Middle East

The Risks of Maximising Pressure on Iran

The Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran is more likely to fuel resistance and retaliation than capitulation. Ali Vaez ICG Washington should heed past lessons lest it provokes a new nuclear crisis or a regional escalation. The U.S. decision on 22 April to end sanctions exemptions for Iran’s remaining oil customers, following on an earlier designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), significantly escalates the… The intent is clear: bankrupt Iran into… The Risks of… Read More »

Turkey’s Killing Fields

“The Thirty-Year Genocide” Turkey’s Destruction of Its Christian Minorities, 1894-1924 By Benny Morris and Dror Ze’evi By Bruce Clark The New York Times Using the word “genocide” to describe an episode of mass killing has consequences. If the horrors are unfolding now, it invites other countries to intervene and punish the perpetrators. If the unspeakable events are in the past, the word’s use can affect the way they are discussed, by historians or ordinary people. Once the term “genocide” has ... Read More »

Bernie Sanders: Israeli government ‘racist’

Manchester: US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is standing by his criticism of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying Israel is “now run by a right- wing, dare I say, racist government.” McClatchy, AP WAtoday Sanders said on Monday, US time, at a CNN town hall in New Hampshire that he believed the United States should try to bring people together and deal with the Middle East on a level-playing-field basis, “not just support one country”. The senator from Vermont said ... Read More »

Anzacs witnessed the Armenian genocide – that shouldn’t be forgotten in our mythologising

We have a chance to build a more honest and genuine tradition James Robins The Guardians ”It is universally admitted,” the great psychologist Sigmund Freud wrote as the 19th century turned to the 20th, “that in the origins of the traditions and folklore of a people, care must be taken to eliminate from the memory such a motive as would be painful to the national feeling.” In Australia and New Zealand, the most popular tradition of all is Anzac Day, ... Read More »

A Modern-Day Exodus

An unbelievable Passover story of how an estranged Jewish-South Sudanese-Ethiopian family reunited in Israel. Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman – JPost A. Y. Katsof stood at passport control in Addis Ababa, a short, white Jewish man with two black kids. He held his breath as the airport official looked him up and down. An Israeli flag metal lapel pin shone from his jacket collar. “Are these your children?” the airport official asked in suspicion, glaring down at the stoic seven- and 11-year-old children. ... Read More »

US to end Iran oil waivers to 8 countries, including Turkey

The United States announced on April 22 it will no longer grant sanctions exemptions to eight countries, including Turkey. Washington Hurriyet The White House said that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates- close U.S. allies that back President Donald Trump‘s hawkish stance against regional rival Iran– would work to make up the difference in oil to ensure that global markets are not rocked. “This decision is intended to bring Iran‘s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” ... Read More »

Turkey, India And Israel: The Changing Faces Of Populism

Political Scientist Soner Cagaptay once dubbed Recep Tayyip Erdogan the “inventor of 21st-century populism.” Ayaz Ali Worldcrunch There may be some truth to that, especially given the way the Turkish president’s style of leadership has quickly spread in recent years. But as we progress further into the millennium, it’s also clear that populism has evolved. Those with a claim to redefining the populist formula include U.S. President Donald Trump, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, and India’s Narendra ... Read More »

Jordan’s Security is at the Mercy of Foreign Powers

How the Trump administration chooses to roll out its peace plan, and whether Netanyahu decides to start annexing parts of the West Bank, could have major repercussions for Jordan. Seth J. Frantzman The National Interest Jordan’s King Abdullah II travelled to Assisi in Italy to receive a reward for his efforts to advance peace on March 29. He said that it was essential the international community understand the importance Jordan puts on being the custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian ... Read More »

Hard Truths in Syria

America Can’t Do More With Less, and It Shouldn’t Try Over the last four years, I helped lead the global response to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS)—an effort that succeeded in destroying an ISIS “caliphate” in the heart of the Middle East that had served as a… Brett McGurk Foreign Affairs Working as a special envoy for U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, I helped establish a coalition that was the largest of its kind in history: ... Read More »

