Security

World powers demand halt to Libya advance

Libyan forces under Khalifa Haftar battled their way to the south of Tripoli on April 5, prompting the U.N. Security Council and the G7 to demand a halt to the military advance on the capital. TRIPOLI- Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Haftar, commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), launched an offensive on April 4 to take the capital, held by a U.N.-backed unity government and an array of militias. The lightning assault was ordered as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Libyafor a ... Read More »

It Is Time to Revise Russia–Turkey Relations for a More Stable Future

With ongoing debates on Russian-made S-400 deliveries to Turkey, fate of continuing cooperation of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Syria and future of Ankara’s relations with the European Union and NATO, it is high time to make an honest review of Russian-Turkish relations, define weaknesses of bilateral cooperation and try to sketch a framework for a… Timur Akhmetov ModernDiplomacy Inspection of historical legacy and nature of current ties may be of big value for those who want to grasp contours ... Read More »

The oil and gas of Lebanon tempts the appetite of its neighbours

With three fronts potentially encroaching on its oil and gas-rich waters, Lebanon has few options for international arbitration. TRTworld Lebanon has 95.9 trillion cubic feet of gas and 865 million barrels of oil in just 45 percent of its economic waters; enough to ignite the closed Mediterranean region. To the south, its neighbour Israel claims ownership of 860km of the exclusive economic zone of Lebanon, to the north Syria is drowning in war, then there is Cyprus, which is lost ... Read More »

Another Country Just Fell In Love with the F-35 (China Won’t Be Happy)

But will Singapore really go ahead with a purchase? Michael Peck The National Interest F-35 manufacturer Lockheed Martin will have to demonstrate that the Lightning II can operate in Singapore’s tropical climate. Singapore’s next fighter jet may be the F-35 – and China won’t like that. (This first appeared several months ag0.) Singapore’s Ministry of Defense recently announced that the F-35 is the best candidate to replace the island-nation’s 60 aging F-16 fighters. “The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) ... Read More »

Are China and Russia going to dominate the Mediterranean Sea?

As NATO celebrated its 70th anniversary in Washington, one compelling security issue received insufficient attention: Chinese acquisitions of critical European infrastructure, especially ports. Trudy Rubin The Inquirer Chinese state-controlled firms now hold stakes in more than a dozen European ports on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, from Belgium to Spain to ownership of the legendary Greek port of Piraeus. Already, one-tenth of Europe’s container terminal capacity is under Chinese control. A week ago, defying allies, Italy became the first major ... Read More »

Crisis Group Yemen Update #8

This is the eighth briefing note in Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. ICG This week, we explain why ending the internal conflict in Taiz should be a priority step toward national-level peacebuilding efforts. Trendline: Trouble in Taiz Taiz, Yemen’s largest pre-war manufacturing hub and cultural capital nestled in the country’s central highlands, is widely regarded by its inhabitants as a forgotten city. Any future political settlement will have to include a mechanism to end the struggle for Taiz, but internal wrangling ... Read More »

Why We Stand With NATO

“There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them.” Tim Kaine and Cory Gardner The Atlantic On April 4, 1949, Johannes Kaiv, the acting consul general of Estonia’s government-in-exile, sent a letter to Secretary of State Dean Acheson, which read: I have the honor to offer my best wishes to the signatories of the North Atlantic Pact, and to express my confidence that they, inspired by the ideals of democracy, of individual liberty, ... Read More »

Pompeo: There will be ‘devastating’ consequences if Turkey attacks Syria

April 4 (UPI) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Turkey of “devastating” consequences if it attacks Syria. Darryl Coote Pompeo gave the warning to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu Wednesday in Washington during the first day of the two-day NATO Ministerial, State Department Spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. “Secretary Pompeo expressed support for ongoing negotiations regarding northeast Syria, while warning of the potentially devastating consequences of unilateral Turkish military action in the region,” Palladino said in ... Read More »

