Middle East

‘Horrific’ Israeli ‘war crimes’ in Gaza must end now, human rights watchdog says

As the death toll among Palestinian protesters rises in Gaza, Amnesty International has called Israel’s crackdown “deplorable,” and the UN has called for an end to the Israeli military’s “disproportionate” use of… RT “This is another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way,” Amnesty International’s Philip Luther said. “This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful… Over 2,700 people have been injured, many with live ... Read More »

Q&A: Why is the Golan Heights so important?

When Iran recently attacked the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights from its positions in south-west Syria, Israel responded with a volley of air strikes that it says all but destroyed “almost all the Iranian infrastructure in Syria”. Abdulaziz Alghashian The Conversation It was a dramatic flare-up in a long-running enmity – and it was no coincidence that it happened over one of the most contested areas in the Middle East. When did Israel take full control of the Golan Heights, and why? ... Read More »

Stop telling Palestinians to be ‘resilient’ – the rest of the world has failed them

Viewed from Palestine, it’s hard to disagree that we’ve perhaps seen one of the most inflammatory weeks in recent memory. Brendan Ciarán Browne The Conversation In just a few days, several extremely sensitive events have coincided to devastating effect: the culmination of weekly protests in the Gaza Strip, the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the 70th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba (from the Arabic, “Immense Catastrophe”) and the start of the… Throw in for good ... Read More »

Are dictators on the way out – or on the way up?

All around the world, democracy is looking shaky. While consolidated democracies are struggling to stay healthy, many flawed ones have turned into outright authoritarian regimes – most notably Russia under Vladimir Putin and Turkey under… Natasha Ezrow The Conversation But the news isn’t all bad: on several continents over the last decade, longstanding dictators have resigned, lost elections, or been deposed. As the table below indicates, the number of dictators who’ve fallen in recent years for all sorts of reasons ... Read More »

Erdogan: Cyprus Oil Drilling Is A Security Threat To East Mediterranean

The Eastern Mediterranean will face a security threat should Cyprus continue its unilateral operations of offshore oil and gas exploration in the region, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said in a speech at think tank Chatham… Tsvetana Paraskova OilPrice Turkey, which recognizes the northern Turkish Cypriot government and doesn’t have diplomatic relations with the internationally recognized government of Cyprus, claims that part of the Cyprus offshore area is under the jurisdiction of Turkish… Tensions in the area flared up earlier ... Read More »

Intelligence agencies of Russia, Turkey discuss counterterrorism efforts

Heads of intelligence agencies of Russia and Turkey discussed in Istanbul cooperation in the fight against international terrorism, head of the press office of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia Sergei… Trend “On May 13, Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation Sergei Naryshkin held a meeting in Istanbul with Director of the National Intelligence Organization of Turkey (MIT) Hakan… The heads of intelligence agencies of the two countries discussed further strengthening cooperation in the fight ... Read More »

Turkey’s Regional and Global Vision

English translation The President of Turkey outlines his country’s foreign policy priorities and the strategies for achieving them. Speakers: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President, Republic of Turkey Chair: Dr Robin Niblett CMG, Director, Chatham House Please note, this video features an English translation. A Turkish version is also available from the event page below… Read More »

Friends in Crisis: Anzacs and Hellenism

Across numerous conflicts in the first half of the 20th century, Australians and New Zealanders were at the side of Hellenism: World War One, the Asia Minor Campaign (1919-1922), and the relief efforts after the Hellenic, Armenian and Assyrian Genocides. Panayiotis Diamadis Beyond their battlefield record, these Anzacs and others from the Antipodes provided substantial practical and moral support for a people going through successive major crises. 2014 marked the Centenary of the outbreak of World War One, and the ... Read More »

Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade Reveals the Limits of Israeli Counter-terrorism

Israeli-Palestinian tensions are mounting, not just in Gaza and over the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem, but also over Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade, known to Jews as Temple Mount and Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary. Ofer Zalzberg ICG Israeli and Palestinian leaders could take simple administrative steps to reduce the risks of violence at the holy sites. A series of momentous events in Israel-Palestine, both national and religious in character, risk spiralling into a dangerous escalation. Since 30 March, tens of thousands of Palestinians in ... Read More »

Erdogan’s visit to the UK: open letter to Prime Minister May

Lobby for Cyprus * open letter to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Dear Prime Minister President Erdogan’s visit to the UK will take place against the shadows cast by his destruction of democracy in Turkey, his government’s appalling human rights record, his country’s gunboat diplomacy and the enduring consequences of the two Turkish invasions of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974. Having ethno-religiously cleansed and colonised 36 per cent of the territory (and 57 per cent of the ... Read More »

Gaza violence: Israel defends actions as 55 Palestinians killed

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said his military was acting in self defence during violence on the Gaza border that left dozens of Palestinians dead. Some 55 were killed and 2,700 wounded by Israeli troops, Palestinian officials said, on the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war. BBC The Palestinian Authority’s leader condemned a “massacre”. The UN spoke of “outrageous human rights violations”. The violence came as the US opened a controversial embassy in Jerusalem. The move of ... Read More »

Russia backs off delivery of S-300s to Syria after Israel PM’s Moscow trip

Kremlin denies that sudden change of heart was related to Netanyahu’s talk with Putin Asia Times A high-profile visit to Moscow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have paid off, as comments from the Kremlin on Friday suggest they will not be delivering an advanced missile defense system to Syria. The change of heart comes after Russia’s defense ministry announced last month it was planning to send S-300 defense systems to Syria. Israel issued a warning in response that ... Read More »

Missile attacks reflect changing strategic landscape

Russia has shown its willingness to allow attacks by Israel on the Iranians or Hezbollah Stephen Bryen Asia Times While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marched in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Immortal Regiment in memory of Russian fighters who died in World War II, Israel was getting ready to retaliate for an Iranian rocket attack on Israeli military units in the strategically sensitive Golan. Israel attributed the missile attack to Iran’s al-Quds Force, an elite unit of Iran’s ... Read More »

Iran says Israel launched Syria strikes on false ’pretexts’

Iran on May 11 condemned Israel’s air raids in Syria, saying they had been launched on “invented pretexts”. TEHRAN – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet “Iran firmly condemns the attacks by the Zionist regime on Syrian territory,” said foreign ministry spokesmanBahram Ghasemi, cited by semi-official news agency ISNA. “The repeated attacks by the Zionist regime on Syrian territory were carried out under pretexts that were invented by themselves and are without foundation,” he added. “They are a violation of Syria’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and contrary ... Read More »

The Israelis Who Prevented a War With Iran

Netanyahu came close to ordering airstrikes in 2010 — but was thwarted by his own security chiefs. Anshel Pfeffer FP As the shadow conflict being waged between Israel and Iran in Syria has intensified in recent days, the risk has grown that the two countries — among the strongest in the region — may soon find themselves in an all-out war. But this isn’t the first time Israel and Iran have approached the precipice. Nearly a decade ago, at the start ... Read More »

Refugees can actually create jobs for locals in growing cities – if given the chance

The term “refugee” conjures up certain images; bedraggled, desperate people hauling themselves onto lifeboats in the Mediterranean; or a vast sea of white tents – complete with blue UN logo – on the moon-like surface of some remote, arid land. Aisling O’Loghlen The Conversation But these scenes don’t capture how the vast majority of refugees actually live – not in branded tents, but in cities. Figures from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) show that at the end of 2016, 60% ... Read More »