Politics

Russia quietly begins building third military base in Syria

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Moscow plans to oversee new ‘deconfliction zone’ in country’s south, charged among other things with clearing ISIS away from Jordanian border Sami Moubayed Asia Times Over the past few days, the Russian army has quietly started construction of a new military base in the countryside near Damascus, from scratch, tasked with manning and administering a “deconfliction zone” in the Syrian south, similar to four others agreed upon earlier in the year by Moscow, Ankara and… The first zones applied to Homs, ... Read More »

Four Steps to an EU-Turkey Reset

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During the past fifty years, relations between the European Union and Turkey have known many ups and… Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe From an EU standpoint, Turkey has become a strategic country in a host of areas: defense and security; trade, investment, and technology; and education and… Today, Turkey is formally still negotiating its accession to the EU, but developments in the past four years have resulted in multiple incompatibilities with… Although EU leaders have… Four Steps to… Read More »

Brexodus has begun. We EU nationals know staying on is too big a gamble

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Who would sacrifice EU citizenship for life in a country we now know could turn on us at any moment? Joris Luyendijk  The Guardian It makes sense to get ahead of the returning herd. It will not happen in spectacular ways, so do not expect TV footage of hordes of well-heeled EU nationals making for Heathrow airport or the Channel tunnel. Rather it will be a steady, inexorable drip-feed. It has already started and as the true implications of Brexit ... Read More »

US Ambassador invites Kiwis to ‘grab a beer’

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The new US Ambassador to New Zealand has introduced himself to the country with a rendition of Cheap Trick’s ‘Surrender’ on his Fender electric guitar, displaying his musical talents to media in… JAMES O’DOHERTY, NEW ZEALAND BUREAU CHIEF SkyNews Scott Brown, a former Republican senator for Massachusetts, was one of the Trump administration’s first diplomatic appointments. He’s now arrived in New Zealand, taking up residence in Wellington’s Lower… US Ambassador invites… Read More »

We’re quick to label refugees as either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but they’re all entitled to protection

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A refugee I met last year in Canada has been charged with beating his wife. The ensuing coverage has encapsulated the extremes of the immigration debate. Amos Roberts  The Guardian Man who beat wife said he didn’t know it was against the law,” read the headline. Underneath, a photo of a man I knew very well – a man I’d once sympathised with. A distinctive underbite, thick salt and pepper hair, olive skin. I read on, with mounting… We’re quick ... Read More »

Turkey, nexus of US incompetence

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Today, eastward from the Atlantic, America faces more hostility and can count on less support than ever. Angelo M. Codevilla Asia Times Although US foreign policy is not wholly responsible for this predicament, its incompetence contributes to it. US policy toward Turkey, as ever part of Europe, of the Middle East, and of Eurasia, is the prime object lesson. The geopolitical importance of whoever controls the Black Sea straits has been obvious since the… Turkey, nexus of US… Read More »

Puerto Rico following Greek footsteps to economic woe

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It is said that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Desmond Lachman, opinion contributor The Hill Sadly, this seems to be the case with respect to the Puerto Rican government and its Financial Oversight and Management Board in their handling of the Puerto Rican economic… By not drawing the right lessons from Greece’s recent failed attempt at fiscal austerity in a Euro straitjacket, the Puerto Rican government is all too likely to exacerbate rather than ... Read More »

Why do politicians get away with peddling porkies and ‘alternative facts’?

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Analysis In my house, if you claim to know something, you’d better be correct. It’s become a common reflex to ask whether the dispenser of facts is 100 per cent certain of their veracity. Emma Alberici ABC Such is the quest to be first with knowledge that serious familial opprobrium rains on those who dare to insist they’re right when they are not. So when I recently declared that I was 110 per cent confident that Uluru was the town ... Read More »

Whither Japan’s Democracy?

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To some observers, retired civil servant Hiroji Yamashiro, 65, has become a symbol of modern Japan’s uneasy  attitude towards dissent Daniel Hurst Asia Times To some observers, protester Hiroji Yamashiro, 65, has become a symbol of modern Japan’s uneasy attitude towards dissent. The retired civil servant, a long-standing campaigner against the US military presence in the southern prefecture of Okinawa, was detained for five months from… Whither Japan’s… Read More »

Colombia’s Farc officially ceases to be an armed group

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Colombia’s Farc rebel group has formally ended its existence as an armed group, putting an end to half a century of violent conflict. BBC In a ceremony which ended the disarmament process, President Juan Manuel Santos said the “peace was real and irreversible”. The former guerrillas will now work on forming a political party. “Farewell to war. Farewell to arms, welcome to peace!” said Farc leader Rodrigo Londoño, known as… Colombia’s Farc officially… Read More »

The emerging Turkish-Iranian alliance

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Iran and Turkey, the two non-Arab Middle Eastern states, are among the largest and most populous in the… Manish Rai, Geopolitical Analyst  Asia Times The former occupies a strategic location on the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, while the latter controls the Bosporus Strait, the Sea of Marmara, and the Dardanelles, which links the… The two nations descend from the most ancient civilizations in the world and have strong national… Turkey and Iran have been mirror images of ... Read More »

The collapse of Turkish army’s health and education system

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In late May, more than 1,000 soldiers from a land forces brigade in the western Turkish province of Manisa were hospitalized for food poisoning, and one of them lost his life. Author: Zülfikar Doğan Translator: Sibel Utku Bila AlMonitor The problem at the barracks, where 6,000 new conscripts are receiving training, was described as intestinal infection, but the detailed medical analyses of samples from affected soldiers have not… On June 17, a new bout of mass food poisonings occurred in… ... Read More »

Paris Gourtsoyannis: Offer on citizens will leave EU cold

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‘Generous’ plan on EU rights will be lost in translation, says Paris Gourtsoyannis Paris Gourtsoyannis The Scotsman On Sunday there was a reminder, if any was needed, of just how shallow the cultural understanding is between the two sides that began Brexit negotiations last week. Asked what he thought of his opposite number, Brexit Secretary David Davis offered this piercing insight on EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier: “He’s very… Paris Gourtsoyannis: Offer… Read More »

The ‘international man of mystery’ linked to Flynn’s lobbying deal

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David Zaikin made Russian energy deals, advised Eastern European parties, brokered condos at Toronto’s Trump Tower, and teamed up with the man who hired Michael Flynn. Isaac Arnsdorf Politico More than two years ago, two men started visiting Washington to push Turkey’s agenda in the capital. They dined with dignitaries and enlisted prominent lobbying firms from both sides of the… The ‘international man… Read More »

Foreign Secretary joins crucial Cyprus settlement talks in Switzerland offering full UK support

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The Foreign Secretary will fly to Switzerland later today to support the UN facilitated talks aimed at reaching a settlement to the long running Cyprus issue. Foreign & Commonwealth Office and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP The Conference on Cyprus will reconvene in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana with the participation of the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, and representatives of the Guarantor Powers (Greece, Turkey and UK). The Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson’s attendance demonstrates ... Read More »

The ‘Conference on Cyprus’ at Crans Montana, Switzerland, 28 June 2017:

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An Open Letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary of the United Kingdom For the immediate attention of the Right Honourable Boris Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, HM Government, Whitehall, London and copied to H.E. Matthew Kidd, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, British High Commission, Alexander Pallis Street, Nicosia OPEN LETTER By email to: fcocorrespondence@fco.gov.uk  Copied to: UKinCyprus@fco.gov.uk 27 June 2017 Dear Mr Johnson Re: The ‘Conference on Cyprus’ at Crans ... Read More »