Security

Saving Idlib from Destruction

Numerous signs point to an imminent Syrian regime offensive to recapture Idlib, the largest remaining rebel-held area. ICG To ward off another humanitarian calamity, Russia, Iran and Turkey should immediately convene talks to extend the truce and seek other ways of removing Idlib’s jihadist hard core. What’s new?  The Syrian regime and its allies look on the verge of attacking the country’s north-western governorate of Idlib, the last remaining stronghold of the armed rebellion, saying they must root out the ... Read More »

‘A convicted terrorist and a convicted spy’ walk into the Opera House… and get a standing ovation

Days after it was announced that she would not be granted an Australian visa in time for her scheduled appearance in Sydney, American whistleblower Chelsea Manning has received a standing ovation after speaking at the… Maani Truu WAtoday Ms Manning, who is best known for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, was speaking with Australian journalist Peter Greste as part of the weekend’s Antidote Festival, albeit by virtually appearing on stage via… “A convicted terrorist and a convicted ... Read More »

Turkey’s intel agency trafficked drugs and stolen vehicles to jihadists in Syria

A hushed-up investigation in Turkey’s capital city of Ankara in early 2014 reveals how intelligence officers on the payroll of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were involved in drug trafficking and… Abdullah Bozkurt TurkishMinute The confidential probe pursued by Turkish military intelligence into the activities of drug traffickers and an auto theft gang in Ankara exposed seven MİT agents who were unlawfully transporting drugs and… The clandestine operation was in clear breach of dozens of Turkish criminal laws as well ... Read More »

Helping the Burundian People Cope with the Economic Crisis

Burundi’s worsening economy threatens to incite further violence in an already unstable country. ICG The European Union and its member states, who have suspended direct aid to the government, must redouble efforts to ensure that their support benefits the Burundian people. What’s happening?  In the wake of the political and security crisis ongoing in Burundi since 2015, the economy has suffered a sharp decline. The economic and social progress achieved since the end of the civil war in the 2000s ... Read More »

South Sudanese rebels ‘approve’ peace deal with government

The final peace agreement between the government and rebels will be formally signed at a summit of regional leaders. AlJazeera South Sudanese rebels have approved a peace deal with Juba that is expected to be formally signed at a summit of regional leaders. Sudan’s Foreign Minister Al-Dirdiri Mohamed Ahmed, who is mediating the negotiations, said rebels had signed a key document aimed at ending the country’s devastating five-year civil war on Thursday. “By signing this document today, we have reached ... Read More »

Trump, Erdogan and the New Global Order

The Trump administration must not choose drastic and destabilizing steps to put further pressure on Turkey or strong-arm allies into playing along with its decisions. Nick Danforth The New York Times The current crisis between Ankara and Washington over the fate of the imprisoned American pastor Andrew Brunson is the culmination of a long-simmering dispute over the fundamental nature of the relationship between the United States and Turkey. Both sides want the relationship to continue but have irreconcilable expectations about ... Read More »

Turkey might not like the West, but needs it

When President Trump sanctioned two Turkish ministers—an unprecedented measure involving a NATO ally—and announced the doubling of trade tariffs early in August, he further aggravated the steadily deteriorating U.S.-Turkish relationship. Kemal Kirişci Brookings The moves came after the Turkish government refused to allow Pastor Andrew Brunson, who is facing spurious espionage and terrorism charges, to return to the United States. Turkey’s currency, already fragile, went into a tailspin, and has lost nearly half its value compared to the beginning of ... Read More »

EEZ of Doing Watery Business

With ties that go back centuries, the relations between Indonesia and India remain steadfast today. By Sidharto Suryodipuro (The writer is ambassador of Indonesia to India) The Economic Times Both President Joko Widodo and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have met in various fora. During the visit of Modi to Indonesia last May, the two governments agreed to enhance cooperation in defence, space, railways, science, medicine and health. One aspect of cooperation that tends to be forgotten, however, is maritime boundary delimitation (MBD). ... Read More »

The Erdogan Question: Is It Time To Shrink NATO?

The Turkish president’s thuggish autocracy and reflexive anti-Americanism make him very popular in his country. Philip Terzian Weekly Standard There was once a country in what used to be called the Near East that was much admired in the United States and often regarded as America’s most valuable asset in the region. Although the country was predominantly Muslim, its government was resolutely secular in outlook and committed to “modernizing” its deeply traditional culture: Women enjoyed unprecedented equality, for example, and ... Read More »

Time for President Donald Trump to Bury the U.S.-Turkey Alliance

The alliance was already dead—just not everyone realizes it yet. The U.S.-Turkey alliance is dead. Certainly, as long as Tayyip Recep Erdoğan is Turkey’s president. Doug Bandow The National Interest And probably well beyond that. The current dispute over the imprisonment of evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson dominates the news. But more important is an increasing divergence in the two nations’ geopolitical interests. The traditional claim that Ankara was a “vital” partner long reflected the triumph of hope over experience. During ... Read More »

A Preview of Donald Trump’s Next Speech on Erdogan’s Turkey

Reflections on how to Make Turkey Great Again. When Recep Tayyip Erdogan jailed an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and held him as a hostage, Donald Trump tried to get the fellow released. Ira Straus the Globalist This effort failing, he chose to respond with sanctions. Erdogan struck back with demagogic speeches about this being an attack on Turkey. The man in the Oval Office is unlikely to back down. He is not one to let go if someone locks horns ... Read More »

Sri Lanka joins Indian Ocean strategy talks at Vietnam forum

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is participating in conference to develop regional co-operation in the Indian Ocean held in Vietnam, a country that has suffered from China’s controversial restrictions on resources, free navigation and… The third Indian Ocean Conference is being held in Ha Noi to develop regional architectures to co-operate in security, trade commercial administration in the context of the strategic and economic importance of the… The Indian Ocean Conference was founded three years ago with ... Read More »

Is China Repeating Germany’s World War I Mistakes?

Channeling his inner Kaiser Wilhelm, Xi calls on China’s navy to “aim for the top ranks in the world… John Maurer The National Interest Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military.” At a recent show of Chinese naval might in the South China Sea, President Xi Jinping called for China to acquire a world-class navy, declaring to the assembled officers and crews that there has never been a… This demonstration of ... Read More »

Seafood diplomacy? Erdogan invites ‘dearest friend’ Putin to meet at fish restaurant

Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan may soon be discussing the S-400 anti-air systems deal while eating fish or lobsters, as Putin has been reminded of an arrangement to meet at a… * RT An invitation from Erdogan, delivered to Putin by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu on Friday, said: “Your dearest friend, Mr. Erdogan, has asked to convene his greetings and best wishes, he is hoping for your visit to Istanbul in the near future. You have ... Read More »

Serbia, Kosovo presidents broach border changes for historic deal

Balkan leaders seek to calm fears that plan could reignite ethnic violence. Andrew Gray Politico ALPBACH — The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo made clear on Saturday they are considering border changes to reach a historic peace settlement and called on the European Union to provide crucial… The declarations by Serbia’s Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo’s Hashim Thaçi at a panel discussion in Austria place the EU in a difficult position. EU leaders have long opposed such changes on the basis ... Read More »

Putin and Erdoğan Knock Again at Merkel’s Door

Sanctions force the two autocrats to negotiate with Germany over Syria. By Josué Michels theTrumpet Germany’s diplomatic relations with Turkey and Russia are warming up again. For several years, these relationships have been frosty. Reuters reported last week “But now, a diplomatic firework erupted” (Trumpet translation throughout). German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a three hour discussion on August 18. A meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planned for September. Ahead of the meeting ... Read More »