As Lebanon seems inexorably dragged into the regional cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran – the bizarre saga of Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation being the latest illustration – it is worth looking at the current state of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and questioning its ability to prevent any type of conflict escalation. Discussions on the LAF generally oppose two competing views.
The years preceding the Arab Spring were rather calm ones for the armed forces of the Arab world: two major conventional campaigns (Iraq 2003 and Lebanon 2006) barely involved the military, and terrorism was mostly under control in Algeria and Yemen. Elsewhere all was quiet on the Arab front. The Arab Spring changed this in more ways than one: to start with, it turned the militaries of Tunisia, Syria and Egypt into political actors, and split those of Yemen and Libya in two.
The Madrid Accords of 14 November 1975 ended the Spanish colonization of Western Sahara, sparkling a long conflict which, since then, opposes the Kingdom of Morocco to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front). 42 years later, Western Sahara remains, according to the international law, a non-self-governing territory whose de jure administering power is still Spain. De facto, around 80% of the territory has been annexed by Morocco, whereas the remaining 20% is under the control of the Polisario Front.
Uno sguardo d’insieme e alcuni dati
Negli ultimi anni l’opinione pubblica mondiale è stata ripetutamente scossa dalla violenza e dalle immagini che hanno accompagnato mediaticamente la rapidissima ascesa ed espansione dell’autoproclamato Stato Islamico. L’attenzione dell’intelligence e del mondo accademico è stata attirata soprattutto dal fenomeno dei foreign terrorist fighters (Ftf) coinvolti nel conflitto siro-iracheno, per le modalità di attivazione e sviluppo, nonché per la mobilitazione raggiunta in brevissimo tempo.
È atteso a giorni il verdetto del presidente Trump sulla ri–certificazione della conformità dell’Iran agli impegni presi con l’accordo sul nucleare del 2015 (JCPOA): entro il 15 ottobre il presidente statunitense deve dichiarare di fronte al Congresso se l’Iran ha rispettato o meno i termini dell’accordo e se il congelamento delle sanzioni secondarie verso Teheran rimane conforme all’interesse nazionale statunitense.
As the latest and worst North Korea crisis in six decades continues to rage, the need to think outside the box grows more urgent. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the global community appear trapped in a vicious circle, like a malign chicken and egg. After 11 years and eight major UN resolutions, this cycle is wearily familiar. North Korea tests a ballistic missile (BM) or a nuclear device.
Last Sunday Chechen police declared having registered 1.1 million people participating in the protest against the “genocide” of Muslims in Myanmar held in the center of Grozny (the capital of the Chechen republic). The number of participants may be overestimated, since the Republic's overall population is 1.3 million people, but the importance of this protest for Russia’s internal stability and international political agenda is hard to overestimate.
Fourteen years have passed since the European Union-Western Balkan summit in Thessaloniki in June 2003 where the process know as the Thessaloniki Agenda was adopted confirming the EU accession perspective for the countries of the region. The language adopted was unequivocal: “The future of the Balkans is within the European Union”.