Don’t “crush” Abu Sayyaf perpetrators, debrief them (The Interpreter)

The horrific bombing of the cathedral in Jolo last Sunday underscores the need for the Philippines government to understand more about the operations of pro-ISIS groups in Mindanao. The best way to get that information is to find, arrest, and debrief the perpetrators of violent extremist crimes.

Sidney Jones

Pacific collateral from the INF Treaty collapse (The Interpreter)

Washington intends to begin withdrawing from the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty early next month. President Trump indicated late last year that the US is pulling out because “they’ve (Russia) been violating it for many years.” The concern for Australia is that demise of the treaty could foreshadow a new arms race in the Pacific.

Clive Williams

Australia’s new Pacific Czar (The Interpreter)

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has now established an Office of the Pacific, a measure foreshadowed in 2018 as part of Australia’s Pacific “step up”. Ewen McDonald, formerly High Commissioner in Wellington and a Deputy Secretary in DFAT, has been appointed head of the Office.

James Batley

US spooks chart a steady course (The Interpreter)

Last week, US Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Daniel Coats unveiled America’s 2019 National Intelligence Strategy. The DNI is the head of the US intelligence community and the president’s senior intelligence advisor. The position was created in 2004 in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Iraq weapons of mass destruction estimate.

Mark Lowenthal

Mediation a long shot in Kashmir conflict (The Interpreter)

When former prime minister of Norway Kjell Mangne Bondevik met with separatist Kashmiri leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Indian Kashmir last month, a barrage of questions followed.

Stuti Bhatnagar

Extrajudicial killings: India’s long history of “fake encounters” (The Interpreter)

Over the past two years, police in the Indian state Uttar Pradesh are alleged to have carried out 59 extrajudicial killings. The events have sparked an inquiry by a panel of four United Nations independent experts on human rights, which in a statement this month “expressed alarm” about the killings that seemed to have taken place in police custody.

Priya Pillai

Letter from Dili: languid days, broken barracks, and a surprise (The Interpreter)

There has always been something of a ghost-like quality to languorous Dili, capital of Timor-Leste with its Portuguese-era buildings and statues from Indonesian times still standing.

Gordon Peake

Do away with Australia Day, celebrate Republic Day instead (The Interpreter)

One of the planet’s great herd migrations is almost at an end for another year. Across Australia each summer, tens of thousands of people abandon sweaty cities in search of the cool waters along the coast, as the nation schedules a collective out-of-office message.

Daniel Flitton

The dark harvest of Chinese “black ships” (The Interpreter)

A US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies report (Illuminating the South China Sea’s Dark Fishing Fleets) sheds new light on the size and behaviour of fishing fleets in the Spratly Islands.

Zhang Hongzhou