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European initiatives for security and development of the G5 Sahel countries

In recent years, the European Union has stepped up the cooperation with Africa’s G5 Sahel countries, made up of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauretania and Niger. Upon the recognition of inter-relations between security and development as main challenges tothe secure environment in the Sahel, the EU’s support towards the region is concentrated around three areas: political partnership, development cooperation and security support.
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Democratization? Zimbabwe before 2018 general elections

The military coup in the Republic of Zimbabwe in November 2017 r. ended almost four-decades-long Robert Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, based on institutional, both in the political and economic spheres, hegemony of ZANU-PF. Permanently violating human rights and accusing the opposition parties of treason and conspiracy, Mugabe and his party have led Zimbabwe to the position of one of the most recognisable fragile states in the south of Africa. The takeover from Mugabe, which also crashed his wife Grace’s political ambitions, made the military believe that replacing the dictator with a new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and establishing a new administration should rescue Zimbabwe from economic breakdown and national security uncertainty. Thus, the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for the summer of 2018 and the relations between the recently-established government and the main opposition force – MDC-T may decide soon whether democracy and economic prosperity could be a feasible prospect for Zimbabwe in the years to come.
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New US national security and defense concepts

The National Security Strategy announced in December 2017 and summary of National Defense Strategy of United States published in January 2018 provide concepts of the national security of the United States and the principles and area of involvement of the US military forces outside the country. These strategic documents indicate a colossal change of strategic directions of US activity when terrorism and climate change are no longer major threats for American security. Nevertheless, both NDS and NSS offer a pessimistic view of American assets. Under Trump the US has entered a new period of clash with former challengers yet competitors nowadays. China and Russia, by challenging international order, international law, free trade, and freedom of information use enormous resources to expand their influence. In this strategic environment the US perceive the world through the lenses of competition, and cooperation is only an option.
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Big challenges for Germany’s grand coalition

After four months of protracted negations between the coalition partners, German politics faces currently a major breakthrough. Three political parties – CDU, CSU and SPD – have signed on the 7thof February 2018 the coalition agreement. However, the Christian Democrats’ position after the negotiations is far frombeing complacent in terms of political success. Having wonthe 2017 parliamentaryelections, now it appears to be a Pyrrhic victory. Still a collapse of the coalition cannot be ruled out. Until early March 2018, members of the SPD are participatingin a postal referendum on the coalition with CDU/CSU. The results are expected to be announced on the 4th of March.The political position of SPD, which is currently recuperating after the electoral failure, makes the political future of Germany still uncertain.
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Operation ‘Olive Branch’ – A Turkish Perspective

Launched in January 2018 by the Turkish Armed Forces, Operation ‘Olive Branch’ can be considered as the next stage of conflict between the Republic of Turkey and various Kurdish insurgent groups. Since the beginning of Syria’s civil war, the government in Ankara has been trying to prevent the emergence of an independent Kurdish state north of Aleppo, pointing to internal security issues. Currently the activities of Turkish troops in Syria have been concentrated in the Afrin Canton. At the same time, a massive campaign in Turkey against the Kurds and their allies (including Americans) has been launched with an active involvement of the leading Turkish politicians, President Erdogan being at the forefront. However, there are some indications that the Turkish intervention in Syria has been made possible only due to a tacit consent from the major powers - Russia and the United States.
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