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Holistic and long-term solutions for Peace and Sustainability

Holistic and long-term solutions for Peace and Sustainability

Rather than resisting the securitization of climate, advocates and policymakers should be promoting the climatization of security. This means highlighting the shortcomings of current security frameworks and promoting gender inclusiveness and local leadership as holistic and long-term solutions for peace and sustainability.

This May 23, 2019 article of Alaa MurabitLuca Bücken and delivered by Project Syndicate must take many by surprise, mostly because of its angle of vision of the world’s predominant issue of climate change.

Image result for The Myth of Climate Wars?

The Myth of Climate Wars?

NEW YORK – In the years leading up to Syria’s civil war, the country endured three consecutive record-breaking droughts. By forcing internal displacement, the droughts arguably contributed to the social tensions that erupted in popular protests in 2011. But that does not mean that the Syrian conflict is a “climate war.”

As extreme weather events proliferate, it’s becoming increasingly easy to find a link between climate change and violent confrontations. In Sudan, the ethnic cleansing carried out by former President Omar al-Bashir has been tied to the Sahara Desert’s southward expansion, which fueled social unrest by exacerbating food insecurity. Territorial disputes in the South China Sea have also been connected to food-security concerns, rooted in competition over access to fishing areas. Some now warn of a “brewing water war” between Egypt and Ethiopia, triggered by the latter’s construction of a dam on the Nile River.

But the “climate war” narrative is deeply flawed. From Syria to Sudan, today’s conflicts are the result of multiple complicated and interrelated factors, from ethno-religious tensions to protracted political repression. While the effects of climate change can exacerbate social and political instability, climate change did not cause these wars. This nuance is important, not least for the sake of accountability: climate change must not be used to duck responsibility for resolving or averting violent confrontations.

Still, military and climate experts argue, climate change is a “threat multiplier,” and thus remains an important national security issue. Climate advocates and academics, however, have long avoided or rejected discussions of “climate security” – not to diminish the risks that climate change poses, but because they fear that framing climate change as a security issue will undermine efforts to mitigate those risks, by enabling the incremental securitization of climate action.

Securitization is often a political tactic, in which leaders construct a security threat to justify deploying extraordinary, even illegal measures, that infringe on people’s rights. If the fight against climate change is securitized, it could, for example, be used to rationalize new restrictions on the movement of people, enabled by and reinforcing anti-migrant sentiment.

Framing climate as a security issue can also challenge already-strained international cooperation on climate governance while driving investment away from necessary interventions – such as the shift to a low-carbon economy – toward advancing military preparedness. The accompanying apocalyptic discourse, moreover, could well lead to public disengagement, further weakening democratic accountability.

Yet, even as some United Nations member states express concern about linking climate change more closely to security, most countries are moving in precisely that direction. In 2013, the American Security Project reported that 70% of countries view climate change as a threat to their security, and at least 70 national militaries already have clear plans in place to address this threat.

The UN Security Council is also becoming more active in the climate security field. After recognizing the role of climate change in the Lake Chad conflict (Resolution 2349), the Council held its first debates on the relationship between climate change and security, with the participation of a large and diverse group of member states.

Given the impact of climate change on issues like migration and health, decoupling discussions of climate action from national security considerations may never have been feasible. On the other hand, linking climate change to security can positively contribute to mobilizing climate action. The key to avoiding the pitfalls of securitization is to move beyond paradigms – which overemphasize military-focused “hard security” narratives – that continue to shape security policy and public discourse. One way to achieve that is to take a more gender-inclusive approach to conflict prevention and resolution.

Research shows that women are more likely to pursue a collaborative approach to peacemaking, with actors organizing across ethnic, cultural, and sectarian divides. Such an approach “increases the prospects of long-term stability and reduces the likelihood of state failure, conflict onset, and poverty.” When women participate in peace negotiations, the resulting agreements are 35% more likely to last at least 15 years.

Sustainable peace is possible only by recognizing the necessity of local women’s leadership, who have relevant expertise and yet are currently excluded from national and multilateral frameworks. After all, if policy decisions are to meet the needs of the affected communities, members of those communities must have a seat at the table.

For example, in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan has acquired unique insights from years of facilitating community-inclusive forest conversation that respects local stakeholders. In Somalia, Ilwad Elman has proved her ability to navigate intersectional peace-building efforts through her organization, Elman Peace.

Of course, there is also an imperative to give more women the tools they need to join in this process. The interconnections identified in the UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a functional roadmap for delivering the needed equity. In particular, improving reproductive health (SDG 3) and education (SDG 4) of girls and women is one of the most cost-effective ways both to mitigate climate change (SDG 13) and to empower them as community leaders (SDG 5).

