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Europe Security

The political implications of Switzerland’s F-35 acquisition

Switzerland has finally selected Lockheed Martin’s F-35A for its Air Force 2030 program. The deal, with 36 aircraft, is expected to be worth $6.5 billion. Critics have argued that the F-35, with its sophisticated stealth and networking capabilities, is too much for a small country like Switzerland that requires only an air-policing aircraft. The decision to select the F-35 exemplifies how much politics are involved in purchasing military hardware worth billions of dollars.

Latin America Politics

A New Left Turn in Latin America? COVID-19, Populism and Polarization

The apparent victory of socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in Peru’s general election this year hints at a leftward political trend in Latin America. COVID-19 has played a role in this, but the key driver of the shift is more fundamental. However, looking beyond the left-right paradigm, recent developments are indicative of worsening populism and political polarization in the region.

Insights

An Isolated Argentina seeks an Alliance with Mexico- What are the Implications?

As Argentina becomes more isolated in the region, its President, Alberto Fernandez, is seeking closer relations with Mexico. Is a strategic alliance between the two countries possible? What are the implications for the region?

Europe Politics

“There Are Such People” in Bulgaria’s Parliament

The new Bulagrian party There are Such People (ITN), led by the former late-night TV show host Slavi Trifonov and his screenwriters, entered the political scene with a bang. It secured more than 17 percent of the vote in the last parliamentary elections, but curiously refused to form a government when given the mandate. The party also did not participate in any traditional media campaigns instead choosing to utilise social media platforms. It is important to understand the rise of ITN as well as what this political phenomenon means for political life in Bulgaria, given the upcoming snap parliamentary elections in July.

Eurasia Politics

Georgia’s political struggles may not be over just yet

Over the last year, Georgia has faced political disunity between the ruling government party, Georgian Dream, and its opposition, United National Movement. Tensions have been brewing, but the pinnacle of the division came after the 2020 election in October, which was declared rigged by the opposition. Following this, protests erupted and the opposition leader, Nick Melia was arrested. The EU has stepped in to broker a deal to resume the functioning of parliament. However, taking into account the deep institutional rifts between the political parties in regard to Russia, this solution is likely to only be temporary. Real change amongst the nation’s political actors needs to happen to consolidate democracy.

Insights International Politics Under The Radar

The Power of Values: An Interview With an Obama Foreign Policy Speechwriter

GRI’s co-founder Basim Al-Ahmadi sat down via Zoom with Terence Szuplat, one of President Obama’s longest serving speechwriters.

Middle East/North Africa Security

Chaos in Lebanon: How much longer can the military maintain law and order?

Last month, June 2021, I recorded a total of 97 Security Incidents happening across Lebanon. The vast majority of these were roadblocks set up by angry protesters over the rapidly deteriorating socio-economic conditions. There were, however, 15 occasions of violence, in security operations, militancy, crime and personal disputes. Towards the end of the month, this figure was quickly rising and has continued to increase into July. This begs the question: For how long can the un-paid and deeply suffering Lebanese military remain deployed to maintain law and order?

Debate Corner International

Will the link between climate change and conflict be recognised?

Although scientists, politicians and academics differ as to whether climate change directly causes armed conflict, humanitarian organisations like the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent believe the role climate change plays in violent strife can no longer be ignored. Communities have been torn apart by ethnic tensions exacerbated by drought-induced resource scarcity, and if world leaders fail to address the devastating effects of climate change, peacekeeping efforts in unstable territories could suffer.

Africa Politics Under The Radar

Uganda Seeking Inroads to Compete for Regional Influence

The continued closure of key border crossings between Rwanda and Uganda has prompted both nations to seek alternative trade prospects and influence amongst their neighbours. For Uganda, recent efforts have centred on Burundi and the DRC, with infrastructure agreements and plans for military cooperation directed at offsetting Rwanda’s recent diplomatic gains with their eastern neighbour. 

Middle East/North Africa Security

Iraq and Syria: The Local and Regional Impact of Illicit Economies

In my previous article, I discussed the risk of Iraq and Syria entering a state of perpetual violence brought about by militias, to sustain their presence and maintain their profits. High rates of unemployment and increasing militarisation of governance and the economy, have meant that forming, joining and sustaining militias has become one of the few profitable rent-seeking methods. This article examines their illicit economic activities in greater detail showing the impact on a local to regional scale and the wider reverberating consequences.