Opinion, Analysis, Editorial, Interview, Commentary

Voices

Opinions, analysis and editorial pieces, interviews and general commentary on issues and regions in and around Europe from our panel of regular experts and research associates, and guest writers and contributors.

Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Alliances are being formed between Armenian political parties ahead of the 20 June parliamentary elections. Whilst they all claim to want to oust the current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, they are all also busy competing against each other. Despite this, the next Armenian government is likely to be a coalition government, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion  in Saudi Arabia

Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion in Saudi Arabia

In a recent wide-ranging interview Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, appeared to be reinterpreting – if not exactly redefining – the relationship between state and religion in the Kingdom. This is highly dangerous and uncharted territory for a Saudi leader, but something that is absolutely necessary if the Kingdom is to reinvent itself as a modern progressive state, whilst respecting the religious foundations which are part of its legacy and legitimacy.
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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Alliances are being formed between Armenian political parties ahead of the 20 June parliamentary elections. Whilst they all claim to want to oust the current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, they are all also busy competing against each other. Despite this, the next Armenian government is likely to be a coalition government, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: The recent Iran-China agreement has implications for the wider region

Opinion: The recent Iran-China agreement has implications for the wider region

The recent signing of a strategic partnership with Iran shows that China is now a significant player in the geopolitics of the wider Middle East. This has implications for the South Caucasus and particularly Armenia, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Russian goals in the Armenian snap parliamentary elections

Opinion: Russian goals in the Armenian snap parliamentary elections

With Armenia's snap parliamentary elections coming up in June, a lot of actors are looking at the country's domestic politics, but no one more closely than Moscow. In this op-ed, originally published on KarabakhSpace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan looks at what the presence of the former Armenian president, Robert Kocharyan, means for Pashinyan and Armenian-Russian relations.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: In Armenia’s June elections Kocharyan will challenge Pashinyan in a vote largely motivated by hate   

Opinion: In Armenia’s June elections Kocharyan will challenge Pashinyan in a vote largely motivated by hate  

Former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan has emerged as the strongest challenger to prime minister Nikol Pashinyan in Armenian’s forthcoming parliamentary elections. However, as Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed, most voters are simply motivated by their hate of one or the other.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Snap parliamentary elections are unlikely to resolve Armenia’s political gridlock

Opinion: Snap parliamentary elections are unlikely to resolve Armenia’s political gridlock

Armenia appears heading for snap parliamentary elections on 20 June, but hopes that the poll may resolve the current gridlock in the Armenian political arena may be premature. Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed that for Armenia things may get worse before they get better.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: In US–Iran relations, compromise is both possible and probable

Opinion: In US–Iran relations, compromise is both possible and probable

Iranian hardliners are mostly rational political actors who are not ready to sacrifice Iran's security, and their own power, for the sake of ideological animosity towards the US or Israel, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. Even if a hardliner wins next June’s presidential election in Iran compromise with the US on the nuclear file is not only possible, but probable. This will be in the interest of both the US and Iran, as well as the entire Middle East region.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: US-Turkey relations are difficult but enduring

Opinion: US-Turkey relations are difficult but enduring

"The US needs Turkey to counter Russia in the Black Sea region, the Middle East, and the South Caucasus. Turkey can also be useful in the US strategy to contain China", argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed. However given the number of problems between the two countries US-Turkey relations may normalise, but they will continue to develop in the cooperation/competition framework, he argues.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Resolving the crisis of legitimacy in Yemen is essential for any peace process to succeed

Opinion: Resolving the crisis of legitimacy in Yemen is essential for any peace process to succeed

The State’s lack of legitimacy in Yemen over many decades created a vacuum which has been exploited by key socio-political groups that felt marginalised, resulting in the erosion of the country’s sovereignty. In this op-ed Noman Ahmed argues that addressing this issue is key for any future peace process to succeed.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Six world leaders launch global conversation on multilateralism

