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Framing the World, number III

Geopolitics and Economy: two sides of the same coin.


Clarify what happens in an evolving world is ever more interesting and complicated. The task of our biweekly newspaper, that’s now full of novelties, is keeping informed on the latest updates by presenting an objective, constant and detailed description on international events . In the past two weeks economics played a key role, and led to several geopolitical events; forecasts concerning the slowdown of the EU economy scare, and those linked to the diplomatic crisis between Italy and France too. Also, Russia and the US seem to be intentioned to begin a new arms race. Shifting attention to Africa instead, social problems dominate. In fact the continent is trapped in civilian protests exacerbated by non-transparent elections. Moving to the US, the next planned meeting with Kim Jong Un and rumours about a peace deal with Taliban groups shed some lights on some points of the US foreign policy. This last was considered to be responsible for Venezuela’s condition and human rights violations.

HUMAN RIGHTS
Saudi Arabia.
The British government accused Saudi authorities to be responsible for having permitted that some activists detained in Saudi Arabia were tortured. In particular, it seems that many women were arrested and tortured for having required the right to drive, and the end of the patriarchal system. Also Amnesty International reported that several women were tortured in prison. A UN investigation is currently dealing with the case.

Hawaii. On 1st January 2019 Hawaii officially legalized assisted suicide – the bill was approved in April 2018. In fact, according to “Our care, our choice act”, now everybody can legally and safely put an end to his/her own suffering. In order to access this process, individuals must be over 18 year-old and reside in the state of Hawaii, then his suffering must be caused by terminal diseases and be mentally competent to stand trial.
The up-mentioned initiative is particularly important, if we consider all the efforts that North America made to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide, and Hawaii is only the seventh state which adopted this kind of law.

Myanmar. Although many evidences prove that Myanmar’s armed forces raped several Rohingya women, the government denied all accusations. Leaving the affair to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the government of Myanmar declared that these calumnies aren’t supported by facts. However, according to Human Rights Watch and other organisations, many women were subject to sexual violence, perpetrated by the army. The United Nations are currently investigating. If these charges were verified, Myanmar should bring justice and support the victims.

Venezuela. On February 6 the Venezuelan Army closed the bridge on the western border with Colombia to prevent humanitarian aids requested by Guaidò to enter the country, as he is Maduro’s political opponent. According to many people, Guaidò would have asked for humanitarian aids to help the people, with the aim to discredit Maduro’s regime. The United Nations condemned this behaviour, declaring that humanitarian actions must be carried out without any political or military task.

Marta Stroppa.

INTERNATIONAL FINANCE AND ECONOMICS
Germany, distressed banks
. Deutsche Bank makes profits again, after 4 consecutive years of negative budgetary, losing 50% of market capitalization in the last 12 months. Despite these elements, the directors of the bank keep considering a merger with the second largest bank of Germany, Commerzbank. The German government is a shareholder of this last and, despite it doesn’t wish to adopt this solution, it declared to be ready to provide the political support needed to revive German banks. It is said that the DB directors will verify whether the bank will make significant profits by June, if not, they will be obliged to merge with another German credit institution. Both banks suffered large financial losses since the news has been published: their market value decreased of 5% in the Frankfurt pricelist.

Europe, protectionism is not the solution. The Economic Partnership Agreement between Japan and the European Union took effect on February 1st. It will allow the creation of one of the biggest free trade area in the world. All custom tariffs applied on 90% of European products exported to Japan; the aim is to remove tariffs on 97% of products by the next 10 years.
It is an important possibility, especially for Italian agricultural products: all tariffs on wines (currently 15%), cheeses (around 30%), and other agro-food products, will be completely eliminated. Also, the agreement provides the recognition of all protected geographical indications, and the legal granted to these last.