Peace hopes suffer setback as Taliban-Afghan talks derailed

Hopes for a breakthrough in a push to end Afghanistan’s grueling conflict suffered a major setback on April 19 after a key summit between the Taliban and Afghan officials was indefinitely postponed. Doha Hurriyet The so-called intra-Afghan dialogue, due to take place in Doha this weekend, fell apart at the last minute in a row over the large number of delegates Kabul wanted to send. The collapse comes at a critical time and amid continued bloodshed. The Taliban now control or influence about half of Afghanistan ... Read More »

Bahrain revokes citizenship of 138 people in mass trial

(CNN)Bahrain has revoked the nationality of 138 people convicted of terrorism in a mass trial, according to the kingdom’s state news agency. By Nada Altaher, CNN The Bahrain News Agency citing Advocate General Ahmed al-Hammadi reported Tuesday that the High Criminal Court also sentenced 69 terror suspects to life in prison. Thirty-nine of the defendants received sentences up to 10 years, while 23 received 7-year terms. The remainder received up to 5 years. The defendants were accused of attempting to form ... Read More »

Istanbul’s new mayor pleads for unity as AKP seethes

Thousands of citizens waving Turkish flags clapped and cheered outside Istanbul’s city hall as the new mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, appealed for a new era of peace and unity in Turkey’s largest city. Amberin Zaman Al-Monitor “Leave behind your quarrels, let’s think positive,” Imamoglu pleaded, his voice hoarse from months of campaigning, as he pledged to serve all of Istanbul’s 16 million-plus residents without discrimination. “Greeks, Armenians, Jews, I salute you all,” he said. “This city will be women-friendly.” Imamoglu delivered a ... Read More »

Mythbusting with the Grand Mufti: Australia’s Muslim leader answers your questions

You asked, he answered. The Grand Mufti of Australia and New Zealand Ibrahim Abu Mohamed answers some of the most commonly asked questions about Islam, including views on homosexuality and Jihad. Fares Hassan SBS Reporter Fares Hassan sat down with the Grand Mufti to address what he calls “misconceptions” associated with the religion of Islam. The questions were some of the most commonly asked by commenters on the… Q: You are the Mufti of Australia, why don’t you speak English? ... Read More »

Picturing Aden’s Fragile Recovery

After visiting Aden with a Crisis Group team doing field research and advocacy in Yemen’s interim capital, our Yemen expert Peter Salisbury shares his images of a city struggling to get back on its feet nearly four years after Huthi forces were pushed out. Peter Salisbury ICG Four years after war reached and devastated Aden, Yemen’s southern port city is finally experiencing a fragile recovery. The battle for Aden was pivotal in the early struggle for Yemen in 2015, when ... Read More »

‘Now your life can start again’: Sharrouf children finally reunited with Sydney grandma

The orphaned children of notorious Islamic State terrorist Khaled Sharrouf have been reunited with their grandma Karen Nettleton. SBS A harrowing five-year journey came to an end when a Sydney grandma was finally reunited with her surviving grandchildren and great-grandchildren – the children of former IS fighter Khaled Sharrouf. ABC’s Four Corners captured the moment Karen Nettleton saw Zaynab, Hoda and Humzeh Sharrouf and her two great-grandchildren for the first time since they were taken by their mother, Tara Nettleton, to… ‘Now ... Read More »

Ending the Yemen Quagmire: Lessons for Washington from Four Years of War

Two successive U.S. administrations have backed the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen, helping deepen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. ICG Congress should continue pressing the White House to end this support, while working to strengthen its war powers role in the future. What’s new? By lending limited support to the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, the U.S. became complicit in a man-made humanitarian disaster. Washington sought to protect its own regional interests, shape coalition tactics and broker peace – but ... Read More »