Middle East

Yemen: Is Peace Possible?

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Brussels EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Nearly a year on, there is no end in sight to Yemen’s war. ICG Middle East Report N°167 The conflict pits Ansar Allah (Huthi) rebels and military units allied with ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh against a diverse mix of opponents, including what remains of the government of President Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, backed by a Saudi-led coalition supported by the U.S., the UK and France. Ending the war requires negotiations leading to an interim settlement that must include ... Read More »

Peshmerga needs $300M a month to fight ISIL: Official

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Kurdish peshmerga forces need a short-term emergency fund of $300 million a month from the U.S. to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a Kurdish Iraqi official said on Feb. 8. Hurriyet – WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency The money is needed “for their salaries, and the logistics and the transportations for these efforts against ISIS [ISIL],” said Hemin Hawrami, foreign policy advisor to northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani. Speaking at the Washington Institute ... Read More »

Why the West is standing by amid Russia’s campaign in Syria

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SEARCH FOR A PATH FORWARD – Russia’s airstrikes on Aleppo, Syria, have killed hundreds and sent a fresh wave of tens of thousands of civilians north to the border with Turkey. The Christian Science Monitor – By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer WASHINGTON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is “horrified” by the impact that Russia’s relentless airstrikes on Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, are having on civilians. And as Russia’s bombing campaign has killed hundreds and sent a fresh wave of tens ... Read More »

Syrian government is ‘exterminating’ its population: UN

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Turkey steps up its involvement in Syria to help refugees Aleppo’s underground schools face burnout and bombardment Syria’s battle for Aleppo backed by Iranian proxies Geneva: Detainees held by the Syrian government are dying on a massive scale, amounting to a state policy of “extermination” of the civilian population, a crime against humanity, United Nations investigators say. WAtoday – Stephanie Nebehay * The UN commission of inquiry on Monday called on the Security Council to impose “targeted sanctions” on Syrian officials ... Read More »

Oil Prices and ISIS Ruin Kurdish Dreams of Riches

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The civil war in Syria and Iraq and the rise of Islamic State (Isis) has brought the 30 million Kurds in the Middle East new terrors and fresh opportunities. CounterPunch – by Patrick Cockburn In Syria, the conflict has led to the creation of a Kurdish quasi-state between the Tigris and Euphrates that fields a powerful army supported by US air power. In northern Iraq, the defeat of the Iraqi army by Isis in 2014 enabled the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to seize territory long ... Read More »

Turkish forces accused of ‘massacre’ over Cizre raid

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Conflicting reports about death toll and identities of victims in raid on building by Turkish security forces #TurkeyAtWar Middle East Eye – Alex MacDonald Scores of people are reported to have been killed in the southeastern Turkish town of Cizre following a raid by security services on a building allegedly harbouring Kurdish separatist fighters. State-run TRT reported late on Sunday that 60 “terrorists” had been “neutralised” following the raid on the building in the Cudi neighbourhood of Cizre. News sources in ... Read More »

Dealing With Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

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A diplomatic effort to cap missile development is the next necessary step. The National Interest – William LuersThomas PickeringGreg Thielmann Building on the momentum from the successful pursuit of the nuclear deal with Iran, the P5+1 should now combine pressure and diplomacy to deal with Iran’s missile program. Missiles became an essential component of Iran’s military posture during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, in which Iran received intensive Iraqi missile and air bombardments. Tehran started to build a missile arsenal ... Read More »

Ecuador conveys ‘unease’ over use of force by Turkish president’s guards

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Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry has conveyed its “unease” over the use of force against its citizens by guards of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a demonstration in the capital of Quito, Turkish officials have confirmed. Hurriyet – Emine Kart – ANKARA The incident subject to Ecuador’s diplomatic moves took place on Feb. 5 as a group of demonstrators protested Turkey’s ongoing military operations against the outlawedKurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as Erdoğan was speaking at the National Higher Studies Institute in Quito. ... Read More »