United States, the economy keeps on growing. The Employment Report redacted in January doubles expectations (304.000 more work places). Also, the Federal Reserve decision to be careful about setting new increase in rates of interest revived all American price lists (that recorded +7%, marking the best January month since 1987).
Additionally, labour market performance dissipates all concerns for any imminent recession: salaries increased by 3.2%, and the inflation rate stays under 2%, that means that there’s been a real wage growth, and that consumption will kept up.
The wage growth have been caused by the productivity increase (that is the only source of economic growth in the medium and longer term). President Trump tax reform also enhanced it, by enabling companies to invest more in modernising means of production.

Italy, a global risk. In accordance with expectations expressed in the last issue of Framing the World, Italy entered recession, and economic growth forecasts have halved, reaching +0.2 – 0.4%.
The IMF warns that Italy is one of the most serious risks for the world economy; if market lost confidence about public debt sustainability (Italy’s public debt will increase, while it was expected to decrease), there would be immediate consequences on the Italian banks, that means higher financing costs.
Also, the IMF stresses that the Italian GDP is still 4% lower, compared with pre-crisis levels while, on average, the other European countries grew by 10% since 2007.

Brexit, transnational companies are worried. Less than 50 days before UK leaves the EU, no deal has been signed. Some of the main multinational companies operating in the UK began to build up stocks for fear that a no deal exit block the delivery of products component parts and raw materials necessary for the production.
The Brexit stockpiling mainly concerned in the food, chemical and automobiles industries. Honda and Jaguar Land Rover are stocking huge quantities of vehicle components , while on Aril 1st BMW will close down its factories for 30 days, to evaluate the coming events.

Venezuela, foreign investments worth billions. Russia and China are supporting Maduro, against interim president Guaidò, but not only for political reasons; it is necessary to remark that Venezuela has to pay settle its debts to these two countries.
Russia is a long-standing economic partner of Venezuela: only in 2017 Russian Federation gave three million Dollars to restructuring Venezuela’s public debt, and Rosneft allocated 2.5 billion to energy projects.
China recently increased its investments in the country: in almost ten years, between 2007 and 2016, its state banks provided loans for 62 billion, while private companies invested 19 additional billion.
The CNN announced that Maduro is using the earnings came from oil extraction to pay its debts, not to protect people’s well-being. This may be the reason why Russia and China support Maduro.

Leonardo Aldeghi.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Cameroon, the forgotten conflict
. Opposition leader Maurice Kamto’s arrest constitutes a further problem, added to the already difficult situation of Cameroon.
His illegal detention is due to the word pronounced by president Paul Biya, who took office in 1982, and last October has been elected president again, for 7 more years.
President Biya depicted Maurice Kamto as a conspirator operating against the Republic.
The country is now very weak, because of Boko Haram’s presence in the northern regions, and the protests carried out by lawyers and teachers in the English-speaking region.
Also, the government has to deal with separatism movements asking for the recognition of Ambazonia’s autonomy.
Furthermore, the national army is suspected of war crimes such as destruction of villages and murder of civilians. The situation is getting ever more complicated.

Chad and the French air force intervention. The French air force conducted a military operation against the Union of Resistance Forces (URF). For several years the URF has fought to depose president Idriss Dèby Itno (who’s in office since 1990) by carrying out its activities at the border between the South of Lybia and the North East part of Chad. It seems that last week, between 5 and 6 February, a convoy of cars would have penetrated deep into the territory, and then intercepted by the Air Force of N’Djamena and the French Mirage 2000 jet fighter. Both helped to disperse the cars.
The rebel group is currently under pressure because of the operations conducted by general Haftar (a French allied) and his Libyan National Army in Libya. Also, it seems that the group

is trying to constitute a task force operating at the border with Sudan.

Nigeria, the imminent elections. Nigerian general elections are scheduled for Friday. President Muhammadu Buhari will run against Atiku Abubakar, who was vice-president in Obasanjo administration, between 1999 and 2007.
They will be the two main candidates (71 more candidates have been presented) for the election of the executive branch, that changes every four years; it adopts measures concerning a federal state made up by 36 states and one Federal Capital Territory (Abuja).
The allocation system provides that the candidate who obtains the simple majority, reaching at least 25% consents in two thirds of all federal states. If no candidate gets the said majority, the two candidates who got the most votes get on the ballot, with the aim to obtain the simple majority.
At the same time, all members of the two houses of the National Assembly will be selected: 360 for the House of Representatives and 109 for the Senate. They are elected through the first-pass-the post voting system, used in each constituency.
A controversial aspect linked to the elections, is that Nkanu Onnoghen, President of the Supreme Court (which has jurisdiction in electoral disputes), has been substituted by Tanko Muhammad.

