There Is No Arctic Axis,

Elizabeth Buchanan, lecturer of strategic studies at Deakin University in Australia

As observers speak of a new Cold War between the United States and China, policymakers seem to misunderstand Sino-Russian relations in the Arctic as an alliance. This stems in part from the lack of a quantified framework to understand the ongoing shifts in the international system: the return of nationalism, fractures in the rules-based liberal order, and the rise of nontraditional security threats such as climate change. The misreading of the relationship in the Arctic also stems from a lack of subject-matter expertise among policymakers on what drives Sino-Russian ties—a shortfall that will shape future understanding of the Arctic region. […]

Russia and China’s Arctic partnership is not an alliance—it is driven by business. Despite mutually beneficial interests in the region, commercial realpolitik is at the heart of their engagement. For now, the partnership in the Arctic navigates existing fault lines, such as Beijing’s failure to acknowledge Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s nonalignment in the developing India-China conflict. Any regional cooperation is due to their shared interest in maintaining domestic stability. Long-term economic development ventures and the viability of non-Western multilateral bodies, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, are critical for their shared vision of world order. Läs artikel


Mali Opposition Suggests France Interfering In Political Crisis,

Malian opposition figurehead Mahmoud Dicko on Sunday suggested that France had moved behind the scenes to protect the premier of its former colony which has been mired for months in a political crisis.

“Why is France interfering in the choice of prime minister for Mali?” the influential Saudi-trained imam asked, speaking at a news conference in the capital Bamako.

He said Prime Minister Boubou Cisse — whom he asked to resign in a face-to-face confrontation late last month — had no legitimacy in Mali’s civil society. […]

On Sunday, Dicko said a “radical change of governance” is needed in Mali and that the opposition will not back down. Läs artikel

Attack in Niger: the Sahel, an increasingly dangerous haunt of jihadists,

[…] Since 2013, France, with the Serval and then Barkhane operations, has been militarily engaged in the Sahel and today has some 4,500 soldiers deployed in this vast area. Forty-three soldiers have since lost their lives, including 13 last November, in a helicopter crash. […]

“The drama of Kouré is all the more worrying as it takes place a few tens of kilometers from the capital, Niamey, insists Bertrand Badie. This is further proof that the strategy implemented with Barkhane and the G5S is not the most effective. Not only does it not attenuate the conflict in any way, it exacerbates it, ”continues this expert in international relations.

In recent years, France has not been as welcome as at the start of its commitment decided by François Hollande. “Unlike the United States, which had suffered Al Qaeda attacks on its own soil, France seems to promote a preventive war in the Sahel, which provokes a desire for revenge on the part of Africans”, underlined a few months ago Marc-Antoine Pérouse de Montclos, research director at IRD (Research Institute for Development) in an interview with L’Opinion. This mistrust was all the more reinforced as France was able to be involved in spite of itself in armed abuses by its African allies.“ […]

Even if at the Quai d’Orsay, the time has not officially come to questioning Operation Barkhane, the question is on the table. “France has no specific function to hold in the region,” says Bertrand Badie. It should not persist in a military action which is a very clear distortion with the real stakes of these countries. Civil peace and security will only be found in this region by tackling structural problems: the economic, social and ecological crisis and the decay of states. In the meantime, the French forces of Barkhane were on the bridge this Sunday to provide support to the Nigerien army after the tragedy of Kouré.   Läs artikel

Två erfarna ambassadörer

Per Blomquist

Ambassadörerna Tomas Bertelman och Sven Hirdman har den 24 juli skrivit en försvars- och säkerhetspolitisk artikel i SvD utifrån de två rapporterna ”Motståndskraft” och ”Värnkraft” från Försvarsberedningen som ska bereda ett nytt långsiktigt totalförsvarsbeslut att gälla från och med 2021.

Artikeln ger ett gott underlag för fortsatt militär planering då författarna föreslår ett ekonomiskt tillskott om minst 1,7 procent av BNP.

En viktig fråga är då hur tillförda resurser kan verka konfliktförebyggande och krigsavhållande. I debatten efter försvarsberedningens överlämnande har framkommit att beredningens majoritet nu kan prioritera ett starkt markförsvar.

