Middle East

Arab League agrees to create joint military force

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BBC – The heads of Arab League countries meeting in Egypt have agreed to create a joint Arab military force. The League has been meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh amid a crisis in Yemen and the threat of jihadists who have made major gains in Iraq, Syria and Libya. However, establishing the make-up and remit of the force could take months, ... Read More »

Israel to release tax funds to Palestinians: PM’s office

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Israel will release to the Palestinian Authority tax funds it collects on its behalf and withheld as punishment for its move to join the International Criminal Court, the premier’s office said March 26. JERUSALEM – Agence France-Presse / Hurriyet “Tax revenues that have been accumulated through February will be transferred, after payments for services to the Palestinian population have been ... Read More »

Man who took down Turkish flag jailed for 13 years

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A Turkish man has been sentenced to 13 years and nine months in prison after taking down a Turkish flag during a protest in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 2014. ANKARA – Anadolu Agency – Hurriyet A high court in Diyarbakır sentenced the man, identified only by the initials Ö.M., to six years and three months in jail ... Read More »

Turkish defense minister rejects Greek territorial claims on Aegean islands

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Turkey‘s defense minister has rejected Greek territorial claims over a number of contested islands close to the Turkish coast in the Aegean Sea as invalid, and called the archipelago of islets Turkish islands, injecting a fresh element of friction to the intractable Aegean dispute. Today’sZaman – ABDULLAH AYASUN / ISTANBUL Turkish Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz on Wednesday challenged the international status ... Read More »

Turkey, Armenia and beyond

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In 2003-04, the late Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink wrote a series of articles on the psychology of the Armenian diaspora. Hurriyet – William Armstrong – william.armstrong@hdn.com.tr The series, titled “On Armenian Identity,” caused a stir by suggesting that diaspora Armenians were blinded by such hatred that it had become like “poison in their blood.” Rather than waiting for Turkey to change, ... Read More »

Defeating the Iraqi State, One Victory at a Time

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Beirut/Brussels  | ICG | What progress is being made against jihadi insurgents occupying large swathes of north-western Iraq is simultaneously undermining what is left of a state whose frailty and malfunctions created the environment in which jihadism was able to surge in the first place. This is particularly apparent in the battle for Tikrit, where much of the fighting is by Shiite militias ... Read More »

Turkish cartoonists sentenced to jail for insulting Erdoğan

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Two cartoonists for the popular satirical weekly Penguen have been jailed to 11 months in prison, over a satirical piece on free speech in which they were convicted of including a hidden gesture “insulting” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Ayşegül Usta – ISTANBUL – Hurriyet Cartoonists Bahadır Baruter and Özer Aydoğan were sued for the Aug. 21, 2014, cover of ... Read More »

Pakistan’s Identity Problem

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Pakistan’s “establishment” has chosen to focus solely on the country’s Muslim history, but that has done more harm than good in forging the nation’s identity. FP BY MADIHA AFZAL When you hear about Pakistan, what most often comes to mind? The place where schools, markets, and neighborhoods are routinely bombed? The terrorist haven where Osama bin Laden hid for almost ... Read More »

Obama agrees to slow U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan

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President Obama on Tuesday met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and agreed to keep about 9,800 troops in the country through the end of this year, slowing the planned American drawdown. The Washington Post – By David Nakamura and Greg Jaffe * But Obama said that he would stick to the current plan to close the remaining U.S. bases and consolidate U.S. ... Read More »

Australia has an obligation to stop human rights abuses by Iraq

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The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has told states that are supporting parties to the conflict between Iraqi security forces (ISF) and Islamic State (IS) that international law obliges them to take action on human rights abuses by the ISF and its associated Shi’a militia. The Conversation – Kevin Boreham Zeid released a report detailing gross ... Read More »