Security

Palestinians are watching Saudi Arabia closely

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Palestinians have been carefully watching Saudi Arabia drawing closer to Israel. Adnan Abu Amer AlJazeera The past few months have seen not only a flood of Saudi statements on social media supporting normalisation with Israel (some saying that Saudi is “more important” than Palestine and others apparently dreaming of Israel becoming Saudi’s top vacationing spot), but also a flurry of diplomatic activity between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Saudi and Israeli political leadership agree on a number of issues, the most important of which is the need ... Read More »

Yemen: Remaining Peaceful Was Their Choice – OpEd

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People living now in Yemen’s third largest city, Ta’iz, have endured unimaginable circumstances for the past three years. Kathy Kelly Eurasia Review Civilians fear to go outside lest they be shot by a sniper or step on a land mine. Both sides of a worsening civil war use Howitzers, Kaytushas, mortars and other missiles to shell the city. Residents say no neighborhood is safer than another, and human rights groups report appalling violations, including torture of captives. Two days ago, ... Read More »

The South China Sea fell off Trump’s radar last year. He may have to pay attention in 2018.

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HONG KONG — President Trump railed against a lot of things in 2017. Chinese construction in the South China Sea was not really one of them, despite his campaign tough talk. Emily Rauhala The Washington Post Focused on North Korea and evidently enamored of President Xi Jinping, the voluble U.S. president said relatively little as China continued to build on disputed islands, rocks and reefs.A recent Chinese report hailed progress in the South China Sea last year, noting construction totaling 290,000 square meters, or 72 acres.That included ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia finalize deal on anti-missile defense system

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ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey has finalized a deal with Moscow for the purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-missile system, Turkish defense officials announced Friday, despite concerns voiced by some of the NATO member’s allies. By Suzan Fraser, Associated Press Suzan Fraser, Associated Press PBS NewsHour Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed The deal, which would make Turkey the first member of the military alliance to own Russia’s most advanced air defense system, comes amid strengthening ties between Turkey and ... Read More »

Minsk is dead! Long Live Minsk?

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Minsk is shorthand for a diplomatic process established in 2014 and early 2015 The formal deadline for completing Minsk was December 2015, a deadline that long since passed without its first phase — a ceasefire — going into effect. MICHAEL KIMMAGE War On The Rocks The next two phases — decentralization and a political process for the Donbas — have never progressed beyond the hypothetical. As of this winter, the line of contact between the Ukrainian and the Russian-backed forces ... Read More »

Mongolia’s Modernizing Military

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Mongolia’s military has an expanding role at home and abroad Bolor Lkhaajav The Diplomat Mongolia’s land-based military has faced many modernizing challenges and opportunities throughout history The ancient Mongol army, like other great armies, whether the Greeks, Romans, or Ottomans, had its strengths and weaknesses, its historical glories and bruises. When discussing the modernization of Mongolia’s military today, a number of historical aspects remain crucial in shaping military principles, core values, and social influences. These historical aspects link to the ... Read More »

Ankara’s Look East: How Turkey’s Warming Ties with Russia Threaten Its Place in the Transatlantic Community

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The strongmen of Turkey and Russia have met frequently this past year to discuss the Syrian civil war and bilateral relations Aaron Stein War on the Rocks In parallel, Turkey’s relations with its Western allies have deteriorated amid disagreements about the rule of law in Turkey and Washington’s policies in Syria. Russia and Turkey have a strong economic relationship, underpinned by the Russian export of natural gas to Turkey, Russian tourism to Turkey, and Turkish construction firms active in the ... Read More »

NATO Next Steps: Upgrade the Role of Finance Ministers

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The Trump administration should press its fellow heads of state to include their finance ministers in their summit delegations James Jay Carafano Herman Pirchner Jr. The National Interest Next year’s NATO summit, slated to take place July 11–12 in Brussels, will clarify just how serious the member states are about recommitting to collective defense. The assembled heads of state will also be in a position to assess how effectively and swiftly the alliance and its individual members are implementing key ... Read More »

Trump’s Recognition of Jerusalem: The View from Beijing

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On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump signed a declaration that said, “We finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.” By Roie Yellinek BESA In doing so, he overturned the traditional evasion of US presidents of Congress’s 1995 decision to transfer the US embassy to Jerusalem. Trump went on to say: “This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement… The United States remains ... Read More »

Iran Recognizes Jerusalem as Palestinian Capital

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In a symbolic pushback to President Donald Trump’s declaration on the status of Jerusalem, Iranian lawmakers on Wednesday voted to recognize the contested city as the capital of the Palestinians. Jack Moore Newsweek The Iranian parliament voted in favor of a bill that recognized the city as the Palestinian capital, or the capital of the “State of Palestine,” the entity recognized by the United Nations as a member state. Of 290 lawmakers, 207 voted in favor of the bill. Ali ... Read More »

British navy frigate escorts Russian warship in North Sea

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A Royal Navy frigate escorted a Russian warship on Christmas Day as it passed close to British territorial waters, the ministry of defense said Dec. 26 at a time of strained relations between London and Moscow. LONDON – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The HMS St Albans monitored the Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the North Sea, “keeping track of its activity in areas of national interest,” it said in a statement. The St Albans, a Type 23 frigate, was deployed on ... Read More »

A New Space Race?

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After a long time, the issue of outer space affairs is assuming a central position in the discourse of both national and international security Martand Jha The National Interest On December 11, Donald Trump signed a new space policy directive which instructs NASA to focus on sending humans to the moon. The last time the United States sent its astronauts to the moon was way back in December 1972 during the Apollo 17 mission. After a gap of forty-five years, ... Read More »

China: Islands ‘reasonably’ expanded

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CHINA admitted expanding its islands in the disputed South China Sea, with continued construction in the challenged islands covering about 290,000 square meters or 29 hectares this year alone, state paper People’s Daily reported Monday. John Paolo Bencito and Sara Susanne Fabunan Manila Standard The report, which detailed Beijing’s “accelerated construction” and “enhanced military presence” on South China Sea islands and shoals over the past year, includes new facilities for underground storage, administrative buildings and large radar, which they claim ... Read More »

Iran gradually moving toward resumed military ties with Europe

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Following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran’s relations with Europe mostly remained intact at the economic and at times political level. Saeid Jafari AlMonitor But in terms of military cooperation, there were almost no ties whatsoever. However, the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 created an environment that encouraged Tehran to also push for military cooperation with its European counterparts. Looking back, there have been very few instances in history when the two sides have actually ... Read More »

China would ‘pay a very high price’ if it invades, Taiwan warns

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Mainland affairs minister says Taipei it is cautious and won’t provoke an attack – but it can defend itself; Chang Hsiao-Yueh says also called on the US not to use the self-governed island as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Beijing DANIEL HURST Asia Times A senior Taiwanese minister has declared that China would “pay a very very high price” if it invaded Taiwan. Chang Hsiao-Yueh, Taiwan’s mainland affairs minister, also called on the United States not to use the ... Read More »

Ten Tips for Israel when Negotiating with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World

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When negotiating with the Saudis and their friends, Israel’s number one rule should be to make clear that it will not pay anything for peace. By Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA If the Saudis want to live in peace with Israel, it will extend its hand to offer them peace in return. But that is all they will get. There is no other kind of peace agreement. If they do not want peace on those terms, then there ... Read More »