Middle East

Trump’s Green Light to Israel: First the Golan, Then the West Bank?

Nazareth. When President Donald Trump moved the US embassy to occupied Jerusalem last year, effectively sabotaging any hope of establishing a viable Palestinian state, he tore up the international rulebook. Jonathan Cook CounterPunch Last week, he trampled all over its remaining tattered pages. He did so, of course, via Twitter. Referring to a large piece of territory Israel seized from Syria in 1967, Trump wrote: “After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty ... Read More »

After Iraqi Kurdistan’s Thwarted Independence Bid

Backlash to the 2017 independence referendum bolstered family rule within Iraq’s two main Kurdish parties. ICG Internal democracy has eroded; ties between the parties have frayed. Only strong institutions in Erbil and renewed inter-party cooperation can help Iraqi Kurdistan to reach a sustainable settlement with Baghdad on outstanding issues.  What’s new?  Elections in 2018 confirmed that the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) remain the dominant forces in Iraqi Kurdish politics. But fallout from the 2017 ... Read More »

Energy and security in the Eastern Mediterranean

The discovery of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean’s Levant Basin has created new regional security dynamics. Petros Petrikkos Global Risk Insights The quest for power and influence hinders energy and economic cooperation. The growing ‘battle’ for the creation of a pipeline is not easily sustained due to the region’s unstable landscape. Research on the Levant Basin dates back to 2010 when the Leviathan block was first discovered by Ratio Oil. Following this, companies like US-owned Noble Energy and French giant ... Read More »

Stopping an Unwanted War in Gaza

As in 2014, Hamas and Israel appear close to a conflagration that neither party desires – though now a shaky ceasefire seems to have taken hold. Tareq Baconi Crisis Group’s Israel/Palestine analyst Tareq Baconi explains how the parties got to the brink and how they can step back. What happened? In the early morning of 25 March a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv, destroying a family house and wounding seven Israelis, including ... Read More »

Erdogan Is Weak. And Invincible.

Turkey’s president has rarely been so unpopular. He’s likely to dominate this week’s local elections anyway. Steven A. Cook FP No one ever prospered by predicting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s political demise, but on the eve of Turkey’s local elections this weekend, he and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) seem weaker than ever. If he were not feeling political pressure, he would not be featuring the grotesque video of the Christchurch mosque massacre at campaign rallies, nor would ... Read More »

Hagia Sophia might be reverted to a mosque, Erdoğan says

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday voiced the possibility of reverting the Hagia Sophia, which has been used as a museum since 1935 and is considered one of the world’s wonders, to a mosque. Daily Sabah “This is not unlikely. We might even change its name to Ayasofya Mosque,” Erdoğan said during a live interview with Turkish broadcaster TGRT. “This is not a strange proposal,” he said regarding the calls to convert the historical building to serve the purpose it ... Read More »

‘Nothing changed at all’ for ISIL sexual violence victims: Nobel laureate Nadia Murad

Despite finding widespread support globally, Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad has said she feels disappointed that none of the ISIL militants who raped and tortured Yazidiwomen have been… İpek İzci – ISTANBUL Hurriyet “I got e-mails from all over the world. Some people encourage me, some say that they embrace me and my people, some others offer help. I have been exhausted in the last two years. I work hard in the advocacy of vulnerable people, but nothing has changed at all. That makes me very upset,” she told daily ... Read More »

What can we learn from the jews of the united states?