Rather than resisting the securitization of climate, advocates and policymakers should be advancing what the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute calls “the climatization of security.” This is best done by using security to increase the salience of climate action, highlighting the shortcomings of current security frameworks, and promoting gender inclusiveness and local leadership as holistic and long-term solutions for fostering local, regional, and international peace.

Luca Bücken is a policy adviser and strategist who focuses on migration, security, climate, and justice.

Alaa Murabit, a medical doctor and Executive Director of Phase Minus 1, is one of 17 Sustainable Development Goals Advocates appointed by the UN Secretary General. 

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Qatar being presently blockaded by its neighbouring countries

Qatar being presently blockaded by its neighbouring countries

The 2 stories below could be appreciated as nothing unusual happening in the Gulf, were it not for the ensuing agreements to be carried out whilst the whole region or specifically Qatar being presently blockaded by its neighbouring countries not only diplomatically but also in its transportation transfers by sea, air and land with the rest of the world.

We all remember, the US President during his visit to Saudi Arabia in May signed $110bn of arms deals. And more recently the US State Department approved the sale of $500m of military equipment and services last Wednesday. This has still to go through the US Congress that has 30 days to review the sale for approval.

In the meantime, Qatar per one of its dailies The Peninsula of January 18, 2018 has agreed to the following.

Qatar signs security agreement with NATO

Agencies

Qatar signed a security agreement with NATO at the Alliance’s Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, NATO said on their website.

At the signing ceremony, Brigadier General Tariq Khalid M F Alobaidli, Head of the International Military Cooperation Department, Armed Forces of Qatar, and NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller, stressed the importance of NATO’s cooperation with Qatar in the framework of the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI).

This security agreement provides the framework for the protection of exchange of classified information, as defined by all 29 member countries. These agreements are signed by NATO partner countries that wish to engage in cooperation with NATO. This enables the Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programmes (IPCP) of the ICI countries with NATO to be implemented as effectively as possible.

Qatar, UK joint fleet to protect 2022 World Cup airspace

QNA

London: An agreement to establish a joint operations fleet between Qatar and the UK to ensure mutual combat readiness and increase joint measures in the fight against terrorism and the development of strategic efforts towards stability in the region and beyond, was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs H E Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah.

The fleet will play a vital role in the protection of airspace during the 2022 World Cup, which will be hosted in Qatar despite the efforts of some sides to thwart Qatar’s hosting of the event, the minister said.

Dr Al Attiyah made the remarks during a speech that he gave at the London-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and touched on several regional and international issues.

At the beginning of the speech, Dr Al Attiyah expressed his pleasure at being at RUSI, which, he said, is a reliable partner in providing training courses for Qatari Foreign Ministry’s diplomats since 2014. 

He highlighted the extension of this cooperation to include training program of officers, from which 26 middle- and high-ranking officers have recently graduated to become better equipped to serve the country and advance their defence and intelligence capabilities by applying what they have learned at the leading institute.

The deputy prime minister expressed his delighted to be back in the United Kingdom, which, he said, has a special place in his heart as he flew a warplane during his training at the Royal Air Force base in Wales I.
Despite his retirement, Dr Al Attiyah said he still carries memories of those days and the friendships that he has built with fellow candidates since then.

Dr Al Attiyah said his current visit to London represents a very important moment in Doha’s ongoing efforts to engage with its allies in the U.K. in developing and strengthening their strategic joint military relationship.
He noted that the two sides have recently signed a major agreement on defence cooperation regarding the purchase of 24 Typhoon fighter jets. The agreement, he said, strengthens the historic friendship between the two countries and develops a defence partnership aimed at achieving their common security goals.

Dr Al Attiyah added that the agreement directly contributes to the preservation and creation of tens of thousands of job opportunities in the UK.

The minister spoke about the impact of the arbitrary measures taken by the so-called quartet against Qatar. He said that since June 5, the Qatari government and people have been harassed through the decision of three Gulf counties to cut their economic, political, military and social ties with Qatar. 

These abnormal measures, Dr Al Attiyah said, did not stop there as Qatar’s only land border was closed and the people were forced to break away from their families in these neighbouring countries.

In this regard, he said that the recent publication of the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which included humanitarian violations resulting from unilateral coercive actions by the four states, has enhanced the right of the State of Qatar in face of the illegal and inhumane acts towards the people of Qatar.

Dr Al Attiyah expressed his pride in the level of commitment shown by the men and women of Qatar towards its adherence to its sovereignty and freedom. He also expressed his pride in their dignity and determination during these difficult times, pointing out that the four countries tried to underestimate the Qatari people by referring to the size of their country and population.