Central African Republic, a new peace deal. It is a recurring phenomenon of African conflicts: the government and the separatist troops (or rebels) sign a peace deal (similar to a power sharing agreement). The aim is to politically recognize the enemy, so that they can set the challenge at another level.
On Saturday the peace deal reached in Khartoum (Sudan) has been announced: it is the eighth one that the Catholic troops and the Muslim militias reached since 2012, during the conflict in the CAR. Also, the agreement has not yet been signed, and its content is unknown; the fighting parties will reveal it, once the agreement will be signed in Bangui.
The African Union and the UN gave a relevant contribution to find a final agreement.
Furthermore, it’s important to remark the presence of president Omar al-Bashir, who received many criticism in his country. It might not be a random move.

Senegal, the election campaign started. The electoral campaign started on February 3, and there have been many turn of events. The victory of the Outgoing President Maky Sall was thought to be certain, but in a few days, the ninety two-year-old former president Abdoulaye Wade came back to rule; also, the political group led by Idrissa Seck, who was Wade’s PM until 2012, seems to have become his main opponent.
The elections will be held on February 24 and Wade came back from Paris to dissuade the other four candidates to run in the electoral competition, affirming that his “first round win is secured”. The former president, father of Karim Wade - who couldn’t run in the elections as he’s suspected of having influenced some judicial sentences – was welcomed by the crowd in Dakar. Although Abdoulaye Wade was already in office for seven years, he has been elected for a term of five years , that’s renewable once, and shall be selected following a double shift conducted under the majority system.

Marcello Alberizzi.

AMERICA
Brazil, the biggest wind farm of South America
. Brazil got a new record. The wind park, managed by the Enel Green Power Brazil, will have a full charge capacity reaching 716 megawatts. It is foreseen that the park will start functioning in 2021.

Colombia, the army conducted a bombing raid. Colombia’s Army carried out a bombing raid against a FARC guerrilla encampment settled in San Vicente del Caguan, as provided by the organized crime-fighting programme.

El Salvador’s 3 February elections. The thirty-seven-year-old Nayib Bukele won El Salvador’s Presidential elections held on February 3 obtaining 53% of votes. The new president sustains not to follow any political ideology and to promote his country’s fair development.

Honduras, the capital Tegucigalpa. Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa, is inhabited bu thousands of people protesting against Conservative President Orlando Hernanez, as they see his government as a dictatorship. Protesters stand for the dissolution of this last and new free elections.

United States of America.

“A peace deal for Afghanistan”. That’s how the US envoy for Afghanistan started his speech in Washington DC, declaring that he hopes to find a peace deal before the Afghan Presidential Elections will be held, next July.

The secret communications between USA and North Korea. The conversations between USA and North Korea date back to 2009, during the Obama presidency.
The said talks were kept secret thanks to the Intelligence Services of both countries. The contacts were intermittently stopped, after some escalations of words occurred between the two states.
Also, few days ago, some news communicated the plan for a further meeting between Kim Jong-un and president Trump in Hanoi, scheduled for 27 and 28 February.
The main topic is the economic growth of Korea, that’s subject to sanctions, because of the nuclear programme undertaken by the Korean regime.

The US withdrawal from the treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The announce has rocked the spiral of the arms race. The said announce dates back to February 1st, but it had been predicted by some declarations made by the Trump presidency. As long as the withdrawal stays unofficial, the United States are subject to the constraints of the Treaty, but there is reason to question what balance will outline. A new arms race? A new chance to move some US armaments to geopolitically strategic territories in the Pacific?
We have to wait for further updates but, at the moment, it is clear that the military role played by China in the international scenario influences US choices.

