August, 2016 Geopolitics


By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

In mid-July, President Erdogan pointed his finger at the CIA, accusing US intelligence of having supported a failed coup directed against his government. Turkish officials pointed to a deterioration of US-Turkey relations following Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gülen, the alleged architect of the failed coup.
Erdogan’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag was categorical:


Murat Yektin
It was The New York Times that questioned the weird U.S. picture in Syria, as if the CIA was supporting the Turkey-backed Free Syria Army (FSA) rebels against the Pentagon-backed Democratic Union Party (PYD) rebels, which Turkey sees as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).


Nuray Mert
Failure is doomed to be an “orphaned child,” but in fact Turkey’s foreign policy failure has many fathers. It has been argued (including by myself) that it was a mistake for Turkey to adopt a “neo-Ottoman” foreign policy that pushed it to make over-ambitious political moves, including engagement in a proxy war in Syria. It was a mistake for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to overestimate its power and underestimate the complexity of both Middle Eastern and global politics.


Project Syndicate, Stephen Roach
NEW HAVEN – Despite all the hand-wringing over the vaunted China slowdown, the Chinese economy remains the single largest contributor to world GDP growth. For a global economy limping along at stall speed – and most likely unable to withstand a significant shock without toppling into renewed recession – that contribution is all the more important.


DEBKAfile Special Report

An all-out Turkish-Kurdish war has boiled over in northern Syria since the Turkish army crossed the border last Wednesday, Aug. 24 for the avowed aim of fighting the Islamic State and pushing the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia back. Instead of falling back, the Kurds went on the offensive and are taking a hammering.


Author Week in Review
It is no secret that the Aug. 24 Turkish military incursion into Jarablus, which sits less than 30 kilometers (roughly 19 miles) from the Turkish-Syrian border, was secondarily about the Islamic State (IS) and primarily about checking the advances of the People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in northern Syria, as Cengiz Candar recounts this week.


By Pepe Escobar

"Information Clearing House" - "RT" - So Turkish President, a.k.a. Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan is about to make a high-profile visit to Tehran – the date has not yet been set - to essentially kick start the ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow) coalition in Syria.

 Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters walk with their weapons at the eastern entrances to the town of Tal Abyad in the northern Raqqa countryside, Syria, June 14, 2015

By sacrificing its Kurdish allies in northern Syria, Washington wants to mend relations with Ankara and prevent Turkey from strengthening its ties with Moscow, thus far killing two birds with one stone, expert on Middle Eastern affairs Jean Perier believes.

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Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Robert Cutler
On June 25, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China met in Beijing, immediately after spending two days together in Tashkent at a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The two countries’ industrial cooperation is dominated by the energy sector, where the several dozen agreements that were signed in Beijing confirmed that in bilateral economic and trade relations China is the agenda-maker and Russia is the agenda-taker. This relationship is now extending itself to the geoeconomic competition between the two in Central Asia and East Central Eurasia generally, as well as into Greater South Asia at a slower pace.


by Burak Bekdil
Turkey has been a republic since 1923, a multi-party democracy since 1946, and a member of NATO since 1952. In 1987, it added another powerful anchor into the Western bay where it wanted it to remain docked: It applied for full membership in the European Union (EU). This imperfect journey toward the West was dramatically replaced by a directionless cruise, with sharp zigzags between the East and West, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist AKP party came to power in 2002. Zigzagging remains the main Turkish policy feature to this day.

Children return to school in Sadah, Yemen. Wikimedia Commons/Julien Harneis

Thomas W. Lippman
It took only two days after the collapse of Yemen peace talks in early August for the Saudi-led coalition to resume its intense bombing of the rebel-held capital, Sanaa. With it resumed the dismal chronicle of destruction, civilian casualties and humanitarian crisis afflicting the Arab world’s poorest country, and no end is in sight.

Boaz Bismuth

In an effort to distance the Kurds from the Turkish border, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan found the perfect solution: A war against the Islamic State group • When it comes to Turkish military actions, always look for the Kurdish angle.

