Opinion: The future of the China-US-Russia triangle after Pelosi's visit to Taiwan
Since February 24, 2022, the international community's focus was concentrated entirely on the war in Ukraine and the growing Russia – West confrontation. It seemed that nothing could change the situation until the end of hostilities in Ukraine. However, on August 2 and 3, almost everyone’s attention shifted from Ukraine to Taiwan. As the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, stated her intention to visit Taiwan, up to half a million people were watching the trajectory of her plane on air flight tracking sites. The negative reaction of China, including the warning of President Xi during his conversation with President Biden that those who played with fire would be perished by it, created hype around this visit. Many were discussing the possibility of Chinese military jets closing the airspace over Taiwan and preventing Pelosi’s plane from landing in Taiwan, while some enthusiasts were even contemplating the possibility of a US-China direct military clash. As Pelosi landed in Taiwan and met with the Taiwanese President, the global social media was full of amateur assessments about the strategic victory of the US and the confirmation of the US global hegemony. However, as the dust settles down, and information noise and manipulation eventually decreases, a more serious assessment is needed to understand the real consequences of this visit.
Thu, 08/04/2022 - 13:52
Slovenia beats Belarus to UN Security Council seat
Wed, 06/07/2023 - 10:25
Slovenia is set to take a place at the UN Security Council for the second time since gaining independence from Yugoslavia, beating Russian ally Belarus in a vote at the United Nations on Tuesday (6 June).
The race between the two members from the UN's Eastern Europe bloc was the only contested election for five seats on the UNSC. In the secret ballot election in the 193-member General Assembly, Slovenia received 153 votes while Belarus got 38 votes.
UAE withdraws from joint naval patrols with the US
Tue, 06/06/2023 - 13:16
An announcement on Wednesday (31 May) that the UAE had withdrawn its participation from the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) coalition is supposed to have caught the US by surprise.
Oil prices rise as OPEC+ announces output cuts after Vienna meeting
The group of oil producing countries, OPEC+, has pledged oil output cuts amid flagging global oil prices.
Following the announcement made on Sunday (4 June) after a meeting of OPEC+ in Vienna, Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel in Asia trading on Monday.
In accordance with the agreement struck, Saudi Arabia announced that they would cut daily barrel production from 10 million barrels per day (bpd) to 9 million bpd in July, as well as extending their volunatary cut in oil production of 500,000 bpd until December 2024.
Russia's 2023 quota currently stands at around 10.5 million bpd, but in 2024 will reduce to approximately 9.3 million bpd, consisting of a reduction of 650,000 barrels per day as well as the voluntary cut of 500,000 bpd.
Brent crude oil rose by as much as 2.4% before settling at around $77 a barrel. Global oil prices spiked following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, however, prices have fallen to pre-February 2022 levels. In an attempt to shore up global oil markets, OPEC+ have announced a couple of rounds of cuts in oil production.
In October 2022, OPEC+ agreed to cut production by two million bpd, about 2% of global demand.
Mon, 06/05/2023 - 08:49
European Political Community summit taking place in Moldova, Pashinyan and Aliyev to meet
The second summit of the European Political Community (EPC) is taking place today in Moldova (Thursday 1 June). During the summit, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet with European Council President Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The brainchild of Emmanuel Macron, the European Political Community's first summit took place in Prague, in October 2022. The EPC says that it is "a platform for political coordination among European countries across the continent," adding that it "aims to promote political dialogue and cooperation to address issues of common interest and to strengthen the security, stability, and prosperity of the European continent."
The EPC says that there are three main topics expected to be addressed by the 47 member states, which include every European country except Russia and Belarus. Those three topics are: joint efforts for peace and security; energy resilience and climate action; and interconnections in Europe for a better connected and more stable continent.
Thu, 06/01/2023 - 08:44
The time is now to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO, says Blinken
The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the "time is now" to finalise Sweden's accession to NATO.
While both Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO together on 18 May 2022, some two and a half months after the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden's bid has been held up by objections from Hungary and Turkey. Finland on the other hand became the 31st member of the military alliance on 4 April 2023.
Speaking at a press conference in the northern Swedish city of Luleå alongside Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Tuesday (30 May), Blinken added that Sweden has "taken very significant steps to address very legitimate concerns, and I think in terms of its own qualifications for membership, from day one it was qualified precisely because it’s been such a long-time partner for NATO; of course, the European Union; and with values that are fundamentally the same."
Turkey has accused Sweden of being soft on groups that they perceive as terror organisations or consider existential threats, including Kurdish groups such as the PKK, and the Syrian Kurdish militia group, the YPG and its political branch, the PYD. In an attempt to address Turkey's concerns and to persuade Ankara to approve Sweden's bid to join NATO, at the start of May Sweden tightened anti-terrorism laws to include a prison term of up to four years for individuals convicted of participating in an extremist organisation in a way that is intended to promote, strengthen or support the group.
Wed, 05/31/2023 - 09:56
Editorial: Saudi Arabia injects new energy into a moribund Arab League
Following last week's Arab League summit in Jeddah, "it is expected that Saudi Arabia will continue to use its year-long chairmanship of the Arab League to reshape the institution, and more broadly to reconfigure pan Arab-affairs, of course with Saudi Arabia at the helm," writes commonspace.eu in this editorial. "For it is this new ambition of the Kingdom to become a leading regional and global player that has defined the summit, and will define its chairmanship of the Arab League over the next year." The summit formally healed some of the divisions of the last decade. Syria’s President Bashar al Assad attended, marking the full return of Syria into the Arab fold. There was a lot of talk of a new era of peace in the Middle East, and even Iran was now perceived as more of a partner rather than an enemy. Yet the summit gathered whilst a few miles away, across the waters of the Red Sea from Jeddah, a bloody civil war raged on in Sudan.
Tue, 05/23/2023 - 12:51
US announces $375m military aid for Ukraine at G7 in Japan
The US Department of Defense has announced another package of military aid to Ukraine, this time totalling $375m. It is the 38th round of equipment sent to Ukraine by the US since August 2021.
The statement released by the US Department of Defense on Sunday (21 May) following President Joe Biden's meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 meeting in Japan details the capabilities included in the latest package.
It will include further ammunition with HIMARS rocket systems that have wrought havoc on Russian troop and equipment concentrations since they were first supplied to Ukraine in June 2022.
It will also supply Javelin anti-tank missiles and AT-4 anti-armour systems, as well as armoured bridging systems, logistics support, and thermal imagery systems.
This latest package comes after Joe Biden signaled that he would authorise the third-party transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, something that Ukraine has pressured allies over for months. He would also support an international intiative to train Ukrainian pilots on the jets, he added while at the G7 summit in Japan.
Mon, 05/22/2023 - 09:35
Arab League welcomes back Syrian President Assad at 32nd summit in Jeddah
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is attending his first Arab League summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday (19 May) since his country was suspended from the group over the government's violent crackdown of pro-democracy protests in 2011 that led to the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War.
In the latest of a number of regional rapprochements, Syria was formally readmitted to the Arab League on 7 May after member states' foreign ministers voted to "resume the participation of the delegations of the government of the Syrian Arab Republic in the meetings of the Council of the League of Arab States", according to a statement.
The 32nd Arab League summit in the Saudi port city of Jeddah comes amid a renewed sense of purpose and unity across the Arab world. In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh said that he hoped the summit in Saudi Arabia "will lead to recommendations and decisions that contribute to resolving critical situations and difficult conditions faced by the Arab world, while preserving unity and solidarity among Arab brothers."
Fri, 05/19/2023 - 08:35