January, 2017 Geopolitics

 Meeting in Astana

Author: Brandon Friedman

The meeting between Iran, Turkey, and Russia in Astana, Kazakhstan on January 23-24, in advance of the next round of U.N. sponsored Geneva III meetings,[1] has been characterized as a new anti-West axis meant to marginalize the U.S. in Syria and the region.[2] Yet Moscow’s reset with Ankara is not primarily directed at the West; rather, Russia is trying to reestablish itself as Syria’s ultimate arbiter. 

Erdogan  Putin


Anna Borshchevskaya
The Turkish-Russian relationship is an unequal one, and Erdogan may not realize the extent of Putin's capacity for manipulating and abandoning temporary allies.

 Syria Game Change


By Jim Kavanagh

 "Information Clearing House" - "The Polemicist" - The recapture of Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies marks a turning point not only in the conflict in Syria, but also in the dynamic of international conflict. For the first time since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the rolling imperial engine of regime change via American-led military intervention has been stopped in its tracks. 

Trump’s Mideast policy


AUTHOR, Uri Savir

In view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s February visit to Washington and his meeting with US President Donald Trump, the US administration will soon be confronted with conflicting pressures: Israel on the one hand, and the Palestinians, the European Union and Egypt on the other.

India-Pakistan Nuclear Standoff


Michael Krepon

Pakistan creates tension with India by ignoring its own problems.

Nuclear dangers are growing in five different regions. The least noticed is South Asia. New Delhi has not been able to figure out how to deal with militant groups that enjoy safe havens in Pakistan. So far, India’s options have been to do nothing after attacks or execute war plans that invite mushroom clouds. 

Idlib

 SAMI MOUBAYED
Until a few years ago, Idlib was nothing but a sleepy and forgotten city in the Syrian northwest, famed for its agricultural fields and for a celebrated resistance leader it produced at the end of World War I, who staged a guerrilla war against colonial France in the 1920s.

Syria safe zone

Murat Yektin 

As soon as U.S. President Donald Trump said he was considering the formation of safe zones for Syrians trying to escape the six-year-old civil war, there was a reaction from Russia. 
Dimitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said the U.S. had not consulted with them on the project, adding that “probably all the consequences ought to be weighed up.”

Russian-Turkish-Iranian axis


By OFRA BENGIO
Russia has fulfilled a long-held dream of reaching the warm water of the Mediterranean and is casting itself as the hegemon in the region.
Sixty years have lapsed since the Baghdad Pact which grouped together Turkey, Iran, Iraq and the West in an alliance against the Soviet Union and the concomitant Communist danger.

 Trump-Putin safe zones


DEBKAfile DEBKA Weekly
Syria stands on the threshold of dramatic changes that will directly impact on the strategic and military situation along the Syrian borders with Israel and Jordan, DEBKAfile reports exclusively. They derive from a deal struck this week by US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to establish US, Russian and Turkish security zones in Syria. 

CYPRUS PEACE TALKS

BYMICHAEL TANCHUM 
The greatest beneficiary of a failure in Geneva would be Russia and its efforts to further expand its widening strategic footprint in the Eastern Mediterranean. 
Israel hopes to market its natural gas to Turkey, and via Turkey to the EU, but this aim may hang on the outcome of the potentially historic Cypriot peace negotiations currently underway in Geneva.

Trump era

Smadar Perry

Analysis: So far, the new American president has made no effort to prove that he has a vision. He is a businessman who is out to sell the headline ‘America First.’ Whoever wants to make him offers on issues unrelated to the homeland should take a number, get in line and be ready to pull out their wallet.

Trump  Erdoğan

Murat Yektin
Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan has been staging a quick tour of Africa covering three countries in four days.

Ankara Trump


AUTHOR, Semih Idiz

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s inner circle and political supporters in the media continue to vent their anger at former President Barack Obama with outlandishly exaggerated claims, while expressing hope that Turkish-US ties will be much better under President Donald Trump.

