Tag Archives: European Union

EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS SUPPORTS JEAN CLAUDE JUNCKER FOR EU PRESIDENCY

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PRESS RELEASE

EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS express his content at the final signing of the Lisbon treaty by the Czech Republic. This final act transforms European Union in a more efficient and more visible entity on the international stage. An increase in the visibility and importance of the European Union in the world affairs is an important goal that was always inscribed in the principle of the European Council on International Relations.

Now in this moment of triumph for the European Union idea we must take time and congratulate all member states that made sacrifices and sustained effort in order to achieve this aim of a stronger European Union. Also European Council on International Relations express his gratitude to countries like Romania and Bulgaria that did not tried to block the EU consensus on Lisbon Treaty in spite of their national interest that would have ask for such an action.

Also European Council on International Relations congratulates all the European Union responsible actors that were involved in the important task of raising awareness for the necessity of a more democratic and more efficient European Union.

In this moment of euphoria European Council on International Relations must  emphasize on the necessity   of electing a President that will unite Europe nut divide, that will represent the small countries as well as the biggest player, that will mediate not impose, that will coagulate Europe and create a new feeling of identity based on justice and protection .

In this regard European Council on International Relations support the candidature of Mr. Jean –Claude Juncker   as an ideal representative of a European Union of dialogue not controversy and of commitment in building a Europe for all his citizens .

We need to transform the signing of Lisbon Treaty in a victory for all Europeans and in a victory for a better European Union of XXI century.

PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON INERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Professor Anton Caragea PhD, MA, FINS

CAUCASUS THE POWDER BARELL OF EUROPE?

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CAUCASUS THE POWDER BARELL OF EUROPE?

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Caucasus: the place for the next war ?

 

In the XIX century it was usual to say about the Balkan Peninsula that here is the powder barrel of Europe where all the wars are starting. In XX century the Russian and German ambitions where making the Eastern Europe the powder barrel of Europe. The XXI century seems to have (besides Middle East) his own soft spot: the Caucasus region. Here an explosive mixture of dictatorship, military ambitions, Islamic fundamentalism and rich natural resources is threatening the Europe stability.

Georgia`s open wounds.

Off course the first thing that is crossing our minds in relation with Caucasus region is the Russian-Georgian war of 2008. The war left the region in tatters : Georgia has seen disappearing all his chances to join NATO or European Union in the forcible future, the Georgian army was crushed by a rudimentary Russian forced proving that Georgia is far from a position of strength in the region. Not at least Georgia has seen amputation of his territory by the independence proclamation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both newly appeared countries are supported militarily and economically by Russia which is making any transgression against these two countries a casus belli. If Georgia does not relinquish his claims to this two regions will never be accepted to NATO and European Union, both organization requiring a prior settlement of frontiers as a part of any pre-joining negotiation. Now an isolated Georgia, a war ravage country confronted with street demonstration and an unpopular president with authoritarian tendencies is ready to embark at least in a war of words with Russia. In august 2009 a war of tension brooked out one more time between Russia and Georgia both trying to win a PR confrontation this time, war is a continuation of politics by other means used to say Clausewitz and Russian and Georgia are ready to continue their confrontation.

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 Frozen conflicts.

The Georgian-Russian war is not the only conflict that is casting a shadow over the region prospects on a normal development.   The north of Caucasus seemed to be one more time engulf in the flames of radical Islam. In 1999 then Prime-Minister Putin has build his career on crushing the Chechen rebellion. Now ten year after the story is again on the front page of newspapers; Chechnya is burning.  In Ingushetia, a neighboring republic of Chechnya has seen in the last months his president badly wounded and two ministers assassinated and a radical increase in terrorist activity. In the old wound of Chechnya the Kremlin prodigy Ramzan Kadyrov is confronted with an Islamic revival, a chain of assassination and attacks plague the country and make even the Prime minister reloaded Vladimir Putin visiting the region in a desperate effort to prevent a new war in Chechnya that could be fatal to his political stature. Let`s not forget that Chechnya war has destroyed Boris Eltin popularity and toppled two Russians prime ministers.

The conflict has spelt into Dagestan and North Ossetia menacing the pro-Russian leaders and the stability of a difficult region. A new war in Caucasus in a crumbling economy with a Russian unreformed army could spell disaster for Russian renewed imperial ambitious.

Azerbaijan on the frontline.

Azerbaijan is not enjoying a comfortable position on power struggle on Caucasus. With a large part of the population of Shia confession (the same as Iran) the Azerbaijan is observing with increasing worry the rise in isolation of Iran. If a war is to broke up in the region Azerbaijan is crucial: first his air space must be used for aerial attacks on targets on Iran, the country radar system must be used to control Iran air space and any missile interception system to prevent attacks on Europe and Israel must be position here. Already the Israel president Shimon Peres made a landmark visit to Azerbaijan (June 2009), described by Israel Minister of Foreign Affairs as:  „to reaffirms the strategic relationship between the two countries”.

Azerbaijan is sharing a long border with Iran, an important Shia population and a common history and is having important internal issues that make the country fragile, economic crisis seriously crippled the economy; corruption is endemic and democracy inexistent. In this difficult portrait the Iran threat made public by Iranian Chief of Staff , Hasan Firudabadi, that said that is regarding Azerbaijan movement as inimical and the Iran ambassador in Baku was recalled for consultation .An attack on Iran could be fatal for Azerbaijan in the present diplomatically  and economical construction.

Caucasus: oil and gas battle.