He stressed that the size of a country is not measured in this way but rather by its contributions to the renaissance of humanity through disciplines such as arts and sciences as well as the values of human rights, tolerance and the rule of law, which, he added, the State of Qatar adheres to.

Dr Al Attiyah said that Qatar has spared no effort in its fight against extremist ideology and the elimination of terrorism in all its forms to ensure that all groups that violate international law, commit grave violations of human rights and terrorize societies, are brought to justice.

“We have provided operational and technical support to our allies and we have taken the fight beyond the battlefield and into education in the fight against terrorism,” he said, pointing to the establishment of educational and development programs in the Arab region and beyond such as the Educate A Child program, which are committed to providing quality education to tens of millions of children around the world. 

These programs, the deputy prime minister said, achieved most of their goals by working in 54 countries to date providing quality education to nearly nine million schoolchildren.

Dr Al Attiyah added that the laws and legislations of the state reflect its commitment to supporting and funding the actual international war on terrorism.

Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest

Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest

The MENA region is yet again under horrendous pressures not only within the usual northern part of the Middle East and lately in the Gulf area but still in that part of the North African desert. This story is about Libya, a country that has known nothing but unrest and upheaval since its forced change of regime in 2011. More recently a UN report informed that the UAE violated Libya’s arms embargo by secretly supplying the concerned in this article.  Would this have any bearing with the outcome as proposed in this article?
Would also this liberation mean reunification and a unique and central authority over the country? Only time can tell but one thing is sure in that all countries surrounding Libya would sight with relief if this is achieved.
Would this be accounted for in the Qatar blockade resolution? In any case, here is the BBC’s story.

Libya eastern commander Haftar declares Benghazi ‘liberated’

From the section Africa

The image above is of  REUTERS — Benghazi saw fierce clashes between the LNA and Islamist militants this week


The head of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has said his forces “liberated” the eastern Benghazi city after years of fighting with Islamists.

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar said the city now enters a new era of “security, peace and reconciliation”.

If confirmed, victory would mark a major advance for the one-time commander in the army of late strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

The LNA is not recognised by Libya’s UN-backed government in Tripoli.

Libya’s unrest since the 2011 ousting of Gaddafi saw extremist organisations, including so-called Islamic State, gain a foothold in the country.

In a televised speech on Wednesday, Field Marshal Haftar said that “after a continuous struggle against terrorism and its agents that lasted more than three years… we announce to you the liberation of Benghazi”.

Image copyright REUTERS – – – – Khalifa Haftar has backing from some foreign powers

His announcement comes after bloody battles this week in Benghazi’s Sabri district in which dozens of LNA fighters and various local Islamist militants died.

Pictures posted on social media sites showed some civilians in Benghazi and other parts of the country celebrating the end of a bitter conflict that left large parts of the country’s second city in ruins and displaced thousands of people in recent years.

But Field Marshal Haftar also has many political and armed opponents in Libya. He does not recognise the government in Tripoli, and instead backs the authorities in the east. Opponents accuse the commander, who has backing from some foreign powers, of trying to impose autocratic rule in Libya.

Divided opinion – analysis by Rana Jawad, BBC North Africa correspondent

Benghazi’s conflict over the last three years at times appeared to have no end in sight, and – as it grew – so too did the Field Marshal Haftar’s political and military ambitions.

This is a significant gain for him, and a city that has been aching for respite from the war. Opinions over the conflict in Benghazi are largely divided; many will be celebrating what they see as a war brought to their doorstep by Islamist militias at a time when political actors in Libya barely acknowledged there was a problem there, despite the near daily bombings and killings in the city.

Others view it as a product of a man who was power-hungry and lumped up all of his enemies under the banner of “Islamist terrorists” to pave the way for a future political role through the might of the gun. His short address dedicated to the people of Libya had an unusually reconciliatory tone, but it is not one that will ease worries over what his, or his opponents’ next move might be.

In Libya today, a military victory in one battlefield often opens the door to conflict in others.

Read more :

 

May 19, 2017 Iran’s presidential elections

May 19, 2017 Iran’s presidential elections

Internal and geo-strategic issues

Iran is at a crossroads in its history; 56.4 million voters are called to the polls to elect their new president.  These May 19, 2017 Iran’s presidential elections with a risk of having a high abstention rate happen in a background of a general situation that is much better than in the past, inflation is under control although unemployment is relatively high.  For these elections of 2017, it is mainly a duel between Hassan Rouhani, 68, reformer elected in 2013 and a 56 year old conservative Ebrahim Raissi, former Attorney general.  Whatever the results, after these elections, the prospects for growth in the medium and long term are dependent on the pace of reintegration of Iran into the global economy, the speed of the reforms as detailed in the new five-year development plan and especially how to apply, to implement and to boost non-oil segments by creating a level playing field between existing players and new entrants, (winners of the reforms of the future are not those of today) but also to work to improve the business environment and the efficiency of the labour markets but also to work to improve the business environment and the efficiency of the labour markets balancing flexibility and fairness and enter the workforce of the informal sphere within the real sphere.
According to the first partial results as per Reuters on May 20, 2017, the Iranian outgoing president Hassan Rouhani is said to be widely re-elected totaling approximately 56%.  The results will officially be announced on Sunday May 21, 2017.

