Middle East

Deceased Iranian President Rafsanjani was no moderate

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Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iran’s former president and arguably the Islamic Republic’s second-most influential political figure, died of a heart attack Sunday. Michael Rubin AEI He was 82. Almost immediately, journalists and some diplomats described his death as a blow to moderation in Iran. Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran… Deceased Iranian President… Read More »

Cyprus, the endgame

epa05432325 Cypriot soldiers stand next to the crosses marking the graves of Greek and Cypriot soldiers killed in the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, at the Tymvos Macedonitissas military cemetery in Nicosia, Cyprus, 19 July 2016. 20 July 2016 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Cyprus was split into Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded in response to a coup by supporters of union with Greece.  EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

A deal to reunify Cyprus would give the EU a win it desperately needs. Sara Stefanini Politico It’s make-or-break week for Greek and Turkish Cypriots, as their leaders enter the toughest stretch yet of negotiations to reunify the long-divided island. It’s a make-or-break… Cyprus, the… Read More »

Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home

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The Turkish government, under the iron hand of the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, felt obliged to further challenge the Americans in the troubled region of the Middle East this past week. Dennis Kefalakos European Sting Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak and Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin questioned the… Turkey caught in… Read More »

Is Iran following Russia’s lead in Syria?

Foreign ministers, Sergei Lavrov (C) of Russia, Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) of Turkey and Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov - RTX2VUYG

Hamidreza Azizi wrote this week that Moscow’s Syria strategy includes helping “Iran and Turkey find common ground on the Syrian crisis and then [it can] concentrate its efforts on further proceeding with a political solution together with Turkey. Week in Review Al Monitor As such, it could be argued that Iran’s current approach toward the Syrian issue is effectively pursued through the gates of Russia.” Azizi added that because… Is Iran following Russia’s… Read More »

The Observer view on Turkey and Putin’s malign patronage

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blames the US for many of his country’s troubles but we must be wary of his closer ties with Russia Observer editorial The Guardian Little noticed amid the uproar over last week’s terrorist attacks in Izmir and Istanbul has been Turkey’s linked escalation of a The Observer view… Read More »

Turkey’s collapse has been years in the making

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Washington: An exotic country goes up in flames and the world turns elsewhere for an alternate holiday destination. Paul McGeough  The Courier But in researching the chaos of our times, historians likely will keep coming back to Turkey, to pick apart an explosive collision of destructive forces, in… Turkey’s collapse has… Read More »

Lebanon set to join East Mediterranean race for oil and gas

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Lebanon will auction energy-development rights to five offshore areas and adopt production-sharing contracts to attract international investors as the tiny country seeks to join a regional race to tap oil and gas wealth in the… Written by Bloomberg Energy Voice The government may qualify more bidders for its… Lebanon set to… Read More »

The Ottoman Empire and Libertarianism

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Every so often libertarians ask, in a speculative mode, whether the re-establishment of the Ottoman Empire would not be a formula for peace in the troubled Middle East. Notes On Liberty The question is interesting on several counts, one of which is that the regions affected by the… The Ottoman Empire… Read More »

Why Russia, Turkey and Iran are natural allies

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­ The ceasefire in Syria brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran has opened the way to peace talks in Kazakhstan between the Syrian government and opposition. Adrian Campbell The Conversation The Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, will play peacemaker and the timing of the… Why Russia, Turkey… Read More »

Russia starts scaling down Syria military deployment

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Russia’s military on Jan. 6 said it has begun scaling back its deployment to Syria, with Moscow’s sole aircraft carrier ordered to leave the conflict zone first. Hurriyet MOSCOW – Agence France–Presse “In accordance with the decision of the supreme commander of the Russian armed forces Vladimir Putin, the… Russia starts scaling… Read More »

Why Iran Wants So Many Ballistic Missiles

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Iran and the West both see a terrifying threat on the other side. Farhad Rezaei The National Interest Unlike Iran’s nuclear program, the country’s arsenal of ballistic missiles has received only scant scholarly attention. At best… Why Iran Wants… Read More »

Elor Azaria case: ‘No hope of equality before the law’

Israel - Al Jazeera

Israeli soldier convicted of killing wounded Palestinian is expected to receive a lenient sentence later this month. Jonathan Cook Al Jazeera News Nazareth – It was the trial almost no one in Israel wanted. Last March, army Elor Azaria case… Read More »

Guéhenno to Trump: You Cannot ‘just crush’ ISIS

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Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Crisis Group’s President and CEO, speaks to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about the international challenges that are likely to persist in 2017 and the growing need for robust international structures to meet the… ICG In a broad discussion with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the… Guéhenno to Trump… Read More »

Erdogan’s Turkey is no ally of the United States.

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Among Donald Trump’s odd fixations are foreign strongmen. They are a reality and must be dealt with. Doug Bandow The American Spectator Sometimes they can and do aid U.S. policy. But just because they are quick to toss opponents into jail doesn’t mean that they necessarily are the sort of decisive leaders Washington should back. On Election… Erdogan’s Turkey is… Read More »

What Will Assad Do Next?

Assad - The National Interest

The pictures and footage coming out of Eastern Aleppo are absolutely horrifying. Daniel R. DePetris The National Interest In fact, horrifying may be too tepid a word; genocidal or apocalyptic is more like it. Four years of intense… What Will Assad Do… Read More »

Could an Embassy in Jerusalem Bring Us Closer to Peace?

Israel - NYT

As President-elect Donald J. Trump prepares to assume office, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been forced onto his agenda by President Obama’s decision to have the United States abstain on United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements. Martin Indyk The New York Times Mr. Trump has repeatedly declared his desire to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians, saying he viewed it as the “ultimate deal.” But he has also pledged to… Could an Embassy in… Read More »