 

Author MetinGurcan
Turkey's military plunge across the Syrian border this week has all eyes focused on the Jarablus area, as observers wait for the possible fallout between Ankara and Kurds.

By Pepe Escobar

 "Information Clearing House" - "SCF" - Russian Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers – as well as Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers – leave from the Iranian Hamadan airfield to bomb jihadis and assorted «moderate rebels» in Syria, and immediately we’ve got ourselves a major, unforeseen geopolitical game-changer.


DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis 
Turkey - in full momentum since the Erdogan-Putin summit on Aug. 9 - is setting a rapid pace for its rapprochement with Israel. Saturday, Aug. 20, the Turkish parliament ratified the reconciliation agreement Ankara signed with Jerusalem and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced that ambassadors would be exchanged soon.

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Geoffrey Aronson
Earlier this month, Egypt celebrated the 60th anniversary of Gamal Abdel Nasser's nationalisation of the Suez Canal.


 

By David P. Goldman
The first step to finding a solution is to know that there’s a problem. Donald Trump understands that the Washington foreign-policy establishment caused the whole Middle Eastern mess. I will review the problem and speculate about what a Trump administration might do about it.


By Kemal Kirisci
Vice President Joe Biden will be visiting Turkey at a time when the aftermath of the coup attempt on July 15 has reiterated deep anti-Americanism in the country. There are four reasons for this mood. The Turkish public and officialdom believe that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s initial response to the coup, when he called for “peace and continuity,” betrayed the expectation of an “Egyptian-like outcome.”


by Jonathan Spyer
The Spectator

Nobody. Or at least not all of it. Grasp that and you can see a clear strategy for the West. 
The long civil war in Syria is still far from conclusion. Any real possibility of rebel victory ended with the entry of Russian forces last autumn — but while the initiative is now with the Assad regime, the government's forces are also far from a decisive breakthrough. So who, if anyone, should the UK be backing in the Syrian slaughterhouse, and what might constitute progress in this broken and burning land?


By Eric Zuesse

"Information Clearing House" - On Monday, August 22nd, the United States government — which demands the overthrow of the internationally-recognized-as-legal government of Syria — officially announced that America’s military forces in Syria will continue to occupy Syrian land, no matter what the Syrian government says, and will shoot down any Syrian planes that fly over U.S. forces there.

  

Project Syndicate, Eric Fanning
WASHINGTON, DC – This month, I completed a two-week, six-stop tour of the Pacific, beginning with a visit to the United States Army’s 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. It was a fitting way to start the trip, a reminder that the US Army is critical to forming the foundation for security in the Pacific.

ballots, cc Flickr Keith Bacongco, modified, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Andre Ishii

After the implosion of the Soviet Union the day after Christmas in 1991, there was a wide recognition among many analyst-prognosticators of international trends that the flowering of liberal democracy was the global wave of the future. (Liberal democracy characterized by values such as freedom of expression, religion, and speech as well as separation of civilian-run government from the military.)

By Paul Craig Roberts

 "Information Clearing House" - News services abroad ask me if President Erdogan of Turkey will, as a result of the coup attempt, realign Turkey with Russia. At this time, there is not enough information for me to answer. Speculation in advance of information is not my forte.

 Kvirikashvili-Erdogan

By Boris Ajeganov

The CACI Analyst

Georgian PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili became the first foreign head of state to visit Turkey after the failed coup attempt by parts of the Turkish military in the evening of Friday, July 15. Kvirikashvili met with his counterpart, PM Binali Yildirim, and President Erdoğan in Ankara on July 19 as part of an inaugural meeting of the High Level Georgia-Turkey Strategic Cooperation Council.

Barry Gewen
Henry Kissinger’s most recent book was called, very simply, World Order. The title may be taken as ironic, for at present, Kissinger said, there is no such thing. “Our age is insistently, at times almost desperately, in pursuit of a concept of world order,” and unless the major powers, the United States and China in particular, but not them alone, manage to reach a new kind of accommodation about their roles on the global stage, “chaos threatens.”


