Middle East

Developing countries at risk from US rate rise, debt charity warns

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Jubilee Debt Campaign says 126 nations spend more than 10% of revenues on interest Larry Elliott The Guardian The expected rise in US interest rates will increase financial pressures on developing countries already struggling with a 60% jump in their debt repayments since 2014, a leading charity has warned. The Jubilee Debt Campaign said a study of 126 developing nations showed that they were devoting more than 10% of their revenues on average to paying the interest on money borrowed – the ... Read More »

Why Pompeo may not be good news for Ankara

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The diplomatic reshuffle in Washington may be the harbinger of a new era of further confrontation with Ankara. Yavuz Baydar The Arab Weekly Regardless of the rosy expectations of some, US-Turkey relations may enter a critical phase if CIA Director Mike Pompeo takes over the US State Department from Rex Tillerson. Pompeo and Tillerson have very little in common. Tillerson represented a “softer” American approach to issues and the notion that Washington needs to take its allies into account. Pompeo ... Read More »

Turkey Slams Europe Over Calls to End Syria Offensive

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ISTANBUL — Turkey has reacted furiously to the European Parliament’s motion calling for an end to Ankara’s military offensive in Syria’s Afrin enclave against a Kurdish militia. Dorian Jones VoA The motion cited concerns for the hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped in Afrin city under siege by Turkish forces for almost two months. But beyond the diplomatic haranguing, both the European Union and Ankara appear anxious to continue to work to rebuild relations. Speaking at his presidential palace, Turkish President ... Read More »

Lebanon-Israel maritime dispute: Rules of (diplomatic) engagement

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Thus far attempts to resolve the dispute have been unsuccessful, but while the challenge is clearly a difficult one, the situation is far from irretrievable if the parties practice restraint and resolve to settle their differences via diplomacy and dialogue. Roudi Barouti Annahar BEIRUT: Tensions between Lebanon and Israel are flaring once again, this time over the demarcation of their maritime border and, therefore, the rightful ownership of offshore oil and gas deposits. Thus far attempts to resolve the dispute ... Read More »

Syria war: Thousands flee twin offensives in Afrin and Ghouta

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As many as 50,000 people have fled separate offensives against rebel forces in northern and southern Syria in recent days, activists say. BBC About 30,000 have left the northern town of Afrin as Turkish forces and their allies stepped up a siege. In the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, some 20,000 have left areas targeted by Syrian government forces. The mass movements come seven years into a war which has driven nearly 12 million people from their homes. At least ... Read More »

Saudi Crown Prince Likens Iran’s Supreme Leader to Hitler

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BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince has compared the supreme leader of Iran to Adolf Hitler, and said that his country would acquire a nuclear bomb “as soon as possible” if Iran developed nuclear weapons. Ben Hubbard The New York Times The comments by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ratcheted up the rhetoric in the increasingly volatile rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which has fueled sectarianism and war across the Middle East. His statements were in an ... Read More »

UN report says Israel a ‘racist state’ and ‘apartheid regime’

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Report ‘first of its type’ to conclude ‘apartheid system persecutes Palestinian people’ A UN agency published a report on Wednesday accusing Israel of imposing an “apartheid regime” of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people, and said it was the first time a UN body had clearly made the… The Irish Times Reuters Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman likened the report, published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), to Der Stürmer– a Nazi propaganda publication that was strongly ... Read More »

The 2018 Turkey Regress Report

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The European Commission is due to publish its next progress report on Turkey in April 2018. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe This standard procedure is meant to outline how candidate countries have advanced in aligning with the EU’s political and technical criteria for accession and to chart their paths forward. Yet, in Turkey’s case, a massive deterioration of the rule of law makes it impossible to acknowledge any progress. Instead, the commission’s forthcoming report is bound to illustrate a substantial regression. ... Read More »

Jordan’s New Regional Role

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It is significant for a Syrian opposition member to take a photo with a top American official. Maria Dubovikova and Shehab Al-Makahleh International Policy Digest When the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a meeting in Jordan’s capital, Amman, with the head of the Syrian Negotiations Commission, Nasr al-Hariri, and an accompanying delegation on February 14, the photo, which went viral, signaled how Jordan is set to play a major role in the outcome of ongoing conflicts in the… Indeed, the ... Read More »

Erdogan’s Vision: Uniting an ‘Army of Islam’ to Destroy Israel in 10 Days

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JERUSALEM, Israel – An article in a Turkish paper with close ties to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan exposes the regime’s desire to form an “Army of Islam” to attack and destroy the State of Israel. Tzippe Barrow CBNnews The article calls on the 57 member nations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) throughout the Muslim world to join forces against the Israeli “occupiers” who would then be vastly outnumbered and unable to defend their country. Translated and posted by MEMRI (Middle ... Read More »

The U.S. Must Not Appease Turkey’s Erdogan

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It is often invidious to draw historical parallels, but in the case of Turkey’s attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northwestern Syria, one parallel is justified: Nazi Germany’s claim to the Sudetenland in Czechslovakia in 1938, where Britain and France adopted a policy of appeasement. Robert Ellis International Policy Digest When Germany invaded Poland a year later, Britain and France were forced to declare war. And we all know what that led to. The U.S. is now in ... Read More »

UN Goodwill Ambassador says Turkish attack on Afrin foreshadows genocide and ethnic cleansing

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UN Goodwill Ambassador and ISIS survivor Nadia Murad on Monday called for a ceasefire in Afrin and called on Turkey to stop the attacks on Afrin that so far have killed over 200 civilians. Wladimir van Wilgenburg The Region “Today, I received information that the area of Afrin inhabited by Kurds, Yazidis and Christians is under siege from all sides. There is only one road through which people can leave the city,” she said in a statement. “200 civilians have ... Read More »

UN: Israel settlements in West Bank, Jerusalem ‘war crime’

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein has described Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem as “war crimes”, Quds Press reported yesterday. MEM According to local media, Al-Hussein’s warnings would be part of a report he is to introduce to the UN Security Council on 19 March. “Building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including the social, economic and security facilities given to their residents with the aim to move Zionists to forcefully occupied lands, is a violation ... Read More »

Saleh Moslem: Turkey kills Kurds in Afrin with European weapons

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TEV-DEM foreign relations official and former PYD leader Saleh Moslem said; ANF “Nobody has the right to tell the people of Afrin to leave. That land belongs to the people of Afrin. The children there are protecting their lands. Why should they abandon it?” The meeting where Kurdish parties, institutions, professional organizations and individuals express their solidarity with Afrin at national level, continues in The Hague. The meeting is organized by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) and… Saleh Moslem: Turkey… Read More »

Greece frees German journalists detained at Turkish border

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Greece on March 10 freed two German journalists who had been detained at the border with Turkey for allegedly entering a restricted area, a judicial source stated. Agence France Presse Hurriyet Greece on March 10 freed two German journalists who had been detained at the border with Turkey for allegedly entering a restricted area, a judicial source stated. The pair, a 31-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, were working for regional German television channel NDR on a documentary about refugees, ... Read More »

U.S. moving to repair relations with Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

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In an effort to repair tattered relations, the Trump administration has told Turkey it will move to rein in Kurdish fighters who have been the backbone of the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State in Syria, according to U.S. and… By Karen DeYoung and Kareem Fahim The Washington Post The first step and “the crux of the matter,” a senior Turkish official said, is to withdraw the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij and relocate them east of the ... Read More »