Russia Ready to Improve Ties With Turkey But Ankara Should ‘Act First’

Moscow is ready to restore relations with Turkey, but the first step is up to Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. According to him, it is still unclear why Turkey hit the Russia’s Su-24 military aircraft. Vladimir Putin announced Russia’s willingness to resume relations with Turkey, but said the Ankara government should make concrete steps in this direction… Source: Russia Ready to Improve Ties With Turkey But Ankara Should ‘Act First’ Read More »

Could Russia’s Cold War Super-Jet Last 100 Years?

The MiG-21 is one of history’s sturdiest and most reliable aircraft.. Military aircraft can have notoriously short lifespans, especially during periods of technological ferment. The most elite aircraft of World War I could become obsolete in a matter of months. Things weren’t much different in World War II. And at the dawn of the jet age, entire fleets of aircraft became passé as technologies matured. The advanced fighters that fought in the skies over… Source: Could Russia’s Cold War Super-Jet ... Read More »

South Sudan’s South: Conflict in the Equatorias

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The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan reached a milestone with the formation of a transitional government in Juba in April. Yet fault lines like those in the Equatorias remain outstanding. A committed, inclusive political response is vital to stop low-level conflicts continuing indefinitely… Source: South Sudan’s South: Conflict in the Equatorias – International Crisis Group Read More »

The Iranian Moment and Turkey

Turkey is in a critical position as a consequence of both its proximity to multiple crises and its unique exposure to deteriorating security relationships in both the south and the east. It must keep regional conflicts from further undermining the country’s internal security. It must also strengthen ties to NATO and EU partners whose demands on Turkey are set to increase, but… Source: The Iranian Moment and Turkey | The German Marshall Fund of the United States Read More »

China and US tensions: what are the sticking points

Analysis Beijing: A cornerstone of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, the United States’ strategic ‘pivot’ to Asia has long been seen by Beijing as a cynical ploy to counter its rise. This week Barack Obama made history by announcing the lifting of a decades-old US arms embargo on Vietnam, its former Cold War enemy, a move sure to raise eyebrows in China. Entering the final months of his presidency, Obama is in Vietnam and Japan to underscore Washington’s commitment to the region, putting potential ... Read More »

In historic move, U.S. lifts arms sales embargo to Vietnam

HANOI — The Obama administration announced Monday that the United States would fully lift a longstanding U.S. embargo on lethal arms sales to Vietnam, a decision that reflects growing concerns about China’s military clout and illustrates the warming bilateral ties between the former enemy nations. President Obama unveiled the new arrangement at a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang during the… Source: In historic move, U.S. lifts arms sales embargo to Vietnam – The Washington Post Read More »

Inside Cizre: Where Turkish forces stand accused of Kurdish killings

Serious allegations have been made about the deaths of civilians at the hands of Turkish security forces in the overwhelmingly Kurdish town of Cizre in south-eastern Turkey earlier this year. Local people say Turkish security forces killed up to 160 civilians in the town, according to statements made to the BBC and human rights groups. The worst single incident ended with the deaths of around 100 people who had been sheltering in three cellars… Source: Inside Cizre: Where Turkish forces ... Read More »

Vote Leave embroiled in race row over Turkey security threat claims

Brexit group ‘appealing to prejudice’ with argument that Turkey’s accession to EU would put Britons at greater risk of crime.. The official campaign to leave the EU fronted by Michael Gove has been accused of “stoking the fires of prejudice” after it claimed that continued membership would put Britons in danger as a result of a high level of criminality among Turkish citizens… Source: Vote Leave embroiled in race row over Turkey security threat claims | Politics | The Guardian Read More »

Russia Has Not Seen Such Amassing of Hostile Military Forces on Its Borders since 1941

Russia has not seen such a major military buildup close to its borders since 1941 when the Third Reich sent the Wehrmacht to conquer the Soviet Union, Professor Stephen F. Cohen said in his recent interview on The John Batchelor Show, referring to NATO’s increasingly assertive strategy in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. “We have been watching for nearly a month a steady buildup of American and NATO forces along near Russia’s borders – on land, on sea and in the air,” he said. “There has been ... Read More »

Beyond the Ohio-Class: Inside America’s Next-Generation Missile Submarine

The Ohio Replacement Program subs, or ORP, will be larger than the Ohio-class because of the enhanced survivability measures integrated onboard the submarines.. General Dynamics’ storied Electric Boat division is set to deliver its detailed design proposal for the new Ohio Replacement Program (ORP) ballistic missile submarine to the U.S. Navy this Friday. That will kick off a series of events, which will culminate with Electric Boat signing a contract to design and build… Source: Beyond the Ohio-Class: Inside America’s ... Read More »

Afghanistan signs draft accord with militant leader

Afghanistan signed a draft agreement with the Hezb-e-Islami militant group on May 18 in a move the government hopes could lead to a full peace accord with one of the most notorious warlords in the insurgency.  Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is a veteran of decades of Afghan war and rights groups have accused his group of widespread abuses, particularly during the civil war of the early 1990s, when he briefly served as prime minister… Source: Afghanistan signs draft accord with ... Read More »

Russia Remains Determined To Stop Israel-Turkey Pipeline Deal

It has been six years since the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship that was aiming to reach the Gaza coast in May 2010. In the wake of the Mavi Marmara crisis, Turkey and Israel relations rapidly worsened; both countries withdrew their ambassadors and cut diplomatic ties. Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet along the Syrian border on November 24, 2015 has forced Ankara to adjust its foreign policy… Source: Russia Remains Determined To Stop Israel-Turkey Pipeline Deal | ... Read More »

Colombia’s FARC agrees to remove child soldiers from ranks

Colombia’s Marxist FARC rebels agreed May 15 to remove child soldiers from their ranks as part of the peace deal they are close to signing with the government. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to “implement departure of those under 15 years of age as soon as terms are agreed upon,” the parties said in a statement from Cuba, which is hosting peace negotiations… Source: Colombia’s FARC agrees to remove child soldiers from ranks – AMERICAS Read More »

Iraq: On the Edge of Chaos

The recent storming of Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone by protesters led by Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr brought to the surface a long-standing dilemma: the system which has governed the country since 2003 is in need of radical reform, but because the ruling political class has in many ways come to embody the system, it is highly resistant to genuine change. Street protests and recalcitrant politicians have created a combustible formula, paralysing state institutions and threatening to bring them down. ... Read More »

China reclaims, weaponizes 3,200 acres in S China Sea: Pentagon

(From AP) China has reclaimed more than 3,200 acres of land in the southeastern South China Sea. But the country’s focus has shifted to developing and weaponizing those man-made islands so it will have greater control over the maritime region without resorting to armed conflict, according to a new Pentagon report. In its most detailed assessment to date of China’s island-building program, the Defense Department said three of the land features in the Spratly Islands… Source: China reclaims, weaponizes 3,200 ... Read More »

Could Different Borders Have Saved the Middle East?

THERE probably aren’t many things that the Islamic State, Jon Stewart and the president of Iraqi Kurdistan agree on, but there is one: the pernicious influence of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret plan for dividing up the Middle East signed by France and Britain, 100 years ago this week. It has become conventional wisdom to argue, as Vice President… Source: Could Different Borders Have Saved the Middle East? – The New York Times Read More »