Iran’s Geopolitics details

The Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed on April 1, 1979 has a population that rose from 21 million in 1960 to 80 in 2016 with by extrapolation upto 84 million in 2020 for an urban population in January 1st, 2016 of 73.4% of the total population, life expectancy of 71.15 years and ranked second in 2010, behind Egypt in the MENA’s most populous countries.  

Iran has an area of 1,648,000 km² with a density of 48.4 hab per km², and Tehran as capital and Karaj, Tabriz, Isfahan and Mashhad as major cities. It holds the world’s fourth oil reserves with more than 160 billion barrels (13 / 14% of world reserves).  In general Iran is a strategic player that could help stabilize the tensions in the region with a definite impact on the supply of oil.

Iran which produced around 2011/2015 more than 2.5 million barrels a day can produce more than 5 to 6 million barrels per day today. These factors are in addition to a production outside OPEC of 67% market share compared with 33% for the OPEC, not counting all those newcomers on the world market.  It has also more than 34,000 billion cubic metres of gas or more than 16% of world reserves, not to mention that Iran if agreements are respected, will then access between 50 to 100 billion Dollars in foreign banks, which will increase its exports and attract foreign investment.

Iran has significant resources. It is located on the belt of the reserves of copper in the world and benefits from considerable reserves of other minerals, such as iron, aluminium, lead and zinc and as a country with borders it shares with 15 other countries, making it easily an emergent country, especially as it safely invested in human resources, the elite without which no country can develop.

According to the studies of the OECD and the IMF, its population has a literacy rate of 93% for the 19 to 40 years old.

The head of State is the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution that is named for life by the Assembly of Experts and the President is Hassan Fereidun RUHANI since August 3rd, 2013.  The Supreme Leader is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and controls all the army intelligence and security operations.

The head of Government is the president elected through universal suffrage for a term of four years. The Council of Ministers is selected by the president, with the approval of the legislature. The president holds control over the executive, but shares power in the areas which are the prerogatives of the Supreme Leader.

Parliament is made up of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, which is a legislature that is unicameral.  It has 290 seats, and its members are elected by universal suffrage for four years. Parliament needs to validate the laws by the Council of Guardians, which checks if the proposed laws do not contradict Islamic principles. The Parliament has real power in Iran, particularly regarding removal of a Minister.  The president may dissolve the Parliament directly, and can recommend the dissolution of the Supreme Leader.

The entire international community except Israel, had welcomed the lifting of the embargo against Iran once the International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Agency has certified on January 16, 2016, the steps taken by Tehran for not committing to produce a nuclear bomb.

After nearly a decade of diplomatic isolation, Iran has returned to the international community. Since his election in June 2013, president Rohani had expressed the wish to improve relations of Iran with the international community on the nuclear file degraded during previous presidencies, while trying to soothe its relations with regional powers including its relations with Sunni powers, especially Saudi Arabia.

According to many military experts, Yemen, at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and preserve of Saudi Arabia’s via the USA, is not a strategic priority for Tehran, much less in any case to that of Iraq or Syria, where Iran is a major player in the current crisis.  At the regional level, it is an actor as evidenced by its priority, which is the struggle against ISIS.  Iran gave its support to the Iraqi regime, but also since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis a full support to Damascus. This is however a position that can evolve according to its strategic interests.

Socio-economic and financial details

With a GDP estimated in 2016 to be $ 412.2 billion, Iran is the second largest economy in the MENA region after Saudi Arabia. Per capita GDP in 2015 was 5306 US dollars.  The growth rate as compared to the previous period, was 4.6% in 2015, 4.5% in 2016, thus reflecting some dynamism and should be no less than 5.2% in 2017, 4.8% in 2018, 4.5% in 2019.

According to the IMF, inflation rate was 15.6% in 2014, 12.0% in 2015, 8.9% in 2016, a new figure for 25 years, under the effect of the tightening of monetary policy and a forecast of 8.2% in 2017. Unemployment was 12.20% in 2012, 10.60% in 2014, 11.67% in 2015 and 11.3% in 2016 after Q2 2016, 12.7%, its highest level for three years (or 3.3 million unemployed), is explained largely by the increase in the employment rate of the population, to 40.4% compared to 35.4% in January-March 2014.

