Macron’s War Rhetoric and his Desperate Quest for Prestige
Programmes
10 Mar 2024

Macron’s War Rhetoric and his Desperate Quest for Prestige

“Nothing should be ruled out” said French President Emmanuel Macron when asked about possibilities of sending troops to Ukraine. By speaking about going to war, Macron may have aimed to dispel a long-standing joke about the French always surrendering. However, both French and NATO leaders have publicly rejected the idea of sending European or alliance troops to Ukraine. Prominent figures such as U.S. President Joseph Biden, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, and others have asserted that such action is not on the table. The widespread domestic and regional opposition implies that even if Macron was genuinely considering sending troops to Ukraine, he would not receive the necessary support for such a radical decision.
Turkey: Reaping the Rewards of a Turbulent Black Sea
Programmes
22 Feb 2024

Turkey: Reaping the Rewards of a Turbulent Black Sea

Since the 16th century, the Black Sea has always been a lake of tensions. Contrary to the Wars of The Holy League, in which the Ottoman Empire witnessed its first territorial loss, the contemporary situation signals Turkish gains in the region. The ongoing war in Ukraine has revived the Montreux Convention which gives Ankara the higher hand in the Black Sea and led other NATO members to appreciate the indispensable Turkish role. Recently, developments in the Black Sea ranging from decaying Russian power to Western apprehension are offering Ankara some Turkish delights.
Questions about Legality of Russian-Ukrainian War
Publications
16 May 2023

Questions about Legality of Russian-Ukrainian War

Abstract The post-World War II arrangements generated several decisions that granted the victorious countries certain powers, most notably The Declaration of the Four Nations on General Security, the Four Power Declaration, and Articles 106 and 107 of the United Nations Charter. Questions have recently been raised about the possibility of exploiting these powers to legitimize Russian intervention in Ukraine. However, given the nature and background of these articles and decisions, it turns out that they were part of the arrangements for a transitional period, followed by the transfer of these powers and tasks to the United Nations, and the subsequent new arrangements, most notably the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Russian Federation, which arranged for a new legal situation. This does not contradict the rule of inheriting international treaties as one of the principles of international law but takes into account the change in the new legal status of states. Therefore, the countries that were under the guise of the Soviet Union have become independent members in the United Nations General Assembly, and by reviewing the contents of the documented sessions of the United Nations since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, it turns out that the defenses and arguments presented by the Russian delegate to legitimize the Russian intervention in Ukraine were based on two main arguments, which were repeated in most of the Russian President’s speeches. For the Russian Federation, especially the speech of the declaration of invasion, which was based on Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, which guarantees the right of states to defend themselves against threats, and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that all peoples have the right to self-determination, meaning that any Russian ethnic minority in Ukraine has the right to determine its political status and to pursue its economic, social and cultural development.   Since Putin announced his intention to invade Ukraine militarily, numerous analyses came up that the legal arguments Russia depend on to justify the invasion, and the talk about the arrangements made after World War II that gave the powers to the victorious nations that could be exploited by the Russian side has increased recently. There is even a rumor that claims that the Russian president talked to the secretary-general of the United Nations about the article contained in the United Nations charter and these arguments depended on two articles; 106 and 107 in the United Nations charter, that gives the right to the victorious countries and nations to take any needed decision against the countries that fought against them in World War II to avoid revising the results of World War II. In these decisions, it is specially allowed to utilize military power against these countries.
Between Grain and AK-47s: Russian Influence in Africa
Programmes
11 Apr 2023

