The EPP, the Paraguayan guerrilla group that grew out of political carelessness

The Paraguayan People's Army, which emerged in 2008, has created a conflict that has already claimed around 100 lives.

The Paraguayan People's Army, which emerged in 2008, has created a conflict that has already claimed around 100 lives.

Marxist guerrillas in Latin America are a thing of the past. This conviction led to an underestimation of the emergence in 2008 of the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP), which since then has carried out a hundred violent actions, especially in rural areas of the northeast of the country. The conflict has claimed a hundred dead and wounded; there have also been kidnappings of public figures, which have given the EPP special media coverage. The creation of a controversial special military-police corps has failed to achieve the goal goal of putting an end to the group, leading to criticism of the government's management of the problem.

article / Eduardo Villa Corta

The Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) was considered from the outset to be a small group of radicals who would have little to do. However, in barely ten years it has become an organisation capable of confronting the Paraguayan state: it has carried out a hundred terrorist actions, including a dozen kidnappings, causing some sixty deaths and a hundred wounded.

EPP zones of influence (light red) and places where there has been instructions of group (dark red) [Mikelelgediento] [Mikelelgediento].

EPP zones of influence (light red) and places where there has been instructions of group (dark red) [Mikelelgediento] [Mikelelgediento].

With a issue of activists ranging from thirty in its hard core to two hundred if its support networks are taken into account, the EPP has been a problem for the government for several years, which has been unable to dismantle it: 30 militants have died in confrontations with the forces of law and order and a hundred have been arrested, but the image offered by the authorities is one of ineffectiveness. The Paraguayan government's negative credit also includes the fact that it did not take seriously the threat posed by the creation of group and its first actions.

The EPP was officially formed on 1 March 2008. Although its founders and main leaders had already planned the creation of group prior to this date, its roots go back to 1992 and the Free Fatherland Party, as documented by researcher Jeremy McDermott. The EPP presents itself as an armed group against the "bourgeois liberal" parliamentary system, but above all it is a Marxist movement that promotes the uprising of Paraguay's peasantry, hence its attempts to take root in the rural north-east of the country.

The 2008 presidential victory of Fernando Lugo at the head of a left-wing alliance, ending six decades of political dominance by the Colorado Party, may have encouraged the formation of the EPP, which then felt justified in its actions with Lugo's removal in 2012 through a controversial impeachment trial in parliament that was labelled by Lugo's supporters as a coup d'état.

The first EPP attack, on 16 March 2008, consisted of the burning of agricultural machinery at department de Concepción. The next was in December of the same year, with an attack on a barracks in Tacuatí, in the department of San Pedro. Since then, their movements have focused especially between the south of the first of these Departments and the north of the second.

Despite being a more or less delimited area, dismantling the EPP is not easy because the EPP's modus operandi makes its movements unpredictable. This is because, as McDermott explains, group does not act like other insurgent organisations, such as the FARC. The core of the EPP is made up of around thirty fighters full-time, most of whom have family ties. They are led by the ringleaders Alcides Oviedo and his wife Carmen Villalba, who are in prison; one of the leaders on the ground is Oswaldo Villalba. In addition, there are some fifty activists part-time, a logistical network that could number up to two hundred people and local sympathisers who, without being very involved in the cause, provide information on search operations by the security forces. The group suffered in 2014 the split of one of its columns, which was renamed association Campesina Armada (ACA) and in 2018, from agreement with the authorities, the EPP split into two groups to face pressure from the security forces.

The aforementioned figures speak of a small group , far from the 8,000 members that the FARC had in 2016 at the time of its demobilisation, or the 4,000 members that the ELN currently has in Colombia, or the 3,000 that were attributed to the Chilean Frente Patriótico Manuel Rodríguez. group Although the EPP bears more resemblance to the latter, its operational cessation in 1999 left the FARC as the main training ground for those who would later create the EPP, as evidenced by the documentation found in the computer of FARC leader Raúl Reyes and the kidnapping of businesswoman Cecilia Cubas, daughter of a former Paraguayan president, at the end of 2004.

This action marked what has been a line of action of the EPP. Since 2008, in addition to extortion and assaults in order to finance itself, the group has carried out kidnappings in order to achieve greater media impact. order These have been carried out against relatives of former presidents of the country or high-level political figures profile , for whose release ransoms in excess of five million dollars have been paid, although lower figures have been agreed in negotiations. It is usually agreed that submit part of the money will be in cash and part in foodstuffs for the villages around the EPP's area of operations.

The group has also carried out extortions and assaults in those areas where it operates, demanding "revolutionary taxes" from landowners and cattle ranchers, from whom they also steal cattle and food to meet the organisation's daily sustenance needs.

Other notable actions carried out by the EPP are bomb attacks. For example, there was an attack against the Supreme Court of Justice in Asunción at the beginning of the operations of group. A more recent attack was perpetrated on 27 August 2016 against a military vehicle in the eastern area of Concepción: the explosives went off as the convoy passed by and then the terrorists liquidated the survivors with firearms; eight soldiers were killed in the attack. According to the authorities, this event marked a leap in the EPP's operations, from a group seeking economic resources to an organisation with greater operational and military capacity.

To confront the EPP, President Horacio Cartes created the Joint Task Force (FTC) in 2013 in response to evidence that police action was not effective, in part because of possible internal corruption. The JTF is composed of members of the Armed Forces, the National Police and the National Anti-Drugs administrative office , under the command of a military officer and reporting directly to the president. The more expeditious nature of this unit has generated some controversy in the social and political discussion .

The EPP's most recent operation was the kidnapping of former Paraguayan vice-president Óscar Denis on 9 September 2020. For the release of Denis, leader of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party and active participant in Lugo's impeachment, the terrorists demand the release of their leaders, Alcides Oviedo and Carmen Villalba, as well as the submission of food for the rural areas where they operate. The organisation's deadline expired a few days later without the government heeding their request. There have been citizen mobilisations demanding Denis' release and the status is being followed in the country with concern, putting President Mario Abdo Benítez in a tight spot.

Categories Global Affairs: Security and defence Articles Latin America

[Francisco Cancio, Enmienda: una revisión de la causa y el actuar argentino en la Guerra de las Malvinas (Náutica Robinsón: Madrid, 2020), 406 pages].

review / Ignacio Cristóbal

This is an excellent book that analyses some of the controversial issues of the Falklands War (1982). The author, Francisco Cancio, is an expert on the subject and has made a conscientious search for information over the years during his visits to Argentina and the UK.

This is not a book on the history of the Falklands War; there are other manuals that explain it very well, but here the author has tried to do something else. Whoever opens the book should either have some knowledge of what happened in the South Atlantic, or else acquire it before delving into its pages.

In my case, it was not difficult to get "hooked" by reading the book. From the data the author gives, he had similar experiences to mine. I, too, watched the news in the spring of 1982 sitting next to my father, a military man; for our generation it was our first war. And like him, who on his trips to the UK, I imagine to practise his English language , used to dive into British bookshops in search of documentation, I too found out about the Falklands when I was there perfecting my English, going to museums and bookshops and the barracks in Colchester, the town where I spent two summers, to talk to veterans of the conflict. You will be forgiven, therefore, for this involvement staff, for letting my sympathy for the Argentine side go somewhat, while admiring the professionalism shown by the British troops.

