The New York Times — Michael Crowley, Falih Hassan & Eric Schmitt / U.S. strike in Iraq kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian forces
- Iran’s top security and intelligence commander was killed early Friday in a drone strike at Baghdad International Airport that was authorized by President Trump, according to American officials. The commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who led the powerful Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed along with several officials from Iraqi militias backed by Tehran.
- The Iranian leadership convened an emergency security meeting, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a statement calling for three days of public mourning and then retaliation: “His departure to God does not end his path or his mission, but a forceful revenge awaits the criminals who have his blood and the blood of the other martyrs last night on their hands.”
- In killing General Suleimani, Mr. Trump took an action that Presidents Bush and Obama had rejected, fearing it would lead to war between the United States and Iran. While many Republicans said that the president had been justified in the attack, Mr. Trump’s most significant use of military force to date, critics of his Iran policy called the strike a reckless unilateral escalation which could have drastic and unforeseen consequences that could ripple violently throughout the Middle East.
- Foreign Policy — Michael Hirsh / U.S. strike kills one of Iran’s most powerful military leaders
EURACTIV — Samuel Stolton / Digital in 2020: A geopolitical programme
- In terms of how the momentum of 2019 could propel the direction of EU policy in 2020, EURACTIV explains what could be in store, in what will prove to be a ‘geopolitical’ 12 months for digital policy. The European Commission is currently in the process of thrashing out the details of the Digital Services Act (DSA), a new framework due to be put forward in 2020, which will update the decades-old eCommerce directive and establish new rules governing the internet.
- Concerning Artificial Intelligence, Ursula von der Leyen has pledged to deliver a strategy on Artificial Intelligence and Ethics in the first 100 days of the new Commission. Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told his parliamentary hearing in October he would advocate for an ‘ethics-by-design’ approach, whereby products and services using AI take into account ethical guidelines at the earliest possible stage in their development.
- In relation to 5G, EU ministers adopted conclusions concerning the importance of this technology, stressing that an approach to 5G cybersecurity should be comprehensive and risk-based, while also taking into account ‘non-technical factors’. Finally, as part of the EU’s cybersecurity act, cybersecurity certification schemes may become commonplace for a breath of goods and services – the scope of which is still to be hashed out by the Commission working alongside ENISA.
The Washington Post — Kareem Fahim / Turkey’s parliament authorizes troop deployment to Libya as proxy war escalates
- The Turkish Parliament voted on Thursday to approve a request by President Erdogan to send military forces to Libya, setting the stage for deeper Turkish involvement in a civil war that has grown more incendiary as foreign powers have intervened. In addition to the military support, Erdogan’s government has already provided military advice and materiel, including weaponized drones, to Libya’s internationally recognized government.
- Erdogan’s backing of the Tripoli-based government has pitted Turkey against Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, whose governments have provided military support to Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the eastern Libyan forces. Hundreds of Russian mercenaries backed by the Kremlin have also joined Hifter’s campaign to capture the Libyan capital.
- Turkey’s threat to send troops to Libya — which would put Turkish troops on the opposite side of the battle lines from Russian-backed fighters — appeared aimed at providing Ankara with negotiating leverage just days ahead of a planned visit to Turkey by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Brookings — Thomas Wright /A bigger foreign policy mess than anyone predicted
- Every 4 years, the National Intelligence Council publishes a report looking ahead to the next 2 decades. The 2012’s report, “Alternative Worlds” described two scenarios—the best plausible case and the worst one. In the best-case scenario, “China and the United States cooperate on a range of issues, leading to broader global cooperation.” In the worst-case scenario, “the risks of interstate conflict increase. The U.S. draws inward and globalization stalls.”
- The 2010s were far more disruptive than the National Intelligence Council’s worst-case scenario envisioned. It was a horrid decade for those who aspire to a more cooperative and freer world. Today, every region, with the possible exception of Africa, and almost all major countries are in a worse state than 10 years ago.
- What we have learned from the 2010s is that populist nationalism does not contain within it the seeds of its own rapid destruction. The immediate questions confronting traditional internationalists are what type of world are we now in, and what do we do about it? There are basically two camps, which are divided by ideology.
- One group —call it the clash-of-systems school—, argues that we’re seeing a contest between the traditional American-led system of democracy and a Chinese-led system of autocracy. The second camp —pragmatists— worry that describing the world as ideologically divided could become a self-fulfilling prophecy leading to a new cold war. A synthesis between the clash-of-systems school and the pragmatists may point toward a new consensus for a 2020s post-Trump foreign policy.
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.