Between Grain and AK-47s: Russian Influence in Africa

The Russian presence in Africa has recently increased after a decline of nearly three decades since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the nineties of the last century. Russian-African relations are part of Russia's new strategy to enhance its international influence. This strategy conforms to Russia's situation in international affairs, including its support for countries that contradict Western policies. Moscow has focused its influence on the West African region, taking advantage of Western policy mistakes, the mounting anti-European sentiment, and the long-standing failure of international and domestic actors to address the root causes of the regional instability. The first Russian-African summit in Sochi in October 2019 concluded contracts with more than 30 African countries for the supply of weapons and military equipment. It thus opened the door for state-backed companies to invest heavily in the security and technology sectors and industries that extract natural resources such as oil, gas, gold and other minerals.   On the other hand, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict did not impede this rapprochement but rather contributed to developing the partnership between the two parties to take the form of a strategic alliance. This was apparent in the speeches and statements of President Vladimir Putin, the most prominent of which was the speech he delivered at the International Parliament Conference "Russia - Africa in a Multipolar World", which was held in Moscow in March of this year on the sidelines of Saint Petersburg preparations for the second coming Russian – African summit to be held in July 2023. Putin reiterated that cooperation between Moscow and African countries was and will always be one of the top fixed priorities of Russia's foreign policy, declaring Russia's fulfilment of all its obligations, including supply of food, fertilisers, fuel and other essential products to the countries of the continent, which helps ensure food and energy security.   In light of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, this analysis aims to shed more light on the motivations and characteristics of the Russian strategy in Africa. It also seeks to highlight the challenges to Russian influence expansion as well as the prospects for Russian-African relations in the future.
Sports Diplomacy: How Do Sports Events Enhance the Reputation of Countries?
Programmes
29 Mar 2023

Sports Diplomacy: How Do Sports Events Enhance the Reputation of Countries?

The FIFA World Cup in 2022 in Qatar garnered more attention from the international community due to Qatar's ability to change perceptions of it as a nation capable of hosting the biggest sporting events. Many countries have recently sought to host international sports events in an effort to enhance their posture diplomatically, improve their reputation as well as shore up their position within the international community. To that end, “Sports Diplomacy” has been used to achieve understanding and peace among nations and promote the countries’ political and ideological goals. On the other hand, countries exploited sports as an approach aiming at asserting the superiority and strength of the state; for instance, the 1936 Olympic Games were held in Germany, and the 1934 FIFA World Cup was held in Mussolini’s Italy. In other cases, sports played a more constructive role in the 1990s, representing an opportunity for South Africa to surpass the apartheid era and look forward to a better future. For China, sports have played a role in introducing an open policy and a more influential economy.   A state’s reputation is one of the key factors affecting its international relations, as it reflects its global image, influencing its recognition and interaction with other countries. With sports diplomacy, states could carry out several interests, such as boosting diplomatic ties with other states, raising the degree of understanding and cooperation among people and governments, and improving the state's public image globally. In other words, sports diplomacy is an effective tool for attaining diplomatic goals and promoting the state’s reputation worldwide. This analysis seeks to shed more light on the link between sports diplomacy and the state’s reputation and how the state’s stance in the international community is enhanced by sports diplomacy.
A Window of Opportunity: A Reading of Turkey’s Position on Sweden and Finland’s NATO Membership
Programmes
23 Mar 2023

A Window of Opportunity: A Reading of Turkey’s Position on Sweden and Finland’s NATO Membership

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) philosophy is based on promoting peace and stability and protecting the security of its members through a European and North American defence alliance. The alliance enjoys an "open door policy" whereby any European country willing to undertake the obligations and commitments of membership is welcome to apply for membership. Any decisions on expansion must be approved by a unanimous vote of the current 30 members. The essential feature of the alliance is Article 5 of the Washington Treaty on Collective Defence, which establishes NATO as a powerful alliance that guarantees security by the military response and protects any member state if it is attacked.
New Gulf: Russo-Ukrainian War and Emergence of North Africa’s Energy Sector
Programmes
14 Feb 2023

New Gulf: Russo-Ukrainian War and Emergence of North Africa’s Energy Sector

The Russian-Ukrainian war created significant uncertainty in the world’s energy markets and disrupted trade relations between the second-largest energy exporter and the second-largest energy importer. This disruption strongly signals a shift in the global energy supply chains, as indicated in a previous analysis. In the short term, Europe is expected to turn to the Arab Gulf to fill the gap left by the lack of Russian energy products.   However, in the long term, Europe will need to find sources that are highly sustainable, affordable, and less harmful to the environment than oil. This is because petroleum usage is incompatible with the European Green Deal (EGD), which aims to achieve carbon neutrality for the entire European continent by 2050. Furthermore, the EGD seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the mainland by around 55% below 1990 levels by 2030, which is unattainable with continued oil usage.   As a result, Europe will turn to its neighbours, particularly those in North Africa, who possess a variety of energy sources that can help it achieves its objectives and guarantee energy sustainability. Thus, this article explores Europe’s energy requirements and assesses the potential of North Africa’s energy resources to meet these requirements.