Asia

After six tests, the mountain hosting North Korea’s nuclear blasts may be exhausted

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Tokyo: Have North Korea’s nuclear tests become so big that they’ve altered the geological structure of the land? Anna Fifield Washington Post The Sydney Morning Herald Some analysts now see signs that Mount Mantap, the 2200-metre-high peak under which North Korea detonates its nuclear bombs, is suffering from “tired mountain syndrome”. The mountain visibly shifted during the last nuclear test, an enormous detonation that was recorded as a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in North Korea’s northeast. Since then, the area, which is not ... Read More »

A Blueprint for Minimizing Iran’s Influence in the Middle East

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America needs a better strategy for containing and checking Iran, and that strategy is needed now. John Allen Michael O’Hanlon The National Interest President Donald Trump would be making a serious mistake were he to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—the 2015 nuclear deal between various world powers and Iran—in coming months. This action, which Trump has threatened if Congress does not act soon to toughen our overall Iran policy, would be a much more serious blow to American interests and to ... Read More »

Expansion of Gaza fishing zone ‘pointless PR stunt’

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For the 4,000 registered fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, a proposed Israeli plan to let them temporarily fish farther out from shore is “far from enough”. Farah Najjar Al Jazeera Fishermen told Al Jazeera that Israel’s move to slightly expand the fishing zone limit from six to nine nautical miles, implemented this week, will have little effect in reality. “It makes no difference whatsoever to us,” Nizar Ayash, head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union, told Al Jazeera. “It’s economically pointless, and this is ... Read More »

US, France slam detention of leading Turkish activist Osman Kavala

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U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the arrest of the prominent activist and businessman Osman Kavala was an example of a “very alarming trend” of the detention of civil society leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and… Hurriyet “We have expressed to the Turkish government our concerns on many occasions about this trend … It remains a major concern of ours,” Nauert told reporters in Washington on… The French Foreign Ministry also stated on Oct. 19 that it ... Read More »

Here’s How to Pull Turkey Back From the Brink

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Erdogan gets more authoritarian, and closer to Russia and Iran, every day. But kicking him out of NATO would make things worse. James Stavridis Bloomberg Since its founding nearly a century ago, Turkey’s foreign policy goal has been summed up in a simple phrase: “No problems with our neighbors.” But the situation today is different: “all our neighbors have problems.” And the Turks have plenty of their own. There is no understating how important it is that the U.S. and ... Read More »

Why Doesn’t the U.S. Support Kurdish Independence?

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The Kurds are one of Washington’s closest and most reliable allies in the Middle East   After World War I, the Kurds came tantalizingly close to getting an independent state. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic Nearly a century later, they are no closer to an independent homeland. There are many reasons for this: regional instability; suppression of the Kurds, most dramatically in Turkey and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq; vehement opposition to a Kurdish state; infighting among Kurds; and, despite some prominent Western ... Read More »

Money laundering trial could further chill already tense US-Turkish relations

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U.S. and Turkish relations are already severely strained, and an upcoming trial in New York involving a businessman with links to Ankara’s political elite could see the situation worsen. Jeff Daniels CNBC The trial is likely to result in “a lot of dirty laundry getting aired,” according to an insider close to the case. “It is going to be very embarrassing to the Turks.” “There’s bad blood on both sides,” said Bulent Aliriza, founding director of the Turkey Project at ... Read More »

Xi Jinping’s Message to the World: China is Back

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The hallmark of China’s foreign policy under Xi has been the abandonment of the “lay low” doctrine China’s 19th Party Congress, which opened this week in Beijing, is a landmark event for the world’s second-largest economy. Scott Moore The National Interest  In China’s one-party state, these congresses determine the country’s leadership, and are held every five years. But this one is special. It’s the first to be held since China’s current top leader, Xi Jinping, took power in 2012, and much ... Read More »

