Security

The Modest Diplomatic Promise of North Korea’s Charm Offensive

Following the first inter-Korean summit in ten years, the announcement that President Trump will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a promising sign. Christopher Green ICG Although Pyongyang is unlikely to change its strategic course, the summit provides an opportunity for the U.S. to pair its maximum pressure with diplomacy and coordinate with Asian powers. The surprise announcement on 8 March that U.S. President Donald Trump would meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by… The Modest Diplomatic… Read More »

Greece frees German journalists detained at Turkish border

Greece on March 10 freed two German journalists who had been detained at the border with Turkey for allegedly entering a restricted area, a judicial source stated. Agence France Presse Hurriyet Greece on March 10 freed two German journalists who had been detained at the border with Turkey for allegedly entering a restricted area, a judicial source stated. The pair, a 31-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, were working for regional German television channel NDR on a documentary about refugees, ... Read More »

U.S. moving to repair relations with Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

In an effort to repair tattered relations, the Trump administration has told Turkey it will move to rein in Kurdish fighters who have been the backbone of the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, according to U.S. and… By Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim The Washington Post The first step and “the crux of the matter,” a senior Turkish official said, is to withdraw the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij and relocate them east of the ... Read More »

Cautious Hope Ahead of U.S.-North Korea Meeting

President Trump’s 8 March acceptance of an invitation to meet his counterpart Kim Jong-un marks a first in U.S.-North Korea relations and a rare opening for diplomacy. ICG To maximise the chance of a successful summit, all sides will have to prepare a realistic agenda and align their expectations. Developments on the Korean peninsula have been dizzying, from talk of war, to hints of diplomacy, to symbolic gestures and now this: the acceptance by U.S. President Donald Trump of Democratic ... Read More »

Is Trump falling into Kim’s trap?

Donald Trump is not the cause of America’s most serious problems. But could he be part of some solutions? Peter Hartcher Brisbane Times The news that he’d agreed to meet North Korea’s dictator is something new in dealing with an old problem. No US president has ever met his North Korean counterpart while in office. Till now, the US has always set preconditions too onerous for the North Koreas to accept. It’s not entirely clear, but it doesn’t seem that ... Read More »

Pakistan Deploys Fighter Jet Squadron to Afghan Border to Protect Airspace

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has fielded a squadron of new Pakistan Aeronautical Complex JF-17 “Thunder” combat aircraft, according to a recent report by the Associated Press of Pakistan. Sputnik The multi-role fighter jets are stationed at Pakistan’s Samungli Base near Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. Speaking at the February 28 inauguration ceremony of the planes, which form the Number 28 Multirole Squadron, Sohail Aman, chief of staff for the PAF, said “We totally understand the kind of conspiracies the enemies of Pakistan continue to hatch, ... Read More »

The Congressional Battle Over Ending the War In Yemen

A conflict long overshadowed by Syria, bipartisan buzz is building on the Hill and in the press to end U.S. involvement with the Saudi-led campaign on Yemen. Curt Mills The National Interest A new effort is underway on the Hill to end U.S. involvement in Yemen. There’s a verve and kick to this campaign, and a robust rolodex of Congressional sponsors and media backers. When I asked, congressional aides who huddled with reporters in Sen. Mike Lee’s office last week ... Read More »

Kim’s initiative: The breakthrough the world has been waiting for?

North Korea has offered every precondition Seoul and Washington set for talks. But while the spectrum of opportunity has dramatically expanded, so, too, have the risks Andrew Salmon Asia Times The Korean Peninsula is arguably the world’s most dangerous geopolitical flashpoint, but rarely – if ever – in inter-Korean relations has one side offered so much so swiftly. According to South Korean officials who returned from two meetings in Pyongyang on Tuesday and delivered a press briefing in the South, ... Read More »

Peacekeeping in Ukraine’s Donbas: Opportunities and Risks

The prospect of a UN peacekeeping force in Ukraine’s Donbas offers a rare opening to discuss how to resolve the conflict. ICG But Moscow’s diplomatic overtures also risk fueling political infighting in Kyiv in the run-up to next year’s presidential and parliamentary elections. The war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region will soon enter its fifth year. In September 2017, talk of a settlement picked up after Russia circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the deployment of UN forces ... Read More »

Turkey key to Russia NATO strategy – U.S. intelligence

Russia’s ambitious foreign policy in the Mediterranean region revolves around engagement with Turkey, U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley reported to the U.S. Senate in a worldwide threat assessment on Tuesday. Ahval According to Ashley, Russia’s foreign policy is driven by the wish to increase its defensive capacity against the United States, which it views as its primary threat, and by a desire to expand its military capabilities and influence to gain recognition as a great power. Its ... Read More »

N. Korea says it has no need for nuclear weapons if it has security guarantee

North Korea said it has no reason to possess nuclear weapons if it has a security guarantee, Seoul has confirmed, according to AP and Yonhap news agencies. RT North Korea also pledged to freeze its nuclear-missile activities if it holds talks with the US. Pyongyang and Seoul agreed to bilateral negotiations scheduled for next month, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser said, as quoted by Yonhap news agency. The leaders of both countries are expected to attend. The ... Read More »

The US Navy has put to sea the first-ever F-35 aircraft carrier — and it’s a big warning to China and North Korea

The US Navy made history on Monday by putting to sea for the first time ever an aircraft carrier with F-35B jets. Alex Lockie Business Insider And by deploying them in the Pacific, it’s a message China and North Korea are sure to hear loud and clear. The US Marine Corps’s Fighter Attack Squadron 121 deployed aboard the USS Wasp, a smaller-deck aircraft carrier that used to operate harrier jump jets and helicopters before getting special modifications to field the ... Read More »

Japan dropping plans to develop indigenous fighter: Report

Tokyo cowed by costs, engineering hurdles; US to be sounded out for joint fighter development Asia Times The Asahi Shimbun is reporting that Japan is abandoning plans to develop a new domestically designed fighter. The newspaper quotes Defense Ministry officials as saying that Tokyo has been put off by the huge costs and engineering challenges of building an indigenous war plane. Asahi said defense planners had been working on three possible options for the existing F-2 Japanese fighter that’s due to be ... Read More »

Close up: the government’s facial recognition plan could reveal more than just your identity

A Bill to set up the federal government’s biometric identity system is currently going through Parliament. Jake Goldenfein The Conversation But there are concerns over just how much information the system would be allowed to gather, and how that might be used to establish more than just the identity of a person. Strongly based on the FBI model in the United States, the Identity Matching Services Bill and its Explanatory Memoranda prescribe what data can be collected, shared and processed, ... Read More »

Burkina Faso’s Alarming Escalation of Jihadist Violence

Attacks on the Burkina Faso army headquarters and the French Embassy on 2 March 2018 were better organised, involved heavier weapons and were more sustained than anything seen so far in Burkina Faso. ICG In this Q&A, our West Africa Program Director Rinaldo Depagne says the jihadist assault further exposes worrying weakness in the Burkinabé security forces. What do we know about the 2 March attacks in Ouagadougou? The attacks represent an alarming escalation for Burkina Faso in terms of organisation, ... Read More »

Turkey and NATO: From Loveless to Hateful Marriage

The West’s self-imposed Pollyanna game over Turkey a decade or so ago seemed delusional to most Turks who knew the true nature of the Islamist politician lauded as a pro-reform, pro-West democrat. Burak Bekdil BESA Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, western leaders argued, would consolidate Turkey’s democratic system, bring the country closer to its western allies and even win a historic membership in the European Union. Erdogan’s Turkey would be a perfect bridge between western and Islamic civilizations, thus being a role ... Read More »