Yet, there is the importance given to education where the number of students in universities increased significantly over the past 20 years.  In 2015, 4.8 million Iranians have begun university studies, representing almost 6.2% of the total population (from about 3.5% in France).

As to financial indicators, the Iranian Rial (IRR) was quoted at 14777,90 to the Euro in 2011, 15643 a Euro in 2012, 24456 a Euro in 2013, 34653 a Euro in 2014, 32188 a Euro in 2015 and in May 19, 2017 to 36335 IRR a Euro thus showing a strong depreciation of the Iranian currency.

The current balance in 2014 was 3.8% compared to the GDP’s of 0.4% in 2015 and less than 0.6% in 2016 with a forecast of zero in 2017, while the GDP / public debt ratio was 15.6% in 2014, 17.1% in 2015, 17.5% in 2016 with a forecast 17.7% in 2017.  The trade balance of Iran with a share of trade in GDP of more than 31% (World Bank, 2015) is structurally positive, oil exports have increased by 70% in 2016 trend which should continue in 2017 with a trade surplus of 1.8 billion US Dollars in  2016.

The main customers of Iran are China, Iraq and the UAE.  Besides oil and gas, Iran exports are mainly pistachios, carpets, petrochemicals, organic chemicals, aluminium and plastic materials.  Its three main suppliers are the UAE (that in fact play the role of Iran’s Center of re-export), the European Union and China. Iran’s imported goods are mainly machinery, iron and steel, electrical and electronic equipment and cereals.

The Iranian economy remains dominated by the public sector that controls much of the economy with a relatively fragile banking sector. Structurally, the economy is dependent on oil revenues, which account for nearly half of all State revenues.  So, the lifting of international sanctions in July 2015 allowed the resumption of trade and investment (FDI stock in 2015 has been $45,097 million), while exports of oil have found their level prior to the sanctions.

The agricultural sector, whose main crops are pistachio of which iran is the largest producer in the world, wheat, rice, oranges, tea and cotton all contributed to 9.3% of GDP in 2016, and employing 17.9% of the active population. Oil production, which has seen a drastic fall in 2012 following the introduction of international sanctions, has quickly picked up since their lifting, reaching in March 2017 its highest level in 7 years (3.8 million barrels per day).

The industrial sector employs 33.8% of the active population and contributes to 38.2% of the GDP. The textile industry is the second largest sector after the oil & gas. Sugar refining, the industrial preparation of food, petrochemicals, cement and construction are the other major industries. Traditional crafts, such as weaving of carpets, ceramics, silk and jewellery manufacturing, are also vital for the Iranian economy. The tertiary sector contributes to 52.4% of the GDP using 48.3% of assets.

Prospects for the Iranian economy

In order to diversify its economy, the Iranian Government has decided to launch a plan of privatization and open most of the sectors of its economy to foreign investment.

Thus, in 2016 the projects of FDI in Iran increased significantly. The Iranian Government through the country’s Central Bank intends, in accordance with the recommendations of the IMF, to conduct a recapitalisation of distressed banks. The State should implement new reforms to stimulate the private sector as the public sector no longer has the resources to create the needed jobs.

The Iranian authorities have adopted a comprehensive strategy of reforms based on the market, as declared in a document on prospects in the future 20 years and in the 6th five-year plan of development covering the period 2016-2021. So this plan revolves around three main axes: the development of a resilient economy, the scientific and technical progress, and the promotion of cultural excellence. On the economic front, the plan tables on an annual growth of 8%, with three main priorities for the next five years, e.g.: reform of public enterprises, financial and banking sector, distribution and management of oil revenues, greater budgetary rigour, the fight against waste and corruption.

Because of the important thing for the Iranian Government is to drive the economy out of recession, the goal is economic recovery.  Reducing unemployment and control of the inflation to maintain social cohesion, knowing that the economy is highly dependent for its funding on the oil revenues, the Government of Iran with the lifting of the embargo will as a consequence increase the supply of oil, which will allow it to boost its economy and intends to carry out internal reforms to increase tax term revenues.

Thus Iran plans privatizations and disposals of assets that show strong growth as compared to the current budget combined with the reduction of the State’s lifestyle (operating expenditures, salaries of civil servants, etc.).  So, the Government of Iran will be facing significant internal challenges that require major structural reforms at three levels:

First, review all un-targeted widespread subsidies, that are wasteful and source of rentier situations and diversions of funds, establishing another cause of this permanent bleeding in the Iranian economy that prevent the channelling of resources into the system of domestic production so as to drive effectively the development of the country.

