Diplomacy

Docs Show US To Massively Expand Footprint At Jordanian Air Base Amid Spats With Turkey, Iraq

Tens of millions of dollars will turn this base in Jordan into a new major regional hub for combat jets, drones, cargo planes, and more. Joseph Trevithick The Drive The U.S. military is moving ahead with plans to dramatically expand its presence at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan to better accommodate a broad mix of fighter jets, ground attack aircraft, armed drones, cargo planes, and… The multi-million-dollar construction project comes as President Donald Trump’s administration moves to withdraw American ... Read More »

Turkey’s new presidential system and a changing west

Implications for Turkish foreign policy and Turkish-West relations Kemal Kirişci and Ilke Toygür Brookings Executive Summary In July 2018, having triumphed in the presidential elections the previous month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to formally transform Turkey’s long-standing parliamentary system into a heavily centralized presidential one. The new system entrenched his one-man authoritarian rule at home and is having profound implications for the making and substance of Turkish foreign policy as well as Turkey’s relations with the West. This ... Read More »

Is Turkey Capable of Defeating ISIS in Syria?

The first responders in the case of a threat like ISIS should be those nations most affected. Doug Bandow The National Interest The Islamic State exploded in the Middle East, gaining control of large sections of Iraq and Syria. No nation was safe from its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate. But Turkey initially accommodated Daesh, even profiting from illicit oil sales. Eventually, the insurgents turned terrorist inside Turkey, forcing the Erdogan government to respond. However, Turkish forces still targeted ... Read More »

US withdrawing gear from Syria, but not troops

The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America’s planned exit from the war-battered nation. Washington – AFP Hurriyet President Donald Trump last month claimed ISIL had been defeated in Syria and said all US troops were “coming back now.” But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when ... Read More »

The strange normality of life in a breakaway state

A postal address is the marker that identifies our home’s place in the world. The last line designates our country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. By Thomas de Waal, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace BBC But for a few million people worldwide, that last line of the address is a problem. The international postal service does not recognise a letter marked Abkhazia, Trans-Dniester, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Letters find their way after being re-routed via other countries. Open up ... Read More »

Xi Jinping will Give Donald Trump a Victory on Trade

Expect Trump to declare a “triumph” in a great trade deal that will feature China’s purchase of more than a trillion dollars of additional U.S. products. Graham Allison The National Interest With the conclusion of the first round of negotiations yesterday in Beijing, the way ahead for the United States and China to avoid a full-scale tariff war has become clear. With fifty days remaining before the March 1 end of the truce Trump and Xi announced to prevent U.S. ... Read More »

How Viktor Orban degraded Hungary’s weak democracy

The roots of democracy in Hungary are shallow. John Shattuck The Conversation That’s been especially clear in the last nine years, as Prime Minister Viktor Orban has created a repressive and increasingly authoritarian state, operating under a pretense of democracy. In recent weeks the political situation has become volatile. By early 2019 the Hungarian government was the target of a series of major demonstrations in Budapest and other Hungarian cities. A flash point was a new labor law allowing employers ... Read More »

SNP ‘will help block Brexit’ for new independence vote

A government of national unity is needed to halt Brexit, a leading SNP MP has argued – but the Nationalists should only take part if the right to hold a second independence referendum is granted. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman Joanna Cherry said a temporary cross-party government would be required to extend the Article 50 process to allow a second EU referendum to take place. But the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West said the Scottish Government “must be granted the ... Read More »

Rights of prisoners with intellectual disabilities must be respected

Study exposes shortcomings in treatment of prisoners with IDs, treatment they are entitled to George Winter The Irish Times In 2006, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was adopted, promoting autonomy, choice, independence, equality and participation. The CRPD includes provision for those with intellectual disability (ID). This is typically diagnosed if individuals have an IQ below 70; an impaired ability to effectively interact with society on all levels and care for themselves; and have had developmental ... Read More »

European Parliament is failing on transparency

Voters have to be reassured MEPs are being held accountable. Heidi Hautala Politico When it comes to transparency, the European Parliament’s motto has become: Do as I say, not as I do. Members of the key European institution are fighting crucial reforms to ensure MEPs act by a shared set of public spending rules. As a relatively new member of the European Parliament Bureau — where decisions regarding the Parliament’s administration and budget are made — I have experienced first hand how ... Read More »

How Big Is Turkey’s Stick? #TurkeyUS

The strained relationship between Turkey and the U.S. appears unlikely to improve any time soon. Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey There is simply too much of a backlog of unresolved issues for the situation to change for the better. The visit to Ankara by the high level delegation, headed by President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, did little to ameliorate tensions between the two capitals. To the contrary, it seems to have aggravated the… The atmosphere was already ... Read More »

Don’t Blame Everything on Erdogan

The Turkish government doesn’t have a soft spot for the Islamic State, and Ankara stands to lose more than anyone if the terrorist group makes a comeback. Selim Sazak FP Washington’s Turkey experts were left working overtime during the holidays when a routine conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended with the announcement that the… Trump’s maneuver had raised worries that a premature withdrawal risks reversing the gains that have been made against the Islamic State. Indeed, on ... Read More »

Picturing Baghdad

Despite their traumatic history, Iraqis are finding individual and civic solutions to their country’s political failures. Julie David de Lossy ICG Crisis Group photographer Julie David de Lossy visited Baghdad in October-November 2018 and returned with portraits of its people’s search for normalcy. Iraq has endured decades of sanctions, war, invasion, regime change and dysfunctional government. These span Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, a devastating eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and crippling UN sanctions throughout the 1990s. Those difficult years ... Read More »

Are women escaping family violence overseas considered refugees?

Saudi teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun’s story has travelled around the world this week, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s repressive treatment of women and that not only those who seek asylum by… Tamara Wood The Conversation For now, al-Qunun remains in Thailand, and it’s been reported the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR) has deemed her to be a refugee. Australia has said it will consider granting her asylum. Reports say al-Qunun fears, if she is returned to Saudi Arabia, she will be abused and ... Read More »

Turkey and the Kurds turn to Russia to solve problems sparked by U.S. exit from Syria

BEIRUT — Both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds are now pinning their hopes on Russia to resolve the problems created by President Trump’s abrupt decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which has threatened to ignite a… Liz Sly The Washington Post Turkish officials said Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Moscow this month for talks on Syria and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kurds have already reached out to Russia ... Read More »

Vietnam requests other countries to respect international law

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang underlined Vietnam’s stance on the US vessel USS McCampbell’s passage through Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) waters, while responding to reporters’ questions regarding the… Hanoi (VNA) “Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence testifying its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in conformity with international law,” the spokesperson said. She stressed that as a member of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 and a ... Read More »