Conflicto territorial

Aphrodite rose gracefully out of the waters of the eastern Mediterranean and its Nereids guided sailors in distress. How did this sea, cradle of so many civilisations, end up as a military flashpoint? This year its eastern shores could become Europe’s equivalent of the South China Sea, bristling with great power tension, or a model for co-operation. I would like to believe the latter but it is going to require a leap of faith in the ability of hard-nosed autocrats to give ground and in terrorist groups to show restraint. That’s a stretch.

Let’s start with the positive. The discovery of large undersea hydrocarbon reserves is giving shape to a new regional constellation: Egypt and Cyprus, Israel and Greece.…  Seguir leyendo »

Le sommet qui a réuni à Paris, le 9 décembre, la Russie, l’Ukraine, l’Allemagne et la France a produit des effets significatifs et aura un impact sur le processus de paix dans l’est du Donbass. L’absence de résultats marquants est paradoxalement rassurante, car tout compromis accepté par le président russe aurait signifié une concession unilatérale du président ukrainien.

Tout d’abord, Volodymyr Zelensky a fait connaissance avec Vladimir Poutine en terre européenne, à Paris, sous les regards protecteurs d’Emmanuel Macron et d’Angela Merkel. Le chef d’Etat ukrainien s’y trouvait en position de force diplomatique. Il pouvait accepter de serrer la main de son adversaire et lui rappeler la position de son pays, et les « lignes rouges » infranchissables.…  Seguir leyendo »

En diciembre de 1994, Ucrania rubricó el Memorando de Budapest para convertirse en un Estado libre de armas nucleares. Los firmantes, Estados Unidos, Rusia y el Reino Unido, reafirmaron entonces su compromiso “de respetar la independencia y soberanía y las fronteras existentes de Ucrania” y “de no recurrir a la amenaza o al uso de la fuerza contra la integridad territorial o la independencia política de Ucrania”. El mismo mes, 25 años después, Ucrania se vuelve a reunir en París con sus homólogos de Rusia, Alemania y Francia, para negociar el fin de la violación de todo lo anterior por parte de uno de los signatarios.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eteringbang, es un poblado de una calle junto al río Cuyuní. Eteringbang no se encuentra en los mapas de Google, pero está ubicado al otro lado de San Martín de Turumbán, del lado venezolano del Cuyuní. CRISISGROUP/Bram Ebus

Justo en las afueras de Etheringbang, un pequeño puesto fronterizo guyanés en medio de la selva en la frontera venezolana, el río Cuyuní que separa a Guyana de Venezuela corre por orillas llenas de maleza. En el lado norte, me dicen los lugareños, se encuentra un campamento de guerrilleros colombianos, viviendo a unos 700 km. de su país natal, mientras otros grupos armados también operan cerca. Desde mi posición junto al agua no puedo distinguir el campamento, pero veo a tres hombres vestidos de negro, uno con un arma de alto calibre, parado en un pequeño claro. Mantengo una distancia prudente y veo cómo al pasar un bote de pasajeros los hombres de negro le exigen al capitán que se detenga.…  Seguir leyendo »

A banner reading 'No capitulation!' is unfurled above the entrance to the city hall in Kyiv as part of protests against implementation of the so-called Steinmeier Formula. Photo: Getty Images.

In 2016, the then-German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, suggested a way around the impasse in east Ukraine.

He proposed that elections in the areas held by Russian-backed insurgents – the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ (DNR) and the ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’ (LNR) – could be held under Ukrainian legislation, with Kyiv adopting a temporary law on ‘special status’, the main disagreement between Russia and Ukraine in the Minsk Agreements. This law would become permanent once the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had declared that elections correspond with OSCE standards.

The reaction in Ukraine was strongly negative. The so-called Steinmeier Formula contradicted Kyiv’s position that elections in the occupied Donbas should only go ahead in a secure environment – requiring the prior withdrawal of Russian forces and the return of the eastern border to Ukraine’s control.…  Seguir leyendo »

Srinagar, in the Indian-controlled part of the Kashmir region, was under guard last month days after India said it would revoke the area’s autonomy.CreditCreditAtul Loke for The New York Times

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a plethora of comments from Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan and senior officials of his government painting an apocalyptic picture of India’s reorganization of its province of Jammu and Kashmir — and raising the threat of conflict, including nuclear war, with India.

Under Prime Minister Khan’s watch, the people of Pakistan are reeling under economic depression, with inflation at a five-year high, national debt exceeding gross domestic product and an International Monetary Fund bailout for the 22nd time. Mr. Khan has, of course, every right to run his own economy into the ground.…  Seguir leyendo »

We vacation hard, my family. Ideally three weeks, and always a home rental, never a hotel. We settle in like we own the place, and have always owned the place. We start with a grocery store, a thrift shop for toys, a visit to the local library. We scope out playgrounds and children’s classes, make some friends, set up play dates.

