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Reuters / China Daily CDIC

Diplomatic Thaw in the Gulf?

The Iranian-Saudi rapprochement, implications for the region, and China's newfound role as a Middle East mediator

After more than seven years without diplomatic relations, Iran and Saudi Arabia surprisingly announced a foreign policy rapprochement in Beijing. Is this a turning point in the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, which has broad repercussions in the region from Iraq to Lebanon to Yemen? The agreement between the two Gulf adversaries is an attempt by Iran to break its international isolation and the result of a changing Saudi foreign policy. Meanwhile, China is challenging the U.S. for its influence as the traditional dominant power in the Gulf.

Adobe Stock / Oleksiy Oliinyk

Manipulation and Disinformation in the Metaverse

What Are the Challenges and How to Counter Them?

New virtual communication spaces such as the Metaverse enable even better immersion in a fictitious, yet very real, environment. In this environment, there is an even stronger mixing of entertainment and information. Therefore, disinformation as well as manipulation can be absorbed more intensively there. What exactly do we have to adjust to with this technology and how can disinformation be countered in these communication spaces?

REUTERS / Adnan Abidi

Energy region Greece & Eastern Mediterranean - a region arises as Europe's supplier!

Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean can play a new important role

War in Ukraine, reduction of CO2 emissions, phasing out lignite; these are all keywords in the prevailing debates when it comes to energy supply in Europe. In the last two years, the way energy was used for electricity, heat and transport has been fundamentally changed. In the future, we will have to find new ways of producing and generating energy and prepare ourselves for a new era. Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean can play an important new role in this, to the benefit of the whole of Europe.

KAS / Natalie Russmann

Between Hype, hope and tangible changes

The potential of green hydrogen for Namibia and Africa.

By implementing its plans for becoming a leading producer of green hydrogen, Namibia has the potential to kickstart its economy, create jobs nad help fight climate change. International partnerships, investment and know-how are key to making this long-anticipated hope a reality.

Pressebüro Nikos Christodoulides

New start in Cyprus: Nikos Christodoulides is the island's new president

Cyprus after the election

On the last day of February 2023, Nikos Christodoulides was officially sworn in as President of the Republic of Cyprus. Two days earlier, he published the members of his government. Cyprus experienced an election campaign unprecedented in decades, which brought a surprise in the 1st round and the danger of erosion for the previously ruling party DISY.

Chuck Moravec / flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Update on German-Cambodian relations?

Did the German president's visit achieve the goal of his trip - to reduce one-sided dependencies and strengthen Germany's relationships in the region?

The first ever visit of the German Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, provides a good incentive for German-Cambodian relations. Building on the intensified relations during the Cambodia´s chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022, in midst of the reforming world order and the resulting insecurities, this visit creates the opportunity to redefine the partnership between the two countries. From an international, regional and domestic perspective, this could mean significant changes within the forthcoming years. In October 2023, Germany and Cambodia will look back on 30 years of diplomatic relations - the high-level visit this year provides an opportunity to take a closer look at relations between the two countries.

Reuters / Irakli Gedenidze

Protests escalate in Georgia against Russian agent law

First the Georgian government introduces the so-called agents law, then it withdraws it after massive protests. But this seems to be a play for time.

In Georgia, 8 March is a holiday on which women in particular are traditionally given flowers. This year it was different in the capital Tbilisi: Instead of flowers, many young Georgian women received tear gas and water cannons. A large, peaceful demonstration, carried mainly by students, was violently broken up during the night by a brutal intervention of special police units. Apparently surprised by the massive pressure from the street, the ruling party withdrew the law, but the "red line" may have already been crossed.

Maurice Koop / flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Vietnam elects new President

Van Thuong is the youngest head of state to date in the one-party state and is considered a confidante of the Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam

In mid-January, shortly before the traditional Vietnamese New Year festival of Tet, news of the resignation of former President Nguyen Xuan Phuc drew some political attention to the one-party state, which is otherwise characterized by political stability and economic dynamism. The resignation of the president, apparently in the context of an anti-corruption campaign, made it necessary to appoint a new head of state. On March 2, Vietnam's National Assembly confirmed 52-year-old Vo Van Thuong as the new president with 487 out of 488 votes in an extraordinary session. Thuong, a dyed-in-the-wool communist, is said to be a confidant of Nguyen Phu Trong, the 78-year-old general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).

Reuters / Pavel Mikheyev

The disturbingly many facets of Francis

Ten years ago, Francis was elected pope. An interim assessment of the international role of the Holy See in his pontificate.

"Francis the Enigmatic" was the headline of a German weekly magazine a year after his election in 2013. Ten years later, some mysteries have been solved, others remain. At this point, our report expressly does not want to deal with internal church and theological aspects, such as the confrontations on the German "Synodal Way" or the processing of the abuse problem, but rather to draw up an interim balance sheet of the role of the incumbent pope in international politics. And there are many facets to be illuminated in this pontificate. The results are not always flattering for the Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio. But some of his initiatives will remain in historical memory.

Reuters / Kim Hong-Ji

Party Convention of the Korean Conservatives

Impressions, results and analysis

On 8 March 2023, the People Power Party (PPP), South Korea's ruling party, held its party congress directly outside Seoul. After years of pandemic, the Conservatives once again celebrated their president, who had won the election a year ago on 9 March 2022. This time they met to elect a new party leadership. As expected, MP Kim Gi Hyeon, the president's preferred candidate, won with a share of 52% of the vote. The new appointments to five offices in the highest party body also reflected the president’s strong political position. The demonstrative show of unity and confidence mirror the challenges in upcoming twelve months till the next parliamentary elections.