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Analysis

The US Is Undermining the Abraham Accords (BESA Center)

Doron Matza writes:  In contrast to the Trump administration’s tough stance on Iran, President Joe Biden’s willingness to negotiate with and reach a weak agreement with Iran undermines the strategic rationale for the normalization agreements between Israel and the Gulf states

go to BESA Center: The US Is Undermining the Abraham Accords (besacenter.org)

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Recognizing the Rise of the Private Military Contractors (VIF)

Prerna Gandhi writes: Despite the current international tensions and the narrative of multipolarity, there is still a vanity that power dispersion in the international order will happen between nation states. Even though threats from non-state actors have received a fair degree of attention, the fact that states have become comfortable with private entities capable of impinging on their monopoly on violence has been conveniently ignored. Whether it is explained as a supply-demand problem of budgets to operational requirements or the herald of a new medievalism, the rise of Private Military Contractors (PMCs) is changing warfare, and therefore the conduct of international relations. Though, profit motive stirs up comparisons with mercenaries, PMCs are distinguishable by their corporate structure which requires registration in some origin state and working on legally recognizable contracts. Thus, PMCs are constrained in their role as international businesses to engage in only legitimate business actions, at least if they wish to remain legally recognized corporations. There have been reports that one of Japan’s yakuza gangs was planning to adopt the PMC business model, providing bodyguards and security personnel for businesses in Southeast Asia in a bid to go legit

go to VIF: Recognizing the Rise of the Private Military Contractors | Vivekananda International Foundation (vifindia.org)

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Japan’s Defence White Paper 2021: China Riled by Mention of Taiwan Strait (VIF)

Prof Rajaram Panda writes: On 13 July 2021, Japan issued the 2021 Defense White Paper. One significant mention for the first time is the need to maintain stability in the Taiwan Strait, which is threatened by increasing Chinese military incursions on the Taiwanese waters. The White Paper observed: “China has further intensified military activities around Taiwan including Chinese aircrafts entering the south-western airspace of Taiwan. In the meantime, the United States has demonstrated a clear stance of supporting Taiwan in military aspects, such as transits by U.S. vessels through the Taiwan Strait and weapon sales. “Stabilizing the situation surrounding Taiwan is important for Japan’s security and the stability of the international community. Therefore, it is necessary that we pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis more than ever before.”

go to VIF: Japan’s Defence White Paper 2021: China Riled by Mention of Taiwan Strait | Vivekananda International Foundation (vifindia.org)

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Ethiopia – The Unsettling Issue of Tigray (VIF)

writes: July 2021 was envisaged as a turning point in current Ethiopian history. The results of the partial elections held in June provided a resounding victory for the Prosperity Party led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. This was preceded by a withdrawal of Ethiopian Defence Forces (ENDF) from Mekelle, the capital of Tigray and several parts of the Northern state. Eritrean forces which had helped ENDF subdue and chase away Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces moved towards their own borders. Armed militia from the adjoining state of Amhara did not leave the lands they occupied in Tigray. A surprise unilateral ceasefire and withdrawal of ENDF from Tigray was announced on 28 June. The Foreign Minister told diplomats that this was to facilitate the farming season. Analysts saw this as a defeat of the ENDFwhich had retreated.

go to VIF: The Unsettling Issue of Tigray | Vivekananda International Foundation (vifindia.org)

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Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: The only way to tame a belligerent Taliban (ORF)

AYJAZ WANI writes: A resurgent Taliban is in haste to recapture power in Afghanistan and is making advances across the war-torn country following the winding down of US military operations and the steady withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. The Taliban has made headways within their traditional strongholds of the south and also in the northern districts of Mazar-e-Sharif. The Taliban have encircled the provincial capitals, seized vital border crossings, and restored rules like no smoking and no shaving. They have barred women from going out unless accompanied by a male. The Taliban has also ordered all imams to provide a “list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 in captured areas to be married to Taliban fighters.”

go to ORF: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: The only way to tame a belligerent Taliban | ORF (orfonline.org)

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Why the world is starting to panic over climate (ORF)

ROBIN RUSSELL-JONES writes: Climate change is the biggest threat that humanity has ever faced. Warming of the troposphere as a result of releasing man-made greenhouse gases into the atmosphere was predicted as long ago as 1896.
Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have been measured continuously since 1958 at the Mauna Lao Observatory in Hawaii. CO2 has risen from a pre-industrial level of 280 parts per million (ppm) to 415 ppm (2021). Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and has risen from a pre-industrial level of 722 parts per billion to 1,866 (2019). Methane levels plateaued in the ’90s, but have started rising again since 2008 as shown by the observatory at Baring Head in New Zealand.

go to ORF: Why the world is starting to panic over climate | ORF (orfonline.org)

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The promise and anxiety of G20’s financial multilateralism (ORF)

AKSHAY MATHUR writes: The recent G20 finance ministers’ meeting has reminded us of the powerful role the G20 plays in financial multilateralism. In the last year alone, the G20 has secured a global deal on international taxation, US $650 billion worth of Special Drawing Rights, and launched a debt-relief programme for low-income nations suffering from COVID. It is a work plan reminiscent of G20’s role during the trans-Atlantic financial crisis a decade ago.

go to ORF: The promise and anxiety of G20’s financial multilateralism | ORF (orfonline.org)

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US dials back probe of Chinese scientists on visa fraud charges (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: A US Department of Justice programme aimed at protecting American technology from China dropped five prosecutions of Chinese scientists after a draft of an internal FBI analysis questioned a main premise for the investigations, according to court documents.

go to Al Jazeera: US dials back probe of Chinese scientists on visa fraud charges | Politics News | Al Jazeera

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Nearly 60 prosecuted over Cuba demonstrations, says top official (Al Jazeera)

Al Jazeera writes: Nearly 60 people have been prosecuted in relation to unprecedented anti-government protests that broke out in Cuba earlier this month, a senior Cuban official has said, vowing that due process was being followed amid international criticism.

go to Al Jazeera: Nearly 60 prosecuted over Cuba demonstrations, says top official | Coronavirus pandemic News | Al Jazeera

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