July, 2016 Geopolitics


by Burak Bekdil, Hürriyet Daily News
Every piece of evidence emerging after the failed putsch on July 15 indicates that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the victim of a failed Gülenist coup d'état. But to get the picture right we must ask ourselves, perhaps ironically, what the victim and the perpetrator have in common. The answer is many years of staunch alliance and the same ideology: political Islam.

By Leslie H. Gelb
U.S. policy makers have to adjust from the power to command to the power to lead—from mostly coercive power to mostly strategic planning and maneuvering. America simply lacks the relative military and economic power it enjoyed in the twentieth century. Equally critical to understand, most international conflicts and problems now occur within nations more than between nations. Terrorists and civil wars are much more elusive military targets than troops fighting in battalions. Dealing with internal economic and political situations is far more baffling than simply telling governments what to do.


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute
Before July 15, civil liberties in Turkey were de facto in the deep freeze. Now they are de jure in the deep freeze. In 1853, John Russell quoted Tsar Nicholas I of Russia as saying that the Ottoman Empire was "a sick man -- a very sick man," in reference to the ailing empire's fall into a state of decrepitude. Some 163 years after that, the modern Turkish state follows in the Ottoman steps.


By Pepe Escobar

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik " - The South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.


by Con Coughlin
In recent months the Kremlin has hinted that keeping Assad in power is not its primary concern. Rather its main objective in Syria is to keep its strategically-important bases in the country.

 Anatomy of a coup.

 By SPIEGEL Staff

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is taking advantage of last week's failed coup to consolidate his power. As the country slides into a dictatorship, there is a lot at stake for the West. But the effects in Turkey itself promise to be far greater.

 Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

By GERSHON BASKIN
Arafat is no longer around and neither is Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and Liberman too might not be the same old Liberman we know from yesteryear. 
On Monday, during an open Q&A in the Knesset Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated: “Egypt is the most important and serious ally we have in the Middle East and among Arab states. I invested a lot of effort in building trust and cooperative relations.” This is a very interesting statement from the man who in 1998 suggested bombing the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support for Yasser Arafat.

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Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Farkhod Tolipov
50 years ago, Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent hosted a summit ending the India-Pakistan war of 1965, resulting in the Tashkent Declaration. It was, so to speak, a Soviet “Camp David” aimed at bringing two antagonists – India and Pakistan – to peace. The SCO summit of June 2016 was, symbolically speaking, a second – multilateral – platform created in the same place, Tashkent, for the same two states to restore peace. Yet this summit did not appear to be a second Tashkent “Camp David,” but rather a challenge for the SCO itself.

Pro-Erdogan supporters hold up an effigy of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul on July 18, 2016. Photo by Ozan Kose / AFP

CraigSHAW, AhmetŞIK

Last Friday’s coup in Turkey left us all with a world of questions. Did Erdoğan know about it? Did he plan it? Was his former comrade Fethullah Gülen behind it? We asked those in a position to know – our sources in Turkish intelligence services. They provided an insider's take on the run-up to the coup attempt, the events of that day, and the five-year political war between the Turkish president and his one-time ally.


Project Syndicate, Anas Alhajji
IRVING, TEXAS – The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is dead. Saudi Arabia killed it. Now, OPEC is just a toothless zombie, attracting attention, but without having any impact on the living.
Few have noticed OPEC’s demise for a simple reason: it never really had the impact that it was widely perceived to have. It was never actually a cartel, possessing monopolistic market power. Anyone who thought otherwise was mistakenly attributing to it Saudi Arabia’s market power.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Geopolitical Monitor, Daniel Urchick
Russia continues to seek to increase its influence in the Middle East region’s power-brokering structure to a level it believes to be appropriate for its traditional great power status. As one Russia-watcher recently described, “Russia seeks the same level of say in the global system as it had at the Yalta conference of 1945.” It is important to look at Russia’s broader moves in the Middle East, like in Egypt, and not just Syria to properly understand the evolution of Russia’s resurgent great power foreign policy.

Turkish demonstrators rally against the coup attempt in Turkey at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Kemal Kirişci

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has responded to last week’s coup attempt with a hammer. Over the span of just a few days, more than 50,000 people have been fired from their jobs or detained on suspicions that they’re connected to the coup or to the Gülenist movement (which President Erdoğan blames for the coup attempt). Now emergency rule has been imposed, suggesting that more detentions may follow.