Trump presidency

by Pepe Escobar

The Trump era starts now – with geopolitics and geoeconomics set for a series of imminent, unpredictable cliffhangers. I have argued that Trump’s foreign policy guru Henry Kissinger’s strategy to deal with the formidable Eurasia integration trio – Russia, China and Iran – is a remixed Divide and Rule; seduce Russia away from its strategic partnership with China, while keep harassing the weakest link, Iran.

Zia-Ul-Haq

BY ASIM ALI 
Turkey’s is in a downward spiral. The sweeping crackdowns and increased religious polarisation will feed resentment and hatred, which in turn will to lead to more violence and subsequently further crackdowns.

Jerusalem


By Prof. Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 398

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Making strategic choices requires distinguishing which issues are urgent and which are important. Right now, the securing of Jewish control over Jerusalem is both urgent and important. Jerusalem carries great symbolic and strategic value for Israel, and Israeli control of the city must be protected.

‘TURKISH STREAM’ PROJECT

 POSSIBLE SCENARIOS AND CHALLENGES

Following the cancellation of South Stream, Russia announced its plans to reroute the pipeline to Turkey, instead of Bulgaria. The new pipeline was dubbed “Turkish Stream”, with same capacity of South Stream, but less vulnerable to EU competition law. “Turkish Stream” has also experienced delays due to the crisis in Russia-Turkey relations. 

MUSLIM WORLD


BY ZVI MAZEL 
How will the new US administration impact the age-old Sunni-Shi’ite conflict? Sunnis make up 85% of the Muslim world, with Shi’ite a poor second at less than 15%. Nevertheless, Iran enjoys an advantage because it is the supreme Shi’ite religious and political authority, whereas in the Sunni world, every imam can issue his own fatwas – though there is no general obligation to follow them.

Right-wing alliance Turkey

Murat Yektin
I was recently having an informal chat with an important name from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) together with a number of colleagues. “When are you going to import the MHP?” I asked half-jokingly, referring to the current close cooperation between the AK Parti and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over the constitutional shift to an executive presidential system, as targeted by President Tayyip Erdoğan.

Ankara Trump


AUTHOR  Semih Idiz

Turkey has increased pressure on Washington in recent weeks, as President-elect Donald Trump has been preparing to be sworn in, by openly renouncing the outgoing Obama administration and signaling to the new administration what its conditions for improved ties with the United States will be.

 Turkey's Radical Islamization

BY UZAY BULUT 

A primary school in Istanbul’s Umraniye neighborhood has recently prepared a “corner” remembering those who lost their lives during the abortive coup on July 15. A model of Sergeant Omer Halisdemir (who died that day), photos of armed soldiers describing the coup night, as well as models of tanks and people standing in front of tanks were put in the corner, with a caption that reads:

Stephen Hadley

Murat Yektin
Despite being “tested” by problems and “misperceptions,” Turkey-U.S. relations are “not irretrievable” and could be fixed under the presidency of Donald Trump, according to Stephen Hadley, a former U.S. National Security Advisor, speaking after top-level talks in Ankara on Jan. 17.

 After the Fall of Aleppo


by Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Post
Bashar and Asmaa al-Assad are less stressed out these days.
The battle for Aleppo is over. The Assad regime and its Russian, Iranian and Shia paramilitary allies have achieved victory.

Trump and Erdogan


Posted By Patrick Cockburn 

 

As Donald Trump prepares for his inauguration, he is struggling with opposition from the US media, intelligence agencies, government apparatus, parts of the Republican Party and a significant portion of the American population. Impressive obstacles appear to prevent him exercising arbitrary power.

National security strategies


Sayed Ghoneim

During the previous decade, several Arab countries faced big challenges such as severe deterioration in economic conditions, education, health, etc. On the other hand, rates of inflation, unemployment, and corruption increased. The increase of ethnic and sectarian disputes, the gap between the ruling elite and the people, political and security constraints, and interference in the …

 Old- New

By Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror 

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 395

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: President Barack Obama has eroded the US's superpower status and is leaving behind a far more dangerous world than the one he inherited. A Trump administration gives Israel reason to be optimistic, although it must bear in mind that he is a very shrewd businessman.

