Middle East

US approves possible Patriot missile sale to Turkey in bid to block Russian purchase

Washington (CNN) – Amid diplomatic tensions between the US and Turkey on a range of issues, the US State Department announced Tuesday that it approved the possible sale of a $3.5 billion Patriot missile system to Turkey. By Ryan Browne, CNN The approval is an attempt by the US to get Turkey to give up its plans to purchase the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system. The proposed purchase has been a major impediment to closer US-Turkish relations amid fears the Russian ... Read More »

Don’t let Russian S-400s peel Turkey away from the West

U.S.-Turkish relations are enjoying a somewhat warmer moment, following the resolution of the crisis over American pastor Andrew Brunson and the recent dialogue to resolve differences over U.S. cooperation with the… Kemal Kirişci and Seçkin Köstem Brookings However, Ankara’s commitment to purchase S-400 surface-to-air missiles from Russia presents a big challenge with important geopolitical implications. Among other problems, the plan could get Turkey sanctioned and removed from the U.S.-led program to provide F-35 aircraft. Some experts have recently argued that ... Read More »

Michael Flynn’s former associate charged with secret lobbying for Turkey against Fethullah Gulen

An ex-business partner of former US national security adviser Michael Flynn and a businessman with ties to Turkish Government officials have been charged with undisclosed lobbying aimed at the… ABC Reuters Mr Flynn’s former partner, Bijan Rafiekian, was indicted on two criminal counts, including conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed on Monday in the… Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish-Dutch businessman, was charged for allegedly plotting with Turkish officials to cause ... Read More »

Climate action must now focus on the global rich and their corporations

The latest UN climate talks, known as COP24, have just concluded. Nicholas Beuret The Conversation The supposed story this time was one of a grinding victory by the EU and developing nations over recalcitrant petro-states – Russia, the US, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. These four, condemned as “climate villains” over the past week, worked to block the adoption of a critical IPCC report that detailed how woefully inadequate current international action was for limiting future climate change to 1.5C. Building ... Read More »

German arms export policy condemned by church organization

The German government is not keeping its promises of restricting arms exports to countries fighting in Yemen, a church organization has said. Arms firms are selling weapons to Saudi Arabia via foreign subsidiaries. Ben Knight DW A German church organization representing both the Catholic and Protestant churches has condemned the country’s arms exports, as criticism mounts of Angela Merkel’s decision to allow old Saudi weapons orders to be fulfilled, despite a recent promise to put exports to Saudi Arabia temporarily on hold. ... Read More »

North Cyprus journalist takes on Turkey’s mighty Erdogan

“There is always a price you pay for freedom of expression” AFP Arab News NICOSIA: Jail time, angry mobs and assassination attempts — editor Sener Levent has paid a price for challenging Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and authorities in breakaway northern Cyprus through his tiny newspaper. Alongside the stacks of old papers on his desk in northern Nicosia, a luminous screen displays footage from security cameras at his office’s entrances. The cameras are part of protective measures in place ... Read More »

As Kurdish fighters move on last Isis-controlled town in Syria, Turkey threatens attack

Syria’s main Kurdish parties called Turkey’s warnings a ‘declaration of war’ Richard Hall Independent Kurdish forces are on the brink of capturing the last town under Isis control in Syria – but before that battle is over they might have to face a Turkish invasion. The town of Hajin, on the banks of the Euphrates river in eastern Syria, is Isis’s last holdout in the country. After three months of intense fighting, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Friday that it had taken most of the ... Read More »

Government to recognise West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital but keeps embassy in Tel Aviv

The Australian Government will recognise West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but will not immediately move its embassy from Tel Aviv. Jade Macmillan ABC It is understood Prime Minister Scott Morrison will announce the decision during a speech in Sydney today. He is also expected to acknowledge the aspirations of Palestinians for a future state with its capital in East Jerusalem. The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network said it was dismayed by the Prime Minister’s plan, which it argued would ... Read More »

In the words of Taffan Ako: “I believe you have to be in the system in order to change the system”

