The Southern Red Sea region has a key role in global energy security. The Strait of Bab el-Mandeb is one of the world’s most important chokepoints for trade flows, and occupies a central role in the Indian Ocean’s routes. Currently, China relies on oil imports from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden, whose chokepoints are under the military protection of the US Navy.
Only several countries were able to boast the possession of “unmanned” aerial vehicles (UCAVs) or armed drones between 2000 and 2004, but that number has risen steadily since. Today, approximately 30 countries are known to have operational armed drones, the proliferation of which has been decidedly facilitated by China’s eagerness to sell to essentially any state that is willing to buy them.
The Upper Western Indian Ocean (UWIO) has been under China’s radar for the past two decades. The Belt and Road Initiative has strengthened the country’s image as a responsible stakeholder and a successful economic partner. Moreover, the United Nations have legitimized China’s military and security operations in the area. To what extent is China’s role of securitizing power dependent on its economic investments? How is Beijing’s deeper engagement modifying China’s relations with the main actors in the area?
More than 30 Turkish soldiers were killed on Thursday 27th in the Idlib region by an airstrike carried out by the Assad regime’s air force. Ankara has asked an emergency meeting of the NATO alliance on Friday – during which it may ask to trigger NATO’s Article 5 – while after 4 years Turkish authorities have reopened their western borders to allow the passage of Syrian refugees headed towards Europe. Such a rapid escalation contradicts the impression that many have shared over the last 3 years.
Understanding the prospects with which the parties to the right of Likud face this election round is fundamental, not only to figure out the role they could play in future government formation dynamics, but also to picture what is happening to the nationalist-religious camp in Israel and, therefore, to verify the health and solidity of the Israeli political and party system in a time of fragile transition.
At a time when the political debate about state identity rages, the Palestinians of Israel, the biggest non-Jewish minority of the country (21% of the population), represent both the greatest electoral challenger and one of the few contradictory voices in an otherwise predominantly right-wing domestic electoral debate.
Beyond the results of the national election on March 2 – the third consecutive in 11 months –, Israeli foreign policy will remain the same. It will be dominated by three closely related issues: the developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the presentation of the so-called “Trump Plan”, the normalization process between Israel and African-Asian Muslim countries, and the diplomatic (and security) containment of Iran and its regional proxies.
Israelis have gotten used over the years to governments that do not complete their full terms. But, they never experienced repeat elections prior to 2019. The current political deadlock is leading Israelis to the polls for the third time in one year. In the final days of the campaign, leading candidates are even referring to the option of a fourth round. Israelis are facing an unprecedented political situation that takes a heavy toll on governance and policymaking.
The starting point and the sole reason that Israel faces a third election within a year is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s looming (and now happening) indictment due to several corruption cases. Since Netanyahu seems to put all his hopes on a law granting him legal immunity he is bound to coalesce only with right winged parties – all others parties from the center-left-Arab bloc have ruled this possibility out.