Asia

Regional Report: Eastern Mediterranean

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Eastern Mediterranean region are beginning to increase E&P activity and were able to bring several key projects on stream in 2017 Emily Querubin World Oil Eastern Mediterranean region are beginning to increase E&P activity and were able to bring several key projects on stream in 2017. Despite a substantial amount of progress, the region still faces a few hurdles as it enters the new year. EGYPT Egypt is home to several mega-projects—including Nooros and Zohr fields—which reportedly will double the ... Read More »

“Don’t let Afrin become another Kobane”

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Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin ANF The petition, signed by academics and activists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Hardt and Debbi Bookchin, called for prevention of further Turkish attacks on Afrin. The full text of the petition reads as follows: “We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is ... Read More »

China’s birth rate drops despite end of one-child policy

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China’s family planning commission has revealed the country’s birth rate dropped by 3.5 per cent last year, despite moves over the past couple of years to fully end the one-child policy. By China correspondent Bill Birtles, wires ABC There were just over 17 million new babies born in mainland China in 2017. While this is lower than 2016’s figure, it is still higher than the average number of births in the five previous years, the China Daily newspaper reported. The ... Read More »

Turkish troops shell Afrin to oust US-backed Kurdish militia

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Photo shows a portrait of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from Afrin, along Syria’s northern border with Turkey (AFP) Al Arabiya AFP Turkey on Friday started shelling the Syrian town of Afrin held by a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers “terrorists” in a move to oust them, the defense minister said. The Turkish government has repeatedly warned that a full-scale operation against Syrian towns controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, including Afrin, is imminent after the ... Read More »

The F-35: How Taiwan Could Really Push Back Against China

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For the first time, an American National Security Strategy (NSS) explicitly mentions Taiwan. Michael Mazza Gary Schmitt The National Interest The NSS includes a commitment to “maintain our strong ties with Taiwan in accordance with our ‘One China’ policy, including our commitments under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide for Taiwan’s legitimate defense needs and deter coercion.” The NSS language on Taiwan parallels Congress’s increased interest in strengthening ties with Taipei. Last summer, Senators Tom Cotton and Corey Gardner introduced ... Read More »

Russia, Iran open their arms as Turkey loses patience with U.S.

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LONDON — Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have hit a new low over Washington’s support of militias battling the Islamic State, according to analysts. F. Brinley Bruton NBC News The government in Ankara views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. Experts warn that the crisis is resulting in Turkey — a longtime American ally with NATO’s second-largest standing army — turning away from the West and toward Russia and Iran. U.S. military support for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are ... Read More »

Rex Tillerson signals an open-ended US military presence in Syria

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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled for an open-ended US military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy. Tillerson also called for “patience” on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. David Brunnstrom, Reuters  Business Insider The United States on Wednesday signaled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran’s influence. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a speech at Stanford ... Read More »

Money Can’t Buy China Love – but Influence, Apparently

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China under Xi Jinping is deeply concerned with its global status and standing and aims to regain its deserved place on the global stage Falk Hartig Asia Sentinel This has dramatic consequences not only for China but for the rest of the world One of the most important developments with regards to China has been the bold departure from the foreign policy dictum to keep a low profile. While the country, until recently, was mainly concerned with domestic issues and ... Read More »

Freedom House reduces Turkey’s status to ‘not free’ in annual report

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U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House has reduced Turkey’s status from “partly free” to “not free” in its latest annual report. Hurriyet The “Freedom in the World” 2018 report, published on Jan. 16, ruled that Turkey’s “political rights rating” had declined from 4 to 5 and its “civil liberties rating” had declined from 5 to 6. Specifically referring to the “deeply flawed” April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, the report also blasted the mass dismissals of state ... Read More »

The Iran Nuclear Deal at Two: A Status Report

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The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. ICG The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it. What’s the issue? The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is as successful as it remains fragile. President Trump has warned he will ... Read More »

Will Religious Instability Destroy Bangladesh?

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Bangladesh was born in 1971 after India intervened in Pakistan’s civil war, which resulted in the independence of what was known as East Pakistan. Doug Bandow The National Interest The new state’s politics were violent too, punctuated by military rule, which pushed to Islamicize the secular state. Bangladesh today is nominally democratic, but politics is bitterly fractious and violent. Moreover, Islamist tides are rising. Like a number of other majority Islamic states, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, a once relaxed social ... Read More »

Japan to step up patrol of N. Korean illegal fishing

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Japan’s fisheries ministry says it is going to step up a crackdown on illegal fishing by boats from North Korea and other countries. NHK World There have been an increasing number of cases of foreign boats including many from North Korea fishing illegally in Japan’s exclusive economic zone in the Yamatotai fishing grounds off the Noto Peninsula in the Sea of Japan. Ministry officials say they will set up a taskforce led by the Fisheries Agency chief to strengthen the ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia blast U.S.-backed Syria force as “terrorist army”

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BEIRUT – Russia, Turkey and the Syrian government on Monday denounced the U.S.-led coalition plans to form a Kurdish-led border force to secure the areas along Syria’s international border to the north with Turkey and to the east, with Iraq. CBS News AP The coalition told The Associated Press Monday that 230 new cadets have already been recruited to the force, which is anticipated to reach 30,000 troops in the next several years. According to the coalition, the core of ... Read More »

Erdogan says Turkey will crush Kurdish militia in Afrin

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey’s military incursion in northern Syria’s Idlib province would crush Kurdish militia forces that control the neighboring region of… Reuters Staff The Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces inside Syria fired shells into Afrin on Saturday, but no one was wounded. Turkish troops entered Idlib three months ago after an agreement with Russia and Iran for the three countries to try to reduce fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and rebel ... Read More »

A New American Leader Rises in ISIS

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A two-year investigation identifies one of the very few Americans in the Islamic State’s upper ranks—and sheds light on the dynamics of radicalization Seamus Hughes, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, and Bennett Clifford The Atlantic The clues are out there, if you know where to look. Scattered across far-flung corners of the internet, there is evidence that Zulfi Hoxha, the son of an Albanian-American pizza-shop owner from New Jersey, had sinister plans. First there’s the defunct Twitter profile, which at one point engaged ... Read More »

Abe in Latvia Calls for Pressure on North Korea

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The international community should step up pressure on North Korea to help defuse the stand-off over the isolated country’s pursuit of long-range nuclear weapons, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Saturday during a visit to Latvia. Aaron Eglitis Bloomberg “As the international order founded on the rule of law is being challenged, our two nations need to closely work together to maintain and strengthen the system,” Abe said in a statement after meeting Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis. The two ... Read More »