FT: Mauritania's society needs careful navigation
by Saskia Marsh
Mauritania sits at the crossroads of ancient trade routes. Until 30 years ago its people were largely nomads. The country is a rich mix of Arabic, African, Berber and French cultural heritage, where modernity and ancient tradition sit side by side, sometimes uneasily. Foreign investors need to be aware of and become adept at navigating these dynamics — and, where possible, help shape them for the better.
Al Jazeera: Why the West and Israel should talk to Hamas
by Saskia Marsh
The peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is moribund and the world’s attention has moved on. Political leaders are tired of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, of the intransigence displayed by both sides and the seemingly never-ending cycle of violence, destruction and despair. Western states should be doing all they can to support openings for dialogue. That means both talking to Hamas and frankly reassessing unwavering support to Fatah.
EUISS: Hybrid Tactics - Russia and the West by Nicu Popescu
Europe has to re-learn the ropes of a ‘harder’ security conversation that is currently developing around the concept of ‘hybridity’. A series of terms containing the word ‘hybrid’ – war, threats or tactics – has entered into the mainstream vocabulary of political debates in Europe. At the same time many defence analysts – in both Russia and the West – have been puzzled by the popularity of the term for the very simple reason that all attempts to define ‘hybrid threats’ have referred to tools that have already been part and parcel of the conduct of war in the past.
ECFR: The discreet charm of Vladimir Putin by Fredrik Wesslau
President Putin has called for a broad coalition to fight Islamic State. But Russia’s build up in Syria has little to do with defeating IS and much to do with propping up Assad and ensuring that Syria continues to be a key ally in the Middle East. Russia’s military deployments have been primarily geared towards assisting Syrian forces hold territory already under their control as well as protecting the Russian naval base in Tartus. Fighting IS provides a useful pretext that, at face value, appeals to the West.
EUObserver: EU needs to step up its game by Fredrik Wesslau
The situation in Ukraine looks increasingly grim. The war in Donbas has intensified. And Moscow shows no sign of ending its support for its proxy rebels or withdrawing troops and heavy weapons from eastern Ukraine. The EU's relations with Russia and its eastern neighbours are on the agenda when EU foreign ministers and the high representative gather in Luxembourg on 4-5 September for their post-summer Gymnich.
EUISS: Sanctions and Russia - lessons from the Cold War by Nicu Popescu
In this new EUISS brief, Nicu Popescu considers lessons from the Cold War for the debate on sanctions against Russia. Can sanctions change Russian policies in Ukraine? And if so, will they? Are they effective foreign policy tools or simply blunt instruments which harm the West as much as Russia? Given that much of the current crisis is shrouded by Cold War memories, symbols, and fears, a look at some related episodes from that part of history might prove useful when attempting to assess the impact of current Western sanctions against Russia.
ECFR: A View from Stockholm on Russia sanctions by Fredrik Wesslau
Fredrik Wesslau writes for ECFR on Sweden's policy on sanctions against Russia: Sweden has been one of the most active hawks on Russia since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis. The change of government in Stockholm in October entailed a slight shift in policy towards Russia though Sweden’s hardline position remains fundamentally unchanged. Sweden continues to push for the EU to stay united and firm on sanctions and to be ready to impose further measures if Russia and the separatists fail to implement Minsk II.
Foreign Policy Collective is launched
The Foreign Policy Collective was launched on 1 February 2015. FPC is a consortium of independent foreign policy experts and practioners who work with international conflicts and crises. The members of the collective provide informed analysis and strategic advice on a broad range of foreign policy issues. They also provide operational support for diplomatic processes, notably mediation and negotiations, as well as tailored training and mentoring.