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What next for Gambia after Jammeh’s election U-turn?

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Having earlier conceded defeat, Gambia leader Yahya Jammeh has called for fresh elections citing “abnormalities” in last month’s presidential elections, writes Franklin Adesegha The president had suffered a shock defeat to property developer Adama Barrow, who won more than 45% of the vote in an election largely described as credible. Jammeh then conceded defeat in a televised address saying it was the “will of Allah” and that he would support Barrow’s transition before retiring to his farm in Kanila, a village in southern Gambia. He had also called the president-elect to congratulate him on his victory.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 44

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Turkey and Russia

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Turkey and Russia are traditional enemies but are at present warily working together. As long as Russia assists President Assad of Syria so its military aid force operates along the Turkish-Syrian border. In the early stages of the Middle East collapse Turkey tried to keep disengaged on the side lines but two factors became dominant: These were the presence in Turkey of two million refugees and the Kurdish question. Meanwhile the Russian bombing of Aleppo and the deaths of so many civilians is a horror story that will besmirch the Middle East for generations to come. Russia meanwhile sees itself in confrontation with the West that was

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 42

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Guatemala: young blood and old vices

A year after the election of wouldbe reformer Jimmy Morales as president, corruption investigations are casting a shadow over his inner circle and recent appointments bring youth and oxygen to his faltering administration, but much still stands in the way of political renewal, writes Arturo Matute Guatemala’s would-be reformist President Jimmy Morales won office by a landslide last year by using a simple but effective slogan: “not corrupt, nor a thief”. In one of Latin America’s most violent, unequal and impoverished countries, his election was part of an anti-corruption “tsunami” that began in April 2015, led by the UN -backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Attorney General’s Office (AG). The racket that emerged in April 2015 in the customs authorities claimed the scalps of high-ranking officials, sparked massive protests throughout the country, and eventually brought down the corruption-plagued administration of former President Otto Pérez Molina, who was jailed promptly after his resignation.

Features | NorthSouth | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 35

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Restrictions in military cooperation with Russia

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The NDAA also stipulate the conditions under which the bilateral military cooperation between Russia and the United States may continue. “None of the funds authorized to be appropriated for fiscal year 2017 for the Department of Defense may be used for any bilateral militaryto- military cooperation between the Governments of the United States and the Russian Federation until the Secretary of Defense,

Features | Alan Brown | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 37

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Obama expands Magnitsky Act globally

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Outgoing US President Barack Obama has signed into law the annual defense policy bill to set the 2017 budget for the Department of Defense in which he expanded the use of the Magnitsky Act. The policy also curbed military cooperation with Russia and set conditions for the provision of military equipment for the Syrian armed opposition. “On Friday, December 23, 2016, the President signed into law: S. 2943, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017,”

Features | NorthSouth | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 37

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Cameroon: Confronting Boko Haram

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Cameroon’s military campaign against the Boko Haram insurgency started late but has met with partial success. To consolidate gains and bring lasting peace to the Far North, the government must now shift to long-term socioeconomic development, countering religious radicalism and reinforcing public services. For the last two-and-a-half years, Cameroon has confronted the insurgents of the Nigeria-born group Boko Haram. The conflict has already caused 1,500 deaths, and led to 155,000 displaced persons and 73,000 refugees.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 36

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China and two way ring-fences

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It has long been US policy to create a ring-fence of allied - countries of the Pacific region – round China to contain its expansionist policy. President Obama moved a substantial part of US forces from the Atlantic zone to the Pacific as part pf this policy. But two can play the same tune. China can do the same thing in reverse. President Duterte of the Philippines who came to power in June, has already insulted the US Presideht by calling him the son of a whore has decided to stop US -Philippine military exercises.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 37

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Israel/Palestine: parameters for a two-state settlement

