June, 2016 Politics

Erdogan and Netanyahu. Turkey and Israel are very close to finalizing their reconciliation deal. (Photo: AP, Kobi Gideon/GPO) (Photo: AP, Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Itamar Eichner

The two sides are meeting in order to finalize a deal to normalize relations; It appears that missing Israeli Avera Mengistu and the remains of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin will not be mentioned in the final draft.Israeli and Turkish negotiation teams were set to meet Sunday in Rome, in order to finalize the two countries' reconciliation deal, six years after their relationship soured due to the Mavi Marmara incident.


Author Semih Idiz

Its long-term implications aside, Britain’s vote to leave the EU will have little immediate impact on Turkish-EU ties, which were on a downward spiral anyway before this referendum.

Thomson 120 mm Platoon during fire exercise​. Wikimedia Commons/Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum
Time to consolidate U.S. gains.
John Van Oudenaren

The British electorate’s stunning vote to leave the European Union has been followed by predictions in the United States about the dire consequences of this choice. The fate of the global economy and peace itself are said to be at risk, along with the ability of the United States to deal with Russia, Islamic terrorism and other problems while undercut by a weakened EU and a UK turned inward as it undergoes a decade-long process of unwinding its European ties.


The Brexit campaign made a big issue about the unlikely scenario of a Turkey imminently joining the EU and 80 million Turks suddenly migrating to their island. At least some of the “leave” votes on Thursday must have been cast due to that fear. And paradoxically, Brexit made Turkey more important. Why? Because it has destabilized post-1945 Europe, and I think Turkey could help re-stabilize it. Let me elaborate.

BREXIT: EUROPE IS FALLING INTO THE ABYSS

Interview with prominent Russian geopolitician Alexander Dugin

– The main question is “what’s next”?

Dugin (D): The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union is an event of colossal importance. The whole architecture of the world is changing, because it is not just one of the European countries, it is one of the poles of European civilization. And if England says that it is out of Europe, out of the EU, that means that the EU’s value changes. The most important thing is that no one will allow a Europe without Britain. We can say that it is the end of the civilizational space.

 RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Kremlin photo.

It's in the U.S. national interest to explore better relations with Russia from a position of strength.
Dimitri K. Simes
THE NEXT American president will face the most serious challenge from Russia since the end of the Cold War or, for that matter, since the early 1980s, when the United States and Yuri Andropov’s Soviet Union actively confronted one another around the globe.


Author Ben Caspit, TranslatorDanny Wool

The teams of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finally agreed today on the details of a bilateral reconciliation agreement. But why didn't this happen three years ago? On March 22, 2013, US President Barack Obama left Israel after a successful three-day visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah. At the time, the United States and Israel were exerting considerable efforts to ensure the visit’s success. It was supposed to mark a turning point, setting Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a new and better path. It was intended to turn back the four disastrous years that preceded it.


Russian President Vladimir Putin has received a letter in which his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized for the death of the pilot who was killed when a Russian jet was downed over the Syrian-Turkish border last November, the Kremlin said.
Erdogan expressed readiness to restore relations with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

By John Pilger
"Information Clearing House" - The majority vote by Britons to leave the European Union was an act of raw democracy. Millions of ordinary people refused to be bullied, intimidated and dismissed with open contempt by their presumed betters in the major parties, the leaders of the business and banking oligarchy and the media.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu © Reuters

Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to normalize ties, a senior Israeli official told reporters, according to Reuters. This will end bitter rift over the Israeli Navy’s killing of nine Turkish citizens during a Gaza flotilla raid in 2010.

Michael Peck

Two of the world’s most powerful air forces are operating towards opposite goals. What could possibly go wrong?
How long will it be before American and Russia jets dogfight in the skies over Syria?
That possibility seems more likely after the latest in a string of confrontations between American and Russian aircraft. Earlier this month, Russian aircraft bombing U.S.-backed rebels fighting ISIS and the Syrian government almost confronted U.S. Navy fighters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Vote leave supporters wave Union flags, following the result of the EU referendum, outside Downing Street in London on June 24, 2016.

Neil Hall—Reuters
There is no lack of apocalyptic handwringing about the UK’s vote last night to leave the European Union—the so-called Brexit. But a more optimistic scenario is also possible.


By Paul Craig Roberts

 "Information Clearing House" - What does it mean? Hopefully, a breakup of the EU and NATO and, thereby, the avoidance of World War III. The EU and NATO are evil institutions. These two institutions are mechanisms created by Washington in order to destroy the sovereignty of European peoples.


