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Africa Politics

New Cabinet Signals Tshisekedi’s Tightening Grip on Power

On Monday 12th April Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), announced a new cabinet representative of President Felix Tshisekedi’s ruling coalition. Tshisekedi’s “Sacred Union” coalition has had figures appointed to key posts including finance minister, mining minister and interior minister. The previous government had a majority of ministers loyal to former president Joseph Kabila and was headed by a pro-Kabila Prime Minister. The replacement of all but ten of those figures represents the changing balance of power in Congolese politics.

Europe Politics

The Domino Effect of Normalizing Violence Against Women: Why Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention Has Become the Norm Rather Than the Exception

Turkey’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention has been highly criticized by the European Union and human rights advocates. However, Turkey is not the first and most likely not the last country to opt out of the Convention on preventing and combating gender-based violence. Whereas much of the focus has been on Erdogan’s political motivations behind the decision, the issue of violence against women in Central and Eastern Europe in relation to the Istanbul Convention remains in the shadows and requires further attention.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Hezbollah’s Economic Initiatives in Collapsing Lebanon

With the Lebanese Lira hitting a new low at the beginning of March, Lebanon is at the brink of collapse, undergoing fuel shortages and driving its population into poverty. The economic crisis has worsened in the last year due to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the explosion of the port of Beirut in August, and, above all, to the Lebanese political class that has repeatedly failed to form a government. The political vacuum has given room to Hezbollah, which is likely one of the actors responsible for stalling the government’s formation, to demonstrate its abilities in managing the country through its apparently well-developed social welfare.

Middle East/North Africa Politics Security

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: Anglo-Iranian Relations and Hostage Diplomacy

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was detained by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in March 2016, marking the start of a five year ordeal which only now seems to have any prospect of ending.

Africa Covid-19 Politics

Heightened Human Security Concerns in South Sudan May Lay the Foundations of Great Power Competition in North Africa

A South Sudanese famine, exacerbated by recent large-scale flooding, is threatening to deal a shattering blow to the world’s youngest state. Wracked by domestic instability and with a government refusing to acknowledge the danger faced by its people, the potential for a humanitarian disaster is enormous. Now is the chance for the UN and the West to reaffirm its commitment to stability in North Africa. 

Europe Politics

The Risks of a Positive Agenda Between the EU and Turkey

In the aftermath of the 25-26 European Council Summit, the EU is clearly divided in its approach to Turkey. While some wish to see a more determined EU which supports its values and protects its Member States, others disagree with sanctions on Turkey and support a more welcoming plan with which to meet the state. However, an approach using exclusively soft power opens up the EU to risks that have the potential to be very costly. 

Europe Politics

Italy Battles Continued Challenges to Political Stability

Italian politics has undergone radical change in the last year. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, new Prime Minister Mario Draghi faces the challenge of leading a stable Government that can secure Italy’s roadmap to freedom from the virus and overcome the related economic hardship. At the same time, two of the major parties in Italian politics, the democratic Party and the Five Star Movement have experienced ideological fragmentation and are seeking new political identities.

Middle East/North Africa Politics

Iraq’s National Dialogue

Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq had a significant impact on the national unity of Iraq. A moment of pride and unity for all Iraqis as media-outlets put the country and its rich history and diverse cultures in a positive light. Prime Minister Al-Kadhimi recognised this opportunity and called for a National Dialogue to tackle the divisions within the country.

Africa Politics

What does the Duclert Report Mean for French-Rwandan Relations?

Contention over the extent of France’s involvement in the Rwandan genocide (1994) has been straining relations between Paris and Kigali for over 25 years. In order to address this and attempt to regain some credibility both in Rwanda and across Africa French president Emmanuel Macron ordered an investigation to be carried out by a commission of French historians, led by Vincent Duclert (hereafter referred to as the Duclert Report), in 2019. The report concluded that France did not take an active role in carrying out the genocide, but does bear “heavy and overwhelming responsibilities” due to its “failure” of policy in supporting the Hutu-led government. The conclusions represent a step in the right direction for French-Rwandan relations, but likely do not go far enough on their own.

Eurasia Europe Politics

Were Sanctions by the EU the Right Move?

On 2nd March 2021, the EU announced sanctions on four Russian citizens for human rights violations. The continuing saga of Navalny’s imprisonment and the treatment of protestors by the Russian government has forced the international community to respond but are sanctions the right response?