Defence

UN: Russia must free Ukraine ships, crew

A United Nations maritime tribunal has ruled that Russia must immediately release three Ukrainian naval vessels captured in November, and the 24 sailors it detained. Geir Moulson Australian Associated Press The Canberra Times The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea issued its order at its Hamburg headquarters following a hearing earlier this month. Russian representatives did not attend. The confrontation in the Kerch Strait, which links the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea, marked a flashpoint in ... Read More »

Trump approves $8bn Saudi weapons sale over Iran tensions

US President Donald Trump is approving the sale of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, citing Iranian threats to its arch rival. BBC Mr Trump invoked a rarely used aspect of federal law to push through the $8bn (£6bn) deal – bypassing Congress. He did so by declaring that ongoing tensions with Iran amounted to a national emergency. The move has angered those who fear the weapons may be used against civilians in Yemen by Saudi-led forces. ... Read More »

General Assembly Welcomes International Court of Justice Opinion on Chagos Archipelago, Adopts Text Calling for Mauritius’ Complete Decolonization

The General Assembly adopted a resolution today welcoming a 25 February 2019 International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the legal consequences of separating the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965, demanding that the United Kingdom unconditionally withdraw its colonial administration from the area within six months. By a recorded vote of 116 in favour, to 6 against (Australia, Hungary, Israel, Maldives, United Kingdom, United States), with 56 abstentions, the Assembly affirmed that doing so — in accordance with the advisory opinion — would ... Read More »

Could One of America’s Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Michael Peck The National Interest What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter? Turkey, that’s what. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has ... Read More »

A Path to War With Iran

How Washington’s Escalation Could Lead to Unintended Catastrophe Philip H. Gordon Foreign Affairs When President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal last May, many critics argued that he risked setting off a chain of events that could lead to war. The nuclear deal wasn’t perfect, supporters of the deal acknowledged, but if the United States precipitously walked away and the deal collapsed, Iran might resume its nuclear enrichment program, and to stop it, the ... Read More »

Open letter to UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The following Lobby for Cyprus open letter was sent to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs regarding Turkey’s illegal operations in the EEZ of Cyprus and the recent statement in Parliament by the UK Minister for Europe. Τhe Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Foreign and Commonwealth Office King Charles Street London SW1A 2AH 17 May 2019 Dear Minister I am writing to you regarding the reply given by ... Read More »

Cyprus escalation could drill hole in Irish sacred cow of neutrality

Europe Letter: Danger of war of words escalating into military conflict remains real Patrick Smyth The Irish Times The publication by the Institute of International and European Affairs of a new analysis of Irish neutrality by Prof Patrick Keatinge is timely. It comes just as fellow EU member Cyprus looks to its partners for solidarity – at this stage just political – over the illegal incursion by Turkish drilling ships into its Aegean territorial waters or Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The move, which has ... Read More »

Taking the U.S. and Iran Off Collision Course

A series of escalations in both word and deed have raised fears of U.S.-Iranian military confrontation, either direct or by proxy. ICG It is urgent that cooler heads prevail – in European capitals as in Tehran and Washington – to head off the threat of a disastrous war. For the past year, relations between the U.S. and Iran have brought to mind a slow-motion train wreck. Of late, the pace has dangerously accelerated, and tensions could soon lead to a… ... Read More »

Missile deal between Russia and Turkey stopped

No S-400 For Erdogan Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (65) changes his mind. von: SINAN SENYURT Bild The Turkish military was originally supposed to receive the first delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems this summer – against the will of US President Donald Trump (72). The lira crisis has obviously caused Erdogan to change his mind, however. As BILD has learned from diplomatic circles in Ankara, the missile deal between Moscow and Ankara will apparently no… Background: The relationship ... Read More »

Presidency comms director Altun refutes Bild report claiming Turkey scrapped S-400 deal

Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun on Friday refuted a report by a German daily claiming Turkey has decided against the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 missile defense systems. Daily Sabah Bild’s foreign policy editor Julian Röpcke on Friday tweeted a “scoop,” saying, “Diplomatic sources tell @BILD, Erdogan will not buy the S-400 from Russia.” The German journalist added a link to Bild’s report titled “Erdoğan makes a surprising missile back-out.” Responding to Röpcke, Altun told him that their sources “are ... Read More »

Europeans struggle to preserve Iran nuclear accord

he world powers struggling to preserve a nuclear deal with Iran are facing an increasingly uphill battle, with a new deadline from Tehran on finding a solution to make up for last year’s unilateral U.S… BRUSSELS-The Associated Press Hurriyet After Iran notified Britain, Russia, China, the European Union, France and Germany of its intentions in a letter, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised address on May 8 that the… Trump issued an executive order announcing new sanctions targeting Iran’s steel, aluminum, copper and ... Read More »

It’s time to lift the arms embargo on Cyprus

The United States has a prime opportunity to thwart the designs of Russia, China, and Turkey in the Middle East. Jonathan Schanzer and Bradley Bowman The Hill At the same time, it can strengthen a bilateral relationship with a democratic, European ally and enhance our defense supply base, as well. This can all be accomplished by taking one relatively simple step: Lift the arms embargo on the Republic of Cyprus. That Cyprus is under embargo is a head-scratcher in the ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #10

This is Crisis Group’s tenth update on recent developments in Yemen, focusing on al-Dhale in the south. ICG A ceasefire in Hodeida notwithstanding, violence is on the rise on other key front lines and could undermine prospects for a future peace process. Fighting between Huthi (Ansar Allah) and United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed forces is intensifying in the southern governorate of al-Dhale. Battles have cut off key transit routes connecting the southern port city of Aden, the Huthi-held capital of Sanaa ... Read More »

Turkey is playing both Russia and US

During the past week the Western press has reported Russian and Syrian bombing of north-western Idlib province and the flight of thousands of civilians from targeted villages. Michael Jansen Gulf Today Writers complain that Moscow and Damascus have been violating the “de-confliction” deal reached last year between Russia and Turkey with the aim of halting an all-out military operation against… Those who have reported the situation in this way are indulging in promulgating “fake news.” Russian and Syrian government forces ... Read More »

After Intense Fighting in Gaza, Israel and Palestinians Observe Ceasefire

JERUSALEM — Fighting between Israel and Gaza escalated rapidly on Sunday in the worst combat since the last full-blown war in 2014, with Palestinian rocket and missile attacks killing four Israeli civilians and… By David M. Halbfinger and Isabel Kershner The New York Times Gaza officials said the two-day death toll for Palestinians had reached 22. At least nine militants and as many civilians were killed on Sunday alone. The civilians included a pregnant woman, a 12-year-old boy and 4-month-old ... Read More »

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un need the European Union

Much ink has been spilled analyzing the surprising turn of events at the US-North Korea Hanoi summit in late February. Tereza Novotná and Alessandro Ford Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Accounts differ as to what happened, or which side overstepped first with its demands. At a late-night post-summit press briefing, North Korea sought to make its position abundantly clear: It would give up the nuclear production facilities in the Yongbyon complex in… The United States, on the other hand, has ... Read More »