Diplomacy

Khashoggi’s Murder Heralds a New Era of Impunity

The ugly geopolitics in the wake of the Saudi journalist’s death point to a world in which impunity reigns The head of the United Nations delivered a dark and, it turns out, prophetic warning several weeks ago. Uri Friedman The Atlantic As power diffuses from the United States, the world is devolving into chaos. “Impunity and unpredictability” are becoming “the name of the game,” António Guterres told me. At the time, the UN secretary-general had the kaleidoscopic and catastrophic Syrian war top ... Read More »

Late night text messages reveal Indonesia’s anger over Jerusalem embassy announcement

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi’s late-night flurry of angry text messages to Australian counterpart Marise Payne was the first direct contact between the two over the Morrison government’s… David Wroe The Canberra Times Extraordinary exchanges in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday morning have also revealed the government decided to announce its review of Australia’s stances on Jerusalem and the Iran nuclear deal without consulting a… Foreign Minister Marise Payne acknowledged under questioning from Labor foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong ... Read More »

NATO blames Russia for missile pact violation, Putin warns Europe

Brussels: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday that allies blame Russia for violating an important Cold War-era missile treaty but he does not expect them to deploy more nuclear warheads in Europe in response. The Age AP In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin followed up on US President Donald Trump’s declared intention to pull out of the 1987 arms control pact by warning that if the US deploys the now-banned missiles in Europe, Russia would target the nations hosting them. ... Read More »

Not one government official was consulted about Australia’s major Israel foreign policy shift

Just after lunchtime on Monday last week, the head of Australia’s Foreign Affairs Department, Frances Adamson, took a call about the government’s planned Jerusalem announcement. David Wroe WAtoday Public servants, even the most seasoned, aren’t unimpeachable, but they are the government’s bedrock for advice on major and complex issues. So it must have been a surprise for the nation’s most senior diplomat that the call from Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s office wasn’t so much asking for her input as letting ... Read More »

Mario Draghi: I won’t mediate Italian budget standoff

The Italian chief of the ECB also says that ‘to finance governments’ deficits is not part of our mandate.’ By SILVIA SCIORILLI BORRELLI Politico The European Central Bank’s president, Mario Draghi, on Thursday passed the buck on resolving the Italian budget standoff to the European Commission. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday in Frankfurt after the ECB governing council monetary policy meeting, Draghi sought to clarify that he has no intention of serving as a “mediator” between Rome and ... Read More »

Watch List 2018 – Third Update

Crisis Group’s third update to our Watch List 2018 includes entries on economic reforms in Libya, preserving the fragile quiet in Syria’s Idlib province, addressing the plight of civilians in eastern Ukraine, supporting Colombia’s uneasy peace process and averting violence in Nigeria’s upcoming… ICG This annual early-warning report identifies conflict situations in which prompt action by the European Union and its member states would generate stronger prospects for peace. Libya’s Economic Reforms Fall Short Libya has seen… Watch List 2018… Read More »

Saving Guatemala’s Fight Against Crime and Impunity

Next year, President Jimmy Morales vows he will end the mandate of the UN-backed Commission against Impunity in Guatemala. ICG Hugely popular, the commission has helped reduce the country’s terrible murder rate. To keep it going, its supporters should refocus on fighting the worst violent crime. What’s new?  Research by International Crisis Group has for the first time quantified the positive impact of the UN’s Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CI-CIG). This report shows how CICIG’s justice reform activities since ... Read More »

Migrant caravan members have right to claim asylum – here’s why getting it will be hard

Roughly 5,000 people, mostly from Central America’s violent and unstable “Northern Triangle” of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are reportedly making their way through Mexico with the intention of claiming asylum at the U.S. border. Abigail Stepnitz The Conversation The so-called “migrant caravan” is attracting intense social and political attention, with U.S. President Donald Trump declaring it a “national emergency.” He has also claimed, erroneously, that the migrants “have to” claim asylum in Mexico first. Migrants aren’t obligated to claim asylum in ... Read More »

China Expands Its Peace and Security Footprint in Africa

At the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Africa Defence and Security Forum, Beijing showcased an increasingly strategic approach to its defence relations with African countries and its role in managing challenges to peace and security on the continent. Michael Kovrig ICG China’s growing engagement with African countries got a publicity boost on 3-4 September with the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The triennial event brought leaders and officials from 53 African countries and the African Union (AU) to Beijing for ... Read More »

Beyond Short-Term Solutions in the Middle East and North Africa

The United States and Europe should pursue a strategy of long-term civil society development in the MENA. They should also seek stability and an end to conflicts in the short term. Richard LeBaron The National Interest In the final months of 2018, seven years after historic change swept the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), countries in the region still face significant political, economic and security challenges. In most countries that underwent a transition, the situation is worse than before: ... Read More »

The EU Has Rejected Italy’s Budget. That’s Just What Rome Wanted.

The EU’s move comes amid growing economic problems in Italy, but the country’s ascendant populists will flaunt Brussels’s decision as a victory. Rachel Donadio The Atlantic Since it came to power in May, Italy’s coalition government has always been a marriage of convenience. The Five Star Movement won the economically struggling Italian south with its campaign pledges of a universal basic income, and the right-wing League party won the economically prosperous north with its pledges of tax cuts. That fundamental ... Read More »

Chinese missile buildup strained US-Russia arms pact

The 1987 INF Treaty banned land-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Gregory Hellman Politico U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a landmark arms control treaty with Russia comes after nearly a year of appeals from top military leaders to confront China’s rising missile ambitions — perhaps the… Trump told reporters Monday outside the White House that Beijing’s growing arsenal played into his decision to withdraw from the Cold War-era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, even ... Read More »

Trump, Saudi Arabia and à la carte Human Rights

Saudi Arabian Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey Khashoggi was interrogated, tortured and then killed. It has been widely reported that Khashoggi was cut to pieces in the embassy whilst still alive. Turkish secret recordings of the murder are said to confirm this. Vasilis Giavris * Khashoggi was a dissident who was critical of the Saudi Royal family. He relocated to the United States in June 2017, where he obtained permanent residency and began ... Read More »

‘Not the work of a great mind’: Gorbachev slams Trump’s nuclear pact withdrawal

Moscow: US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia has drawn sharp criticism from one of the men who signed it — Mikhail Gorbachev, who called the… New York Times The Age In announcing that he would withdraw from the treaty, Trump cited Russian violations of the pact, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which was signed in Washington in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and… Gorbachev, who is now 87 years old, cast Trump’s decision as a ... Read More »

UN’s 10-year plan to tackle world’s drug problem has been ‘spectacular failure’ as production and consumption soar, report says

Drug-related deaths increase by 145 per cent and cultivation of opium poppies increases by 130 per cent, figures show Samuel Osborne Independent The UN’s 10-year global strategy to eradicate the world’s illegal drug market has been “a spectacular failure of policy”, a report by a network of 174 NGOs has concluded. The report said there had been a 145 per cent increase in drug-related deaths over the last decade, culminating in around 450,000 deaths per year in 2015. It also found that despite a ... Read More »

Why America Shouldn’t Threaten Preemptive War

Continually pushing for dominance in the backyards of the world’s nuclear powers is madness. Doug Bandow The National Interest As a Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson was a moderate conservative. But as the current U.S. ambassador to NATO, Hutchinson seemed to lose her prior restraints. She appeared to threaten an attack on Russia. Moscow is developing a new cruise missile which Washington claims would violate the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty. If Russia proceeds, said Hutchinson, then the Putin government would be put ... Read More »