Even as Vietnam and China continue to conduct tit-for-tat naval maneuvers in the South China Sea, Hanoi has started making direct calls for foreign involvement in the two nations’ maritime territorial dispute. While many commentators saw this as a thinly veiled invitation to the United States, it could also be a precursor to India establishing a permanent presence in Vietnamese waters. India has apparently responded favorably to Vietnam’s offer of permanent berthing rights in Na Thrang port. The move would not only add military heft to India’s “Look East” policy, but is also emblematic of a larger Indian effort to […]
The United Nation’s declaration of a famine in two regions of southern Somalia has been accompanied by horrific reports of starvation and news of more than 100,000 internally displaced people flooding into Mogadishu. Already bearing the burden of a 20-year-old civil war, the Somali capital now appears to be emerging as the epicenter of the famine’s misery as well. However, the exodus of starving Somalis may also have volatile regional ramifications, specifically in neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya, says Elizabeth G. Ferris, codirector of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement in Washington. Ferris reminded Trend Lines yesterday that Kenya is already […]
Earlier this month, U.N.-led negotiations between Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus on the status of the divided island ended without any significant breakthroughs. In an email interview, Michális S. Michael, deputy director of the Center for Dialogue at La Trobe University, discussed the Cyprus talks. WPR: What are the primary areas of progress in talks between Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus, and how do they compare with the final status of talks in 2004? Michális S. Michael: In contrast to 2004, and despite 126 high-level meetings since 2008, little progress has been achieved on the core issues separating the two sides. While […]
Matthew C. DuPée’s WPR briefing last week on Afghanistan’s counternarcotics efforts skillfully analyzes how U.S, U.N. and Afghan policies are failing to achieve an enduring reduction in the country’s opium production. Now neighboring governments, especially Russia, are growing increasingly worried that NATO’s withdrawal of combat troops from Afghanistan will force them to confront the problem largely by themselves. At present, the main threat Russia faces from Afghanistan comes in the form of Afghan narcotics exports. According to the United Nations, Russians are consuming much of the recent surge in Afghan narcotics production, which has occurred despite stagnant or even declining […]
The Qatari energy corporation Qatargas recently signed a deal with Argentina to provide 16 percent of the Latin American country’s natural gas needs for 20 years. In an email interview, Giacomo Luciani, Princeton global scholar and scientific director of the international energy program at the Paris School of International Affairs, discussed Qatar’s natural gas industry. WPR: What is the extent of the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, and what is Qatar’s share, including its major LNG trade partners? Giacomo Luciani: The global LNG trade has been rapidly expanding and can be expected to continue to do so. According to […]
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has met with Chinese leader Hu Jintao for bilateral trade talks during his visit to China. While the Chinese leader’s eyes are on Iraqi oil, Maliki is eying Chinese investments to redevelop war-ravaged Iraq.
On June 26, at a gathering in Kabul marking World Counter Narcotics Day, the mood was somber. Gone was the positive spin of last year’s event, when Afghanistan’s minister of counternarcotics, Zarar Ahmad Moqbil, proudly announced that poppy cultivation had been reduced by up to 50 percent and that 23 out of 34 provinces were then free from poppy cultivation. Sadly, the significant decrease in opium production last year has since been attributed to a convergence of environmental and climatic variables that devastated the crops late in the season, not to effective counternarcotics measures. According to the United Nations, Afghanistan […]
The announcement this week that Israel’s cabinet approved a new maritime demarcation agreement with Cyprus may pave the way for Israel to start tapping prized offshore oil and gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. But it also exacerbates an already tense geopolitical standoff between Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Cyprus surrounding the energy reserves, which, though relatively small compared to those in the Persian Gulf, are estimated to be worth billions. “You’ve got all the ingredients for a problem,” says James M. Dorsey, a World Politics Review contributor and senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. […]
Guatemala is confronting numerous problems as it prepares for presidential elections scheduled for Sept. 11. Organized criminal groups have made parts of the country all but lawless. Corruption and poverty remain widespread. Frequent natural disasters have strained state capacity. Even the preparations for the elections themselves have been plagued by political violence, with two dozen political workers killed in 2011 alone. But one problem has yet to become a major feature of the presidential campaign, despite its gravity: food insecurity, which threatens millions in Guatemala. With food prices rising globally, social upheaval over increasingly expensive basic staples has become more […]
Tensions continue to grow over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbors. Some experts contend the long-standing dispute could be resolved by a treaty.
MAE SOT, Thailand — On June 9, deadly clashes broke out in northern Myanmar between the country’s army and the ethnic minority Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The fighting reportedly erupted after Myanmar’s military moved to secure the Tarpein Hydropower Project, a Chinese-built dam that came online in January. The plant, which sits on a tributary of the Irrawaddy River close to rebel-held areas, has since suspended its operations, and the clashes have spread to surrounding regions, pushing Myanmar’s strategic borderlands to the brink of civil war. Rights activists say the Myanmar army’s offensive has brought a range of rights abuses, […]