Security

Iranian parallels hanging over US-North Korea negotiations

With Washington focused on Pyongyang’s nuclear arms while overlooking missiles, it may be setting up a future Iran-style conundrum Stephen Bryen Asia Times In advance of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, planned for next month, Vice President Mike Pence said the US will not require a complete list of missile sites from North Korea. Instead, the US plans to focus first on nuclear policy. But omitting a discussion on missile sites and missile ... Read More »

Interpreting the U.S. Talks with the Taliban

Talks with the Taliban in the Qatari capital Doha have raised hopes that the U.S. could end its involvement in Afghanistan’s war. ICG Our Asia Program Director Laurel Miller and Afghanistan analysts Borhan Osman and Graeme Smith break down what was achieved and what remains unresolved. How significant were the U.S.-Taliban talks? Last week’s six-day talks between the U.S. and Taliban were the clearest sign yet that the U.S. is intent on withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan, and that the ... Read More »

Hackers Turn the Tables on Russia

A new website features documents pilfered from Kremlin officials and agencies. By Amy Mackinnon, Elias Groll FP Russian government officials are getting a taste of their own medicine. A new site that collects hacked and leaked material from around the web late last week published a major collection of documents and emails belonging to Russian government officials and… On Friday, a site calling itself Distributed Denial of Secrets published a 108-gigabyte archive dubbed the “Dark Side of the Kremlin,” which ... Read More »

Centre-left Italian mayors are refusing to implement a government decree targeting migrants

Around 500 people will be evicted from a large refugee reception centre in Castelnuovo di Porto, a town close to Rome, before the end of January. Authors: The Conversation The move follows the adoption of a new “security decree” in early December 2018 by the Italian parliament, which reduces the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. The decree was spearheaded by Matteo Salvini, the deputy prime minister and leader of the right-wing Northern League, currently governing Italy in coalition with ... Read More »

How to Protect Liberal Democracy

U.S. interests neither totally agree nor totally conflict with those of other states. Paul R. Pillar The National Interest The acquisition of power, through the ballot box, in a democracy by political forces that undermine that very democracy—by surreptitiously channeling the influence of a foreign state or by using authoritarian tactics to retain power—is the stuff of thriller fiction. It is grist for stories like The Manchurian Candidate . In a democracy such as the United States, such scenarios present political quandaries ... Read More »

We must not abandon the Kurds

The civilized world owes a debt of gratitude to the Kurdish people in general, and to their stalwart Peshmerga fighters in particular, for their successful efforts to combat ISIS. Neville Teller JPost One major factor behind President Trump’s decision to withdraw US special forces from Syria is the dominant position achieved by Russia, in alliance with Iran, in restoring the fortunes of Syria’s President Bashar Assad. Another seems to have been a telephone discussion with Turkey’s President Erdogan just before ... Read More »

Germany Considering Israeli Defense System To Protect Tanks From RPGS

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems testing the TROPHY system on Germany’s Leopard 2. Anna Ahronheim JP Israel’s TROPHY active protection systems (APSs) might soon be supplied to Germany for it’s Leopard 2 main battle tank, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Rafael Advanced Defense Systems will be testing the system on the Leopard 2 later this year along with the tank’s manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmenn. According to a report by defense site Defense-Update, the details were disclosed at the International Armored Vehicles (IAV) event which took place ... Read More »

Use it or lose it: Seagoing nations must defend embattled waterways

Great Britain is returning to seaways “east of Suez,” decades after freeing its colonies and withdrawing, more or less, to the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. James R. Holmes The Hill A warship from Britain’s Royal Navy demonstrated on behalf of nautical freedom in the South China Sea last September, drawing a stern rebuke from China. This month the frigate HMS Argyll joined the destroyer USS McCampbell for six days’ worth of exercises in the South China Sea. Beijing will doubtless ... Read More »

Erdogan and Assad: A former friendship damaged beyond repair?

Relations between Syria and Turkey may depend on the outcome of Syrian presidential elections in two years, experts say. Andrew Wilks Al Jazeera Ten years ago, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister of Turkey, hosted Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for a family holiday in the Aegean resort of Bodrum as relations between Turkey and… After decades of Cold War animosity, the Erdogan government that took power in 2002 had built new ties with its southern neighbour and trade and… Much ... Read More »

Taliban and U.S. claim significant progress in talks but no agreement

The duration and scope of the talks in Doha between U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and senior Taliban figures was unprecedented, former diplomats and experts said. By Dan De Luce, Ahmed Mengli and Mushtaq Yusufzai rbcnews U.S. and Taliban representatives say six days of talks have produced progress toward a potential agreement that would see Washington withdraw American troops within 18 months and the insurgents commit to preventing al Qaeda or other extremists to use the… The duration and scope of ... Read More »

U.S. Considering Plan to Stay in Remote Syrian Base to Counter Iran

The Trump administration could face legal issues maintaining a small force at al-Tanf. Lara Seligman FP Despite President Donald Trump’s December pledge to withdraw all U.S. forces from Syria, the U.S. government is considering a plan to keep some troops in a remote U.S. base in southeastern Syria to counter Iranian activity, sources tell Foreign Policy. The al-Tanf garrison, located near Syria’s eastern border with Jordan, was established to help local forces fight the Islamic State militant group. But the ... Read More »

Anti-War Democrats speak out against Donald Trump’s actions in Venezuela

At least three Democratic representatives known for their vocal anti-war positions have spoken out against President Donald Trump’s intervention in Venezuela’s political crisis. Tom O’Connor Newsweek As Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro entered his second term earlier this month, the country became increasingly destabilized by protests against what has been widely seen as government mishandling of economic woes that have led to… On Wednesday, opposition leader and National Assembly President Juan Guaidó declared himself president, a move recognized by the Trump administration, ... Read More »

UK Hydrographic Office welcomes Maritime 2050 strategy

UK Government aims to support autonomous navigation and map over 6 million square kilometres of the world’s oceans The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has welcomed the publication of the UK government’s ‘Maritime 2050’ strategy paper, which sets out the vision for the future of the UK maritime sector. The strategy, which has been developed in consultation with agencies including the UKHO and the wider public and private sectors, sets out a series of detailed recommendations to help the UK maintain ... Read More »

In Syria, Israel and Iran’s Conflict is Escalating

The Israel military forces said that an overnight operation on 20-21 January 2019 targeted the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Syrian air defences near Damascus in Syria. fanack This is the latest move by Israel against Iran in Syria since the beginning of its involvement in the conflict. The Israeli strike, according to IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, targeted munitions depots, intelligence sites, a training camp and more, as well as Iranian warehouses at the Damascus International Airport and Syrian anti-aircraft batteries ... Read More »

A New Dimension of Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

Ethnic Rakhine insurgents have attacked four police stations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, provoking a military counteroffensive. ICG Escalation could imperil both prospects for Rohingya repatriation and the country’s transition toward civilian rule. All sides should step back from confrontation and pursue talks about Rakhine State’s future. What’s new? Arakan Army attacks on remote police outposts in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State left thirteen officers dead, prompting the government to order military “clearance operations” against the ethnic Rakhine insurgents. The looming violent… ... Read More »

In Venezuela, a High-stakes Gambit

The Venezuelan National Assembly’s chairman, Juan Guaidó, has declared himself interim president, with the support of several foreign governments. Phil Gunson ICG Unless the Venezuelan military backs his move, it is unlikely to topple incumbent President Nicolás Maduro and could unleash greater repression and even outside military intervention. What is happening in Venezuela? On 23 January, amid a mass opposition demonstration that brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, opposition politician Juan Guaidó, chairman of ... Read More »