It is in this context that the indirect subsidies, whose cost was estimated at 27% of GDP in 2007/2008 (approximately $77.2 billion), has been replaced by a program of direct cash transfers to Iranian households.

The second part of the subsidy reform, launched in the spring of 2014, provides a more gradual oil price envisaged before adjustment and a wider targeting of transfers for the benefit of low-income households. Nearly 3 million of higher income households have already been removed from lists of beneficiaries.  As expected, the poverty rate declined by 13.1 to 8.1% between 2009 and 2013 (based on a poverty line of $5.5 in parity of purchasing power in 2011.

This evolution according to the IMF is probably attributed to the establishment, by end of 2010 of a universal program of monetary transfers, prior to the removal of subsidies. The program seems to have more than offset the expected increase in the less affluent and contributed household energy bills, doing so to improve the purchasing power of the poorest 40% of the population. This approach would have led to a reduction in the expenses of the targeted subsidies organisation (TSO) of 4.2% of GDP in 2014 to 3.4% in 2016.

Second, whilst ensuring its security protection, limit the huge spending on the military because of the regional tensions including the nuclear project for military purposes as per the agreement for nuclear power for civilian use, the colossal ballistic program and interventionist policy at the international level that require significant financial aid are believed to be no more;

Third; it involves adjustments at the level of the Iranian authorities power, the limitation of that of the Pasdaran whose control is an essential part of the Iranian economy, without being subject to the law on taxation, monopolizes all economic activity with colossal revenues in the sectors of oil, gas, petrochemical, telephony, computer, automotive, steel, cement, food, pharmaceuticals as well as roads, banks, insurance. According to analysts, the Pasdaran are among the largest cartels of the world and control more than 50% of imports and one-third of Iranian exports

In summary, the agreement, signed in July 2015, has allowed the lifting of economic sanctions against Iran and the resumption of partnership with overseas while we are witnessing an ambiguous positron of the U.S. president, who seems to take this legacy without ceasing to criticize claiming that in April 20, 2015, Iran was not in breach of the nuclear agreement, but that he violated the spirit.  Anyway, the return of Iran into the community of Nations would help defuse the climate of tension that runs across the region and foreshadows a significant geostrategic and energy reconfiguration at the level of the Middle East.

Please address any comments to Dr A. Mebtoul  ademmebtoul@gmail.com

 

 

AFRIPOL meeting in Algiers to face the continent’s issues

AFRIPOL meeting in Algiers to face the continent’s issues

Algerian police has become some sort of an international benchmark, following the December 12, 2016 consultative meeting in Algiers of many African Police officials.  It is also hosting today May 14, 15 and 16, 2017, the first General Assembly of AFRIPOL with the participation of 48 African countries. AFRIPOL meeting in Algiers to face the continent’s issues will be a long awaited opportunity for the African police forces representatives to define the general frameworks of cooperation at all national, continental and international levels institutions.

This article is as a matter of fact a summary of my contributions and international interventions between 2010 and 2016 (1).

The Mediterranean and African regions should know between 2017, 2020 and 2025, deep socio-economic, technological, but also security reconfigurations.  Algerian police as an international reference, decided to strengthen the areas of cooperation with its African counterparts by putting its knowledge and experience at the disposal of all peers.

For this purpose and following the signing in 2001 of a memorandum between the African Union and Interpol to define channels appropriate for communication, exchange of information and views between the different parties, establishing an African police (AFRIPOL) mechanism whose headquarters is in Algiers since end of 2015 under the auspices of the African Union, aimed to work towards the coordination of efforts and to support the action of the missions of peace and security keeping within the African Union countries.

AFRIPOL is a communication, consultation, cooperation and coordination in all affairs of the African police. Indeed, focusing first on its own strategic interests, part of the Mediterranean dialogue (MD), Algeria is based on a number of principles and from a proven willingness to contribute to the promotion of security and stability of the continent.

It is the end of the cold war, marked by the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 that represent a crucial turning point in contemporary history. The first event marks the end of a world born half a century earlier and dislocation of international architecture which resulted many decades later on by divisions, heartbreak, and wars that we know.

Today, the threats to security are called terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, regional crises and disintegration of some States.

However, the new collective challenges are another source of threat; such as concerns about water resources, poverty, epidemics and the environment and these are of course local, regional and global.  Between the distant and very present America and the nearby and distant Europe, between a hegemonic and comprehensive strategy that owns all the means of its implementation and projection, and a strategy to global vocation that is laboriously built and that struggles to become self-reliant and to project into its immediate geopolitical environment, how to behave and what choices are there for Algeria to make?

