Security

UN: Russia must free Ukraine ships, crew

A United Nations maritime tribunal has ruled that Russia must immediately release three Ukrainian naval vessels captured in November, and the 24 sailors it detained. Geir Moulson Australian Associated Press The Canberra Times The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issued its order at its Hamburg headquarters following a hearing earlier this month. Russian representatives did not attend. The confrontation in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea, marked a flashpoint in ... Read More »

US Bill introduced to deter China in South China, East China Seas

WASHINGTON – Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Party Senator Ben Cardin on Thursday (May 23) formally reintroduced the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act that would “impose… Nirmal Ghosh The Straits Times The bipartisan Bill is intended to put the brakes on China’s consolidation or expansion of its claims of jurisdiction over the sea and air space in disputed zones in the South China Sea – claimed by Taiwan and… Experts said the Bill was overdue. ... Read More »

Thai dissidents living in exile fear for their lives after a string of disappearances and murders

A string of mysterious murders and deportations across South-East Asia has Thai dissidents fearing for their lives and members of a controversial folk band say they may be targeted next. Liam Cochrane ABC The band Faiyen, which means “cold fire” in Thai, fled the country after the 2014 coup and has written songs criticising the military government and the monarchy. Late last week, the band posted a chilling message on Facebook. “We … fear for our lives. Many trusted people ... Read More »

Stopping the War for Tripoli

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar’s march on Tripoli has ground to a halt in a war of attrition with the internationally recognised government’s forces on the city’s outskirts. ICG The parties should conclude a ceasefire including Haftar’s partial withdrawal as a prelude to renewed UN peace talks. What’s new? Almost two months have passed since war erupted between forces loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and groups aligned with the Tripoli government in Libya. Fighting has raged on the capital’s outskirts, ... Read More »

General Assembly Welcomes International Court of Justice Opinion on Chagos Archipelago, Adopts Text Calling for Mauritius’ Complete Decolonization

The General Assembly adopted a resolution today welcoming a 25 February 2019 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the legal consequences of separating the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, demanding that the United Kingdom unconditionally withdraw its colonial administration from the area within six months. By a recorded vote of 116 in favour, to 6 against (Australia, Hungary, Israel, Maldives, United Kingdom, United States), with 56 abstentions, the Assembly affirmed that doing so — in accordance with the advisory opinion — would ... Read More »

An Opening for Internally Displaced Person Returns in Northern Myanmar

In 2011, fighting between Myanmar’s military and Kachin rebels displaced more than 100,000 people. Now they might be able to go home. ICG The military and insurgents should both cease fire while the government arranges for the internally displaced persons’ safe, voluntary return or resettlement. What’s new? The Myanmar government’s desire to close internally displaced person (IDP) camps and the Myanmar military’s unilateral ceasefire have created an opportunity to return or resettle people displaced by conflict in the… Discussions have ... Read More »

Chagos Islands: UN officially demands Britain and US withdraw from Indian Ocean archipelago

Former Mauritian territory houses Diego Garcia US military base Samuel Osborne Independent The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly voted for a resolution demanding Britain withdraw its administration of the Chagos Islands. While the resolution is not legally-binding, it carries significant political weight. The Indian Ocean archipelago is home to the Diego Garcia US military base. In February, the International Court of Justice ruled the UK’s decolonisation of the Indian Ocean islands was unlawful. The World Court said the UK acted illegally ... Read More »

Could One of America’s Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Michael Peck The National Interest What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has ... Read More »

Returning from the Land of Jihad: The Fate of Women Associated with Boko Haram

Women are streaming home from Boko Haram’s domain in north-eastern Nigeria, some having escaped captivity and others having left jihadist husbands behind. ICG The state should safeguard these women from abuse, so that they stay in government-held areas and encourage men to come back as well. What’s new? The Nigerian military’s battle with Boko Haram has led tens of thousands of women formerly associated with the group to return to government-held towns across the north east. While prejudice against them ... Read More »

A Path to War With Iran

How Washington’s Escalation Could Lead to Unintended Catastrophe Philip H. Gordon Foreign Affairs When President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal last May, many critics argued that he risked setting off a chain of events that could lead to war. The nuclear deal wasn’t perfect, supporters of the deal acknowledged, but if the United States precipitously walked away and the deal collapsed, Iran might resume its nuclear enrichment program, and to stop it, the ... Read More »

Of Tanks and Banks: Stopping a Dangerous Escalation in Libya

An under-reported banking crisis threatens to exacerbate deadly fighting in Tripoli, ignite a protracted resource war and deepen the country’s east-west divide. ICG A way out requires agreeing to a ceasefire in Tripoli and ending the four-year split between the Central Bank’s rival branches. What’s new?  A neglected banking crisis in Libya is coming to a head just as forces under Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar are trying to capture Tripoli. A protracted conflict will hinder efforts to reunify the divided ... Read More »

Open letter to UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The following Lobby for Cyprus open letter was sent to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs regarding Turkey’s illegal operations in the EEZ of Cyprus and the recent statement in Parliament by the UK Minister for Europe. Τhe Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH 17 May 2019 Dear Minister I am writing to you regarding the reply given by ... Read More »

Chad: Avoiding Confrontation in Miski

Risks of an escalation in Tibesti are high as friction is rising between the state, gold miners and the local ethnic Teda population. ICG The government should lift what has become a blockade of the village of Miski, dial back its rhetoric and enter talks with the population. What’s new? In the gold mining areas of Tibesti in northern Chad, friction is rising among the state, gold miners and the local ethnic Teda population. In late 2018, clashes erupted between ... Read More »

Christians seek refuge after deadly Burkina attacks

KAYA, Burkina Faso (Reuters) – Concerned about a rise in violence against Christians in Burkina Faso, Pastor Jacques Ouedraogo changed the time of his Sunday service as a precaution. He believes this is what saved his life. Thiam Ndiaga Reuters Later, his church was one of two targeted by gunmen on May 12 in the town of Dablo in a series of deadly attacks on churches and a religious procession in the last two weeks in Burkina’s formerly peaceful Central ... Read More »

Sweden v USA – What Happens Next In Assange?

It was confirmed this week that the Swedish authorities have reopened the criminal investigation into Julian Assange over allegations of rape in 2010. Gherson The decision comes as Assange is serving a prison sentence in the UK for breaching bail in the original extradition proceedings. Assange is also facing extradition to the USA in connection with hacking allegations. After years of deadlock with Assange holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy there is finally significant movement and many people are asking ... Read More »

Cyprus escalation could drill hole in Irish sacred cow of neutrality

Europe Letter: Danger of war of words escalating into military conflict remains real Patrick Smyth The Irish Times The publication by the Institute of International and European Affairs of a new analysis of Irish neutrality by Prof Patrick Keatinge is timely. It comes just as fellow EU member Cyprus looks to its partners for solidarity – at this stage just political – over the illegal incursion by Turkish drilling ships into its Aegean territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The move, which has ... Read More »