Global Issues

The Illogic of the U.S. Sanctions Snapback on Iran

The Trump administration believes that ratcheting up economic pressure on Iran will compel the Islamic Republic to curtail its disruptive Middle East policies. IGG History suggests otherwise. Both Washington and Tehran should step off their current escalatory path. What’s new?  A 40-year analysis of Iran’s economic performance and regional policy reveals little to no correlation between the two, as Tehran has continued to pursue policies it deems central to its national security no matter its… Why does it matter?  The ... Read More »

Once Reluctant to Speak Out, an Energized Obama Now Calls Out His Successor

MIAMI — Former President Barack Obama’s voice has a way of lifting into a high-pitched tone of astonishment when he talks about his successor, almost as if he still cannot believe that the Executive Mansion he occupied for eight… Peter Baker The New York Times For most of the last two years, he stewed about it in private, only occasionally speaking out. But as he hit the campaign trail this fall, Mr. Obama has vented his exasperation loud and often, assailing his ... Read More »

Remembrance Day 2018: War does not discriminate, and nor should the poppy. It is more inclusive than ever before

Last week, on the morning of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal launch, I stood under a giant poppy installation at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich with two of my former soldiers. Alexander Owen The Scotsman One of them, a Fijian, whom I served with in Helmand Province. The other, a Jamaican whose great-grandfather left the West Indies to fight, and ultimately die, in the First World War, paying his own way across to Europe like thousands of other ... Read More »

China’s ‘extraordinary’ ambitions: the futuristic city being built on reclaimed land

For more than a century people have been gathering to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean at the historic Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Matt Wade WAtoday But the view from the colonial-era promenade is changing, fast. A vast land reclamation project is reshaping the famous seaside vista. A walk along the famous beachfront now takes in a flotilla of dredgers and the sound of giant machinery, all working round the clock to create more than two square kilometres of ... Read More »

Israel settlers dump sewage on Palestinian school in Qalqiliya

Israeli settlers dumped their sewage on a Palestinian school in the northern occupied West Bank district of Qalqilia yesterday. MEMo The Azzun Beit Amin School playground was flooded with sewage for the second time in two months as a result of the settlers’ actions. Principal Alaa Marabeh said it would take more than ten days for the sewage water to dry and this has caused a foul smell to spread across the school building and risks damaging the students’ health. ... Read More »

Pakistan Islamists block roads to protest acquittal of Christian

Karachi:  Pakistan’s ultra-Islamist party blocked roads in major cities for a third day on Friday in protest against the acquittal of a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy allegations. The Age Reuters Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP) said talks with the government have failed, and called upon its followers to get ready for a show down. “Talks have completely failed, Federal and provincial representatives and an Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz took part in talks,” Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the leader of TLP ... Read More »

Homelessness: how other countries can avoid a US-style crisis

Homelessness is a growing problem in the UK, where the number of people sleeping rough has doubled since 2010, yet it is dwarfed by the scale of the issue in the US. Andrea Gibbons The Conversation More than 500,000 homeless were found across the US during just one night, compared to the UK’s 2017 count of 4,751. Changes in the definition of homelessness and flawed methodologies suggest that the true number for the US could be anywhere from 2.5 to 10.2 times greater. Millions more live in overcrowded ... Read More »

Is there a market for AI art? This $600k painting suggests there is

There’s been much existential concern around machines marching in to take over our routine jobs — but is artificial intelligence also shaping up as a threat to human creativity? ABC – RN – By Hong Jiang and Julie Street for Late Night Live We know AI can learn to write like Shakespeare and compose pop songs — and now, an original painting generated by AI has sold for more than 38 times its expected price. In a world-first event in New York last week, Portrait ... Read More »

Understanding and Defeating China’s Maritime Insurgency in the South China Sea

China is treating ocean space in the South China Sea as if it were land territory. How should the United States? Hunter Stires The National Interest The rule of an international system that upholds the legal and philosophical principle of the “freedom of the seas” ranks among America’s most important if uncelebrated national interests. The preservation of a free and open maritime order is imperative for a country whose ability to connect with over 80 percent of the world’s population ... Read More »

Regional Risks of Rising U.S.-Iran Rivalry

The U.S. is pursuing a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran that includes the re-imposition of key energy and banking sanctions. Naysan Rafati ICG With Tehran refusing to capitulate over its nuclear program or regional policies, the U.S.-Iran rivalry could escalate across the region. The re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Iran’s banking and energy sectors on 5 November is a key element of Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive ... Read More »

Pressure mounts on Ireland to accept EU digital tax

The Republic continues to resist proposal as European opposition to the levy slips away Pat Leahy, Cliff Taylor The Irish Times The Government is under increasing pressure to agree to European Commission proposals for an EU-wide 3 per cent digital sales tax ahead of a meeting of European finance ministers in Brussels next week. Government sources says it will resist the proposal in its current form, but there has been heavy lobbying from the commission, the French government and the ... Read More »

Power, privilege and public good

What does it really take to be aware of power and to give it up? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about power. Kristy Muir The Mandarin Who has it, who doesn’t; who knows it, who is blind to it and the consequences of how it is consciously and… In September, I had the privilege of moderating a couple of sessions at the Philanthropy Australia conference. Besides an incredible event with hundreds of people and some great sessions, it pressed ... Read More »

All asylum seeker children to leave Nauru: Brandis

London: George Brandis has confirmed the Australian government is aiming to have all child asylum seekers off Nauru by the end of the year, after being grilled on an influential London radio station about Australia’s… Latika Bourke The Sydney Morning Herald The former Attorney-General, now Australia’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, brushed aside repeated questions during his interview with Shelagh Fogarty on talkback station LBC and said… On Monday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there were 50 children left on the ... Read More »

A Flawed European Ruling on Free Speech

The European Court of Human Rights invoked “religious peace” as a reason to limit criticisms of the Prophet Muhammad. Simon Cottee The Atlantic According to dominant Islamic traditions, the Prophet Muhammad’s third wife Aisha was six years old at their marriage and nine at its consummation. Muslims, as Graeme Wood has pointed out, have debated the issue of Aisha’s age for a very long time, and critics of Islam seemingly can’t keep off the subject. In the fall of 2009, a woman referred to as ... Read More »

Tanzania: Anti-gay crackdown in Dar es Salaam

A Tanzanian governor has announced the creation of a surveillance squad dedicated to hunting down gay people. BBC Paul Makonda, governor of the economic capital Dar es Salaam, told reporters round-ups would begin next week. The team will scrutinise social media in order to track down and arrest people in same sex couples, he added. Homosexual acts are illegal in Tanzania, where anti-gay rhetoric has been on the rise since President John Magufuli’s election in 2015. Many gay, lesbian and ... Read More »

Georgian presidential front-runner aims at multilateralism to thaw frozen conflicts

Born in exile, the career diplomat Salome Zurabishvili faces a runoff vote after a narrow lead in the first round. Zhanna Nemtsova In an interview with DW, she stressed the importance of democracy and multipartyism in her country. Salome Zurabishvili is an independent candidate for the Georgian presidency endorsed by the Georgian Dream party. Born in Paris to a family of Georgian emigres, she was educated in France and served as a career diplomat, and was appointed ambassador of France ... Read More »