September, 2016 Geopolitics

Sultan revival

Author Mustafa Akyol
In Turkey, there has been an unmistakable revival of the image of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The powerful Ottoman monarch who ruled the empire single-handedly from 1876 to 1909 is praised with a flood of articles in the pro-government press, endless messages on social media and various conferences and panels.

Turkey ISIS

Murat Yektin
On Sept. 28 agencies reported that the last two hospitals serving in the east of the Syrian city of Aleppo were bombed by Syrian or Russian planes.

Hillary Clinton Nuclear Doom

 

By Peter Hitchens

“I cannot quite work out how the good, sane impulse that gave birth to the USA could possibly have led us to this nightmare choice between two equally horrible outcomes.”

Philippine president

Richard Javad Heydarian
"No, I will only bring [up] the [arbitration case] face-to-face [with China]... because if you quarrel with them now, claim sovereignty, make noise here and there, they might not just even want to talk," declared Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte before his global diplomatic debut earlier this month.

Obama Erdogan


By Finian Cunningham

 "Information Clearing House" - "SCF" - Following US President Barack Obama’s dubious stellar performance this week at the UN General Assembly recounting a litany of lies for almost one hour before the eyes of the world, it was the turn of Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to insult humanity’s intelligence.

Kashmir resurgency

Stratfor Middle East Analyst Emily Hawthorne and South Asia Analyst Faisel Pervaiz discuss India and Pakistan's current dispute over Kashmir.

Turkey Syria


Turkey's move across its southern border represents a failure, writes Christopher Phillips.
BY CHRISTOPHER PHILLIPS 

Last month, Turkey intervened directly in northern Syria, sending tanks and troops in support of Syrian rebels. Operation Euphrates Shield targeted the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) after the deadly Gaziantep suicide bombing but Ankara made little secret of its desire to simultaneously engage another enemy, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), Syria’s affiliate of the Turkish Kurdish separatists the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

Erdogan public speech

Urgay Aktan

After listening to one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fiery anti-Western speeches, an uninitiated outsider might get the impression that the Ottoman Empire is rising from its ashes to do battle with “the Crusaders.” Indeed, many in the West accuse President Erdoğan of pursuing a “neo-Ottoman” agenda. He, in turn, has accused them of orchestrating just about every major incident of political unrest in Turkey as part of an ongoing plot to thwart its resurgence: “They can’t stand to see Turkey become powerful and prosperous.”

Turks threat Mosul

Verda Ozer
A prospective U.S.-led operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Mosul has become an endless story, having been delayed repeatedly. It had been announced that the operation would start in late September. Simultaneously, President Tayyip Erdoğan has also signaled Turkey’s military involvement in the Mosul battle.

Obama Middle East

Project Syndicate,CarlBildt
STOCKHOLM – Next year marks the centennial of the Balfour Declaration, the British statement that paved the way for Israel’s founding in 1948, and for the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as the larger Arab world, that continues today.

South China sea

By Pepe Escobar

"Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - The Joint Sea-2016 started this Monday; that’s the fifth annual China-Russia naval drill, featuring stalwarts from both navies in action at the eastern waters of Zhanjiang, in Guangdong province, the HQ of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Nanhai Fleet.

Oslo Agreement

by Efraim Karsh
Executive summary of The Oslo Disaster, Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, September 2016. Viewed from a 23-year vantage point, the Oslo "peace process" between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stands as one of the worst-ever calamities to have hit Israelis and Palestinians.

Erdogan warmonger

Burak Bekdıl
The anomaly of war, French essayist Emile Auguste Chartier wrote, is that the best men get themselves killed while crafty men find their chances to govern in a manner contrary to justice. How much of that applies to modern Turkey remains unknown – though predictable.

 Erdoğan’s Tragic Choice


Project Syndicate, Dani Rodrik
CAMBRIDGE – Ever since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won his first general election in late 2002, he has been obsessed with the idea that power would be wrested from him through a coup. He had good reason to worry even then. Turkey’s ultra-secularist establishment, ensconced in the upper echelons of the judiciary and the military at the time, made no secret of its antipathy toward Erdoğan and his political allies.

 9/11 then and now


Rami G Khouri
Terrorism is a terrible thing, but it is made even more terrible and tragic when people and governments fail to react to it intelligently and allow it to perpetuate itself and expand - which is precisely what is happening today, 15 years after the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda against the United States.

