August, 2016 Middle East


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).


by Niram Ferretti, L'Informale (Italy)
Daniel Pipes is today one of the most alert observers of the Middle East. From the history of Medieval Islam, he has shifted to modern and contemporary Islam upon which he has concentrated a large part of his focus as a scholar and historian, as well as son of another historian, Richard Pipes, the great Harvard specialist of Soviet Russia history.


by Burak Bekdil, The Gatestone Institute

Originally published under the title "Turkey's Official 'Cocktail Terror'."
On August 21, ISIS terrorists used a child suicide bomber to kill more than 50 people, mostly children, at a wedding in Gaziantep.
Failing to name Islamic terror has cost Turkey hundreds of lives and will likely cost it hundreds more, as the country's leaders -- and many others, especially in the West -- are still too demure to call Islamic terror by its name. Without a realistic diagnosis, the chances of a successful treatment are always close to nil, and Turkey's leaders stubbornly remain on the wrong side of the right diagnosis.


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.


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.


by Daniel Pipes
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

"Hugh Fitzgerald" posted a 3,300-word piece at JihadWatch.com responding to a news item about Thomas Strothotte, president of Kühne Logistics University in Hamburg, Germany, advocating that all school children learn Arabic until 12 or 13 years of age; Fitzgerald called this a sign of "civilizational surrender."


Author Mohamed Saied
The Egyptian economy has been suffering since the January 25 Revolution in 2011, in light of the US dollar supply shortage, which is controlling the Egyptian import market. Last year, Egypt's imports amounted to about $65 billion, underscoring its demand on foreign currency.

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.

by Ayman S. Ibrahim, American Thinker

 

In each horrifying operation executed by ISIS, the radical terrorist group uses every possible way to convey its Islamic identity. They make sure the world sees and hears what they believe and seek, emphasizing plainly their religious motivation.

 

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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 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.


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.

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.

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.


As the US and its allies prepare to launch a major offensive for Mosul, US service members are on the ground in growing numbers — and increasingly in harm’s way. Mike Giglio reports from the bases and front lines where they work around northern Iraq.

Mike Giglio
BuzzFeed News Middle East Correspondent

ERBIL, Iraq — The Black Hawk helicopter pushed into ISIS territory through the pre-dawn sky. Joshua Wheeler, a veteran master sergeant with US special operations, was taking his men deep behind enemy lines. As the chopper descended on the ISIS stronghold of Hawija in northern Iraq, back in Washington, US president Barack Obama, who had been notified of the mission, waited for word of its fate.

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.


Rebels lose two hilltops and two villages as government is accused of targeting six hospitals in and around Aleppo. government forces backed by Russian air strikes have recaptured hills and villages from rebel groups on the outskirts of south-western Aleppo, a monitoring group and state-run media have said.

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Yasser Laouati
Here we go again with the hype show of every known society trying to lecture Muslims on what they must do after the latest string of attacks in France. Shockingly enough - or rather, as usual - the ones coming forward with their two cents are completely disconnected with the realities of everyday Muslims.


Author Mohammed A. Salih
In a scene surprising to many, a smiling Nouri al-Maliki disembarked from an Iraqi airliner July 18 in the city of Sulaimaniyah and was received by senior officials from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of the two major parties in Iraqi Kurdistan. Maliki said his visit was merely a normal meeting with PUK and Gorran (Movement of Change) leaders in the wake of the two parties' having formed an alliance earlier this year. Many also noted, however, that the trip was taking place amid unconfirmed reports of his hopes of taking back the premiership from Haider al-Abadi, a fellow Islamic Dawa member and that party's leader. General elections are due to be held in 2018.


by A.J. Caschetta, New English Review
Westerners are enthralled by the concept of the "lone wolf" terrorist.
Beginning in the late twentieth century, the West became enthralled by the term "lone wolf" and began using it to denote perpetrators of particularly heinous crimes who act without the assistance of other criminals.


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.


By Robert Fisk

 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent" - Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is at it again. Qatar’s ruler has been trying to get Jabhat al-Nusra off America’s infamous “terrorist” list once more – and calculating that the institutional memory of the world’s media is that of a street dog. He’s right.

 

As Belgrade slept on the night of Nov. 28, 2015, the giant turbofan engines of a Belarusian Ruby Star Ilyushin II-76 cargo plane roared into life, its hull laden with arms destined for faraway conflicts. Rising from the tarmac of Nikola Tesla airport, the hulking aircraft pierced the Serbian mist to head towards Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

 

After the failed coup attempt in Turkey, there has been purges in place throughout the country. In the first emergency decree after the coup attempt, the Turkish state seized the properties of 2,341 institutions. Turkey detained 8,831 army officers, 1,329 police officers, 2,100 judges and prosecutors, 52 civilian administrators and 689 civilians as of today.