Diplomacy

DR Congo Elections: Reversing a Dangerous Decision

After postponing long-awaited elections, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission has announced a second delay in voting in some conflict-affected areas – until after a new president takes office. ICG This decision disenfranchises 1.25 million Congolese and risks major unrest. The commission should rescind it.  The latest twist in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s tortuous electoral saga may well be its most worrying and dangerous yet. On 26 December, the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) announced that parts of North ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

47% of Serbian citizens in favor of the EU membership

68% of Serbian public against a NATO membership Serbia’s support for the integration to the European Union remains below 50%, a trend observed over the last three years with some slight fluctuations. IBNA According to the most recent poll conducted by Serbia’s Euro-Atlantic Studies Center in co-operation with the CESID opinion poll, 47% of citizens are in favor of joining the EU, while 36% opposes the European integration path of the country. The poll was conducted in the first week ... Read More »

Turkey hails Pakistan move on FETÖ schools

Turkey has welcomed a ruling by Pakistan’s top court to designate FETÖ a “terrorist group,” saying it should set a precedent for other countries. Ankara Hurriyet In a statement on Dec. 28, the Turkish Foreign Ministry appreciated the Pakistani Supreme Court’s ruling of handing over the FETÖ-linked schools to Turkiye Maarif Foundation. “The decision, which we consider as the manifestation of mutual cooperation based on strong bonds between Turkey and Pakistan, should set a precedent for all countries,” the ministry added. Earlier on Dec. 28, ... Read More »

UN report sheds light on ‘unimaginable horrors’ faced by migrants and refugees in Libya, and beyond

Migrants and refugees are being subjected to “unimaginable horrors” from the moment they enter Libya, throughout their stay in the country and – if they make it that far – during their attempts to cross the Mediterranean, according to a report released on Thursday, by the United Nations political mission in Libya (UNSMIL) and the UN human rights office (OHCHR). UN News “There is a local and international failure to handle this hidden human calamity that continues to take place ... Read More »

Why Turkey’s Kurdish strategy will remain ineffective

Over the past decade, Turkey has pursued a “break and dent” strategy against the Kurds, by which the Turkish government seeks to dismantle Kurdish groups and push resistant factions into… Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor Turkey has now come to rely on this strategy outside its border, particularly in the northern Syrian region of Afrin. Based on this approach, Ankara aims to “cleanse” all northeastern Syrian territories held by the People’s Protection Units, or the YPG. Yet this “break and dent” strategy is futile, and the Mahkmour ... Read More »

Arizona Attorney General Argues BDS Seeks to ‘Strengthen’ Terror-Supporting Palestinian Groups

A brief filed last week by Arizona’s attorney general maintains that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel aids terrorists — potentially marking the first time a US government official has formally taken such a… Shiri Moshe Algemeiner In an opening argument submitted to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote that legislation enacted by his state in 2016 that bars public bodies from contracting with companies that… The law, passed with bipartisan super-majorities, was blocked by a federal court in ... Read More »

The Sum of All Brexit Fears

The Leavers lied: The costs of withdrawing from the European Union were always destined to outweigh the benefits. Chris Patten * Project Syndicate Alas, the responsible, imaginative, and inclusive political leadership needed to minimize the damage is nowhere in sight. LONDON – Day after day, week after week, most British citizens think that the turmoil over their country’s proposed exit from the European Union cannot get any worse. But, without fail, it does. Turmoil turns into humiliating chaos; a political ... Read More »

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a make-or-break year

Adnan R. Khan: For more than a decade and a half, Turkey has aggressively pursued a more prominent role in the world. In 2019, it will pay the price. The goal was unity. Adnan R. Khan Maclean’s At least, that’s what Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, claimed about his campaign to transform Turkey’s fractious parliamentary democracy into a highly centralized presidency. When his “yes” side prevailed in an April 2017 constitutional referendum, the ambitious and polarizing leader promised ... Read More »

Turning Brexit Into a Celebration of Democracy

Paradoxically, while the current Brexit impasse is pregnant with risk, the British should welcome it. Yanis Varoufakis The Project Syndicate Their discontent with the choices before them is an opportunity, not a curse, and more democracy is the antidote, not the disease. ATHENS – Discontent without end looms over Britain. Leavers and Remainers are equally despondent. Her Majesty’s Government and the Labour opposition are equally divided. The United Kingdom is deeply divided between a Europhile Scotland and a Euroskeptic England, ... Read More »

Japan withdraws from International Whaling Commission

Japan will resume commercial whaling in July 2019. Tokyo has long deflected criticism for its commercial whaling activities, arguing that eating whale meat is a part of its culture. DW Japan will withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), a government spokesman confirmed on Wednesday. The move sets the stage for Japan to resume commercial whaling activities next year. “Commercial whaling to be resumed from July next year will be limited to Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zones. We ... Read More »

How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens

Citizens’ assemblies have their roots in sortition – selecting citizens at random to fill public posts – which was once central to democracy James Bridle The Guardian n the central marketplace of ancient Athens, around 350BC, there stood a machine called the kleroterion. This was a six-foot-high slab of stone that had a series of slots on the front, and a long tube bored down from the top to the base. Those up for selection for the various offices of state ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

Turkey says the US just agreed to more of its demands as Ankara sees expanded power in Syria

President Donald Trump’s administration may have just handed Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan another win. Natasha Turak CNBC Less than a week after Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Tuesday the U.S. has agreed to complete its previously established “roadmap” to remove all Kurdish militia fighters from the Northern Syrian town of… Ankara has been waiting for this guarantee for a while, complaining since its agreement in June that Washington was dragging its ... Read More »

2018: The year in figures and charts

BY THE NUMBERS Telling the story of the last 12 months through data. By ARNAU BUSQUETS GUÀRDIA Politico What a tremendous, nebulous year. Very much like last year, 2018 was full of endless Brexit drama. And endless Trump drama. And then there was some more Brexit drama. And some more Trump drama. But hey, other stuff happened too (right?). The French proved that they are still the global champions of street protests, the far right grabbed headlines across the Continent and Angela ... Read More »

Trump’s New Embrace of Turkish President Erdogan Decried by Top US Jewish Leaders

Two prominent American Jewish leaders expressed strong concern on Monday over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of faith in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of his sudden decision to withdraw the… Ben Cohen The Algemeiner “This most recent embrace of Turkey as a strategic partner in this ‘new’ US policy — relating to ISIS, Syria, the Kurds — should raise serious alarm bells in Israel and in the… Rabbi Abraham Cooper — associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal ... Read More »