Lebanese ally of Syrian government acknowledges heavy losses but vows to fight on as "retreat is not permissible".
The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement has said he will send more fighters to Syria's Aleppo area, a battleground where it has suffered heavy losses fighting alongside Syrian government forces against rebel groups.

 

Author Jasper Mortimer

ANKARA, Turkey — Binali Yildirim had been prime minister only two weeks when suicide bombers from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and its affiliate, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, detonated two car bombs — one in Istanbul, one in Midyat, southeast Turkey. They killed 18 people.

 

Robert W. Merry
Repeat after me: The status quo in the West is not working. . . . The status quo in the West is not working. That’s the meaning of the seminal “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom on Thursday. It wasn’t merely that those who voted for Britain’s exit from the European Union didn’t like the status quo. Or that it wasn’t serving their particular interests and needs. It was that the status quo is broken. Old structures are crumbling. The West is in a crisis of the old order.

Economics and security are pushing the two back together.
Seth J. Frantzman

Turkey and Israel are reported to be on the verge of reestablishing full diplomatic ties after more than half a decade. This will have implications for the Syrian conflict, natural gas exports and Saudi-Israeli relations. The history of how Israel and Turkey had such a deep falling out goes back seven years.


London (CNN)The Leave campaign will win the UK referendum on EU membership, CNN predicts. Results show "Leave" leading "Remain" by more than 1 million votes, with 90% of districts reporting.Almost 46.5 million people were registered to vote in Thursday's referendum.

Europe, Politics


By Pepe Escobar

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - It’s like clockwork. Oil price is on the rise again, as this column foresaw earlier this year. And the increasing possibility of Brexit is sending EU decision centers on a tailspin. So it's time for US Think Tankland – as in CIA front Stratfor, among others – to renew their spin offensive, mixing “analyses” of imminent Russian economic collapse with calls for more NATO pressure over Russia’s western borderlands.


Author Maxim A. Suchkov

As last week’s “dissent cable,” signed by US State Department officials, criticized President Barack Obama’s Syrian strategy for not being very strategic, the mood in Moscow seems quite different. Recent low-intensity diplomatic spats between the two states over whose patience is running thinner in Syria signal more-profound grievances in both capitals regarding their respective strategies, as well as one another.


by Daniel Pipes

Moncef Marzouki, the president of Tunisia from 2011 to 2014, has penned an analysis predicting, as I have, the demise of Islamism. I quote from a MiddleEastEye.net abridgement and translation of the original Arabic version that appeared at Aljazeera.net.

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Marwan Bishara

In their attempts to win the hearts and minds of British voters before this week's referendum on British membership of the European Union, it seems to me the "Leave" camp focused primarily on the hearts, while the "Remain" campaign spoke to the minds.


by Tarek Fatah, The Toronto Sun
Originally published under the title "West Bowing to Radical Islam."
 

Almost 10 years ago, Maclean's magazine published an essay by Mark Steyn, titled "The future belongs to Islam." In it, he suggested, "the West is growing old and enfeebled, and lacks the will to rebuff those who would supplant it."

Neocons and liberals are equally threatened.
Scott McConnell

Donald Trump’s terrible June, the thinness of his campaign organization and his nearly nonexistent fundraising are important, and there is a fair chance the presumptive GOP nominee won’t recover sufficiently to run even a competitive race in the fall.

Politics, United States


By Jonathan Cook

"Information Clearing House" - "The National" - In a little-noticed move last week, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman barred an official close to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas from entering Israel. Mohammed Madani is accused of “subversive activity" and “political terror". His crimes, as defined by Mr Lieberman, are worth pondering. They suggest that Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians may be rooted less in security issues and more in European colonialism.


Author Sardar Mlla Drwish, TranslatorJoelle El-Khoury

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — Since the Syrian revolution began in 2011, the Kurds have not engaged in direct military confrontations with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which has not shelled their areas as it has other Syrian cities, even though the Kurds have always opposed successive Syrian regimes.

 

BURAK BEKDİL

Ostensibly it is a political issue. In reality, research to understand the mental dynamics/calculus of Turkey’s observant Muslims should fall into the disciplines of social psychology and, in some cases, psychiatrics.


Author Semih Idiz

Ankara’s bid for EU membership used to underlie Turkey’s appeal for many of the Middle East’s progressive elements in the past. The Arab Spring enhanced Turkey’s importance as a “model country” for other Islamic countries. With the Arab Spring gone sour and the EU battling its own crises, while Turkey becomes more authoritarian under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, these hopes have all but faded.

