Security

Kono warns of N. Korea ‘charm diplomacy’

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says the international community should beware of being blinded by North Korea’s “charm diplomacy”. NHK Kono spoke on Friday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. He said the North considers owning nuclear weapons to be crucial for expelling US forces and achieving reunification of the 2 Koreas. He urged other nations not to accept a nuclear-armed North. Kono said the world should continue to unanimously increase pressure on Pyongyang and not fail to notice ... Read More »

Munich Security Conference: Europe’s elusive common security policy

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European leaders have failed to display cohesion on what type of common security policy the EU needs. Lewis Sanders IV DW Without a holistic approach, the bloc will never fully realize a “security-union,” writes DW’s Lewis Sanders. European leaders appear to agree on the need for a common EU security policy. At the Munich Security Conference, ministers and senior officials from across the continent offered their proposals and visions to secure the bloc in an ever more insecure world. But the ... Read More »

Theresa May warns EU not to block post-Brexit security deal

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Theresa May has warned EU leaders that public safety will suffer if they allow “political doctrine and ideology” to hamper post-Brexit security arrangements. BBC The prime minister said she wants a new partnership of unprecedented “depth and breadth” when the UK leaves the EU. In a speech to the Munich Security Conference she said this would require “real political will”. New security arrangements have yet to be negotiated for after Brexit. The prime minister said that “rigid institutional restrictions or ... Read More »

US military leader warns on China

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The head of US Pacific Command has issued a strong warning about China’s military buildup Admiral Harry Harris says China is trying to win dominance in the Indo-Pacific region as it issues a challenge globally. NHK He made the remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday. Harris said he was most concerned about China’s activity in the South China Sea. That included the militarization of 7 outposts, despite a ruling by an Arbitral Tribunal under the Law ... Read More »

Tillerson tries to soothe badly strained relations with Turkey

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for more than three hours Thursday in what both sides predicted would be two days of difficult talks after months of badly fraying relations between Washington and its NATO ally in Ankara. By Alexandra Zavis, Tracy Wilkinson and Umar Farooq LA Times An unsmiling Erdogan received Tillerson at the presidential palace. After their meeting, Tillerson would only tell reporters, “We’re still working.” The diplomatic push came a day after ... Read More »

Turkey may choose isolation over Western allies – analyst

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A wave of “anti-Western hostility” and “rampant nationalism” in Turkey has magnified the risk of a decisive break with its traditional allies in the West, even though it has not lined up any alternatives, according to an article Nicholas Danforth, a senior analyst at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Ahval Danforth describes in the piece how the fear of “losing Turkey”, a constant refrain since the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, is now dangerously close ... Read More »

Pentagon seeks to invest $550 million for SDF

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The Pentagon on Feb. 12 requested $300 million to train and equip the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and wants nearly as much to build a “border security force” with them in Syria WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The military’s budget proposal for 2019 also contains $850 million for train-and-equip activities in Iraq to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). “The training, equipment and operations support in this request will consolidate the gains achieved against [ISIL] and ... Read More »

Turkey Is Out of Control. Time for the U.S. to Say So.

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There’s a real danger of a clash between U.S. and Turkish forces. The administration should make clear that it won’t tolerate any more bad behavior—now. By ERIC EDELMAN and JAKE SULLIVAN Politico Following Turkey’s incursion into Syria, the once unthinkable prospect of a direct clash between Turkish and American soldiers has become alarmingly real. Turkey’s current fight, against U.S.-backed Kurdish troops in the northwestern Syria territory of Afrin, is destabilizing enough. But the real risk will come if Turkish President ... Read More »

The Female Quran Experts Fighting Radical Islam in Morocco

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“The women scholars here are even more important than men.” DINA TEMPLE-RASTON The Atlantic Morocco is in a region vulnerable to terrorist recruitment, but it hasn’t had a significant attack on its own soil since 2011, when terrorists bombed a Marrakesh café. Yet ethnic Moroccans have been at the center of ISIS attacks in Europe. The only alleged survivor of the 2015 Paris rampage is a Frenchman of Moroccan origin; his trial began last week. The men behind the Brussels ... Read More »

Secrecy legislation should be ‘redrafted from scratch’, journalist union says

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Bill contains prison terms of up to 20 years for dealing with or publishing protected information harmful to Australia Michael McGowan The Guardian The Turnbull government’s concessions on secrecy laws do not go far enough and the legislation should be “withdrawn and redrafted from scratch”, Australia’s journalist union has argued. This week the Coalition watered down its proposed foreign interference laws following pressure from media organisations, Labor and the Greens, which opposition leader Bill Shorten had said would see journalists ... Read More »

Averting Disaster in Syria’s Idlib Province

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An imminent military showdown in Idlib with disastrous human costs can be avoided only if Turkey strikes a deal between Russia, on one hand, and militants, on the other, and deploys its forces along the front lines to deter an escalation. ICG What happened? The de-escalation zone in north-western Syria is on the brink of collapse. Boosted by Russian air support, Syrian regime troops are advancing toward the Idlib region. Amid obstruction by the Syrian regime and Iran-backed militias, Turkish ... Read More »

China Reveals Its New Russian Jets Flying Over Secret Military Bases in Pacific

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China has for the first time revealed that its new fleet of advanced, Russia-built jets has flown over the South China Sea, where the U.S. has contested Beijing’s vast territorial claims and construction of artificial, militarized islands. By Tom O’Connor Newsweek The Chinese air force said in a statement Wednesday that it recently deployed Sukhoi Su-35s to carry out a joint patrol over the South China Sea. While the release did not include the size, date or location of the patrol, ... Read More »

Julian Assange loses challenge to UK arrest warrant, court to rule on new bid next week

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost one legal bid to have a UK arrest warrant against him quashed but immediately launched another, to have the British authorities halt any action against him on public interest grounds. ABC Judge Emma Arbuthnot said she would give her decision on February 13. A ruling in Mr Assange’s favour could pave the way for him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for more than five years. Mr ... Read More »

The Cost of Escalating Violence in Afghanistan

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Taliban attacks in Kabul in late January 2017 are part of an escalation in violence in Afghanistan, where the civilian population is bearing the brunt of a particularly intense winter of fighting. Borhan Osman ICG Over one week, as many as 130 people, the overwhelming majority civilians, were killed in twin attacks claimed by the Taliban in Kabul. On 20 January, five Taliban suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel, killing at least 22 people, mostly foreigners, after breaching the security of ... Read More »

Israel, Hizbollah and Iran: Preventing Another War in Syria

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Facts on the ground in Syria are defining the contours of the country’s political future and also the geography of a looming clash between Israel, Hizbollah and other Iran-allied militias. ICG Russia should broker understandings to prevent a new front from opening What’s new? A new phase in Syria’s war augurs escalation with Israel As the Assad regime gains the upper hand, Hizbollah probes the south west and Iran seeks to augment its partners’ military capacities, Israel has grown fearful ... Read More »

The Absurdity of the New ‘Great Game’ in Central Asia

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Geopolitics are not a good rationale for continuing the U.S. war in Afghanistan Lyle J. Goldstein The National Interest When the American people went to the polls in November 2016, they could be forgiven for thinking they had elected a president who might just bring the troops home from Afghanistan. After nearly seventeen years of grinding war in that poor, desolate and ultimately insignificant country, it seemed that Americans had finally had enough. However, in a classic symptom of what ails the ... Read More »