ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 16/10/2018

File:大巴扎 China Xinjiang Urumqi Welcome you to tour the, Китай Синьцз - panoramio - jun jin luo (1).jpg

South China Morning Post – Mimi Lau / How China defines religious extremism and how it justifies Xinjiang re-education camps for Muslims

  • Xinjiang, a region in the far west of China, enacted this week a legislative amendment to recognize its controversial re-education camps, which are referred to as “vocational training centers”.
  • A UN committee said it had received “credible reports” that the camps are holding up to a million ethnic minority Uygurs and other Muslims and subjecting them to enforced political indoctrination.
  • The revision focused on recognizing the use of training centers as part of the Xinjiang authorities’ efforts to eliminate “religious extremism”. There have been reports that those who have worked, studied or simply travelled overseas have been targeted by the deradicalization program.
  • Detainees have described the intense psychological pressure they were placed under and complained of harsh physical punishments such as food and sleep deprivation, as well as beatings.

Al-Monitor – AFP / Australia mulling embassy move to Jerusalem: PM

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he was “open-minded” to proposals to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move his nation’s embassy to the holy city.
  • The surprise announcement came just days before a crucial parliamentary byelection in a heavily Jewish Sydney constituency where the candidate for Morrison’s Liberal party, a former ambassador to Israel, is trailing in opinion polls. A loss in the election would wipe out Morrison’s one-seat majority in parliament.
  • Morrison came to power last month after a revolt by hardline conservatives in the Liberal party ousted his more moderate predecessor, Malcolm Turnbull, whose government had explicitly distanced itself from the decision by Trump to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Foreign Policy – Stephen M. Walt / This is America’s Middle East strategy on steroids

  • Far from disengaging from the Middle East, President Donald Trump has if anything doubled down on US support for America’s traditional client states in the region. This is occurring during a period when each of these allies is becoming less deserving of unconditional US support.
  • Under Trump, the US is jeopardizing relations with long-standing democratic allies in Europe and giving them additional reason to create an alternative to the US dollar-based financial system. It is doing so in order to gratify a set of increasingly problematic Middle East clients. Such a swap makes no strategic or moral sense.
  • Washington should gradually turn European security issues back over to Europeans while remaining diplomatically and economically engaged. However, Trump’s policies are making it more likely that a future split with Europe will be as bitter and contentious as possible.

Brookings – Sharan Grewal & Shadi Hamid / Tunisia just lost its anchor of stability. That’s a good thing.

  • On September 24, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi announced the end of a four-year alliance between his secular party, Nidaa Tounes, and the Islamist party Ennahda.
  • The agreements that the two parties struck in 2013 likely prevented a democratic collapse. However, with over 80 percent of the parliament in the ruling coalition, there has been no real opposition to exert a check on the government.
  • Too much consensus facilitated the counterrevolutionary tendencies and interests of Nidaa Tounes and the remnants of the former autocratic regime. The very instability that Nidaa Tounes and Ennahda had hoped to avoid through consensus is instead manifesting in an even less controllable form through regular protests of angry, frustrated youth.
  • Tunisia’s nascent party system would benefit from having both parties retreat to their voter bases and develop competing political and economic agendas ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. The summaries above may include word-for-word excerpts from their respective pieces.  

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