Diplomacy

The Golan Heights Should Stay Israeli Forever

At least one of Israel’s occupations will be permanent, whether anyone else likes it or not. Steven A. Cook FP Should the United States recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights? The question has come up in the last few weeks, because Israel is having an election in April. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been lobbying the Trump administration on the idea of formally acknowledging Israel’s 1981 annexation of Syrian territory. There’s plenty of reason to suspect this diplomatic ... Read More »

Turkey’s threat to Kurds demands US protection

Responding to a Turkish military buildup on its border with northeastern Syria, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s threat of a new incursion into Syria, President Trump has warned Turkey not to attack the Syrian Kurds. Dov S. Zakheim The Hill Kurdish forces have been allied to America and the coalition it leads; have borne the brunt of the ground war with ISIS; have suffered heavy losses in doing so. On the other hand, Turkey considers both the Syrian Kurdish militia ... Read More »

On Thin Ice: The Iran Nuclear Deal at Three

Remarkably, the Iran nuclear deal has survived the Trump administration’s withdrawal. ICG Now it must weather 2019, its year of greatest peril, as mounting U.S. pressure tests Iranian patience. With Europe’s help, Tehran must keep sticking to the agreement in anticipation of sunnier times ahead. What’s new? The Iran nuclear deal is entering its fourth year of implementation, with Iran remaining in full compliance with its obligations. Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the deal in ... Read More »

Comment: For Britain’s sake, Theresa May, just go

Video provided by Sky News Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. So now we know. Joseph Harker The Guardian With the clock ticking rapidly towards 29 March, Theresa May’s Brexit has been defeated – and in devastating style. This was the worst government defeat in British history. The contradictions and dissembling the prime minister engaged in over the past ... Read More »

Five Steps to Save Yemen’s Stockholm Agreement

The Stockholm Agreement, though imprecise, offers a real shot at building a peace process for war-ravaged Yemen. Peter Salisbury ICG But the accord is faltering amid mutual recriminations. The UN, and the wider international community, should act now to make sure the combatants follow through on their commitments. In December 2018, representatives of Yemen’s internationally recognised government and the rebel Huthi movement did something unexpected: they agreed on something. At UN-mediated talks in Sweden, the two parties announced what is ... Read More »

Vestager in hot seat as she moves to derail mega-merger

Alstom-Siemens deal looks set to be blocked in Brussels, but Paris and Berlin are exerting political pressure. Thibault Larger Politico EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager will face questions on Tuesday from her fellow commissioners over why she is opposing the French and German governments to thwart the creation of a… Vestager is on course to block a landmark merger between France’s Alstom and Germany’s Siemens even though Paris and Berlin insist that the tie-up is needed to build a European industrial heavyweight ... Read More »

Turkey accused of plundering olive oil from Syria to sell in the EU

Α Swiss MP has accused the Turkish government of passing off olive oil plundered from Syria as Turkish in order to sell it in European Union countries, including Spain. James Badcock The Telegraph Bernhard Guhl of Switzerland’s Conservative Democratic Party has alerted the Swiss government to the possibility of olive oil seized as loot from the conflict in Syria entering the European Union single market falsely labelled as Turkish, with the… “In Turkish-occupied Afrin, the olive groves are being pillaged by ... Read More »

Improving Prospects for a Peaceful Transition in Sudan

Popular protests are rumbling across Sudan, shaking President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year grip on power. ICG The authorities have cracked down hard and, as the demonstrations intensify, they may ratchet up the repression. External powers should urge restraint and offer Bashir a way to the exit. What’s new? Protests across Sudan flared up as the government cut a vital bread subsidy. Economic grievances are fuelling demands for political change, with protesters calling on President Omar al-Bashir, in power since 1989, to ... Read More »

The Turkish president’s epic distortion of facts on Syria

On Jan. 7, the New York Times published an opinion piece by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is a masterpiece in historical revisionism better suited to Turkey’s state-controlled media. Brian Glyn Williams The Hill Erdogan relies upon most Americans’ lack of awareness of the situation on the ground in Syria and makes bold claims with outright falsehoods. For example, Erdogan begins by stating: “In 2016, Turkey became the first country to deploy ground combat troops to fight the so-called Islamic State ... Read More »

Trump threatens to ‘devastate’ Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds

US President Donald Trump has threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria following a planned pullout of US troops. BBC In two tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump said that he did not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey either. US forces have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in northern Syria against the Islamic State (IS) group. Turkey, however, regards the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken angrily about American ... Read More »

Docs Show US To Massively Expand Footprint At Jordanian Air Base Amid Spats With Turkey, Iraq

Tens of millions of dollars will turn this base in Jordan into a new major regional hub for combat jets, drones, cargo planes, and more. Joseph Trevithick The Drive The U.S. military is moving ahead with plans to dramatically expand its presence at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan to better accommodate a broad mix of fighter jets, ground attack aircraft, armed drones, cargo planes, and… The multi-million-dollar construction project comes as President Donald Trump’s administration moves to withdraw American ... Read More »

Turkey’s new presidential system and a changing west

Implications for Turkish foreign policy and Turkish-West relations Kemal Kirişci and Ilke Toygür Brookings Executive Summary In July 2018, having triumphed in the presidential elections the previous month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to formally transform Turkey’s long-standing parliamentary system into a heavily centralized presidential one. The new system entrenched his one-man authoritarian rule at home and is having profound implications for the making and substance of Turkish foreign policy as well as Turkey’s relations with the West. This ... Read More »

Is Turkey Capable of Defeating ISIS in Syria?

The first responders in the case of a threat like ISIS should be those nations most affected. Doug Bandow The National Interest The Islamic State exploded in the Middle East, gaining control of large sections of Iraq and Syria. No nation was safe from its ambition to create an Islamic caliphate. But Turkey initially accommodated Daesh, even profiting from illicit oil sales. Eventually, the insurgents turned terrorist inside Turkey, forcing the Erdogan government to respond. However, Turkish forces still targeted ... Read More »

US withdrawing gear from Syria, but not troops

The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America’s planned exit from the war-battered nation. Washington – AFP Hurriyet President Donald Trump last month claimed ISIL had been defeated in Syria and said all US troops were “coming back now.” But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when ... Read More »

The strange normality of life in a breakaway state

A postal address is the marker that identifies our home’s place in the world. The last line designates our country, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. By Thomas de Waal, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace BBC But for a few million people worldwide, that last line of the address is a problem. The international postal service does not recognise a letter marked Abkhazia, Trans-Dniester, or Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Letters find their way after being re-routed via other countries. Open up ... Read More »

Xi Jinping will Give Donald Trump a Victory on Trade

Expect Trump to declare a “triumph” in a great trade deal that will feature China’s purchase of more than a trillion dollars of additional U.S. products. Graham Allison The National Interest With the conclusion of the first round of negotiations yesterday in Beijing, the way ahead for the United States and China to avoid a full-scale tariff war has become clear. With fifty days remaining before the March 1 end of the truce Trump and Xi announced to prevent U.S. ... Read More »