April, 2016 Politics


by Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media

An ISIS video released last month shows members of its religious police in Mosul, Iraq, burning hundreds of Christian books it deems blasphemous.
While Christianity continues to be physically erased from the Middle East, lesser known is that its historical role and presence is also being expunged from memory.


By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter

One of the economic priorities of Turkey is to sign free trade agreements with Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries, including Qatar, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said.
“We have to enrich relations between Turkey and the GCC, and we look to Qatar as the cornerstone that will help us advance our relationship with these countries,” the Prime Minister explained in Doha on Thursday.


By Liel Leibovitz

Ber Borochov loved Passover. Ordinarily, the Marxist, Zionist, and Yiddishist had no patience for the superstitions of his forefathers, but in the haggadah he found a hero for his time: the Wicked Son. The Passover story’s obdurate loner, Borochov wrote enthusiastically, rejects collective destiny for individual liberation, and is therefore no less than “the foundation for the construction of new Jewish life.”

Culture, Israel, Politics

Bond dumping isn't the real danger.
William T. Wilson

In recent years there has been much speculation over what would happen to U.S. financial markets and the economy if Chinese authorities suddenly decided to sell the approximately $1.3 trillion in U.S. Treasuries or government bonds they are estimated to own. In recent weeks, rumors have circulated that the Saudis were considering selling theirs—up to $750 billion of American dollar-denominated assets held by the kingdom.

By Matt Purple
The United States is back in Iraq. Actually, it never really left.

President Obama supposedly withdrew all American forces in 2011, except for a few hundred Marines, defense contractors, and military advisors. But it wasn’t long before he began ramping up our presence again, through temporary deployments and other means.


Project Syndicate, Christopher Hill
DENVER – US President Barack Obama supposedly “cleared the air” with Saudi King Salman before the latest meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. Given how strained the bilateral relationship is – a situation long in the making – that was probably the best outcome that could reasonably be expected. But it is not enough.


by Burak Bekdil, Hürriyet Daily News
Tragically, and in his own words, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan thinks (or pretends to think) that the primary reason behind terror in Turkey is to prevent Turkey from getting into the world's top 10 economies. "We very clearly see that it does not suit some people's interests for Turkey to become one of the top 10 economies in the world ... And they try to steer Turkey away from its goal through the scourge of terror."

By Pepe Escobar
"Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch"- So it’s a go for Zeus to launch the thunderbolt. Neo-Athena – minus the wisdom – Hillary Clinton, Queen of Chaos, Goddess of War, Empress of the Perma-Smirk, will finally have her shot at the U.S. presidency. After the Battle of New York, she’s on top on number of votes; number of states; number of pledged delegates; number of superdelegates.

Politics, United States

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
Turkey is a wonderland, according to the official narrative. It is not so much of a wonderland, according to facts and figures.

Turkey’s per capita income is less than half of Greece’s – the country which, over the past few years, has gone through one of the worst financial crises in modern history.

Culture, Politics, Turkey


by Burak Bekdil, Hürriyet Daily News
As the world's Muslim leaders admitted at last week's Islamic summit, the past 1,400 tumultuous years of sectarian fighting did not bring peace and happiness to Muslim lands. But, judging from the happy smiles and big speeches at the summit, the next 1,400 tumultuous years may be better.

  russia iran

By REUTERS 
Moscow has little incentive to join the mostly Shi'ite "Axis of Resistance" as this could ruin its ties with other regional powers such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
DUBAI/MOSCOW - When Iran took delivery of the first parts of an advanced Russian air defense system this month, it paraded the anti-aircraft missile launchers sent by Moscow to mark Army Day.
 

 

DEBKAfile Special Report 

The US withdrew its forces from the Sinai Peninsula last weekend in retaliation for Egypt's transfer of sovereignty over Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, according to DEBKAfile's military and intelligence sources. They also report that the move came after Washington protested to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over its exclusion from the consultations and military coordination between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel regarding the islands.

