This Saturday, a key military advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei harshly criticised Turkish foreign policy, in an interview with the semi-official Mehr agency. Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi spoke against Turkey’s decision to host a NATO anti-missile radar as well as Prime Minister Erdoğan’s recent call for a secular constitution in Egypt. “The behavior of Turkish statesmen towards Syria and Iran is wrong and, I believe, they are acting in line with the goals of America,” he told the news agency. This comes after earlier statements by Iranian officials dismissing Turkey’s falling-out with Israel as mere posturing (in contrast, of course, with Iran’s own genuine and consistent policy of confronting Tel Aviv). In fact, the Iranian regime sees Turkish policy of conditionality vis-à-vis Israel (apology for Mavi Marmara, compensation, lifting the Gaza siege) as
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The autumn of 2011 is a perfect time to be blogging on Eastern Europe. The tectonic plates are shifting throughout the region. Putin has announced his comeback as Russian President. The on-off Tymoshenko trial is a mess of Ukraine’s own making. Belarus promises to release political prisoners. The tap was turned on for the first “technical gas” out of Nord Stream on 6 September. Negotiations on Transnistria have restarted in the “5+2” format. Latvia’s election promises one of two possible revolutions: either a government without oligarchs or a partnership with the Harmony Centre Russian party. And, regardless of how the euro crisis might end, it is worth thinking about the possible consequences for Eastern Europe of a two- or many-speed Europe, of euro ins and outs, euros hard and soft, or euro collapse or re-launch.
All of these subjects will be worth a blog over the coming weeks.
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The Nobel Prize Committee announced this morning that this year’s Prize for Peace has been awarded jointly to three prominent women: Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman. After the angry reaction from the Chinese government surrounding last year’s award to Liu Xiaobo, it seems a relatively safe choice to honour the contribution that these three women have made to the causes of participation, democracy and peace building in their countries.
The choice of journalist and activist Tawakkul Karman from Yemen highlights one of the major challenges in the worldwide struggle for realisation of women’s political rights – and particularly for the prominent female figures in the protest movements seen this year across the Arab world. Her activities and her prominence are twice as impressive because as a female democracy activist, the road to political representation is
In his recent, monumental book ¨On China,¨ which consists of 608 pages, Henry Kissinger, offers us the key to understanding the strategic thinking of the Chinese. To do so makes it unnecessary for one to learn Mandarin or to read the 608 pages. Thanks to Doctor Kissinger, understanding the complexities of the Chinese mindset is now available to the whole world.
The secret, informs Kissinger, is in the Chinese board game ¨Go,¨ also called ¨weiqi¨ in Chinese and ¨igo¨ in Japanese, a game with more than 2,600 years of history. The game is of a devilish complexity which consists of 180 identical tokens that move along 361 squares (details here). Of course, there is also an online version.
The West’s strategic thinking, says Kissinger, is dominated by chess, where the goal is to obtain control of the center of the chess board and from there attack with all might the opponent’s King
The ambassadors were very polite. In an appeal issued one year after the Bosnian elections, they called on the leaders of the six main parties to “fulfill their democratic obligation to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina” and finally create a government. The Peace Implementation Council (PIC) of 55 states and institutions which have an interest in peace in Bosnia authorises the ambassadors of its member states in Bosnia to issue such declarations – and thanks to that someone in Sarajevo noted the anniversary. Apart from the ambassadors, only a group of activists, having set up their own government on the pavement in front of the government office, attempted in vain to get inside. The reminder of Bosnian public opinion reacted to the continued lack of government with a collective shrug.
On one hand one could almost envy the Bosnians: the activities of other European governments
What next for China's military-industrial complex?
A crisis “made in China”
What does the end of "managed democracy" mean for Europe?
A diplomatic strategy for the conflict in Syria
Europeans are losing faith in the EU
Europe can rescue the two-state solution
27 countries in search of a proper security strategy
How Europe can help Egypt
Understanding the influence of the Gulf States
A new era for EU-Georgia relations?
What next for Egypt, Tunisia and Libya?