Diplomacy

As Kurdish fighters move on last Isis-controlled town in Syria, Turkey threatens attack

Syria’s main Kurdish parties called Turkey’s warnings a ‘declaration of war’ Richard Hall Independent Kurdish forces are on the brink of capturing the last town under Isis control in Syria – but before that battle is over they might have to face a Turkish invasion. The town of Hajin, on the banks of the Euphrates river in eastern Syria, is Isis’s last holdout in the country. After three months of intense fighting, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday that it had taken most of the ... Read More »

Government to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but keeps embassy in Tel Aviv

The Australian Government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but will not immediately move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Jade Macmillan ABC It is understood Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the decision during a speech in Sydney today. He is also expected to acknowledge the aspirations of Palestinians for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem. The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network said it was dismayed by the Prime Minister’s plan, which it argued would ... Read More »

In the words of Taffan Ako: “I believe you have to be in the system in order to change the system”

By UN Women – A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Women You Should Know Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ako was one of ... Read More »

Reviving UN Mediation on Iraq’s Disputed Internal Boundaries

The fallout is settling after the Iraqi army’s seizure of territories disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region. ICG More conflict over these areas, particularly oil-rich Kirkuk, is predictable. The UN should take advantage of today’s quiet to explore negotiations on the contested lands’ status. What’s new?  Following parliamentary and regional elections this year, Baghdad and Erbil are forming new governments. This presents a fresh opportunity to settle longstanding disputes between them. One of their principal disputes concerns the ... Read More »

Role reversal: China cites human rights in spat with Canada

When China’s government recently protested the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, it used something rarely heard from Beijing — the language of… David Webster The Conversation “The detention without giving any reason violates a person’s human rights,” a spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said. In using this sort of “rights talk,” China is not simply jumping on the fact that Meng was in detention on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. ... Read More »

Book Excerpt – Red Star Over the Pacific: China’s Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes present the second edition of their important work on this timely topic. China has a dream. Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials tell us so. Toshi Yoshihara and James Holmes The National Interest President Xi Jinping, who ranks first among them, made “Chinese Dream” his credo soon after ascending to China’s top post in 2012. And this is no mere slogan; it encapsulates CCP officialdom’s vision of China’s purposes and aspirations, first and foremost of which ... Read More »

Confront Turkey’s ethnic cleansing and stop indulging it

Every April, Turkish diplomats and members of the Congressional Turkey Caucus scramble to avert a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era Ottoman massacres of Armenians. Washington Examiner Turkish officials oppose any resolution holding Turkey responsible both because the Republic of Turkey was not formally declared until 1923 and because they hold that what happened was not deliberate but… Other Turkish historians and politicians hold that the evidence upon which genocide historians rely is exaggerated if not fraudulent. Lost ... Read More »

Theresa May wins confidence vote

British prime minister gets backing from Conservative MPs to stay as party leader. By CHARLIE COOPER AND ANNABELLE DICKSON Politico LONDON — U.K Prime Minister Theresa May won a vote of confidence Wednesday, defeating an attempt by some of her party to oust her and install a new leader to take control of Brexit. Her victory comes as short-term relief for May but marks a crisis delayed, not averted, at a critical time in negotiations with the European Union. The prime minister won ... Read More »

Rightsizing the Transnational Jihadist Threat

The number of Salafi-jihadists in action around the world has risen markedly since 2001. But this is no homogenous army, and the key point is that most are fighting locally. Sam Heller ICG Understanding how different jihadist groups operate in varying contexts is essential for an effective policy response. A recent report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has warned that the worldwide jihadist menace is more dangerous than ever. The November 2018 report, “The Evolution of the ... Read More »

If May loses, Brexit could be delayed or even abandoned

Analysis: It seems if May wins tonight’s vote by any margin, she will stay put Theresa May’s defiant statement outside 10 Downing Street, promising to fight “with everything I’ve got” to keep her job, set out the case she will make to Conservative MPs ahead of tonight’s confidence vote. Denis Staunton The Irish Times A leadership election now would mean that her successor would not be in place until at least the middle of January, too late to renegotiate the Brexitdeal ... Read More »

Detention of Michael Kovrig

The International Crisis Group calls for the immediate release of its North East Asia Senior Adviser Michael Kovrig. ICG Michael was detained on Monday night in Beijing by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security. Crisis Group has received no information about Michael since his detention and is concerned for his health and safety. We are making every effort to learn more and to secure consular access to Michael from the Chinese authorities. Michael has been a full-time and highly ... Read More »

Theresa May faces leadership challenge as Brexit deal anger boils over

London: British Prime Minister Theresa May faces a challenge to her leadership as anger surrounding her handling of Brexit boils over among her party colleagues. Nick Miller The Sydney Morning Herald But May, in a defiant speech on the steps of Number 10, said the challenge risked delaying or even stopping Brexit and warned a Conservative party leadership change would “put our country’s future at risk”. On Wednesday morning, London time, it was revealed that enough Conservative MPs had sent ... Read More »

Marise Payne urged to ‘step up’ at Aung San Suu Kyi meeting in Myanmar

Amnesty International Australia has called on Australia’s foreign affairs minister to act on the Rohingya crisis, as she visits Myanmar this week. Nick baker SBS As Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne begins her two-day visit to Myanmar, Amnesty International Australia has urged her to “step up and show leadership” at a meeting with controversial leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Ms Payne is in the Southeast Asian nation on Wednesday and Thursday and will meet with senior government ministers, including ... Read More »

Explainer: why is Australia adopting the global refugee compact but not the migration compact?

Australia was one of 176 countries to vote in favour of the Global Compact on Refugees (refugee compact) in mid-November this year. Azadeh Dastyari The Conversation The United Nations General Assembly will adopt it by the end of 2018. However, Australia did not join the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (migration compact) at a conference in Morocco on December 10-11. What are the compacts and what do they aim to do? There is much confusion about the ... Read More »

Armenia Elections Boost Hopes for Peace with Azerbaijan

With his party’s victory in the snap parliamentary elections and a new calm on the frontlines with Azerbaijan, Armenia’s leader Nikol Pashinyan and his team will have more space to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Olesya Vartanyan ICG BERKABER, Armenia – One of the windows in Sonya Matinyan’s home is filled in with bricks. The glass of the other is splintered by a rifle bullet. The roof has taken a few missile hits and leaking water has stained the ceilings in ... Read More »

Australia only nation to join US at pro-coal event at COP24 climate talks

Country’s stance described as ‘a slap in the face of our Pacific island neighbours’ Ben Doherty The Guardian Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the… Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as… Its ... Read More »