to Chechnya could pose a security challenge for the war-torn Russian republic. The authorities may respond true to form, with repression, but efforts to repatriate women and children stranded in Syria and, in some cases, to reintegrate foreign fighters should not be discounted. Anna Arutunyan ICG The victories over ISIS in Mosul and Raqqa pose a dilemma for states whose citizens travelled to join the Islamic State’s (ISIS) ranks and who may now seek to return ... Read More »

Palestinian refugees lament as Trump funding cuts create job insecurity and a pension crisis

The livelihoods and long-term futures of thousands of Palestinian refugee families across Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Gaza and the West Bank are at risk due to Donald Trump’s catastrophic decision to cut the American donation to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh The Conversation The US president’s decision to contribute only US$60m to UNRWA in 2018 – instead of US$125m – has been widely denounced as a brutal form of collective punishment for the Palestinian ... Read More »

Truth, Power, and the Academy: A Response to Hal Brands

Academic expertise should guide U.S. foreign policy. Unfortunately, it does not really work that way. John Glaser War On The Rocks On a host of issues, there is an enormous gap between scholarship on international relations and the policy consensus in Washington. The United States persistently pursues foreign strategies that run contrary to the policy implications of the academic consensus. And on questions that are hotly debated in academia, Washington displays inviolable bipartisan unity. Hal Brands addressed the gap in ... Read More »

14 EU states announce mass co-ordinated expulsion of Russian diplomats over Skripal case

Fourteen members of the EU have decided to expel Russian diplomats over the Sergei Skripal case, European Council president Donald Tusk has confirmed. RT It comes despite zero evidence proving that Moscow was responsible. Donald Tusk stated that further action could be taken. Germany, France and Poland have expelled four diplomats each, respective foreign ministries confirmed on Monday. The Netherlands and Denmark will expel two diplomats each, their foreign ministries said. Italy is expelling two Russian diplomats, while Lithuania has ... Read More »

Australia’s real leadership failures are in politics, not cricket

Where’s the national outrage over a terrified boy being abandoned to violent despair by our political leaders? Van Badham The Guardian Australian cricketer Cameron Bancroft has been caught on video shoving some yellow sticky tape into his underpants. Fortunately – or unfortunately – there was a cricket match in play at the time. The image of him shoving sticky tape into his underpants was broadcast live to the crowd at the Newlands ground in South Africa, and they booed. “I ... Read More »

3 years of Yemen bloodbath marked by US & UK arms deals with Saudis

Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen turns three, with no end to the bloodshed in sight. RT Riyadh’s ‘modernizer crown prince’ just got plenty of new weapons from US and Britain for the occasion. It’s quite ironic that one of the biggest humanitarian disasters of our time stems from the events that were hailed in the West as a sign of great progress in the Arab world. The people have had enough, they are throwing down dictators and demanding political ... Read More »

Everyday heroes compelled to break the law when government fails to protect us

What does it say about the state of our democracy when it falls upon everyday people to stop a billionaire building the largest coal mine in the southern hemisphere? Julian Burnside * The Sydney Morning Herald And what does it say about our politicians that they will let Adani’s mine proceed when the vast majority of Australians don’t want it, and scientists are urging us to keep coal in the ground to avoid more dangerous climate change? This month, nine ... Read More »

Sweden’s Örebro City Council: “End the invasion of Afrin”

Örebro city mayor and municipal commissioners condemned the Turkish state bombings and invasion and stated that they stand in solidarity with the people of Afrin and YPG/YPJ forces. ANF Örebro City Council administrators from various political parties came together to condemn Turkey’s bombings and invasion in Afrin, standing next to each other with signs that read “AFRIN”, and read a… Mayor of Örebro Kenneth Nilsson from the Social Democratic Workers’ Party and municipal commissioners Murad Artin from the Left Party, ... Read More »

Big coal no more

The industry once ruled Europe. Now it’s struggling to survive. Sara Stefanini Politico The coal lobby used to be a Brussels power player. No more. Euracoal’s staff peaked in the 1970s. The 60-year-old industry association was a force to be reckoned with as it lobbied hard for the fuel that had powered Europe’s industrial revolution and was still a crucial part of its energy mix. Today, Euracoal has just three staffers, and this year the organization left its old spacious offices ... Read More »

Will the Putin-Xi era supersede the Western liberal (dis)order?