Turks in Syria  Kurds in “Rojava


By Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman 

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 364, 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: As Turkish forces pursue their long-overdue campaign in northern Syria, it is increasingly clear that their main goal is to reduce or destroy the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, largely Kurdish in composition, rather than fight IS. A far preferable alternative would be if both sides – backed by a strong and coherent US policy – overcame their long history of hostility and struck a compromise under which the Kurds give up their dream of a long Western territorial arm reaching the Mediterranean, while Ankara accepts the reality of Kurdish autonomy in northeastern Syria.

Syria Cease Fire


By Finian Cunningham

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - Tough negotiations between America and Russia’s top diplomats have managed to produce a tentative ceasefire plan for Syria. But Washington doesn’t really want a ceasefire. More likely, a respite for its regime-change proxies.

Erdogan

Turkish PM refrains from providing a timeline for restoring ties with either of the Arab nations.

ANKARA - Turkey, which patched up strained ties with Israel and Russia, aims to normalize relations with Egypt and even rebuild ties in future with Syria, where it has launched a cross-border offensive, the prime minister said on Friday.


by Burak Bekdil
"The Cemaat did it," says the child in this cartoon, using popular shorthand for followers of exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen.
The Gülenists' failed putsch has provided the government with an unconvincing opportunity to blame all past mistakes on this clandestine group. Because it is shadowy, you can blame every failure on its shadowy elements, real or fake.

 A KURDISH peshmerga soldier stands at a lookout near Bashiqa in northern Iraq

By JONATHAN SPYER
After its incursion into Syria, Turkey will have to decide whether to declare ‘Euphrates Shield’ a success or to continue seeking to destroy the Kurdish-led SDF in the face of US opposition.The Turkish incursion into the north Syrian town of Jarabulus and its environs, which began on August 24, is the latest dramatic re-shuffling of the deck in a long and agonizing conflict.


Yusuf Kanli

The Cyprus talks are in an accelerated process. In the next few rounds of talks until Sept. 14 the two communal leaders of the island are slated to go through the areas they so have far failed to produce convergences. Thus, if the two leaders manage to produce sufficient convergences, ground will be ready for an end of the month tripartite meeting in New York under the good offices of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.


Project Syndicate, Jacek Rostowski
WARSAW – A Donald Trump presidency would be a catastrophe for NATO and the West. Aside from threatening to withdraw the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement and to start a trade war with China, Trump praises Russian President Vladimir Putin and suggests that America should not honor its commitment to defend its NATO allies unless they pay more for that protection.

By Pepe Escobar

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - The next BRICS summit, in Goa, is less than two months away. Compared to only two years ago, the geopolitical tectonic plates have moved with astonishing speed. Most BRICS nations are mired in deep crisis; Brazil’s endles political/economic/institutional debacle may yield the Kafkaesque impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

Putin_and_Erdoğan, cc modified Presidential Press and Information Office Kremlin, Wikicommons

Geopolitical Monitor, Jasmin Ademovic
The recent rapprochement and normalising of relations between Ankara and Moscow was supposed to put to bed the difficulties and strains in the relationship after the November 2015 downing of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M jet by a Turkish F-16. The recent coup attempt, the ever present ISIS attacks on Turkish soil, the impact of Syrian refugees and the ongoing difficulties with the Kurds, both PKK and YPG in Syria, had necessitated a recalibration.

Semih Idiz
Washington is unhappy about Turkey’s “Operation Euphrates Shield.” The potential for a serious confrontation between fighters from the Peoples Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), is very real and clearly of deep concern to it.

shutterstock_219396661 (1)

by JIM KAVANAGH

So within the space of a few days, the United States has, first, commanded the government of Syria to keep its air force away from part of its own sovereign territory, Hasakah, occupied by American soldiers and their Kurdish “partners”; it then, with applause from other NATO countries, provided air support for a Turkish invasion of Syria and seizure of the Syrian town of Jarablus from those “partners.” These are unambiguous acts of war, and Orwellian acts of doublethink aggression.


Turkey’s radically new approach to Syria since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan replaced Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in May with his trusted acolyte Binali Yildirim is unfolding fast. Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, named Operation Euphrates Shield, which includes Turkish-trained Free Syrian Army (FSA) elements, reflects the new climate prevailing in Ankara.


Alex Fishman

Op-ed: The US simply joined the Russian-Turkish party in Syria, essentially allowing Assad's rule to continue—at least for now—and Iran and Hezbollah to establish their hold on the war-battered country. This is the worst possible outcome for Israel.

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo

 By ARIEL WHITMAN, REUTERS 
"If a society crosses a certain line in its division and hatred, then it is a real possibility to see a phenomenon like a civil war. The most pressing threat to Israel is not Iran, but rather the increased polarization within Israeli society, former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo said in his first public appearance since leaving office in June.