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Analysis

Iraq/USA – Treat Iraq’s Iran-aligned militias like ISIS (Brookings)

Ranj Alaaldin writes: Iraq is beset with crises. In the scorching summer heat, the country is suffering from electricity and water shortages, longstanding challenges that have routinely resulted in violent protests as part of wider grievances around lack of services and rampant corruption. On July 12, a hospital fire killed at least 60 people as a result of negligence and mismanagement. On July 19, the Islamic State group (ISIS) carried out a deadly attack, killing at least 35 people in Baghdad. In the midst of all this, Shiite militia groups tied to Iran routinely assassinate civilians and activists, and use rockets and drones to attack U.S. personnel, Iraqi military forces, and U.S.-aligned actors like the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

go to Brookings: Treat Iraq’s Iran-aligned militias like ISIS (brookings.edu)

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Africa/Europe/Mozambique – Africa and Europe rally to contain Islamic insurgency in Mozambique (The Interpreter)

DAVID BREWSTER writes: In recent days, military advance teams from South Africa and Botswana began to deploy to northern Mozambique to support governments forces in their fight against a growing Islamist insurgency. They will join Rwandan combat troops and military training contingents from Europe and the United States. But there is little cause for optimism. There is a significant risk that current regional support for Mozambique will not achieve its objectives and that a larger international military coalition will be required to quell the fighting.

go to The Interpreter: Africa and Europe rally to contain Islamic insurgency in Mozambique | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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China/USA – Far more world leaders visit China than America (The Interpreter)

NEIL THOMAS writes: In April, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga became the first foreign leader to meet US President Joe Biden at the White House. Suga’s trip marked the return of leader-level travel to Washington after the Covid-19 pandemic. Suga told reporters that his team was so excited to meet their American counterparts that “we ended up not even touching our hamburger steak.”

go to The Interpreter: Far more world leaders visit China than America | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Europe/Lebanon – People before politicians: How Europeans can help rebuild Lebanon (ECFR)

Carmen Geha writes: The magnitude, nature, and timing of the August 2020 Beirut port explosion could not have been worse for Lebanon’s faltering economy, pandemic-plagued hospitals, and crushed revolution.

go to ECFR: People before politicians: How Europeans can help rebuild Lebanon – European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu)

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USA/India – Opening Remarks at a Civil Society Roundtable (US Department of State)

MR KESHAP:  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Nice to see all of you.  Thank you for joining us this morning.  It is a very great pleasure for me to participate in this morning’s discussion on inclusive development with the United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and our distinguished guests from these civil society organizations.

The theme selected for discussion today, “Advancing Equitable, Inclusive, and Sustainable Growth and Development,” is central to addressing the challenges that we face throughout the world, including in the United States and India.  We cherish the rich diversity of our societies and see this as a source of our strength.  Another great pillar of our strength is the roles of civil society in both the United States and India.

Today it is indeed my great honor to welcome Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Delhi and for what I am sure will be a very vibrant discussion.

Mr. Secretary, welcome.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you, well thank you so much.  Everyone, thank you very, very much.  It is a great pleasure to be with all of you.  This is actually the first event on our first day in India.  I’ve been here many times before, but this is my first visit in this capacity as Secretary of State, and I wanted to start the day with all of you.  And I’m really here to underscore the importance of the relationships between our countries, to try to deepen our ties and extend our cooperation.  I think it’s hard to find countries with more – who do more together in more different areas than with the United States and India.

Later today, I’ll have a chance to see Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, an old friend and colleague.  We’ll talk about many of the critical issues our countries are working on together, from COVID-19 to climate change, defense, mutual security, trade and investment, education, energy, science, technology.  The list goes on and on.

When you put it all together, the relationship between our countries is one of the most important in the world.  And I think that’s because not only is it a relationship between governments when we’re working between our governments, but critically it’s through relationships between the Indian and the American people.  We’re connected in so many different ways – business ties, university ties, religious and spiritual ties, and of course, millions of family ties.

Perhaps most important, we’re connected by shared values, and I believe shared aspirations, that are common to our people.  The Indian people and the American people believe in human dignity, in equality of opportunity, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms, including freedom of religion and belief.  We believe that all people deserve to have a voice in their government and be treated with respect no matter who they are.  These are fundamental tenets of democracies like ours, and our purpose is to give real meaning to these words and constantly renew our commitment to these ideals.

