Security

China steps into the maelstrom of the Middle East

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The Middle East has a knack for sucking external powers into its conflicts China’s ventures into the region have shown how difficult it is to maintain its principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. Dr James M Dorsey Today China’s abandonment of non-interference is manifested by its (largely ineffective) efforts to mediate conflicts in South Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan as well as between Israel and Palestine and even between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is even more ... Read More »

Poland Decries Nord Stream 2 as possible trigger for Russian-Ukrainian war

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Heading to Germany, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on 15 February, that the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline could act as a main trigger for a Russian-Ukrainian war. Michaela Ceklová ESJ Morawiecki believes that when Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline becomes fully operational, Russia will be able to escalate the conflict in Ukraine without putting critical pipeline infrastructure at risk. So far, Ukraine had an advantageous status of transit country, but with Nord Stream 2 it loses this asset, something that could affect both its energy security, and ... Read More »

A Middle East Game Much Bigger Than Turkey

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The course that Turkish leaders choose to follow in the Syrian war will have long-term consequences for their country and for the world. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Turkey’s foreign policy is dominated by a heated nationalist narrative, which in turn has triggered military operations in Syria. At the roots of these developments are several threats to Turkey—some very real, some perceived, others imagined—and the ways in which the political leadership uses them. But beyond the immediate horizon, littered with hard-to-digest ... Read More »

Russia calls on Jordan to help stabilize Syrian ‘safe’ zones

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Jordanian King Abdullah visited Russia last week for the 20th time in 18 years, but this trip was far from a routine encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yury Barmin Al Monitor The countries’ ties have been strong for decades. If the frequency of diplomatic gestures is an indication, Jordan appears to be Moscow’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Yet despite a solid record of cooperation, as well as a certain chemistry between Abdullah and Putin, Amman never really played a ... Read More »

Winning the Post-ISIS Battle for Iraq in Sinjar

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Though the Islamic State (ISIS) is beaten in Iraq, the battle for the country’s political soul is not over. Baghdad should act to restore local governance in Sinjar, where ISIS terrorised the local community, and encourage the district’s displaced people to return home. ICG What’s new?  The Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated in Iraq, and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in Sinjar has ended. But Iran-backed Shiite militias – Popular Mobilisation Units – now control the district. Much of ... Read More »

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 »