Δευτέρα, 16 Μαΐου 2016

ISIS feeds on Iraq’s political instability and oil

For 15 years, Iraq has been under constant media attention. From the suspicions of hidden weapons of mass destruction to the high level violence of the Islamic State (ISIS), a lot has been said on what is happening in Iraq, why it is happening, and how it got there. However, since 2014, the increase in opinions, debates, and experts on terrorism has only contributed to a lack of meaning.
ISIS feeds on Iraq’s political instability and oil
Iraq has been in a constant state of political chaos, of which the 2003 US-led intervention was the starting point. Driven by the idea of American idealism and transforming the intervention into an ideological war, the US goal behind the invasion of Iraq was to establish democracy in the Middle East. But at what price for Iraq?

Αύριο τα εγκαίνια κατασκευής του αγωγού ΤΑΡ

Βελτίωση της ασφάλειας εφοδιασμού, τόνωση του ανταγωνισμού, ανάδειξη της χώρας σε περιφερειακό ενεργειακό δίαυλο και μεγάλες ιδιωτικές επενδύσεις συνεπάγεται η κατασκευή του αγωγού φυσικού αερίου ΤΑΡ. Η έναρξη των εργασιών για την κατασκευή του έργου αναμένεται αύριο σε επίσημη τελετή στη Θεσσαλονίκη παρουσία του πρωθυπουργού κ. Αλέξη Τσίπρα.
Ο αγωγός θα μεταφέρει φυσικό αέριο από το Αζερμπαϊτζάν μέσω Τουρκίας και Ελλάδας προς τη Δυτική Ευρώπη. Θα έχει αρχική μεταφορική ικανότητα 10 δις κυβικών μέτρων ετησίως με προοπτική επαύξησης σε επόμενο στάδιο στα 20 δις. και διέρχεται την ελληνική επικράτεια από τους Κήπους του Έβρου μέχρι τα ελληνοαλβανικά σύνορα στην περιοχή της Ιεροπηγής σε απόσταση 550 χιλιομέτρων. Από την Αλβανία θα συνεχίσει με υποθαλάσσιο αγωγό μήκους 105 χλμ. από την πόλη Fier στην περιοχή της νότιας Απουλίας.

Putin’s hydra: Inside Russia’s intelligence services

Far from being an all-powerful “spookocracy” that controls the Kremlin, Russia’s intelligence services are internally divided, distracted by bureaucratic turf wars, and often produce poor quality intelligence – ultimately threatening the interests of Vladimir Putin himself.
Στο εσωτερικό των μυστικών υπηρεσιών της Ρωσίας
Drawing on extensive interviews with former and current intelligence officials, “Putin’s hydra: Inside Russia’s intelligence services” explains how the spy agencies really work, and argues that Europe’s view of them is patchy and based on outdated caricatures.

Η έκθεση του ΝΑΤΟ στην Αν. Ευρώπη

Κάθε χρόνο, η Εσθονία διεξάγει ειδικές στρατιωτικές ασκήσεις που ονομάζονται Ανοιξιάτικη Καταιγίδα (Spring Storm). Οι ασκήσεις είναι για εκείνους τους στρατιώτες που μόλις έχουν ολοκληρώσει την θητεία τους. Αυτό είναι το event αποφοίτησης.
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Αλλά από την στιγμή που η Ρωσία εισέβαλε σε μέρη της Ουκρανίας το 2014, η Spring Storm έχει πάρει μια πολύ πιο μεγάλη σημασία. Οι ασκήσεις τώρα αφορούν την προβολή επίδειξης δύναμης και εμπιστοσύνης, με μια αυξημένη συμμετοχή του ΝΑΤΟ και συμμάχων εκτός ΝΑΤΟ.

Κυριακή, 15 Μαΐου 2016

Kashmir’s Reemerging Militancy: After years of setbacks, a new kind of militancy is taking shape.

For the first time in more than two decades, public support for militants fighting the Indian state is rising and being articulated in the open in the Kashmir Valley. Militants are hero-worshipped and massive crowds are participating in their funerals.
Kashmir’s Reemerging Militancy
Image Credit: REUTERS/Fayaz Kabli
At a recent local cricket tournament at Tral in south Kashmir, three of the 16 teams – the Burhan Lions, Aabid Khan Qalandars and Khalid Aryans – bore the names of suspected Hizbul Mujahideen militants. The Burhan Lions for instance draw their name from 21-year-old Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the hugely popular poster boy of the militancy in Kashmir today.

U.S. intelligence officials: Venezuela could be headed for collapse

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Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro declared a 60-day state of emergency on May 13, citing what he calls plots from within the country and the U.S. to topple his leftist government. (Reuters)
Venezuela, where clashes erupted this week between security forces and demonstrators protesting food shortages, power blackouts and political gridlock, may be headed toward an all-out popular uprising that could lead to the overthrow of its government this year, senior U.S. intelligence officials said.

Σάββατο, 14 Μαΐου 2016

Time to End the Greek Debt Tragedy

It’s the season when Greece’s continuing debt saga approaches what has now become a familiar summer climax, with citizens protesting austerity cuts and international creditors squabbling over the terms of loans. It’s time to exit this cycle and face reality: Without relief, Greece’s economy will never recover, with repercussions the European Union can ill afford.

Last July, the government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was forced to accept a raft of austerity measures imposed by international creditors in order to receive a bailout. This has taken a toll, and around a quarter of the population is unemployed.

