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Russia in Africa: A new arena for geopolitical competition

08-11-2019

During the Cold War, post-colonial Africa was an important front in the geopolitical contest for international influence. However, in the 1990s, post-Soviet turmoil ended many of Russia's global ambitions, including in Africa. By contrast, recent years have seen a renewed Russian interest in the continent, as part of President Vladimir Putin's drive to reassert his country as a major global player. As in other parts of the world, Russia has various means of promoting its influence. Moscow has long ...

During the Cold War, post-colonial Africa was an important front in the geopolitical contest for international influence. However, in the 1990s, post-Soviet turmoil ended many of Russia's global ambitions, including in Africa. By contrast, recent years have seen a renewed Russian interest in the continent, as part of President Vladimir Putin's drive to reassert his country as a major global player. As in other parts of the world, Russia has various means of promoting its influence. Moscow has long been the continent's leading supplier of weapons, and it has military cooperation deals with nearly two dozen African countries. Among other things, these provide for the presence of military trainers and advisors, and a small but growing number of Russian 'boots on the ground', many of them coming from shadowy private military companies closely linked to Putin's entourage. Russia's military presence in countries such as the Central African Republic often goes hand-in-hand with commercial interests. Overall, Russian trade and investment in the continent is quite small, except in the strategic energy and mining sectors: oil, gas, diamonds, gold, aluminium and nickel are among the African minerals extracted by Russian companies. Russia's African toolkit also includes covert political influence operations – again, involving shady Kremlin-linked organisations, soft power (building on Soviet-era links and a growing media presence), and increasingly close diplomatic ties. On the other hand, Russian development and humanitarian aid to the continent is minimal. While Russia's influence in Africa is growing, it remains a comparatively marginal player in most of the continent, except in a few key countries and economic sectors. Its overall objective appears to be geopolitical competition with other more established players, rather than disinterested help for African partners. Its role is therefore viewed with concern by the EU institutions and Member States.

Libya after Gaddafi: A challenging transition

13-06-2016

Five years after the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has finally made a breakthrough towards ending the two-year conflict that has seen the country divided between two rival governments and parliaments, each allied with loose coalitions of armed militias fighting each other. The resulting power vacuum has led, not least, to the rise of ISIL/Da'esh in Libya and, to the country's increasing role as a departure point for migrants hoping to reach Europe. A political solution to reduce the instability ...

Five years after the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has finally made a breakthrough towards ending the two-year conflict that has seen the country divided between two rival governments and parliaments, each allied with loose coalitions of armed militias fighting each other. The resulting power vacuum has led, not least, to the rise of ISIL/Da'esh in Libya and, to the country's increasing role as a departure point for migrants hoping to reach Europe. A political solution to reduce the instability in Libya is critical, both for Libya and for its neighbours.

United States and Syria: Strained credibility

15-01-2016

The United States' strategy in Syria has evolved over the five years of the conflict. Currently, the US aim is for a political solution to the civil war, seen as a precondition for the defeat of the ISIL/Da'esh terrorist group. Despite significant US military and diplomatic action, the effectiveness of the US strategy towards Syria and its implementation is widely criticised.

The United States' strategy in Syria has evolved over the five years of the conflict. Currently, the US aim is for a political solution to the civil war, seen as a precondition for the defeat of the ISIL/Da'esh terrorist group. Despite significant US military and diplomatic action, the effectiveness of the US strategy towards Syria and its implementation is widely criticised.

Protecting civilians in armed conflict: International framework and challenges

13-01-2016

In today's armed conflicts, whether international or intra-state, the vast majority of casualties are now civilians. Increasingly, civilians are victims of deliberate attacks and other serious violations by parties to a conflict – both states and non-state armed groups, despite the existence of strict legal rules intended to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities: the principles of international humanitarian law, of international human rights law and refugee law. The lack of compliance with ...

In today's armed conflicts, whether international or intra-state, the vast majority of casualties are now civilians. Increasingly, civilians are victims of deliberate attacks and other serious violations by parties to a conflict – both states and non-state armed groups, despite the existence of strict legal rules intended to spare civilians from the effects of hostilities: the principles of international humanitarian law, of international human rights law and refugee law. The lack of compliance with these norms, as well as the United Nations Security Council's inability to take action to protect civilians in some specific cases, reflects the key concerns regarding the protection of civilians affected by armed conflicts worldwide. Moreover, specific protection concerns relate to the situation of women, children and displaced persons. Besides this international legal framework, another related concept has garnered significant support internationally in the past decade: the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), meant to apply only in cases of atrocity crimes. However, R2P remains controversial, given the challenge of adequate implementation, particularly with regard to its military intervention aspects. Notwithstanding the many challenges with regard to protecting civilians in armed conflict, the European Union is a strong promoter of international humanitarian principles and of R2P, and other protection-related issues are consistently among its priorities.

The African Peace and Security Architecture: Still under Construction

14-03-2014

The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) was established by the African Union in collaboration with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities with the goal of preventing, managing and resolving conflicts on the continent. The impetus for its creation in 2001, in parallel with the African Union, was the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The African Union's Constitutive Act allows it to intervene in a member state in grave circumstances, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Yet ...

The African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) was established by the African Union in collaboration with Africa’s Regional Economic Communities with the goal of preventing, managing and resolving conflicts on the continent. The impetus for its creation in 2001, in parallel with the African Union, was the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The African Union's Constitutive Act allows it to intervene in a member state in grave circumstances, such as genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Yet building the APSA has been slower than expected, and to some extent the process remains incomplete. The African Standby Force, the APSA’s military and police arm, has yet to become fully operational, and the African Union’s Peace Fund remains under-funded. As a result, the EU has become a major investor in the project. To date, EUR 740 million have been earmarked by the EU to establish the African Peace and Security Architecture and to conduct peace support operations, such as the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the Mission to the Central African Republic.

Creating Accountability? Recent Developments in the US's Policy on Drones

28-03-2013

In recent weeks, the debate on the US use of drones in its counter-terrorism operations has intensified. The confirmation of John O. Brennan as the director of CIA — and the much-reported filibuster that interrupted his hearing and focused attention on the issue of drones — has led to a push for political and legal accountability. A recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals has supported the endeavour, and the US administration has invited the Congress to develop a legal framework for drone strikes ...

In recent weeks, the debate on the US use of drones in its counter-terrorism operations has intensified. The confirmation of John O. Brennan as the director of CIA — and the much-reported filibuster that interrupted his hearing and focused attention on the issue of drones — has led to a push for political and legal accountability. A recent ruling by the US Court of Appeals has supported the endeavour, and the US administration has invited the Congress to develop a legal framework for drone strikes. In parallel, the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism and Human Rights, Ben Emmerson, has investigated the issue, consulting stakeholders and undertaking study trips, most recently to Pakistan. These combined efforts may lead to a deeper global debate about new, rapidly developing arms, tactics and technologies. The EU should engage more actively in the discussion, which bears direct implications for the Union's security as well as its stance on issues of human rights. The EU can help forge a global consensus about this form of modern warfare, responding to — but also anticipating — its risks and challenges.

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30-11-2020
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30-11-2020
Hearing on Future-proofing the Tourism Sector: Challenges and Opportunities Ahead
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TRAN
30-11-2020
LIBE - FEMM Joint Hearing: Combating Gender based Violence: Cyber Violence
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