Six world leaders launch global conversation on multilateralism

Six world leaders have have published a joint op-ed in which they called for a global conversation on multilateralism. The leaders said in the article published in several languages in media outlets across the world that there was an "opportunity to rebuild consensus for an international order based on multilateralism and the rule of law through efficient cooperation, solidarity and coordination." The signatories of the appeal are French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Senegalese President Macky Sall, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Analysis: Why what happens in Greenland matters

Analysis: Why what happens in Greenland matters

The snap elections for the parliament of Greenland last Tuesday (6 April) attracted unusual interest from major powers who have been watching the political and economic impact of the election results on their interests in the Arctic region. Among them, the Chinese, who have invested in the Kvanefjeld mine on the island. Maximiliaan van Lange analyses the background to the recent Greenlandic general elections, and the Island's geostrategic position in the Arctic in this article for commonspace.eu.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Analysis: Can Arctic routes provide an alternative to the Suez Canal as a major east-west trade route?

Analysis: Can Arctic routes provide an alternative to the Suez Canal as a major east-west trade route?

The recent blockage of the Suez Canal by the 400-metre-long 'Ever Given' container ship exposed the vulnerability of global trade routes. It reopened the debate about alternative routes, including the opening of the Northern Sea Route via northern Russia, and the Northwest Passage via northern Canada. These routes, however, are not without their problems. Maximiliaan van Lange analyses the background and current thinking in this article for commonspace.eu.
Editor's choice
Analysis
The death penalty remains a big issue in EU-Bahrain relations

The death penalty remains a big issue in EU-Bahrain relations

The European Parliament recently adopted a toughly worded resolution on the human rights situation in Bahrain focusing in particular on the cases of death row inmates and human rights defenders. The resolution exposed the dilemmas in Europe as the EU seeks closer relations with the Gulf states, but where concerns about the human rights situation in the region remain high.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Analysis: In the Middle East, the Biden presidency will impact five key areas

Analysis: In the Middle East, the Biden presidency will impact five key areas

The demise of the Trump administration and the return of Joe Biden to the White House, this time as president, will have more consequences than usual, with immediate changes expected in both the style and substance of leadership. The incoming administration will have a full in-tray of issues that need to be dealt with urgently. When it comes to the Gulf region and the wider Middle East, there will be five areas where important changes are likely.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Burkina Faso votes despite violent insurgency

Burkina Faso votes despite violent insurgency

Voting took place on Sunday (22 November) in presidential and parliamentary elections in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the Sahel Region of Africa. The elections were overshadowed by violence from an Islamist insurgency. President Kabore is expected to win reelection, while opposition candidates have warned of "massive electoral fraud." Official results are not expected for some days
Editor's choice
Analysis
Tensions rise between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front in Western Sahara

Tensions rise between Morocco and the POLISARIO Front in Western Sahara

The UN, through its mission – MINURSO, is still expected to maintain the ceasefire, and take quick steps to determine the political future of the Sahara. Yet the effectiveness of MINURSO, without a renewed commitment from Morocco and the Polisario Front, is doubtful.
Editor's choice
Editorial
The debate about Europe's role in the neighbourhood and the world

The debate about Europe's role in the neighbourhood and the world

commonspace.eu is evolving. We are stepping up as part of our mission to contribute to the debate about Europe’s future role in the world, and we are expanding our coverage to include the whole European neighbourhood to the East and to the South. We aim to provide accurate news and original analysis, and offer a forum for diverse views and opinions.
Editor's choice
Editorial
Editorial: War is never a solution!

Editorial: War is never a solution!

