By Barbara Gianessi When European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, paid a high profile visit to Turkey last week she raised the hopes of those who urge for a renewed relationship between the EU and Turkey. This meeting, just one month after Mogherini’s appointment, was interpreted as a demonstration of good-will to enhance EU partnership with Ankara, which for a long time has been in a state of inertia. During her visit, Ms. Mogherini called for a stronger “alignment on foreign policy” with Turkey, stressing the importance of a closer cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants and on EU sanctions against Russia.
Syria will fragment more and more in 2015. The country’s “somalisation” is bound to happen unless the international community keeps weakening all of its centres of power, and the opposition still cannot manage to unify. Such are the forecasts of Joshua Landis, one of the best Syria’s specialists
A Saudi Whipping ‒ January 9th 2015 ‒ The New Yorker
Saudi Arabia, which has described itself as the “guardian of Islam,” released a statement on Wednesday through its official news agency condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo as a “cowardly terrorist act” that is “incompatible with Islam.” But on Friday, the government pulled a blogger named Raif Badawi from his jail cell in Jeddah, brought him to a square in front of a mosque, and administered the first phase—fifty lashes—of a public flogging. As with Charlie Hebdo, Badawi’s offense involved the exercise of freedom of expression, often with a touch of sarcasm. He is scheduled to get another fifty lashes every Friday for the next nineteen weeks. He also faces ten years in prison and a fine that exceeds a quarter of a million dollars.