In the 1950s, the Jews of the United States supplied a large percentage of the annual budget of the State of Israel. David Golinkin JPost In recent years, we have seen growing tension between the State of Israel and the Jews of the United States regarding topics such as conversion and the Kotel. We have learned in Pirkei Avot 4:1: “Who is wise? He who learns from all people, as it is written: ‘I have learned from all my teachers’” ... Read More »

World’s tallest building lit up with image of Jacinda Ardern

The world’s tallest building has been lit up with a giant image of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a woman at the Kilbirnie mosque in Wellington. Joel MacManus The Sydney Morning Herald The Burj Khalifa, an 829-metre-tall skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beamed out a photo taken by Wellington photographer Hagen Hopkins, as well as the Arabic word “salam” and its English translation, “peace”. Sheik Mohammed, the prime minister and vice-president of the UAE, and ruler of ... Read More »

Donald Trump: Golan Heights bombshell reverses 40 years of US policy and throws Middle East into turmoil

With one tweet of 35 words, Donald Trump has changed almost 40 years of US policy towards Israel and Syria: Scott Lucas The Conversation As with other Trump impulses, such as his sudden order in December to withdraw all US troops from Syria, no administration official appeared to have been consulted. Hours earlier, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said from Jerusalem that there was no change in the US position declining to recognise Israel’s 1981 annexation of the ... Read More »

In major shift, Trump says time for U.S. to recognize Israeli sovereignty over Golan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday it was time to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights that Israel seized from Syria in 1967, marking a dramatic shift in U.S. policy and giving a boost to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the middle of his re-election campaign. Steve Holland , Matt Spetalnick Reuters The disputed area was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed in 1981 in a… Netanyahu has pressed ... Read More »

Even if Netanyahu goes, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue

After a decade in office, Benjamin Netanyahu’s long tenure as Israel’s prime minister may soon be ending. Dov Waxman The Conversation Whether his Likud Party loses power following Israel’s election on April 9, or he’s forced to resign the premiership after being indicted on multiple corruption charges, Netanyahu’s downfall appears imminent. Without the hawkish Netanyahu – who opposes full Palestinian statehood – at Israel’s helm, what are the chances for peace between Israelis and Palestinians? Not good. Even an Israel-friendly ... Read More »

Anzac travel under review as Scott Morrison slams ‘insult’ by Turkish President Recep Erdogan

National security agencies are reviewing whether it is safe for Australians to travel to Gallipoli for Anzac Day services, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison considers expelling Turkey’s ambassador over “highly offensive and highly reckless” comments by Turkish President Recep… Max Koslowski The Sydney Morning Herald Mr Morrison met the ambassador, Korhan Karakoc, at Parliament House on Wednesday morning and asked for Mr Erdogan to withdraw his remarks. Mr Morrison was wary of heightening tensions just one month out from Anzac Day, ... Read More »

Recep Tayyip Erdogan: The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth

Fifty innocent people lost their lives in last week’s terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand. By Recep Tayyip Erdogan The Washington Post March 19 Recep Tayyip Erdogan is president of Turkey. Dozens of other Muslims, who had gathered at local mosques to perform the Friday prayer, survived the assault with injuries. There were many historical references on the murder weapons and in a manifesto that the suspected terrorist published online. The number of times he mentioned both Turkey and myself was both curious and worth ... Read More »

Diaspora Politics: Turkey’s New Balkan Ambassadors

More and more Turks are ‘coming home’ to the Balkans. As a new diaspora community takes root, will it transplant the values of Erdogan’s ‘new Turkey’? Hamdi Firat Buyuk, Alexander Clapp and Serbeze Haxhiaj BalkanInsight A few steps from the wooden Ottoman fountain that looms over Bascarsija square in central Sarajevo, shoppers in a Turkish grocery store browse tea, spices and Turkish delight. Murat Ozkaya, the store’s owner, considers himself a trailblazer. The former stockbroker from the eastern Turkish city ... Read More »

Turkey’s terror sponsorship is worse than imagined

I have written much over the years about Turkey’s complicity with terrorism over the past decade. by Michael Rubin Washington Examiner Interviews with a captured Islamic State prisoner, however, make clear that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s terror complicity is worse than many imagined, and not just because his son-in-law was dealing in Islamic State oil. Consider this piece from Homeland Security Today based on prison interviews with Abu Mansour al Maghrebi, the Islamic State’s liaison with Turkey’s intelligence service: ‘My ... Read More »