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Does the Touareg question have an answer?

Does the Touareg question have an answer?

Strat-EU Columns

by Andy Morgan A few years ago, on a beautifully calm Saharan evening, I was drinking tea with an old…

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Erdogan vs Gulenists: Drawing Turkey away from independent foreign policy

Erdogan vs Gulenists: Drawing Turkey away from independent foreign policy

Strat-EU Columns

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya  At first glance, the Turkish scandals that emerged in December 2013 appear to be cases of ordinary…

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Unelected power: Democracy on the retreat in Europe

Unelected power: Democracy on the retreat in Europe

Strat-EU Columns

by Neil Clark Genuine people’s power is on the retreat in Europe, and it's under attack from those who most…

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RIAC Experts Analyze Scenarios for the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

RIAC Experts Analyze Scenarios for the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

Strat-EU Columns

RIAC experts - Alexander Tevdoi-Burmuli (MGIMO-University), Sergey Utkin (Russia Academy of Sciences) and Nikolay Kaveshnikov (Institute of Europe, RAS) - analyze scenarios for the ongoing crisis…

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Unelected power: Democracy on the retreat in Europe

by Neil Clark

Genuine people’s power is on the retreat in Europe, and it's under attack from those who most loudly claim to be “democrats.”

Last week we saw the unelected EU foreign policy chief, Baroness Ashton, meeting the new unelectedUkrainian “president,” Aleksandr Turchynov, who came to power following a violent overthrow of that country's democratically elected president – with the rebellion backed by the EU.

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Abe’s NSA? The Japanese Government Embraces Secrecy

by Alexis Dudden

Last December the ruling Liberal Democratic Party rammed one of the most controversial bills in Japan’s postwar history through the Diet, or parliament, with an uncharacteristic lack of debate. The “Protection of Specially Designated Secrets Act” passed even as opposition politicians knocked over desks, chairs, and one another while trying to reach the podium to block it. Outside, nearly 10,000 protesters formed a human chain around the government building and chanted, “No Return to Fascism!”

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Does the Touareg question have an answer?

by Andy Morgan

A few years ago, on a beautifully calm Saharan evening, I was drinking tea with an old Touareg musician in a garden near Tessalit in the far north east of Mali, a place that has recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The musician’s work was gaining popularity throughout Europe and North America, so I asked him if he would ever be tempted to leave northern Mali and emigrate to the west.

“The desert is my home,” he answered. “I’ve never been attracted by the idea of emigrating. It’s here that I belong. You have to live simply in the desert. It’s the only way. And simplicity is freedom.”

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Al Qaeda-linked Islamists abduct Red Cross workers in Mali

 by France24/AFP

An al Qaeda-linked Islamist group has kidnapped a Red Cross team working in northern Mali, a spokesperson for the militants, known as the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), said on Tuesday.

The members of the International Committee of the Red Cross team "are alive and in good health" a MUJAO official told AFP by telephone from the capital, Bamako.

MUJAO is one of the groups allied to the regional al Qaeda offshoot – Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM – that seized control of northern Mali in 2012 before being driven back by a French-led military intervention launched in January last year.

"Thanks to God we seized a 4X4 [vehicle] of the enemies of Islam with their accomplices," MUJAO official Yoro Abdoulsalam said.

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Erdogan vs Gulenists: Drawing Turkey away from independent foreign policy

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya 

At first glance, the Turkish scandals that emerged in December 2013 appear to be cases of ordinary corruption, but under the surface a power struggle is unfolding.

Unlike the Gezi Park protests, this confrontation is among those in power and not merely the Turkish government and a cross-section of opposition movements.

The two antagonist camps are, in one corner, the Gulenists, which are the acolytes of the influential US-based scholar, Fethullah Gulen (the preacher“beyond the ocean”) inside the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey’s state institutions, and the followers of Prime Minister Erdogan and what can be referred to as the National View portion of the AKP in the other corner. Iranappears to have been caught in the middle of the crossfire between two rival Turkish cliques due to the involvement of Halkbank.

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A Recap of the Political Events in the Middle East in 2013. New Trends

by Vitaly Naumkin,  Director for the Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences

The developments in the Middle East in 2013 had a number of common features, which I believe will continue into the new year.

Instability, unpredictability, governance disruptions and the crisis of nation states throughout almost the entire region is the first such feature.

The issue concerns not just the crisis of the widely discussed Sykes-Picot colonial system. Following World War I, this system marked the borders of most states in this region, but it has clearly started showing signs of strain today. Societies, which are developing as nations with their own sovereignty and identity, have taken shape within these borders. The problem of governance disruptions and an identity crisis is typical of other regions as well, but it is most noticeable in the Middle East.

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The Yugoslav Prelude

by Anatoly Adamishin, Russia in Foreign Affairs

A major task of global diplomacy is settling local war-related international crises. However, the post-Cold War period has witnessed the emergence of some new trends. Instead of taking a neutral stance whenever and wherever possible, and pushing warring parties towards peace, leading Western powers are beginning to act differently. In most trouble spots, a ‘right’ party – the good guys – is chosen that enjoys the political, military, and diplomatic support it needs to achieve a victory over the bad guys. Proceeding from their current interests, more powerful countries often ignore the fact that, as a rule, there is no right or wrong party in domestic conflicts and civil wars; indeed, the responsibility often lies with both sides. Recently, there have been many examples of such a policy, so it might be interesting to look back at how it all began – in Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

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Salviamo l’Europa, adesso!

di Paolo Raffone, direttore di Strat-EU

L’Europa è diventata un “potere negativo”. Il tasso di impopolarità raggiunto nelle varie opinioni pubbliche nazionali lo testimonia. Eppure, nel mondo c’è molta voglia di Europa. Non riconoscere che per motivi sbagliati si è compiuto il genocidio dell’europeismo e che se ne possono identificare le cause e i momenti precisi, impedirà di salvare l’Europa. L’alternativa tra rilancio o regressione dell’integrazione europea è reale. Mentre il futuro europeo si gioca tra Londra e Berlino, il sillogismo europeista non è la soluzione corretta. Questo saggio ripercorre la storia recente, proponendo una chiave di lettura per immaginare l’Europa nella nuova “costellazione sistemica” mondiale.

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This transatlantic trade deal is a full-frontal assault on democracy

by George Monbiot, The Guardian

Remember that referendum about whether we should create a single market with the United States? You know, the one that asked whether corporations should have the power to strike down our laws? No, I don't either. Mind you, I spent 10 minutes looking for my watch the other day before I realised I was wearing it. Forgetting about the referendum is another sign of ageing. Because there must have been one, mustn't there? After all that agonising over whether or not we should stay in the European Union, the government wouldn't cede our sovereignty to some shadowy, undemocratic body without consulting us. Would it?

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