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The collapse of US -led Israeli- Palestinian talks in 2014 led to political instability, rising violence and settlement expansion. To improve his successors’ peace-making chances, President Obama should push for a new UN Security Council resolution setting out the basic parameters of a deal. President Obama has a final chance to shape his legacy as a peacemaker by putting out parameters for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ideally in a concise, balanced UN Security Council resolution. It would be the Council’s first engagement on all the conflict’s core issues and expand the international role, one of many needed peace process adjustments.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 34

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Turkey’s refugee crisis: the politics of permanence

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In 2016, over 4,500 people have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean to escape war, poverty and oppression. Turkey is under growing pressure from nearly three million Syrian refugees. To mitigate domestic tensions and spillover from regional conflicts, Ankara needs to develop, and find support for, new policies that open refugees’ routes to jobs, education and permanent legal status. Turkey’s response to the influx of Syrians is a source of national pride. The massive numbers pose significant absorptive and financial challenges and compound problems stemming from complex demographics, deep political polarisation and rising security threats.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 35

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Lake Chad most neglected crisis in 2016 despite hunger

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The humanitarian catastrophe in Lake Chad basin, where conflict has left over 8 million people destitute with many “teetering on the brink of famine”, was the most neglected crisis in 2016, according to a survey of aid agencies. Following Lake Chad in a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll of 19 leading aid groups were Yemen, where children are starving, and South Sudan where U.N. Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon fears genocide is about to start. Overshadowed by the wars in Syria and Iraq and the global refugee and migrant crisis, Lake Chad barely made the headlines this year, but aid organizations said the crisis was “on an epic scale” with “terrifying rates of child malnutrition”.

Features | NorthSouth | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 36

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Ukraine: Military deadlock and political crisis

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After almost three years and 10,000 deaths, Russia’s military intervention continues to define all aspects of Ukrainian political life. The conflict and the Minsk peace process are stalemated, but few days pass without deaths along the line of separation. The deadlock hurts Ukraine most. Indeed, Moscow is close to its main aim: destabilising Ukraine and influencing its policy choices. Russia’s victory, however, would be more than local. The trial of strength in the Donbas is also with the U.S. and European Union (EU). Success would reinforce a signal that Russia will defend its perceived national interests by any means necessary.

Features | Crisis Group | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 37

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Turkey and Iran: bitter friends and bosom rivals

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New frictions in Iraq and Syria threaten Ankara and Tehran’s usually peaceful management of their Middle East rivalries. To rebuild trust and avert open conflict, they should coordinate deescalation, exchange intelligence and designate representatives to open a new channel between their leaders, writes Crisis Group For nearly two centuries and despite their fierce geopolitical competition from the Levant to Iraq and the Caucasus, Turkey and Iran have kept the peace between themselves, compartmentalised growing energy and commercial relations and even cooperated regionally when their interests converged.

Features | Alan Brown | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 35

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Russia’s role in world stage needs to be taken seriously

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Russia has always been an enigma or seen as a threat to the West and perhaps never more so than at the present time. It has joined forces with the great powers of the West to exert pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme for Russia like the other powers does not want to have an apparently maverick nuclear Iran on its doorstep though it does not show similar concern about Pakistan and India – both bordering Russia and both equipped with nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. It has supported President Assad throughout the ISIS crisis. Its concern about Iran may rather have been enhanced in order to allow Russia to join the other major powers in an operation that has world-wide implications.

Features | Guy Arnold | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 33

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Five rare humanitarian success stories of 2016

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It’s hard to see the silver lining around a year as awful as 2016, but a few good news stories did emerge. Here are some recent successes from the humanitarian world, with our caveats: Paris Agreement enters into force Given that 2016 broke a number of unenviable global warming records, it seemed advisable that the Paris Agreement to combat climate change, adopted by 195 countries in the French capital in December 2015, should come into force and be implemented in good time. The first, easier part was achieved surprisingly quickly – enough parliaments had ratified it even before delegates gathered in November in Marrakesh for Paris’s follow-up meeting, COP22. But as for implementation, the devil is in the detail, and much will depend on whether countries live up to the nationally determined contributions that underpin the Paris accord. Plans are now in place for countries to sign off on a new rulebook that envisages them taking responsibility for their own progress from 2020.