The Hidden Cost of Al-Shabaab’s Campaign in North-eastern Kenya

Four years after attacking a university, Al-Shabaab has sustained its campaign, forcing many teachers, nurses and officials to flee north-eastern Kenya, one of the country’s most neglected regions. Abdullahi Abdille ICG Authorities must do more to tackle insecurity, reopen schools and counter the risk of increased militant recruitment. On 2 April 2015, four gunmen belonging to Al-Shabaab, the Somalia-based affiliate of al-Qaeda, began shooting on the campus of Garissa University College, the only major institution of higher learning in north-eastern Kenya. ... Read More »

Bring Behrouz home to Australia: he is one of us

There is a pivotal moment in Behrouz Boochani’s book, No Friend but the Mountains. In late August, 2013, a propeller-driven plane stands waiting on a strip on Christmas Island, to take asylum seekers to a faraway destination. Arnold Zable The Age Each man is escorted at two-minute intervals, 50 metres from a bus to the plane. They are held by the arms between two officers. At the base of the stairs, they are handed over to a second pair of officers, ... Read More »

Erdoğan’s Four Challenges

Turkey’s president suffered a frustrating setback in local government elections as democratic resilience prevailed. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Watch out for the impact on the economy, the rule of law, defense, and Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s campaigning was vintage AKP electioneering: playing a nationalist fiddle; hiding economic realities with creative accounting and cosmetic measures; equating low interest rates (again) with low inflation; accusing foreigners of weakening the currency; threatening the opposition; continuing the crackdown on free speech and ... Read More »

Pence Takes Germany to Task Over Defense Spending

US vice president also warns Turkey against purchase of Russian missile defense system Ashish Kumar Sen Atlantic Council US Vice President Mike Pence on April 3 chastised Germany for not spending enough on defense, warned Turkey against going ahead with the purchase of a Russian missile defense system, cautioned against the rise of China, and sought to reassure NATO allies that they will always have the United States’ support. US President Donald J. Trump has led the charge against NATO ... Read More »

Turkey’s marriage of F-35 and S-400 ‘absolutely unsustainable,’ says EUCOM nominee

WASHINGTON — The U.S. general nominated to lead American forces in Europe said Tuesday that if Turkey buys the Russian S-400 air defense system, it “should not get” the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from the United States. Joe Gould DefenseNews At his Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing to lead U.S. European Command, Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters called the co-location of the F-35 and the S-400 “absolutely unsustainable.” “I concur with this committee’s belief that the S-400 and the ... Read More »

Defusing the Crisis at Jerusalem’s Gate of Mercy

A standoff looms between Palestinian worshippers and Israeli police over a shuttered building at Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade. ICG Israel and Muslim religious authorities should reopen the building to lessen tensions at the sacred site, where small incidents have blown up into prolonged violence before. What’s new? At Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade (Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount), Israeli authorities and Palestinian worshippers are struggling over control of a building next to the Gate of Mercy. Shut by Israeli authorities since 2003, Palestinians forcibly regained ... Read More »

Understanding Israel’s Role in The F-35 Dispute Between the US and Turkey

The United States has just cut off its nose to spite its face by announcing that Washington will halt delivery of equipment related to the F-35 fighter jet to Turkey. Adam Garrie EurasiaFuture This makes life more difficult for both Turkey and the US as Turkey played a key role in the development of the F-35. Is this about Russia or is it about Israel?  Throughout 2018, the US threatened to halt delivery of the F-35s to Turkey due to ... Read More »

Trump Threatens to Blow Up the U.S. Economy

The same dynamics that preceded Trump’s decision to cut off aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are now playing out with his threats to shut down the Mexican border. It all starts on Twitter. Nancy LeTourneau Washington Monthly According to CNN, some members of his administration are warning him that such a move would result in catastrophic consequences, while others are cheering him on. Stephen Miller—more than likely in the latter group—suggests that the president is not bluffing. In ... Read More »