Has WikiLeaks made an Israeli military strike on Iran more likely? That was the question on my mind after listening to Dana Allin speak at the London School of Economics last night about the book he has just co-written with Steven Simon, The Sixth Crisis.
The talk took place on a day on which all the talk was of the leak of 250,000 diplomatic cables from US embassies from around the world. The leaks, which ran in the Guardian in the UK and the New York Times in the US, included reports that Arab states had repeatedly urged the United States to launch military action against Iran. The Saudi ambassador to Washington said that King Abdullah wanted the US to "cut off the head of the snake".
Allin, a fellow at IISS and the editor of the journal Survival, is not exactly an advocate of such a military strike on Iran by Israel or the US. Quite the opposite: he is a realist who believes
As a colleague of mine, a seasoned Turkey-watcher, put it, “I gotta say, I have a newfound respect for the American diplomatic corps”. He had just read Ambassador James Jeffrey’s despatch from Ankara dated 20 January 2010, made public courtesy of the hell raiser de jour, Wikileaks. It won’t be too immodest to say that at times the ambassadorial memo reads like our latest ECFR report or indeed a post on this very blog. A memorable quote: “With Rolls Royce ambitions but Rover resources, to cut themselves in on the action the Turks have to "cheat" by finding an underdog (this also plays to Erdogan's own worldview), a Siladjcic (sic), Mish'al, or Ahmadinejad, who will be happy to have the Turks take up his cause.”
Mind you, this comes months before the Gaza flotilla and the UN Security Council vote on a new round of sanctions targeting Iran. At any rate, the US diplomat should be
This weekend, German street car racing came to Shanghai. It was not the first time that it had taken place, but it was a surreal experience to see a chunk of Shanghai transformed, at least in part, into a racetrack screaming branding in German daubed with large yellow posters advertising Deutsche Post.
The race was the culmination of the DTM year of racing, and was the 1st race of the season outside Europe and in Asia. When asked why they did these races here, the common consensus amongst the organisers spoken to was that they saw this as a huge potential market and that anything to raise their profile in it was a good thing. But the market is still in its infancy here. To give a sense of numbers, some 5,000 showed up for the final days race, while an average European race attracts 80,000. However, as the vast Chinese consumer market grows it is likely that the market for those
The extraordinary story of Dahir Abdullahi Kadiye, the British-Somali man who helped release two hostages held by Somali pirates, raises some interesting questions about the role of immigrant communities in Europe in foreign policy.
Kadiye, a 56 year-old former taxi driver, divides his time between Leytonstone in east London and his native Somalia – the kind of person that former British Europe minister Denis MacShane calls “semigrants”. After hearing about the kidnapping of British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler by pirates off the coast of Somalia last year, he travelled back to the country and became a freelance hostage negotiator. Earlier this month, after a ransom had been transferred to the Somali pirates and their financial backers, Kadiye – who belongs to the same clan as a the pirates - brought the couple to safety after more than a year in captivity.
A few days ago
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Is the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) running out of partners? Certainly not, say those who pioneered the initiative back in 2009. True, the recent EU-Ukraine summit did not announce a breakthrough in the negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) but it did end with an action plan that may, in time, lead to visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens. Current governments in Moldova and Georgia are still committed. The EU’s Ostpolitik got high marks from Andrzej Ciezskowski, Poland’s special ambassador for EaP. His talk was the highlight of a discussion co-hosted by ECFR-Sofia and the Polish Embassy on 25 November (special thanks to the indefatigable Joanna Pilecka, the Second Secretary, to Lezsek Hensel, the newly appointed ambassador, and, not least, our very own Nickie Gabrovska!).
We, however, thought that a healthy dose of realism is much needed. With
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