Four scenarios for the future as the JCPOA approaches one year.
Ariel E. Levite

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has now been in effect for a year. It has withstood multiple political tests in Washington and Tehran and its key provisions have thus far been implemented by Iran and its seven partners (the P-5, Germany and the European Union).


BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN
A “Russian-Chinese axis” will dominate the Middle East with Israel as its western anchor: That scenario was floated June 15 in Russia Insider, a louche propaganda site that often runs the work of fringe conspiracy theorists and the occasional anti-Semite. But the author in this case was the venerable Giancarlo Elia Valori, president of Huawei Technologies’ Italian division, a veteran of past intelligence wars with a resume that reads like a Robert Ludlum novel.


By Alastair Crooke

 "Information Clearing House" - "World Post" - BEIRUT — Gradually, the mist of ambiguity and confusion hanging over Syria is lifting a little. The landscape is sharpening into focus. With this improved visibility, we can view a little more clearly the course of action being prepared by Iran, Russia and the Syrian government.

By Paul Craig Roberts

 "Information Clearing House" - Do you remember how close we came to Armageddon in the early 1960s when Washington put nuclear missiles in Turkey on the Soviet Union’s border and the Soviets responded by putting nuclear missiles in Cuba? Fortunately, at that time we had an intelligent president instead of a cipher. President John F. Kennedy pulled us back from the brink and was assassinated by his own government for his service to humanity.

American and Russian fighter jets had a tense showdown in the skies above Syria as the Russians dropped bombs on U.S.-backed rebels.
U.S. and Russian fighter jets bloodlessly tangled in the air over Syria on June 16 as the American pilots tried and failed to stop the Russians from bombing U.S.-backed rebels in southern Syria near the border with Jordan.

The Pentagon in Washington

Victory is assured on the military’s main battlefield—Washington.
By Andrew Cockburn

These days, lamenting the apparently aimless character of Washington’s military operations in the Greater Middle East has become conventional wisdom among administration critics of every sort. Senator John McCain thunders that “this president has no strategy to successfully reverse the tide of slaughter and mayhem” in that region. Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies bemoans the “lack of a viable and public strategy.” Andrew Bacevich suggests that “there is no strategy. None. Zilch.”

Turkish flag in front of empty sun beds

By Mark Lowen
BBC News, Antalya, Turkey

No fights necessary over sun beds at hotels in Antalya
The group of British tourists playing water polo in the pool could shriek as loudly as they liked: there were virtually no other guests they'd disturb.
The four-star Garden Resort Bergamot Hotel in Kemer, just outside Antalya, should be 70% full at this time of year. But just 25 of the 233 rooms are taken.

Culture, Politics, Turkey


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
On June 4, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told university students, "Just like our [Turkish] arrival into Anatolia, just like the conquest of Istanbul ... I know you will be behaving with the same consciousness ... A new Turkey will rise on your shoulders."
1071 is a very special year for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- and his Islamist ideologues. Erdogan often speaks about his "2071 targets," a reference to his vision of "Great Turkey," on the 1000th anniversary of a battle that paved the Turks' way into where they still live.



By Bill Van Auken

 "Information Clearing House" - "WSWS" - The leaking of a so-called “dissent channel cable”—a classified memo signed by over 50 mid-level State Department officials calling for the Obama administration to re-direct its military intervention in Syria to a war against the government of President Bashar al-Assad—has ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Moscow.

 

ISTANBUL — Meral Akşener relishes the idea that she frightens Turkey’s most powerful man. With a smirk, she lists headlines from pro-government newspapers painting her as a dangerous conspirator plotting against the state — a sure sign that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is worried about her.


John Hannah
Houston, we have a problem. A serious problem. Slowly, but inexorably, Turkey is headed off a cliff. The signposts ahead are bleak indeed. Despotism. Terrorism. Civil war. Just over the horizon, scenarios like “failed state” and “forced partition” are coming into view. The day may be approaching when U.S. policymakers, much as they’d prefer not to, will finally be forced to grapple with the question: What do you do with a NATO ally gone seriously bad?


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute

There is every indication that Turkey and Israel are not far away from normalizing their troubled diplomatic relations. According to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, for instance, the former allies are "one or two meetings" away from normalization.