Läs merTvå erfarna ambassadörer

Sommarrepris: Permanenta skiljedomstolens beslut i juli 2016 om Sydkinesiska sjön

Per Boström

Vi återpublicerar här en artikel från 2016 av Per Boström ( utgivarna)


Enligt folkrätten ska konflikter mellan stater normalt lösas genom förhandlingar staterna emellan. Om detta inte går, ska allvarligare tvistefrågor hänskjutas till FN:s säkerhetsråd som, om tvisten hotar internationell fred och säkerhet, kan besluta om tvångsmedel, sanktioner eller i sista hand våldsanvändning. Säkerhetsrådets ständiga medlemmar, däribland Kina och USA, har vetorätt. FN-stadgan blev utformad så för att kunna fungera i praktiken. Utan vetorätten hade FN-systemet inte kunnat bestå i 70 år.

Läs merSommarrepris: Permanenta skiljedomstolens beslut i juli 2016 om Sydkinesiska sjön

Can the Takuba Force Turn Around the Sahel Conflict?

Two years after a pan-European military initiative was first proposed to help tackle the Sahel’s Islamist insurgency, the Takuba task force is finally becoming reality, as its first troops arrive amid the coronavirus pandemic, political turmoil and spreading unrest.

A group of roughly 100 Estonian and French special forces are the first on the ground to comprise Takuba, the Tuareg name for a sabre. Some 60 Czech troops are to join them in October, and another 150 Swedish ones by early next year. Estonia, Belgium and more recently Italy count among others to announce troops for the mission intended to help Mali and Niger forces fight extremist groups in the region. […]

And despite recent military victories, they say, chances of eradicating the conflict are remote, unless the Europeans and Africans offer more holistic, long-term solutions.

“If you have a gushing wound on your neck, you don’t put a plaster on it,” said Andrew Yaw Tchie, a senior Africa security expert at the London-based Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, or RUSI. […]

Overall, the United Nations estimates terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets in three of the most vulnerable Sahel countries — Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger — has increased fivefold since 2016.

In a recent interview with VOA, J. Peter Pham, the top U.S. envoy to the Sahel region, noted extremist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger had increased 40 percent in the first quarter of this year alone.

Asked whether counter-insurgency efforts were winning, Pham added, “It depends on what time horizon you use and what definition you use for winning.”  […]

In London, RUSI’s Tchie draws parallels between the Islamist groups in the Sahel and Somalia, where the al-Shabab terrorist group has grown and spread despite years of U.S. and other military efforts. In both regions, he says, extremist groups have scored points in local communities, he says, in ways national and foreign intervention has not.

“It delivers justice, it delivers humanitarian relief to communities, and people feel more secure,” he said of al-Shabab. “It’s not that people want to go to al-Shabab. But when they need security, justice and things to work for them, al-Shabab delivers.”  Läs artikel

Läs  även kommentar till det svenska deltagandet i Takuba.


Greek PM: NATO “equal distances policy”,

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis criticized the NATO for its  policy of equal distances regarding Turkey and said thatthis was no longer acceptable to Athens. At the same time, he reiterated that  International Court of the Hague

“It is now very clear in NATO, I think, that this neutral stance – that we are dealing with two NATO members (Greece and Turkey) and cannot intervene – is not acceptable to me anymore. I put this to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, namely that we are contributing to NATO, we are an ally and have the expectation that when another NATO ally is behaving in a way that jeopardises our interests,” the Greek PM said.

“NATO should not adopt this stance of equal distances and non-intervention in internal differences. It is deeply unfair to Greece,” Mitsotakis stressed during his participation at 2020 Aspen Security Forum. […]

The prime minister said that Athens was willing to resume talks with Turkey but not while under threat, and that Greece could not be blackmailed into negotiating because Turkey was threatening its sovereign rights.