 

Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Eduard Abrahamyan
The recent unprecedented escalation around Nagorno-Karabakh highlighted deep systemic shortcomings in existing international mediation initiatives. The OSCE Minsk Group, dedicated to settling the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, has become largely irrelevant in the new operational situation.

By Garrett Krivicich
Ankara is painting its enemies with too broad a brush.
With fierce clashes between Kurds and Turkish police causing mayhem throughout Turkey’s southeast, and Islamic State–related activity noticeably on the rise, there is no doubt that Turkey has a militancy problem. However, there is one group, commonly overlooked by the Turkish government, that likely poses the biggest threat.

Kick Turkey Out Of NATO

by Michael Rubin

When U.S. officials first approached Turkey about joining NATO, the Turkish government was enthusiastic. Thousands of Turks were fighting alongside American forces in Korea. It was “imperative that democracies work in complete harmony, without competition among themselves or differences in policy objectives,” the U.S. ambassador to Turkey reported in a top-secret memo that Turkish Foreign Minister Mehmet Fuat Koprulu told him.


by Burak Bekdil

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has set a marvelous precedent in showing the entire world how a country should best care about the safety of its citizens traveling to, well, "different" foreign lands. In a very smart move, the German Foreign Ministry added a new piece of travel advice to the "tips page" on how German tourists should behave while on a visit to Turkey: "It is strongly advised not to make public political statements against the Turkish state and not to express sympathy for terrorist organizations."

Politics, Turkey


Project Syndicate, Gareth Evans
CANBERRA – China’s adventurism in the South China Sea has prompted a change in Australian policymaking that merits wide international attention. In making maintenance of a “rules-based global order” a core strategic priority, Australia’s new Defense White Paper adopts language not often found at the heart of national defense charters. It is all the more surprising coming from a conservative government that is usually keen to follow the United States down any path it takes.


By Peter Koenig

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would Abolish Europe’s Sovereignty. Is Madame Merkel Betraying the EU – Endangering the Lives of Future European Generations with her Push for the Nefarious TTIP?


Khalil Ashawi / Reuters
By Eric Pianin

Since its start more than five years ago in March 2011, the Syrian civil war has been marked by death, carnage and dislocation — with no real end in sight.


Author Adnan Abu Amer
Translator Cynthia Milan

Israel and Hamas have been escalating their war of words, which observers on both sides fear could turn into violence.

 Uighur men making their way to the Id Kah mosque for afternoon prayers in Kashgar, in China's western Xinjiang region [AFP]

 

Ahmed Rashid
Has China just issued its first conciliatory statement towards the Uighur Muslim ethnic group, which has been persecuted for years? And has it done so out of fear or embarrassment that Uighur Islamic militants have now gone global, fighting for Islamic causes in many corners of the globe?

China, Geopolitics, Politics

BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN 
This is the sort of thing that happens in Mel Brooks movies, but not–at least until now–in geopolitics: Turkey’s claim upon the support of Western Europe comes from its own propensity to collapse. If it does so, the Europeans fear, the refugee stream that inundated Europe during 2015 will acquire another zero. That is why West Germany is willing to humiliate itself in order to prop up the regime of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
Comedian Jan Böhmermann is being prosecuted in Germany for reading a disparaging poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The always angry Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's president, should have a moment of peace and wonder why is he probably the world's most insulted president.

Politics, Turkey


Author Cengiz Çandar

One of the most dramatic judicial processes that had significant bearing on politics and the fate of Turkey is finally over. It took nine years and 275 people imprisoned, among them a former chief of staff, top brass of the once powerful military of Turkey and renowned public servants. They have all been acquitted.

Military, Politics, Turkey


By Paul Craig Roberts

"Information Clearing House" - The Third World War is currently being fought. How long before it moves into its hot stage? Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five bloc group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos

Today, in the German city of Hannover, President Obama and Chancellor Merkel will again discuss about Greece. Greece and Syria are, for some years now, the two countries on which world interest is focused. If we judge by facts, all this “international interest” had, up to now, rather negative influence on the situation in both countries.