As if the geopolitical confrontation in the region is not enough the resources battle is at an age here. The oil and gas resources of Caspic Sea are poring from this region either to Russia, or to Europe, also the reach wealth of Iran in gas and oil could be exported to Europe only by this region. Russia is trying to secure his control on energy route on Caucasus by building South Stream pipeline, by dismantling independent pipeline and exploit the military victory over Georgia as an incentive to control the region resources. European Union is trying to find alternative routes and reserves of gases, independent of Russian influence by building Nabucco bypassing Russia as main supplier. But the Nabucco pipeline must go by Caucasus region and the gas and oil reserves  are also in the region so economic date are making the future of the region even more cloudy then it seems.

Caucasus is looking like a fragile region, with authoritarian regimes, economic corruption and under an ongoing battle for influence and power between Russia, United States, European Union, Israel and Iran. Will be Caucasus the new powder barrel of Europe?    

Professor Anton Caragea PhD, MA, FINS

Syria: the key for peace in the Middle East by Professor Anton Caragea

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In only three month the US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell made two visits to Damascus prompting the world attention to the new place of Syria in the region.  What is the new role of Syria in Barrack Obama vision of peace for the Middle East?

 

 

Syria: an astonishing survival.

In 2003 Syria seemed to be on the brink of the abyss: a US lead invasion of Iraq has turn up side down the region, G. Bush placed Syria on the list of state to be attacked , in Lebanon US sponsored the anti-Syrian opposition in the  hope that will further isolate Syria.  The death of Hafez al Assad in 2000 and the ascension to power of a young leader, Bashar al Assad made the situation even more fragile. In this difficult climate of isolation, war in Iraq, US pressures and sanctions , Syria succeeded a remarkable transformation.

First step was made by bringing to power a generation of very effective , western educated leaders that transformed the country in just a few years: Dr.Mohsen Bilal,  a very efficient minister of  information that transformed the media landscape of the country offering open gates policy to private  newspapers and media channels  ,Wallid Al Moallem, Foreign Affairs Minister  of Syria succeed in promoting a new image of his country  tacking Syria out of the isolation  , Dr. Faissal Mqdad, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs supported this active and efficient diplomacy transforming Syria in a diplomatic Mecca in the last five years  supported in this efforts  by professional  diplomats like Walid Othman and other dedicated diplomats  and the charismatic  Mr. Saadala Agaa, Minister of Tourism, that made Syria a touristic power in the region busting countries revenues from tourism . This new team brought to power by President Bashar al Assad succeeded simultaneous in disengaging Syria from Lebanon, restoring diplomatic ties with Lebanon, sheltering 1, 5 million refugees from Iraq (a humanitarian crisis of never viewed scale), creating economic development of 5% percent per year, closing the border to Iraq for terrorist group and having an effective diplomacy in the region and developing connection with European Union. This mixture of powerful diplomacy, open society and strong democracy   made Syria a key for peace in the region. The assessment  of first nine year of Bashar al Assad in power is a strong  positive one.  

No peace without Syria.

An Arab diplomatic wisdom is saying that in Middle East could not be a war without Egypt and peace without Syria. The latest years offers a new meaning to this word of wisdom. Syria has proven to be a force for peace in the region and a fundamental actor: supporting Hezbollah in his resistance made Syria a part of the reconstruction of Lebanon security and peace and in may 2009 election when Hezbollah lost the Lebanese elections Syria supported the peaceful recognition of the election results and the creation of a unity government. Also the Syrian diplomatic campaign for Golan was a new success, even US announcing that Israel must relinquish the Golan Heights to rightful owner: Syria, in the peace processes. The open relation with Turkey, accepting Turkey mediation with Israel and the worming relation with Iraq and Golf States transformed Syria in the diplomatic rally point for France ( N. Sarcozy visit Damascus in 2008 , Bernard Kouchner , French foreign minister  in 2008 and 2009)   or for Qatar diplomacy. Even in 2008 Bashar al Assad was invited for 14 July celebration in France, an honor that only few have.    

Visit in Damascus for the eyes of Tel Aviv.

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The US diplomatic overture to Syria is destined no doubt to exercise pressure on Israel. The US-Israel relation are suffering from a diplomatic cold after the Barrack Obama speech in Cairo and US decision to pressure Israel for  a halt in settlements construction and to re-open dialogue with Palestinian Authority.  Until now Israeli government choose to ignore the joint US-European Union- Russia pressure for a sincere dialogue with Palestine Authority and for halting the settlements in territories occupied after 1967 war. The US decision to send a new ambassador in Damascus and European Union rapprochement with Syria, all indicate that Israel could not hope indefinitely to go against international community wishes.

Now G. Mitchell goes to Damascus with a solid agenda: peace talks, returning Golan Heights to Syria, Damascus aid in stabilizing Iraq, removing Syria from US black list etc.  Especially Washington is interested in having Syrian backing for a swift resolution of Iraq conflict to relinquish the US troops station there.  US are conscience that after the US army pull back Iraq will   descend in anarchy and havoc.  US are trying to support a second way: a Syrian model of open society, secular state, political equilibrium that will satisfy also Kurdish autonomy ambition and Sunni worries over a Shia controlled Iraq. This Syrian model in Iraq depends on Damascus support and is a valuable asset in US- Syria negotiation.  G. Mitchell is now in Damascus and already announced that what will be back.     

Now the question is if US has embarked only in a charmed offensive to worry Israel or really G. Mitchell found on the road to Damascus the light of a new policy for the region?