Rome plays a crucial role in the U.S.-led coalition
On 10 March*, the European Parliament voted in favor of a measure allowing Tunisia to export yearly 35,000 tons of olive oil tax-free in the European Union, for two years. That is, Tunisia will be allowed to export to the EU 70,000 tons of olive oil between 2016 and 2017 with no further duties.
The conflict in the Middle East is generating such instability across the Mediterranean that makes Pope Francis’ words of a “piecemeal” World War III, unfortunately, an increasingly appropriate description. In this context, is religion only a problem or can it be part of the solution? Can religion be a strategic resource for diplomacy? How can foreign policy engage with religious leaders and communities to contribute to de–escalate violence, address humanitarian emergencies and build peace?
The premise at the base of any armed intervention is to have a clear political aim. An intervention, therefore, must be assessed in terms of modalities and opportunities - an obvious yet often neglected principle. US, Italian, French and British spokespersons over the last few weeks expressed a desire to intervene in Libya. The two main reasons for this urgency include the lack of a political agreement among Libyans and a fear of growing terrorist activity.
Russia’s military intervention in Syria at the end of September 2015 undoubtedly strengthened and sustained the Bashar Al-Assad regime. For the first time since the height of the Cold War Russian military personnel were actively involved in the Middle East as a combatant force with significant political leverage to counterbalance the roles of Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the Syrian conflict and thus the wider Middle East.