Security

Turkey’s Lack of Vision in Syria

Ankara’s scare tactics in Afrin and state building in Azaz highlight Turkey’s continued attempts to inhibit Kurdish expansion, yet neither approach is sustainable. Ferhat Gurini Carnegie While all eyes have been fixed on Ankara’s plans in Manbij, Turkey’s creation of a buffer territory farther west of the Euphrates since 2016 has largely gone unnoticed. Turkey has taken a two-pronged approach to the areas it currently holds in northern Syria. In the northwestern areas captured under Operation Olive Branch, such as ... Read More »

UN court rejects UK’s claim of sovereignty over Chagos Islands

Judges advise Britain that separating archipelago from Mauritius in 1960s was wrong Owen Bowcott The Guardian The UK has been ordered to hand back the Chagos Islands to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible” after the United Nations’ highest court ruled that continued British occupation of the remote Indian Ocean archipelago is illegal. Although the majority decision by the international court of justice in The Hague is only advisory, the unambiguous clarity of the judges’ pronouncement is a humiliating blow to Britain’s prestige ... Read More »

Eamonn McCann: Why Chagos Islanders should be hailed as heroes

UN court finding may open the way for Chagos Islanders’ to return home The Irish Times In The Hague last month, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration found that the United Kingdom’s declaration in 2010 of a Marine Protection Area around the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean was illegal. The decision endorsed the claim of the government of Mauritius that the UK did not have jurisdiction to make rulings relating to the status of the area. The finding ... Read More »

At the Hanoi summit, Trump and Kim Jong Un may declare the Korean War over. Does it still matter?

The signing took all of 10 minutes. Neither man uttered a word as they inked nine documents agreeing to halt more than three years of brutal fighting. Victoria Kim Los Angeles Times When it was done, the American and North Korean generals exchanged one long, cold stare before leaving the room. It was July 1953. U.S. 8th Army commander Gen. Maxwell D. Taylor reminded reporters the war wasn’t yet over. The cease-fire agreement was “just a suspension of hostilities, which ... Read More »

14 French ISIL detainees handed to Iraq

The U.S.-backed YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, has handed 280 Iraqi and foreign ISIL detainees to Iraq, 14 of whom are French citizens, in recent days, Iraq’s military said in a statement on Feb. 24. BAGHDAD Hurriyet An Iraqi military colonel confirmed to Reuters that 130 people were transferred on Feb. 24, adding to the 150 transferred on Feb. 21. They included the first known transfers of non-Iraqi detainees to Iraq, but it was unclear if they will remain in Iraqi custody. There ... Read More »

Guatemala amnesty bill stirs fears of impunity and revenge of ex-military

Legislation that would grant amnesty to anyone convicted or accused of human rights violations during Guatemala’s long-running civil war has raised fears that dozens of perpetrators of forced disappearance, torture and… Leila Miller Los Angeles Times Backed by military elites and their allies, including members of the party of President Jimmy Morales, the proposed law passed the first of three congressional readings last month. If enacted, the bill would mandate the release within 24 hours of dozens of officials and ... Read More »

All Eyes on Tangible Results from U.S.-North Korea Summit

The North Korean and U.S. leaders enter their second summit under pressure to achieve concrete progress toward their respective goals, sanctions relief and denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. Crisis Group senior adviser Chris Green suggests risk reduction measures each side can take. What has happened since the first U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore? At the conclusion of the Singapore summit last June, the U.S. and North Korea issued a statement calling for a new bilateral relationship, a stable peninsular peace ... Read More »

Lessons from the Syrian State’s Return to the South

Russian mediation helped reduce bloodshed during the Assad regime’s reconquest of southern Syria. ICG But for similar arrangements to work in remaining rebel strongholds, better security guarantees by outside powers are needed to prevent regime reprisals, improve aid flows and, down the road, facilitate refugee return. What’s new? When the Syrian regime retook the south from rebels in mid-2018, Russian mediation limited the violence. Six months later, security and living conditions remain precarious; the regime has re-established authoritarian rule; and ... Read More »

Are Freedom of Navigation Operations in East Asia Enough?

