Middle East

The Sultan and the Sultan

CBDRWN Sultan Abdul Hamid II, Ottoman Sultan of Turkey as Sick Man of Europe. Cover of French Satirical Magazine, 'Le Rire', May 1897

Faced with a vast, decaying empire, the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II ruled with an iron fist, curtailing press freedom, promoting Islam and severing ties with the West. William Armstrong Miscellanies History Today His similarities with Turkey’s current president have not gone unnoticed. Turkey’s relationship with the West is in the middle of a slow-motion car crash. After years of tension, the country’s rift with its western allies has widened since an attempted military coup against the government of the country’s ... Read More »

US national security adviser: Qatar and Turkey are new sponsors of radical ideology 

Muste 1a

General HR McMaster attributed the rise of the Justice and Development party in Ankara to Turkey’s growing problems with the West Joyce Karam The National US national security adviser HR McMaster condemned Qatar and Turkey for taking on a “new role” as the main sponsors and sourcesof funding for extremist Islamist ideology that targets western interests. “Radical Islamist ideology isa grave threat to all civilised people,” Gen McMaster said. The US national security adviser said this threat has been identified “myopically” ... Read More »

Wanted for genocide, Sudan leader welcomed by Erdogan at Jerusalem summit

Bushi 1a

Omar al-Bashir is alleged by ICC to have committed war crimes in conflict that UN says killed at least 300,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million AFP The Times of Israel  ISTANBUL — Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted on charges of genocide and war crimes, attended an emergency summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic group in Istanbul, Wednesday. Bashir was among leaders who responded to a call by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to attend the meeting after ... Read More »

A confident and upbeat Putin goes on Mideast ‘victory’ tour

Brez 1a

Ρussian President Vladimir Putin declared “victory” in Syria during a surprise visit Monday to a military base there, then traveled to Egypt and Turkey, where he celebrated Moscow’s deepening ties with those key regional powers. Hamza Hendawi and Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press Chicago Tribune The tour highlighted Russia’s expanded reach in the Middle East and the global clout of its leader, who announced last week he is seeking re-election for another six-year term in March. Speaking to Russian troops on ... Read More »

Budding nuclear power Turkey casts a darkening shadow over Middle East

Pene 4d

Turkey is rapidly developing into a threat to peace and stability in the Middle East. Sol W. Sanders  The regime of President [formerly Prime Minister] Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP Justice and Development Party are increasingly authoritarian. World Tribune Their effort to obtain nuclear power with its military offshoots would make it an imposing and new threat to the whole region. Behind Erdogan’s efforts, of course, is nostalgia for Turkey’s once dominant role in that part of the world. ... Read More »

Netanyahu: Palestinians must face reality over Jerusalem

Prev 2b

Israel’s prime minister has said Palestinians must “get to grips with” the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital in order to move towards peace. BBC Benjamin Netanyahu said Jerusalem had been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and had “never been the capital of any other people”. He spoke amid ongoing protests in the Muslim and Arab world at a US decision recognising Jerusalem as the capital. Violence flared near the US embassy in Lebanon and elsewhere on Sunday. ... Read More »

The GCC’s worst summit

Faha 1a

The future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is extremely unclear six months into the bitter Qatar crisis. Khalid Al-Jaber Giorgio Cafiero  On December 4, Kuwait hosted the GCC’s annual summit, which marked the sub-regional organisation’s lowest point in its 36-year history. AlJazeera Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended, but absent at the summit were the Bahraini, Emirati, and Saudi heads of state. The summit fell apart within hours, underscoring theinternal damage within the GCC as a result of itsQatar rift. Looking ahead, the… The GCC’s ... Read More »

No Turkish President Had Gone to Greece in 65 Years. So Why Now?

