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Shock after Irish peacekeeper killed in Lebanon

Shock after Irish peacekeeper killed in Lebanon

An Irish soldier was shot and killed on a UN peacekeeping mission in Lebanon and a second was in a critical condition after a “hostile” crowd surrounded their armored vehicle, Ireland’s defense minister said on Thursday. Irish peacekeepers have been in Lebanon since 1978 and it is the first Irish fatality there in two decades. “We’re all very shocked and deeply saddened, it is a reminder to us of the extraordinary sacrifices that our peacekeepers make on a constant basis,” Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin told reporters in Brussels. The Irish soldiers, part of the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), were on what Simon Coveney, who is also Ireland’s foreign minister, said was considered a standard run from UNIFIL’s area of operations in south Lebanon to Beirut when the incident happened in Al-Aqbieh late on Wednesday “The two armored vehicles effectively got separated. One of them got surrounded by a hostile mob, I think that’s the only way you could describe them, and shots were fired. Unfortunately, one of our peacekeepers was killed,” Coveney told Irish national broadcaster RTE.
Opinion: The end of the truce in Yemen: what are the next scenarios?

Attempts to extend the truce in Yemen failed because "the Houthis currently have the upper hand over the legitimate government and the coalition’s shaky military situation," writes Monif Aldarwish in this commentary for commonspace.eu. He adds that the current relative calm in Yemen "is not due to the parties' need for rest; they have rested enough during the truce. It is instead due to the Houthis' association with Iran's foreign policy, which is itself currently proceeding cautiously due to its domestic environment.

patrickn97 Thu, 12/15/2022 - 11:07
The Yemeni Diaspora: a case study analysis of the German and American Yemeni diasporas

In this second article in a series of three pieces about different aspects of the Yemeni diaspora, Hisham Almahdi discusses notable aspects and intricacies of the German and American diasporas. The first article can be read here and, the third article in this series will be published in due course.

patrickn97 Wed, 12/14/2022 - 14:00
Editor's choice
Editorial
Unimpeded movement on the Lachin corridor should be restored immediately and Armenia and Azerbaijan should return to the EU mediated talks

Unimpeded movement on the Lachin corridor should be restored immediately and Armenia and Azerbaijan should return to the EU mediated talks

The Lachin Corridor, a road that connects the areas controlled by the Armenian community of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia, has been blocked for several days. A group of Azerbaijani activists on Monday arrived in the area to show concern about exploitation of natural resources in the territory which is under Armenian control, but which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan. A stand-off with Russian troops that have overall control over the corridor led to the closure of the road, effectively isolating the Armenian population in the territory. The issues are ofcourse deeper than simply control over some goldmines and other natural resources. In essence it is about the future of Karabakh. It is also about the Russian role in the region and in the wider South Caucasus. On 10 November 2020, Russia, in agreement with the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan,  deployed around two thousand soldiers as "peacekeepers" as part of an agreement that followed the Azerbaijani military victory in the 44 day war. Their mandate has always been thin, and their mission full of ambiguity. The current stand-off reflects these weaknesses. So far, serious incidents in this current stand-off have been avoided, but either side can easily escalate the situation, and unplanned incidents can also exacerbate the situation. Over the last twenty-four hours their have been expressions of concern voiced by the international community, including the US and the EU. Both want Armenia and Azerbaijan to return to menaningful negotiations and to move quickly with the signing of a peace agreement. What the Russians want is another matter. President Putin spoke to the leaders of the two countries separately on Monday, but clearly did not achieve much. Russia's priority is to maintain its military presence in the area, because it believes it gives it leverage on both Baku and Yerevan. Yet as this latest incident is showing the presence also puts on Russia responsabilities. Distracted by the war in Ukraine, and unsure how it really wants to proceed Russia may opt, for the moment at least for inaction. This does not serve the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh well. The Lachin corridor is a lifeline, and without it the community has no future - or at least none that it is ready to accept. It is not a humanitarian disaster yet, but it can become one quickly. The free and unimpeded movement on the Lachin corridor should be restored as soon as possible, and the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan with the mediation of the European Union, that looked so promising only a few months ago, need to be continued and the momentum regained. 
EU seeks new enhanced partnership agreement with Tajikistan as it pursues a more assertive role in Central Asia
The Council of the European Union on 8 December adopted guidelines for the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a new Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA) with Tajikistan. Tajikistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia. It has an area of 143,100 km2 and an estimated population of 9,749,625 people. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east. Like other Central Asian republics, Tajikistan is currently seeking to diversify its international relations, including by strengthening its relations with the European Union. A statement posted on the website of the Council of the European Union said that the EU is determined to deepen its relations with the Central Asian countries, even more so in the current geopolitical environment. The negotiation of an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with Tajikistan will be a significant step forward in this regard. It will provide a platform for improved political cooperation, trade and investment between the EU and Tajikistan, incentivising and supporting reforms. Progress in these negotiations will also depend on tangible improvements in Tajikistan’s human rights situation, including with regard to the freedom of expression, media and assembly.
dennis2020 Tue, 12/13/2022 - 15:31
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Russian obstacles to the peace process are contributing to renewed tensions in the region

Opinion: Russian obstacles to the peace process are contributing to renewed tensions in the region

Statements made by Russian president Putin and foreign minister Lavrov since October have made Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan a target of nationalist groups in Armenia and its diaspora. The result has been Armenian procrastination in the pursuit of the peace process. These Russian attempts to derail the peace process led by the EU are adding to increased tensions in the region. In this op-ed for commonspace.eu, Vasif Huseynov says that "Baku is not planning to engage in extended negotiations with Armenia and its external patrons with no clear prospects for a successful conclusion. Azerbaijan can now more confidently counter the threats to its territorial integrity and its efforts to reintegrate the Karabakh region."
Opinion: The complexities of the current world order

 "The current confusion in global geopolitics is quite different from the original Cold war. In the second part of the 20th century, the world was bipolar, as the US and Soviet Union were fighting each other. Many countries sought to avoid this confrontation through membership in the Non – aligned movement, but it never became a third pole. Now the situation is much more complicated. As the US and Russia are facing each other in a new rendition of a Cold war, the world is far from being bipolar.

dennis2020 Mon, 12/12/2022 - 06:06