Middle East

Netanyahu is picking the wrong friends in Europe

Siding with Hungary over Brussels undermines Europe’s positive anti-Semitism efforts. Here’s something for Benjamin Netanyahu to consider: The Israeli prime minister should spend less time in Europe praising nationalists like Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and more time listening to people in Brussels, like European Commission Vice President Frans… William Echikson Politico Look at the recent Hungarian election. During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »

Less Than Meets the Eye

The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »

Fifteen years after looting, thousands of artefacts are still missing from Iraq’s national museum

On April 10 2003, the first looters broke into the National Museum of Iraq. Staff had vacated two days earlier, ahead of the advance of US forces on Baghdad. Craig Barker The Conversation The museum was effectively ransacked for the next 36 hours until employees returned. While the staff – showing enormous bravery and foresight – had removed and safely stored 8,366 artefacts before the looting, some 15,000 objects were taken during that 36 hours. While 7,000 items have been ... Read More »

“Terrorism” Turkish Style

On March 19, a group of students at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, Turkey’s leading institute of higher education, demonstrated against an event on campus. Uzay Bulut Gatestone Institute The event against which they were demonstrating, organized by the Society for Islamic Research, was to champion the Turkish soldiers who had participated in the Afrin invasion. While the pro-government students distributed Turkish delight sweets, the counter-demonstrators unfolded a banner reading: “Invasions and massacres are not [to be celebrated] with delights.” Turkish President ... Read More »

The Future of Greek-Israeli Relations

The deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey that began at the end of 2008 led the Israeli leadership to look for alternative alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean. Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos BESA A rapprochement with Greece, traditionally at odds with Turkey, made theoretical sense but was practically difficult due to the Greek sympathy with the Arabs and the Palestinian cause. Careful diplomacy was thus required. While some discussions on the matter began in Athens in the spring of 2009, ... Read More »

Syrian government accused of chemical attacks on civilians in eastern Ghouta

Medical relief organisation says a chlorine bomb hit a hospital, killing six people, with total death toll from chemical attacks at 41 Reuters The Guardian A Syrian rebel group has accused government forces of dropping a barrel bomb containing poisonous chemicals on civilians in eastern Ghouta and a medical relief organisation said at least 41 people had been killed in chemical attacks on the… Syrian state media denied claims by Jaish al-Islam that government forces had launched any chemical attack ... Read More »

Why’s EuroMaidan’s Mastermind Warning About Greek-Turkish Tensions?

The former US Ambassador to Ukraine during EuroMaidan and present chief diplomat in Greece Geoffrey Pyatt predicted that Turkey’s ties with both the US and Greece will go through what he described as “turbulence” ahead of President Erdogan’s reelection vote next… Andrew Korybko Oriental Review This ambiguous warning can be interpreted in one of two ways. The decontextualized understanding is to think that he’s hinting that President Erdogan will cynically stage various highly-publicized provocations against them in order to galvanize ... Read More »

I lived through Saddam Hussein’s fall – and the horror that came next

I was a senior university student in Baghdad, Iraq. It was March 2003, and over the past few months, my classmates had whispered to each other about the possibility of a US-led invasion and the likelihood that 35 years of dictatorship and tyranny could be brought to an end. Balsam Mustafa The Conversation We could not dare to speculate on Iraq’s future, but many were longing to see Saddam Hussein fall. And soon enough, the war came. An intense and ... Read More »

New report details Germany’s role in Armenian genocide

The German Reich provided the Ottoman Empire with the weapons to carry out the Armenian genocide, a new report claims. Ben Knight DW Prussian officers also laid the “ideological foundations” for the massacre, according to the author. Turkish forces mainly used German rifles and other weapons to carry out the 1915-16 genocide of the Armenian people, a new report has found. Mauser, Germany’s main manufacturer of small arms in both world wars, supplied the Ottoman Empire with millions of rifles ... Read More »

After Erdogan spat, PM speaks with Greek, Cypriot leaders

Turkey, keen on diversifying its energy sources, has in the past expressed an interest in Israel laying a pipeline to Turkey. HerbKeinon The Jerusalem Post Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on Wednesday with the prime ministers of Greece and Cyprus, three days after trading sharp insults with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both Cyprus and Greece are historic foes of Turkey, and Israel’s relationship with both countries improved significantly over the last decade, partly as a result of the deterioration ... Read More »

Russia-Turkey: The Interdependent Relationship Shaped by Energy or a Deeper Friendship?

Prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the deepening relationship between Russia and Turkey showed itself in the first agreement designed to enhance their economic relations… Nargiz Hajiyeva Modern Diplomacy The agreement was signed on March 15, 1977, between them, which mainly embraced the cooperation in the promotion of the industrial development and… Meanwhile, the parties also inked an agreement concerning the scientific and technical cooperations. Therefore, energy had been a significant issue amid the negotiations processes between Russia ... Read More »

Saudi prince says Israel has ‘right’ to its land

The crown prince and de facto leader of Saudi Arabia said Israel has a “right” to a homeland, a notable shift in the kingdom’s position published on April 2. Washington / Riyadh Hurriyet But the king reassured Palestine over Saudi Arabia’s stance on the issue on April 3. Saudi Arabia and Israel still have no formal diplomatic relations, but behind the scenes, improvements in their ties have accelerated in recent years. Both countries see Iran as their biggest outside threat ... Read More »

Israel cancels UN deal to resettle African migrants

Embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu caves to pressure from right wing parties over UN offer to rehome 16,000 Africans in Western countries and allow 16,000 to remain in Israel Bethan McKernan Independent Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is cancelling yesterday’s agreement with the UN to relocate thousands of African asylum seekers to Western countries. “I have listened carefully to the many comments on the agreement. As a result, and after I again weighed the advantages and disadvantages, I decided to cancel ... Read More »

Israel Kills Palestinians and Western Liberals Shrug. Their Humanitarianism Is a Sham.

“IF THE CONCEPT of intervention is driven by universal human rights, why is it — from the people who identify themselves as liberal interventionists — why do we never hear a peep, a word, about intervening to protect the Palestinians?” Mehdi Hasan The Intercept That was the question I put to the French philosopher, author, and champion of liberal (or humanitarian) interventionism, Bernard-Henri Lévy, on my Al Jazeera English interview show “Head to Head” in 2013. The usually silver-tongued Levy struggled to answer the ... Read More »

Families leaving Eastern Ghouta take prize possessions

Families who have left Damascus neighbourhood for Idlib tell of taking their most precious possessions with them. Arwa Ibrahim AlJazeera Abu Jawad was among thousands of Syrians who left their homes and underground shelters in the shrinking rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta to one of the last remaining rebel-held areas in northwest Syria. With dozens of daily convoys of buses making the 320km journey to the Idlib province since late March, families have been forced to take only the… Families leaving Eastern… Read More »