Features | NorthSouth | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 34

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Playing politics with the Middle East peace process

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unjustifiably lashed out at out-going President Barack Obama after the US broke with a longstanding approach of diplomatically shielding Israel from the UN Security Council vote condemning its settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, argues Franklin AdeseghaThe UN Security Council had demanded Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory”, pointing out that the international community views any Israeli construction over the agreed 1967 Green Line as illegal and “flagrant violation of international law.” But in a swift reaction, Prime Minister Netanyahu called the US action a “shameful ambush” and told New Zealand’s foreign minister that his country’s sponsoring of the UN anti-settlement resolution was a “declaration of war”.

Features | Franklin Adesegha | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 34

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Morocco and Nigeria seal partnership strategy

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Morocco and Nigeria agreed to build a gas pipeline that will cross the whole of the West African Coast to Morocco and eventually to the lucrative European gas market. This is the most ambitious project in West Africa and was announced on 3 December in Abuja when King Mohammed VI of Morocco paid an official visit to Nigeria, the third most important producer of gas in the continent. The most important African oil exporter, Nigeria also has huge untapped gas resources, the largest proven reserves in Africa and the seventh largest globally. Nigeria has huge gas reserves totaling some 5.1 Tcm, according to the latest BP Statistical Review of World Energy, but few options for monetizing the gas other than its LNG export facility.

Features | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 33

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Is the decadence of Europe’s dismal elites fuelling the populist surge?

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This failed elite, still intent on keeping its privileges despite its monumental policy blunders over both the euro and refugee crises, is increasingly and actively hated by large segments of European society, as youth unemployment numbers stay at depressionera levels and healthy sustained economic growth (use 2 per cent of GDP as a basic yardstick) simply has not returned. The future an entire generation was implicitly promised has disappeared, due to elite incompetence. If I were in this lost European generation, I suspect I would not be nearly so patient; I would be throwing bricks and I would know at who; the selfsatisfied

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 34

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Is the EU on brink of collapse?

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The European Union’s political and financial arms could be on the brink of disintegration and the world should prepare for its implosion in order to avoid disaster, a top economic expert has claimed, writes Franklin AdeseghaRoger Bootle believes Italy is edging closer to the EU exit door and France’s impending election could see Marine Le Pen surging to power, raising serious questions about how the Brussels bloc could continue to exist. The “existential threats” Italy and France pose to the Eurozone mean Britain should be preparing for the end of the European Union

Cover Stories | Franklin Adesegha | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 40

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Is Europe heading for disintegration?

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2016 will go down in history as a year that defied expectations. It was a busy year with foreign affairs events and developments across the world impacting us all in one way or another. The British electorate sent stock markets tumbling with an unexpected vote to leave the European Union (EU). On the other side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, the political outsider Donald Trump ran a campaign, which divided the US , and against all the odds, delivered a second major political upset, once again sending shockwaves through the financial markets.

Cover Stories | Ali Bahaijoub | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 38

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The EU at a crossroad

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Although Britain sparked off the present European Union (EU) crisis there were many signs that the EU faced a range of internal problems that it was unable to overcome. The first was the massive migration northwards from Africa and the Middle East of apparently unstoppable migrants. In Britain the Tory Party which provided an indifferent government was split between the Brexit faction and those that wanted to remain in the EU. Neither side in this argument had a clear policy’. The British referendum had opened a Pandora’s Box of chaos among the 27 (non-British) EU members that will not close and which threaten the future of a united Europe: how to accommodate the migrants and how to make the EU democratic.

Cover Stories | Guy Arnold | 2 January 2017 | Hits: 40

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