By Gareth Porter

 "Information Clearing House" - In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference following their meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, August 9, 2016. © Sergei Karpukhin

Turkish President Erdogan has given up on NATO and the EU, and is pivoting toward the East, says ex-Pentagon official Michael Maloof. As Ankara and Moscow discuss military ties, this offers an intriguing new opportunity for regional cooperation.

By Salman Rafi 
The Afghan government is heavily dependent on the US military and economic assistance for its survival and provoking the Taliban by projecting them as foreign enemies is President Ashraf Ghani’s strategy to extend the war and perpetuate his rule.

DAILY SABAH
With the normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and Russia, Turkish media outlets have reported that Moscow has taken diplomatic steps toward establishing a permanent solution to the ongoing Syrian civil war with a trilateral coordination group of Turkey, Russia and Iran.


 

Author Adnan Abu Amer
TranslatorPascale Menassa

There are rumblings that Israel is threatening a war to end all wars against Hamas, one comparable to World War II.

Summary

There has been a lot of talk lately about Israel launching one last war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to annihilate the group, and Hamas is preparing for this possibility.
It has been two years since the last Israeli war on the Gaza Strip. As both sides mark the occasion, Israeli politicians have made several official statements and military experts have published press analyses indicating that an upcoming military confrontation with Hamas is not only inevitable, but will completely eliminate Hamas.


Author Metin Gurcan
TranslatorTimur Göksel

A piece I wrote in October 2014 titled “Is NATO membership shackling Turkey?” was about the Turkish public opinion debate over NATO. Today's article asks whether NATO might find Turkey's membership burdensome.

Image: A vehicle at Russia’s international military games. Photo via Russian Ministry of Defense.
Nothing short of occupying Kiev would achieve Russia's goals in Ukraine—and that won't happen.
Simon Saradzhyan

The recent escalation of hostilities in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region and increased military-political tensions around Crimea bring to mind the refrain of a popular song from the times when both these territories were still part of one country: “Do Russians want war?”

 

BURAK BEKDİL

It is barely a year since Turkish authorities came to understand that it would not be possible for a Chinese company to build Turkey’s first long range air and anti-missile defense system and make the system interoperable with NATO and Turkish assets in Turkey. It had curiously taken Ankara two years to come to that otherwise quite straightforward understanding. Now the Turkish understanding seems to be rewinding back to the near impossibility.

Extradition talks for Turkish cleric living in US
As Turkey presses the Obama administration to hand over a Pennsylvania-based cleric, claiming he spearheaded last month’s coup attempt, the Muslim nation's media is pointing an accusatory finger at a respected American academic -- and in a bizarre twist, an infamous San Quentin death-row inmate convicted of killing his wife.

The Saker

 "Information Clearing House" - The past two weeks have been rich in military developments directly affecting Russia:Syria:

1) Russia has announced that she will transform the Khmeimim airfield into a full-fledged military base with a permanently deployed task force.

2) Russia will deploy her heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser (often referred to in the West as an “aircraft carrier”) Admiral Kuznetsov to the eastern Mediterranean to to check the combat capabilities of the ship and its strike group and to engage, for the very first time, the state-of-the-art Ka-52K Katran helicopters.

Former President Bill Clinton at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Flickr/Gage Skidmore

His humanitarian foreign policy fed Bush and Obama’s recklessness.
Robert W. Merry

On October 22, 1996, President Bill Clinton, running for reelection, made what the New York Times characterized as “a rare turn to foreign policy on the campaign trail.” Speaking in Detroit, he called for NATO to extend full membership to a group of former Soviet bloc nations by the following spring. Thus did Bill Clinton move his nation into a new era of foreign policy based upon a dangerous philosophy of American hegemony justified by American exceptionalism.

Turkey-Parade-Ground-5-MillionELIM KORU

Three weeks after the attempted coup in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called on citizens to gather at the Yenıkapı (“new gate”) Parade grounds in Istanbul. More than five million people across the country showed up to the event on the Bosphorus’ shores.

