Middle East

The Cyprus problem, Turkey and Socrates on justice

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In Book 1, of Plato’s famous dialogue The Republic, Thrasymachus, one of Socrates’ interlocutors, states that justice is that which serves the interests of the strongest so that what is right is always determined by might. <style type=”text/css”> .wpb_animate_when_almost_visible { opacity: 1; }</style> Dr Edward H Spence * Cyprus Mail Socrates refutes Thrasymachus’ notion of justice by simply arguing that justice as a virtue cannot be what serves the interests of the strongest as those interests might result in vice ... Read More »

WSJ: Mueller probes Flynn role in plot to deliver cleric to Turkey

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Washington (CNN) – Former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn and his son are alleged to have been offered as much as $15 million to forcibly remove from the US a Muslim cleric wanted by Turkey, The Wall Street Journal… Miranda Green CNN The Journal reported the FBI questioned at least four people in regards to a mid-December meeting in New York at the “21” Club. Discussions between Flynn and Turkish representatives supposedly took place there, according to the… The ... Read More »

Turkey’s Africa Presence

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In Somalia this past September, Turkey opened its first military base on the African continent. Over the past ten years, Turkey has expanded its presence in Africa, establishing 36 embassies and major trade links. VoA Turkey has a long history with North African countries, says David Shinn, a professor at George Washington University’s Elliot School of International Affairs. In 2016, Turkey had more than $10 billion in trade with Egypt, Algeria and Morocco. Now Turkey is expanding into African countries ... Read More »

Brussels to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini

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The European Union will make sure that the Iran nuclear deal “will continue to be fully implemented by all, in all its parts,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Nov. 10. SAMARKAND Hurriyet Speaking at a conference in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, the EU’s Federica Mogherini said the agreement was “a major achievement of European and international multilateral diplomacy that is delivering,” Reuters has reported. U.S. President Donald Trump on Oct. 13 dealt a blow to the pact by refusing ... Read More »

A Huthi Missile, a Saudi Purge and a Lebanese Resignation Shake the Middle East

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Volatility is rising across the Middle East as local, regional and international conflicts increasingly intertwine and amplify each other. ICG Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of the new risks of overlapping conflicts that involve Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Israel. On 4 November 2017, Huthi/Saleh forces in Yemen fired a Burkan 2-H long-range ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It was intercepted and destroyed before reaching its target. The attack occurred during a profound political ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia Comes for Hezbollah

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Lebanon was stunned on Nov. 4 when its prime minister, Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, delivered a halting resignation speech. Mohamad Bazzi The New York Times Mr. Hariri said he left Beirut because he feared assassination. He placed the blame for his long-distance resignation on Iran and its main ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah. In the days since, Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of plotting against the kingdom and ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. Threats from top Saudi officials ... Read More »

The Saudi Crown Prince Is Gambling Everything on Three Major Experiments

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A perceived failure on any of these undertakings could produce a crisis of legitimacy Hussein Ibish The Atlantic Call it shock and awe. Call it a purge. Call it a clean sweep.However it’s characterized, the mass arrest of some of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent royals, administrators, and tycoons last weekend has completely upended both the structure of the Saudi elite and the country’s way of doing business.It’s not exactly the Night of the Long Knives, as the luxurious Ritz-Carlton hotel ... Read More »

Kurdish rift emerges between Erdogan, Putin

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ANKARA, Turkey — Since a Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey in November 2015, Turkey has been scrambling to reconcile with Russia, but disagreements over the role of Syrian Kurds are now threatening a fresh deadlock. Zülfikar Doğan Al-Monitor Despite the close dialogue between the two countries’ presidents, the rift over the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), seems to be deepening. Last week, Russia invited 33 groups, including Syrian President Bashar ... Read More »

Lira crashes as Erdogan, Turkish gov’t implicated in Iran money-laundering scheme

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Case of Reza Zarrab seen as flash point in US-Turkey relations Asia Times The Turkish lira plummeted Friday after reports surfaced that a trader accused of helping Iran evade sanctions invoked the name of Turkish President Recep Erdogan as part of a money-laundering scheme. Bloomberg reports, citing court documents, that US prosecutors say the scheme was supported by Turkey’s… The lira dropped to its weakest point since January, hovering around an all-time low for the currency. From Bloomberg: ”US prosecutors in ... Read More »

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

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Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed Boris Zilberman Foundation for Defense of Democracies  While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin wants the deal not only for monetary reasons, but also to chip away at NATO unity and to validate such sales to other nations traditionally aligned with the West. For ... Read More »

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a criminal. Our foreign policy should treat him as such.

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Earlier this year, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega died quietly in Panama City ending a life marked by fantastic highs and lows. Michael Rubin Washington Examiner Noriega was Panamanian military officer and CIA informant who let greed get the best of him. He cast his lot with Colombian drug lords flooding their cocaine into the United States. The George H.W. Bush administration had enough of their former partner and client and ordered an invasion of Panama to snatch Noriega. He ... Read More »

Turkey’s plan to acquire Russia’s S-400 air-defense system may never happen, analysts say

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While Russia continues to tout the planned sale of its S-400 strategic air-defense system to Turkey, some U.S. analysts are growing more skeptical about the deal. Jeff Daniels CNBC On Thursday, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rostec defense company said the deal with Turkey exceeded $2 billion, according to Tass, the Russian news agency. It followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September announcing the longtime member of NATO had made a down payment to Moscow for the S-400 and ... Read More »

The 100-year-old promise

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The international community enabled the birth of Israel In theory, who doesn’t believe in self-determination, the idea, developed in the 19th century, that all nations have a right to sovereignty? Clifford D. May The Washington Times By the early 20th century, President Woodrow Wilson was insisting that “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” In theory, self-determination is today a fundamental principle of international law. In practice, not so much. The ... Read More »

Corbyn to skip Balfour centennial dinner with Netanyahu

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Emily Thornberry to attend event in Labour leader’s absence; Israeli envoy to UK brands opponents of declaration ‘extremists’ Alexander Fulbright The Times of Israel UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has reportedly declined to attend a dinner in London this week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which pledged Britain’s support for a Jewish national… Although no reason was given for Corbyn’s decision to skip the event, which was reported by the Sunday ... Read More »

Breaking neutrality, Spanish Jews come out against Catalan independence

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‘As Spanish Jews we wholly support the Spanish Constitution’ Despite umbrella body statement, Jews living in the secessionist region appear divided over the crisis that is roiling the country JTA The Times of Israel Breaking with its policy of neutrality on Catalan independence, the main umbrella group of Spanish Jews on Friday blamed separatists for the kingdom’s crisis and declared allegiance to the constitution. The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, or FCJE, did this in a statement released hours ... Read More »

Turkey can’t integrate Russian missiles: NATO

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A leading NATO official has said that Turkey will face “consequences” if it purchases a Russian air-defense system “The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision,” said Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, on Oct. 25 during a Washington meeting with a group of reporters hosted by the Defense Writers Group. Hurriyet ... Read More »