The Google map I create during my research phase is color-coded, layered, intricate. We set up temporary lives everywhere from Greece to Japan. On our last trip, to Oahu, Hawaii, we did five grocery runs and nine loads of laundry, and spent the rest of the time washing dishes.…  Seguir leyendo »

En una maniobra desconcertante el Gobierno de Narendra Modi ha revocado la autonomía del Estado de Jammu y Cachemira, el único de mayoría musulmana en la India. Un movimiento que ha sorprendido, no tanto por la medida en sí, una reivindicación histórica del nacionalismo hindú, como por el proceder abrupto, desentendiéndose de cualquier posibilidad de diálogo con las partes afectadas.

Cachemira es un enclave disputado sobre el que concurren los intereses nacionales y geoestratégicos de tres potencias nucleares: India, China y Pakistán, cada una de ellas con reivindicaciones territoriales sobre el país colindante. El origen del conflicto se remonta a la descolonización británica del subcontinente.…  Seguir leyendo »

The family of Fayaz Ahmed Mir, a tractor driver who was arrested, consoling his sister, Zahida Jan, earlier this month. Thousands of people were imprisoned by Indian security forces after India unilaterally stripped away Kashmir’s autonomy on Aug. 5. CreditCreditAtul Loke for The New York Times

After I was elected prime minister of Pakistan last August, one of my foremost priorities was to work for lasting and just peace in South Asia. India and Pakistan, despite our difficult history, confront similar challenges of poverty, unemployment and climate change, especially the threat of melting glaciers and scarcity of water for hundreds of millions of our citizens.

I wanted to normalize relations with India through trade and by settling the Kashmir dispute, the foremost impediment to the normalization of relations between us.

On July 26, 2018, in my first televised address to Pakistan after winning the elections, I stated we wanted peace with India and if it took one step forward, we would take two steps.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump appears determined to forgive his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine. Unfortunately, the new Ukrainian leadership’s foreign policy failures aren’t helping.

Earlier this year, Ukrainians voted in President Volodymyr Zelensky on a wave of hope and optimism. Many abroad were cautiously optimistic as well: At a time when democracy doesn’t seem to be faring well in the world, a victory for a progressive anti-establishment movement in Ukraine was refreshing. Three months after his inauguration, the domestic enthusiasm is still there. But Zelensky’s attempt to reboot Ukrainian foreign policy has been a disaster — and it is helping Putin’s global push to rehabilitate himself.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers on the streets of Srinagar earlier this month.CreditCreditAtul Loke for The New York Times

Every summer in Kashmir begins with the question of fate. The sun, having traveled through a long, dormant winter, stretches wide open to mark the return of color and noise, electricity and traffic, cricket, weddings, song and gluttony in our gardens. Desire and humor ride through town and for a moment we meet life, not as it is known to be but perhaps as it was meant to be, before the dice is rolled yet again: What will light the fire this time?

Around midnight on Aug. 4, the night before India’s Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi unilaterally erased Kashmir’s autonomy, Srinagar, the largest city in Indian-controlled Kashmir, my home, and other parts of the Valley of Kashmir were beginning to be sealed into a valley of soldiers and checkpoints between which laid quiet, dimly lit homes, like mine, with their internet, phone lines and cable television severed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Police Service of Northern Ireland officers look at a burnt car in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast in 2002, after Catholic and Protestant rioters clashed with police overnight. (Peter Morrison/AP)

Fifty years ago this month, the British government sent troops to Northern Ireland to impose control as relations broke down between Protestants and Catholics. The ensuing violence, known as “the Troubles,” lasted 33 years and led to over 3,000 deaths, including 1,617 in Belfast alone. Why did Northern Ireland — a jurisdiction of an advanced industrial nation — suffer such sustained violence? In new research, we examine one important factor. Catholics and Protestants lived side by side, but they had very few social or economic ties across the communities. This meant geographic proximity bred violence instead of mutual tolerance.

The Troubles were sparked by tit-for-tat violence

To understand the Northern Ireland conflict, you need to know a little history.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dans la période difficile que connaît actuellement le nord-est de la Syrie, la position et le rôle de la France sont d’une importance cruciale pour nous, Kurdes, Arabes et chrétiens qui avons vaincu l’EI et libéré toute cette région de son joug.

