Asia

Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century

President Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show. Moscow – Reuters Hurriyet The original deal, signed in Damascus in January, sets out the terms under which Russia can use its Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province which it has used to carry out air strikes against forces opposing President Bashar al-Assad. Putin approved the agreement on July ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries

China and Russia’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. Crisis Group To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict. Executive Summary Two new regional initiatives potentially could transform Central Asia’s political landscape. China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, offers multi-billion dollar ... Read More »

Will the Kurds Get Their Independence Referendum?

The Kurdish region faces a multiplicity of hurdles as it prepares for the “yes to independence” referendum. Seth J. Frantzman The National Interest Kurdistan Regional Government president Masoud Barzani announced on June 7 that the region had set September 25 as the date for a referendum on independence. He was joined by members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, Kurdistan Islamic Union, Kurdistan Islamic Movement and… New signs on billboards throughout the KRG capital of Erbil ... Read More »

Israel to Erdoğan: The days of the Ottoman Empire are over

In response to statements made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan that linked the problems in Palestine to the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said the days of the Ottoman Empire are over. Turkish Minute Erdoğan criticized Israel over the installation of metal detectors at the entrance of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem after assailants killed two Israeli police officers on July 14 and said Israel had exceeded its boundaries. Nahshon, who criticized ... Read More »

Central Asia’s Silk Road Rivalries

Russia’s and China’s separate visions for Central Asia could transform the region’s political and economic landscape as well as relations between the two Eurasian giants. ICG To the smaller, embryonic Central Asian nation states, the new geopolitical realities could offer both economic prosperity as well as worsening instability and conflict. Executive Summary Two new regional initiatives potentially could transform Central Asia’s political landscape. China’s Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, offers multi-billion dollar investments ... Read More »

The South China Sea’s untapped oil and natural gas are back in focus

The contested South China Sea has large deposits of oil and natural gas. Steve Mollman Quartz Perhaps luckily for the environment, drilling for these resources has been discouraged by political tension among nations in the region. In particular, energy companies worry about China’s ongoing insistence that everything within its infamous nine-dash line—which marks off nearly the entire sea—is its own territory, despite an international tribunal invalidating the sweeping claim last year. The uncertainty has made it hard for energy companies ... Read More »

Timor-Leste election: ‘Disenfranchised youth’ party wins first seats in parliament

A Timor-Leste political party with links to martial arts gangs and “disenfranchised young men” will for the first time have seats in the… Felicity James  ABC Timor-Leste’s largest political parties, Fretilin, the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor and CNRT, the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction, are expected to form a… Fretilin claimed victory after a provisional vote count put the party slightly ahead of former resistance leader Xanana… Timor-Leste election… Read More »

China to ‘step up’ troop deployment in India border row

China warned on July 24 that it will step up its troop deployment in a border dispute with India, vowing to defend its sovereignty at “whatever cost.” BEIJING – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The standoff started more than a month ago after Chinese troops started building a road on a remote plateau, which is disputed by China and Bhutan. Indian troops moved in to the flashpoint zone to halt the work, with China accusing them of violating its territorial sovereignty and ... Read More »

Lessons Australia could learn from other countries to strengthen peace and stability

There has been an alarming upward trend in the number of deaths in war around the world since 2012. John Langmore The Conversation The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute concludes that in the first decade of the 21st century, the total number of deaths from organised violence worldwide stabilised at around 35,000. But, by 2014, it had multiplied to 130,000. The small decline to 118,000 in 2015 didn’t reduce the severe global anxiety about armed… Lessons Australia could… Read More »

America’s Future Is with India and Israel

The winds of change are blowing not from Beijing, but from Delhi. Trump should seize the initiative. James Jay Carafano International Crisis Group From the Indo-Pacific to the Mediterranean, a diplomatic transformation is underway. The winds of change are blowing not from Beijing, but from Delhi. President Donald Trump has an opportunity to harness some of that power to help fill the sails of America’s global… Times are Changing The White House is expected to unveil its… America’s Future Is… Read More »

Why India and Pakistan hate each other

Hissing cousins Three score and ten years after their acrimonious split, India and Pakistan remain at daggers drawn. Max Rodenbeck asks if they can ever make up The Economist EVERY AFTERNOON AT sunset, at a point midway along the arrow-straight road between Amritsar and Lahore, rival squads of splendidly uniformed soldiers strut and stomp a 17th-century British military drill known as Beating… Barked commands, fierce glares and preposterously high kicks all signal violent intent. But then, lovingly and in unison, ... Read More »

Turkey Sees Foes at Work in Gold Mines, Cafes and ‘Smurf Village’

LONDON — Akin Ipek, one of Turkey’s richest men, was staying in the Park Tower Hotel in London when the police raided his television network in Istanbul. DAVID SEGAL The New York Times The raid was national news, so Mr. Ipek opened his laptop and watched an unnerving spectacle: an attack on his multibillion-dollar empire, in real time. It was an oddly cinematic showdown. Through a combination of shouting and persuasion, the network’s news editor convinced the officers that they ... Read More »

Yemen’s cholera epidemic is worst on record: Oxfam

More than 360,000 suspected cholera cases have been recorded over just three months in war-ravaged Yemen, says charity. Al Jazeera and news agencies An ongoing cholera epidemic which has swept war-ravaged Yemen is the “largest ever recorded” in a single year, with more than 360,000 suspected cases in the three months since the… Since cholera began to spread in April, the epidemic has killed more than 2,000 people, while the country grapples with death, starvation, malnutrition and… Yemen’s cholera epidemic… Read More »

The EU Can’t Afford to Ignore Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Brussels should help central Europe forge an effective funding and financing plan to help stop the conflict in Syria. Naman Jain The National Interest A lot has been happening in the midst of the European migrant crisis. Most notably, the political debate between EU member states is widening on how to best handle this significantly deteriorating crisis. Specifically, the Visegrad Group, consisting of Poland… Criticism of the Visegrad… The EU Can’t… Read More »

Philippines’ Duterte says will never visit ‘lousy’ United States

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hit back on July 21 at U.S. lawmakers opposed to the prospect of his visiting the White House, saying he would never go to the United States, which he called a… MANILA – Reuters Hurriyet Duterte was responding to remarks by Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern, who told a hearing of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission that he… The commission, made up of members of the U.S. House of Representatives, convened on… Philippines’ Duterte says… Read More »

China stands firm as pressure grows to release late Nobel laureate’s wife

Liu Xia has been detained at home since Liu Xiaobo won the peace prize in 2010 Clifford Coonan in Beijing The Irish Times International pressure is growing to allow Liu Xia, the wife of the late Nobel Peace Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo, to leave the country if she wants to go abroad. She has been under house arrest for years. Diplomatic sources in Beijing say intensive discussions are under way with Chinese authorities to grant permission to allow Ms Xia, a ... Read More »