Called upon and solicited, Algeria questions legitimately itself on the role, the place or the interest of such option or this frame holds or offers, whether it is the Mediterranean dialogue of NATO or of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership, in its economic or security dimension.  Adaptation being the key to survival and pragmatism one eminently modern tool in the management of inter-nations relationships, that Algeria together with all in its segment of North Africa as a bridge between Europe and Africa must do with.

Because the current security issues in the Sahel-Saharan area not forgetting that the relationships between the two outer edges of the Sahara do challenge Algeria which must be attentive to the future geo-strategic issues that are emerging in the region.   We have seen, profound changes in geo-politics in the Sahara after the collapse of the Libyan regime and the French intervention following the secession of northern Mali.

The relationship between the Sahel and the Gaddafi Libya having been complex, these are even more complicated with many sub-Saharan migrants settling in the countries of the Maghreb.  In fact, well before and especially since the fall of the regime of Kadhafi, the Sahel region has become a space outside any central authority where armed groups and smugglers settled.

Hence, security of Algeria’s borders is and will be under question with notably that of the 1376 km long with Mali, the 982 km with Libya and the 956 km with Niger and the 965 km with Tunisia to watch; the Moroccan one being closed for some time.

In the short term, tensions in the region especially for the protection of its borders, the situation in Libya, in Mali and incidentally the terrorist actions at its border with Tunisia imposed on Algeria additional expenses. It is understood that included in these would be replacement of most of the obsolete military hardware and acquisition of new equipment for the Armed Forces, not counting all those adaptations of its intelligence.

The cybercrime issue of the 21st century should also be on the agenda for it is required by the economy as cyberattacks tend to increase in volume as electronic services (e-commerce, e-health and e-Government, etc.) are called to develop.

 

Algeria has deployed a task-force to secure its borders and deal with their chronic instability that recent events confirm the continuous worsening.  And this in close cooperation with all neighbouring Maghreb and African countries, assisted by information from Europe including France and the United States of America, as the terrorist threat is a global threat.

For both the U.S. and European governments and because of its strategic location in the Maghreb and its long history of fighting terrorism and violent extremism in its territory, Algeria has become a pillar in the fight against terrorism but also a partner for bringing stability to the region.

Thus, Algeria considered being a key player for the stability of the region has nevertheless to solve its problems of development and at the same time intensify international cooperation against this global scourge.

Now, most of the leaders from North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the United States including Russia and China now all agree on the need to cooperate to confront the threat of insecurity and organized crime. It has to focus on the obligation to implement a regional strategy involving all the surrounding countries of the area in addition to the European and international partners, as of the fact that the region has become an open space for various terrorist and  other groups movements that thrive through traffic of weapons or drugs, threatening all regional security, and by extension Europe and the USA.

And as this has been highlighted at different African whether regional or international Interpol conferences, including the one held in Oran, Algeria in September 2013, where resolutions stipulating the urgency of both African that global cooperation against transnational crime with the involvement of each of the NCBs of Interpol member countries, requiring improved data bases in order to effectively combat cross-border crime and terrorism.

So it is to have all constraints removed simply because of the fact that the general corruptibility of institutions weighs heavily on all systems of law enforcement and criminal justice which in general have difficulties adapting to the new challenges posed by the sophistication of organized crime networks. Inter-jurisdictional collaboration is slowed by the heterogeneity of the legal systems notably in North Africa and black Africa.

The porosity of borders as well as coordination between large numbers of agencies responsible for security at the countries’ borders poses major problems.  At the end of the day, it is the strategy aimed to gradually attract users off the informal system onto the formal one and thus isolate the remaining criminal elements whilst decreasing collateral damage for legitimate users.

It is in this context that comes in all those attempts to reinvigorate the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue with two initiatives.  On one hand, the European neighbourhood policy and on the other hand, the strategic partnership between the EU on one side and the Mediterranean and the Middle East on the other in order to somehow stem the emigration including sub-Saharan Africa with as buffer pillar the Maghreb.

In General, on military and geo-strategic grounds it is through the activities of the group of the so-called “5 + 5” that today the reality of such a development can be appreciated.  It is that reading that the Europeans make of the threats and challenges facing the world and our region are primarily based on the need to develop a common strategy for collective and effective response, including international terrorism, human trafficking, organised crime and money laundering.

However for real efficiency and because no country would be able to alone bear the financial costs, without impacting its own development expenditure, pooling becomes strategic imperative to minimize or reduce costs.

