Diplomacy

Brexit was designed to fail

Too big to fail? Please. The 2016 referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union involved a constitutional question so large it was too big to succeed. The Week This is the only reason the national vote on Brexit was ever allowed to take place. Like Ted Heath and John Major before him, former British Prime Minister David Cameron found himself faced with the impossible task of placating the Tory Party’s right wing. His exceedingly clever answer was ... Read More »

UN Strengthens Peacekeeping Despite U.S. Scepticism

This Friday, the UN hosts the 2019 Peacekeeping Ministerial Conference, an opportunity for politicians and diplomats to fill gaps in blue helmet missions. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s UN Director Richard Gowan previews the agenda. What is the point of the conference? This is the latest edition of a series of conferences that former U.S. President Barack Obama kicked off with other leaders at the UN General Assembly in 2015. Vice President Joe Biden had chaired a trial run the ... Read More »

Spain and Mexico’s centuries-old blame game

Mexican demand for apology for conquest has the potential to damage Pedro Sánchez’s electoral prospects. Diego Torres Politico MADRID — The latest diplomatic spat in Spain has been 500 years in the making. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s demand that the king of Spain apologize for the abuses committed during the conquest has put pressure on Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez ahead of a national election and sparked debate on the issue of historic apologies. It has also raised questions ... Read More »

The Eurozone’s Real Weakness

A new eurozone crisis would most likely have a less uneven effect than in 2008 or 2011, not least because its largest economies are currently weak. Lucrezia Reichlin Project Syndicate But if a recession hits, policymakers will find it hard to mount an effective response. LONDON – The 20th anniversary of the euro this year is a good time to reflect on the robustness of Europe’s monetary union. The memory of the last crisis, which began in the United States ... Read More »

Denmark cannot name timeline for its decision on Nord Stream 2

The need to find an alternative route to the Nord Stream 2 is linked to changes in Danish legislation STOCKHOLM, March 28. /TASS/. The Danish Energy Agency will decide on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline after environmental impact of the pipeline route in the exclusive economic zone of Denmark is assessed and public hearings are held, head of the… “The Danish Energy Agency has requested that Nord Stream 2 AG investigate the environmental impacts for a route south of ... Read More »

Trump’s Green Light to Israel: First the Golan, Then the West Bank?

Nazareth. When President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem last year, effectively sabotaging any hope of establishing a viable Palestinian state, he tore up the international rulebook. Jonathan Cook CounterPunch Last week, he trampled all over its remaining tattered pages. He did so, of course, via Twitter. Referring to a large piece of territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967, Trump wrote: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty ... Read More »

In presidential vote, Ukraine looks east

Russian-speaking candidate wants to undo ‘Russophobic’ turn in Ukrainian politics. Vijai Maheshwari Politico Since Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, political power in the country has always shifted between the Ukrainian-speaking, western part of the country and the Russian-speaking east. Then Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 and kicked off a brutal war in eastern Ukraine later that year. After that, it seemed, ordinary Ukrainians closed ranks against their aggressive neighbor. Patriotism and love of Ukrainian culture and ... Read More »

After Iraqi Kurdistan’s Thwarted Independence Bid

Backlash to the 2017 independence referendum bolstered family rule within Iraq’s two main Kurdish parties. ICG Internal democracy has eroded; ties between the parties have frayed. Only strong institutions in Erbil and renewed inter-party cooperation can help Iraqi Kurdistan to reach a sustainable settlement with Baghdad on outstanding issues.  What’s new?  Elections in 2018 confirmed that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) remain the dominant forces in Iraqi Kurdish politics. But fallout from the 2017 ... Read More »

J’Accuse! The guilty men and women of the Brexit debacle

Afer this humiliating failure for our political class, we need a new constitutional settlement. Anthony Seldon NewStatesman Roll up, roll up for the Brexit blame game, it’s waiting to take you away. Not since Robert Walpole became the first prime minister 298 years ago has this country seen such a prolonged and deep political crisis. Not since the struggle between Catholic and Protestant factions calmed in Britain (if not in Ireland) after the… Whatever happens in the next few weeks and months, ... Read More »

Energy and security in the Eastern Mediterranean

The discovery of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean’s Levant Basin has created new regional security dynamics. Petros Petrikkos Global Risk Insights The quest for power and influence hinders energy and economic cooperation. The growing ‘battle’ for the creation of a pipeline is not easily sustained due to the region’s unstable landscape. Research on the Levant Basin dates back to 2010 when the Leviathan block was first discovered by Ratio Oil. Following this, companies like US-owned Noble Energy and French giant ... Read More »

Stopping an Unwanted War in Gaza

As in 2014, Hamas and Israel appear close to a conflagration that neither party desires – though now a shaky ceasefire seems to have taken hold. Tareq Baconi Crisis Group’s Israel/Palestine analyst Tareq Baconi explains how the parties got to the brink and how they can step back. What happened? In the early morning of 25 March a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv, destroying a family house and wounding seven Israelis, including ... Read More »

Erdogan Is Weak. And Invincible.

Turkey’s president has rarely been so unpopular. He’s likely to dominate this week’s local elections anyway. Steven A. Cook FP No one ever prospered by predicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political demise, but on the eve of Turkey’s local elections this weekend, he and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem weaker than ever. If he were not feeling political pressure, he would not be featuring the grotesque video of the Christchurch mosque massacre at campaign rallies, nor would ... Read More »

The strategic consequence of the Chagos Islands legal dispute

At the end of last month, the African archipelago nation of Mauritius secured an important legal victory in its territorial and maritime disputes against its former coloniser, the United Kingdom. Bec Strating Lowy Interpreter The International Court of Justice (ICJ) produce an advisory opinion that rejected the UK’s claims to sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, a small group of atolls in the Indian Ocean. It found instead that the UK had unlawfully separated the islands from the former colony of ... Read More »

Decentralisation in Tunisia: Consolidating Democracy without Weakening the State

The decentralisation process is polarising Tunisia and risks fueling social and political tensions. ICG In order to fulfill its promise – to reduce socio-regional inequalities and improve public services – all sides must compromise on a new understanding of decentralisation that includes strengthening state services nationwide. Executive Summary Tunisia’s decentralisation process is increasingly in disarray. Through this reform, mandated by the new constitution adopted in January 2014, the central state is to cede certain of its powers to actors and ... Read More »

Brexit: It’s so obvious the will of the people has changed – Christine Jardine MP

It’s time for Theresa May to stop pretending the UK is united in its desire to leave the European Union. It never was and the public mood is radically different to three years ago, writes Christine Jardine MP. The Scotsman I could not believe how quickly the numbers were rising. It was changing so quickly that every time you said the latest figure out loud it was instantly out of date. Less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister had ... Read More »

‘Nothing changed at all’ for ISIL sexual violence victims: Nobel laureate Nadia Murad

Despite finding widespread support globally, Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad has said she feels disappointed that none of the ISIL militants who raped and tortured Yazidiwomen have been… İpek İzci – ISTANBUL Hurriyet “I got e-mails from all over the world. Some people encourage me, some say that they embrace me and my people, some others offer help. I have been exhausted in the last two years. I work hard in the advocacy of vulnerable people, but nothing has changed at all. That makes me very upset,” she told daily ... Read More »