By Dave Majumdar
Despite Washington’s pleas, America’s major European allies have time and again failed to boost their spending to the minimum two percent standard. NATO HQ, BRUSSELS & E-4B NATIONAL AIRBORNE OPERATIONS CENTER OVER THE ATLANTIC—U.S. defense officials are continuing to press their European counterparts to increase their military spending to the NATO minimum standard of two percent of gross domestic product.

Alparslan Türkeş, the founder and former head of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

William Armstrong

All major parties in Turkey harbor some form of nationalism. Turkish nationalism has many different flavors and has proven remarkably resilient over the past century. Since 1923 it has run through various ideological trends in Turkey like writing in a stick of Brighton rock.

By Ivan Plis
From ISIS to Turkey, Islamism endures.

Many Western analysts of terrorism, and of Middle Eastern politics, are bad at religion. They prefer empirical explanations for individual and group actions, and so they’d rather avoid wrestling with God. They’re also likely to see religion as infinitely adaptable, an “epiphenomenal” cover for political or economic grievance—or fertile ground for the mentally unhinged.

Selcan HacaogluFirat Kozok| Bloomberg
Turkey’s leaders plan to remove references in the constitution binding public servants to the ideology of the nation’s secular founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the state, its principles and institutions under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The prevailing view is that there should be no reference to any specific ideology in the new constitution,” Mehmet Ucum, a chief adviser to Erdogan, said in an interview at the presidential palace in Ankara. “It’s thought to be more appropriate if the constitution’s preamble states that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is the founding leader of the Turkish Republic.”

Politics, Turkey


by Tarek Fatah, The Toronto Sun

Western media have fawned over Muhammad Musri, president of the Islamic Society of Central Florida, and others seeking to shift blame for the mass murder away from radical Islamism.
In the wake of the Islamic terrorist attack on a Florida gay nightclub, the media's coverage has been almost apologetic. To go by the coverage, it's as if an Islamist jihadi didn't just massacre 49 Americans, and the West bombed Mecca instead.

Culture, Global, Politics


Author Akiva Eldar, Translator Ruti Sinai

On the day after the March 2015 Knesset elections, the popular Italian daily Corriere de la Sera headlined its story on the Likud Party victory “The Comeback of Bibi, the Magician.” It brought to mind the Israeli performer Dori Ben-Zeev crooning Kobi Luria's “There once was a country,” a song about a magician who could speak without saying a thing, lived like a king and had a wife like a queen, until one morning his bluff was called. There are growing indications in recent weeks that Israel's “magician” is losing his touch and that the game is up.

Israel, Politics

By Alex Vatanka
They could tear it apart—or work together.
On June 6, Khorasan Province of Islamic State claimed credit for the killing of Sher Wali Wardak, an Afghan parliamentarian. If confirmed, the killing will represent a new chapter in ISIS’s capacity to operate in Afghanistan. The attack happened as professors from Ghazni University in the eastern part of the country are warning of ISIS infiltration of the university, another sign that the group seeks to expand its base of support in the country.

By Jack A. Smith
 "Information Clearing House" - From Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, October 2011 as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan appeared to be ending:"There are those on the American political scene who are calling for us not to reposition [to Asia], but to come home. They seek a downsizing of our foreign engagement in favor of our pressing domestic priorities. These impulses are understandable, but they are misguided. Those who say that we can no longer afford to engage with the world have it exactly backward — we cannot afford not to.... Rather than pull back from the world, we need to press forward and renew our leadership. The Asia-Pacific represents such a real 21st-century opportunity for usto secure and sustain our leadership abroad."

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton talk during an interview by PBS's Charlie Rose, Wednesday, April 20, 2011, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo / Alex Brandon)

‘These are the people who make trillions of dollars on war,’ one analyst commented on the sponsors of a recent think tank report on U.S. foreign policy.
By MintPress News Desk 

WASHINGTON — Some of the most powerful players in the military-industrial complex hope to earn big bucks under a possible Hillary Clinton presidency.That’s the conclusion some analysts are drawing from a report, “Extending American Power: Strategies to Expand U.S. Engagement in a Competitive World Order,” published last month by the Center for a New American Security, a think tank dedicated to what it describes as “strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies.”

AlexJFMorales, Fabio Benedetti Valentini, FabioWire, Thomas Penny
Bookies Are Still Pretty Sure Brexit Isn’t Going to Happen
The campaign for Britain to leave the European Union led in a fifth opinion poll published over the past 24 hours, showing Prime Minister David Cameron is foundering in his efforts to persuade voters to reject a so-called Brexit. The pound fell to a two-month low.