Venezuela, two different coexisting worlds. That’s the clearest way to describe Venezuela’s reality. There are neighbours who sustain two different presidents, and two different ideologies.
Also, poverty is changing political balance, and many people start supporting interim president Guaidò, who gave people a chance to receive humanitarian aids supposed to cross borders with Colombia, Brazil and the Caribbean’s Dutch island of Curacao.
At the same time, the world got divided, because some leaders recognized Guaidò as the new president, such as United States, Canada and all the Latin American countries but Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba and Nicaragua; these last, added to China, Russia, Turkey and Iran, support Maduro.
The European Union stands with Guaidò in order to get over Venezuela’s crisis through diplomatic solutions. Italy declared to be neutral, constituting the only exception.
The United States consider all options, including a military intervention.

Michele Pavan.

ASIA AND FAR EAST
China, the media battle
. During the Chinese New Year celebrations, the chunjie, media communications between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China use to stay silent. However, this year an exception has occurred: the PCR air force published a video titled “My Fighting Eagles Fly Around Taiwan”. The video featured some planes belonging to the PLA (People Liberation Army) flying over the skies of Taiwan.
As response, the ROC Ministry for Defence published a second video, where the writing “On Standby 24/7” appeared before a sequence of scenes featuring armoured cars, military trainings and flying jets; the ending phrase was “freedom isn’t free”.

Japan stays silent about the Kuril islands issue. On February 8 Japan’s National Diet, the legislature of the country, didn’t answer to the question asked by a member of one of the two House, Hiroyuki Konishi. He asked what was the government position regarding the Kuril Islands. The issue is whether these last belong to Japan or Russia; naturally the government of the Rising Sun considers them as part of the Japanese territory.
The Diet decided to not answer in order to not create further obstacles in the ongoing negotiations with Russia.
Since 1956 the dispute concerning the nationality of the four islands, Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Haboma, prevents the two countries from finalizing a peace agreement.
Russia is not going to renounce to control these territories, and the latest protests in Sakhalin (February 7) conducted by the Russian population constitute the example of the current tensions between the two states.

North Korea... the long awaited date. On Friday president Donald Trump announced that the next talks with the North Korean leader will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, between 27 and 28 February. The choice to meet in Hanoi shows the intention to strengthen relations between the USA and the DPRK, despite the historic rivalry between them.
In a tweet, president Trump wrote “North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, will become a great Economic Powerhouse”. His words pleased North Korean president. Japan sustains the initiative too.
One of the main task of the coming meeting will be the denuclearization of Korea.
However, although the first signals of cooperation are evident, an article published by the CNN news agency on February 6 revealed that, according to a UN report, it seems that North Korea is hiding its ballistic missiles to avoid any US attack.

South Korea, a deal for next year. Sunday 10 February, at the request by the U.S., Seoul formally accepted to increase its allocation to fund the U.S.A. military presence on its territory.
28.500 American troops are currently present in Korea. And the decision to pay 890 million Dollars - 850 of which have been already paid in the five-year period ended in 2018 – partially satisfies America’s desires, as it had requested for 1.2 million Dollars.
However, unlike all previous agreements, the current deal will stay valid only for one year, and it will lead both parties to new negotiations.
One of the main reasons why South Korea confirmed the up-mentioned increase in funds is the imminent summit between its bordering country and the U.S.A.; the aim is to focus on Korea’s denuclearization, reaching a new rapprochement between the negotiating countries.

Thailand, a family row. Friday king Vajiralongkorn, during a proclamation, cited the constitution to object to his sister’s candidacy for PM: Princess Ubolratana’s intention was to become Prime Minister and lead the Thai Raksa Chart Party, opposed to the military party, which came to power in 2014. It seems that the king invoked the important rule that imposes to separate the royal family from the country’s politics. He affirmed: “Having a high ranking member of the royal family involved in politics, regardless in what way, is going against the royal tradition... and highly inappropriate”.
Acknowledging the importance of monarch’s figure, princess’ party risks to lose consent in favour of the Palang Pracharat party.
The election commission has until 15 February to verify if the princess’ candidacy respects the Constitution and can allow her to run in the elections (scheduled for March 24). The country may have the possibility to return to democracy after 5 years of military power.

