Diplomacy

Al-Shabaab Five Years after Westgate: Still a Menace in East Africa

Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power in Somalia, but it continues to plot attacks in Kenya and Tanzania – and perhaps in Uganda as well. ICG To counter the movement, East African states should eschew heavy-handed crackdowns and work instead to reduce its appeal to potential recruits. Executive Summary What’s happening? Five years after an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall, Al-Shabaab appears committed to striking targets across East Africa. Security crackdowns have blunted its capacity to stage regular assaults, but ... Read More »

US imposes sanctions on China for buying Russian weapons

The US has imposed sanctions on the Chinese military over its purchasing of Russian military jets and surface-to-air missiles. BBC It says such purchases contravene US sanctions on Moscow introduced over Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged interference in US politics. China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles. Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014. Relations between the US and Russia deteriorated rapidly ... Read More »

Yemen’s Hodeida Offensive: Once Avoidable, Now Imminent

When the plan for consultations between Yemen’s warring parties, scheduled to begin in Geneva on 8 September, collapsed, the frozen battle for the Red Sea port of Hodeida resumed. Peter Salisbury ICG It could prove fatal for many of the millions already on the brink of starvation. Over the last two weeks, the latest attempt to set Yemen on the path to peace has collapsed, triggering what could become the bloodiest battle of a war approaching its fourth anniversary. In ... Read More »

Who Putin Is Not

Falsely demonizing Russia’s leader has made the new Cold War even more dangerous. Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at Princeton and NYU, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com.) This post is different. The conversation was… “Putin is an evil man, and he is intent on evil deeds.” —Senator John McCain “[Putin] was ... Read More »

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour could grant second independence referendum

Jeremy Corbyn has refused to rule out granting permission for a second Scottish independence referendum if he became Prime Minister. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman The Labour leader said he would “decide at the time” whether to allow a new independence vote to take place if a request was made by the Scottish Government. Mr Corbyn said he is against a second referendum, and was “very clear on why we don’t think it’s a good idea”. Before the last Holyrood election, ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan to open Cologne mosque in controversial state visit

The Turkish president’s hopes of addressing the German-Turkish community are closer to becoming reality. His upcoming state visit was described as a “betrayal” by journalist Deniz Yücel, who was imprisoned in Turkey. DW Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will officially open a new central mosque in the western German city of Cologne, the Turkish-Islamic organization DITIB confirmed on Tuesday evening. Erdogan will open the mosque at a ceremony at the end of his state visit to Germany, which is set ... Read More »

The Australian war film Jirga is a lesson in Afghan forgiveness

It is cathartic when a war movie takes us far beyond the horror of bullets, bomb and blood into the other side of the battlefield — the emotional impact on individuals. Ehsan Azari Stanizai The Conversation The Australian production Jirga mines the depth of the heartache and guilt experienced by an Australian ex-soldier whose conscience has caught up with his participation in a night raid on a… In doing so, it moves away from run-of-the-mill cinematic depictions of this war, ... Read More »

Downward spiral US-Turkey relations

International relations are shaped by national interest. States are perpetually striving to get stronger, either by making common cause with other states or expanding economically and militarily at the expense of other states. Global Village Space Before the 20th century, the ‘balance of power’ sustained by military alliances between states gave the best possible explanation for understanding, interpreting and predicting geopolitics. In the 20th century, especially after the Second World War, the idea of collective defense under international institutions gained ... Read More »

The Eastern Mediterranean is getting more dangerous, and it’s not because of Russia, Syria, or Iran

The Eastern Mediterranean is about to get a lot more dangerous, and it’s not because of Russia, Syria, or Iran. Michael Rubin Washington Examiner Eastern Mediterranean used to be waters the U.S. Navy just sailed through on its way to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, but now it is as militarily active as both. Of course, during the Cold War, the Eastern Mediterranean was in play. In 1967, the Soviet Union formed the 5th Mediterranean Squadron to counterbalance NATO ... Read More »

Getting the U.S. in Step with the Koreas’ Diplomatic Dance

A new round of inter-Korean diplomacy commenced 18 September as the North and South Korean leaders met for a three-day summit. Christopher Green International Crisis Group Meanwhile, U.S.-North Korean relations are reverting to previous bad form. Washington should welcome Seoul’s help in restarting productive contacts with Pyongyang. President Moon Jae-in of South Korea arrived in Pyongyang early on Tuesday for a three-day visit. The outcomes of this summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will set the tempo for the remainder ... Read More »

Syria’s Idlib Wins Welcome Reprieve with Russia-Turkey Deal

After weeks of escalatory rhetoric, Russia has partnered with Turkey in a deal to avert an all-out assault on Idlib, the last stronghold of Syria’s armed rebellion. International actors seeking to end the Syrian war should embrace the agreement. ICG Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin have unveiled an agreement to forestall a Syrian regime offensive in the country’s north-western Idlib governorate. Per Putin and Erdoğan’s announcement of the deal, signed following bilateral talks in Sochi, on Russia’s Black ... Read More »

EU and UK need each other on post-Brexit security

Brexit will leave a gaping hole in Europe’s foreign policy. By JACEK CZAPUTOWICZ, LINAS LINKEVIČIUS AND TEODOR MELEȘCANU Politico The U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union poses a number of challenges on both sides of the Channel, but Brussels should be alive to one particularly important risk: Brexit’s effect on… The U.K. — in its capacity as a U.N. Security Council member, a nuclear power and a guarantor of approximately one-fourth of European defense capabilities — is one of the key pillars of the EU’s… ... Read More »

China And The SEA In Asia’s Troubled Waters – Analysis

The never ending disputes over a semi-enclosed sea, the South-China Sea (SCS) was culminated in the consensus between the Philippines and China in bringing the case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Dhiana Puspitawati Eurasia Review While the PCA under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982) ruled in favor of the Philippines and declare that China’s nine-dash line claims are illegal, China has asserted that they will not obeys the… This paper ... Read More »

Armenian Cypriots Ask Israel to Condemn Turkey Genocide

NICOSIA, Cyprus — As Jews in Cyprus laid the cornerstone last week for a museum here that will chronicle the post-Holocaust internment of survivors in detention camps after World War II, leaders of… Larry Luxner The Times of Israel Cyprus is home to some 3,500 Armenians — about the same as the number of Jews who inhabit this predominantly Greek Orthodox country of 1.2 million. “We go back to 578 A.D., during the Byzantine Era, when the first Armenians settled ... Read More »

A Warning From Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come

Polarization. Conspiracy theories. Attacks on the free press. An obsession with loyalty. Recent events in the United States follow a pattern Europeans know all too well. Anne Applebaum The Atlantic On December 31, 1999, we threw a party. It was the end of one millennium and the start of a new one; people very much wanted to celebrate, preferably somewhere exotic. Our party fulfilled that criterion. We held it at Chobielin, the manor house in northwest Poland that my husband ... Read More »

British Jacobins on the march in Brexit revolution

You’re either with or against us, say both sides. By TOM MCTAGUE Politico LONDON — Britain has been radicalized by Brexit. As the clock ticks down to D (as in EU departure) Day on March 29, 2019, both sides are digging in for the coming battle over whatever deal Theresa May is able to bring back from Brussels later this year. For the Brexiteers, the battle cry is “chuck Chequers,” deal or no deal. For the arch Remainers, it’s chuck ... Read More »