Asia

What Turkey’s Political Changes Mean for U.S.-Turkish Relations

Altu 1a

The July 9 swearing-in of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his second term as Turkey’s president—and his subsequent decree1 thoroughly restructuring the Turkish government—have inaugurated a new phase in the… By Max Hoffman, Alan Makovsky, and Michael Werz Center for American Progress Erdoğan will preside over a new system in which power is even more centralized in the office of the presidency than it was previously. Of course, this structure represents the institutionalization of what had been a de facto reality: ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan Wants To Crush The Kurds And Recreate The Ottoman World

Agre 1a

Consumed by the need for grandeur, despots tend to share their monstrous plans, then execute them. Running to be reelected in a race warped in his favor, Turkey’s President Erdogan campaigned by demonizing minority Kurds to create a… Jonathan Wachtel and Albert Wachtel Newsweek In troubled times, people worship self-assured leaders, and Erdogan sees himself as the anointed vessel of Ottoman resurrection. He allowed Islamic State to murder Kurds and unleashed his army on them. He must and can be ... Read More »

The Laos disaster reminds us that local people are too often victims of dam development

Luos 1a

On July 22, the Xepian-Xe Nam Noy hydropower dam under construction in Laos’ Attapeu Province collapsed. Authors: The Conversation Flash flooding inundated eight villages, killing at least 29 people and leaving 131 officially reported missing. The final number of casualties could be much higher. Disaster response activities are ongoing. The deputy secretary of the province claimed that more than 1,100 people were still unaccounted for, as of July 27. Laotian authorities are investigating whether the collapse was caused by heavy ... Read More »

Turkey: New System, Old One-Man Show

Menes 2b

Zaytung, a popular Turkish humor website that publishes “news” with the dictum “Honest, Unbiased, Immoral News,” recently ran a story with this headline: “Presidential system influences Fenerbahçe” (a… Burak Bekdil BESA The piece said that the latest presidential decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dictates that Fenerbahçe should now appear on the pitch with one defensive midfielder instead of two. Erdoğan has dominated Turkey for more than 15 years, but to him, this is not enough. After he comfortably ... Read More »

Japan’s New Super-Sized Destroyer Will Help Defend Against Ballistic Missiles And More

179 1a

The pair of ships could shoot down North Korea missiles, as well as challenge Chinese claims and aid Japan in projecting power beyond its shores. Joseph Trevithick The Drive Japan Marine United, or JMU, has launched the first example of a new subclass of guided missile destroyers for the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, which will significantly boost the country’s ballistic missile defense capabilities, particularly with regards to North Korea. At the same time, though, the ship will enhance Japan’s ability ... Read More »

Iraq’s Paramilitary Groups: The Challenge of Rebuilding a Functioning State

Purum 2b

A struggle looms in Iraq over the future of paramilitary groups assembled to help the state defeat ISIS. These units remain under arms and autonomous. ICG Baghdad should strengthen the interior and defence ministries so they can absorb the paramilitaries now undercutting the state’s authority. What’s new? Iraq’s three-year battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) empowered an array of armed actors that operate autonomously from state security forces. As the country’s focus on security decreases, these paramilitary groups – the ... Read More »

Cambodia election ‘the end of the road for democracy’

Depra 1a

Phnom Penh: Cambodia’s Hun Sen is set to strengthen his iron grip on the prime ministership and extend his 33 years in power, after an election that rights groups and analysts suggest marks the “death of democracy” in the… James Massola & Nara Lon The Age With Reuters The United States, Japan, western European nations and Australia – which has largely avoided criticising Hun Sen’s regime in recent years – all declined to send election monitors to observe this poll and ... Read More »

Iran’s currency plunges to record low as US sanctions loom

Cenc 1a

Rial has lost half its value since April amid weak economy and big demand for dollars by Iranians fearful of sanctions. AlJazeera Iran’s currency has plunged to another record low, dropping past 100,000 rials to the US dollar, as Iranians brace for August 7 when the United Statesis due to reimpose the first batch of sanctions on their economy. In May, Washington pulled out of a landmark 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in ... Read More »

