Middle East

Regional Report: Eastern Mediterranean

Tun 2b

Eastern Mediterranean region are beginning to increase E&P activity and were able to bring several key projects on stream in 2017 Emily Querubin World Oil Eastern Mediterranean region are beginning to increase E&P activity and were able to bring several key projects on stream in 2017. Despite a substantial amount of progress, the region still faces a few hurdles as it enters the new year. EGYPT Egypt is home to several mega-projects—including Nooros and Zohr fields—which reportedly will double the ... Read More »

“Don’t let Afrin become another Kobane”

Chom 1a

Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin ANF The petition, signed by academics and activists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Hardt and Debbi Bookchin, called for prevention of further Turkish attacks on Afrin. The full text of the petition reads as follows: “We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is ... Read More »

Is America’s Alliance with Turkey Worth It?

Tr tank & 3 Tr flags 1a LLLL

The most basic feature that the United States should expect from an ally is consistent, reliable behavior that benefits U.S. policy objectives. Ted Galen Carpenter The National Interest  Ideally, since America regards itself as a champion of democracy and freedom, an ally should embody those values as well, but Washington has never been a stickler for that standard. Indeed, the United States has a sordid history of collaboration with undemocratic, even odious, regimes when U.S. leaders believed that the relationship ... Read More »

Turkish troops shell Afrin to oust US-backed Kurdish militia

Aou 1a

Photo shows a portrait of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from Afrin, along Syria’s northern border with Turkey (AFP) Al Arabiya AFP Turkey on Friday started shelling the Syrian town of Afrin held by a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers “terrorists” in a move to oust them, the defense minister said. The Turkish government has repeatedly warned that a full-scale operation against Syrian towns controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, including Afrin, is imminent after the ... Read More »

Russia, Iran open their arms as Turkey loses patience with U.S.

Mune 2b

LONDON — Relations between the U.S. and Turkey have hit a new low over Washington’s support of militias battling the Islamic State, according to analysts. F. Brinley Bruton NBC News The government in Ankara views the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. Experts warn that the crisis is resulting in Turkey — a longtime American ally with NATO’s second-largest standing army — turning away from the West and toward Russia and Iran. U.S. military support for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are ... Read More »

Opinion: Germany’s anti-Semitism commissioner sad but overdue

Jew 1a

Most parties in Germany’s parliament want an anti-Semitism commissioner The position can’t fix the worsening attitudes toward Jews in the country, but it nevertheless sends an important signal, says DW’s Jens Thurau. Jens Thurau DW Anti-Semitism appears in many forms. It is ancient. It existed in antiquity and the Middle Ages and found its apocalyptic zenith in the Nazi genocide of European Jews in the 1930s and 40s. It was still around in both East and West Germany after the war, ... Read More »

Rex Tillerson signals an open-ended US military presence in Syria

Nelm 1a

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signaled for an open-ended US military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy. Tillerson also called for “patience” on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal. David Brunnstrom, Reuters  Business Insider The United States on Wednesday signaled an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran’s influence. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a speech at Stanford ... Read More »

Freedom House reduces Turkey’s status to ‘not free’ in annual report

Fue 5e

U.S.-based non-governmental organization Freedom House has reduced Turkey’s status from “partly free” to “not free” in its latest annual report. Hurriyet The “Freedom in the World” 2018 report, published on Jan. 16, ruled that Turkey’s “political rights rating” had declined from 4 to 5 and its “civil liberties rating” had declined from 5 to 6. Specifically referring to the “deeply flawed” April 2017 referendum on shifting to an executive presidential system, the report also blasted the mass dismissals of state ... Read More »

The Iran Nuclear Deal at Two: A Status Report

Fue 3c

The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is working, but is at risk from longstanding U.S.-Iran rivalry, Trump administration policies and Tehran’s upsurge of activism in the Middle East. ICG The deal’s other signatories should encourage the U.S. not to withdraw and consider ways to sustain the deal, regardless of U.S. actions and as long as Iran remains committed to it. What’s the issue? The 2015 Iran nuclear accord is as successful as it remains fragile. President Trump has warned he will ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia blast U.S.-backed Syria force as “terrorist army”

Cema 3c

BEIRUT – Russia, Turkey and the Syrian government on Monday denounced the U.S.-led coalition plans to form a Kurdish-led border force to secure the areas along Syria’s international border to the north with Turkey and to the east, with Iraq. CBS News AP The coalition told The Associated Press Monday that 230 new cadets have already been recruited to the force, which is anticipated to reach 30,000 troops in the next several years. According to the coalition, the core of ... Read More »

Erdogan says Turkey will crush Kurdish militia in Afrin

Udr 2b

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey’s military incursion in northern Syria’s Idlib province would crush Kurdish militia forces that control the neighboring region of… Reuters Staff The Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces inside Syria fired shells into Afrin on Saturday, but no one was wounded. Turkish troops entered Idlib three months ago after an agreement with Russia and Iran for the three countries to try to reduce fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and rebel ... Read More »

A New American Leader Rises in ISIS

ISIS flag on hill 1a LLLL

A two-year investigation identifies one of the very few Americans in the Islamic State’s upper ranks—and sheds light on the dynamics of radicalization Seamus Hughes, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, and Bennett Clifford The Atlantic The clues are out there, if you know where to look. Scattered across far-flung corners of the internet, there is evidence that Zulfi Hoxha, the son of an Albanian-American pizza-shop owner from New Jersey, had sinister plans. First there’s the defunct Twitter profile, which at one point engaged ... Read More »

Feature: Israel’s tiny navy plays key role in national defense

Xinhuanet logo 1a LLLL

JERUSALEM, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) – The Israeli navy plays a major role in the country’s defense, although it has enjoyed less of the limelight that other units in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have. Keren Setton Editor: Jiaxin The navy is the smallest unit of the IDF, with tens of marine vessels at service. But it is responsible for protecting Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and is also tasked with safeguarding newly found natural gas reserves and curbing potential threats ... Read More »

Israeli air strikes, rockets hit Syria: Syrian army

Melo 1a

The Israeli army overnight carried out air strikes and fired rockets at targets in Syria, causing damage near a military position, the Syrian army said in a statement on Jan. 9. DAMASCUS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Israel’s army has carried out several attacks on the Syrian army and its ally Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011 The Israeli air force carried out strikes on the Qutayfeh area northeast of Damascus, causing the ... Read More »

Cyprus sets sea borders for energy drilling with Greece’s backing

Gr Tr Cy 1a LLLL

NICOSIA – Facing challenges from Turkey, which has unlawfully occupied the northern third of the island since a 1974 invasion, Cyprus is moving ahead to set the rest of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), trying to re-establish borders in the seas where it has licensed international companies to drill for oil and gas. Tornos News Cyprus will delineate the EEZ that Turkey has violated, including the north and western part, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said, calling on Greece to offer ... Read More »

Israel Moves to Annex the West Bank

Des 8h

This Is How the Two-State Solution Dies While the media focuses on Trump, Netanyahu imposes a “solution”: There will never be a Palestinian state. Steven A. Cook Salon In between anti-government protests in Iran and President Donald Trump’s tweets about the size of his nuclear button, Huma Abedin and civil aviation safety, an important vote took place in Israel. Few people seemed to notice. The Washington Post relegated the story to its “Digest” of world news and Reuters produced a short article, but the Wall ... Read More »