Academia in Turkey ‘reminds me of Ceauşescu’s Romania’, says exiled scholar

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Political theorist Andrei Stavilă explains how a comment on a friend’s Facebook page led to exit from Turkish university Times Higher Education By Jack Grove Twitter: @jgro_the A politics lecturer has alleged that he was forced to resign from a Turkish university after making a Facebook comment criticising government efforts to intimidate and silence academics. Andrei Stavilă had recently been informed that his one-year contract at Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University, in eastern Turkey, would be renewed for two more years ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia willing to send ground troops to Syria

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After recent military gains by Assad forces, Gulf kingdom ready to put boots on the ground in Syria’s escalating war. Saudi Arabia is prepared to deploy ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if US-led coalition leaders agree to the offer. Saudi’s air force has targeted ISIL with air strikes since the campaign began in Syria in September 2014, but the Gulf kingdom is now ready to provide ground forces to defeat ... Read More »

The Truth About Israel’s National Security

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Israel’s historical experiences, coupled with decades of violent confrontations with Arab states and the Palestinians, have created a major psychological barrier embedded in the psyche of every Israeli, placing Israel’s legitimate national security concerns at the center of its domestic and foreign policy. The Huffington Post   Alon Ben-Meir, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Affairs, NYU That said, no military might or even the expropriation of the entire West Bank will guarantee Israel’s security, short of a sustainable Israeli-Palestinian peace. The Netanyahu ... Read More »

Russia, terrorism drag down Turkey’s economy

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Turkey is paying a hefty price for incurring Russia’s wrath. After Turkish jets shot down a Russian jet in disputed airspace in November, Moscow responded with biting sanctions that have caused bilateral trade and tourism to plummet. Bluin News – by Michael Lerner in Middle East. Now, Russia’s latest move is to start looking for ways to transfer the manufacturing of spare auto parts for its major car producers from Turkey to Serbia, Deputy P.M. Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday. Turkish producers exported some $800 million worth ... Read More »

Russian-Turkish tensions are positive for Egyptian exports: Fresh Fruit Co. Chairman

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Central bank policies to curtail imports increased grain prices despite global decline, says El-Naggari Daily News Egypt – Basma Tharwat Fresh Fruit Co. aims to increase its exports this year to EGP 66m compared to approximately EGP 60m recorded in 2015, representing a 10% growth. Mostafa El-Naggari, Chairman of Fresh Fruit Co, said the company’s total exports increased by 9% last year, noting that opening the door to rice exports in 2015 was the main reason behind the increase in ... Read More »

Turkish academic faces jail for ‘terror propaganda’ over exam question on PKK leader

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An academic at Ankara University’s Faculty of Political Science faces seven years in jail for “terror propaganda” over an exam question asking students to compare two writings by Abdullah Öcalan the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Hurriyet – Mesut Hasan Benli – ANKARA In the final exam of his course titled “Political life and institutions in Turkey,” Assistant Professor Doctor Reşat Barış Ünlü asked students to compare a 1978 leaflet by Öcalan with a more recent piece ... Read More »

Greece, Cyprus, and Israel Bearing Gifts

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Some developments in international affairs occasion no surprise. The American Thinker By Michael Curtis The announcement on January 28, 2016 by the military wing of the terrorist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza strip, that seven of its members were killed when a tunnel, which they were repairing in order to attack Israeli civilians, had collapsed reminded the world that Islamist terrorism continues. The eagerness of European countries to make business arrangements with Iran illustrates that the supposed concern for ... Read More »

Israel hits back at France over threats to recognise Palestinian statehood

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Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for a more “sober” approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in dismissing a French peace initiative as only encouraging Palestinians to shun compromise. The Age – Jeffrey Heller * The proposal on Friday by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for an international peace conference was the latest sign of Western frustration over the absence of movement toward a two-state solution since the collapse of US-brokered negotiations in 2014. Mr Fabius said that if ... Read More »