Middle East

Arizona Attorney General Argues BDS Seeks to ‘Strengthen’ Terror-Supporting Palestinian Groups

A brief filed last week by Arizona’s attorney general maintains that the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel aids terrorists — potentially marking the first time a US government official has formally taken such a… Shiri Moshe Algemeiner In an opening argument submitted to the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote that legislation enacted by his state in 2016 that bars public bodies from contracting with companies that… The law, passed with bipartisan super-majorities, was blocked by a federal court in ... Read More »

In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces a make-or-break year

Adnan R. Khan: For more than a decade and a half, Turkey has aggressively pursued a more prominent role in the world. In 2019, it will pay the price. The goal was unity. Adnan R. Khan Maclean’s At least, that’s what Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, claimed about his campaign to transform Turkey’s fractious parliamentary democracy into a highly centralized presidency. When his “yes” side prevailed in an April 2017 constitutional referendum, the ambitious and polarizing leader promised ... Read More »

Trump’s Syria Withdrawal Hinges on Turkey

Whether pulling the remaining U.S. troops from Syria turns out to be a bold and beneficial move or a stupid, harmful one depends on what Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will do. Angelo M. Codevilla American Greatness That, in turn, depends in no small part on what constraints he senses from President Trump—as well as from Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Here, to the best of my understanding, are the circumstances and the possible consequences of the president’s decision to withdraw from Syria. ... Read More »

Turkey says the US just agreed to more of its demands as Ankara sees expanded power in Syria

President Donald Trump’s administration may have just handed Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan another win. Natasha Turak CNBC Less than a week after Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said Tuesday the U.S. has agreed to complete its previously established “roadmap” to remove all Kurdish militia fighters from the Northern Syrian town of… Ankara has been waiting for this guarantee for a while, complaining since its agreement in June that Washington was dragging its ... Read More »

Trump’s New Embrace of Turkish President Erdogan Decried by Top US Jewish Leaders

Two prominent American Jewish leaders expressed strong concern on Monday over US President Donald Trump’s declaration of faith in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as part of his sudden decision to withdraw the… Ben Cohen The Algemeiner “This most recent embrace of Turkey as a strategic partner in this ‘new’ US policy — relating to ISIS, Syria, the Kurds — should raise serious alarm bells in Israel and in the… Rabbi Abraham Cooper — associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal ... Read More »

Asia’s version of Palestine emerging in Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees are being courted by Middle East and South Asia extremist groups, a dynamic that could turn Bangladesh’s overflowing camps into a… By BERTIL LINTNER CHIANG MAI, DECEMBER 24 Asia Times When Myanmar security forces launched its now notorious “clearance operations” in western Rakhine state in August 2017, it was not the first time the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority had fled en… But a failed attempt to repatriate a first group to Myanmar in November and the construction of solid, concrete buildings ... Read More »

Australian troops to stay in Middle East despite US pullout: Morrison

Australian troops will remain in the Middle East despite US President Donald Trump announcing the withdrawal of thousands of soldiers from Syria and Afghanistan in a… Eryk Bagshaw Brisbane Times Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia’s presence “will remain” in the region, where more than 600 troops continue to conduct operations and train local troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We have to be conscious of the potential for a resilient and a resurgent [Islamic State],” he said.  “We’re in regular ... Read More »

Incoming US Secretary of Defense Shanahan has ties to US-Turkey arms trade

United States Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who will take over for ousted Secretary of Defense James Mattis in January, has significant ties to the U.S.-Turkey arms trade— a… Meghan Bodette The Region “I am pleased to announce that our very talented Deputy Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan, will assume the title of Acting Secretary of Defense starting January 1, 2019. Patrick has a… Shanahan joined Boeing in 1986, and worked there for over 30 years. He had no previous ... Read More »

Turkey FM labels Netanyahu ‘a cold-blooded killer’