The Falklands War was a full-scale war from a military point of view. There were air and naval engagements; submarine and satellite intervention; landing and ground operations by special operations units, as well as unit actions at battalion level. It is very welcome that the first chapter, graduate "Genesis", while introducing the conflict begins to "prick balloons" about the real reason for going to war.

And the chapters go on to deal with issues such as the "Super Etendart and the Exocet", where we imagine the Argentine naval pilots training in Brittany, France, and leaving the flag flying high, as it should have been. Interest is heightened when the author delves into the intelligence operations to "arm", without an "instruction book", the missiles that were already in Argentina. The French government played a complicated role in the conflict, but the diplomatic (it was a member of NATO) took precedence over the commercial. It was the French technicians who were sent to Argentina who did the "do de pecho" by siding with Argentina and juggling to avoid creating more problems in the international balance.

The chapter on land operations is excellent and makes a strong case for the Argentine forces who had to contend with the enemy and the lack of logistical support from the mainland. In those days there was a discussion in public opinion about the dichotomy of "conscript army" versus "professional army". The chapter makes clear the damage the Argentines inflicted on the reconquistadors, but also their adverse status : the lack of basic means for resistance, counterattack and, why not say it, hunger and cold. 

The naval part is dealt with in two interesting chapters that tell the story of the submarine "San Luis", which was bothering the British fleet throughout the war. If there had been no war, this submarine would have stayed in port. This is the standard of those brave submariners. The other chapter is about the failed meeting, due to lack of wind, of the two fleets. It is possibly one of the most critical moments of the battle. Had there been wind, the Argentinean Navy's A-4 Skyhawks could have driven the British fleet back to their home ports.

A separate chapter is "La guerra en los cielos" (The war in the skies), which covers some of the most courageous operations of the Argentinean pilots in those days. The author puts us in the cockpits of the fighter planes whose images still make our hair stand on end. Without wanting to give anything away to the reader, the interview with the former head of the Argentine Air Force in those days is for me the best part of the book. It should not be forgotten that he was a member of the military board and the data he reveals about the "Russianfinancial aid " are very interesting and unknown.

And finally, the long-awaited chapter "The Attack on the Invincible", which deals with probably the most compromising wartime action of the entire war. The author scrupulously analyses the operation to attack one of the two British aircraft carriers, the Invincible, with a clarity that makes it clear that something happened.

"Amendment" is therefore a highly recommendable book for those who already have some knowledge of the Falklands War knowledge , but at the same time it can also arouse the curiosity of others who, without being initiated in this conflict, can help themselves in their reading by consulting basic information available on the internet. It was a unique contest, in which a country in the southern part of the world put the second NATO power in check, aided by the first and a neighbouring country. As Admiral Woodward, commander of the British fleet, said in his memoirs, "people don't know how close Britain came to losing the war". A fine final epitaph from a military professional who surely recognised the professionalism, courage and bravery of the enemy.

* Expert in military affairs

Categories Global Affairs: Security and defence Book reviews Latin America

The current president made only one visit, also at the framework of the G-20, compared to the six that Bush and Obama made in their first four years.

International travel does not tell the whole story about a president's foreign policy, but it does give some clues. As president, Donald Trump has only travelled once to Latin America, and then only because the G20 summit he was attending was being held in Argentina. It is not that Trump has not dealt with the region - of course, Venezuela policy has been very present in his management- but the fact that he has not made the effort to travel to other countries on the continent reflects the more unilateral character of his policy, which is not very focused on gaining sympathy among his peers.

signature in Mexico in 2018 of the free trade agreement between the three North American countries [department of State, USA].

▲ signature in Mexico in 2018 of the free trade agreement between the three North American countries [department of State, USA].

article / Miguel García-Miguel

With only one visit visit to the region, the US president is the one who has made the fewest official visits since Clinton's first term in office, who also visited the region only once. In contrast, Bush and Obama paid more attention to the neighbouring territory, both with six visits in their first term. Trump focused his diplomatic campaign on Asia and Europe and reserved Latin American affairs for visits by the region's presidents to the White House or his Mar-a-Lago resort.

In reality, the Trump administration spent time on Latin American issues, taking positions more quickly than the Obama administration, as the worsening problem in Venezuela required defining actions. At the same time, Trump has discussed regional issues with Latin American presidents during their visits to the US. There has not, however, been an effort at multilateralism or empathy, going to his meeting in their home countries to deal with their problems there.

Clinton: Haiti

The Democratic president made only one visit to the region during his first term in office: visit . refund After the Uphold Democracy operation to bring Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power, on 31 March 1995 Bill Clinton travelled to Haiti for the transition ceremony organised by the United Nations. The operation had consisted of a military intervention by the United States, Poland and Argentina, with UN approval, to overthrow the military board that had forcibly deposed the democratically elected Aristide. During his second term, Clinton paid more attention to regional affairs, with thirteen visits.

Bush: free trade agreements

Bush made his first presidential trip to neighbouring Mexico, where he met with then President Fox to discuss a range of issues. Mexico paid attention to the US government's attention attention to Mexican immigrants, but the two presidents also discussed the functioning of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into force in 1994, and joint efforts in the fight against drug trafficking. The US president had the opportunity to visit Mexico three more times during his first term in office for the purpose of attend multilateral meetings. Specifically, in March 2002, he attended the lecture International Meeting on Financing for the development, organised by the United Nations and which resulted in the Monterrey Consensus; Bush also took the opportunity to meet again with the Mexican president. In October of the same year he attended the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit, which that year was held in the Mexican enclave of Los Cabos. Finally, he set foot on Mexican soil once again to attend the Special Summit of the Americas held in Monterrey in 2004.

During his first term in office, Bush pushed for the negotiation of new free trade agreements with several American countries, which was the hallmark of his administration's policy towards the Western Hemisphere. framework As part of this policy, he travelled to Peru and El Salvador on 23 and 24 March 2002. agreement In Peru, he met with the President of Peru and the Presidents of Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador, in order to reach an agreement to renew the ATPA (Andean Trade Promotion Act), by which the US granted tariff freedom on a wide range of exports from these countries. The matter was finally resolved with the enactment in October of the same year of the ATPDEA (Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act), which maintained tariff freedoms in compensation for the fight against drug trafficking, in an attempt to develop the region economically in order to create alternatives to cocaine production. Finally, in the case of El Salvador, he met with the Central American presidents to discuss the possibility of a Free Trade Agreement with the region (known in English as CAFTA) in exchange for a strengthening of security in the areas of the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism. The treaty was ratified three years later by the US congress . Bush revisited Latin America up to eleven times during his second term.