And of course, both of our democracies are works in progress.  As friends, we talk about that, because doing the hard work of strengthening democracy and making our ideals real is often challenging.  We know that firsthand in the United States, where we aspire to be, in the words of our founders, a more perfect union.  That’s an acknowledgement from day one of our country that in a sense we will always fall short of the mark, but that the way to make progress is by constantly trying to achieve those ideals.  As I said before, sometimes that process is painful, sometimes it’s ugly, but the strength of democracy is to embrace it.

At the same time, we celebrate our achievements.  Here in India, that includes the free media, independent courts, a vibrant and free and fair electoral system – the largest expression of free political will by citizens anywhere in the world.  At a time of rising global threats to democracy and international freedoms – we talk about a democratic recession – it’s vital that we two world leading democracies continue to stand together in support of these ideals.

We also know that successful democracies include thriving civil societies.  That’s how citizens become more fully engaged in the life of their communities.  It’s how we organize and provide the resources to respond to emergencies.  And we’ve seen people and organizations come together throughout COVID-19 in creative and incredibly generous ways, and civil society is also where we’re able to build meaningful connections across our social, religious, and cultural differences.

In short, if we want to make our democracies more open, more inclusive, more resilient, more equitable, we need vibrant civil society.  As leaders in your respective communities, I think you know this better than anyone.  I am proud of all the connections that already exist between civil society organizations in our countries.  I want to support more of those connections to make the overall partnership between our democracies even stronger.

So what I hope we can do in our time today is do a little bit of that to continue to strengthen the connections among civil society and between civil society and government.  I need to learn more about the work that you’re doing in your communities, especially during this pandemic.  I want to know what more we can do to strengthen the ties between our civil society, and I want to hear your ideas, your ideas about how to drive inclusive, equitable development, because that’s something that democracies all over the world are called upon to do.

So thank you again for taking the time to have this conversation.  I’m especially eager to hear from you.  And with that, we can get started.

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USA/Taiwan/China – ‘We Will Not Flinch’: Austin Promises US Will Continue to Bolster Taiwan’s Self-Defense (Defense One)

Tara Copp writes: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the United States will continue to help Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific defend themselves against aggression from China even as he said a new, more transparent relationship with Beijing is desired. 

go to Defense One: ‘We Will Not Flinch’: Austin Promises US Will Continue to Bolster Taiwan’s Self-Defense – Defense One

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USA/UAE – Hold the UAE Accountable for Meddling in US Politics (Defense One)

Ben Freemen writes: Tom Barrack, the billionaire head of Donald Trump’s inaugural committee and a top Trump campaign fundraiser, was indicted on Tuesday for “unlawful efforts to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates in the United States at the direction of senior UAE officials.”

go to Defense One: Hold the UAE Accountable for Meddling in US Politics – Defense One

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Kazakhstan/China – Anti-China Sentiments Grows in Kazakhstan as Economic Cooperation Stalls (The Jamestown Foundation)

Serik Rymbetov writes: On July 6, Kazakhstan celebrated Capital City Day in commemoration of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 1994 decision to move the capital from Almaty in the south to Akmola in the north. The capital was subsequently renamed Astana but, following Nazarbayev’s sudden resignation, it has been known as Nur-Sultan since March 2019. July 6 is also Nazarbayev’s birthday. Despite relinquishing the presidency in favor of his anointed successor, Senate speaker Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, the former head of state has retained the title of Leader of the Nation and the post of chairperson for life of the National Security Council. Unsurprisingly, Nazarbayev is still widely considered, both at home and abroad, as the power behind the throne to whom President Tokayev defers for all key decisions (Inform.kz, March 19, 23, 2019).

go to The Jamestown Foundation: Anti-China Sentiments Grows in Kazakhstan as Economic Cooperation Stalls – Jamestown

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Aegean Sea – How Long Will the Aegean Sea’s Peaceful Summer Last? (BESA Center)

writes for BESA Center: How sustainable will the Aegean Sea’s peaceful summer of 2021 prove to be? For Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the primary reason for peace in the Aegean has been the threat of further Western sanctions amid Turkey’s ongoing economic descent. But his election election campaign for the 2023 race could drive him back to his bullying, aggressive self in terms of regional policy to consolidate conservative and nationalist votes.

go to BESA Center: How Long Will the Aegean Sea’s Peaceful Summer Last? (besacenter.org)

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