By UN Women – A refugee from Iraqi Kurdistan, Taffan Ako fled to Sweden in 1997 with her family. Women You Should Know Today she is the Coordinator of One Young World Ambassadors for Scandinavia and Eastern Europe and founder of EmpowHERment, an organization that assists women and young girls who have been former ISIS sex slaves or victims of human trafficking. Her foundation finances integration projects for children and women in Europe and in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ako was one of ... Read More »

Reviving UN Mediation on Iraq’s Disputed Internal Boundaries

The fallout is settling after the Iraqi army’s seizure of territories disputed between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region. ICG More conflict over these areas, particularly oil-rich Kirkuk, is predictable. The UN should take advantage of today’s quiet to explore negotiations on the contested lands’ status. What’s new?  Following parliamentary and regional elections this year, Baghdad and Erbil are forming new governments. This presents a fresh opportunity to settle longstanding disputes between them. One of their principal disputes concerns the ... Read More »

Confront Turkey’s ethnic cleansing and stop indulging it

Every April, Turkish diplomats and members of the Congressional Turkey Caucus scramble to avert a resolution recognizing as genocide the World War I-era Ottoman massacres of Armenians. Washington Examiner Turkish officials oppose any resolution holding Turkey responsible both because the Republic of Turkey was not formally declared until 1923 and because they hold that what happened was not deliberate but… Other Turkish historians and politicians hold that the evidence upon which genocide historians rely is exaggerated if not fraudulent. Lost ... Read More »

Syrian refugees remain trapped and marginalised by Lebanon’s power-sharing politics

World leaders gathered in Marrakesh on December 10 to sign a historic agreement safeguarding the rights of migrants. Drew Mikhael The Conversation Despite the withdrawal of some countries, the Global Compact on Migration was approved by 164 countries. It follows the Global Compact on Refugees, approved at the UN in mid-November by all countries, bar one – the United States. Despite the current optimism around the potential good these new global compacts on refugees and migrants will have, the current ... Read More »

‘Help us’: Call for greater assistance to locate 3000 Yazidis taken hostage by IS

More than 3000 Yazidi women and girls taken hostage after IS swept through northern Iraq in 2014 remain missing. By Fares Hassan, Sylva Mezher, Abdallah Kamal Presented by Good Morning Australia 6-9 AM Published: December 10 A councilman in the northern Iraqi region of Sinjar has called for a greater international assistance to locate the more than 3000 Yazidi women and girls still missing and presumed under IS captivity. Khodaida Al-Hamo, a Yazidi member of the Nineveh governorate council which overseas Sinjar, ... Read More »

Palestinians reject compromise options on Australia’s contentious embassy review

The Palestinian representative in Canberra has rejected possible Australian government alternatives to establishing an embassy in Jerusalem, saying Palestinians should not “pay the… David Wroe The Age Cabinet is expected to discuss the embassy location on Tuesday after Mr Morrison vowed to review Australia’s diplomatic stance in October ahead of the crucial Wentworth byelection. Among the options understood to be on the table are the establishment of a smaller office or consulate in west Jerusalem while keeping the embassy in ... Read More »

US official opposes ditching support for Saudi-led coalition in Yemen

The United States strongly opposes discontinuing support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war and will remain engaged in efforts to combat Iranian influence and Islamist militancy in the Arab state, a… ABC Reuters The US administration has come under pressure at home over the nearly four-year-old conflict that has pushed Yemen to the brink of starvation since the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at… The US Senate last month voted to advance a resolution to end military ... Read More »

Auschwitz Survivor Supports BDS: ‘I Have Experienced Fascism’

94-year-old Esther Bejarano moved to Palestine in 1945, 15 years later she returned to Germany due to Israel’s policies against Palestinians. teleSUR Auschwitz survivor, 94-year-old Esther Bejarano, expressed support for the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement because she has “experienced what fascism is.” Bejarano was sent to Auschwitz in the early 1940s. She escaped death thanks to her musical talents and mixed Jewish-Aryan ancestry. After World War II she emigrated to Palestine but 15 years later she returned to Germany, escaping Israel’s ... Read More »