Graph 1. Own elaboration with data of Office of the Historian


Obama: two Summits of the Americas

Obama began his tour of diplomatic visits to Latin America with attendance to the Fifth Summit of the Americas, held in Port-au-Prince (Trinidad and Tobago). The Summit brought together all the leaders of the sovereign countries of the Americas, with the exception of Cuba, and was aimed at coordinating efforts to recover from the recent crisis of 2008, with mentions of the importance of environmental and energy sustainability. Obama returned to attend in 2012 to the VI Summit of the Americas held this time in Cartagena de Indias (Colombia). No representatives from Ecuador or Nicaragua attended this summit in protest at the exclusion of Cuba to date. Neither the President of Haiti nor Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez attended, citing medical reasons. At the summit, the issues of Economics and security were once again discussed, with the war on drugs and organised crime being of particular relevance, as well as the development of environmental policies. He also took advantage of this visit to announce, together with Juan Manuel Santos, the effective entrance of the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the US, negotiated by the Bush Administration and ratified after some delay by the US congress . The Democratic president also had the opportunity to visit the region on the occasion of the G-20 meeting in Mexico, meeting , but this time the main focus of topic was on solutions to curb the European debt crisis.

In terms of bilateral meetings, Obama undertook a diplomatic tour of Brazil, Chile and El Salvador between 19 and 23 March 2010, meeting with their respective presidents. He used the occasion to resume relations with the Brazilian left that had governed the country since 2002, to reiterate his economic and political alliance with Chile, and to announce a $200 million fund to strengthen security in Central America. During his second term in office, he made up to seven visits, including the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba, which had been paused since the triumph of the Revolution.

Trump: T-MEC

Donald Trump only visited Latin America on one occasion to attend meeting the G-20, a meeting that was not even regional, held in Buenos Aires in December 2018. Among the various agreements reached were the reform of the World Trade Organisation and the commitment of the attendees to implement the measures adopted at the Paris agreement , with the exception of the US, since the president had already reiterated his determination to withdraw from the agreement. Taking advantage of the visit, he signed the T-MEC (Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada, the new name for the renewed NAFTA, the renegotiation of which Trump had demanded) and met with the Chinese president in the context of the trade war. Trump, on the other hand, did not attend the VIII Summit of the Americas held in Peru in April 2018; the trip, which was also supposed to take him to Colombia, was cancelled at the last minute because the US president preferred to remain in Washington in the face of a possible escalation of the Syrian crisis.

The reason for the few visits to the region has been that Trump has directed his diplomatic campaign towards Europe, Asia and to a lesser extent the Middle East, in the context of the trade war with China and the loss of power on the US international stage.


Graph 2. Own elaboration with data of Office of the Historian


Only one trip, but monitoring of the region

Despite having hardly travelled to the rest of the continent, the Republican candidate has paid attention to the region's affairs, but without leaving Washington, as up to seven Latin American presidents have visited the White House. The main focus of the meetings has been the economic development and the reinforcement of security, as usual. Depending on the reality of each country, the meetings revolved more around the possibility of future trade agreements, the fight against drugs and organised crime, preventing the flow of illegal immigration to the United States, and the search to strengthen political alliances. Although the US government website does not list it as an official visit , Donald Trump also met at the White House in February 2020 with Juan Guaidó, recognised as president in charge of Venezuela.

Precisely, if there has been a common topic to all these meetings, it has been the status economic and political crisis in Venezuela. Trump has sought allies in the region to encircle and put pressure on Maduro's government, which is not only an example of continuous human rights violations, but also destabilises the region. The ironclad civil service examination to the regime served Donald Trump as propaganda to gain popularity and try to save the Latino vote in the November 3 elections, and that had its award at least in the state of Florida.


Graph 3. Own elaboration with data of Office of the Historian

Categories Global Affairs: North America World order, diplomacy and governance Articles Latin America

COMMENTARY / Rafael Calduch Torres*.

As tradition dictates since 1845, on the first Tuesday of November, the 3rd, the eligible voters of the fifty states that make up the United States will take part in the fifty-ninth Election Day, the day on which the high school Electoral, which will have to choose between keeping the forty-fifth President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, or electing the forty-sixth, Joe Biden.


But the real problem facing not only the inhabitants of the US, but also the rest of the world's population, is that both Trump and Biden are setting out their international strategy at core topic domestically, following in the wake of the change that took place in the country following the 9/11 attacks and whose fundamental result has been the absence of effective leadership of the American superpower over the last twenty years. For if there is one thing that must be clear to us, it is the fact that none of the candidates, like their predecessors, has a plan to restore the international leadership that the United States enjoyed until the end of the 1990s; On the contrary, what they are urged to do is to solve domestic problems and subordinate international issues, which a superpower of the stature of the US must face, to the solutions adopted domestically. This is one of the serious strategic errors of our era, since strong international leaderships that are coherent with the management of domestic problems have historically allowed the creation of points of meeting in US society that cushion divisions and bring the country together.

However, despite these broad similarities, there is a clear difference between the two candidates in their approach to international issues that will affect the outcome of the choice Americans will make on Tuesday.

"The Power of America's example. With this slogan, Biden's general proposal , much clearer and more accessible than Trump's, develops a plan to lead the democratic world in the 21st century based on using the way in which America's domestic problems will be solved as an example, binding and sustaining its international leadership; it goes without saying that the mere assumption that America's domestic problems are not exactly extrapolable to the rest of the international actors is not even taken into account.

Thus, the Democratic candidate , using a fairly traditional rhetoric on the dignity of leadership, uses the connection between domestic and international reality to propose a programme of national regeneration without specifying how this will succeed in re-establishing the lost international leadership. This approach will be based on two main pillars: the democratic regeneration of the country and the reconstruction of the US class average which, in turn, will underpin other international projects.

Democratic regeneration will be based on strengthening the educational and judicial systems, transparency, the fight against corruption and an end to attacks on the media, and is seen as the instrument for restoring the country's moral leadership, which, in addition to inspiring others, would serve for the US to transfer these US domestic policies to the international arena, for others to follow and imitate through a sort of global league for democracy that seems very nebulous to us.

Meanwhile, the reconstruction of the class average , the same one Trump appealed to four years ago, would involve greater investment in technological innovation and supposedly greater global equity in international trade, from which the United States would benefit the most.

Finally, all of the above would be complemented by a new era in international arms control through a new START treaty between the US and Russia, US leadership in the fight against climate change, an end to interventions on foreign soil, particularly in Afghanistan, and the re-establishment of diplomacy as the backbone of US foreign policy.

"Promises Made, Promises Kept!What is Trump's alternative? The current President does not reveal what his projects are, but he does propose a review of his "achievements" which, we understand, will give us an idea of what his foreign policy will be, which will revolve around the continuity of the US trade rebalancing based, as until now, on shielding US companies from foreign investment, the imposition of new tariffs, the fight against fraudulent trade practices, especially on the part of China, and the restoration of US relations with its allies in Asia/Pacific, the Middle East and Europe, but without specific proposals.

With regard to security, which Trump treats differently, the recipe is increased defence spending, the shielding of US territory against terrorism and opposition to North Korea, Venezuela and Iran, to which will be added the maintenance and expansion of the recent campaign of actions directed specifically against Russia, with the declared goal to contain it in Ukraine and to prevent cyber-attacks.

But the reality is that both candidates will have to face global challenges that they have not considered in their programmes and that will decisively condition their mandates, starting with the management of the pandemic and its economic effects on a global scale and including the growing competition from the European Union, especially as its common military and defence capabilities develop.

