Middle East

In Ireland, Israel’s Religious Right Engages with Ideas for Peace

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Our Israel Senior Analyst Ofer Zalzberg joins nine leaders of Israel’s national religious community as they seek ideas for peace in meetings with the architects of Northern Ireland’s peace process. Unexpectedly, he finds the trip inspires subtle shifts in their thinking – and in his own. Ofer Zalzberg ICG BELFAST, Northern Ireland – So much is stuck in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that it makes sense to question habitual premises and take a new approach. For me, that means deepening ... Read More »

How to Help Iraq’s Religious Minorities

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Trump should undo an Obama policy that largely blocks them from getting U.S. aid. As Islamic State heads toward defeat in Iraq, Christian and Yazidi survivors of genocide should be returning to their hometowns in Nineveh province. WSJ Rodi Said/Reuters Instead, these fragile minority communities mostly remain stranded at displacement shelters in Kurdistan without the means to rebuild their villages. Many are fleeing Iraq, and the country now risks losing these religious minorities entirely. The Trump administration is making the ... Read More »

How to Mitigate the Risks of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Referendum

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A century-long quest for an independent Kurdistan has encouraged Iraqi Kurds to exploit Iraq’s ongoing crises and schedule a referendum on 25 September 2017. Maria Fantappie  ICG But the referendum is more a reflection of Iraq’s disorder than the Kurds’ readiness for statehood, and the vote’s outcome could exacerbate internal and regional… On 25 September, barring a last-minute postponement, the Iraqi Kurdistan region will hold an independence referendum.  Voters will be asked whether they want “the Kurdistan region and the ... Read More »

Turkey Uncensored: A History of Censorship and Bans

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On April 29, the Turkish government announced that it completely blocked Wikipedia over the online encyclopedia’s refusal to delete articles and comments that suggest that Ankara is co-operating with terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Uzay Bulut Philos Project Despite multiple requests by Turkish officials, Wikipedia refused to take down the content the Turkish government objected to. In response, Turkish authorities blocked online access to Wikipedia in all languages across the country. Wikipedia continues to be blocked ... Read More »

Events in the Middle East force realism on Erdogan

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may have increasing difficulties with the West, but his position in the Middle East is not all that easy either. Semih Idiz  Al-Monitor His regional archenemy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, continues to make headway, while his nemesis in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, remains in power. The Qatar crisis caught him unaware and unsettled him. Meanwhile, he is bracing for the reign of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia, who is an enemy of the Muslim ... Read More »

Russia’s S-400s Will Protect Turkey From A “Kurdish Air Force”

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Many people thought that this day would never come, but it’s official – Russian President Putin will sell his Turkish NATO counterpart S-400 missiles, and there’s nothing that the US or NATO can do about… Andrew KORYBKO OrientalReview This is a profound geo-military pivot for Turkey because it solidifies Russia’s role as the country’s high-level strategic partner for decades to come, considering that Russian experts will be relied on to provide maintenance, repairs, spare parts, and upgrades to these anti-aircraft… ... Read More »

What that missile deal really means for Turkey

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The Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile array has been described as the most sophisticated air defense system in the world. It can track up to 80 targets at the same time, aiming two missiles at each one. Yasar Yakis It can destroy aircraft, cruise missiles, medium range missiles, drones and other airborne surveillance systems. And now Turkey has bought it from Russia. Arab News “My colleagues have already signed a deal on S-400s. A deposit has also been paid as far ... Read More »

Loup Bureau, French journalist freed from Turkey, arrives home

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French reporter Loup Bureau, who had been held on “terror” charges in Turkey in a case that sparked tensions between Ankara and France, arrived in Paris on Sept. 17 after being freed. PARIS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Bureau, 27, arrived onboard an Air France jet at Charles de Gaulle Airport on a flight from Istanbul, the campaign group Reporters without Borders (RSF) said in a tweet. After his arrival, he was taken to a VIP suite where he was effusively greeted by his family and friends. ... Read More »