By Ralph Peters

If today’s Western leaders possess one general trait, it’s a genius for self-deception. Insisting that Islamist terror has nothing to do with Islam, or that religion has no strategic impact, or that all human beings want freedom and democracy, amounts to declaring that up is down, right is left and night is day.

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ANATOLY KARLIN
Turkey has a proud and rich history of military coups. As analysts tirelessly point out, they are even sanctioned by the Constitution as a means of preserving secularism.


by Daniel J. Graeber
Russia could revisit a land-based oil pipeline meant to get around Turkish waterways if the political situation worsens, a Russian executive said. Nikolai Tokarev, the head of Russian pipeline company Transneft, said there was renewed interest in building the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline.

ANADOLU AGENCY, BAKU
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev signed a verdict Wednesday to approve the protocol that the Turkish military has been allocated to manage buildings and structures in the country's military town.


A briefing by Efraim Inbar
Summary account by Marilyn Stern, Middle East Forum Board of Governors

Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University and a Shillman/Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, briefed the Middle East Forum in a conference call on June 30, 2016.

By Umberto Pascali
 "Information Clearing House" - "Kaethon" - In his last public rant (“Toward a Global Realignment,” ), an obviously worn-out and senile Zbigniew Brzezinski successfully shows that old dogs can't learn new tricks.

 US President Barack Obama (R) greets Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to a meeting at the US Chief of Mission’s residence in Paris on December 1, 2015.

Signs of tensions growing between the US and Turkey continue to emerge, prompting some to question whether Ankara has reviewed its geopolitical priorities and made a shift from Washington toward Moscow. Due to its unique geostrategic position, Turkey has long been important to the US as a NATO ally and a "bridge" between the West and the Arab world.

Turkey European Energy Relations

By Irina Slav 
Turkey European Energy Relations

A lot of people in Europe are wondering why political leaders on the continent seem to be ready to agree with whatever Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says, and do anything he demands. Many resent Erdogan’s hand-twisting approach to the migrant crisis and worry about Turkey turning into a dictatorship, plain and simple.


Project Syndicate, Sinan Ulgen
ISTANBUL – A military coup against an elected government typically unleashes a flood of analysis about the country’s future direction following the break in democratic rule. But failed coups can be just as consequential. The botched attempt by elements of the Turkish military to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will have far-ranging implications for Turkey’s foreign relations and regional role.


By Finian Cunningham

"Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - This consolidation of power is raising tensions with the US and European Union, with concerns that the president’s resort to repression will bring his Western partners into disrepute.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Vladimir Putin. Kremlin.ru

Erdoğan is set to turn to Russia.
Nikolas K. Gvosdev

As we continue to sort through the aftermath of the failed attempt at a military coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, one unexpected (and potentially unwelcome, from a U.S. standpoint) development is that this botched attempt to remove Erdoğan will further the reconciliation process between the Turkish leader and Russian president Vladimir Putin.

 

Author Ali Hashem

As July 15 was coming to an end in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was on the phone with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, whose government was under the threat of being overthrown by a military coup. Meanwhile, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), was on another line with security officials in Ankara.

 

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gather at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Natasha Bertrand

Tension between the US and Turkey has escalated dramatically in the wake of Ankara's far-reaching crackdown on those suspected to have been involved in Friday's failed military coup. In addition to more than 2,000 members of the Turkish armed forces, Ankara has ordered that at least 50 high-level civil servants, 8,000 police officers, and 30 regional governors with alleged ties to the coup plotters be either arrested or fired, according to Reuters.

by Tyler Durden
Overnight Turkish president Erdogan's counter-coup witch hunt continued, when thousands of police officers were suspended on Monday, widening a systemic purge of Erdogan's enemies first in the armed forces and then judiciary after a failed military coup, now focusing on the interior police force, and raising concern among European allies that it was abandoning the rule of law. Turkey's state-run news agency says the nation has detained or suspended 20,000 personnel across the country, following Friday's foiled coup attempt.