582,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar: UN

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Some 582,000 Rohingya refugees have fled their homes in Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh since late August, the United Nations said on Oct. 17, warning that thousands more were stranded at the border. Hurriyet The U.N. said 582,000 members of the Rohingya community had crossed into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, marking a jump of 45,000 from the 537,000 figure given at the weekend. Marixie Mercado, a spokeswoman for the U.N. children’s agency, told reporters in Geneva though that the hike ... Read More »

China vs. Japan: Asia’s Other Great Game

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Beijing and Tokyo will undoubtedly compete long after U.S. foreign policy has evolved. Asia’s Other Great Game Michael Auslin The National Interest THE SPECTER of the world’s two strongest nations competing for power and influence has created a convenient narrative for pundits and observers to claim that Asia’s future, perhaps even the world’s, will be shaped, in ways both large and small, by the United States and China. From economics to political influence and security issues, American and Chinese policies ... Read More »

PA dismisses Israeli threat of talks freeze if Hamas in government

Fatah's Azam al-Ahmad (R) and Saleh al-Aruri (L) of Hamas talk to journalists after signing a reconciliation deal in Cairo on October 12, 2017, as the two rival Palestinian movements ended their decade-long split following negotiations overseen by Egypt.
The new Hamas deputy leader and the head of Fatah's delegation struck the deal which was described by Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas as a "final agreement" to end their crippling division, which has at times erupted into deadly conflict over the past ten years. / AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI

Abbas spokesman says reconciliation deal with terror group will help establish Palestinian state; Hamas says it rejects ‘Israeli intervention’ By Alexander Fulbright and Dov Lieber The Times of Israel The Palestinian Authority brushed off Israel’s decision to suspend peace talks over the reconciliation accord reached between PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party and the Hamas terror group, saying it would have “no bearing” on the implementation of the unity deal. “What was agreed in Cairo, under the auspices of Egypt, ... Read More »

China Communist Party agrees to amend constitution at key conclave

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China’s Communist Party has announced that it agreed to amend its constitution, ahead of a keenly-watched congress, with speculation mounting that leader Xi Jinping’s name will be added to the document, enshrining his legacy. Hurriyet The Central Committee said it had passed an amendment to the party’s constitution at the end of a plenary meeting held in advance of the main twice-a-decade congress, which opens on Oct. 18 and is expected to see Xi tighten his grip on power. “The ... Read More »

The Syrian Kurds: Israel’s Forgotten Ally

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In Syria, where chaos reigns and there are no moderates among the Sunni Arab opposition, the “enemy of my enemy” principle may apply – particularly in view of Assad’s increasing dominance, the growing Iranian influence on Israel’s borders, and Turkey’s close ties with Hamas and recent rapprochement with… Rauf Baker  BESA It is therefore in Israel’s interest to act quickly to support the nascent Kurdish political region in Syria. Relations between the Syrian Kurds and Israel have changed dramatically over ... Read More »

Theresa May should give Netanyahu a piece of her mind – Thatcher would have

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A hundred years after the Balfour declaration that established a pathway to a Jewish state, the prime minister should acknowledge its role in Palestinian suffering Donald Macintyre  The Guardian He has not yet confirmed that he is coming. But having warmly described Theresa May’s invitation to visit Britain to commemorate the centenary of the Balfour declaration as “speaking volumes” about the UK-Israel relationship, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is unlikely to pass up the opportunity. The anniversary of Arthur Balfour’s letter ... Read More »

Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

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Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement yesterday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a “final” accord. Hurriyet Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Dec. 1, according to a statement from Egypt’s intelligence agency, which oversaw the talks. Abbas welcomed the deal in comments to Agence France-Presse and said he considered it a ... Read More »

Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire’

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COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — Hundreds of women stood in the river, held at gunpoint, ordered not to move. Jeffrey Gettleman A pack of soldiers stepped toward a petite young woman with light brown eyes and delicate cheekbones. The New York Times  Her name was Rajuma, and she was standing chest-high in the water, clutching her baby son, while her village in Myanmar burned down behind her. “You,” the soldiers said, pointing at her. She froze. “You!” She squeezed her baby ... Read More »