Turkey Islamist foreign policy


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) remain Islamist at heart. This is more apparent today in Turkey’s domestic rather than its foreign policy though. In its foreign policy, there is a clear shift toward pragmatism.

Erdogan Tough Guy


by Burak Bekdil
There was only leader who knew in which language to talk to Erdogan: Vladimir Putin. In November 2015, two Turkish F-16 jets shot down a Russian Su-24. Ankara said that as part of the new rules of engagement, any foreign plane violating Turkish airspace would be shot down. Putin immediately downgraded diplomatic relations, announced scores of punishing economic sanctions but, more importantly, he promised that the price Turkey would have to pay would not be limited to the economy and trade.

Trump and Ma


By PEPE ESCOBAR

Confrontational rhetoric from the Pentagon and State Department is just noise, writes Pepe Escobar; the real Great Game plotting is on a deeper level

US & Russia  Palmyra

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Some of the ambiguity and mystery surrounding the nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s relations with Russia’s Vladimir Putin may disperse after the new US president takes office Thursday, Jan. 20, because one of their first joint military actions is ready to go.

Rex Tillerson

Murat Yektin
The first concrete words that Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan wants to hear from the Donald Trump administration, scheduled to take office on Jan. 20, came from Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, during his Jan. 11 testimony to the U.S. Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee.

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani


BY REUTERS
The death of former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani deprives Iran's reformers of a powerful ally, boosting anti-Western hardliners before a presidential election which will determine how open Tehran is to the world.

Incirlik

Incirlik is routinely unavailable to American troops

by PAUL IDDON
In January 2017, Turkey announced a potential “crisis in confidence” in its relationship with the United States. The two countries have differing objectives in the wider region and disagree signifiantly regarding support for Syrian Kurds fighting Islamic State.

US Jerusalem

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Exclusive to DEBKAfile: The appointment of Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, 35, as senior adviser in the future White House on Middle East affairs is part of a broader plan taking shape in the president-elect’s transition team for bringing forward a resolution of the Israel-Palestinian dispute. This plan has not yet jelled into concrete policy, but is still a set of ideas under consideration by the team’s insiders, in the light of Trump’s comments past and present.

 Erdoğan calls on Trump

Murat Yektin
One the same day as tense debates started in Turkey’s parliament for a constitutional shift from a parliamentary to a presidential system to grant him more executive power, President Tayyip Erdoğan addressed U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, saying Ankara wanted to make a fresh start in its relations with its ally Washington, which have become stuck in the final years of outgoing President Barack Obama.

Turkey NATO

 Yekaterina  Chulkovskaya

Geopolitics, Turkey
‘Intellectual Partition’ Cyprus

The ‘Macmillan Doctrine’ and the talks held in Geneva in August 1974 and January 2017

Klearchos A. Kyriakides

Published in Agora Dialogue on 9 January 2017

In his seminal book, Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle considers the virtues associated with justice, as well as the vices inherent in injustice.
In this context, Aristotle engages in a deep discussion as to the two types of transaction into which a party may enter.

Anxiety in Ankara


Ahmet S. Yayla, Ph.D. BY AHMET S. YAYLA, PH.D.
On December 19, 2016, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was assassinated by Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, an off-duty police officer, in Ankara during an art exhibit. The assassination took place at a critical junction, as Turkey and Russia have just started to repair their broken relationship due to the earlier downing of a Russian jet fighter. Furthermore, it also coincided with historic meetings between Turkey, Russia, and Iran to create a Syrian peace treaty, where Turkey gave up almost all political and military positions regarding the Syrian crisis.

Geopolitics, Turkey
Isolationism American tradition


‘Why are we over there?’ is a question asked by working-class and rural families
Bill Kauffman

The presidential campaign just ended was mercifully lacking in the ghostwritten platitudes with which Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan lull readers of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to sleep.