Middle East

Saudi crown prince defends China’s use of internment camps for Uighur Muslims

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman turned a blind eye to the plight of China’s Uighur Muslims when he met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Feb. 22. ANKARA – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The Uighur community both inside and outside China had expected bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia and custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, to raise the issue of China’s human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs. Instead, he… “We respect and support China’s right to take ... Read More »

Dear Scott and Bill, we’ve strayed from our values: a Socceroo’s plea

Football commentator Craig Foster, who helped save refugee Hakeem al-Araibi, has written a challenge to PM Scott Morrison and Labor leader Bill Shorten: now save Australia’s humanity. Craig Foster The Sydney Morning Herald Dear Scott and Bill, Thank you for your support for Hakeem al-Araibi during his recent struggle for justice and for the welcome provided to him last week at Parliament House. It was a powerful moment to see a young refugee celebrated in the centre of our democracy, ... Read More »

This new history of the Christian genocide during the Ottoman Empire sounds a dark warning for the future

Is it possible for a people to be so inured to cruelty that they changed, that their acts of sadism could alter their humanity? Robert Fisk Independent Israeli historian Benny Morris doesn’t do things by half. The footnotes of his new book on the 30-year genocide of Christians by their Turkish rulers, cowritten with his colleague Dror Zeevi, take up more than a fifth of the 640-page work. “It was nine years, a long haul,” he admitted to me this week, with an ... Read More »

US law recognizes Aegean treaty regime in Dodecanese

It was in 1920 that the United States first became seriously involved in issues arising from the Aegean treaty regime in the Dodecanese. Nicholas G. Karambelas ekathimerini In that year, the peace conference which culminated in the Treaty of Lausanne of 1923 had been convened. The fate of the 12 Aegean islands commonly known as the Dodecanese was one of the issues which the peace conference debated. The US Senate passed a resolution which called on the peace conference to ... Read More »

Will Turkey Really Get an Aircraft Carrier Armed with F-35s?

Whether or not Turkey finally gets its hands on the F-35B, Anadolu will become one of the most important ships the Turkish navy has ever operated. Robert Farley The National Interest The missions she eventually undertakes will depend very much on political decisions in Ankara; how close to remain to the United States, how to manage tensions with Greece, and how to handle Russia. But Anadolu is a useful enough platform that she can make an important contribution to any ... Read More »

US-born Islamic State supporter in Syria won’t be allowed to return, Pompeo says

Secretary of state says Hoda Muthana ‘is not a US citizen and will not be admitted’ into the US MEE and agencies The United States is refusing to allow an American-born supporter of the Islamic State (IS) group to return to the country, after she left for Syria to join the militant group, Mike Pompeo has said. In a brief statement on Wednesday, the US secretary of state said Hoda Muthana, 24, “is not a US citizen and will not ... Read More »

Why a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine’s Orthodox Church matters today

A new Orthodox Church was recently established in Ukraine. Shortly after, Bartholomew I, the Patriarch of Constantinople and the spiritual head of global Orthodox Christianity, granted independence to the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine and transferred its jurisdiction from the church of Moscow to the church of Constantinople, located in Istanbul. Victoria Smolkin The Conversation This competition between the churches of Constantinople and Moscow for dominance in the Orthodox Christian world is not new – it goes back more than ... Read More »

Tajikistan: Report confirms significant Chinese security presence in Pamirs

Satellite images show a complex of around two dozen buildings on the border. “Remember,” a Chinese soldier told a reporter nosing around a remote spot in eastern Tajikistan. “You never saw us here.” Eurasianet The cat’s out of the bag now. A front-page story on the Washington Post on February 19 has confirmed long-held suspicions about the Chinese military presence in the desolate quadrant where the borders of Tajikistan, China and Afghanistan intersect. If it was previously suspected the deployment might be ... Read More »

The Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum

A Lebanese perspective Energy ministers from Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority took an important step toward establishing an Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum (EMGF) on January 14, in Cairo. Mona Sukkarieh Executive According to the declaration that followed the meeting, the EMGF will, among other things, assist in the creation of a regional gas market, ensure the security of supply and demand, optimize resource development, facilitate the… The forum’s raison d’être is regional energy cooperation. Almost ... Read More »

Intel: How Trump’s choice as envoy to Turkey could complicate US Syria policy

The Donald Trump administration’s announcement that it plans to nominate veteran diplomat David Satterfield as ambassador to Turkey could shake up US policy in Syria. Al-Monitor The post has sat vacant for more than a year as relations between Washington and Ankara have deteriorated over the Pentagon’s backing of a Syrian Kurdish group in the fight against the Islamic State. Why it matters: Satterfield’s confirmation could pit two influential diplomats against each other as the Trump administration tries to hammer ... Read More »

Israel’s Leviathan Energy Prize: Where Will The Gas Go?

Israel is finally emerging as a natural gas player in the Mediterranean. In the last week of January, the Israeli Navy conducted a complex drill simulating attacks on the country’s offshore oil and gas infrastructure. Ariel Cohen Forbes The exercise included coordinated operations between dozens of naval vessels and aircraft, and even incorporated a live-fire missile test against an abandoned cargo vessel (imitating an enemy transport… Israel’s week-long “Raging Sea” operation comes on the heels of two joint military drills ... Read More »

Pence: ‘We will not stand idly by’ as Turkey purchases S-400

MUNICH — Vice President Mike Pence repeated warnings to Turkey not to proceed with the purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, a day after Turkey dismissed the first of two deadlines to cease with the… Tara Copp Military Times Pence, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, told attendees “we will not stand idly by while NATO allies purchase weapons from our adversaries. We cannot ensure the defense of the West if our allies grow dependent on the… The U.S. ... Read More »

This Is What the Beginning of a Real Israel Debate Looks Like

Before Ilhan Omar came to the national stage, Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer tried to discuss pro-Israel lobbying. Ben Ehrenreich The New Republic They were shouted down. With all the shouting it was easy to miss, but something new happened in Washington this week. If you can’t see it yet, put yourself back in 2006, when everything about a Somali-American, Muslim congresswoman tweeting a line from a Puff Daddy song—as Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar did Sunday evening—would have been unthinkable. In March ... Read More »

US updates warning over Turkey travel amid rising political tensions

Turkey announced it would purchase Russia’s missile system The US Department of State on Thursday updated its travel advisory for Turkey amid stalled US-Turkey talks on Syria and growing differences over Venezuela and Turkish S-400 deal with Russia. Joyce Karam The National Turkey announced Thursday it would be going ahead with a purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system, ahead of an informal Friday deadline to respond to a rival US offer. Turkey, a NATO member, made repeated moves to buy ... Read More »

U.S. ally Turkey looks to Russia and Iran to protect its interests

Analysis: The U.S. organized a global conference on the Mideast in Warsaw, but Turkey’s leader is at a summit with Russian and Iranian leaders instead. By Dan De Luce NBC WASHINGTON — As Trump administration officials presided over the second day of an international conference in Warsaw dominated by calls to ratchet up pressure on Iran, one longtime U.S. ally and NATO member was noticeably absent — Turkey. Snubbing the gathering in Poland, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday ... Read More »