Stefano Sartorio.

CENTRAL EUROPE AND EUROPEAN UNION
The EU Commission rejected the merger between Siemens and Alstom
. The European Commission didn’t approve the rail merger deal between the German’s Siemens and the France’s Alstom company, affirming that it “would have influenced competition in the European rail signalling systems and high-speed trains. The companies were not willing to address our serious competition concerns”, as it’s written in a note from the Commission.
The said operation would have merged the main suppliers of several types of rail and subways signalling systems, but it would have increased prices of the new generation of high-speed trains.

European elections, the rise of the Greens. Environmental issues seem to have become the central element of the political debate.
According to a survey of the “Meinungsbarometer”, conducted by the “Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper, 19% of respondents considers the Greens as the political party presenting the best contents.
A the beginning of 2000 many political scientists had previewed that the old ideological division between left and right would no longer be sufficient to face the tensions linked to integration and globalisation. But the Greens, following their position pro-EU and in favour of immigration, showed an image of calmness and stability, in contrast to the exuberance of right-wing parties.
Will they be able to fight against the growing xenophobia in the next European elections?

Italy-France, tension between the very highest levels of the two states. France recalls its ambassador to Rome for internal consultations, and Matteo Salvini, Minister of the Interior, formalizes the crisis.
Macro’s decision was due to the repeated provocations of the Italian government. In fact, during the past eight months, France has been the target of many harsh attacks both by the League and the Five Stars Movement, concerning immigration, the yellow vests, deficit and Tav. France said these last constitute a move without precedents since war. The two Italian leaders declared to be prepared to start a dialogue with the French government.

Spain, politicians put on the stand. In Europe it is the first time, since war, that a whole class of politicians is put on the stand for committing crimes considered “political”.
The political group that tried to obtain Cataluña region’s independence from Spain is going to be sentenced by the Supreme Spanish Court, which will verify whether the party committed acts of sedition and rebellion during its political activity.
However, Cataluña’s wish for independence might be feed by the different judgment expressed by the EU on President Guaidò’s self-proclamation, as this last was justified because of the necessity to keep the people safe from the oppression of Maduro’s government. The mentioned EU position is likely to appear like the adoption of a double standard to establish institutional legitimacies.

Martina Oneta.

EASTERN EUROPE AND RUSSIA
Greece, Tsipras went to Ankara
. Alexis Tsipras’ diplomatic visit in Turkey ended on February 6. It was necessary to establish good relations between the two countries, as Tsipras stressed.
The meeting was useful to get over some hostility issues, especially Athens’ decision to harbour eight Turkish soldiers who fled their country after the coup d’état attempted in 2016. Also, the visit was necessary to enhance bilateral trade relations and energy cooperation.

Macedonia signed its NATO accession protocol. The 29 states, members of the Atlantic alliance signed the accession protocol for North Macedonia, in the presence of Secretary General Stoltenberg and Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov.
The task was reached thanks to the Prespa Agreement, which put an end to the dispute on the name of Macedonia.
Macedonia’s president Zoran Zaev has been invited to the next meeting in London, scheduled for December 2019.

Russia, the end of the INF Treaty. After that the US pulled out of the INF Treaty, president Vladimir Putin announced that is no more interested in renewing the agreement between the two countries because of the US move. The US announced their will to find a new alternative to the Treaty, which will expire in six months.
Meanwhile news from Russia talks say that two new missiles (probably one of which is will be a long-range missile) will be constructed by 2012; the said news warns about a possible arms race that might be exacerbated by the competition with a further important player: China.
Also, the START Treaty will expire in 2021. The following steps stay unknown.

