Security

Is the Yemen Peace Process Coming Back to Life?

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The UN special envoy to Yemen has invited the principal parties in the country’s civil war to Geneva for “consultations”. ICG With the war rapidly approaching its fifth year, Crisis Group Consultant Peter Salisbury explains why any such Geneva talks are important and what should happen next. First of all, what is happening and why does it matter? After two years of political inertia, we should be cautious about what can be achieved. Given the lack of diplomatic progress since ... Read More »

Freedom of Navigation and the Environment

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The US has long maintained that freedom of navigation (FON) for warships in foreign 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) is essentially “absolute.” Mark J. Valencia IPP Review China and some other countries disagree and have placed some restrictions on the activities of foreign warships and aircraft in their EEZs. But the US is undermining its own position by placing restrictions on its own military’s activities, and by extension those of foreign militaries, in its own EEZ. Military activities in EEZs ... Read More »

U.S. has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There is “lots of evidence” that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new U.S. adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the… Lesley Wroughton “I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings,” said Jim Jeffrey, who was named on Aug. 17 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special adviser on Syria ... Read More »

Russia and Turkey Will Collide Over End of Syrian Civil War

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This is Washington’s chance to repair ties with Ankara to counter Moscow and Damascus. Gabriel White and Bogdan Belei The National Interest At the beginning of August, the Syrian military planes flew over the northwestern province of Idlib and dropped leaflets urging residents to surrender and threatening military action. It was the latest example of how Bashar al-Assad and his forces have ignored de-escalation agreements and continue a full-scale offensive against their opposition. The city of Idlib—the only majoropposition-held territory left ... Read More »

Foreign Influence in the Balkans

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The Balkans have always been fertile ground for foreign interests. Political intrigue in the region sparked the First World War and nationalist struggles after the dissolution of Yugoslavia filled world headlines in the 1990’s. Krithika Varagur Pulitzer Center It was in the latter period, and specifically during the Bosnian War, that the door was opened to substantial investment from the Middle East. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran helped countries like Bosnia and Kosovo reconstruct their infrastructure, schools, and places of ... Read More »

North Korea sets denuclearisation timeline

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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has given his first time line to achieve denuclearisation, aiming for the end of US President Donald Trump’s first term, and has agreed to a third summit with his South… Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee, Reuters Herald Sun Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang on September 18-20 and discuss “practical measures” toward denuclearisation, Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-… The summit could provide renewed momentum to talks over denuclearisation between North ... Read More »

Iran and Turkey Divert Iraq’s River Waters, Leaving Iraq on the Brink of Catastrophe

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Global attention has been focused on the strained Ethiopian-Egyptian relations due to the construction of the Renaissance Dam by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, whose reservoir – once filled – will probably lower the… Col. (ret) Dr. Jacques Neriah Institute for Contemporary Affairs But little attention has been given to the brewing conflict over the Tigris (Dajla in Arabic) and Euphrates (Furat in Arabic) waters, both iconic rivers on which Iraq’s existence in both ancient and… Deadly riots in Iraq’s ... Read More »

Ceasefire agreed to end fighting in Libya’s Tripoli, says UN

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Rival militias in and around Tripoli already forged and promptly violated a ceasefire Borzou Daragahi Independent Warring factions in Libya’s capital have signed onto a shaky ceasefire aimed at ending 10 days of fighting that has left dozens dead and displaced thousands. The deal came hours after Libya’s UN envoy, Ghassam Salame, swooped into Tripoli and summoned politicians and warlords for an emergency meeting to end fighting that had plunged the city of one million into a fresh round of misery, violence, and chaos. ... Read More »

UK charges two Russians over Salisbury poisoning of Skripals

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British prosecutors have charged two Russians with the Novichok poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. A European arrest warrant has been issued, although Russia does not extradite its… DW British prosecutors announced on Wednesday they had collected sufficient evidence to charge two Russians with the attempted murder of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. Authorities issued a European arrest warrant for two men named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, both aged around 40. Photographs of the ... Read More »

As New U.S. Envoy Appointed, Turbulent Afghanistan’s Hopes of Peace Persist

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The new U.S. adviser on Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, has a tough assignment: fostering peace between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Crisis Group’s Borhan Osman says that recent violence has soured the public mood, but that leaders on all sides still appear committed – at least rhetorically – to peace talks. On 4 September 2018, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad would join the State Department as an adviser on Afghanistan. Khalilzad ... Read More »

Pentagon Considers Expanding Presence in Greece amid China, Turkey Concerns

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters during a visit to Greece Tuesday that the Pentagon is considering expanding its cooperation with Athens and its general presence in the… Frances Martel Breitbart Dunford’s announcement, and his visit to the country, also follows months of growing tensions between Greece and Turkey, which is outraged that Athens refuses to hand over former Turkish soldiers believed to… It also follows the publication of reports that China is looking ... Read More »

Why Does the U.S. Support War Crimes in Yemen?

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Washington should rethink its blind support for Riyadh. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The war in Yemen has been for some time one of the worst current man-made humanitarian disasters. Now comes a report , from the United Nations Human Rights Council and based on extensive investigations by a group of experts examining the past four years of the… By far the most destructive offenses have been committed by the principal external intervenors—Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—and the titular ... Read More »

Prospects for a Deal to Stabilise Syria’s North East

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Much of north-eastern Syria has been safe during the civil war. ICG But in the event of U.S. military withdrawal, a mad scramble for control could be unleashed. Washington and Moscow should help their respective allies in Syria reach a decentralisation deal for the area. What’s new?  In March 2018, President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw U.S. forces from north-eastern Syria and suspended stabilisation funding for the area. His senior foreign policy advisers provided somewhat discordant views. These ... Read More »

S. Korean envoys meet Kim Jong Un

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A South Korean delegation has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and handed him a letter from President Moon Jae-in. NHK The 5 envoys sent by the South Korean presidential office include the chief of the National Security Office Chung Eui-yong and the head of the National Intelligence Service Suh Hoon. They arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday morning. The presidential office in Seoul says they met Kim Jong Un after holding talks with North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party vice ... Read More »

International Court of Justice begins hearing on Britain’s separation of Chagos islands from Mauritius

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Βritain has apologised for the “shameful” way it evicted islanders from the Chagos archipelago in the Indian Ocean, but insisted Mauritius was wrong to bring a dispute over sovereignty of the strategic atoll group to the United Nations’ top court. Roland Oliphant The Telegraph The apology came on the first day of a hearing on the future of the islands, the site of a key UK and US military base, at the International Court of Justice in the Hague. Mauritius ... Read More »

Turkey Needs the EU—The Question Is How Much Its Relationship Will Cost

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European governments are currently witnessing a seemingly positive move by Turkey’s leadership toward the EU. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe On the surface, this makes sense: Turkey’s economy is in very dire straits (and still depends on European markets and financial flows); the Lira is plummeting; hurtful sanctions have recently been imposed by the United States (and more may be coming); and Russia is having it its way in Syria (which… As a result, the Turkish foreign ministry is issuing statements. ... Read More »