Diplomacy

A New Generation of Activists Circumvents Iraq’s Political Paralysis

Researching the talks on forming a new Iraqi ruling coalition, our Senior Adviser for Iraq Maria Fantappie finds a country whose youth, women, civil society, officials and even politicians are hungry for bottom-up change to a stalemated, top… Maria Fantappie ICG BAGHDAD – I have spent much of my career – as an academic, an adviser to the EU and a policy analyst – speaking with high-level policymakers in Iraq. In my many meetings, I have tried to get a ... Read More »

Despite US Threats, Another Ally Mulls Russia’s S-400

Another US ally — and host of a critical Middle Eastern air base — is considering buying a high-tech Russian missile system. By Paul McLeary Breaking Defense What can Washington do about it? WASHINGTON The Trump administration’s promise last year to slap sanctions on countries who buy Russian military equipment appears to have done little to deter key allies. For months, American allies from India to Saudi Arania to Turkey have weighed absorbing the promised economic hit, while a new ... Read More »

Brexit Is Hell…

Over time, public conceptions of hell have migrated from the realm of religious belief to that of literature and political aphorism. Harold James Project Syndicate And nowhere is the idea of eternal damnation as punishment for one’s own choices more appropriate than in the case of the United Kingdom as it hurdles toward the Brexit abyss. PRINCETON – European Council President Donald Tusk recently sparked controversy by saying there is a “special place in hell” for those who advocated Brexit ... Read More »

US deploys advanced THAAD missile defense system to Israel

The deployment, which began in March, was intended to test the U.S. military’s ability to rapidly deploy such weapons around the world, said a spokeswoman for U.S. European Command. JERUSALEM- Reuters Hurriyet Citing security reasons, she declined to say how long it took to move the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, which is built by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon to Israel from its home base of Fort Bliss, Texas. The move comes amid increased tensions between Israel and Iran over Israel‘s bombing campaign in ... Read More »

Turkey faces growing Kurdish insurgency in Syria’s Afrin

Ever since the Turkish military and allied factions from the Free Syrian Army drove the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) out of Kurdish-dominated Afrin in March 2017, there has been almost no independent reporting on how the… Amberin Zaman Al Monitor The United Nations and Human Rights Watch are among a handful of international bodies that have offered valuable insight on the massive human rights abuses — rape, theft, extortion, kidnappings and the… The UN said some of these actions amount to war ... Read More »

Renewing Europe

European citizens need to learn from the Brexit impasse and apply those lessons ahead of and after the European Parliament election in May. Emmanuel Macron Project Syndicate That means embracing reforms that advance the three goals that lie at the heart of the European project. PARIS – Never, since World War II, has Europe been as essential. Yet never has Europe been in so much danger. Brexit stands as the symbol of that. It symbolises the crisis of Europe, which ... Read More »

Putin signs decree suspending INF nuclear pact

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree suspending Russia‘s participation in the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty with the United States, the Kremlin said on March 4. MOSCOW – Reuters Hurriyet Russia announced last month it was suspending the treaty after the United States said it would withdraw because of violations by Moscow. Russia denies flouting the accord and has accused Washington of breaking the accord itself, allegations rejected by the United States. Putin ordered the treaty be suspended until Washington stops violating the ... Read More »

UK-US trade deal: Envoy attacks ‘myths’ about US farming

Fears over chlorine-washed chicken and hormone-fed beef are “myths”, according to the US ambassador to the UK. BBC In the Daily Telegraph, Woody Johnson urged the UK to embrace US farming methods after Washington published its objectives for a UK-US trade deal. EU rules currently limit US exports of certain food products, including chicken and beef – but Mr Johnson wants that to change in the UK after Brexit. Downing Street has repeatedly… A No 10… UK-US trade… Read More »

Canada allows extradition case against Huawei executive to proceed

China, whose relations with Canada have deteriorated badly over the case, denounces the latest move to extradite Meng Wanzhou. sky news Canada has said it will allow the US extradition case against Huawei’s chief financial officer to go ahead. Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested last December at the request of the US, which has accused her of fraud linked to violating sanctions on Iran. She is currently on bail in Vancouver and will appear ... Read More »

Spain unveils ‘generous’ plan to protect British citizens in event of no-deal Brexit

Spain’s plans includes residency rights and healthcare protections to UK citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit Nick Duffy The Scotsman The Spanish government has unveiled plans to protect UK citizens even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It unveiled a “generous” plan to guarantee residency and healthcare rights to UK citizens. Spain is home to the largest British diaspora within the EU, with an estimated 400,000 UK citizens living in the country. Spain wants reciprocity The plan announced ... Read More »

How do you kick EU ‘bastards’ out, asks Boris Johnson

The problem with the EU is ‘we don’t really know who is running it,’ said the former UK foreign secretary. Sarah Wheaton Politico It is not clear who runs the EU or how to “kick those particular bastards out,” said former U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. “My objection to the EU was not that it was run by foreigners,” Johnson, a Brexiteer who quit Prime Minister Theresa May’s government last year in protest at her Brexit strategy, told a New ... Read More »

Brexit: Border backstop will not be removed from agreement, says Barnier

Slovenia suggested many EU states willing to accept a short Brexit delay The Irish Times Brussels is ready to give the UK further “guarantees, assurances and clarifications” that the Irish backstop should only be temporary, Michel Barnier has said. The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator insisted that the controversial measure, intended to avoid a hard border on Ireland, will not be removed from the withdrawal agreement. While acknowledging Brexiteer concerns that the backstop is a trap that would keep the UK tied to ... Read More »

Arundhati Roy: Kashmir Is Potentially The Flashpoint For A Future Nuclear War

With his reckless “pre-emptive” airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inadvertently undone what previous Indian governments almost miraculously, succeeded in… Arundhati Roy HuffPost Since 1947 the Indian Government has bristled at any suggestion that the conflict in Kashmir could be resolved by international arbitration, insisting that it is an “internal matter.” By goading Pakistan into a counter-strike, and so making India and Pakistan the only two nuclear powers in history to have bombed each other, Modi has internationalised the Kashmir dispute. He has ... Read More »

Calming India and Pakistan’s Tit-for-Tat Escalation

Reciprocal airstrikes by India and Pakistan have been accompanied by shelling, troop reinforcements and small arms fire. Laurel Miller ICG In this Q&A calling for restraint between the nuclear-armed neighbours, Crisis Group’s Asia Program Director Laurel Miller notes that the airspace violations alone were the worst for 50 years. What happened exactly? On Tuesday, 26 February, India claimed that its air force had targeted “the biggest training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed … in Balakot”. The strikes – the most significant ... Read More »

Pakistan wins PR showdown as Khan announces release of Indian pilot

Delhi: After Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Thursday that his country would be releasing a captured pilot from India after days of military conflict, he offered a way out of the… By Jeffrey Gettleman, Maria Abi-Habib and Salman Masood The Age The New York Times “In our desire of peace, I announce that tomorrow, and as a first step to open negotiations, Pakistan will be releasing the Indian air force officer in our custody,” Khan said. After hours of relative ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #6

Trendline: Putting Yemen to Work Late February brought some hope to Yemen’s embattled population, large segments of which were on the verge of starvation at the end of 2018. ICG The UN announced that it had both raised billions of dollars to pay for its humanitarian work over the coming year and had regained access to the Red Sea Mills, an important food storage and distribution hub outside the port city of Hodeida for the first time in five months. ... Read More »