Diplomacy

Italy opposes Poseidon gas pipeline landfall

Italy will not allow the Poseidon gas pipeline being developed by Italy’s Edison and Greece’s DEPA to make landfall as planned in southern Italy, the Italian prime minister said on… Reuters ekathimerini The Poseidon, which has permits to run from Greece to the southern Italian town of Otranto, is the final section of the EastMed pipeline that aims to bring gas reserves from the… “The government is certainly not interested at present in building the final tract of Poseidon as ... Read More »

The Hustling, Sweating, Flawed Greatness of Richard Holbrooke

The legendary diplomat was a deeply imperfect specimen of the human condition. Yet at his most statesmanlike moments, he could be extraordinary. Michael O’Donnell Washington Monthly The late American diplomat Richard Holbrooke (1941–2010) had a knack, that is to say a weakness, for self-promotion. He lobbied for the Nobel Peace Prize. He hinted broadly that he could serve as secretary of state. When one of his old friends died, Holbrooke petitioned the man’s widow to be included among the eulogists. ... Read More »

I Will Not Stay Silent. Our Leaders Are Failing Human Rights.

I spent four years defending human rights at the U.N. — and they’ve never been more at risk. By Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein The New York Times In the video Op-Ed above, a former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, argues that world leaders are weak, shortsighted and mediocre, and no longer willing or able to defend human rights. Abuses used to be called out and stopped, and human rights offenders had something to fear. Today, they ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #10

This is Crisis Group’s tenth update on recent developments in Yemen, focusing on al-Dhale in the south. ICG A ceasefire in Hodeida notwithstanding, violence is on the rise on other key front lines and could undermine prospects for a future peace process. Fighting between Huthi (Ansar Allah) and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed forces is intensifying in the southern governorate of al-Dhale. Battles have cut off key transit routes connecting the southern port city of Aden, the Huthi-held capital of Sanaa ... Read More »

UN report: Nature is going downhill. Fast.

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history—and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.” Dawn Stover Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists That’s the 10-alarm message from a global assessment report released today by the International Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), an… While scientists have long been warning that a mass extinction is under way, this is the most comprehensive report on global biodiversity to date, ... Read More »

The European Union Can Barely Hold Itself Together—and Putin Knows It | Opinion

Brexit and similar populist movements in Europe have prompted Brussels to question itself and its policies. Theodore Karasik Newsweek Whatever happens to these insurgencies, there must be a wholesale re-examination of how the EU treats states and economies dependent on it —both inside and outside its borders. Since the founding of the European Union, it has almost by default become associated with international solidarity, open trade, and rights for citizens. This is a natural consequence of any union between countries ... Read More »

Turkey is playing both Russia and US

During the past week the Western press has reported Russian and Syrian bombing of north-western Idlib province and the flight of thousands of civilians from targeted villages. Michael Jansen Gulf Today Writers complain that Moscow and Damascus have been violating the “de-confliction” deal reached last year between Russia and Turkey with the aim of halting an all-out military operation against… Those who have reported the situation in this way are indulging in promulgating “fake news.” Russian and Syrian government forces ... Read More »

After Intense Fighting in Gaza, Israel and Palestinians Observe Ceasefire

JERUSALEM — Fighting between Israel and Gaza escalated rapidly on Sunday in the worst combat since the last full-blown war in 2014, with Palestinian rocket and missile attacks killing four Israeli civilians and… By David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner The New York Times Gaza officials said the two-day death toll for Palestinians had reached 22. At least nine militants and as many civilians were killed on Sunday alone. The civilians included a pregnant woman, a 12-year-old boy and 4-month-old ... Read More »

Europe’s Glorious Years of Peace and Prosperity

The Munich Security Conference was a depressing gathering this February. By Michael A. McFaul The New York Times THE GLOBAL AGE Europe, 1950-2017 By Ian Kershaw Throughout the Cold War and for decades thereafter, Wehrkunde (as the conference was known when it started in 1963) was the premier event for Europeans and Americans committed to NATO, trans-Atlantic ties and the West. For decades, Senator John McCain led the American congressional delegation. In his last address to the conference in 2017, ... Read More »

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un need the European Union

Much ink has been spilled analyzing the surprising turn of events at the US-North Korea Hanoi summit in late February. Tereza Novotná and Alessandro Ford Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Accounts differ as to what happened, or which side overstepped first with its demands. At a late-night post-summit press briefing, North Korea sought to make its position abundantly clear: It would give up the nuclear production facilities in the Yongbyon complex in… The United States, on the other hand, has ... Read More »

Up to a million species are at risk of annihilation – UN report

Sixth wave of extinction dawns as planet’s life-support systems near danger zone Kevin O’Sullivan The Irish Times The destruction of nature threatens humanity at least as much as human-induced climate change, a global report on species loss will warn on Monday. Complied by hundreds of leading specialists on biodiversity loss, the report will provide evidence that the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity. Up to a million species are at risk of annihilation, many within decades, ... Read More »

Turkey’s deal with Sudan on intelligence and military affairs in limbo

Cooperation between Turkey and Sudan in intelligence and military affairs, spearheaded by ousted Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, was thrown into limbo when Islamist Turkish… Abdullah Bozkurt Nordic Monitor Having invested so much stock in al-Bashir, Erdoğan was frustrated to see that his credit may not be as good with the transitional government. Speaking at a ruling Justice and… He nonetheless vowed to continue supporting his brothers in Sudan. Erdoğan and his people point fingers at Egypt and Saudi Arabia in ... Read More »

Searching for the European spirit

The European Parliament will be held from May 23rd to 26th across the European Union (EU). Tara Varma ORF EU’s democratic foundations may be endangered not just by the rise of anti-European parties but also by the faltering efforts at renewing the European project. The European Parliament will be held from May 23rd to 26th across the European Union (EU). The Parliament is the only EU body elected by direct universal suffrage, thus constituting one of the EU’s main democratic ... Read More »

Might China Withdraw From the UN Law Of The Sea Treaty?

The move would come with serious costs – but Beijing might come to think the gains are worth it. Mark J. Valencia The Diplomat The early April passage of the French frigate Vendémiaire through the Taiwan Strait, amid a significant increase of such passages by U.S. warships despite China’s objections, gives Beijing one more reason to… Withdrawing would have serious costs as well as benefits and both need to be considered. The idea of withdrawing from UNCLOS (“denouncing it” in ... Read More »

How the European Union’s eastern expansion created Brexit and made an enemy of Russia

Fifteen years on from the EU’s enlargement, the extension arguably sabotaged more than just the quest for an ever-closer union Mary Dejevsky Independent Fifteen years ago this week, the European Union grew overnight from 15 members to 25 in the biggest and most ambitious enlargement it had ever ventured. The new members, eight of them former Soviet-bloc states, were ablaze with celebratory fireworks; there was ecstatic waving of blue and gold flags; Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” played on a seemingly eternal ... Read More »

Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis: How to Get to Talks?

After twenty months of clashes, the government and the separatists are both refusing to give ground. ICG Both sides must explore compromise solutions aimed at a level of regional autonomy somewhere between the secession the separatists yearn for and the fake decentralisation proposed by Yaoundé. What’s new? The conflict in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon is deadlocked. There is no dialogue between Yaoundé and the separatists, who are both refusing to give ground: the government is counting on a military ... Read More »