“We also made it clear during the recent incident, when Turkey issued a NAVTEX threatening to carry out seismic research within the Greek Economic Exclusive Zone, that we will not accept this. The good thing is that no vessel arrived, something that I take as a positive sign, because as long as we are talking – if we genuinely want to talk – we can’t undermine the essence of the deliberations, which is how we can resolve the problem with the EEZ. Additionally, I was very clear to the international community, saying that if we do not reach an agreement, let’s go the The Hague and respect the court’s ruling,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined. Läs artikel

Det danske forsvaret har åpnet nytt kontor i Nuuk,

Danmark trapper opp innsatsen på Grønland med styrket cybersikkerhet, militærfaglig utdanning, en politisk rådgiver og egen InterForce-avdeling. […]

Rådgiveren vil holde til ved Arktisk Kommandos kontorer, tett på USAs konsul i Nuuk. Det var i juni at USA åpnet konsulat på Grønland. Bramsen avviser overfor Jyllandsposten at opprettelsen av den danske rådgiverstillingen har noe med dette å gjøre. – Dette er en beslutning jeg har truffet for lengre tid siden, så det har ikke noe med det å gjøre. Dette handler om det dansk-grønlandske samarbeidet, sier Bramsen. Øystein Tunsjø, professor og instituttleder ved Institutt for Forsvarsstudier, sier det har skjedd noe fra dansk side den siste tiden. – At Trump sa at han skulle kjøpe øya, og at kineserne har blitt mer aktive, ser danskene kanskje i større grad på som en sikkerhetsrisiko og trussel. Det er en interessant utvikling, sier han. Mens amerikanerne har kommet tydeligere på banen på Grønland, har danskene sovet litt i timen, mener Tunsjø. Läs artikel

Germany and France quit WHO reform talks amid tension with Washington,

France and Germany have quit talks on reforming the World Health Organization in frustration at attempts by the United States to lead the negotiations, despite its decision to leave the WHO, three officials told Reuters.

The move is a setback for President Donald Trump as Washington, which holds the rotating chair of the G7, had hoped to issue a common roadmap for a sweeping overhaul of the WHO in September, two months before the U.S. presidential election.

The United States gave the WHO a year’s notice in July that it is leaving the U.N. agency – which was created to improve health globally – after Trump accused it of being too close to China and having mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. The WHO has dismissed his accusations. European governments have also criticised the WHO but do not go as far as the United States in their criticism, and the decision by Paris and Berlin to leave the talks follows tensions over what they say are Washington’s attempts to dominate the negotiations.

“Nobody wants to be dragged into a reform process and getting an outline for it from a country which itself just left the WHO,” a senior European official involved in the talks said. Läs artikel

‘Mali, Burkina Faso troops carried out almost 150 extrajudicial killings’,

The Mali-based United Nations mission, MINUSMA, reports “an increase in serious human rights violations attributable to the Malian security forces.”

The Mali-based United Nations mission, MINUSMA, reported “an increase in serious human rights violations attributable to the Malian security forces”, which it held responsible for 94 such killings over the three-month period between April and June.

The quarterly report also found 50 extrajudicial killings in late May by Burkina Faso troops in the village of Boulkessi, and settlements close to the nation’s Mali border. Läs artikel

About three quarters support bringing troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan,

About three-quarters of U.S. adults say they support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan in a new poll commissioned by the libertarian Charles Koch Institute obtained exclusively by The Hill.

In the poll, which surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults, 44 percent said they strongly support bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq and 30 percent said they somewhat support doing so.

For Afghanistan, 46 percent said they strongly support bringing troops home and 30 percent said they somewhat support it. Läs artikel

While Turkey Provokes Greece, NATO, EU Look The Other Way,

Able to block NATO – which requires consensus among members – and with the European Union afraid he’ll flood the bloc with more refugees and migrants through Greece, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is getting a free pass from both.

That’s the feeling, said The New York Times in a feature, from diplomats and analysts as the belligerent Erdogan, ruling Turkey like a quasi-dictatorship, keeps sending fighter jets and warships to violate Greek airspace and waters where he plans to send energy drill ships – just as he’s doing off Cyprus with no one moving to stop him.

Greek Prime Minister and New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ calls for the EU to hammer Turkey with hard sanctions were politely ignored after the bloc’s leaders – nearly apologizing for even thinking of getting tough – issued only soft sanctions for the drilling off Cyprus, which he promptly ignored. Läs artikel