Are periodic cruises through waters where a coastal state claims rights and prerogatives beyond those codified by treaty enough to safeguard maritime freedom? James Holmes The National Interest The question is a hardy perennial among those who hold forth about maritime strategy in Asia: are “freedom of navigation” operations enough? Are periodic cruises through waters where a coastal state claims rights and prerogatives beyond those codified by treaty enough to safeguard maritime freedom? Answer: freedom-of-navigation operations are necessary but not ... Read More »

Ghana Armed Forces trains stakeholders on Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) management

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Hassan Tampuli, has stressed the need for Ghana to strengthen security operations within the maritime domain, especially within the… BusinessGhana Source: graphic.com.gh Speaking at the 14th Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Management and Operations Course in Accra, Mr Tampuli said EEZ Management and Operations has assumed centre stage in maritime security and economic management in all coastal states and Ghana cannot afford to play to the… EEZ Course EEZ ... Read More »

High Noon over Humanitarian Aid at Venezuela’s Border

Venezuela’s constitutional crisis continues to unfold, with the opposition amassing food and medicine on the borders with the stated intent of turning the military against President Nicolás Maduro, who is refusing the aid. Phil Gunson ICG In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Venezuela Phil Gunson explains the standoff. What happened? Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, recognised as the country’s interim president by dozens of countries including the U.S., has promised that on 23 February a… An aid concert, featuring a… High ... Read More »

Rohingya: killings should remind all nations of their responsibility to protect victims of mass atrocity crimes

Do states have a moral duty to protect foreigners from mass atrocity crimes? Maria Jellinek The Conversation At the turn of the millennium – and with the 2005 global political agreement to the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) – the positive answer to this question seemed obvious. Yet, almost 15 years after that commitment, the world’s vow to protect civilians from tyranny is faltering. A painful indicator of this trend has been the failure of the international community to effectively protect ... Read More »

Julian Assange gets a new Australian passport

Fugitive Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been issued with a new Australian passport after lengthy negotiations over whether he was subject to an arrest warrant for a “serious foreign offence”. Richard Baker The Sydney Morning Herald A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official confirmed in a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that Mr Assange’s 2018 application for a new passport had been accepted. Consular and Crisis Management Division first assistant secretary Andrew Todd said, “Mr Assange does have an ... Read More »

US law recognizes Aegean treaty regime in Dodecanese

It was in 1920 that the United States first became seriously involved in issues arising from the Aegean treaty regime in the Dodecanese. Nicholas G. Karambelas ekathimerini In that year, the peace conference which culminated in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 had been convened. The fate of the 12 Aegean islands commonly known as the Dodecanese was one of the issues which the peace conference debated. The US Senate passed a resolution which called on the peace conference to ... Read More »

China Uses DNA to Track Its People, With the Help of American Expertise

The Chinese authorities turned to a Massachusetts company and a prominent Yale researcher as they built an enormous system of surveillance and control Sui-Lee Wee The New York Times BEIJING — The authorities called it a free health check. Tahir Imin had his doubts. They drew blood from the 38-year-old Muslim, scanned his face, recorded his voice and took his fingerprints. They didn’t bother to check his heart or kidneys, and they rebuffed his request to see the results. “They ... Read More »

Managing Ethiopia’s Unsettled Transition

Ethiopia’s charismatic new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has generated great excitement with initiatives breaking with the past. ICG But he faces challenges as formidable as his promises are bold: he urgently needs to halt communal strife, smooth the road to elections and boost the ailing economy. What’s new? Ethiopia’s new premier, Abiy Ahmed Ali, has made peace with Eritrea, extended a conciliatory hand to opponents, and promised moves to free and fair elections, expanded political space and economic reform. But ... Read More »