El Sharara oil field in Libya. Wikimedia Commons/Javier Blas

Making oil the solution only creates more problems.
George Ward

As political opponents of the Democratic presidential nominee often note, crisis has paralyzed Libya since 2011. To be sure, a power vacuum erupted after dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi’s death, opening the door to a political free-for-all, warring militias, and ISIS. Amidst the ensuing conflict, some hang their hopes on Libya’s greatest natural resource: oil. Ten years ago, over 60 percent of Libya’s GDP came from oil revenues.

The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam sails alongside the guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon. Flickr/U.S. Navy

By Richard Caroll
Economic pressures are pushing the party south.
The increasingly aggressive and militaristic behavior in the South China Sea by China is driven by the economic needs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which currently controls mainland China’s government. While the world has looked in wonder at the economic revival of China since its economic reforms, enacted in the late 1970s, it has overlooked a serious flaw by the CCP in its failure to establish an independent judiciary that would adjudicate contract disputes.


Noted journalist John Pilger talks about China, Okinawa, and U.S. policy in Asia.

By Maki Sunagawa and Daniel Broudy

John Pilger is a world-renowned journalist, documentary filmmaker and author. He has twice won Britain’s highest award for journalism. His films have won television academy awards in Britain and the US. Two of his films, on Cambodia and East Timor, are rated with the most important of the 20th century. The Coming War on China is his 60th film.

Author Kadri Gursel
The prevailing view among punditry and the media, both Turkish and international, is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has emerged much stronger from the July 15 coup attempt and is now empowered to steer the country as he likes.


PATRICK COCKBURN
Coup attempt and purge are tearing Turkey apart. The Turkish armed forces, for long the backbone of the state, are in a state of turmoil. Some 40 per cent of its generals and admirals have been detained or dismissed, including senior army commanders.

isis1

By Prof. Efraim Inbar 

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 352

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The West should seek the further weakening of Islamic State, but not its destruction. A weak but functioning IS can undermine the appeal of the caliphate among radical Muslims; keep bad actors focused on one another rather than on Western targets; and hamper Iran’s quest for regional hegemony.

Credit Image: Getty

Stephen Schwartz, a fellow at the Middle East Forum, is executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, DC. 

This essay was sponsored by Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.

A “weaponized academic” trained in the U.S. has risen to become Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “deputy undersecretary and senior advisor,” yet another servant for Islamist ideology produced by the American Middle East studies industry.

Former NATO Supreme Allied Comander Europe Philip Breedlove at a press conference in 2015

By Christoph Schult and Klaus Wiegrefe

Working with dubious sourcing, a group close to NATO's chief military commander Philip Breedlove sought to secure weapons deliveries for Ukraine, a trove of newly released emails revealed. The efforts served to intensify the conflict between the West and Russia.


And an orchestrated war with Russia has all of us marked for extinction

By Paul Craig Roberts

 "Information Clearing House" - The Democratic Party that once was concerned with workers’ rights, the elderly, civil rights, and the constitutional protections of America liberty no longer exists. As the just completed Democratic presidential primaries and the Democratic presidential convention have clearly demonstrated, the United States now has two Republican parties in service to the One Percent.

 A Turkish special forces policeman stands guard in front the damaged building of the police headquarters which was attacked by the Turkish warplanes during the failed military coup last Friday, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, July 19, 2016

While controversy is still simmering over Washington's alleged role in the latest Turkish coup, it does not matter much whether or not the US was behind the plot: it didn't lend a helping hand to its longstanding ally Erdogan and as history shows, Washington has a long record of abandoning its partners.


Project Syndicate, Minxin Pei
HONG KONG – Official Chinese media are having a field day touting the dysfunction of Western democracies. Between the British vote to “Brexit” the European Union and the nomination of Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for the US presidency, not to mention increasingly frequent terrorist attacks, they have plenty of evidence. But the truth is that the West’s loss is not China’s gain.