The Caucasus region has been plunged back into war. From yesterday morning fighting has been taking place between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces across the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
Editor's choice
Editorial
Editorial: The European Union is resolute in its commitment to the South Caucasus region

Editorial: The European Union is resolute in its commitment to the South Caucasus region

Toivo Klaar's appointment as the new EU Special Representative to the region comes at an important moment in the EU's relations with the countries of the South Caucasus, and is an expression of the EU's long-standing committment to the region and its people.
Editor's choice
Interview
Interview: Lasha Darsalia discusses Georgia's relations with Russia and South Caucasus regional co-operation

Interview: Lasha Darsalia discusses Georgia's relations with Russia and South Caucasus regional co-operation

Lasha Darsalia, Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia discusses relations with Russia, and how Georgia views the recent agreement ending the Karabakh War in this exclusive interview with commonspace.eu. He also lays his vision for South Caucasus regional co-operation.
Editor's choice
Interview
Medoev: "Our independence is irreversible". Commonspace exclusive interview with South Ossetia's envoy in Moscow.

Medoev: "Our independence is irreversible". Commonspace exclusive interview with South Ossetia's envoy in Moscow.

In this exclusive interview with commonspace.eu South Ossetia's envoy to Moscow blames Georgia for starting the 2008 war, and the international community for complacency bordering on complicity. He dismisses the role of civil society in resolution of the conflict and says Russia was the salvation of the Ossetian people.
Editor's choice
Interview
"Our approach is peaceful". Exclusive interview with Georgia's Minister for Reintegration, Paata Zakareshvili

"Our approach is peaceful". Exclusive interview with Georgia's Minister for Reintegration, Paata Zakareshvili

In an exclusive interview with CommonspaceEXTRA, Georgia's Minister for Reintegration, Paata Zakareshvili emphasizes continuity in the policy of the Georgian government towards the conflict regions but a very different approach in their implementation. Will this be enough for a breakthrough in the current negotiations?
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion  in Saudi Arabia

Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion in Saudi Arabia

In a recent wide-ranging interview Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, appeared to be reinterpreting – if not exactly redefining – the relationship between state and religion in the Kingdom. This is highly dangerous and uncharted territory for a Saudi leader, but something that is absolutely necessary if the Kingdom is to reinvent itself as a modern progressive state, whilst respecting the religious foundations which are part of its legacy and legitimacy.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: Biden's G-moment should not be interpreted as a shift in US policy towards the South Caucasus

Commentary: Biden's G-moment should not be interpreted as a shift in US policy towards the South Caucasus

Biden's use of the word "genocide" was a significant moral victory for the Armenian people however the geostrategic implications of this for the South Caucasus should not be exaggerated, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this commentary.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: A moratorium on the death penalty can offer a basis for a new EU-GCC relationship

Commentary: A moratorium on the death penalty can offer a basis for a new EU-GCC relationship

The EU and the six GCC countries are looking for ways to develop their relations amid a changing international context. Human rights remain an issue. A ten year moratorium on capital punishment can offer a good basis for renewed EU-GCC relations argue the commonspace.eu editorial team in this commentary.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: Post-war Armenia – New remedies for old maladies

Commentary: Post-war Armenia – New remedies for old maladies

Armenia's asymmetric dependence on Russia has cost it dearly, especially during the recent Karabakh war, argues Alexander Petrosyan in this commentary for commonspace.eu. Two projects – the Iran-Armenia railway, and the Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas pipeline – can help restore the balance, he contends.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Azerbaijan to spend $59 billion to rehabilitate territories, but development also requires peace

Azerbaijan to spend $59 billion to rehabilitate territories, but development also requires peace

Azerbaijan plans to spend up to $59 billion over the next ten years to rehabilitate the territories it has recently taken back after being for decades under Armenian control. It is a huge sum even for an oil rich country, but for President Ilham Aliyev developing the new territories now has become the primary mission of his presidency.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Monday Commentary: The world is on a military spending spree

Monday Commentary: The world is on a military spending spree

It is easy to succumb to the pressures of the arms lobby and to rush into a military spending spree without understanding that there are still alternatives to this, and that these alternatives have not yet been exhausted, argues Dennis Sammut in this week's Monday Commentary on commonspace.eu
Editor's choice
Commentary
Opinion: Restoring trust in the Karabakh peace process

Opinion: Restoring trust in the Karabakh peace process

In the third in a series of three commentaries on the consequences of the recent military clashes on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Dennis Sammut gives an assessment of the events from an international perspective and says there is a need to strengthen the moral authority of the peace process, and restore trust in it.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Opinion: Secret diplomacy has failed and it is now time to think of new approaches

Opinion: Secret diplomacy has failed and it is now time to think of new approaches

In the second in a series of three commentaries on the consequences of the recent military clashes on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Azerbaijani political analyst Ahmad Alili says that recent events have changed a lot of things for Baku and will have far-reaching effects on the diplomatic mediation efforts also.