SEMİH İDİZ, hurriyetdailynews
The overturning by Turkey’s top court of appeal of the so-called “Ergenekon coup plot trial,” which was initiated in 2007 and lasted until 2011, is being hailed as one of the most significant legal developments in recent Turkish history.

Military, Politics, Turkey


by Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi
Abstract: Internal Islamic State documents, including documents obtained by the author and published here for the first time, shed new light on how the Islamic State has come under strain as it is degraded by coalition air strikes and loses territory.

Article illustrative image

Adrien Lelievre 
-Analysis-

ANKARA — President Barack Obama's decision not to attend the April 2 inauguration of a new mosque near Washington D.C. might have spoild the party a bit. The event was billed, after all, as the highlight of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent trip to the United States.

Patrick Kingsley, theguardian
German chancellor Angel Merkel flew into southern Turkey late on Saturday to inaugurate the EU’s new aid programme for Syrians in the country, amid concerns that her visit both validates Turkey’s creeping authoritarianism and overstates the EU’s humanitarian contribution to the Syrian crisis.

Europe, Politics, Turkey

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has set a marvelous precedent in showing the entire world how a country should best care about the safety of its citizens traveling to… well, “different” foreign lands. In a very smart move, the German Foreign Ministry added a new piece of travel advice to the “tips page” on how German tourists should behave while on a visit to Turkey: “It is strongly advised not to make public political statements against the Turkish state and not to express sympathy for terrorist organizations.”

 

By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON 
Ankara walking a tightrope amid ongoing crises.
The Turkish government carefully walking a tightrope in building relations with both Iran and its regional archrival Saudi Arabia, in addition to Israel.


Tyler Durden 

Europe is planning on recolonizing Libya, and so it will send in armed forces in the coming months to restore order and stem the flow of migrants coming from Africa. If this expedition army succeeds in securing parts of the country and restoring law and order, Italian and German engineers from ENI and Wintershall will follow suit to help resume the country’s oil production, which will add 1.3 million barrels per day (Libya produced 1.7 million barrels per day before Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011) to the world oil glut.


Author Murat Bilgincan
As 2015 came to a close, the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hotel in Manhattan presented a diverse tableau: Around the meticulously set tables sat Muslim women wearing colorful headscarves with oriental motifs, African-American clergymen from Queens, Jewish students from a Turkish charter school and veteran New York state politicians.

Politics, Turkey

uz-tunnel

Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Mirzohid Rakhimov
Central Asian nations consider the development of alternative regional transport communications important aspects of their national economic and political strategy, and the republics have become active participants in various international projects to promote economic cooperation with different countries and regions of the world.

 

By Paul Rogers
Summary
In an attempt to understand the psychology of the West’s adversaries in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, this briefing asks the question, what does the wider world look like when seen from within the Islamic State group? Setting to one side the enormous political and economic deficiencies of the ‘host’ countries of the Middle East, it examines some of the contemporary and historic perceptions of the West’s relations with the Islamic and Arab worlds, and how these may have influenced IS strategy, particularly its 2015 shift from territorial expansion to attacks on and within Western states.

Photo Gallery: An IS Stronghold in the Balkans

By Walter Mayr

Almost nothing remains of Ibro. There is just a single childhood photo remaining, an image of a flaxen-haired five-year-old that Ibro's father scanned so he could always carry it with him on his mobile phone. But no recent pictures are available. Before Ibro left Bosnia to join Islamic State (IS) in 2014, he tore up all the images of himself he could find. His interpretation of Sharia included the belief that images of people were haram -- forbidden.

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
As the world’s Muslim leaders admitted at last week’s Islamic summit, the past 1,400 tumultuous years of sectarian fighting did not bring peace and happiness to Muslim lands. But, judging from the happy smiles and big speeches at the summit, the next 1,400 tumultuous years may be better.

