Defence

U.S. has seen evidence of Syria preparing chemical weapons in Idlib: envoy

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There is “lots of evidence” that chemical weapons are being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib in northwest Syria, the new U.S. adviser for Syria said on Thursday, as he warned of the risks of an offensive on the… Lesley Wroughton “I am very sure that we have very, very good grounds to be making these warnings,” said Jim Jeffrey, who was named on Aug. 17 as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s special adviser on Syria ... Read More »

Russia and Turkey Will Collide Over End of Syrian Civil War

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This is Washington’s chance to repair ties with Ankara to counter Moscow and Damascus. Gabriel White and Bogdan Belei The National Interest At the beginning of August, the Syrian military planes flew over the northwestern province of Idlib and dropped leaflets urging residents to surrender and threatening military action. It was the latest example of how Bashar al-Assad and his forces have ignored de-escalation agreements and continue a full-scale offensive against their opposition. The city of Idlib—the only majoropposition-held territory left ... Read More »

North Korea sets denuclearisation timeline

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North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has given his first time line to achieve denuclearisation, aiming for the end of US President Donald Trump’s first term, and has agreed to a third summit with his South… Hyonhee Shin and Joyce Lee, Reuters Herald Sun Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in Pyongyang on September 18-20 and discuss “practical measures” toward denuclearisation, Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-… The summit could provide renewed momentum to talks over denuclearisation between North ... Read More »

Pentagon Considers Expanding Presence in Greece amid China, Turkey Concerns

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told reporters during a visit to Greece Tuesday that the Pentagon is considering expanding its cooperation with Athens and its general presence in the… Frances Martel Breitbart Dunford’s announcement, and his visit to the country, also follows months of growing tensions between Greece and Turkey, which is outraged that Athens refuses to hand over former Turkish soldiers believed to… It also follows the publication of reports that China is looking ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

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When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

The Erdogan Question: Is It Time To Shrink NATO?

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The Turkish president’s thuggish autocracy and reflexive anti-Americanism make him very popular in his country. Philip Terzian Weekly Standard There was once a country in what used to be called the Near East that was much admired in the United States and often regarded as America’s most valuable asset in the region. Although the country was predominantly Muslim, its government was resolutely secular in outlook and committed to “modernizing” its deeply traditional culture: Women enjoyed unprecedented equality, for example, and ... Read More »

A Preview of Donald Trump’s Next Speech on Erdogan’s Turkey

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Reflections on how to Make Turkey Great Again. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and held him as a hostage, Donald Trump tried to get the fellow released. Ira Straus the Globalist This effort failing, he chose to respond with sanctions. Erdogan struck back with demagogic speeches about this being an attack on Turkey. The man in the Oval Office is unlikely to back down. He is not one to let go if someone locks horns ... Read More »

Seafood diplomacy? Erdogan invites ‘dearest friend’ Putin to meet at fish restaurant

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Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan may soon be discussing the S-400 anti-air systems deal while eating fish or lobsters, as Putin has been reminded of an arrangement to meet at a… * RT An invitation from Erdogan, delivered to Putin by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu on Friday, said: “Your dearest friend, Mr. Erdogan, has asked to convene his greetings and best wishes, he is hoping for your visit to Istanbul in the near future. You have ... Read More »

Putin and Erdoğan Knock Again at Merkel’s Door

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Sanctions force the two autocrats to negotiate with Germany over Syria. By Josué Michels theTrumpet Germany’s diplomatic relations with Turkey and Russia are warming up again. For several years, these relationships have been frosty. Reuters reported last week “But now, a diplomatic firework erupted” (Trumpet translation throughout). German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a three hour discussion on August 18. A meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planned for September. Ahead of the meeting ... Read More »

Turkey will reportedly start getting Russia’s advanced missile defense system in 2019, despite US efforts to block it

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Russia will start delivering its advanced S-400 missile defense system to Turkey in 2019, the Interfax news agency cited Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as saying on Tuesday. Christopher Woody and Reuters Business Insider A Turkish defense official said in April that the delivery of the S-400 batteries had been brought forward from the first quarter of 2020 to July 2019. Turkey and Russia negotiated the purchase throughout 2017, finalizing a deal worth some $2.5 billion at the end of ... Read More »

Turkey-U.S. Tiff Shows How Deep NATO’s Problems Run

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Europe can’t just blame Trump if everything falls apart. Hal Brands Bloomberg NATO is having a rough summer. Fresh off President Trump’s deliberately disruptive behavior at the alliance summit in July, NATO has suffered a high-stakes blowup between two key members: the U.S. and… That dispute crystallized over the fate of an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, being held in Turkey on spurious charges of supporting a failed coup against Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016. It has been punctuated by economic sanctions, ... Read More »

Ban ‘killer robots’ to protect fundamental moral and legal principles

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When drafting a treaty on the laws of war at the end of the 19th century, diplomats could not foresee the future of weapons development. Bonnie Docherty The Conversation But they did adopt a legal and moral standard for judging new technology not covered by existing treaty language. This standard, known as the Martens Clause, has survived generations of international humanitarian law and gained renewed relevance in a world where autonomous weapons are on the brink of making their own ... Read More »

A Nuclear Armed Germany Would Be a Mistake

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It was a mistake to consider it in 1957 under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and it is a mistake to consider it now in 2018. Tobias Fella The National Interest In German post-war mythology, the Federal Republic’s first chancellor Konrad Adenauer is synonymous with Western Integration and unshakeable trust in America. Yet, if push came to shove, he did not want to have to trust in U.S. nuclear protection. Thus, in a cabinet meeting in December 1956, he called for the Bundeswehr to ... Read More »

The US-Turkey Crisis: The NATO Alliance Forged in 1949 Is Today Largely Irrelevant

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There has been some reporting in the United States mass media about the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Ankara and what it might mean. Philip Giraldi American Herald Tribune Such a falling out between NATO members has not been seen since France left the alliance in 1966 and observers note that the hostility emanating from both sides suggests that far worse is to come as neither party appears prepared to moderate its current position while diplomatic… The immediate cause of ... Read More »

Taliban Kill More Than 200 Afghan Defenders on 4 Fronts: ‘a Catastrophe’

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan government forces lost more than 200 officers and soldiers in fighting over the past three days as Taliban insurgents launched sustained attacks on four different fronts. By Rod Nordland, Fahim Abed and Mujib Mashal The New York Times The hardest-hit area was the southeastern city of Ghazni, where more than 100 police officers and soldiers had been killed by Sunday, a hospital official said, and the insurgents appeared to be in control of most of the… Ninety miles west, in Ghazni Province, ... Read More »

US suspends military training program for Pakistan

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The United States has started cutting scores of Pakistani military officers from the education and training program, Pakistani media reported on Aug. 11. ISLAMABAD – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The U.S. military institutions are “struggling” to fill the 66 slots,  which they had kept aside for Pakistani officers, for next academic year, the daily Dawn quoted anonymous sources as saying. The move comes a few days after Pakistan and Russia signed an  agreement to allow Pakistani military officers to receive training in Russian military institutions. “The fund for ... Read More »