Middle East

The Emerging Russia-Turkey-Iran Alliance Challenging NATO in the Middle East

An unusual triple alliance coming out of Syria could change the regional balance of power and unhinge NATO — if it holds together at all. Conn Hallinan MPN News An unusual triple alliance is emerging from the Syrian war — one that could alter the balance of power in the Middle East, unhinge the NATO alliance, and complicate the Trump administration’s designs on Iran. It might also lead to yet another double cross of one of the region’s largest ethnic ... Read More »

Iran to replace US dollar with euro in financial reports

Amid currency crisis, switch is aimed at circumvent restrictions on accessing US dollar and prevent market instability. Saeed Jalili AlJazeera Tehran, Iran – The government of Iran has announced plans to replace the US dollar with the euro in official financial reporting, according to state-run media. The move on Wednesday is seen as part of efforts to circumvent restrictions on accessing the US currency amid tensions with Washington, as well as prevent market instability generated due to fluctuations in the value of Iranian rial against the dollar. ... Read More »

Erdoğan seeks to expand Turkey’s influence in the Middle East through diplomacy – and force

On our third trip to Istanbul, my wife and I visited the 19th century Dolmabahce Palace, once the administrative centre of the Ottoman Empire. Nicolai Due-Gundersen The Conversation As we toured the 285-room palace my wife was struck with not just how well preserved it was, but that it was one of at least five palaces from the Ottoman era in Turkey that are now museums open to the public. This is telling, because it is not something found across ... Read More »

Divisions in EU becoming like a ’civil war,’ France’s Macron warns

French President Emmanuel Macron warned on April 17 that divisions between democracy and authoritarianism in Europe were becoming like a “civil war”. STRASBOURG – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet In a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg that set out his vision of a reformed EU, Macron called on the bloc to resist the siren song of populism. The young French leader’s call to arms comes after eurosceptic populists won elections in Hungary and Italy, and as Brussels confronts Poland’s right-wing ... Read More »

Attack in Syria from RAF Akrotiri base in Cyprus

To : Foreign & Commonwealth Office United Kingdom 17/04/2018 Subject: Attack in Syria from RAF Akrotiri base in Cyprus Sirs, British military forces joined their American and French allies in a ‘precision strike’ in Douma, Syria, against Syrian state installations, attacking from Akrotiri base in Cyprus, on the allegation that the Syrian Government had used chemical weapons against its own people and in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, despite the fact that there has not been any official independent ... Read More »

Iran says EU has ‘differing values’ but dialogue should continue

Iran said April 16 that EU sanctions over its human rights record were due to “differing values” but that they should not derail dialogue with Europe. TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “We have certain differences of opinion with European countries and the European Union,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said at a press conference. “That is due in part to differing values between our region and the Islamic republic of Iran and the European Union, notably as concerns human rights,” ... Read More »

Syria, chemical weapons and the limits of international law

Consider this shocking fact: Despite horrific images of yet another chemical weapons attack in Syria, the U.S.-led humanitarian intervention to protect civilians on April 13 was fundamentally illegal. Andrew Bell The Conversation Under current international law, President Trump lacks the authorization to launch a single missile to stop future attacks, even for the clear and just purpose of saving civilian lives. No matter how wise you consider this intervention, legal scholars generally agree that the United Nations Charter doesn’t allow ... Read More »

How the aid community responds in Syria will dictate its role in future crises

The latest military strikes by the US, France and Britain in Syria highlight the Trump administration’s uncertainty on its role in the conflict. Denis Dragovic The Conversation With a near triumphant Syrian President Bashar al-Assad firmly under the control of Moscow and Tehran, the strikes against military bases suspected of facilitating the chemical weapons attacks will be nothing more than a footnote in the wider battle for influence in the… Trump must look towards the future and focus on influencing ... Read More »

‘This is my country’: how a Melbourne suburb defied the far-right to welcome refugees

The settlement of refugees in Eltham sparked far-right protests. But locals presented a different vision of Australia Denham Sadler The Guardian Οn a dreary Sunday afternoon in late March, the sort that provides a harsh lesson on what Melbourne weather is capable of, a Syrian refugee talks through an interpreter about her escape from the conflict that has torn her… Amena*, who along with about 100 other refugees from Syria and Iraq settled in the suburb of Eltham on the outskirts of north-east ... Read More »

Pressure for Syria vote grows as Nicola Sturgeon questions peace effort

Pressure is building on the government to allow a parliamentary vote on Saturday’s military strikes on Syria, with Labour and the SNP demanding a full debate when the House of Commons returns on Monday. Paris Gourtsoyiannis The Scotsman Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for debate on a ‘War Measures Act’ that would limit the government’s power to take military action without the approval of MPs. And the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said western allies had failed to exhaust all ... Read More »

Diplomacy, and not bombing, is the way to end Syria’s agony

More legally questionable and reckless military interventions are not what British people want from their government Jeremy Corbyn The Guardian These are serious times. Following the missile attacks on Syria, now is the moment for a powerful push for peace. Boris Johnson’s blithe acceptance on Sunday that the conflict will now continue on its current course and that peace negotiations would be an “extra” is an unconscionable abdication of… Already this devastating conflict has cost more than 500,000 lives and led to 5 million refugees ... Read More »

UN Chief Warns of ‘Full-Blown Military Escalation’ Over Syria Attacks

As US President Donald Trump is said to be considering a full scale ground assault against the Syrian administration of President Bashar al-Assad, the top UN official has decried the onset of a new global Cold War and warned against “full-blown military escalation” in the… Sputnik Following air strikes launched at Syria by a US-led coalition including France and the UK as a response to a purported chemical weapons attack on civilians by forces loyal to Assad, United Nations Secretary… UN chief Guterres also observed that the ... Read More »

Erdogan welcomes Syria strikes against Assad regime

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday welcomed Western strikes against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s regime as “appropriate” in retaliation for Damascus’ “inhumane” attacks. AFP “We consider this operation as appropriate,” Erdogan told a meeting of his ruling party in Istanbul. In a statement, the Turkish foreign ministry said the US-led operation “has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of ” the suspected chemical attack With the latest operation, he said, “The regime has seen that its mounting attacks in ... Read More »

The Syrian War Is Actually Many Wars

President Donald Trump is ordering U.S. strikes against government targets in Syria after a suspected chemical attack. Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic The Middle East is a “troubled place,” President Donald Trump said Friday night as he described his decision to use America’s “righteous power” in a retaliatory attack against government targets in Syria following a suspected chemical attack… Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems to have won the civil war in his country—but that doesn’t mean peace is coming. In fact, ... Read More »

Turkey to Mediate Between US, Russia on Syria Tensions

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is assuming a mediator role, calling for a display of sensitivity by the U.S., Russia and other nations amid heightened tensions on Syria. Dorian Jones VoA U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to launch military strikes in response to Saturday’s (April 7) alleged chemical weapons attack by Syrian government forces that killed at least 40. Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Thursday on the phone after a separate call with Trump. “Erdogan ... Read More »

My Jewish Encounter With Hinduism

How I came to an intellectual and spiritual connection with Swami Chidananda Saraswati Religions are complex realities. Alon Goshen-Gottstein Tablet They are constituted by systems of beliefs and rituals. They are embedded in particular cultures. They involve communities and they are mediated to a large extent through teachers and living spiritual exemplars. In what follows I describe a process of encountering Hinduism that has been in the making for nearly forty years. It has gone… My Jewish Encounter… Read More »