MURAT YETKİN

The failed military coup attempt in Turkey started on the evening of July 15, leaving more than 200 killed, nearly 3,000 soldiers and almost as many judges and prosecutors detained, and plenty of embarrassment for Turkey for being the center of talk about a military coup, (even if it failed and there remain a lot of questions about it).

We are witnessing the consolidation of a new form of authoritarianism with a populist streak.

By Ayşe Kadıoğlu
 "Information Clearing House" - "Open Democracy" - On the evening of July 15, 2016, a friend called around 10:30pm and said that both bridges connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul were closed by military barricades. Moreover, military jets were flying over Ankara skies. As someone living on the European side of Istanbul and commuting to the Asian side to my university on a daily basis and spending many hours in traffic in order to do that, I immediately knew that the closure of both bridges was a sign of something very extraordinary taking place.

 

By DARREN BOYLE FOR MAILONLINE

A US-based Turkish cleric accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Ankara government has claimed President Recep Erdogan staged the rebellion himself to justify a major clampdown on opposition forces.
Fethullah Gulen, who was a former key ally of Erdogan has been blamed by the politician of using his contacts to develop a 'parallel structure' to overthrow the state.
Erdogan has called on US President Barack Obama to extradite Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania.

PHOTO: In this file photo, a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet lands at Incirlik air base in Adana, Turkey, Aug. 11, 2015.

By JUSTIN FISHEL MORGAN WINSOR MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN
A coalition fighting ISIS has resumed operations at Turkish airbases following a weekend coup attempt in Turkey that led to a temporary lockdown at Incirlik air base. 
"After close coordination with our Turkish allies, they have reopened their airspace to military aircraft," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told ABC News. "As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed."

Paul R. Pillar
Before this week it had come to be broadly accepted conventional wisdom that the days of Turkish military coups were over. After a post-World War II history in which the military had taken over the government about once every ten years, in the last couple of decades the return to the barracks appeared to be final.


Alex Fishman

Analysis: By sending his foreign minister to Israel, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was showing the world that Egypt means business, that it truly is the strongest player in the region, and that no one, especially not the US, should ignore it.

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev​. Kremlin.ru

By Nikolay Pakhomov
Seeing Eurasia as a whole has been to Moscow’s benefit.
The political earthquake of the Brexit referendum has already changed international relations in many ways. While the majority of experts in the United States dwelled on the parallels between the anger of British and American voters and the possible negative consequences for the global economy, only a few considered the referendum’s implications for American foreign policy, naming, as an example, a possible end to the American “pivot” towards Asia.

tr-gaza

By Nathan Shachar

Whatever dividends the fresh Turkish-Israeli rapprochement will bring, it reveals something fundamental about the new Middle East: the number of unknown variables in this ever less predictable environment is steadily growing, and even the most arrogant and unrepentant leaders will have to eat crow from time to time in order to salvage their national interests. Leaders who stand by their words and their principles will be severely handicapped

By Pepe Escobar
 "Information Clearing House" - The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, backed by the UN, essentially ruled that there is no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to vast sections of the South China Sea included in the ‘nine-dash line’.

BURAK BEKDİL

The anecdote, mentioned previously in this column, dates back to more than half a century ago, but it explains some of Turkey’s policy failures today. When, in the late 1950s, Kemal Nejat Kavur was serving as the Turkish ambassador to Moscow, Andrei Gromyko, the then Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, asked him: “Your Excellency, your country has the highest number of men under arms in Europe. If you turned them against your traditional enemies, the Greeks, they would be too much for them. But if you turned them against us, it would be too small. What’s the reason for this?”


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

In a supreme effort to prevent ISIS suicide units from reaching Russia from Syria, Sergei Shoigu, Russia's
Defense Minister, has promoted the Russian commander in Syria, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov. to an expanded command as head of the South Russia military district.


Project Syndicate, Brahma Chellaney
BERLIN – China has been trying to bully its way to dominance in Asia for years. And it seems that not even an international tribunal in The Hague is going to stand in its way.
China has rebuffed the landmark ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which knocked the bottom out of expansive Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea and held that some of the country’s practices were in violation of international law. Recognizing that there is no mechanism to enforce the PCA’s ruling, China does not intend to give even an inch on its claims to everything that falls within its unilaterally drawn “nine-dash line.”