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Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Opinion: “All against all” or “all against Nikol”?

Alliances are being formed between Armenian political parties ahead of the 20 June parliamentary elections. Whilst they all claim to want to oust the current prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, they are all also busy competing against each other. Despite this, the next Armenian government is likely to be a coalition government, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed for commonspace.eu
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion  in Saudi Arabia

Commentary: Mohammed bin Salman and his quest to reinterpret the relationship between state and religion in Saudi Arabia

In a recent wide-ranging interview Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, appeared to be reinterpreting – if not exactly redefining – the relationship between state and religion in the Kingdom. This is highly dangerous and uncharted territory for a Saudi leader, but something that is absolutely necessary if the Kingdom is to reinvent itself as a modern progressive state, whilst respecting the religious foundations which are part of its legacy and legitimacy.
Editor's choice
Commentary
Commentary: Biden's G-moment should not be interpreted as a shift in US policy towards the South Caucasus

Commentary: Biden's G-moment should not be interpreted as a shift in US policy towards the South Caucasus

Biden's use of the word "genocide" was a significant moral victory for the Armenian people however the geostrategic implications of this for the South Caucasus should not be exaggerated, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this commentary.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: The recent Iran-China agreement has implications for the wider region

Opinion: The recent Iran-China agreement has implications for the wider region

The recent signing of a strategic partnership with Iran shows that China is now a significant player in the geopolitics of the wider Middle East. This has implications for the South Caucasus and particularly Armenia, writes Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: Russian goals in the Armenian snap parliamentary elections

Opinion: Russian goals in the Armenian snap parliamentary elections

With Armenia's snap parliamentary elections coming up in June, a lot of actors are looking at the country's domestic politics, but no one more closely than Moscow. In this op-ed, originally published on KarabakhSpace.eu, Benyamin Poghosyan looks at what the presence of the former Armenian president, Robert Kocharyan, means for Pashinyan and Armenian-Russian relations.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Analysis: Why what happens in Greenland matters

Analysis: Why what happens in Greenland matters

The snap elections for the parliament of Greenland last Tuesday (6 April) attracted unusual interest from major powers who have been watching the political and economic impact of the election results on their interests in the Arctic region. Among them, the Chinese, who have invested in the Kvanefjeld mine on the island. Maximiliaan van Lange analyses the background to the recent Greenlandic general elections, and the Island's geostrategic position in the Arctic in this article for commonspace.eu.
Editor's choice
Opinion
Opinion: In Armenia’s June elections Kocharyan will challenge Pashinyan in a vote largely motivated by hate   

Opinion: In Armenia’s June elections Kocharyan will challenge Pashinyan in a vote largely motivated by hate  

Former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan has emerged as the strongest challenger to prime minister Nikol Pashinyan in Armenian’s forthcoming parliamentary elections. However, as Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed, most voters are simply motivated by their hate of one or the other.
Editor's choice
Analysis
Analysis: Can Arctic routes provide an alternative to the Suez Canal as a major east-west trade route?

Analysis: Can Arctic routes provide an alternative to the Suez Canal as a major east-west trade route?

The recent blockage of the Suez Canal by the 400-metre-long 'Ever Given' container ship exposed the vulnerability of global trade routes. It reopened the debate about alternative routes, including the opening of the Northern Sea Route via northern Russia, and the Northwest Passage via northern Canada. These routes, however, are not without their problems. Maximiliaan van Lange analyses the background and current thinking in this article for commonspace.eu.