Qua 2b

Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first Turkish president to visit Greece in 65 years when he arrived on Thursday and met with the Greek prime minister and president Iliana Magra The New York Times He immediately affronted his hosts by raising the prospect of changes to the treaty that defines their borders. On Friday, he repeated the same comments in Thrace, in northeastern Greece, home to the country’s Muslim minority, which Turkey has long referred to as a Turkish minority. ... Read More »

Syrian boys caught in ‘vicious cycle’ of sex abuse: UN

Barox 1a

Syrian men and boys, in their war-torn country and abroad, have suffered “a vicious cycle” of sexual abuse with more devastating consequences than previously reported, the United Nations said on Dec. 7. BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet In its new report, “We Keep it in our Heart,” the UN’s refugee agency said it had documented widespread sexual violence against Syrian males, including those seeking refuge. “There have been documented reports of how Syrian women and girls have suffered sexual violence ... Read More »

Social media reaction: Arabs helpless and hopeless

Dele 4d

After US President Donald Trump ignored warnings from the international community and formally recognised Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, some Twitter users focused on how Arabs contributed in the loss of Jerusalem. AlJazeera The status of the holy city is an extremely sensitive aspect of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Israel claims the whole city its capital – following the occupation of East Jerusalem in the 1967 war with Syria, Egypt and Jordan – Palestinians have long seen East Jerusalem as the capital of their future… ... Read More »

Confrontational Erdoğan stuns Greek hosts on Athens visit

Tsipras Erdogan 2b  Louisa Gouliamaki AFP Getty Images

Turkish leader jettisoned diplomatic niceties during meetings that were supposed to cement ties between the rivals Helena Smith The Guardian What had been billed a groundbreaking visit to Greece, the first by a Turkish president in 65 years, turned into a verbal theatre of war as Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, flouting the niceties of diplomacy, crossed an array of red lines. Disputes that had lain dormant – not least the 1923 Treaty of Lausannedelineating the borders between the two nations – were prised ... Read More »

Counting the Costs of U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Raul 4d

President Donald J. Trump on 6 December 2017 declared U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking decades of precedent even while saying the U.S. was not “taking a position of any final status issues”. ICG In this Q&A, Ofer Zalzberg and Nathan Thrall, Senior Analysts for Israel/Palestine, examine what the decision means for Israelis, Palestinians and the future of their conflict. Has President Trump endorsed Israel’s position on the status of Jerusalem? Not precisely, although many are understanding it ... Read More »

Why Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel

Why 9i

US President Donald Trump called Jerusalem the capital of Israel on Wednesday and began the process moving his country’s embassy to the city Zena Tahhan & Farah Najjar AlJazeera The move sparked global condemnation from world leaders. Israel occupied East Jerusalem at the end of the 1967 War with Syria, Egypt and Jordan; the western half of the holy city had been captured in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem effectively put the entire city under de facto Israeli control. Israeli jurisdiction and ownership of Jerusalem, however, is not ... Read More »

Russia’s multilayered Syrian diplomacy worries Iran

Raul 8h

TEHRAN, Iran — The Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi, widely known for its tourist attractions, has recently turned into a diplomatic hub, with dialogue over the Syrian crisis now serving as its main international attraction. Hamidreza Azizi  AlMonitor On Nov. 22, the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey attended a trilateral summit in Sochi to coordinate their efforts on the future of Syria. Just a day before, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in the resort, with his warm welcome ... Read More »

The Killing of Former President Saleh Could Worsen Yemen’s War

Uz 2b

The dramatic collapse of the Huthi-Saleh alliance is likely to prolong Yemen’s war and the suffering of its people April Longley Alley  After killing former President Saleh, the Huthis, viewed by their enemies in Riyadh as Iranian proxies, are firmly in control of the capital. ICG Neither they, nor the Saudis, are in a mood for compromise. What exactly happened and what led up to this sudden twist in Yemen’s devastating war? On 4 December, Huthi fighters killed Yemen’s former ... Read More »

Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico

Mexico Trump Abbas 1a LLLL

JERUSALEM – In response to US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, the Palestinian National Authority has announced that it will recognize Texas as a state of Mexico since it was violently annexed by the United States in the… ALEX HUNTLEY The Beaverton “The territory north and east of the Rio Grande is very important to the Mexican people,” explained a PNA spokesperson. “Before American settlers showed up and implemented slavery, Mexico oversaw this land. Then, President Polk sent his ... Read More »