By Gareth H. Jenkins 

There is currently no clear indication as to when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will leave power but Turkey is now deep into the final – and highly turbulent – stage of his domination of the country’s politics. Even though some features have remained unchanged, Erdoğan has undoubtedly left a lasting impression on both the Turkish state and Turkish society. The fear now is that, as he descends deeper into authoritarianism, Erdoğan will also cause severe damage not only to the social fabric but to what has always been an incipient rather than an established democracy.

MUSTAFA AKYOL
One of the rare good steps the Turkish government took lately was the reconciliation with Israel, which came after six years of low relations. As I noted before, this reconciliation is good for Turkey, good for Israel, and good for the Palestinians as well. For thanks to this agreement, Turkey will be able to send aid and help build infrastructure both in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's visit to Israel Sunday, July 10 and the two conversations he held with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that day underscored the intensified ties between the two governments and their leaders, President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and the prime minister.

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THE SAKER 
A number of events have happened recently which point to the possibility that something might be brewing in the Syrian conflict. First and foremost, there was Erdogan’s apology to Russia which was really much more than just an apology.

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Posted By Garikai Chengu 
After seven years, the Chilcot report has delivered a damning verdict on Tony Blair’s role in the war on Iraq, but British Prime Ministers playing a destructive role in Iraq is a centuries old practice. Britain has used its military might and commercial prowess to subjugate Iraq and control its oil resources for over one hundred years.


The Anglosphere has its roots in the Commonwealth tradition. But today's global world has forged a powerful unofficial alliance.
BY MICHAEL KENNY AND NICK PEARCE

During what has been an unusually turbulent period in British politics, one of the most important and potentially enduring shifts in the mindset of those at the apex of the political system has received far less attention than it merits. This concerns the striking re-emergence on the political right of the dream of an entirely different geo­political and economic future for the United Kingdom, one that claims to relocate it in the historical trajectory and distinctive values that once made Britain great.


by Abha Shankar, IPT News

Turkey is mending fences with Egypt and cutting back its support for the Muslim Brotherhood in response to the deadly terror attacks that have struck the country over the past year, The London Times reports.


Author Rania Rabeaa Elabd
Budgets rarely please everyone, but opponents are challenging Egypt’s recently passed spending plan. The Egyptian parliament approved the country’s 2016-17 general budget June 29 despite accusations that the legislation violates the constitution and contains figures that are not feasible.

By Dan Goure
As NATO prepares for its summit in Warsaw, the leaders of the Alliance’s 28 nations will try to put a good face on what is clearly a deteriorating security situation on the Continent. Government officials, diplomats and military leaders are wringing their hands at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent ability to run rings around the United States and its allies.


KAITLIN LAVINDER
NATO heads of state will meet in Warsaw this Friday and Saturday at a time when the U.S. has been accused by some of pulling back from the world stage in general and from Europe in particular, as the Obama Administration pivoted to the Asia Pacific region and economic interests there.

U.S. Army soldiers in Al Muradia village, Iraq. Flickr/U.S. Army

By Paul R. Pillar
SINCE WORLD WAR II—the largest military effort ever by the United States, and one ending with clear victory—the use of U.S. military force overseas has exhibited two patterns. One is the increasing frequency and duration of the application of force. This trend has become especially noticeable since the turn of the twenty-first century, with the United States fighting its two longest major military campaigns, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Simultaneously, Washington has conducted combat operations in Libya, Syria and elsewhere, all under the indeterminate rubric of “war on terror.” An entire generation of Americans has come of age with its country perpetually at war.


Author Khalid Hassan
TranslatorMike Nahum

CAIRO — Recent days have witnessed a new cycle of conflict pitting the Muslim Brotherhood against Gamaa Islamiya. The latter was the Brotherhood’s foremost ally following its fall from power on July 3, 2013. Yet Ibrahim Munir, the Brotherhood’s deputy supreme guide, accused Gamaa Islamiya of responsibility for the violence that broke out during the period of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule. His accusation drove Abboud el-Zumar, a prominent leader and member of the Gamaa Islamiya’s Shura Council, to demand that ties between the two groups be frozen.