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Ed Webb

Albanian Prime Minister: Trump Is the 'Shame of Our Civilization' | Foreign Policy - 1 views

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    Siobhan started blogging in Media & Politics of MENA at Dickinson and hasn't looked back. Blog well and you could end up interviewing the PM of Albania.
Ed Webb

They Made Him a Moron | The Baffler - 0 views

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    Great fun. Morozov takes down Alec Ross's book on technology, globalization etc.
Ed Webb

Can the Saudi-led coalition win the war in Yemen? | openDemocracy - 4 views

  • Unlike his cautious predecessors, Salman promptly overturned the previously agreed order of succession and installed his favourite young son [about 30 years old] as Minister of Defence and Deputy Crown Prince. He even dumped the crown prince selected by his deceased brother in favour of the son of another member of the ‘Sudairy seven’.

    To sustain this new order of succession and, indeed, possibly to enable his own son to become crown prince, new assertive international policies seemed like a good idea, creating popular support at home by demonstrating military capability and independence from the US and other western allies. It would also address increased Saudi concern at what they saw as US dereliction of duty. For decades, the unwritten agreement was that Saudi Arabia would say little or nothing about Israel, provided the US supported its dominance elsewhere in the Arab world. In 2015, not only was the US failing to support the Islamist Syrian opposition factions favoured by the Saudis, but it was about to reach agreement with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main rival, not to say enemy, in the region. 

    • Ed Webb
       
      Foreign/security policy driven by domestic priorities: specifically, dynastic succession politics.
  • A coalition was promptly put together and air strikes were launched on 26 March 2015, with the stated intention of restoring the legitimate authority to power and ousting the rebels. It is likely that those who took that decision gave little thought to Yemeni realities, whether military, logistic, topographic, social or political, let alone the human cost of their actions.
  • The overall military situation has reached stalemate. The official death toll had risen to 6000 by end 2015 with over 28,000 wounded. The humanitarian situation is at UN emergency level, with 21.2 million of the 26 million population in need and only 8.8 million reached in 2015 with the UN humanitarian appeal having been funded at 56% for the year
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  • The negotiations which took place in Geneva in December fulfilled everyone’s expectation of achieving nothing
  • Internationally, it is clear that the efforts to resolve the Syrian situation have relegated the Yemen crisis far down the list of priorities.
  • four Médecins Sans Frontières medical facilities have been bombed in recent months, in addition to over 60 other medical facilities seriously damaged or destroyed
  • The latest report from the UN Sanctions Committee blames the coalition for violating international humanitarian law by ‘targeting civilians and civilian objects… including buses, civilian residential areas, medical facilities, schools, mosques, markets, factories and food storage warehouses and other essential civilian infrastructure, such as the airport in Sana’a, the port in Hudaydah and domestic transit routes.”[3]

  • The dramatic drop in oil prices has forced the Saudi regime into deficit budgeting for the first time in decades. The USD 200 million a month it spends on the war is a significant contributory factor.
Ed Webb

Why the Islamic State is the minor leagues of terror | Middle East Eye - 0 views

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    "The sole advantage the Islamic State has when it comes to this country is that it turns out to be so easy to spook us."
Ed Webb

Here's what will happen if Iran joins the WTO - The Washington Post - 1 views

  • While it remains uncertain whether economic and financial sanctions would be technically permissible under the WTO’s national security exception — which allows a member to take measures that it “considers necessary for the protection of its essential security interests”– these actions would clearly violate the spirit of the WTO and have therefore been rarely used.
  • the United States has switched to using other tools for coercive diplomacy to punish other recent WTO entrants.
  • Congress therefore created the China Commission, which was specifically formed to monitor China’s human rights practices and maintain pressure on it. Similarly, Congress passed measures designed to allow it to more effectively use visa restrictions and financial asset freezes to coerce Russia, and foreign aid to extract concessions from Vietnam, after these states joined the WTO.
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