Israel, Turkey in new war of words on social media after a year of tense relations over multiple issues. Al Jazeera and News Agencies Turkey has hit out at Israel’s “lawless occupation” of Palestinian territory after the Israeli prime minister accused Turkey of “massacres” against Kurds in a new war of words. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu labelled Benjamin Netanyahu “a cold-blooded killer of modern times”, in a Tweet on Sunday, adding that the prime minister was “responsible for massacres ... Read More »

Soccer community demands action to bring Hakeem al-Araibi home

Australia’s soccer community is demanding the federal government step up its fight to bring home a Melbourne-based refugee footballer as fears for his safety grow. Sumeyya Ilanbey The Age Hakeem al-Araibi, who was granted refugee status by Australia after he fled Bahrain, is being held in a Thai detention centre following an incorrectly-issued Interpol red notice flagging his arrival in Thailand. Araibi’s supporters say the Pascoe Vale Football Club defender has a “very real chance” of being extradited to Bahrain, ... Read More »

Yellow Jackets flop in Portugal

Campaign to bring country to a halt tests the exportability of the protest movement. Paul Ames Politico LISBON — France’s prototype gilet jaune was, reportedly, a BMW-loving Portuguese bricklayer called Leandro Nogueira whose Facebook rage against reduced speed limits ignited traffic-disrupting demonstrations around his home in… After escalating into a nationwide revolt against the French government, the Yellow Jackets headed to Nogueira’s homeland Friday with plans for a nationwide day of action under the slogan “Vamos Parar Portugal” (Let’s… Yellow Jackets flop… Read More »

Trump Says Turkey Should Easily Be Able to Mop Up ISIS in Syria

Days after handing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a diplomatic win by announcing he’ll pull U.S. troops out of Syria, President Donald Trump defended the move, saying Turkey “should be able to… By Onur Ant, Nick Wadhams, and Selcan Hacaoglu Bloomberg Trump’s action on Syria, which was announced on Twitter and triggered the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and later Brett McGurk, a leading U.S. diplomat, came a week after the… Instead, during a lengthy phone call on Dec. 14, Trump shocked ... Read More »

Turks Fleeing a Crackdown Find Haven in Albania

Dozens of Turks at risk at home from their affiliation with the man accused of mounting a failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have found haven in Albania. But ‘brotherly’ ties between Ankara and Tirana keep them on their toes. Vladimir Karaj . BIRN . Tirana BalkanInsight Early one August morning in 2016, Esin and Huseyin Sakinmaz filled their car with canned food and left their home in Istanbul. They headed south, but had little idea where they would end up. ... Read More »

Avoiding a Free-for-all in Syria’s North East

President Donald Trump has ordered U.S. troops to withdraw from north-east Syria. ICG This risks chaos and drives home the urgent need for a deal that restores Syrian state sovereignty to its north east, assuages Turkish security concerns and allows for some degree of Kurdish self-rule. What’s new? President Trump’s surprise decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria followed previous warnings that he justified their presence only as part of the campaign to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). Trump said ... Read More »

The Geopolitics of Greece: A Sea at its Heart

Throughout the history of Greece, its geography has been both a blessing and a curse, a blessing because it allowed Greece to dominate the “known Western world” for a good portion of Europe’s ancient history due to a combination of sea access and rugged topography. Stratfor In the ancient era, these were perfect conditions for a maritime city-state culture oriented toward commerce and one that was difficult to dislodge by more powerful land-based opponents. This geography incubated the West’s first ... Read More »

The biggest winner of Trump’s Syria withdrawal? Turkey.

When President Trump announced Wednesday that he was pulling U.S. forces out of Syria, it came as a shock to much of Washington. Ishaan Tharoor The Washington Post Key U.S. military officials reportedly felt hoodwinked by the drastic shift in policy; Trump’s secretary of defense quit. Counterterrorism experts warned that a departure could lead to an Islamic State resurgence. Critics in the foreign-policy community declared that Trump was giving “a Christmas gift to our enemies” — namely Russia and Iran, whose influence the… ... Read More »