As I often do, I recently discussed the Syrian Civil War with a friend of Lebanese origin. He is far from supporting the Syrian regime, which occupied his country of origin between 1989-2008. My friend assumes the Syrian government was behind the assassination of Lebanon´s prime minister Bachir Gemayel, who in 1982 together with 26 others were blown to pieces by a bomb planted at the headquarters of the Lebanese Forces
. He also suspects Syria was behind the death of former prime minister Rafik Harari, who in 2005 was killed in a car bomb explosion. However, this does not make my friend an admirer of Israel or the U.S., which together with Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia meddle in Syria´s bloody internal strife. It is an almost impossible task to disentangle the mess of warring fractions guided by corrupt politicians, religious fanatics, liberal politicians, bandits, Mafiosi and/or foreign commercial and strategical stakeholders.
When Yassir Arafat was denied a US visa to visit New York to address the United Nations back in 1988, the General Assembly defied the United States by temporarily moving the UN’s highest policy making body to Geneva-- perhaps for the first time in UN history-- providing a less-hostile political environment for the leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).
In the grand European political reshuffle of 2019, it turned out that Christine Lagarde was the answer to the conundrum of who should replace Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank. But her move opens another question. Who succeeds Lagarde at the International Monetary Fund?
The geopolitical significance of key digital technologies now takes centre stage in a new global conflict between the US and China. The dispute over the Chinese technology group Huawei exemplifies this situation.
The Libyan catastrophe and the suffering of ”illegal” migrants are generally depicted as fairly recent events, though they are actually the results of a long history of greed, contempt for others and fatal shortsightedness. Like former Yugoslavia, Libya was created from a mosaic of tribal entities, subdued by colonial powers and then ruled by an iron-fisted dictator. Now, Libya is a quagmire where local and international stakeholders battle to control its natural resources. The country holds the largest oil reserves in Africa, oil and gas account for 60 percent of GDP and more than 90 percent of exports.1
This is one reason why Egypt, France, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and many other nations are enmeshed in Libya. Furthermore, European nations try to stop mainly sub-Saharan refugees and migrants from reaching their coasts from Libya. An attempt to understand Italy´s essential role in the struggle over Libya´s oil and attempts to control unwanted immigration may help to clarify some issues related to the current situation.
As China rapidly replaces Europe and the USA as the key player in developing countries, the Western press is full of articles about the dangers of dealing with the Chinese.
Venezuelans in the city of Washington D.C., in the United States, are currently without consular protection as access to their country’s embassy has remained unstable since April.
The world’s 10 most under reported displacement crises— which have rendered millions of people homeless– have continued to worsen due either to political neglect, a shortage of funds or lack of media attention, according to a new report released by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
When the UN Security Council met last week to discuss the deaths and devastation caused to civilians in ongoing military conflicts and civil wars, the killings in Yemen and the air attacks on hospitals, schools, mosques, and market places—whether deliberate or otherwise-- were singled out as the worst ever.
With the further recent escalations involving US and Saudi accusations of Iran’s involvement in damaging four commercial carriers in the Persian Gulf, and the US military plans to send 120, 000 troops, the US has raised the stakes in the dangerous game of trapping Iran to take steps that can justify US attack on Iran. Some US politicians like the Republican senator Tom Cotton from Arkansas talk about “two strikes—the first strike and the last strike,” that will presumably lead to the end of the current detestable rulers of Iran. How plausible is this scenario and what is likely to happen geopolitically if and when the US belligerence leads to an actual military confrontation with Iran? Furthermore, even if an Iraq-like initial scenario results--- not a sure bet, to say the least--- will ordinary Iranians greet the North American invaders as liberators?
Does the name Ihsan Al Fagiri ring a bell? How about Heba Omer or Adeela Al Zaebaq?
It’s likely that these names, among countless others, are not known to the average news consumer. But their tireless and dangerous work, however, has made news headlines as protests led to historic political change in Sudan.
International aid organisations have reacted positively to the appointment of new UK International Secretary of State for Development, Rory Stewart.
With the recent military moves announced uncharacteristically by the White House first, the world is witnessing with grim fascination what could turn out to be the early moves towards a war against Iran. How plausible is this scenario and what is likely to happen geopolitically if and when the US belligerence leads to an actual military confrontation with Iran?
Smart U.S. leadership is an essential part of the nuclear risk reduction equation. Unfortunately, after more than two years into President Donald Trump’s term in office, his administration has failed to present a credible strategy to reduce the risks posed by the still enormous U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, which comprise more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.
The United States dropped a political bombshell when President Donald Trump announced his administration would withdraw from the historic Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) which the former Obama administration signed in September 2013.
When US political leaders urged the Trump administration to either reduce or cut off arms supplies to Saudi Arabia – largely as a punishment for its indiscriminate bombings of civilians in the four-year old military conflict in Yemen—President Trump provided a predictable response: “If we don’t sell arms to Saudi Arabia, the Chinese and the Russians will.”
President Donald Trump’s decision to veto a bi-partisan Congressional resolution to end US military involvement in a devastating Saudi-led four-year conflict in Yemen-- is expected to escalate the ongoing war in the trouble-plagued region.
Amid rising attacks on rights campaigners, and mass protests in countries such as France and Serbia, civil society groups are urging governments to ensure the protection of “democratic values” and freedom of expression.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) withdrew from the United Nations in protest when it was ousted from its highly-prized permanent seat in the UN Security Council (UNSC) about 48 years ago.
Faced with an uneven battle against right wing nationalist governments, repressive regimes and extremist groups, scores of civil society organizations (CSOs) are gearing themselves to fight back.
Fifty years ago China was a poor country with little influence in the international sphere and without even a seat at the United Nations. Since then rapid economic growth in China has made it an economic powerhouse that increasingly plays a leading role on the world stage as a trade partners as well as a source of investment.