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Analysis: Russia's "Wagner group" poses a threat to peace and security in the Sahel

Analysis: Russia's "Wagner group" poses a threat to peace and security in the Sahel

While the world’s attention is focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s presence in Africa, and particularly in Mali, increasingly represents a threat to international security, writes Camille Victor for commonspace.eu. Russia’s presence in Mali has generated considerable controversy since the end of 2021, with many Western powers denouncing the activities of the Russian “Wagner Group” paramilitary mercenaries in the country, accusing them of violating human rights and the rule of law. Indeed, while Mali had been cooperating closely with France in the fight against terrorism since 2013, the Malian junta that seized power in a coup in May 2021 has drastically changed its foreign policy, now turning to Moscow to help stabilise the security situation by employing the services of this shady Kremlin-linked private security group. Given that Mali’s security is currently in the hands of forces that not only fail to effectively counter an increasing terrorist threat, but also to fail to respect human rights and the rule of law, all the while facing zero accountability for their abuses, ensuring that the junta upholds its commitment to conduct democratic elections in 2024 must remain a priority. In the meantime, an integrated security risk management and peacebuilding strategy should include measures that encourage transparency and accountability for abuses and breaches to the rule of law committed by security forces, notably through strengthening civilian institutions and oversight mechanisms.
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Commentary
Commentary: Putin’s partial mobilisation exposes how weak he really is

Commentary: Putin’s partial mobilisation exposes how weak he really is

Speaking in a pre-recorded speech that was originally scheduled for the evening before, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday morning (21 September) a partial mobilisation of 300,000 reservists to boost his faltering invasion of Ukraine. Far from being a demonstration of strength, however, his announcement exposes how weak a position Russia currently finds itself in, and on a number of levels too, writes commonspace.eu Deputy Editor Patrick Norén. The Russian President finds himself hamstrung across three fronts: his narrative of "everything is going according to plan" is imploding; the risks of doing nothing or declaring a full mobilisation have resulted in an unsatisfactory fudge that does not address the root cause of the problem; and Russia's far-right, furious at the disastrous invasion of Ukraine, is baying for blood.
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News
Russia mobilises 300,000 reservists in a desperate effort to reverse setbacks in Ukraine

Russia mobilises 300,000 reservists in a desperate effort to reverse setbacks in Ukraine

Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilisation as part of an effort to boost its military effort in Ukraine. Putin made the announcement during a pre-recorded television speech which was first scheduled to be aired on Wednesday evening, but was eventually delayed until Thursday morning. After the speech was aired, Russia's defence minister, Sergei Shoigu gave further details on the partial military mobilisation, saying 300,000 reservists will be conscripted into the armed forces. Sergei Shoigu said that number represented a small fraction of Russia's available resources, while students and those who had already served as conscripts would not be called up. He said all those being conscripted would be given military training before being sent to Ukraine. In his speech Vladimir Putin said the decision, which followed the announcement of referendums to pave the way for the formal annexation of swathes of Ukraine, is meant to "protect our Motherland and our territorial integrity." Claiming the West was threatening Russia with nuclear weapons, Mr Putin said: "We have lots of weapons to reply - it is not a bluff."
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News
Guterres warns the world: "Winter is coming"

Guterres warns the world: "Winter is coming"

UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutteres has warned  global leaders that the world is in ‘great peril’ and facing a winter of discontent. Guterres said leaders meeting in person for the first time in three years must tackle conflicts and climate catastrophes, increasing poverty and inequality — and address divisions among major powers that have gotten worse since Russia invaded Ukraine. In speeches and remarks leading up to the start of the leaders’ meeting Tuesday, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres cited the “immense” task not only of saving the planet, “which is literally on fire,” but of dealing with the persisting COVID-19 pandemic. He also pointed to “a lack of access to finance for developing countries to recover — a crisis not seen in a generation” that has seen ground lost for education, health and women’s rights. Guterres delivered his “state of the world” speech at Tuesday’s opening of the annual high-level global gathering. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it contained “a sober, substantive and solutions-focused report card” for a world “where geopolitical divides are putting all of us at risk.” In an alarming assessment, Guterres told world leaders that nations are “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction” and aren’t ready or willing to tackle the major challenges that threaten the future of humanity and the fate of the planet.
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News
Erdogan says there is no problem between Turkey and the US that the two strategic partners cannot solve

Erdogan says there is no problem between Turkey and the US that the two strategic partners cannot solve

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey and the United States are be able to resolve bilateral problems and develop cooperation based on common interests. Erdogan is in New York to address this year's UN General Assembly. “There is no problem between Turkey and the U.S. that they, as two strategic partners and 70-year-long allies, cannot resolve. Although we have some differences of opinion over the issues concerning our national security, we share similar attitudes in many regional and global matters,” Erdogan said on Sunday (18 September) at a dinner event organized by the Turkish American National Steering Committee (TASC). Stating that Turkey is one of the countries most affected by terrorism and at the forefront of the fight against terrorism, Erdogan said they would continue to resolutely fight against all terrorist organizations, including PKK-YPG, ISIL and FETO, without making any distinction. “We will definitely remove the bloody and dark shadow of terrorism from our region,” he said.
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News
World bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II

World bids farewell to Queen Elizabeth II

The world has bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II at a funeral attended by world leaders, royal families from across the world and thousands upon thousands of British people. 142 Royal Navy sailors drew the gun carriage carrying Elizabeth’s coffin to Westminster Abbey, with King Charles III and his sons, Princes William and Harry, walking behind as bagpipers played. Pall bearers carried the coffin into the abbey, where around 2,000 people ranging from world leaders to health care workers gathered to mourn her. Ahead of the service, a bell tolled 96 times — once a minute for each year of her life. “Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer,” the dean of the medieval abbey, David Hoyle, told the mourners. Monday has been declared a public holiday and hundreds of thousands of people descended on central London to partake in the historic moment. Long before the service began, city authorities said viewing areas along the route of the funeral's procession were full. Millions more were expected to tune into the funeral live on television, and crowds flocked to parks and public spaces across the UK to watch it on screens.