Perhaps a Confucian path would be the right direction toward Eurasian integration Pepe Escobar Asia Times The Chinese constitutional amendment allowing Xi Jinping the possibility of further presidential terms — staying in power long enough to bring “national rejuvenation” combined with the Russian election re-confirming Vladimir Putin in the presidency have assured consistency and continuity for the Russia-China strategic partnership way into the… This will facilitate the interaction between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and… Will the Putin… Read More »

Nicola Sturgeon: Scots government have ‘no power’ to stop Catalan arrest

Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot intervene to stop the arrest of a Catalan leader in Scotland who is now subject of a European Arrest warrant. The Scotsman Police Scotland are seeking to arrest Clara Ponsati, who was the education minister in the Catalan government, after she returned to work at St Andrews University. It follows a European Arrest warrant being issued against her last week. The exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has already been arrested in Germany as the ... Read More »

Turkey still in talks to buy US Patriot missiles

Turkish foreign undersecretary also set to visit Washington, perhaps next week, as part of bilateral working groups. Al Jazeera Turkey has said that it is continuing talks with the US over buying Patriot missile systems, while trying to iron out a number of issues between the two NATO allies. “I can say that our discussions with the US regarding Patriot missile system are continuing,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy told a news conference in the capital Ankara, while discussing NATO-integrated defence ... Read More »

Why I’m taking the fight for teenage girls worldwide to Canberra today

Today, I will walk into Parliament House on a mission. I want to change the lives of half a billion teenage girls and young women like me. Courtney Green Brisbane Times Australia’s foreign policy and aid budgets are lacking any representation or commitment to girls and so it’s only fitting that it’s a girl who changes that. I am no stranger to overcoming the challenges that are presented to me because of my gender. I use my activism to close ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia opens airspace to Israel for first time ever for Air India flight bound for Tel Aviv

‘You know, they said the Saudis wouldn’t let any flight pass. So here, the Saudis are permitting it. It is a process, I think’ Alexander Cornwell and Ari Rabinovitch The Independent Saudi Arabia opened its airspace for the first time to a commercial flight to Israel with the inauguration of an Air India route between New Delhi and Tel Aviv. Flight 139 landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport after a seven-and-a-half hour journey, marking a diplomatic shift for Riyadh that Israel says was fuelled by shared concern over Iranian influence in ... Read More »

Taking Offense at the Opera

‘Turandot’ is musically irresistible, but can it survive today’s cultural sensitivities? Nicholas M. Gallagher The Weekly Standard When French president (then-candidate) Emmanuel Macron waxed lyrical about his passion for the composer Gioachino Rossini in spring 2017, the transatlantic chattering classes gushed in admiration (and… But when British foreign minister Boris Johnson was caught on a hot mic a few months later quoting Rudyard Kipling’s imperial-era poem “Mandalay” on a trip to Myanmar, the reaction was swift, sharp, and negative. Not ... Read More »

Yazidi Massacre in Afrin: Children Killed, Villages Bombed, Temples Destroyed

Yazidis, a historically persecuted non-Muslim people in the Middle East, are yet again fleeing for their lives — this time from Turkey-backed jihadists invading Afrin in northern Syria. Uzay Tulut The Christian Post Murad Ismael, executive director of Yazda, a relief organization for Yazidi victims of genocide, has alerted the world to the deadly threat posed by Turkish airstrikes many times on his social media accounts and… “We are evaluating what to do when the [whole] city falls, including an option to ask ... Read More »