As we have just seen, none of the candidates will offer new solutions and therefore the situation is unlikely to improve, at least in the short term deadline.

* PhD in Contemporary History. graduate in Political Science and Administration. Lecturer at the UNAV and the UCJC.

Categories Global Affairs: North America World order, diplomacy and governance Comments

[Iván Garzón, Rebeldes, Románticos y Profetas. La responsabilidad de sacerdotes, políticos e intelectuales en el conflicto armado colombiano ( Bogotá: Ariel, 2020) 330 pp].

review / Paola Rosenberg

Rebels, Romantics and ProphetsThe book "Rebeldes, románticos y profetas" written by Iván Garzón sample the role played by priests, politicians and intellectuals in the internal armed conflict in Colombia and the responsibility they had in it. A war that marked the country politically, economically, socially and ideologically. Revolutionary movements in Latin America were characterised by the use of violence and the employment use of arms to come to power; more or less strong depending on the country, guerrilla groups had a great influence on the course of events in the region during the second half of the 20th century. The essay by Garzón, professor of Political Theory at the Universidad de La Sabana, focuses especially on the role of the Catholic Church in the different movements and on the contradictory ideas and actions that sustained the conflict over time [this is how he sums up his purpose in this article video].

"Rebels, Romantics and Prophets" questions and criticises the responsibility of these groups for the resource of violence and the use of arms to achieve social change in Colombia. Iván Garzón challenges the participants of the armed conflict in Colombia to reflect on their role in the conflict and to assume their responsibility to build a better society. In addition, the book aims to open a discussion on the past, present and future of the role and influence of the Catholic Church and intellectuals in society.

The revolutionary waves in Latin America in those years were strengthened by the Marxist ideas of the time. Those ideas defended that the economic development of the Third World countries was not possible without a break-up of the capitalist market; due to social inequality and class struggle. Therefore, the use of violence had to be advocated in order to come to power. After the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959, guerrilla ideas spread rapidly throughout Latin America. Cuba proved that revolution was possible: through armed struggle and Marxist ideas a social development could be achieved. This is how strong revolutionary movements began to emerge in these countries. Colombia was definitely no exception.

One of the young and main protagonists mentioned in the book is Camilo Torres, who was swept up in the revolutionary waves in Colombia. Also known as "the guerrilla priest" or the "Che Guevara of the Christians", Torres was a very influential leader in Colombia in the second half of the 20th century. A guerrilla priest, a hero to some, but a villain to others. Aged just 37, he died in a troop clash on 15 February 1966, a year after joining the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. Willing to sacrifice his life and take up arms for his country and social change, Torres asserted that revolution was inevitable and had to be contributed to. Different intellectuals assess his figure in the book: some criticise the priest for his "failure" and his incorrect decision to take up arms, others justify him by pointing out that he submitted to a "just war".

Camilo Torres represents the group of the rebels, whom the author describes as the "warriors of a failed revolution". They used arms out of an often religious commitment. They justified violence and saw it as a representation of honour, bravery and submission. The rebels decided to take up arms, go out into the bush and join the guerrilla in order to make the Christian faith effective and help the poor. Many of these rebels like Torres focused on Christianity's primary mandate to love one's neighbour. They felt an obligation to help bring about radical change in the political, economic and social Structures of the country. They wanted a more just society and sacrificed their lives to achieve it, no matter what the means. Many came to the conclusion that the only way to achieve this change was through violent struggle. Their actions sample how the dominant ideas of the time justified the use of violence, going against purely Christian ideas.

In the conflict there was also the group of the "romantics", those who approved of the cause, respected it, but did not get their hands dirty. They were priests, politicians and intellectuals who intervened in the moral and intellectual discussion to justify the reasons for the revolution. They were the passionate ones, the minds behind the acts that directly influenced the warriors who went into the bush to fight.

Finally, there were the "prophets": the priests, politicians and intellectuals who were completely opposed to armed struggle and the use of violence to bring about change in society. The prophets refused to make a pact with the devil and betray the moral values of the Church. They believed that there were other means to achieve social justice; peaceful and bloodless means. In the end, these were the ones who were right; it was a futile, costly and unwinnable struggle.   

In conclusion, both the rebels and the Romantics found in their moral and political visions a full justification for the use of violence. The prophets never approved of this cause, but criticised it by emphasising its secularised and contradictory character. Iván Garzón aims to open a discussion on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the use of violence as a political means to achieve justice.

Today, the word revolution is still linked to violence because of the many traumatic conflicts experienced by many Latin American nations. In Colombia, as in many other countries, the revolutionaries won ideologically, but not in practice. For this reason, it can be concluded that in general, violent internal conflicts only lead to the destabilisation of countries and the loss of innocent lives. The book attempts to make religious and intellectual participants in armed conflict reflect on their responsibility or guilt in the armed conflict. This discussion between criticism or justification of the armed struggle is still necessary today because of the constant threat to democratic institutions in Latin America.

Categories Global Affairs: Security and defence Book reviews Latin America

WORKING PAPER / María del Pilar Cazali


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The Brexit deal has led to a shift in the UK's relationship not only with the European Union but also with other countries around the world. Africa is key in the new relationships the UK is trying to build outside from the EU due to their historical past, the current Commonwealth link, and the important potential trade deals. This article looks to answer how hard the UK will struggle with competition in the African country as an individual state, no longer member of the EU. These struggles will be especially focused on trading aspects, as they are the most important factors currently for the UK in the post-Brexit era, and it's also the strongest focus of the EU in Africa.

Categories Global Affairs: European Union World order, diplomacy and governance Documents of work

[Peter Zeihan, Desunited Nations. The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World (New York: Harper Collins, 2020) 453 pgs]

review / Emili J. Blasco

Desunited Nations. The Scramble for Power in an Ungoverned World The world seems to be heading towards what Peter Zeihan calls "the great disorder". His is not a doomsday vision of the international order for the mere pleasure of wallowing in pessimism, but a fully reasoned one. The retreat of the United States is leaving the world without the ubiquitous presence that secured the global structure we have known since the Second World War, forcing other countries into more insecure intercontinental trade and to seek their livelihoods in an environment of "disunited nations".

Zeihan has long been drawing consequences from his seminal idea, set out in his first book, The Accidental Superpower (2014): the success of fracking has given the US energy independence, so it no longer needs Middle Eastern oil and will progressively withdraw from much of the world. In his next book, The Absent Superpower (2016), he detailed how US withdrawal will leave other countries unable to secure important maritime trade routes and reduce the proliferation of developed contacts in this era of globalisation. The latter has now been accelerated by the Covid pandemic, which came as a third volume, Desunited Nations (2020), was about to be published. Zeihan did not have time to include a reference letter to the ravages of the virus, but there was no need because his text went in the same direction in any case.

Zeihan, a geopolitical analyst who worked with George Friedman at Stratfor and now has his own signature, looks this time at how the different powers will adapt to the 'great disorder' and which of them have the best prospects. The book is "about what happens when the global order is not only crumbling, but when many leaders feel that their countries will be better off tearing it down". And it's not just about the Trump administration: "the push for American retreat did not start with Trump, nor will it end with him," says Zeihan.