EU policy towards Russia increases Euroscepticism

The EU policy toward Russia and Ukraine is increasing Euroscepticism within national electorates. France and the Netherlands have shown just how the respective opposition to the current sanctions regime and the integration of Ukraine may lead to stronger anti-EU sentiments in Western Europe.
EU policy towards Russia increases Euroscepticism
Recent developments highlight the growing rift between western European electorates and the European Union (EU) policy toward Russia, and Ukraine. Since 2014, the EU has been engaged in a far-reaching power play against Moscow. This led, among other measures, to the implementation of a sanctions regime against Russia and the push for ever closer ties with Kiev. This EU policy has generated backlashes in national economies and led to the rise of a specific euro-sceptic narrative forged on the opposition between national interests and EU priorities regarding Russia.

EU Energy: Only Adversaries To Choose From

Currently, less than half of the EU’s gas demand is met by domestic production. The rest is imported, mainly from Norway (36 percent), Russia (41 percent) and Algeria (10 percent). In recent years, LNG, or liquefied natural gas, has accounted for around 10 percent of the imports, with most of them coming from Qatar, Algeria, and Nigeria.
Although there are ISIS groupings in Algeria, the gas installations seem now secured. The last major attack on a gas facility in Algeria happened in 2013; 132 foreign nationals were taken hostage. The inevitable European military intervention in Libya will force Jihadists to move to Algeria and Niger. In Algeria, they will endanger gas installations and in Niger, they pose a risk to Areva’s Uranium mine in Arlit. Arlit provides a big chunk of uranium for France’s nuclear plants, which produce 75 percent of French electricity.

Pentagon: Chinese Military Modernization Enters “New Phase”

Pentagon: Chinese Military Modernization Enters “New Phase”
China’s decades-long military modernization “entered a new phase” last year under the aggressive leadership of President Xi Jinping, a new Pentagon report on Beijing’s military capabilities said today. The “sweeping transformation” includes making the formerly mass army a nimbler, more balanced force that is acquiring the kind of expeditionary capabilities the U.S. military already enjoys.

Πέμπτη, 12 Μαΐου 2016

The hidden heist – offshore plunder is hurting Africa

Forget the UK’s phoney political war over the offshore fund created by Prime Minister David Cameron’s late father. This is a Panama Papers sideshow that is diverting attention from a heist that is siphoning billions of dollars out of the world’s poorest countries in Africa, reinforcing poverty, undermining growth and facilitating corruption on an industrial scale.
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Over the past fifteen years, Africa’s vast natural resource wealth has acted as a magnet for foreign investment. Much of that investment has been channelled through offshore centres, with the British Virgin Islands (BVI) the circuit of choice. Fortunes have been made. Elites have been enriched. But the minerals boom has done little to improve the lives of ordinary people.

OPEC Is Dead, What’s Next?

Russia oil storage
OPEC is dead, Rosneft’s head Igor Sechin has told Reuters. In a fine example of stating the obvious – at least to those who have been keeping an eye on the energy industry – and putting it in context, the chief of Russia’s largest oil company welcomed an era where the oil market will be driven by “finance, technology and regulation.”

Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East.

Forget Sykes-Picot. It’s the Treaty of Sèvres That Explains the Modern Middle East.
Ninety-five years ago today, European diplomats gathered at a porcelain factory in the Paris suburb of Sèvres and signed a treaty to remake the Middle East from the ashes of the Ottoman empire. The plan collapsed so quickly we barely remember it anymore, but the short-lived Treaty of Sèvres, no less than the endlessly discussed Sykes-Picotagreement, had consequences that can still be seen today. We might do well to consider a few of them as the anniversary of this forgotten treaty quietly passes by.

Syrian War Update: Risks Growing for Southern Turkey

A recent bombing in Gaziantep, Turkey underscores the current elevated threat posed by the Islamic State to the nation’s southern border provinces. Security is unlikely to improve given the ongoing conflict in the northern Aleppo region.
Syrian War Update: Risks Growing for Southern Turkey
Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, Turkey has increasingly been entangled in the devastating war of its southern neighbor. Ankara is actively supporting several insurgent factions opposed to the Syrian government as well as to Kurdish forces and other radical Islamist militants. Since July 2015, the conflict became an integral part of Turkey’s internal security environment as Islamic State militants carried out several high-profile attacks in Suruc, Ankara, and Istanbul.

Προβλήματα στην Τουρκία μετά την έξοδο Davutoglu

Η ξαφνική αποχώρηση του Τούρκου πρωθυπουργού Ahmet Davutoglu από τους διαδρόμους της εξουσίας μπορεί να μην σηματοδοτεί αναγκαστικά το τέλος της συμφωνίας με την Ευρώπη για το προσφυγικό –αλλά σίγουρα αυξάνει το διακύβευμα για την Ευρώπη στις σχέσεις της με την Άγκυρα.
Προβλήματα στην Τουρκία μετά την έξοδο Davutoglu
Η απόφαση του Davutoglu να αφήσει την θέση του ως αποτέλεσμα μιας παρασκηνιακής διαμάχης με τον Τούρκο πρόεδρο Recep Tayyip Erdogan, ήρθε την ίδια ημέρα με τη σύσταση της Κομισιόν να χορηγηθεί η δυνατότητα ταξιδιών χωρίς βίζα για τους Τούρκους πολίτες. Υπό φυσιολογικές συνθήκες, αυτό θα είχε χαιρετιστεί ως μια ιστορική ημέρα από τα τουρκικά ΜΜΕ, με ένα μεγάλο μέρος της να πιστώνεται στον ίδιο τον Davutoglu, ο οποίος ηγήθηκε των επίπονων διαπραγματεύσεων με τις Βρυξέλλες τον Μάρτιο.