Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Going Viral: COVID-19’s Harsh Lessons

When the history of COVID-19 is written, its authors will not only judge the process of contagion, mortality rates and economic paralyses; they will also account for the triple crises of trust, governance and globalism. Many assumptions have simply been shattered while others — such as suicidal de-pendency — have been confirmed. It may be in vogue to debate whether or not COVID-19 is era-defining; if it is a watershed moment that will change the trajectory of history, but this is all specula…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Crisis Mismanagement and the European Parliament

There is an air of dread across Europe. The outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (re: COVID-19) has sent Italy into national quarantine with Spain and France a short sprint behind. The rest of the EU, Switzerland, Norway and the UK are bracing for their turn, enacting a series of restrictive measures to cushion the impact of one of the most aggressive coronaviruses in living memory. While this global health pandemic unfolds, other crises continue to lap at Europe’s frontiers: acts of human…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Turkish Delight

Turkey learned the wrong lessons from the past years of war in the Middle East. Unmoored, Ankara is now more aggressive, more nationalist and more Islamist than at any other time in its modern history. Its foreign policy reflects this.   Under the spell of President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, double-speak is commonplace. Turkey professes multilateralism but pursues unilateral goals. It’s officially secular but wastes no opportunity to empower conservative Islamic groups. It screams its adherence…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Is the Arab Gulf stuck in 2011? Josh Rogin wants you to believe it is

Far too many journalists use 2011 as the reference-point for the internal dynamics of the states of the Arab Gulf. Old narratives are rehashed, polished and redeployed without the requisite reflection of how societies, economies and states have changed in the meantime. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Bahrain.   Bahrain’s chapter in the so-called Arab Spring was not defined by violence. Of course, violence did erupt in 2011; Hezbollah, the Youth of 14 February, Sacred Defence, Al…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

Salami Tactics

Tensions in the Arab Gulf have experienced a sharp spike over the past months. Terrorist and proxy militia attacks, directed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, have targeted energy transmission infrastructure via the bombing of pipelines in Saudi Arabia, international oil tankers (belonging to Japan, Norway, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia) in the UAE, while naval mines have damaged other tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Critical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia (re: Abha’s civilian airport)…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer, Isabella Nardone

The Issues that Shape Middle Eastern Politics

Three main issues have come to dominate global headlines in the first quarter of 2019: the Iran-US relationship, Israel and its parliamentary elections and the ever-changing dynamics in Libya. The outcome of each of these will impact regional and trans regional relations and understanding aspects of them is essential. In the following analytical snapshot — a Q & A — information of these three situations is teased out via conversation.   ***   Nardone (Formiche)—What could happen…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

What Lies Beneath? Understanding Euro-Indonesian Security Relations and Efforts to Build National Security

The European Union’s relationship to Indonesia is largely a reflection of the European Cooperation Agreement with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which was formalised in 1980. Economic and political coordination discussions have been held regularly ever since. Bilateral dialogues between the EU and Indonesia have included periodic reviews of political, economic and co-operation issues. A Framework Agreement on Comprehensive Partnership and Co-operation was signed on 9…

Editor's Desk

By Mitchell Belfer

The Road to Tehran Runs Through Europe

Three months since withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and the United States has begun to reimpose heavy sanctions on Iran. To the dismay of many in Europe, especially in Brussels, France, Germany and the UK, President Trump announced that it will be impossible for companies, and countries, to maintain economic relations with both the US and Iran—they have to choose. Armies of lawyers have sprung into action. They are exploring legal loopholes, waivers, constructing…

Editor's Desk

Mitchell Belfer

The European Parliament’s Resolutionary War

With Europe tying itself in knots over the twin problems of Brexit and the cresting wave of populism, EU foreign affairs are undoubtedly playing second fiddle to internal matters at preset. The danger of such a state of affairs is that important gains made in democratizing foreign policy are squandered. And that the vacuum is filled by an assortment of narrow interests that do not necessarily reflect wider European values or strategic interests. Concerns over a democratic deficit in foreign…

2020 - Volume 14 Issue 2