Weekly Round Up 21th-27th January

Taliban fighters laying down arms

Taliban Peace Talks

Who?
United States Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban Leadership

What?
Discussing lasting peace agreement

Where?
Doha, Qatar

Why is it important, relevant or worth consideration?

The Peace talks are being hailed as a massive step forwards for Afghanistan. US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said that there are still some details to be negotiated. He also put an emphasis on the fact that nothing is negotiated until everything is negotiated. Some of the important points in the peace talks are the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, a lasting cease-fire as well as regions in Eastern Afghanistan not being used to target Pakistan.

The Kabul Government has expressed some concerns however, as they seem to have been cut out of the negotiations all together. It is yet unclear whether the peace talks will come to fruition. The events in Doha do however seem to be the most likely negotiations of their kind in the 17 years since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Full Articles:
AFP
Al-Jazeera
Reuters

US Navy Arleigh Burke Class Guided Missile Destroyers USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) and
USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 53)

Tension in Taiwan Strait

Who?
United States Navy

What?
Sent two warships through Taiwan Strait

Where?
Between Taiwan and mainland China

Why is it important, relevant or worth consideration?
The United States Navy (USN) sent a warship through the waters of the Taiwan strait this week. The waters of the Taiwan strait are contested by both Beijing and Taipei. Beijing continues to regard the island as a breakaway province and periodically calls for peaceful reunification. However Chinese President Xi Jinping has also said that China is not unwilling to use force to maintain its territory.

This body of water has high potential for conflict as the United States supports a free and democratic Taiwan but do not officially recognise it as an independent state. This is not the first time the United States Navy has sent warships through the strait. However in the past, this had been a once a year occurrence. Recently, the USN has increased the frequency in which it performs “Freedom of Navigation” operations in the strait which it regards as international waters.

Although neither side is likely to escalate the situation, relations remain tense between Beijing and Washington in light of the ongoing trade war. The situation will require further observation as the potential for escalation remains high.

Full Articles:
Al-Jazeera
Asia Times
CNN
France24
Reuters
South China Morning Post

President Muhammadu Buhari

The future of Nigerian Democracy

Who?
President Muhammadu Buhari

What?
Suspension of Nigerian Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen

Where?
Nigeria, West Africa

Why is it important, relevant or worth consideration?
Three weeks ahead of the upcoming presidential election, President Buhari suspended Chief Justice Onnoghen on allegations of being in violation of asset declaration rules. Chief Justice Onnoghen along with others in Nigeria have called this move an act of despotism. The position of Chief Justice has played a critical role in resolving election disputes in the past.

The election observation delegation of the European Union has expressed concern at this unilateral action by President Buhari. Buhari has in turn appointed Tanko Mohammed, a judge from northeastern Nigeria, as acting Chief Justice until the case against Chief Justice Onnoghen has reached its results. It is unsure if this suspension will lead to violence during the election. However, there is potential for violence, protests and riots during and after the upcoming election.

Full Articles:
Al-Jazeera
Al-Jazeera
Associated Press
Reuters

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