Security

Turkey’s march on Manbij stalled by wall of reality

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Turkey’s Syria adventure is heading into deeper uncertainty, facing obscure American and Russian moves and the bitter realities of the field. Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor The idea was to finish the operation against the Kurds in Afrin quickly and march on to Manbij Then, Turkey’s military planned to cross to the eastern side of the Euphrates River and deliver major blows to the main body of the Kurdish “democratic autonomy” in areas like Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad, where Kurds do ... Read More »

Syria: ‘Unlawful’ civilian deaths in Afrin condemned as Assad forces raise stakes in Kurdish-Turkey conflict

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More than 100 civilians have died in month-old-offensive, Human Rights Watch says, as new presence of Syrian government allied forces complicates battle Bethan McKernan Beirut Independent Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned Turkey’s offensive on a Kurdish held area of northern Syria as causing unnecessary civilian casualties, as some counts put the toll as high as 120. The statement on Friday cited three attacks in the contested canton of Afrin in late January that killed a total of 26 civilians, including 17 children. The Turkish military… Syria: ‘Unlawful’ civilian… Read More »

Report: Eni moving drillship to Morocco after Turkish navy ‘threatens force’ in Cyprus

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Turkish navy on Friday reportedly threatened to use force against Eni-operated Saipem 12000 drillship, after the rig’s captain tried to move the drillship to the Block 3 offshore Cyprus. Offshore Energy Today The drilling vessel, which recently struck a potentially large gas discovery off Cyprus, has been blocked from moving to the offshore Block 3 for two weeks now, after the Turkish warships placed themselves in its way on February 9, on the grounds of conducting naval exercises in the area. According to ... Read More »

EU to double funding for military force in West Africa’s Sahel region

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The European Union is set to double its funding for a multi-national military operation in West Africa’s Sahel region to counter Islamist insurgencies, EU diplomats said, part of a broader effort to fight militants and people traffickers. BRUSSELS – Reuters Hurriyet At a donor conference of some 50 countries including the United States, Japan and Norway, military power France hopes to win enough backing to allow a regional force first proposed four years ago to be fully operational later this ... Read More »

EU-Turkey Varna summit becomes conditional

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The Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades succeded on Friday (23 February) in convincing his colleagues at the EU summit to make a planned “leaders’ meeting” with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Varna conditional on stopping “illegal violations” in the Cypriot economic zone. By Georgi Gotev EURACTIV Although the summit is informal and at 27, it was planned that Anastasiades would inform EU leaders of military activities by the Turkish navy aimed at discouraging Cyprus from offshore gas exploration activities. Speaking after ... Read More »

Russian Expansion in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov: Economic Consequences for Ukraine

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Moscow’s appetite in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov has not decreased after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. By: Ihor Kabanenko Eurasia Daily Monitor Russia has gradually advanced its presence into significant areas of the exclusive maritime economic zone of Ukraine, which, in accordance with international law, is subject to the sovereign rights of Ukraine. This expansion aims to establish control over critical maritime areas and transport communications nodes. In violation of the UN Convention on the ... Read More »

When apartheid Israel abuses Palestine’s children

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Nelson Mandela, who knew a thing or two about national struggle, once said: “There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats children.” By Fawaz Turki, Special to Gulf News And no child in the world has suffered more grievously — indeed more barbarously — than those living under Israel’s rule of the gun. Think, as a case in point, of the first intifada, which lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, ... Read More »

China steps into the maelstrom of the Middle East

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The Middle East has a knack for sucking external powers into its conflicts China’s ventures into the region have shown how difficult it is to maintain its principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. Dr James M Dorsey Today China’s abandonment of non-interference is manifested by its (largely ineffective) efforts to mediate conflicts in South Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan as well as between Israel and Palestine and even between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is even more ... Read More »

Poland Decries Nord Stream 2 as possible trigger for Russian-Ukrainian war

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Heading to Germany, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on 15 February, that the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline could act as a main trigger for a Russian-Ukrainian war. Michaela Ceklová ESJ Morawiecki believes that when Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline becomes fully operational, Russia will be able to escalate the conflict in Ukraine without putting critical pipeline infrastructure at risk. So far, Ukraine had an advantageous status of transit country, but with Nord Stream 2 it loses this asset, something that could affect both its energy security, and ... Read More »

A Middle East Game Much Bigger Than Turkey

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The course that Turkish leaders choose to follow in the Syrian war will have long-term consequences for their country and for the world. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Turkey’s foreign policy is dominated by a heated nationalist narrative, which in turn has triggered military operations in Syria. At the roots of these developments are several threats to Turkey—some very real, some perceived, others imagined—and the ways in which the political leadership uses them. But beyond the immediate horizon, littered with hard-to-digest ... Read More »

Russia calls on Jordan to help stabilize Syrian ‘safe’ zones

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Jordanian King Abdullah visited Russia last week for the 20th time in 18 years, but this trip was far from a routine encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yury Barmin Al Monitor The countries’ ties have been strong for decades. If the frequency of diplomatic gestures is an indication, Jordan appears to be Moscow’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Yet despite a solid record of cooperation, as well as a certain chemistry between Abdullah and Putin, Amman never really played a ... Read More »

Winning the Post-ISIS Battle for Iraq in Sinjar

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Though the Islamic State (ISIS) is beaten in Iraq, the battle for the country’s political soul is not over. Baghdad should act to restore local governance in Sinjar, where ISIS terrorised the local community, and encourage the district’s displaced people to return home. ICG What’s new?  The Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated in Iraq, and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in Sinjar has ended. But Iran-backed Shiite militias – Popular Mobilisation Units – now control the district. Much of ... Read More »

Kono warns of N. Korea ‘charm diplomacy’

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Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono says the international community should beware of being blinded by North Korea’s “charm diplomacy”. NHK Kono spoke on Friday at the Munich Security Conference in Germany. He said the North considers owning nuclear weapons to be crucial for expelling US forces and achieving reunification of the 2 Koreas. He urged other nations not to accept a nuclear-armed North. Kono said the world should continue to unanimously increase pressure on Pyongyang and not fail to notice ... Read More »

Munich Security Conference: Europe’s elusive common security policy

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European leaders have failed to display cohesion on what type of common security policy the EU needs. Lewis Sanders IV DW Without a holistic approach, the bloc will never fully realize a “security-union,” writes DW’s Lewis Sanders. European leaders appear to agree on the need for a common EU security policy. At the Munich Security Conference, ministers and senior officials from across the continent offered their proposals and visions to secure the bloc in an ever more insecure world. But the ... Read More »

Theresa May warns EU not to block post-Brexit security deal

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Theresa May has warned EU leaders that public safety will suffer if they allow “political doctrine and ideology” to hamper post-Brexit security arrangements. BBC The prime minister said she wants a new partnership of unprecedented “depth and breadth” when the UK leaves the EU. In a speech to the Munich Security Conference she said this would require “real political will”. New security arrangements have yet to be negotiated for after Brexit. The prime minister said that “rigid institutional restrictions or ... Read More »

US military leader warns on China

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The head of US Pacific Command has issued a strong warning about China’s military buildup Admiral Harry Harris says China is trying to win dominance in the Indo-Pacific region as it issues a challenge globally. NHK He made the remarks at a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday. Harris said he was most concerned about China’s activity in the South China Sea. That included the militarization of 7 outposts, despite a ruling by an Arbitral Tribunal under the Law ... Read More »