Security

The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

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President Donald Trump is ordering U.S. strikes against government targets in Syria after a suspected chemical attack. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic The Middle East is a “troubled place,” President Donald Trump said Friday night as he described his decision to use America’s “righteous power” in a retaliatory attack against government targets in Syria following a suspected chemical attack… Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war in his country—but that doesn’t mean peace is coming. In fact, ... Read More »

Keeping the Hotline Open Between Sudan and South Sudan

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A UN mission has largely succeeded in keeping the peace in Abyei, an oil-rich area claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan. But there has been less progress made on the mission’s work in aiding political mechanisms to determine the final status of Abyei and demilitarise and demarcate the border. As the UN Security Council debates the mission’s scope, these mechanisms deserve ongoing support. ICG In 2011, Sudan and South Sudan sought outside help to prevent a return to war along what would become their international border. This effort followed ... Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

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ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

Syria: who’s involved, and what do they want?

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Among those glancing at Syria’s seven-year conflict, a simple but misleading declaration is circulating: “Assad is winning”. Authors The Conversation But the Assad regime has only survived because of the political, economic and military life support it’s had from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. It is now entirely dependent on them. And that’s for rule over just a part of Syria. The opposition, though very dependent on Turkish protection, holds much of the north-west, and it also – for now – ... Read More »

Iran’s Priorities in a Turbulent Middle East

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Divergent views of Iran’s ambitions are driving proxy wars from Syria to Yemen. To stop disastrous direct confrontation, it is crucial to close the perception gap and that Iran and its adversaries take mutual steps toward de-escalating tensions. What’s new? Iran is a rising power in the Middle East, having exploited opportunities arising from the U.S. invasion of Iraq and wars in Syria and Yemen. ICG But where the Islamic Republic’s enemies see a grasping would-be empire, its own strategists ... Read More »

Russia accuses UK of staging Syria gas attack

TOPSHOT - A Syrian man waits to receive treatment at a makeshift clinic following reported air strikes by government forces in the rebel-held town of Douma, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus, on April 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Abd Doumany        (Photo credit should read ABD DOUMANY/AFP/Getty Images)

Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations says Russia’s claims are ‘grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie.’ Paul Dallison Politico The Kremlin on Friday claimed that British intelligence forces helped stage the attack on the Syrian town of Douma last weekend. The U.K. denounced the allegation as “grotesque, bizarre and a blatant lie,” the Guardian reported. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said he had evidence that showed “special services of a country, which is now seeking to be in the first ranks of ... Read More »

Pompeo vows diplomatic approach to Iran nuke deal

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President Donald Trump’s pick to become Washington’s top diplomat has pledged to work with U.S. allies to strengthen the Iran deal and played down fears he is bent on regime change in North Korea. WASHINGTON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Mike Pompeo, the outgoing director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), disavowed his reputation as a “war hawk” and an anti-Muslim hardliner as he sought to woo support from senators on April 12 to become the next U.S. secretary of state. ... Read More »

Preventing Boko Haram Abductions of Schoolchildren in Nigeria

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Four years after the abductions in Chibok, and months after more kidnappings in Dapchi, over 100 schoolgirls are still missing. Nigeria must act to make schools safe – beefing up security, learning from past mistakes and, ultimately, working to end the Boko Haram insurgency. What’s new? In February, a faction of the jihadist Boko Haram movement, seized 113 children from Dapchi in north east Nigeria. ICG It later released 107 of them. Five reportedly died; one remains captive. This comes ... Read More »

Eight Big Questions on War and Peace for Mike Pompeo

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With a dizzying range of international crises and conflicts facing the U.S., the confirmation hearing of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday 12 April is a chance to gauge the administration’s future tack. Crisis Group’s U.S. Program Director Stephen Pomper identifies eight critical issues that are likely to dominate Pompeo’s incumbency and… Stephen Pomper ICG When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has ... Read More »

Why North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses are Being Ignored

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Despite the reactions of the United States and South Korea to the North’s human-rights abuses, North Koreans are left behind. Min hee Jo, Quinn Marschik The National Interest Human rights form a pillar of most democratic countries’ foreign policies and play a major role in their international relations. When it comes to totalitarian North Korea, which is among the worst human-rights abusers in modern history, the United States and South Korea under the Trump and Moon administrations respectively have employed similar but ... Read More »

Don’t wait for the Western Balkans to blow up again. The U.S. and the E.U. must act.

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It has been more than two decades since I worked with Richard Holbrooke and our team to negotiate an end to the war in Bosnia. NATO deployed and then acted to halt Serb ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Wesley K. Clark The Washington Post Today, three Western Balkan states (Croatia, Albania and Slovenia) have become members of NATO. Croatia and Slovenia have joined the European Union. Kosovo is now an independent nation. Most Americans and Europeans have mentally filed away that ... Read More »

Will Bolton and Trump Start the First Sino-American War?

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When America launches a preemptive attack on North Korea, will the US find itself at war with China? This is not an idle question. Charles Pierson CounterPunch On Monday, the fiercest advocate of a preemptive attack on North Korea, John R. Bolton, joined the Trump Administration. Bolton, a former US Ambassador to the UN, replaces H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Bolton is the gold standard against which all other hawks are measured. Bolton pushed for ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

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After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »

Is a Modern Chinese Navy a Threat to the United States?

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China’s rising presence in the Indian and Pacific oceans has far-reaching implications for our world order. Alfred W. McCoy The Nation Amid the intense coverage of Russian cyber-maneuvering and North Korean missile threats, another kind of great-power rivalry has been playing out quietly in the Indian and Pacific oceans. The US and Chinese navies have been repositioning warships and establishing naval bases as if they were so many pawns on a geopolitical chessboard. To some it might seem curious, even ... Read More »

Beijing’s South China Sea Military Bases Now Have Jammers That Can Block American Radar and Communications, U.S. Claims

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United States officials claimed that China has installed military jamming equipment on fortified artificial islands in the South China Sea which will allow Beijing to block enemy radar and communications systems. David Brennan Newsweek This latest step in China’s militarization of its island bases signifies Beijing’s determination to assert its regional territorial claims, regardless of U.S. opposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the jamming systems were installed within the last 90 days. The Journal quoted a U.S. Defense Department official who said ... Read More »

Less Than Meets the Eye

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The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »