May, 2016 Politics

Pakflag, cc Flickr openDemocracy, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Geopolitical Monitor, Rakesh Krishnan Simha
One of the ironies of being a Pakistani living abroad, especially in the West, is having to pose as Indian. According to Asghar Choudhri, the chairman of Brooklyn’s Pakistani American Merchant Association, a lot of Pakistanis can’t get jobs after 9/11 and after the botched Times Square bombing of 2010, it’s even worse. “They are now pretending they are Indian so they can get a job,” he told a US wire service.

 Erdogan and Netanyahu

By TOVAH LAZAROFF 
Turkish and Israeli officials plan to hold more meeting toward the restoration of high level diplomatic ties, he told reporters after a cabinet meeting. Two out of Ankara’s three conditions for restoring fully normalized ties with Israel have been met, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday.

By Luay al-Khatteeb

The smooth Kurdish PR campaign.

“It was the Kurds,” wrote Thomas Friedman in 2014, “who used the window of freedom we opened for them to overcome internal divisions, start to reform their once Sopranos-like politics and create a vibrant economy that is now throwing up skyscrapers and colleges.”

Tayyip-Erdogan.jpg

Robert Fisk

Europe’s growing Kurdish diaspora would be vastly increased if the crushed and war-suffering masses of Diyarbakir could find their way to Germany, Denmark and Sweden
Just why is the Sultan of Turkey so impatient to get hold of that visa-free EU travel for his people to visit Schengen Europe? If the EU doesn’t jump to it, he orated last week, the Turkish parliament would scupper the whole deal and – for this was the implication – let that army of Arab refugees set sail again across the Aegean for Greece. And where was the €3bn Turkey was promised?

 


By Paul Craig Roberts

"Information Clearing House" - The Saker reports that Russia is preparing for World War III, not because Russia intends to initiate aggression but because Russia is alarmed by the hubris and arrogance of the West, by the demonization of Russia, by provocative military actions by the West, by American interference in the Russian province of Chechnya and in former Russian provinces of Ukraine and Georgia, and by the absence of any restraint from Western Europe on Washington’s ability to foment war.


Author Mustafa Akyol 

A poll by the Pew Research Center in October highlighted a trend in Turkish society with foreign policy implications: Turks hold deeply unfavorable views of other nations. The most disliked nation proved to be Israel, with only 2% of Turks expressing any sympathy for the Jewish state. The United States also turned out to be highly unpopular, with only 19% of polled Turks expressing sympathy. Similarly unpopular were the European Union, China, Brazil and Russia.

US-RussiaFlyby, photo credit: US Navy

Geopolitical Monitor, Robert Shines
With the end of the Cold War twenty-five years ago, many in the U.S have taken the country’s continued global hegemony for granted. However, this state of affairs is increasingly being challenged by both Russia and China, exemplified by their aerial flybys and interceptions of the US military within their respective regions.


DEBKAfile Special Report

The US military chiefs fighting ISIS, have recently claiming that the US has re-organized its military resources and is determined to cut down the Islamic state after its lame efforts in the last two years.
These words of encouragement have come from genral Votel commander of US Middle East forces and the first US General to be assigned to Syria in its nearly six years of war, and Lt. Gen Charles Brown commanding the US Al Udied Air Base in Qatar where 750 aircraft operating in the Gulf and Middle East are based.

Özgür Mumcu in Cumhuriyet notes that the presence of the chief of the general staff, General Hulusi Akar, as a witness as the wedding of Sümeyye Erdoğan, the youngest of President Erdoğan’s daughters, provoked angry reactions among those who – like betrayed lovers -- are used to pinning their hopes on the military.

Politics, Turkey


A Manufactured War Against An Independent Country

By Caleb T. Maupin

The people of the world should ask Western leaders and their allies: Why are you prolonging this war? Why do you continue funding and enabling the terrorists? Isn’t five years of civil war enough? Is overthrowing the Syrian government really worth so much suffering and death?

The new leader of the AKP, Binali Yildirim [centre] poses with MPs as he casts his vote during a debate to lift the immunity of Turkish parliamentarians [Reuters]

Ahmed al-Burai
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly been calling for the prosecution of the mainly Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) members of the parliament, accusing them of acting as a political wing of the outlawed terrorist organisation, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Politics, Turkey


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute

Turkey and the European Union (EU) have been negotiating a deal that ostensibly would stem the flow of hundreds of thousands of migrants into Europe; Turkey, on its part, would bring dozens of laws and regulations, including its draconian anti-terror laws, in line with Europe's; and nearly 80 million Turks would then be given visa-free travel to the EU's borderless Schengen zone. But now, as Turkey refuses to amend its anti-terror laws, the deal seems to be facing a stalemate.

Politics, Turkey


Author Ben Caspit
Five years passed between Channel 10's “Bibi Tours” investigative report and the publication of the scathing state comptroller report on May 24. The report details a scandal surrounding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

Israel, Politics


by Gregg Roman, The Forward
Avigdor Lieberman believes Israel must end the cycle of Palestinian incitement and violence, not manage it.
Peaceniks may be up in arms about the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel's next minister of defense, but the country's enemies are worried — and rightly so.

 Binali Yildirim greets party members during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, May 19, 2016

Among twelve reshuffled and eight new ministers in new Turkey’s cabinet, two appointments are particularly revealing. On Tuesday, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved a new cabinet, proposed by new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who took the position vacated by Ahmet Davutoglu. Journalists note that many key figures retained their positions in the cabinet, though as many as twelve have new responsibilities.

Article illustrative image

Will the Turkish President's discarded former allies ever dare to form a new party to challenge him?

Analysis-

ISTANBUL — Justice and Development Party (AKP) leaders never liked the way Ahmet Davutoğlu became Turkey’s prime minister two years ago, nor did they approve of his performance or professional style once he got the job. The only thing they actually appreciated was the way he left.


Author Semih Idiz
Turkey’s ties with the European Union appeared to be set on a better course recently after having remained largely dormant over the past few years. This was not due, however, to a decision by Ankara to introduce the democratic reforms necessary for its membership bid in the EU. The refugee crisis forced Europe into cooperating with Ankara, even though Turkey’s democracy continues to deteriorate under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.



 

Michaela Whitton
(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — New research has shown the U.K. is providing military training and support to over half the countries named on its own watchlist of human rights abusers. An investigation by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Independent has revealed U.K. armed forces have trained security and armed forces personnel from 16 of 30 regimes who are on a Foreign Office (FCO) watch list for use of torture and violence.


Author Semih Idiz

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ouster of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to clear his own path to absolute power has left many wondering what effect the move will have on Turkey's foreign policy orientation and its relations with the West in particular.

Politics, Turkey

Refugee camp Turkey

By Behlül Özkan 
In many ways, Turkey is the most important actor shaping the refugee crisis that is currently shaking Europe to its core. Accordingly, predicting the outcome of the drama requires a close study of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s underlying motives and goals.


MARC PIERINI, Financial Times

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s goal of unchallenged power is firmly rooted after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s resignation. The novelty is that it is happening with Germany’s acquiescence.
With Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu forced from office, Turkey has passed a political watershed: Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s goal of unchallenged power at the top of the state is rooted ever more firmly in fact. Given his behaviour since he became president in 2014, this in itself is no great surprise; the novelty is that it is happening with Berlin’s full acquiescence.

Cherno, cc Flickr Simon Smith, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Geopolitical Monitor, Petra Posega
Nuclear security is seemingly in the vanguard of global attention, but the large framework of international provisions is increasingly perceived as a toothless tiger. In the contemporary age where asymmetric threats to security are one of the most dangerous ones, the time is high to mitigate the risk of rogue actors having potential access to the materials necessary to develop nuclear weapons.

 

Europe has always misunderstood what Africans want.
Frederick Kuo

“Take up the White Man’s burden, Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile, to serve your captives’ need;” , —Rudyard Kipling
Throughout the last five centuries, Africa has existed in the Western imagination between two polarized extremes. One is the Africa that exists as treasure trove of spoils, a source of slaves to take as free labor, and a vast land full of natural riches for the taking.


By Halil Karaveli
The dynamics of capitalist development have played a much more central role for Turkey’s journey from secularism to religious conservatism – and before that for the Kemalist break with Islam – than what is generally recognized.

Economy, Politics, Turkey



By Sumit Ganguly for YaleGlobal Online
A specter is haunting Bangladesh, warns Sumit Ganguly – a specter of unbridled, violent religious extremism that’s targeting intellectuals, journalists, bloggers and religious minorities. Unfortunately, neither of the country’s two dominant political parties has shown any interest in containing this scourge. Here are the reasons why.

MURAT YETKİN, hurriyetdailynews
In the opening session of the first ever United Nations World Humanitarian Summit, which started in Istanbul on May 23, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan strongly criticized the U.N.’s inability to take and execute decisive moves to address man-made crises, giving the example of the Syria civil war.


Author Cengiz Çandar
The political union of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and departing Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was a marriage of convenience. Davutoglu knew this when Erdogan handpicked him to succeed him as head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and thus the premiership of Turkey.


By RONEN BERGMAN

TEL AVIV — IN most countries, the political class supervises the defense establishment and restrains its leaders from violating human rights or pursuing dangerous, aggressive policies. In Israel, the opposite is happening. Here, politicians blatantly trample the state’s values and laws and seek belligerent solutions, while the chiefs of the Israel Defense Forces and the heads of the intelligence agencies try to calm and restrain them.

Muslims pray as they take part in a protest against presidential candidate Donald Trump outside his office in New York [Reuters]
Khaled A Beydoun
After winning four pivotal presidential primaries on April 26, Hillary Clinton drew a line between "hard working, terror-hating Muslims" and (Muslim) terrorists. In front of a raucous audience of supporters in Philadelphia, Clinton - the presumptive presidential candidate for the Democratic Party - only made mention of Muslims in relation to terrorism, and reaffirmed the mythic "good versus bad" Muslim paradigm.

In this Tuesday, June 10, 2014 photo, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sits in the pilot's sesat during a presentation for the Turkish-made military attack helicopter, T129 ATAK, outside Ankara, Turkey

OZAN KOSE

Thirteen years after Recep Tayiip Erdogan stepped into the Turkish political establishment, the country's army that was oppressed, is now restoring its positions, US media assert.

Politics, Turkey


By Bradley Martin
There is no reason to believe that Turkey’s facilitation of ISIS operations in the region, and its link to ISIS both economically and politically, will cease.With Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announcing that he would step down at the end of the month due to a falling-out with the Turkish president, it is very unlikely that a major shift in Turkish foreign policy will take place anytime soon.


By John V. Walsh

Along with his self-congratulatory bombast, Donald Trump has offered a rare critique of Official Washington’s “group think” about foreign policy, including the wisdom of NATO expansion and the value of endless war, notes John V. Walsh.

Portraits of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and late president Gamal Abdel Nasser are seen on a wall in Cairo [Getty]

 

Khaled Diab

"I am not pharaoh … After two revolutions, nobody who occupies this chair can become a pharaoh," Egypt's president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi reportedly told a select group of intellectuals and thinkers a few weeks ago, insisting that he accepted and respected criticism.


Author Julian Pecquet
Congress is rolling out the red carpet for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as the six-nation coalition prepares to open shop in Washington.

 

Demonizing Russia , By AFP

 "Information Clearing House" - "AFP" - BRUSSELS: NATO foreign ministers met on Thursday to finalize the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia.

By Peter Koenig

What Happens when the accuser of terrorism are themselves the terrorists? – Namely the supra-national corporations and financial oligarchs acting in their own profit-driven interest, but under the direction of Washington and the protection of the US – NATO killer armies? Fear and confusion happens.

BURAK BEKDİL, hurriyetdailynews
Under the management of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) foreign policy, it has been a real challenge to keep a count of the flight itineraries of Turkish ambassadors in foreign capitals. Those who are recalled, resent, then recalled again, then resent or not… But all such punishing diplomatic moves have one thing in common: The extra flight costs have not changed the course of events that Turkey has protested about in the countries where Turkish ambassadors have been on the move.

