Last week, a certain number of events took place and are worth paying special attention to.
This Monday, a suicide bomb attack caused the death of 32 young activists in Suruc, Turkey. This town, located near the Syrian border, was hosting a students news conference when the explosion ripped through the Amara Cultura Centre. The attack, allegedly perpetrated by the Islamic State, could have had two purposes, apart from bringing war and terror in Turkey. The first one would be to discourage volunteers seeking to help the town of Kobane by rebuilding it (what some Suruc’s students were planning to do). The second one to reach the refugees having fled fiere fighting between IS and Kurdish fighters in nearby Kobane, and show that IS’ grip has no limit. What is certain for the time being, is that this massacre took a blow to Mr Erdogan’s strategy for Syria : many opposition and leftist papers blamed the AKP party for having failed to secure Turkey and its borders.
This week, the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed Iran nuclear deal negotiated between Tehran and six world powers (the five permanent members and Germany). This resolution authorized the lifting of sanctions in return for Iran curbing sensitive nuclear activities – but also puts in place a « snap back » mechanism in case Iran would not comply. However, the first lifting of sanctions will not happen before the first half of 2016, after IAEA verified Iran is respecting its part of the deal. At the moment, what matters is that both the US and Iran’s Parliament approve the agreement (the former has until mid-September to decide whether to reject the deal or not). That could explain why both head of states are reassuring their legislative branches – Barack Obama specifying through its Defence Secretary that the deal « does not prevent the military option » and Ayatollah Khameini chastising « arrogant US ».
Lingering difficulties can remain, still, here’s the historic shift : on Monday, the Cuban flag was raised at the newly opened embassy in Washington. In the same time, the diplomatic missions of each country became full embassies. As for the American flag in Havana, it will wait until Mr Kerry goes there on 14 August. However, it can be said that Cuba and the US have formally and fully restored diplomatic relations after the agreement struck last year. They will still have to face many challenges, as Cuba is asking for the removal of the 53-year-old US trade embargo and to get back Guantanamo Bay while the US call for a lift of restrictions on Americans wanting to travel to Cuba and a better implementation of human rights.
As one year passed since the MH17 disaster occured, UN members are fighting over which resolution to adopt. Malaysia has submitted the first one, proposing to establish an international tribunal – and has found the official support of many countries such as Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Ukraine, many Western countries such as the United Kingdom voicing a less formal support. After Russia’s President Vladimir Putin described the establishment of a tribunal as « premature » and « counterproductive », the UN russian delegation submitted a rival resolution to the UN Security Council, that would « demand that the perpetrators of the aerial incident be brought to justice » without any need for such a tribunal. A proposal that is unlikely to convince Western countries, as the most likely scenario is that the MH17 plane was shot down by a Buk surface-to-air missile launched from territory held-by Russian backed separatists.