The author believes that, in the new outline, the United States will remain a superpower, China will not achieve a hegemonic position and Russia will continue its decline. Among other minor powers, France will lead the new Europe (not Germany; while the British are "doomed to a multi-year depression"), Saudi Arabia will give more concern to the world than Iran and Argentina will have a better future than Brazil.

To focus on the US-China rivalry, it would be good to pick up on some of Zeihan's arguments for his scepticism about the consolidation of China's rise.

To be an effective superpower, China needs greater control of the seas. The problem is not to build a large, outward-facing navy, but, since it is already difficult to sustain such a huge effort over time, it must also simultaneously have "a huge defensive navy and a huge air force and a huge internal security force and a huge army and a huge intelligence system and a huge special forces system and a global deployment capability".

For Zeihan, the question is not whether China will be the next hegemon, which "it cannot be", but "whether China can even hold together as a country". The impossibility of feeding its entire population on its own, the lack of sufficient energy sources of its own, strong territorial imbalances and demographic constraints, such as the fact that there are 41 million Chinese men under the age of 40 who will never be able to marry, are all factors that work against China's ability to remain united.

It is not uncommon for American authors to predict a future collapse of China. However, episodes such as the coronavirus, initially seen as a serious stumbling block for Beijing, have never really cut short the forward march of the Asian colossus, even though China's economic growth figures have naturally been moderating over the years. This is why many people's bad omens can sometimes be interpreted more as wishful thinking than realistic analysis. Zeihan certainly writes in a somewhat "loose" manner, with blunt assertions that seek to shake the reader, but his geopolitical axioms seem to be generally endorsed: if you boil down what he says in his three books, you have a clear notice of where the world is supposed to be going; and that is where it is indeed going.

Categories Global Affairs: World order, diplomacy and governance Book reviews Global

COMMENTARY / Juan Luis López Aranguren

If traditional diplomacy is understood as relations exercised between official representatives of states, in recent years a new concept of diplomacy has gained popularity and has become increasingly important in relations between nations: cultural diplomacy. Assuming that culture is the vehicle through which nations communicate with each other, cultural diplomacy is the exchange of culture, ideas and information that nations around the world engage in to achieve mutual understanding in order to advance the building of a more just and stable world. In this context, the celebration of the Olympic Games is one of the most important cultural diplomacy events that a nation can achieve to project and share its culture and identity with the rest of the world. In this sense, Japan reaffirmed its position as a global benchmark in this diplomacy with its public appearance at the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared in the guise of the world-famous character Mario to pick up the baton for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In this way, Japan used an icon of Japanese pop culture to project its cultural identity to the entire world. 

In this dimension of soft power or cultural diplomacy, the Olympic Games are the greatest exponent of it. Already at their origin, in 776 BC, the Olympic Games proved to be a diplomatic tool of extraordinary strength by forcing a sacred truce between the different city-states participating in them. Therefore, from the very beginning, it was possible to achieve international political objectives by using this cultural tool . This measure was observed to the extent that if any city-state violated this truce, its athletes were expelled from the competition.

This same demonstration has been repeated in more recent times, demonstrating that the Olympics have been a diplomatic battleground throughout history. In 1980 the US and 65 other countries boycotted the Moscow Olympics in protest at the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. In retaliation, the USSR and 13 other states boycotted the next Olympics in 1984 in Los Angeles.

The upcoming Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games (delayed by one year due to the pandemic) do not carry any controversy from this subject. Instead they have been conceived as a historic opportunity for the country to reinvent itself internally and globally after the Fukushima (or Great East Japan Earthquake) catastrophe. C To this end, an official project graduate Tokyo 2020 Action & Legacy Plan 2016 has been launched, which aims to achieve three objectives: firstly, to maximise the connection of Japanese citizens and communities with the Tokyo Olympics. Secondly, to maximise cultural projection both nationally and globally. Thirdly and lastly, to ensure a valuable bequest for future generations, as was the case with the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games.

These three objectives set out by the Japanese government will be manifested in five dimensional pillars on which action will be taken. These five pillars are articulated in the manner of Olympic rings, intertwining with each other and strengthening the domestic and international impact of these Olympic Games. These dimensions are, starting with the most immediate to the purely sporting aspect itself, the promotion of sport and health. The second, connecting with culture and Education. The third, also of great importance for its potential to reform Tokyo in particular and Japan in general, is urban planning and sustainability. Not surprisingly, the Japanese government and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government have made great efforts to build ambitious infrastructure to accommodate the Olympics, even to the extent of relocating the famous and iconic Tsukiji fish market that has been a symbol of the city since 1935. Fourthly, the Olympics will be used to revive Economics and technological innovation, in the same way as the 1964 Tokyo Olympics did when it showcased the first Shinkansen or bullet trains that have become one of Japan's technological icons. Finally, fifthly, Japan saw the Olympics as an opportunity to overcome the crisis and trauma caused by the Fukushima disaster (a catastrophe that is referred to in Japan as the Great East Japan Earthquake).

In addition to these five objectives, which range from the more specific to the more general, a sixth goal or unofficial dimension will be added in 2020: to project Japan's recovery from the COVID pandemic both domestically and internationally. In this sense, the Olympic Games will not only be a symbol of overcoming a particular Japanese disaster, but may also enable Japan to position itself as a model in the management against the pandemic and in promoting economic recovery.

Categories Global Affairs: Asia World order, diplomacy and governance Comments

The deterioration of the small Mediterranean country's status benefits Hezbollah and its patron saint, Iran.

With four different prime ministers so far this year, it is difficult to escape the vicious circle in which Lebanon finds itself, so that the continuity of the current political system and the severe financial crisis seem inevitable. From this perpetuation emerge some possibilities, almost all of them bleak, for Lebanon's future. Here are some of these scenarios.

State of the port of Beirut after the explosion of 4 August 2020 [Mehr News Agency/Wikipedia].

State of the port of Beirut after the explosion on 4 August 2020 [Mehr News Agency/Wikipedia].

article / Salvador Sánchez Tapia

To say that the Lebanese political system is dysfunctional is nothing new. development Based on a sectarian balance of power established in 1989 after a long civil war, it perpetuates the existence of clientelistic networks, encourages corruption, hampers the country's economic development and hinders the creation of a transversal Lebanese national identity that transcends religious confessions.

For some time now, Lebanon has been immersed in an economic and social crisis of such magnitude that many analysts are wondering whether we are facing a new case of state failure. In October 2019, the country was rocked by a wave of demonstrations that the government itself considered unprecedented, triggered by the executive's advertisement attempt to tackle the serious economic crisis with several unpopular measures, including a tax on the use of the popular Whatsapp application. The protests, initially focused on this issue, soon incorporated complaints against rampant corruption, the uncontrolled increase in the cost of living, and the lack of employment and opportunities in the country.

Popular pressure forced the resignation of the unity government led by Saad Hariri later that month. The government was replaced in January 2020 by a more technical profile government led by former Education minister Hassan Diab. The new government had little room for reform before the coronavirus pandemic was declared, and soon found itself beset by the same street pressure that had toppled the previous government, with demonstrations continuing despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.