Politics, Turkey

By Daniel Wei Boon Chua

America can't take war off the table.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea—involving China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines—are destabilizing the region. Although not a claimant, the United States has a vested interest in the outcome. The U.S. Seventh Fleet has been operating in the area since the Cold War, and the maritime disputes involve the Philippines, a close American ally.



Author Uri Savir
Given the total political stalemate regarding a two-state solution, some in the Palestinian leadership have begun reflecting on “out of the box” ideas for policy initiatives leading to Palestinian independence. One such person is professor Sari Nusseibeh, former president of Al-Quds University in Abu Dis in the West Bank. According to a source working with Nusseibeh on the policy proposals, Nusseibeh today supports the establishment of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation based on two independent states with strong institutional links between them.

Tiran and Sanafir Islands

ByCol. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman and Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum 
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 340
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The fact that Saudi Arabia has now undertaken to uphold in practice the obligations assumed by Egypt under its peace treaty with Israel, means that Israel's place in the region is no longer perceived by Arab leader Saudi Arabia as an anomaly to be corrected. This is a far cry from normalization of Saudi relations with Israel, but it is nevertheless a welcome ray of light, demonstrating the benefits of cooperation and coordination in a region beset by violence.


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Column: Politics Region: Caucasus Country: Georgia
George Soros is a very successful man, at least where money and power are concerned. The reach of the hedge fund legend through his Open Society Foundations leverages governments and ideas across the breadth of 40 nations now. Here is a look at how Soros’ “New World Lebensraum Idealism” is reshaping reality in the Republic of Georgia.

By Nikolay Pakhomov
The massive European project has no clear goals.
For years we have heard almost daily about serious problems facing the European Union. On the strategic level, there are two ways to deal with those problems. One option is to play Whac-a-Mole, dealing with them one at a time and hoping that, in the meantime, a bigger problem does not arrive.


By Eric Margolis

"Information Clearing House" - The great, long-awaited counterattack against ISIS has finally begun. The offensive that spans Syria and western Iraq is targeting the ISIS-held cities of Raqqa and Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

By UDI SEGAL
Netanyahu fears a diplomatic move from Obama toward the end of his presidency, but it's not certain that America's next leader won't have similar ambitions.

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report
The Israeli cabinet holds its weekly session Sunday April 17, on the Golan. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu will visit Moscow on Thursday, April 21 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and to launch the most important battle of his political career, and one of Israel's most decisive contests of the last 10 years: the battle over the future of the Golan Heights.

Hamid Dabashi
The dramatic debate between Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in Brooklyn on April 14, in anticipation of the New York primaries on April 19, notwithstanding, the national conversations about the US presidential campaign has become positively predictable, if not punishingly boring - except for the grassroots mobilisation it has triggered and that may one day change the shape of politics in this country.

Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Armen Grigoryan
Tensions along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh between April 2 and 5 resulted in the heaviest exchanges of fire since 1994. Even though the use of some types of weapons was quite unexpected, the general logic of developments in the conflict in recent years has made the recent fighting rather predictable. Concerning further hostilities, the question is not if, but when they will happen. While this danger needs to be addressed by means of international mediation, so far only Russia demonstrates substantial activity in this regard. Russia’s unilateral involvement will pursue its own particular regional interests rather than producing a lasting solution to the conflict.

Eldad Beck
Op-ed: While Turkey and Israel begin to thaw their relations following the Istanbul terror attack, Israel should be wary of getting too close to a dictator such as Erdoğan too quickly, taking into account his anti-Semitism and and oppressive policies.

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
The logical answer is to go for the “moderate” Frankenstein. In reality, a better answer could be “neither,” since it will only be a matter of time before the “moderate” Frankenstein willingly metamorphoses into the real Frankenstein. Such are the options in Syria.

Politics, Turkey