Trump seeks to revive ‘Arab NATO’ to confront Iran

Push 1a

The Trump administration is quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create a new security and political alliance with six Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan, in part to counter Iran’s expansion in the… WASHINGTON – Reuters Hurriyet The White House wants to see deeper cooperation between the countries on missile defense, military training, counter-terrorism and other issues such as strengthening regional economic and… The plan to forge what officials in the White House and Middle East have called an “Arab NATO” of ... Read More »

Israeli Arab MP resigns over controversial ‘nation state’ law

Zux 3c

An Israeli Arab politician has resigned in opposition to a controversial new law which declares Israel to be the nation state of the Jewish people. BBC Zouheir Bahloul, 67, branded parliament “racist” and “destructive” for passing the law, which also puts Hebrew above Arabic as the official language. “[The law] removes the Arab population from the path of equality in Israel,” he told Israeli TV network Reshet. The bill passed on 19 July, provoking anger from Israel’s Arab minority. Arab ... Read More »

Former vice mayor of China’s Lyuliang City sentenced to death for corruption

Shan 2b

Zhang Zhongsheng, former vice mayor of Lyuliang City in north China’s Shanxi Province, was sentenced to death on Wednesday for taking bribes, the Intermediate People’s Court of Linfen in Shanxi Province said. CGTN According to the court, Zhang received bribes in cash and property worth a total of 1.04 billion yuan (165 million US dollars) from 1997 to 2013. Apart from being sentenced to death, Zhang has also been deprived of all his political rights for life and all of ... Read More »

Foreign policy concerns swayed Malaysia’s voters

Pero 5e

Malaysia’s recent election on 9 May 2018 saw a dramatic result — the incumbent Barisan Nasional ruling coalition that had ruled Malaysia for 61 years crumbled, and Pakatan Harapan, a coalition of opposition parties, emerged victorious. Adam Leong Kok Wey One of the numerous reasons why the ruling party lost in the elections is that Malaysia’s foreign policy was perceived by a large segment of its people to be too cosy to China. Malaysia’s foreign policy decision-making has long been ... Read More »

China can’t just ‘pick and choose’ from the Law of the Sea

Pero 4d

Last May, Washington disinvited Beijing from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) naval exercise on the grounds that Chinese actions in the South China Sea run counter to the pursuit of free and open seas. Tuan N Pham East Asia Forum Like RIMPAC 2014 and 2016, China dispatched a spy ship into the United States’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) to monitor the world’s largest international maritime exercise. And just like the past two exercises, Washington did not object to ... Read More »

Turkey is ready ‘to fight’ in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

EEZ 1a East Med LLLL

Ankara “counterattacks” on the occasion of the preparation of exploratory drillings by Exxon Mobil, Qatar Petroleum, Total and ENI, within the EEZ of the Republic of Cyprus, for the… Nefeli Tzanetakou ibna According to a report in the Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak, “Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction issues are back on the agenda as the fight for energy supplies in the Eastern Mediterranean continues.” The quantities in the meantime hosted in the Eastern Mediterranean zone, according to a survey cited by the ... Read More »

Trump Thought Turkey’s Erdogan Was His Friend. Now He’s Mad.

Bred 1a

President Trump has often touted his personal chemistry with leaders like Xi Jinping of China or the royal family of Saudi Arabia as the key component of his foreign policy approach. Joshua Keating Slate He has described his handshake with Kim Jong-un in Singapore as more important than the terms of the agreement they signed. He has suggested that if Vladimir Putin were readmitted to the G-8, he could ask the Russian leader to “do me a favor” by withdrawing forces from ... Read More »

South Korean firm backs off ‘treasure ship’ claim amid probe

Kob 2b

A South Korean company on July 26 backed off its claim to have found a sunken Russian warship with an enormous cargo of gold as financial regulators began investigating whether the outlandish treasure… SEOUL – The Associated Press Hurriyet The Seoul-based Shinil Group said it doesn’t know if any gold coins and bars would be found inside the sunken ship it identified as the Dmitrii Donskoi, which sank 113 years ago. Company officials… “There’s no way for us to figure out whether ... Read More »