The devastating explosion in early August 2020 in the port of Beirut only further plunged the country into the downward spiral in which it was already mired. Despite voices that tried to see the hand of Israel or Hezbollah behind the catastrophe that took the lives of 163 people, the Lebanese population soon realised that this was merely the logical consequence of years of corruption, bureaucratic sloppiness and withdrawal of the national infrastructure. Again there was a crescendo of popular outrage; again the government was forced to resign at plenary session of the Executive Council.

With echoes of the explosion still lingering, at the end of August Mustafa Adib, Lebanon's former ambassador to Germany, was tasked by President Aoun to form a government. Unable to complete the arduous task, not least because of Hezbollah's insistence on controlling the Finance Ministry, Adib resigned on 26 September, leaving the country on the brink of the precipice it still finds itself on.

It is difficult to predict Lebanon's future, beyond predicting that it looks bleak, as a complex dynamic of internal and external forces grips the country. Despite the pressure, at least from urbanised and cosmopolitan Beirut, to end it, it is enormously complex to untangle the tangled web of clientelistic networks that have controlled the country since independence, not only because of the benefits it has generated for a small privileged group , but also because many fear the alternatives to a model that, for all its faults, has avoided a repeat of the savage civil war that took place between 1975 and 1990.

Its geographic status makes it difficult for Lebanon to escape the general climate of instability in the Middle East and the influence exerted on the country by regional and international actors such as Israel, Iran, Syria and France, especially considering that the problems of the Levant are so deep and its national leadership so weak that it does not seem to be able to overcome them on its own.

Lebanon's plight is that its own sectarian division makes it difficult for nations to emerge that are willing to donate on a cross-cutting basis to help bridge the divide that divides the country internally, and that the financial aid it may receive from actors such as Iran or Saudi Arabia only reinforces it. The efforts of French President Emmanuel Macron, self-appointed as the driving force behind Lebanese reconstruction, do not seem, for the moment, to be gaining momentum. At the donors' lecture he convened on 9 July with fifteen heads of state, he secured contributions worth $250 million to revitalise Lebanon's moribund Economics . Meanwhile, Beirut's mayor estimates the reconstruction costs of the August explosion in the capital's port at between $3 billion and $5 billion.

As a mirror image of this difficulty, Lebanese communities, comfortably ensconced in the status quo, reject an undoubtedly necessary financial aid if they feel it might be detrimental to their respective power instructions . Hezbollah, for example, does not accept IMF programmes, complicating the achievement of the necessary national consensus that would facilitate IMF support. It is difficult to escape this vicious circle, so that the continuation of the current political system, and with it the continuation of Lebanon's severe financial crisis, seems inevitable. From this perpetuation come some possibilities, almost all of them bleak, for the Lebanese future. The first is that Lebanon will continue to slide down the inclined plane that is turning it into a failed state, and that this condition will eventually lead to a civil war precipitated by events similar to those that occurred during the Arab Spring in other states in the region. Such an eventuality would resurrect the ghosts of the past, produce regional instability that is difficult to measure but which would undoubtedly provoke intervention by regional and international actors, and could ultimately dismember the country, result which would only sow the seeds of further instability throughout the region.

Without going to that extreme, the internal turmoil could break the precarious balance of power on which Lebanese political life is based, to the benefit of one of its sectarian groups. Hezbollah, the undisputed leader of the country's Shia faction, appears here as the most organised and strongest group within the country and, therefore, as the one that stands to gain the most from this breakdown. It should be borne in mind that, in addition to the support of internship all 27 percent of Lebanese Shiites, the militia organisation is viewed favourably by many members of the divided Christian community - some 45 percent of the country's population - who put their desire for an internal Security Service in the country before other considerations. Aware of this, Hezbollah's leader Hasan Nasrallah is sample moderate in his proposals, seeing the Sunni community, supported by Saudi Arabia, as his real rival, and seeking to broaden his power base.

Iran would undoubtedly be the real winner in this scenario, as it seems unrealistic to think of a Hezbollah that, once it has come of age, would have a life of its own outside the ayatollahs' regime. With this new piece, Tehran would complete the Shia arc that connects Iran with Iraq and, through Syria, with the Eastern Mediterranean. The destabilising effects of such a move status, however, cannot be underestimated if one considers that the mere possibility of the Islamic Republic of Iran taking full control of Lebanon constitutes a casus belli for Israel.

In a positive grade , the serious crisis the country is going through and the strong popular pressure, at least in urban areas, may, paradoxically, be a spur to overcome the sectarian system that has contributed so much to generate this status. However, such a transition only stands a chance of progress - however tenuous - with strong external wholesale support.

In this scenario, the role of the international community should not be limited to providing economic resources to prevent the country's collapse. Its involvement must favour the development and sustain civic-political movements with an intersecting base that are capable of replacing those who perpetuate the current system. To this end, in turn, it is imperative that contributing nations lend their financial aid vision, renouncing any attempt to shape a Lebanon to suit their respective national interests, and forcing the elites who control the factions to abdicate the status quo in favour of a true Lebanese identity. The obvious question is: is there any real chance of this happening? The reality, unfortunately, does not allow for much hope.

Categories Global Affairs: Middle East Security and defence Articles

Ankara is implementing a strategic plan for the control of the three maritime zones surrounding the country.

Parade of members of the Turkish Naval Force [Nérostrateur].

▲ Parade of members of the Turkish Naval Force [Nérostrateur].

ANALYSIS / Lucas Martín*.

Several recent Turkish actions indicate the implementation of the so-called "Blue Homeland" doctrine.

Among the various facts to be taken into account we can take as an initial element the agreement signed with one of the two contenders for power in Libya, the GNA to be more precise.

Through it, the GNA de facto handed over control of Libyan territorial waters to Turkey while establishing a maritime corridor for Ankara in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

The importance of having de facto control of these waters is not only the enormous volume of maritime traffic that passes through them, but also the fact that they contain strategic natural gas reserves and are also a transit area for several gas pipelines supplying Europe.

If we add this treaty to Turkey's movements in the Mediterranean, the Aegean, as well as its involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Libya, we see that they are but different but complementary parts of an ambitious plan that Ankara has been carefully plotting for several years to gain maritime control of the Eastern Mediterranean and adjacent areas. The ultimate goal of this plan is to give Turkey economic and energy independence that will ensure the country's growth in all areas.

"Mavi Vatam" - Blue Homeland

The so-called "Gerasimov Doctrine", which theorises the evolution of military conflicts and provides guidelines for action in today's framework , is well known. But it is much less well known that a country like Turkey developed its own doctrine almost two decades ago in an attempt to outline the geostrategic moves needed to achieve basic objectives for the Turkish nation's development and achieve its leading role in the international concert.

The father of this plan is Admiral Cem Gurdeniz, and it was first presented in 2006 under the name "Blue Homeland Doctrine".