Yemen: About 55,000 Documented Human Rights Violation Cases in Six Months

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Geneva- The Yemeni Coalition for Monitoring Human Rights Violations has called on the UN Human Rights Council UNHRC to oblige the Saleh-Houthi coup militias to implement its resolutions. The coalition specified resolutions 17/18 of 2011 and 27/29 of… Asharq Al-Awsat  The Coalition’s executive manager Mutahhar al-Budheiji made the appeal as he presented his organization’s report on the status of human rights in Yemen in the 36th session of the UNHRC in Geneva Wednesday. He urged the UNHRC “to call on ... Read More »

Russia, Turkey Sign S-400 Deal despite Criticism and Suspicion

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan attend a news conference following their talks in Sochi, Russia, May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool

Moscow – Moscow and Ankara confirmed on Tuesday that they signed a deal in which Moscow would sell Ankara S-400 missiles. Taha Abed alWahed “Signatures have been made for the purchase of S-400s from Russia. ASHARQ AL-AWSAT A deposit has also been paid as far as I know,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. He stated that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin “are determined on this issue.” This is the largest deal that Turkey signs with a country ... Read More »

US-Turkey Tensions Escalate Over Russian Missile Deal

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed U.S. concerns about his government’s recent decision to buy an S-400 missile defense system from Russia In a speech Wednesday to mayors from his ruling AK Party, Erdogan said of the U.S., “They went crazy because we made the S-400 agreement. Dorian Jones VoA What were we supposed to do? Wait for you? We are taking and will take all our measures on the security front,” he added. The multibillion-dollar missile purchase has ... Read More »

Cardin: Turkey’s Purchase of Russian missile system may trigger sanctions

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Top Senate Foreign Relations Democrat warns $2.5 billion Turkey-Russia deal might violate new sanctions law that Trump opposed. Andrew Hanna Politico Turkey’s recent purchase of an advanced Russian anti-air weapons system may have violated a U.S. law that would require an automatic imposition of sanctions on the NATO member, a top Democratic lawmaker said today. The letter, sent by Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin to Trump administration officials, warns that Ankara’s purchase of Moscow’s S-400 air defense system, which finalized on ... Read More »

Greece warns ending EU talks with Turkey a mistake

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Halting accession talks with Turkey would be a strategic mistake by the European Union, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Sept. 10, amid a war of words raging between Berlin and Ankara. Agence France-Presse Hurriyet  During a recent election debate, both Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Social Democratic rival Martin Schulz endorsed ending Turkey’s EU accession talks. Ties between the two nations have become strained since last year’s failed coup attempt. Relations further deteriorated after the detention of several German citizens including Deniz Yücel, ... Read More »

The power bloc: Turkey is done with the EU, and now eyeing a Pakistan, Russia, China alliance

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Erdogan wants to join China-Russia bloc via Pakistan. Zain Khan TheDuran The power bloc A power bloc may just be formed from the friendship between Ankara, Islamabad, Russia and China. As celebrations are ongoing for the 70 years of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Pakistan, the long economic relations between Ankara and Islamabad bring China and Russia together to form a formidable four-nation bloc. The relationship between Pakistan and Turkey has dated back to several centuries and this has been ... Read More »

Turkey’s Genocide Denial: Four Narratives

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Turkey still denies the Armenian Genocide, during which 1.5 million Armenians perished. The Turkish state does not have just one policy or rhetoric concerning it. One could argue that there are four main narratives in Turkey concerning the genocide. Uzay Bulut  The Armenian Weekly Narrative One: We Did Not Slaughter Armenians; Armenians Slaughtered Us Accusing Armenians of being mass murderers and the actual perpetrators of genocide is a popular myth in Turkey. Last year, a public stage play that depicted ... Read More »

Get NATO’s Nukes Out of Turkey

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Even in this contentious era, one proposition still enjoys near-universal support: the United States should make it the highest priority to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of hostile states. Jonathan Marshall HuffPost It’s far too late to stop North Korea from getting the Bomb, despite all the militant rhetoric coming out of Washington. But we still have a chance to prevent an erratic Middle East strongman from holding the United States hostage by threatening to seize dozens ... Read More »