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  • Author: Yotam Rosner, David Siman-Tov
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: The indictment filed by the United States Justice Department on February 16, 2018 against 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies regarding attempts to promote the candidacy of Donald Trump for the US presidency, amounting to intervention in the country’s political system, is a phenomenon enabling interference in the “consciousness” of another country
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Shimon Stein
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)
  • Abstract: Recent events and statements by German figures indicate a change in Germany’s attitude to Israel. What for decades was a unique bilateral relationship – grounded in the memory of the Holocaust and the commitment that Germany consequently made to Israel’s existence and security – has been increasingly shaped by considerations of realpolitik that formerly played a secondary role.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Israel, Germany
  • Publication Date: 04-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: Judging from President’s latest statements on his readiness to capture Ukraine’s stable progress towards EU and NATO membership in the Preamble to the Constitution, we are to expect yet another session of “constitutional vivisection”. Moreover, it is very likely that the parliament and the president will finalise the long-term story of bidding farewell to the constitutional guarantees of parliamentary immunity. Also, one cannot write off a possible attempt to implement the currently semi-fictional idea of transitioning to a parliamentary form of government, again – by introducing corresponding amendments to the Constitution.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: In February of this year, Stanislav Shevchuk was elected the new Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) at one of its sessions. Position of CCU Chairman has been vacant since 20 March 2017. This is when Yurii Baulin’s term has run out. On several occasions, elections of a new chairman were disrupted. In December 2017, they did not take place due to the lack of candidates. The responsibility of CCU Chairman, besides swearing in the newly elected president, is to organise the regular work of the Constitutional Court. We also expect the pressure on the new chairman to mount after the appointment of two new CCU judges on the president’s quota and the election of two more judges on the Verkhovna Rada’s quota.
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 02-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Razumkov Centre
  • Abstract: On 30 January 2018, in Kyiv, Razumkov Centre together with the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting and CEDOS think tank presented the annual 2017 global top think tanks rating (2017 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report). This report is issued since 2008 by the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the Lauder Institute, University of Pennsylvania (USA).
  • Topic: International Affairs
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Thomas Gomart, Robin Niblett, Daniela Schwarzer, Nathalie Tocci
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will severely degrade regional and global security. His decision has increased the risk of war and a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and beyond. He has undermined attempts to limit the proliferation of nuclear weapons through multilateral diplomacy, as unilateral withdrawal equals non-compliance with a legally-binding UN Security Council resolution. This is a rejection of the UN as arbiter of international peace and security, as well as of international law as a lynchpin of international relations. The steps that Europeans now take will have serious consequences for their alliance with the US, for security in the Middle East, as well as for their relations vis-à-vis China, Russia and the wider world.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Nuclear Weapons, Treaties and Agreements, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Europe, Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Thibaud Voïta
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: During its two sessions (lianghui) in March 2018, the National People’s Congress (NPC) announced China’s most important institutional reforms in the last 30 years. These changes occurred right after Xi Jinping consolidated his power and at a time when stakeholders working in the energy field were expecting more clarity on policy orientations. Though the reforms are in line with those initiated since the 2000s, the energy sector is likely to be deeply affected by the new institutional setting, which reflects China’s energy policy path with a strong emphasis towards low-carbon technologies and a rise in importance of environmental issues, alongside Xi’s institutional modernization through greater centralization and control. Nevertheless, it is too early though to judge whether this will effectively impact the balance of power with the fossil fuel related institutions and policies. The day Environment became more important than energy The environment sector is at the core of the reforms, which probably reflects the will to put environmental protection ahead of energy issues. The latest reforms established a Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) which gathers climate and environment responsibilities, that used to be spread between a number of bodies. Unveiled in April, the MEE is now in charge of managing most environmental issues, and theoretically able to draft and empower regulations. In addition, it now represents China in international climate negotiations. In order to manage these new duties, MEE staff increased from 300 to 500.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Governance, Xi Jinping
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Augé
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: On June 5th 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar and agreed to isolate the Emirate via an air and land blockade. These countries decided to punish Qatar under the pretext of a speech the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, would have made on May 23rd, which reiterated the strong ties between his country and Iran.[1] The situation has been at a deadlock for a year, and Qatar refuses to apply the Emirati and Saudi Arabian list of the 13 demands. The latter mainly include the closure of the Al Jazeera TV station and the Turkish military base on its territory, downgrading diplomatic relations with Iran, as well as a total separation with movements such as Hezbollah or even the Muslim Brotherhood.[2] However, although this crisis only pits Persian Gulf countries against each other, apart from Egypt, both sides have tried to win support. Donald Trump has adopted the stance of the Saudi-Emirati side[3] – but the State Department under Rex Tillerson (2017-2018) has always remained cautious –, Europe remains neutral with no leader daring to choose one side rather than another. The confrontation was particularly marked in West Africa. Four countries in this area – Senegal, Mauritania, Chad and Niger – quickly downgraded their diplomatic relations with Qatar shortly after the start of the crisis. However, their strategy vis-à-vis this wealthy gas Emirate has changed considerably over the last twelve months, as Doha's efforts to obtain new support in the rest of West Africa has started to bear fruit.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics
  • Political Geography: Saudi Arabia, West Africa, Senegal, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Gulf Nations
  • Author: Olivier Appert
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: The 14 July 2015 Vienna agreement on Iran’s nuclear activities (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPoA) was a game changer on the geopolitics in the Middle East and for the oil market. The oil sanctions were lifted and Iran increased significantly its production and exports. On 8 May 2018, President Trump announced that the United Stated (US) would withdraw from the agreement. Financial sanctions were reintroduced. From 5 November 2018 onwards, further sanctions will be re-imposed more specifically on petroleum related transactions, including the purchase of petroleum, petroleum products and petrochemical products. What could be the impact of this new embargo? Is there a risk of a new oil supply and price shock?
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Oil, Treaties and Agreements, Sanctions, Global Markets
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Isabelle Rousseau
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: Mexico’s Energy Reform (hereafter, the Reform) enacted on December 20th 2013, and the Secondary Laws adopted on August 11th 2014, marked a milestone in the history and the development of the Mexican energy sector. These major changes were unexpected considering that multiple sectorial reforms pursued since the 1990s had systemically failed to address the structural problems which had been mounting over the years.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Governance, Reform, Legislation, Investment
  • Political Geography: Central America, Mexico