Asia

Discord in Yemen’s North Could Be a Chance for Peace

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Since August, a public rift has surfaced between the two main partners on the northern front of Yemen’s war – the forces loyal to the Huthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh. ICG Rather than fostering its rivals’ discord, key powerbroker Saudi Arabia should seize this rare chance to resolve the two-and-a-half year war by championing a new regional initiative. 1. Overview A public rift between Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) and the Huthis (aka Ansar Allah) may change ... Read More »

The Domestic Challenge to Kyrgyzstan’s Milestone Election

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While Kyrgyzstan’s 15 October elections are a rare milestone for Central Asian democracy, the campaign is exposing dangerous fault lines. Deirdre Tynan  In the largest city of Osh, the new president will have to face down robust local power brokers, defuse Uzbek-Kyrgyz tensions and re-introduce the rule of law. ICG Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming presidential elections on 15 October are a milestone for Central Asia: for the first time, a president from the region will voluntarily stand down at the end of ... Read More »

Christians and Yazidis see a bleak future in a proposed independent Kurdish state

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BASHIQA, Iraq — Shortly after the Islamic State was pushed out of his home town last year, Ivan Abdulla bought a new house in the traditionally Yazidi enclave. It was an investment in the place where generations of his family were raised, he said. Tamer El-Ghobashy  The Washington Post But the father of three already regrets his decision.The hilltop town of mostly Yazidis and Christians — two of Iraq’s most vulnerable minorities — has become the focus of a tug of war ... Read More »

Let’s All Agree Not To Visit Turkey

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To many Americans, a trip to Turkey has long seemed like a dream excursion A NATO ally that sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Turkey has offered an approachable window into exotic history and culture. And the flights are generally affordable, too. Gregg Roman The Daily Caller But Turkey has changed in the past few years. The State Department hasn’t issued a travel warning yet, but if Americans think they’ll be safe there, they’re wrong. One year ago ... Read More »

An Eye for an Eye: Iran Promises to Partition Saudi Arabia If Iraq Is Partitioned

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Iran is now openly threatening to dismember Saudi Arabia for its support for Kurdish independence and secession from Iraq. Prof. Hillel Frisch BESA This ratcheting up of tensions has implications not only for those two countries but for the region and the world at large Israel would do well to remember that the Middle East is growing ever more volatile, and the US should sharpen its resolve to contain… The Iranian-Saudi struggle over primacy in the Middle East ... Read More »

North Korea Called Me a ‘War Maniac.’ I Ignored Them, and Trump Should Too.

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Smart diplomacy backed by the threat of force, not Twitter bluster, is the way to deal with Kim Jong Un. The last time events on the Korean Peninsula were in a state of crisis as urgent as what we are experiencing now was in 1994, when President Bill Clinton drew a… William J. Perry * Politico The regime in Pyongyang responded by threatening to turn the South Korean capital into a “sea of flames” and calling the U.S. defense secretary ... Read More »

Teacher who said ‘Don’t let children die’ will give birth in Turkish prison

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A one year, three month prison sentence handed down to Turkish teacher Ayşe Çelik, who called for an end to clashes between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces in Diyarbakır during a TV program, was approved by a regional court of justice, Cumhuriyet reported on… Stockholm Center for Freedom According to the report Çelik, who said “Don’t let children die” during the “Beyaz Show” TV program, will give birth in prison as she is currently three months… On the night ... Read More »

Europe still hopeful to get Turkmen gas

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Turkmenistan, a hydrocarbon-rich Central Asian, is still hopeful to see its gas reach the European markets, while Brussels counties talks in this regard. Gulgiz Muradova AzerNews The EU is negotiating with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan over a Trans Caspian Pipeline System, said Anca Paduraru, EU Spokesperson for Energy Union projects. “Negotiations are on-going,” Paduraru said, when answering on progress of the talks. “The EU’s objective has not changed. To diversify the EU’s supplies, the Southern Gas Corridor aims to expand infrastructure ... Read More »

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road

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China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »

Israel denies Turkish remarks on involvement in Kurd vote

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Oct. 1 denied Turkish remarks of covert involvement in Iraqi Kurdistan’s recent independence vote, reiterating however his “sympathy” for the Kurdish people. Agence France-Presse Hurriyet On Sept. 30, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Israel’s intelligence agency played a role in the Sept. 25 referendum, citing as proof the waving of Israeli flags during celebrations for the overwhelming “yes” vote. “This shows one thing, that this administration [in northern Iraq] has a history with ... Read More »

Only a partitioned island will bring the dispute between Turkish and Greek Cypriots to an end

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In one of its worst strategic decisions ever, the European Union (sadly, with UK acquiescence) had agreed that Cyprus should join the EU on 1 May 2004, whether agreement had been reached with the Turkish Cypriots or not Jack Straw * Earlier this summer the 11th international effort to strike a deal between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots was rejected by the Greek-Cypriot government – as every previous one has been. Independent So, whatever its terms, will the next, and the ... Read More »

US in direct communication with North Korea, after pressuring rogue state

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Beijing: The United States said on Saturday it was directly communicating with North Korea, seeking to start a dialogue with Pyongyang as its advancing nuclear and missile programs stoke fears of an armed confrontation. Reuters, The Washington Post and Adam Gartrell Brisbane Times  US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the disclosure about the communications during a trip to China and said it was important to find a way to reduce tensions with North… “We are probing, so stay tuned,” Tillerson ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia Must Prepare for the Post-Petroleum Order

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The jury is out on how far Mohammed bin Salman will go in steering reforms to liberate the innovation and productivity of younger Saudis Precisely because women and human-rights activists in Saudi Arabia have highlighted its past proscription as a symbol, the royal decree granting Saudi women the right to drive is no small matter. Mark P. Lagon  The National Interest And it surprisingly comes as the Saudi government has been enthusiastically embraced by a U.S. president who said—on Saudi territory—“We are not here to lecture” ... Read More »

Turkey agrees to ‘only deal with Baghdad’ over oil exports

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In a major U-turn, Turkey has agreed to solely deal with the central Iraqi government over crude oil exports, following a contentious secession referendum held by Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, the Baghdad government says. PressTV The office of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reported Ankara’s change of mode on Thursday, following a phone call between Abadi and his Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim. Yildirim “confirmed the support of his country on all decisions” taken by the Iraqi government, said the… ... Read More »

Modi: Electricity for every Indian house

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed that every home in India will have electricity by December 2018 as he moves to shore up voter support amid doubts over his handling of the economy Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The $2.5 billion scheme announced Sept. 25 would see the country’s 40 million households without electricity linked up to power for free. “Forty million of the total 250 million households still don’t have power, which means 25 percent of people are living in the 18th century. ... Read More »

Are America and North Korea Destined for War?

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Last Friday National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster emphatically told reporters that despite what many have said to the contrary, “there is a military option” for North Korea. Daniel L. Davis, Harry J. Kazianis The National Interest Tuesday afternoon at the United Nations, President Trump went even further, saying that if he felt certain conditions warranted it, then he would have no choice “but to totally destroy North Korea.” The president and his national security advisor, however, are wrong. Engaging in a “preventive war” with ... Read More »