Middle East

Crisis Group Yemen Update #4

Below is the fourth weekly update as part of Crisis Group’s Yemen Campaign. ICG This week we look at fighting near the Saudi-Yemeni border and strains on the ceasefire around Hodeida, as well as international developments. Trendline: The Overlooked Battle for Yemen’s Northern Border Though the battle for the Red Sea port and city of Hodeida is paused until the UN-brokered deal to demilitarise the area succeeds or collapses, fighting on other fronts has intensified, particularly along the Saudi-Yemeni border. ... Read More »

Egypt says “NO” to East Med

An unequivocal “no” from Egypt received the East Med gas pipeline. Egypt’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tarek El Molla, in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency, said he was opposed to the transportation of gas from East Mediterranean to Europe via the East Med pipeline. Nefeli Tzanetakou ibna He even justified his position by saying that the feasibility study for this project would last up to two years, which in itself is a luxury the region of ... Read More »

Turkey’s Erdogan Is Due for Another Rebuke

With municipal elections on the horizon, Turks are likely to note that imprisoning the opposition hasn’t exactly raised living standards. Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy In Focus “Democracy is like a tram; you get off when you have reached your destination.” The comment by Recep Tayyip Erdogan — made more than 20 years ago when he was first elected mayor of Istanbul — sums up the Machiavellian cynicism of Turkey’s authoritarian president. As Turkey gears up for municipal elections on March ... Read More »

What is the essence of the Saudi-Turkish Conflict?

The establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as it is known by the world today, dates back to 1932 by Abdulaziz Al Saud. Osama Dlykan Geopolitika.ru But what many do not know is that this kingdom is the third state of the Sauds; the first one (1747-1818) and the second (1818-1891). Both states were overthrown militarily by the Ottoman Turks, the first directly, and the second indirectly through the Turks’ support of the Al Rashid, who were the rivals ... Read More »

German migrant rescue ship renamed after tragic toddler

A German migrant rescue ship which operates in the Mediterranean was renamed on Feb. 10 after Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian refugee boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach at the height of the… Palma Hurriyet Alan’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, and aunt, Tima Kurdi, attended the renaming ceremony held in Palma on Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca. The event was organized by German charity Sea-Eye which operates the… “We are happy that a German rescue ship will carry the name of our boy. My boy on ... Read More »

Hakeem al-Araibi to return to Australia after Thai court rules extradition case be dropped

A Thai court has ruled that an extradition case against Melbourne-based refugee Hakeem al-Araibi be dropped, with the footballer to return to Australia tonight. ABC The director-general of international affairs for the Thai Government confirmed to the ABC that the Attorney-General requested the case for Mr al-Araibi’s extradition to Bahrain be dropped. The 25-year-old was detained in Bangkok more than two months ago for alleged vandalism offences in his native Bahrain. A Bahraini court sentenced him in absentia to 10 years ... Read More »

Mitigating Risks for Syrian Refugee Youth in Turkey’s Şanlıurfa

Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, half of whom are under eighteen. Despite European aid, tensions are rising as the country strains to accommodate the influx. ICG The answer is smarter integration policies aimed particularly at meeting the needs of vulnerable youth. What’s new? A generation of young Syrians in Turkey is not receiving the support it needs to integrate successfully into Turkish society. Exposure to discrimination and exploitation, unaddressed psycho-social trauma, and lagging support for skill acquisition and… Mitigating ... Read More »

Mitigating Risks for Syrian Refugee Youth in Turkey’s Şanlıurfa

Turkey hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, half of whom are under eighteen. Despite European aid, tensions are rising as the country strains to accommodate the influx. ICG The answer is smarter integration policies aimed particularly at meeting the needs of vulnerable youth. What’s new? A generation of young Syrians in Turkey is not receiving the support it needs to integrate successfully into Turkish society. Exposure to discrimination and exploitation, unaddressed psycho-social trauma, and lagging support for skill acquisition and… Mitigating ... Read More »

