Security

The Sovereignty that Really Matters

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The preference of some countries to isolate themselves within their borders is anachronistic and self-defeating, but it would be a serious mistake for others, fearing contagion, to respond by imposing strict isolation. Javier Solana Project Syndicate Even in states that have succumbed to reductionist discourses, much of the population has not. MADRID – In his famous “political trilemma of the world economy,” Harvard economist Dani Rodrik boldly claims that global economic integration, the nation-state, and democracy cannot coexist. At best, ... Read More »

Why Doesn’t the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

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The Kurds are one of Washington’s closest and most reliable allies in the Middle East   After World War I, the Kurds came tantalizingly close to getting an independent state. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic Nearly a century later, they are no closer to an independent homeland. There are many reasons for this: regional instability; suppression of the Kurds, most dramatically in Turkey and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; vehement opposition to a Kurdish state; infighting among Kurds; and, despite some prominent Western ... Read More »

Managing the Disruptive Aftermath of Somalia’s Worst Terror Attack

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The 14 October 2017 twin bombings in Mogadishu mark the deadliest attack in Somalia since 2007 ICG As Somalis unite in their disgust at the most likely perpetrator Al-Shabaab, President Farmajo must immediately provide care for victims and use surging support for the government to redouble efforts aimed at overcoming the divisions in Somalia’s society that make Al-Shabaab such a… What happened? On 14 October 2017, twin truck bombings in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed upwards of 300 people. Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgency, was ... Read More »

Xi Jinping’s Message to the World: China is Back

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The hallmark of China’s foreign policy under Xi has been the abandonment of the “lay low” doctrine China’s 19th Party Congress, which opened this week in Beijing, is a landmark event for the world’s second-largest economy. Scott Moore The National Interest  In China’s one-party state, these congresses determine the country’s leadership, and are held every five years. But this one is special. It’s the first to be held since China’s current top leader, Xi Jinping, took power in 2012, and much ... Read More »

Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace

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Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. ICG In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. Executive Summary The peace process with Colombia’s largest and longest standing guerrilla group has defied its ... Read More »

Have 20 Years of NATO Expansion Made Anyone Safer?

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Since 1997, the world’s perhaps most powerful corporation and lobbyist has created more insecurity than security. Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at TheNation.com.) Cohen notes that 20 years ago, in 1997, President Bill Clinton made the decision to expand NATO eastward. That same year, in order to placate post-Soviet Russia, then weak and heralded ... Read More »

China vs. Japan: Asia’s Other Great Game

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Beijing and Tokyo will undoubtedly compete long after U.S. foreign policy has evolved. Asia’s Other Great Game Michael Auslin The National Interest THE SPECTER of the world’s two strongest nations competing for power and influence has created a convenient narrative for pundits and observers to claim that Asia’s future, perhaps even the world’s, will be shaped, in ways both large and small, by the United States and China. From economics to political influence and security issues, American and Chinese policies ... Read More »

National Firearms Non-Agreement: Should kids have ‘permits’, ‘licences’ or no guns at all?

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Not one state government is prepared to say when it will fully comply with post-Port Arthur reforms, according to an ABC survey of state and territory ministers. By political reporter Jackson Gothe-Snape  ABC Instead many have disagreed with a report from University of Sydney academic Associate Professor Philip Alpers, which sets out areas where each state laws fall short of the National Firearms Agreement. This agreement, widely known as the NFA, sets out minimum gun regulations in areas such as ... Read More »

The Social Roots of Jihadist Violence in Burkina Faso’s North

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Jihadist violence in the West African Sahel has now spread to the north of Burkina Faso The response of Ouagadougou and its partners must go beyond the obvious religious and security dimensions of the crisis, and any solution must take into account deep-rooted social and local factors. Executive Summary Long spared by the Sahel’s armed groups, Burkina Faso now faces increasingly frequent and lethal attacks in its north. Although this insecurity in large part is an extension of the Malian ... Read More »

Discord in Yemen’s North Could Be a Chance for Peace

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Since August, a public rift has surfaced between the two main partners on the northern front of Yemen’s war – the forces loyal to the Huthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh. ICG Rather than fostering its rivals’ discord, key powerbroker Saudi Arabia should seize this rare chance to resolve the two-and-a-half year war by championing a new regional initiative. 1. Overview A public rift between Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) and the Huthis (aka Ansar Allah) may change ... Read More »

How to Turn Battleground Ukraine Into a Success Story

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If the West manages to talk Kiev out of any hasty ill-judged decisions and convince it to accept Moscow’s peacekeeper proposal as it is, then the world will finally see a win-win Anna Tikhonova, Cyril Fokin The National Interest Putin’s early September suggestion that a UN peacekeeping force be sent to the Donbass region triggered a skeptical reaction from the Western block To a certain degree, the Kremlin’s acceptance of the deployment of UN peacekeepers signifies a diplomatic victory of the ... Read More »

Christians and Yazidis see a bleak future in a proposed independent Kurdish state

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BASHIQA, Iraq — Shortly after the Islamic State was pushed out of his home town last year, Ivan Abdulla bought a new house in the traditionally Yazidi enclave. It was an investment in the place where generations of his family were raised, he said. Tamer El-Ghobashy  The Washington Post But the father of three already regrets his decision.The hilltop town of mostly Yazidis and Christians — two of Iraq’s most vulnerable minorities — has become the focus of a tug of war ... Read More »

Brexit Raises Questions About U.K. Sovereign Bases on Cyprus

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Cyprus and the U.K. will begin talks next week on the status of the two British sovereign bases on the eastern Mediterranean island after Brexit, Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said. By Georgios Georgiou and Paul Tugwell Bloomberg “It matters for Cyprus if it’s a hard or soft Brexit,” Kasoulides said in a telephone interview. Agreement between the U.K. and Cyprus on the status of the bases will be part of the withdrawal deal, Kasoulides said. The two sovereign bases, ... Read More »

An Eye for an Eye: Iran Promises to Partition Saudi Arabia If Iraq Is Partitioned

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran is now openly threatening to dismember Saudi Arabia for its support for Kurdish independence and secession from Iraq. Prof. Hillel Frisch BESA This ratcheting up of tensions has implications not only for those two countries but for the region and the world at large Israel would do well to remember that the Middle East is growing ever more volatile, and the US should sharpen its resolve to contain… The Iranian-Saudi struggle over primacy in the Middle East ... Read More »

Let’s face it, we’ll be no safer with a national facial recognition database

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A commitment to share the biometric data of most Australians – including your driving licence photo – agreed at Thursday’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting will result in a further erosion of our privacy. That sharing is not necessary. It will be costly. Bruce Baer Arnold The Conversation But will it save us from terrorism? Not all, although it will give people a false sense of comfort. Importantly, it will allow politicians and officials to show that they are ... Read More »

Niger Clash Kills U.S. and Nigerien Troops

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A deadly ambush near the Niger-Mali border on 4 October claimed the lives of at least five Nigerien soldiers and marked the unprecedented killing of American forces in the region. ICG In this Q&A, Deputy West Africa Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and Research Assistant Hamza Cherbib say that jihadist violence cannot be divorced from deeper inter-communal tensions related to local competition over resources and illicit economic activity. What happened and where? According to U.S. and Nigerien security sources, on 4 October ... Read More »