The Admiral bases his theory on three pillars, which would take too long to discuss in detail. However, it is interesting to dwell at least briefly on the second pillar. Under this, Gurdeniz defines what he considers to be the areas of maritime jurisdiction that belong to Turkey and that he values as vital for its survival and development. These encompass areas of the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. By defining these he establishes territorial waters, the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

agreement The admiral himself acknowledges that the problem is far from being in the Black Sea, where an agreement was reached with the former Soviet Union to establish the limits of the continental shelf in 1978 and later, in 1987, the EEZ. Moreover, after the demise of the USSR, agreements were reached with Georgia, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

The issue is centred on the Mediterranean and the Aegean. Precisely the current epicentre of events.

The current established limits, EEZ agreements, etc., have been imposed on Turkey by the EU, according to our protagonist, who considers them particularly burdensome with regard to the Greek zone and Cyprus. Turkey places the onus on the EU to prevent Turkey's development to some extent, which is interesting when Turkey itself has tried to join the Union.

The pivot on which Turkey's recent actions have hinged is defiance. And this is found again in the admiral's own words, which state that the "Blue Homeland" is "challenging and notoriously challenging the current map".

But despite what it may seem, this is not the final goal of the "Mavi Vatam" doctrine. This challenge is the way to achieve its real goal, which is none other than to achieve control and consolidation of the three maritime areas surrounding the country in order to exert its influence at both the regional and international level and to gain the energy resources necessary to sustain Turkey's economic and demographic growth without having to rely on third countries.

But as is rule in these matters, history always plays a key role, and this time is no different.

The Turks continue to view as an affront the Treaty of Lausanne, signed in 1923, which confines the country to its current borders and boundaries. This invalidated the far more beneficial Treaty of Sèvres, signed by the Ottoman Empire after the First World War.

At Lausanne, the fragmentation of the empire was de facto dictated, defining not only Turkey's borders, but also those of Greece and Bulgaria, concluding Turkish sovereignty over the Dodecanese islands, Cyprus, Egypt, Sudan, Syria and Iraq. Kurdistan ceased to be a unit, split between several countries, and Armenia was divided between Turkey and the USSR. The conditions limited the Turks' ability to act, placing the country under the umbrella of Western powers, status which has been maintained for almost 100 years since signature.

In order to understand the current status , a number of factors and circumstances must be taken into account that form the basis of the current situation.

During the Cold War period and with the existence of the communist bloc and its military alliance, the Warsaw Pact, the West's protective umbrella over Turkey became more of a necessity forced by circumstances than an imposition. The Ottoman country's geostrategic status made it of vital importance to both blocs, and in the event of hostilities it would be one of the first territories to suffer the consequences. As a vivid example of this geostrategic core topic , it is worth recalling the role played by the American instructions equipped with nuclear ballistic missiles located on Turkish soil in the negotiations to de-escalate what later became known as the "Cuban missile crisis".

But from the distant 1960s to the present day, the world has changed completely. The balances of power have shifted, and events since the beginning of the 21st century, and especially during the last decade, have led today's leaders to believe that their time has come.

At the time, the fall of the communist bloc and Russia's period of weakness began to lay the groundwork instructions for an idea deeply rooted in Turkey today, the main thrust of which is that the protective umbrella of the West is no longer so necessary (it should not be forgotten that this umbrella was also seen in some ways as a corset).

The consolidation of this idea has coincided with a period of great economic and demographic growth in the Ottoman country, with forecasts of reaching 90 million inhabitants by 2030. Both parameters have major economic implications, as they imply an increase B in the country's energy needs. If these needs are not met, it will not be possible to sustain this population growth or to match it with an adequate industrial development .

The basis of the essential industrial development is energy independence. This is one of the factors core topic that can enable the various projects to go ahead. At present, energy needs are covered by supplies from third countries. The main exporters of energy resources to Turkey are Russia, Iran, Iraq and Libya. This external dependence is one of the reasons for the spectacular development of Turkey's military capabilities in recent years and its direct involvement in various unstable scenarios: maintaining an uninterrupted supply of energy. This is one of the main reasons for the interventions in northern Syria, northern Iraq and Libya.

However, this is not the only reason for such interventions; there are other political motivations, commitments that compel Turkey to take sides in one way or another. The Kurdish problem, worthy in itself of a monograph, is one of them.

But despite possible political motivations, the main focus of the "Blue Fatherland Doctrine" is the need to achieve energy independence. This requires taking control of the necessary energy resources and achieving freedom of action in this field.

There are two spheres that he defines to achieve this goal. The first would consist of the establishment of a security and immediate control of the seas surrounding the country: the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the Black Sea, area . The second, of a strategic nature, extends to the Red Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Arabian Sea, including the Persian Gulf.



Turkey's dominance of the maritime space includes control over the oil and gas reserves in these waters. This position of maritime dominance is reinforced by establishing alliances with the countries in the area, providing them with support, setting up military instructions on their territory and providing military equipment and training to their armies, thus securing their support. This is a fact, and Turkey already has instructions in Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Qatar, to which it supplies its own weapons systems and with which it has various military agreements.

An aside is in order here. These moves are not welcomed by all countries in the region, some of which see their current position and their own aspirations to grow in power and influence in the region as threatened. The existence of a dominant regional power does not usually leave much room for manoeuvre. It is also important to quote here the words of the father of the "Blue Homeland" doctrine: "Turkey does not need an ally to protect the homeland. The homeland is the homeland. Our continental shelf is our homeland and we have to protect it.

However, he claims that in the future relations between Italy, Tunisia, Libya and Turkey will be the main axis of the Mediterranean. He deliberately leaves out countries such as France, Greece and Spain.

area Traditionally, the Turkish Naval Force's usual area of operations was the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Aegean Sea. Recently, however, it has expanded its area of operations to the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and even operates closely with Pakistan. partnership .

This strategic vision, centred on the dominance of the sea, apart from the reasons given above regarding the control of energy resources, can be explained by Turkey's conviction that its special rugged terrain already offers a natural defence and deterrent against any land-based aggression.

Moreover, the "Blue Homeland" doctrine is based on the assumption that Turkey must be an eminently maritime power. It is therefore a realistic doctrine of self-defence of the maritime areas that are rightfully Turkey's, to protect them with an eye to future generations.

Thus, the maritime borders, which stretch across three different seas, are so far perceived as the nation's weak point. And this is precisely what is in the process of being transformed.

reference letter This view has its historical roots in the former Ottoman Empire, which Admiral Cem Gürdeniz refers to on numerous occasions in his writings. It was this view that led Erdogan, shortly after coming to power, to initiate a comprehensive programme of development and modernisation of his naval force known as "Milgem". In this project , heavy investments have been made all over subject, and no effort has been spared, because in order to achieve the development of an armed forces, especially in its maritime aspect, that will sustain the goal of establishing itself as a regional and international power, it is core topic an independent technological development of Turkish industry.

In recent years, the Turkish defence industry has undergone a dramatic evolution, demonstrating the effectiveness of its developments in the Libyan, Syrian and, more currently, Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Great emphasis has been placed on the development of warships, unmanned aerial systems (UAVs) and advanced weapons systems of high quality. The chapter on UAVs is particularly significant, and should be the subject of an in-depth study, including from a national point of view in Spain.

Once again, there are two clearly defined intentions here. On the one hand, to achieve a state-of-the-art technological level in its armed forces that will support the achievement of the objectives outlined above, and on the other, to position itself as reference letter in the field of arms exports, to earn revenue and to be able to influence the countries of its interest and their policies in the same way as the United States, China and Russia do.

