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  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 04-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: At an April 3 news conference in Tehran, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinezhad unexpectedly announced the decision to release fifteen captured British marines and sailors. In a theatrical gesture that included assailing Western policy in the Middle East and accusing the British crew of entering Iranian waters, he pardoned the detainees to mark both the Prophet Muhammad's birthday on March 30 and what he reportedly called "Christian Passover." (In Farsi, "Pesah" means Passover and "Fash" means Easter. According to the Islamic Republic News Agency report of his remarks, the president used Pesah instead of Fash.)
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 03-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On March 23, at 10:30 a.m. local Iraqi time, fifteen British naval personnel were seized by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the northern Persian Gulf. The British personnel -- eight from the Royal Navy and seven from the Royal Marines -- were in two light craft returning to the frigate HMS Cornwall after successfully inspecting a merchant ship for goods being smuggled into Iraq. Iran has accused the personnel, who include one woman, of illegally entering Iranian territorial waters, and has threatened to put them on trial. The incident is a diplomatic and military embarrassment to Britain. Meanwhile, fears of escalation in the Gulf have contributed to a global surge in oil prices.
  • Topic: International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, United Kingdom, Europe, Iran, Middle East
  • Author: Jytte Klausen
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: British security officials have announced their conclusion that Britain is now al-Qaeda's "number one" target. Over 1,000 individuals have been arrested on terrorism charges since September 11, 2001, and about two hundred individuals currently await trial. Twenty-three have been convicted on terrorism charges. In November 2006, MI5's head, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, estimated that there were 30 major plots under way, and that an attack in the UK was "highly likely."
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Michael Rubin
  • Publication Date: 07-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Abstract: As fighting continues between Israel and Hezbollah, both the British government and the United Nations have called for the dispatch of an international peacekeeping mission to southern Lebanon. “The only way we are going to have a cessation of violence is if we have an international force deployed,” British prime minister Tony Blair said recently. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan added that such a force is “essential.” But with its long and troubled history in the region, the idea of sending a peacekeeping force should be dead on arrival.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Middle East, Israel, Lebanon
  • Author: Ronald Bruce St. Jon
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Atlantic Council
  • Abstract: On the evening of December 19, 2003, the Libyan Foreign Ministry issued a statement, the product of nine months of tough negotiations with the United Kingdom and United States, renouncing weapons of mass destruction and related missile delivery systems. The statement said Libya had “decided, with its own free will, to get rid of these substances, equipment and programmes and to be free from all internationally banned weapons.” It added Libya intended to comply with the Missile Technology Control Regime, the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency (iaea) Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, and international biological and chemical weapons agreements and treaties. It pledged to “take these measures in a transparent way that could be proved, including accepting immediate international inspection.” Soon after the issuance of this statement, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi publicly endorsed the move, terming it a “wise decision and a courageous step.”
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Middle East, Libya, North Africa
  • Publication Date: 08-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Intense domestic pressure has convinced Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to seek a deal that would eliminate the country's $31 billion of debt owed to the governments of the U.K., France, and other aid-giving countries that use the Paris Club process to restructure debt that countries cannot repay. The Paris Club creditors have proposed an unprecedented operation—its first-ever buyback at a discount—that would cancel all of Nigeria's debt to them in exchange for a cash payment of roughly $12 billion.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Debt
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Paris, France, Nigeria
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 07-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Beginning on July 6, British prime minister Tony Blair will host the G8 summit in Gleneagles, a hotel and golf course in Scotland. Africa and climate change are the two main topics on the agenda, but counterterrorism, proliferation, and political reform in the Middle East are scheduled to be discussed as well. The annual G8 summit has become the sole forum in which the leaders of the seven top industrialized countries (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States) and Russia meet to discuss and decide on courses of action. Diplomatic grandstanding and expected antiglobalization demonstrations aside, the summit is an opportunity to set the international political and bureaucratic agenda for months ahead.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Oil, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Britain, Africa, Russia, United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Middle East, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland
  • Author: Simon Henderson
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: On September 11, retired Israeli maj. gen. Doron Almog declined to disembark from an arriving Israel El Al airliner at London's Heathrow airport and flew back to Israel, thereby avoiding British police waiting with a warrant for his arrest. The warrant, instigated in part by pro-Palestinian groups, alleged that Almog had committed war crimes while head of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Southern Command operating in the Gaza Strip in 2002. The airport incident has serious implications, the full extent of which will only become clear in time, for visitors to Britain from Israel and possibly America (due to U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq). Israelis, Americans, and, indeed, British citizens could be vulnerable when visiting other countries as well. London's role in the Middle East peace process could also be constrained.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United Kingdom, America, Europe, Middle East, London, Palestine
  • Author: Oxford Analytica
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Oxford Analytica
  • Abstract: In the past nine months, the United States and the United Kingdom have pursued a low-intensity military campaign against Iraq. Such actions have been made easier by a lack of political scrutiny. However, the US administration in particular now faces mounting criticism from France, China and Russia, who favour a relaxation of policy, and domestic US interest groups favouring a more activist stance. Despite these pressures, US President Bill Clinton is unlikely to change policy significantly in his remaining 18 months of office.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, China, Iraq, United Kingdom, Middle East, France
  • Author: Haruko Satoh
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Among the now G–8 countries, perhaps the most stable political relationship in the past decade or so has been between Britain and Japan. While the two countries do not necessarily rank high in each other's foreign policy priorities, their leaders have always made sure publicly to endorse the growing ties in strong and positive language. Prime Minister Tony Blair used the occasion of his official visit to Tokyo this January to echo Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto's own positive views of the relationship, expressed to Blair at the G–8 summit in Denver. To Hashimoto's 'Britain is a special partner to Japan', Blair confirmed that UK–Japan relations were 'as strong as ever', in line with the remarks of his predecessors, which had ranged from a 'dynamic, plain-speaking partnership', 'strategic partnership' in the post-Cold War era, to 'natural partnership'. Furthermore, compared with Japan's relations with other major European states, specifically France and Germany, the contours of UK–Japan relations seem to stand out more. There is a strong economic relationship between the two. The UK–Japan Action Agenda of September 1996 was the first of its kind to be agreed between Japan and a European state, reflecting Britain's resolve to be the 'outward looking' member in the EU, and to keep ahead in the primarily economic competition for Japanese interest in Europe. Cooperation between the two countries has been credited as the key to success in some post-Cold War multilateral agreements, such as the UN arms register or the recent Kyoto conference on global warming, here reflecting the scope of official cooperation between the two governments. This track record supports the leaders' claims that Britain and Japan are special partners. Nevertheless, there is a sense that the relationship is still bound in the realm of political rhetoric. Neither the positive language nor the track record of achievements can dispel the perception that Europe—Japan relations are the weakest in the trilateral world of Europe, Japan and the United States. The Hague Declaration of 1991 — a document outlining further commitment to cooperation between Japan and the EU — the UK–Japan Action agenda, and the subsequent similar documents between Japan and France or Germany, have only received cursory attention. 2 While UK–Japan relations may be the key to genuinely strengthening Europe—Japan ties, there are issues that need to be addressed to promote further progress.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: Japan, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Netherlands