Speaking of missiles... Concerning the missiles issue, some US sources mentioned by “The Diplomat” magazine, say that Russia testes a new intercontinental ballistic missile at the end of January. Russian Federation president Putin affirmed that a “unique technology” has been employed during the test.
The United States did the same: according to the Air Force Global Strike Command, they tested a new intercontinental missile too, in the base of Vandenberg, California. This coincidence suggests that the arms race is already started.

Serbia-Kosovo, some updates. Belgrade and Pristine keep on discussing in order to normalize the relations between them. Both countries are interested in achieve this task, as it would facilitate their integration with the West, but many disputes concerning ethical and territorial issues stay unsolved.
Meanwhile Serbia’s Foreign Ministers Ivica Dacic affirmed that Kosovo could become a hotbed of Islamic extremists coming from the former Yugoslavia, who battled in Syria and Iraq. Kosovo’s president Hashim Thaçi reaffirmed that the US support stays essential to solve all problems between the two countries.

Ukraine, new steps towards the integration with the West. The Ukrainian Parliament approved the adoption of some amendments to the Constitution, in order to facilitate the country’s accession to NATO and the European Union.
The Parliament amended 4 articles thanks to 334 votes in favour, out of 385 deputies, and the approval of the Constitutional Court.
Both the Atlantic Alliance and the European institutions welcomed the news.
The recognition of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic identity is an important step towards the achievement of country’s task, even if its full politico-economic integration need many additional reforms.

Andrea Maria Vassallo.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA (MENA)
Afghanistan, the peace deal between USA and the Taliban
. During the last days of January, following some negotiations and talks in Qatar (Doha), The USA and the Taliban agreed on some basic principles to sign a peace deal in Afghanistan. I the draft of the deal, the Afghan radical militants commit to fight against the Islamic State and Al Qaeda troops – to prevent Afghanistan to become “a platform for international terrorist groups” .
In exchange they ask the USA to retire their troops, who havebeen standing there for 18 years. On February 9 US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad communicated the USA intention to sign the peace deal before the Afghan presidential elections are held in July. However he specified that there are still some unspecified elements and problems to get over, so that the path to follow is still long and not well defined. The role of Kabul Government (which is excluded from negotiations until now), the doubts about the real Taliban’s real will to fight against Al Qaeda (given that there are many links between the two groups), the fact that the Taliban leadership is not representative and it has a less significant role, compared to the past (in the extremist network there are many groups that act almost independently) are the undefined elements casting shadows over the ongoing negotiations.

The birth of the new Government of Lebanon. After almost nine months from May 2018 legislative elections, the Lebanese Prime Minister Sadi Hariri announced the deal reached to create the new government. The negotiations to compose the Lebanese government are always long and detailed because of the current political system, that’s aimed at finding a (delicate) balance among all ethnics and religions present in the country. In fact, parliamentary seats must be equally shared by Muslims (45% of the population) and Christians (55%) and the President of Parliament must be a Shiite Muslim. Concerning the executive branch, the head of government must be a Maronite Christian, while the Prime Minister must be a Sunnite Muslim.
For this reason Hariri – a Sunni Muslim, leader of the “Future Movement” – has been selected as head of government again (5 ministries are led by representatives of his political group). The Free Patriotic Movement, led by president Michel Aoun ( a Maronite Christian) got 11 ministries, while Hezbollah (Aoun’s allied) obtained 3 ministries, including the Department of Health. “Amal”, the Shiite political group guided by Nabih Berri, President of the Parliament, took control of 3 ministries.
The new government will have to deal with an extremely difficult economic situation, characterized by one of the highest public debts in the world.
Also, Lebanon has to handle the huge number of Syrian refugees present on its national territory (around 1 million entered the country since the beginning of the civil war) and the ongoing tensions between Hezbollah and Israel.