Daesh représentait un immense danger pour la Syrie et le Moyen-Orient, mais aussi pour le reste du monde. C’est pourquoi la France a été victime – comme d’autres pays – du terrorisme et que nombre d’innocents ont péris dans les attentats menés sur son sol. C’est grâce à nos victoires militaires – celles des Forces démocratiques syriennes – et aux 36 000 tués et blessés dans nos rangs pendant les sept années de cette guerre terrible, que la défaite de l’EI a pu être annoncée officiellement le 23 mars.…  Seguir leyendo »

El apresamiento y posterior liberación, por parte de las autoridades británicas de Gibraltar, del superpetrolero iraní con bandera panameña Grace 1 en aguas cercanas al Peñón, ha devuelto a la actualidad la cuestión de las aguas que circundan Gibraltar. Según se ha informado, la captura fue motivada por el supuesto incumplimiento del Reglamento de la Unión Europea, relativo a las medidas restrictivas sobre Siria, país sujeto a sanciones por parte de la UE. El superpetrolero entró en las aguas que rodean el Peñón, aguas que tanto el Reino Unido como España consideran propias. El Gobierno español presentó una queja formal al Reino Unido por su intervención en dichas aguas, al suponer una violación de la soberanía española.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian security personnel on the streets of Srinagar, Kashmir, last week.CreditCreditAtul Loke for The New York Times

As India celebrates her 73rd year of independence from British rule, ragged children thread their way through traffic in Delhi, selling outsized national flags and souvenirs that say, “Mera Bharat Mahan.” My India is Great. Quite honestly, it’s hard to feel that way right now, because it looks very much as though our government has gone rogue.

Last week it unilaterally breached the fundamental conditions of the Instrument of Accession, by which the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India in 1947. In preparation for this, at midnight on Aug. 4, it turned all of Kashmir into a giant prison camp.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the run-up to his election victory in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised a form of federalism that was “co-operative, not coercive”. The statement solidified a long-term trend of Indian leaders who have been willing to recognize the country’s regional diversity. Though the central government once regularly dismissed state governments — 95 times between 1966 and 1996 — such practices seemed a thing of the past. State governments became more likely to serve out their terms, and the central government seemed more amendable to seeking compromises with local leaders. Even the troubled state of Kashmir saw free and fair elections and a steep decline in violence between 2001 and 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

India’s controversial move to pull the autonomy of the disputed region of Kashmir marks a major moment in the regional politics of South Asia. The decision, as political scientist Ahsan Butt explained here at TMC this week, was motivated by Indian domestic politics — but its implications will reach beyond India. It will force a number of countries, including Pakistan, China, and the United States, to recalibrate their foreign policies — and other key players, such as al-Qaeda, will watch developments closely.

Will this increase conflict in South Asia? Here are four key things to watch.

1. The India-Pakistan rivalry is likely to worsen

Contention over Kashmir broke out soon after the British partitioned India into two countries in 1947.…  Seguir leyendo »

India Annexes Kashmir and Brings Us Back to Partition

Pakistani kids are taught in and out of school that Kashmir is our “shah rug (jugular vein). Indians believe that Kashmir is their “atoot ang” (indispensable body part). Urdu and Persian poetry is full of paeans to the beauty of Kashmir. If there is paradise on earth, “it is this, it is this, it is this,” the 14th-century poet Amir Khusro wrote. Since the time of Partition, 72 years ago, India and Pakistan have been fighting wars over Kashmir and calling each other the occupier and the oppressor of the Kashmiris.

Occasionally, there have been halfhearted pledges that the Kashmiri people should probably get to do what they want with their paradise.…  Seguir leyendo »

Indian Paramilitary soldiers standing guard during the curfew in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on Wednesday.CreditCreditDar Yasin/Associated Press

Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan have fought four wars since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947, has been the battleground for competing, conflicting ideologies. For Pakistan, the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir was a critical missing piece in its positioning of itself as the South Asian Muslim homeland. For India, the state became the symbol of secularism for India in its post-colonial nation-building project.

But with the rise and rise of India’s Hindu nationalists, the very idea of India is being redefined and repurposed. To assert this redefining of India as a muscular, majoritarian nation state, there could have been no better place than Kashmir: a United Nations-endorsed, internationally accepted, disputed territory with a Muslim majority fighting an armed insurgency against the Indian state for the last 30 years.…  Seguir leyendo »

After a week of rumors and misinformation, on Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announced changes to the constitutional and legal status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). There are two principal components: (1) scrapping Article 370 and the associated Article 35-A of the Indian constitution, which govern Kashmir’s relationship with the Indian Union, and (2) geographically splitting J&K and administrating it as a “Union Territory.”

These changes could have important political consequences, including increased instability and unrest in the region.

1. Jammu and Kashmir is losing its autonomy.

The Indian government’s constitutional and legal relationship with J&K is complicated by history.…  Seguir leyendo »