Sajid Javid accused of evading questions about suspects facing death penalty

Home secretary delayed to answer questions by Caroline Lucas about fate of British citizens allegedly part of Isis cell Owen Bowcott The Guardian A senior Conservative MP has reprimanded the home secretary, Sajid Javid, for failing to answer parliamentary questions about the government exposing British citizens to the death penalty overseas. Charles Walker, chair of the Commons procedure committee, wrote to Javid describing his failure to respond to written queries from the Green MP Caroline Lucas as an “unacceptable discourtesy to a fellow ... Read More »

Cave diving heroes call for Hakeem Al-Araibi’s release from Thai prison

The cave divers who rescued a Thai football team have written to Thailand’s prime minster asking him to free refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi from prison. SBS AAP Cave diving heroes and Australians of the Year Dr Richard Harris and Dr Craig Challen have joined the campaign to save refugee footballer Hakeem-al Araibi, writing to the prime minister of… According to the ABC a letter was sent a few days ago to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha asking him to consider freeing ... Read More »

Why does Turkey see the US as the greatest threat to their country?

Since 1952 (the date of Turkey’s entry into NATO), Turkey has been an official ally of the United States. However, Washington’s unyielding egocentrism and tendency to turn violent has led the country (and many others around the… Nurettin Kurt United World Since the 60s, innumerable crises have occurred in Turkish-American relations. Regardless of whether or not the perception is completely accurate, how Ankara’s ally became widely recognized as an arch-foe is a crucial topic. The United States has been on ... Read More »

The future of arms control is global: Reconsidering nuclear issues in the Indo-Pacific

On Feb. 1, a reporter asked President Donald Trump if the announced U.S. withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was as much about the Western Pacific as it was about Russia. Andy Weber and Christine Parthemore War on the Rocks In response, Trump affirmed his view that for the arms control pact to work, more countries would need to be added: “I hope that you’re able to get everybody in a big and beautiful room and do a new ... Read More »

Mysterious Turkish Firm Helped Maduro Move $900 Million in Gold

Two months after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visited his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, a mysterious company called Sardes sprang into existence. Bloomberg The firm started business with a bang in January of 2018, when it imported about $41 million worth of gold from Venezuela, the first such transaction between the two countries in records that go back 50 years. The next month its volume more than doubled, with Sardes transporting almost $100 million worth to Turkey. By November, ... Read More »

A Sovereign Democracy and a Dud Partner: Explaining the Slide in U.S.-Turkey Relations

What’s wrong with U.S.-Turkey relations? For over a decade, ties between the United States and its NATO ally have been a rollercoaster ride, leading some in the United States to conclude that Turkey has either lost or is losing its value as a strategic partner. Nadir Firat War on the Rocks Observers have offered various explanations for the tensions, including Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroglu in War on the Rocks and Steve Cook, who gave a long list of disheartening reasons… ... Read More »

Forget Those F-35s and Nukes: Is Iran’s Military Stronger Than Israel’s?

Israeli media is abuzz over a website that ranks the world’s armies—and placed Iran above Israel. Michael Peck The National Interest Is Iran’s military stronger than Israel’s? Israeli media is abuzz over a website that ranks the world’s armies—and placed Iran above Israel. Iran’s armed forces ranked thirteenth in the world, according to GlobalFirepower.com’s 2018 rankings, which apparently combined various statistics to assemble a composite military power rating (0.3131 for Iran, with 0.00 being a perfect score). Israel ranked sixteenth, ... Read More »

The Saudi women activists still being ‘tortured’ months after driving ban ended

In June last year, Saudi Arabia finally gave women the right to drive, but the most well-known figure behind the campaign to end the ban wasn’t there to celebrate. Maani Truu SBS Loujain al-Hathloul’s Twitter has been inactive since 12 March 2018. The Saudi women’s rights activist was once a prolific tweeter with 307,000 followers and is reportedly a friend of the Duchess of Sussex. Her feed is a record of causes she was passionate about, most notably, her efforts ... Read More »