Middle East

US committed to ‘protection of Israel’ despite Syria withdrawal, Pompeo assures Netanyahu

The US ‘withdrawal’ from Syria might not mean the end of all its Syria-related operations where Israel is concerned, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reaffirmed Washington’s ongoing commitment to Israel’s security on… RT Speaking ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Brazil, Pompeo said the US’ commitment to Israel was unchanged, despite the pullout of US troops from Syria announced by the Trump administration last… Pompeo said that the US effort to “counter Iranian aggression” would continue ... Read More »

Netanyahu says Israel is Arabs’ ‘ally’ against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Arab countries viewed Israel as an “indispensable ally” fighting Iran and the Islamic State group. Al-Monitor AFP That evaluation, he told Brazil’s Globo TV during a visit to Rio, has caused “a revolution in relations with the Arab world.” The comments came as Israel has stepped up air strikes on Iranian positions in neighboring Syria, and as Israel digested an abrupt decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria. Netanyahu ... Read More »

The other Khashoggi

A gruesome death in Ukraine provides a warning for those following the murder of the Saudi journalist. Mary Mycio Politico An opposition journalist disappears. Anonymous tapes hint at his gruesome murder. An autocrat selling himself as a pro-Western reformer, beset by intrigue at home, is blamed for the death. In moral repugnance, the democratic world shuns him, sparking a foreign policy crisis. If this sounds like the case of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, that’s because it is. But the scenario ... Read More »

Trump gives in to calls to slow down troop pullout from Syria

United States President Donald Trump has given in to pressure to slow down his planned troop pullout from Syria, permitting the US military four months to withdraw. PreesTV The New York Times reported the decision on Monday. Trump had initially given the American forces 30 days for the procedure. The American president had hinted at a more extensive pullout timetable earlier on Monday, tweeting about “slowly sending our troops back home.” Many military and Pentagon officials had sought to entirely change the president’s mind ... Read More »

Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and… Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved ... Read More »

‘The world is diminished by the death of Amos Oz, it has narrowed down’

The writer David Grossman pays tribute to his friend, the Israeli novelist and outspoken peace campaigner Harriet Sherwood The Guardian The world has been “narrowed down” by the death of the Israeli literary giant Amos Oz, according to his close friend and fellow author David Grossman. “There will not be another Amos Oz, there was only one like him. You can say this about every human being, of course, but there was something unique about Amos,” Grossman told the Observer. “Those who appreciated ... Read More »

Turkey would not allow US to inspect Russian S-400 missile systems: Official

A senior Turkish official says Ankara would not provide the United States with the opportunity to study the advanced Russian-built S-400 air defense missile system, regardless of strong opposition from Washington and… PressTV “Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has assured Russian Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov that there are no talks that Turkey will give the United States the chance to inspect S-400 air… English-language Bloomberg news network, citing two sources, recently reported that Turkey had offered the US to survey the S-400 air ... Read More »

10 Conflicts to Watch in 2019

As U.S. leadership of the international order fades, more countries are seeking to bolster their influence by meddling in foreign conflicts. In this new era of limit testing, Crisis Group’s President Robert Malley lists the Ten Conflicts to Watch in 2019. In a world with fewer rules, the only truly effective one is knowing what you can get away with. The answer today, it turns out, is: quite a lot. As the era of uncontested U.S. primacy fades, the international ... Read More »

Turkey hails Pakistan move on FETÖ schools

Turkey has welcomed a ruling by Pakistan’s top court to designate FETÖ a “terrorist group,” saying it should set a precedent for other countries. Ankara Hurriyet In a statement on Dec. 28, the Turkish Foreign Ministry appreciated the Pakistani Supreme Court’s ruling of handing over the FETÖ-linked schools to Turkiye Maarif Foundation. “The decision, which we consider as the manifestation of mutual cooperation based on strong bonds between Turkey and Pakistan, should set a precedent for all countries,” the ministry added. Earlier on Dec. 28, ... Read More »

Why Turkey’s Kurdish strategy will remain ineffective

Over the past decade, Turkey has pursued a “break and dent” strategy against the Kurds, by which the Turkish government seeks to dismantle Kurdish groups and push resistant factions into… Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor Turkey has now come to rely on this strategy outside its border, particularly in the northern Syrian region of Afrin. Based on this approach, Ankara aims to “cleanse” all northeastern Syrian territories held by the People’s Protection Units, or the YPG. Yet this “break and dent” strategy is futile, and the Mahkmour ... Read More »

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 »