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Timothy Smith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Geopolitical Monitor, Michael Hart
President Obama’s upcoming visit to Vietnam could amount to far more than just a symbolic political photo opportunity. It comes amid suggestions that the U.S. may be about to lift an arms embargo which has remained in place for four decades. If this were to happen, it would signal a historic shift in perspective and represent the most significant stride forward in diplomatic relations to date between these two former adversaries, more than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

 

It has been six years since the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship that was aiming to reach the Gaza coast in May 2010.In the wake of the Mavi Marmara crisis, Turkey and Israel relations rapidly worsened; both countries withdrew their ambassadors and cut diplomatic ties. Turkey's downing of a Russian jet along the Syrian border on November 24, 2015 has forced Ankara to adjust its foreign policy and address its energy security issues. The crisis between Turkey and Russia firmly highlighted the dependence of Turkey on Russian energy resources.

TAREK MEGERISI

Libyans and their international partners can unite against the Islamic State, but external political and military engineering is undermining the prerequisite nation building.  

 

Propaganda Alert

By RT

"Information Clearing House" - "RT" - NATO’s former deputy military chief in Europe says his book, a fictional story which describes a nuclear war with Russia over the Baltic nations taking place in 2017, is based on an “entirely plausible” scenario.

 

by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute

A rhetorical question by the time the Economist ran this cover of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June 2013.
Why would a prime minister, who only a few months ago won a general election with 49.5% of the vote, step down? Corruption allegations? A soaring opposition? Plummeting public approval for this or that reason? A scandalous affair that fell into the public domain?

Politics, Turkey

Calouste Gulbenkian, circa 1890s

 

Ibrahim Al-Marashi

May 16 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Treaty, a secret agreement between Britain and France during World War I to carve up the domains of the Ottoman Empire upon its defeat.


Author Cengiz Çandar
The collision between Turkey and the European Union (EU) was not unexpected, arriving as it did before mid-May. Now, attention has turned to the next looming crisis, between Ankara and Berlin.

Federica Mogherini

By GEORGE JAHN and MATTHEW LEE
VIENNA (AP) — In a move fraught with risk, the United States and other world powers said Monday they would supply Libya's internationally recognized government with weapons to counter the Islamic State and other militant groups gaining footholds in the chaos-wracked country's lawless regions.

By Pål Steigan

Psychological operations are spreading information to a population or a target group to influence their emotions, their motivation, their way of thinking and, finally; how they act. Psychological operations target foreign governments, organizations, groups and individuals. In psychological operations disinformation and deceit is routine. This is included in the standard arsenal of for instance the US military forces.


Accommodations are plentiful in the kingdom for Sunni Muslim migrants
by Daniel Pipes, Washington Times

As European governments slam the gates shut on illegal Middle Eastern immigrants, where can Syrians and others go to, not far from their homelands, for safety and employment? The answer is obvious but surprisingly neglected: to Saudi Arabia and the other rich Arab sheikhdoms.

 erd-dav

By Gareth H. Jenkins

Ahmet Davutoğlu has left as he came, not in response to popular demand but at President Erdoğan’s behest. Apparently unsighted by his unfailing self-belief, Davutoğlu was caught unprepared when Erdoğan made his move. The overthrow of Davutoğlu has demonstrated the naivety of the EU’s policy of appeasement. The EU officials believed that by focusing on Davutoğlu, they were strengthening him politically as a counterweight to Erdoğan. This may have been naïve, self-serving or both. It was certainly not true. But it did reinforce Erdoğan’s suspicions of Davutoğlu.


By Ted Galen Carpenter

"Information Clearing House" - "National Interest" - In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned of the growing influence of the “military-industrial complex” on American politics and policy. Interestingly, Eisenhower’s original formulation of the menace was the even more accurate “military-industrial-congressional complex.” (Emphasis added). Seeing how that network of special interests has worked its tentacles into so many aspects of American political and economic life in the intervening decades indicates just how prescient was Eisenhower’s warning.