ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 28/11/2017

Foreign Policy—Patrick B. Johnston & Colin B. Clarke / Is the Philippines the next Caliphate?

  • The Islamic State is already thinking about how to regroup. In the Philippines, the jihadis seized and held the city of Marawi for three months, and exerted a grim cost on the country’s security forces to retake it.
  • Technically, militants in the Philippines never received official Islamic State wilayat — franchise —  status. However, there are strong ideological links that have even extended to something more tangible. The core group reportedly sent nearly $2 million to militants in the Philippines to help the group wage battle in Marawi.
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed Marawi “liberated” on Oct. 17, but looming insecurity and a humanitarian crisis will pose a major challenge to reconstruction efforts in Marawi, and extremism is likely to increase in response to the bloody government counterterror campaign.
  • With its Middle Eastern strongholds destroyed, the Islamic State is likely to become more fragmented and to shift greater attention to new regions. And with its caliphate gone, the Islamic State may attempt to revisit its strategy of designating official franchise groups.

Financial Times—Guy Chazan & Tobias Buck / Germany’s Schulz puts stronger EU on coalition wishlist

  • Martin Schulz, the German Social Democrat leader, said he would make “strengthening the EU” a priority of any future coalition government, in a sign that the SPD could back Emmanuel Macron’s ideas for reform of the eurozone.
  • His comments came as Angela Merkel, the chancellor, made a formal offer of coalition talks to the SPD.
  • “We don’t know where the talks we are entering into will lead,” Schulz said. “All options are on the table.”
  • “The question of whether we need a eurozone budget and if so how it will be financed, the question of whether we need a European finance minister who can tackle tax dumping inside the member states of the currency union . . . These are things that need an answer,” Schulz added.

Al-Monitor—Ayla Jean Yackley / Trump promises to end ‘nonsense’ of arming Syrian Kurds, Turkey says

  • US President Donald Trump appeared to bow to Turkish demands when he reportedly told his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the Pentagon would stop arming Syrian Kurds.
  • “[Trump] clearly said that this nonsense should have been ended sooner,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated. The White House’s readout of the call between Trump and Erdogan was more ambiguous.
  • Trump’s reported pledge came as the US-led coalition continues to battle IS in pockets of Syria and raised concerns about the post-conflict period, when the Kurds are expected to play a central role in rebuilding shattered cities, promoting civilian governance and preventing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from retaking control of areas they now run.
  • “[US Defense Secretary James] Mattis recently emphasized the importance of preventing areas freed from the Islamic State from returning to the militants’ control. This statement signals that the United States will not exit areas controlled by the SDF anytime soon, and Kurdish authorities have the same view,” said Mutlu Civiroglu, a Kurdish affairs analyst.
  • After meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani last week, Erdogan signaled he might even be willing to negotiate with their ally Assad.

The Guardian—Gethin Chamberlain / Why climate change is creating a new generation of child brides

  • Many experts are warning about a real and growing crisis: the emergence of a generation of child brides as a direct result of a changing climate.
  • Families that would once have been able to feed and educate several children now face an impossible situation, due to temperatures rising, rains becoming less predictable and coming later, and sometimes even flooding.
  • Across the whole of Africa, Unicef warned in 2015 that the total number of child brides could more than double to 310 million by 2050 if current trends continue.
  • “We do not have detailed figures, but I would say 30% to 40% of child marriages in Malawi are due to the floods and droughts caused by climate change,” said Mac Bain Mkandawire, executive director of Youth Net and Counselling.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. 

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