Terrific news! The European Council on Foreign Relations has apparently decided to award Tajik president Emomali Rahmon "one of the highest ranks of European society in the field of culture and politics - Leader of the XXI century". Not bad eh?
The only problem with this is, of course, that we have done nothing of the sort.
The first we heard about this award for President Rahmon (pictured to the right, standing in an abundant cornfield) was in this article from the Middle East North Africa Financial Network. It noted that the award had been given by an organisation called the European Council on International Relations, which appeared to be operating out of Bucharest.
By the time this appeared on the website of the Tajik embassy to Turkey, the ECIR had become the ECFR. In the text, the supposed head of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Professor Anton Karazha,
Today, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was the guest of honour in Sarajevo, where he joined Bosnia’s Chief Mufti Mustafa Cerić and Bakir Izetbegović, the Bosniak member of the tripartite presidency, in the Eid al-Fitr prayer marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. It must have felt like a proper holiday for him, despite the obligatory accusations of “neo-Ottoman” ambitions coming from the Bosnian Serbs. For Turkey, Bosnia is the easy bit of its neighbourhood policy.
Things are not looking as bright on Turkey’s Middle Eastern flank. With the bloodshed in Syria continuing unabated, Turkey has discovered that its leverage over Bashar al-Assad is limited at best and close to zero at worst. Arab-speaking Davutoğlu is said to have visited Damascus over 60 times in the past eight years but is no longer a welcome guest.
Not that he has anything to do there anyway. The
On Wednesday, as Libyan rebels entered Gaddafi’s Tripoli compound, I brought together two of ECFR’s experts to record this podcast about what role the international community should now play in reconstructing the country and ensuring a peaceful transition to democracy. Two states that many will expect to play a major role in that process, for very different reasons, are the USA and Germany. Below are extracts from the podcast, in which Hans Kundnani, ECFR’s editorial director and an expert on Germany, and Richard Gowan, our New York-based policy fellow working on peacekeeping and UN matters, reflect on what the fall of Gaddafi means for Merkel and Obama respectively.
“The German government has come under a lot of criticism for its absention in the Security Council back in March, and so some commentators have suggested that Germany has a particular responsibility to
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The Guardian reports that NATO officials want the UN to lead any post-conflict peace operation in Libya, and view it as "a classic case for blue helmets." While the UN is currently focused on civilian assistance, it is no surprise that a peacekeeping role may also be put on its agenda. Back in April, Bruce D. Jones, Jake Sherman and I wrote a piece for Foreign Policy arguing that the UN would "almost certainly" take the lead in any post-conflict operation in Libya. Four months later, most of its arguments remain valid:
What would the actual operation look like? If Libya is extremely unstable, military planners will naturally argue for a heavily-armed force. But a large military force would be expensive to maintain and could become a high-profile target for Islamist terrorists, just like the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
One option would be to deploy significant numbers of troops
For those of you who are just returning from holidays, here is an update of what has been going on at ECFR during August:
The main story in recent days has of course been the dramatic events in Libya. This morning we posted this podcast with Richard Gowan and Hans Kundnani, looking at who should now take the lead in helping ensure a peaceful post-Gaddafi future for the country, and what role Germany might play.
Also on Libya:
There will be plenty more on Libya in the coming days and weeks.
Closer to home, the story of the summer has undoubtedly been the euro crisis – an issue which certainly hasn’t taken an
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