February 18, 2019

According to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres the only peaceful and just solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is two states living side-by-side. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linkevicius says EU sanctions on Russia destabilize the situation in Ukraine. Georgia appreciates NATO's open door policy. Belarusian President Lukashenka calls his country a reliable partner to the European Union. Is this the collapse of the Caliphate? United Nations aid convey makes its way into Syria. Relations between Israel and the V4 bloc (Hungary, Czech, Poland, Slovakia) frayed over history's tragedies, political miscalculation, or both (1, 2). Central Europe's Jewish communities are decaying. Gibraltar, Spain and U.K. grappling over "territorial waters".

February 13, 2019

After last November's "velvet revolution" in Armenia, is it old skepticism or new optimism between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh? The OSCE Minsk Group wants concrete steps toward long-term peace. The American military's definitive history of its war in Iraq was published by the U.S. Army War College in two volumes: Volume 1 is entitled Invasion, Insurgency and Civil War (2003-06), while Volume 2 is on Surge and Withdrawal (2007-11). NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants to avoid arms race with Russia. U.S. Navy Admiral Philip Davidson is publically skeptical about North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons program. In remarks to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Head of U.S. Central Command General Joseph Votel suggests more than 10000 ISIS troops remain in Syria alone. Turkey's President Erdoğan accuses U.S. of delivering arms to groups he views as terrorists including the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). Meanwhile Russia plans for long-term relationship with Syria, and now that Washington has announced its victory, Tehran insists American forces leave Syria without delay.            

January 16, 2019

No one knows what Russian President Vladimir Putin might say when he gets to Belgrade. Turkmenistan uneasily signing up reservists as tensions escalate on Afghanistan border, while Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov tightens their country's relationship with Russia. Behind the scenes the current U.S. President may have seriously considered NATO pullout (1, 2). Part way through Canada's deployment in Mali security situation on the ground offers little optimism. How effectively are Middle East leaders resisting sectarianism? Iran Nuclear Deal may still have potential. The International Crisis Group (ICG) has recipes for saving Yemen's Stockholm Agreement and for peaceful transition in Sudan.      

January 09, 2019

Bosnia's Serbs plan to take to the streets today to controversially celebrate  "Republika Srpska Day". Where is the world's highest rate of military spending? The answer is NATO countries, where numbers are rising and rising fast. Somali militants are hit by U.S. missile strikes in the fourth such attack this week. United Nations presses Myanmar for progress on Rohingya crisis. Is there a "framework" for U.S. withdrawal of 2000+ troops from fighting ISIS in Syria? Retired General Stanley McChrystal say rapid withdrawal may be riskier than the White House thinks. Is there hope on the horizon after U.N. Peacekeeping forces push further into Mali?

January 07, 2019

Taliban attacks simultaneously in Paktika and Badghis. Kurdish Official Badran Jia Kurd wants to know American plans for activities in Northern Syria. Jean-Peter Lacroix, Head of DPKO, rightly concerned about Pristina's creation of Kosovo army. The United Nations calls for Pristina and Belgrade to confirm "mutual intentions" for negotiated settlement and less "frequent adversarial actions". Indigenous Canadian pipeline protesters call RCMP presence at blockade an act of war. Early in spring 2019 Iran's Navy will begin patrolling the Atlantic Ocean with its new Sahand Destroyers. ICG says violence is part of federal elections in Nigeria.   

January 05, 2019

Early Days of 2019

Can United Nations' envoy in Somalia navigate regional tensions and challenges from President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS)? Serbian society at war with itself as thousands demonstrate in BelgradeKurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) withdraw to eastern bank of Euphrates at Manbij, with armed forces of Syria, Turkey and the United States poised and observant. Turkey will host 'Trilateral Summit' near end of March in hope of consolidating Afghan peace (1, 2, 3). Ukraine supplements maritime power in Sea of Azov dispute. Ukrainian Orthodox church asks and receives ecclesiastical independence from Moscow Patriarchate. Despite allies' targeting measures, numerous new reports indicate that Joint Task Force Operation Resolve in Syria and Northern Iraq is extremely costly in loss of life. An article on April 2017's U.S.-Syrian missile strike and lessons about responsible statecraft.

January 20, 2014

A busy day in the towers

No one knows if Doku Umarov is still alive. Last week Peter Haring argued in The Arabist 2011 may bring good things to those who wait. Daghestan's man in Moscow. Everyone gathered for Ban Ki-moon comments today on Syria. Even Iran receives invitation to Geneva talks on Syria ceasefire, but Assad says he's going nowhere. Western sanctions and uranium enrichment tempering in Iran. Can the international community achieve both stability and justice in Lebanon with Hariri assassination passing into history?  That's in the hands of the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon.

January 17, 2014

back from the grave

Modest step toward stability in Damascus-sponsored prisoner exchange. Syrian regime proposes a cease-fire as U.S. Sec. of State Kerry offers assurances. 'Geneva II' is the US/UN/Russian effort to bring both sides to the table and explore peace prospects in SyriaChallenges in today's Lebanon include the challenge of staying alive. Kabul suicide bombing reminds western diplomats who's likely to remain in charge of Afghanistan. Still, the Taliban's return to Afghan dominance will take its own pace. Here the International Crisis Group (ICG) calls for high-profile mediation in Southern Sudan before factions slip into civil war. 

September 04, 2011

promising new developments

Sec-Gen. Ban-Ki Moon seeks to end conflict and violence in and around the new South Sudan. U.N. post-conflict adviser will smooth the path and open doors for Libya transitional authority. Libyan rebels close in on last Qaddafi strongholds. Here are the International Crisis Group (ICG)'s recommendations for a Smooth and Peaceful Transition to Post Qaddafi Era. U.S. planners now anticipate rising Shia activities in Iraq. Author Thomas Sedlacek argues in this new book that we should take ownership of our collective economic lives. Tony Blair utilizes his envoy role to anticipate conflict that could envelop Palestinian efforts for statehood at the U.N.   

September 03, 2011

August 22, 2011

the eye of the needle

Collective relief among NATO leaders as Libya's rebels appear ready to challenge for Tripoli (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). Combat air patrol over Libya will continue as long as is necessary according to NATO. In this context the Telegraph says: now is the time for us to plan Libya's future. Is there genuine euphoria right now among Libyan the people? The plan in Washington is to get tough on Syria and it's Assad regime. In Damascus, Assad tells interviewers his regime is stable again and back in the saddle

Once again the Balkans walk a tightrope as Kosovo-Serbia waltzes towards a moment of great risk. We begin to see the wider historical ripples of Ratko Mladic arrest for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian civil war. J.L. Granatstein is confused about the new Canadian military-intellectual complex.