 

In short, there is some kind of dialectic link between security and development as without security there would not be any development and vice versa.  The fight against terrorism means or would require putting an end to inequality in both global and / or within any country for if unattended, it would only increase whilst imbuing more misery therefore generating more terrorism.

Because, an all security for security’s sake has limitations as Algerian security officials know very well and that there is an existing dialectical relationship between development and security. It implies tackling the essence (co-development) and not appearances as shown in a study by the World Economic Forum  titled Global Risks 2016 – Reports -.   Security efficiency will also have to fit within a strategic vision that in the face of a world in perpetual motion, both in terms of foreign policy, economics of defense, related actions, with the latest happenings in the Sahel, on the borders of Algeria, arise the urgency of the strategies of adaptation and international and regional coordination, in order to effectively act on major events. These new challenges for both Algeria and Africa would exceed in importance and magnitude those challenges Algeria and Africa have faced so far.

 

Please address any comments to Dr A. Mebtoul  ademmebtoul@gmail.com

 

Notes :

(1) – A study by Professor Abderrahmane MEBTOUL was published by the – Institut français des relations internationales   (IFRI – Paris, France) in French “Maghreb-Europe cooperation in the face of the geostrategic stakes” (November 2011) – chapter III – “The strategy of NATO the geostrategic challenges in the Mediterranean.  Conference of the Pr Abderrahmane Mebtoul ‘development and geostrategic in the Mediterranean and Africa issues’ in Malta, 2012 at the invitation of the European Commission and on the same theme in front of the European Parliament in Brussels-2013 – see “the Maghreb the geostrategic challenges” two works (1050 pages) under the direction of Professor Mebtoul Abderrahmane and Dr. Camille Sari (36 experts Europeans and North Africans)-Edition L’Harmattan Paris 2015-

 

Saudi Arabia to remain a close consultant to President Trump

Saudi Arabia to remain a close consultant to President Trump

An alarming article of Newsweek of this morning on Saudi Arabia’s latest moves whether in the Arabian Peninsula or in the US with notably Prince Salman’s visit to The White House on Wednesday confirming that he will see that Saudi Arabia to remain a close consultant to President Trump on matters of security and economic challenges in the Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Iran nuclear deal.
Nearly four months after the conclusion of an agreement to cut production in the OPEC, tensions between producers are back into the limelight.
For the record, members of the cartel had been able to agree to limit their pumping in order to support the price of crude and this approach was supported by Russia. However, the agreement concluded in November comes to an end in June; questions are being raised about its possible extension. Earlier this week, Kuwait has indicated that he would support such an extension but Saudi Arabia is still expected to clarify its official position. Going onto a new battle of prices in the oil market?
Could this be one of the reasons behind such visit of the Saudi price to Washington?
Meanwhile, Newsweek’s article written by RYAN RIEGG and published on March 17th, 2017 looks at many other reasons and enlightens us on the going-on of behind the scenes, especially in so far as Yemen and other things are concerned.

WHAT IS SAUDI ARABIA GOING TO DO WITH ITS ARMS BUILDUP?

Will the kingdom turn on its neighbors to head off a revolt at home?

Saudi security forces take part in a parade rehearsal for the annual hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca on September 5, 2016. Ryan Riegg writes that Saudi Arabia’s massive expansion of its military indicates that hawks within the country may choose to use military action as a hedge against domestic instability caused by the kingdom’s economic decline.   AHMED JADALLAH/REUTERS

If Saudi Arabia’s economic reforms, which include the initial public offering of its oil company (Aramco), Vision 2030 reforms and OPEC’s production cuts, all fail, which is likely, then hawks may push the kingdom toward actions that could spark a new regional war.

How Saudi Political System Increases the Probability of War in the Middle East

To raise the standard of living of their citizens, all countries face a choice on whether to grow internally through production of new goods and services, or externally, through the conquest of other countries and territories. [ . . . ]

Saudi Arabia is a theocracy. Religion and state are combined. Power is centralized. No other forms of faith are allowed. No other political parties are allowed. Individual choice in terms of what you can say, what you can watch and whom you can talk to (e.g., women and men cannot speak to each other without the presence of a guardian) is severely limited. Meanwhile, critical thinking in regards to religion is actively discouraged.

Because theocracy severely limits individual choice, it tends to be inhospitable to both creativity and science, both of which are crucial ingredients to economic growth. New products and services tend to be created only when you have a workforce that is free to explore ideas in a society that encourages science and creativity.

Saudi Arabia, like much of the Arab world, is unable to retain scientists or educated workers. Thus, despite spending billions of dollars more on education than any other country in the Middle East and North Africa, the country’s potential for long-term internal growth is severely hampered by a persistent brain drain alongside a chronic failure of performance in science and math. [ . . . ]