More specifically, theMilgemprogramme framework has built four anti-submarine corvettes, an intelligence gathering vessel, four surface warfare frigates and four anti-aircraft frigates. The programme also includes four state-of-the-art corvettes for the Pakistan Navy as a way of exporting its advances, enhancing the already close partnership relationship between the two countries and, of course, providing economic benefits for the arms industry.

Similarly, 33 new landing craft capable of transporting both troops and armoured vehicles have been delivered to the Turkish Naval Force. Turkey's amphibious assault capabilities, development and further development, are a factor in a possible increase in tension with Greece, especially with regard to claims over the islands to the east of the country and its waters.

The development of naval warfare capabilities is completed with the production of six new submarines from invoice German-built under licence of HDW in Turkey itself, namely the model U-214. These new submersibles are equipped with an AIP system that allows them to remain for long periods without surfacing, and join the ten that the Ottoman country has operated so far.

This is one of the most significant in terms of its destabilising capacity. Until now it has been Greece that has maintained a certain technological superiority in this field. But the entry into service of the new Turkish units, entrance , significantly changes the balance of power. In addition to serving as perfect intelligence gathering platforms, especially in the SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) and COMINT (Communications Intelligence) disciplines, submarines are excellent deterrent weapons, capable of denying an entire fleet access to an extensive area.

The most significant element of Turkey's pretentious programme is an amphibious assault ship (LHD) called the "Anadolu". This ship, with very similar characteristics to the "Juan Carlos I" operated by the Spanish Navy, is a qualitative leap in terms of the capabilities it provides, as it can not only transport landing barges, but also operate different types of helicopters, UAVs and, where appropriate, vertical take-off fighter aircraft from its deck.

Currently, the only such aircraft compatible with the ship is the American F-35 B, which is the vertical take-off and landing (VSTOL) variant. Turkey was one of the nations that had decided to acquire this fighter aircraft, albeit in its A version, which is the standard version for the air force, the first units of which were already scheduled to be delivered to submission .

But the Ankara government's decision to acquire state-of-the-art Russian anti-aircraft equipment, such as the S-400 system, has led the US to veto its continuation of the F-35 B procurement programme. In fact, the first aircraft destined for the Ottoman country have been sold to the USAF. In any case, Turkey's intention was not to acquire the VSTOL version, which leaves Turkey's real intention as to which aircraft will equip the ship open to question.

The project will be completed with the construction of a second amphibious assault ship, the "Trakya". The possession of two units of this subject provides the Turkish naval force with capabilities far superior to those of its neighbours in the region, giving it the ability to project its amphibious force in strategic operations and in two theatres simultaneously.

The real value of these capabilities is not the operational capability itself, but the deterrent capability it represents.

Turkey's involvement in the conflicts in Syria and Libya has provided the Turkish Armed Forces, and within these its naval units, with enormous and valuable combat experience that has been very useful for update and improving its doctrine and operational capabilities. This, together with the high quality of the training quality of its units, the quality of its equipment and the technological and weapons development described above, are the three pillars necessary for the implementation of the "Blue Homeland" doctrine. The great unknown is how the other regional powers, which are directly affected by the advance of this strategic plan, will react.

In conclusion, it can be said that interests are multiple and often intersecting, affecting not only the countries bordering this area of the Mediterranean, but also powers such as Russia and France and international organisations such as NATO.

Incidents between supposedly allied nations have already occurred, even leading to France's withdrawal from NATO's Mediterranean operation due to a problem between a French and a Turkish frigate, and resulting in an attack on Turkish positions by "Rafale" aircraft from instructions in the United Arab Emirates, but whose nationality remains unclear.

status There is no doubt that Turkey's attitude, and the implementation of its plan, puts the Atlantic Alliance in a weak position, as one of the reasons behind the plan is Turkey's perception that it no longer needs the protection of the Western umbrella for the defence of its interests.

On the other hand, Turkey is playing with the trump card of holding the key to the door of entrance to the torrent of migrants from Syria, Libya, Somalia and Eritrea to the EU. And it will use it as a pressure measure in the face of any European reaction or stance against its interests.

The Eastern Mediterranean has regained the leading role in world geopolitics that it had in the 16th century, only this time we have new powers such as Russia that also claim their space and their need for a permanent and strong presence in the area. We cannot ignore the relationship between this Russian need and the Crimean conflict and the strategic need to be able to control to some extent both sides of the Bosporus and ensure the Black Sea fleet's access to the Mediterranean.

All these economic, energy and political interests are creating a very complicated status where the "internal" conflicts in Syria and Libya also come together, creating an over-presence of military units, combatants, private military companies, weapons systems, aircraft, UAVs, etc. that at any moment, and due to any unexpected error, could lead to an incident that, however slight, could have unforeseeable and irreparable consequences.

* The author is an infantry lieutenant colonel and geopolitical analyst.



Kasapoglu, 'The Blue Homeland': Turkey's largest naval drill. Anadolu Agency 27 February.

SETA Security Sadar Turkey's geopolitical landscape in 2020

Kara Harp Okulu Bilim Dergisi, "An assesment of eastern mediterranean maritime boundary delimitation agreement between Turkey and Libya" Science Journal of Turkish Military Academy Haziran /June 2020

Eyal Pinko, "Turkey's Maritime Strategy Ambitions: The Blue Homeland Doctrine (Mavi Vatan)" Research Institute for European and American Studies( April 2020

Categories Global Affairs: Middle East Security and defence Analysis

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The Belgian city, the world's capital of diamonds, has applied more regulations, sanctions and scrutiny on the industry, but still there are some bad practices ▲ The diamond industry has... ReadmoreAboutBlood diamonds keep going through Antwerp "

Cumbre del Clima 2018, un paso hacia adelante

The meeting COP24 made progress in regulating the Paris agreement , but "carbon markets" remained blocked. Mobilizations in favor of governments taking more drastic measures... ReadmoreAboutClimate Summit 2018, a step forward "

La nueva Guyana petrolera y su proyección internacional

One of the poorest countries in the Americas may become the world's largest oil producer per capita, disrupting the relationship with its neighbors. The promising oil discoveries... ReadmoreAboutThe new oil Guyana and its international projection "

Acuífero Guaraní: mejor que otros, pero pervivencia no asegurada

Geopolitical misgivings about perceived foreign interests should not distract beneficiary countries from implementing sustainable use. The Guarani Aquifer has given rise to a... ReadmoreAboutAquifer Guarani: better than others, but survival not assured "

El 'boom' de la quinoa

Global interest in this fashionable grain has brought additional income to Andean communities. The localization of quinoa production, especially in Peru and Bolivia (together they account for... ReadmoreAboutThe quinoa boom "

Impulso a la conexión gasística de los países de la Iniciativa de los Tres Mares

Poland-Germany struggle for influence in the European region between the Baltic, the Adriatic and the Black Sea The latest summit of the Three Seas Initiative (TMI) was attended by the... ReadmoreAboutBoosting the gas connection of the Three Seas Initiative countries "