Israel, primaries elections of the Likud party have been held in the view of April elections. On February 6 the primary election of the Likud party (led by Netanyahu) have been held to select the candidates who will run in the 9 April elections, and define their position in the party list. Although primary elections my seem of little importance, they constitute a grounds for debate and a playing field among the candidates, which will define the internal balance of in Netanyahu’s political group. Primary results warned the Israeli PM: some of his opponents obtained a better position than his close supporters. For example, Gideon Sa’ar, former mister of interior and education, who’s the main opponent of the PM, reached the fifth position (the fourth excluding Netanuahu’s rightfully position). Sa’ar got an excellent result, despite the accusations made by the Head of the Government.
In addition, many other politicians critical of Netanyahu, such as minister of transport Katz, or Edelstein, President of the Knesset, reached some top positions in the Likud party list. Furthermore, beside his disappointing results in the primary, the Israeli PM has to deal with many other serious issues before April elections. First of all, the Attorney General will soon indict him for his embroilment in many political scandals.
Finally, the new “Resilience” party, led by former chief of the army Gantz, held high positions in the pre-election polls, and it could involve the Likud party in the next government.

Syria, the final offensive against Isis has started. On February 9 the Syrian Democratic Forces (sustained by the USA) announced the beginning of the final offensive against the last headquarters of the Islamic State. Jihadist soldiers are gathered in a few square miles area settled in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (near the village of Baghouz – at the border with Iraq). According to the declarations of the US-led coalition, Daesh only maintained control over less than 1% of its territory – in June 2014 the total area controlled by Isis was 88.000 km2.
Since December 2018, that was a month characterised by an intense fight against Isis in the north-east regions of Syria, around 37.000 people (most of them were relatives of Islamic militants) fled the territory controlled by the Caliphate. Among them there would have been 3200 escaping extremists. Therefore, the Islamic States is almost defeated, but this threat shouldn’t be underestimated: ISIS was a state organization, and then it became a network carrying out clandestine activities, it is unforeseeable and less traceable. Also some Isis cells are still present in the old Islamic State’ s territories: for example, in Raqqa 50 people have been arrested on February 7, with the accusation of representing an ISIS non-operative network.
Finally, we can’t exclude the rebirth and reorganization of the Islamic State, especially if international pressures will be absent in the medium-long term.

The United Arab Emirates welcome the Pope. On February 3 Pope Francis landed in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE. It is an historic event, as he is the first Pope to visit the Arabian peninsula. At first Bergoglio took part in the inter-religious meeting of the Human Brotherhood , attended by several leaders coming from other regions, such as the Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayyeb, the main Middle East institution of Sunni Islam.
Therefore, the Pope met the local Catholic community; in the Emirates there are almost one million Catholics (out of a total population of 9 millions), the most of them come from Philippines and India. During his visit, Pope Francis stressed the importance of peace – he also spoke about the war in Yemen (in which Abu Dhabi is involved), that killed several children. Also, he expressed his will to enhance the dialogue and cooperation with Islam.

Vincenzo Battaglia.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS

NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The Republic of North Macedonia
. Better known as Macedonia, North Macedonia entered the Alliance. It is the thirtieth state that accessed to NATO. It became official when North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov signed the Accession Protocol, and all the other NATO member states ratified the document, including Greece; this last had opposed its veto because of the previous name of the North Macedonian state.

Michele Pavan.

Framing The World is a project conceived and carried out by Mondo Internazionale association members.

Andrea Maria Vassallo: Eastern Europe and Russian Federation

Camilla Frezza:South-East Asia

Leonardo Aldeghi: International Finance and Economics

Marcello Alberizzi: Sub-Saharan Africa

Marta Stroppa: Human Rights

Martina Oneta: Central-Western Europe and European Union

Michele Pavan: America, Oceania and International Organisations

Stefano Sartorio: Asia and Far East

Vincenzo Battaglia: Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Translated by: Simona Maria Vallefuoco.

Original article: https://mondointernazionale.com/framing-the-world-1 published on February 2, 2019.


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  • L'Autore

    Stefano Sartorio

    Laureato in Scienze Internazionali e Istituzioni Europee e studente di Relazioni internazionali, mi piace indagare sulle cause delle problematiche e capire i fondamenti che caratterizzano le più odierne sfide globali.

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