Middle East

Turkey, Russia blast U.S.-backed Syria force as “terrorist army”

BEIRUT – Russia, Turkey and the Syrian government on Monday denounced the U.S.-led coalition plans to form a Kurdish-led border force to secure the areas along Syria’s international border to the north with Turkey and to the east, with Iraq. CBS News AP The coalition told The Associated Press Monday that 230 new cadets have already been recruited to the force, which is anticipated to reach 30,000 troops in the next several years. According to the coalition, the core of ... Read More »

Erdogan says Turkey will crush Kurdish militia in Afrin

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey’s military incursion in northern Syria’s Idlib province would crush Kurdish militia forces that control the neighboring region of… Reuters Staff The Kurdish YPG militia said Turkish forces inside Syria fired shells into Afrin on Saturday, but no one was wounded. Turkish troops entered Idlib three months ago after an agreement with Russia and Iran for the three countries to try to reduce fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and rebel ... Read More »

A New American Leader Rises in ISIS

A two-year investigation identifies one of the very few Americans in the Islamic State’s upper ranks—and sheds light on the dynamics of radicalization Seamus Hughes, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, and Bennett Clifford The Atlantic The clues are out there, if you know where to look. Scattered across far-flung corners of the internet, there is evidence that Zulfi Hoxha, the son of an Albanian-American pizza-shop owner from New Jersey, had sinister plans. First there’s the defunct Twitter profile, which at one point engaged ... Read More »

Feature: Israel’s tiny navy plays key role in national defense

JERUSALEM, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) – The Israeli navy plays a major role in the country’s defense, although it has enjoyed less of the limelight that other units in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have. Keren Setton Editor: Jiaxin The navy is the smallest unit of the IDF, with tens of marine vessels at service. But it is responsible for protecting Israel’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and is also tasked with safeguarding newly found natural gas reserves and curbing potential threats ... Read More »

Israeli air strikes, rockets hit Syria: Syrian army

The Israeli army overnight carried out air strikes and fired rockets at targets in Syria, causing damage near a military position, the Syrian army said in a statement on Jan. 9. DAMASCUS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Israel’s army has carried out several attacks on the Syrian army and its ally Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah since the start of the conflict in Syria in 2011 The Israeli air force carried out strikes on the Qutayfeh area northeast of Damascus, causing the ... Read More »

Cyprus sets sea borders for energy drilling with Greece’s backing

NICOSIA – Facing challenges from Turkey, which has unlawfully occupied the northern third of the island since a 1974 invasion, Cyprus is moving ahead to set the rest of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), trying to re-establish borders in the seas where it has licensed international companies to drill for oil and gas. Tornos News Cyprus will delineate the EEZ that Turkey has violated, including the north and western part, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said, calling on Greece to offer ... Read More »

Israel Moves to Annex the West Bank

This Is How the Two-State Solution Dies While the media focuses on Trump, Netanyahu imposes a “solution”: There will never be a Palestinian state. Steven A. Cook Salon In between anti-government protests in Iran and President Donald Trump’s tweets about the size of his nuclear button, Huma Abedin and civil aviation safety, an important vote took place in Israel. Few people seemed to notice. The Washington Post relegated the story to its “Digest” of world news and Reuters produced a short article, but the Wall ... Read More »

The harsh reality for Palestinians: The rules of the game in the Middle East are changing

Six Arab foreign ministers met in Jordan’s capital on Saturday to discuss the response to the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital By Norman Hermant in Amman ABC They had little new to say. The head of the Arab League told a media conference there would be a renewed effort to have East Jerusalem recognised as the capital of a Palestinian state. But that approach has been tried already, and gained little traction. Washington’s announcement a month ago that it would ... Read More »

German Ministry Confirms Connection Between Violent Gang And Turkish Gov’t

Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Interior has confirmed that they have been assessing the relations between a violent Turkish gang group, which is in guise of a rocker club, and the Turkish government under the rule of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. SCF A ministry spokesman has spoken to Kölner Stadt-Anzeige newspaper and said that they are assessing the relations between right-wing group Osmanen Germania and the Turkish government. “The “rocker-like” organization of Turkish nationalists that takes right-wing extremist positions maintain ... Read More »

UK minister expects closer defense ties with Cyprus military

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Britain’s defense minister says authorities want to ensure that British armed forces “work closer and more supportively” with Cyprus’ military in tackling common challenges. The Associated Press Herald-Whig Britain has two military bases on Cyprus, which was a British colony until 1960. It continues to carry out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Iraq and Syria from the Mediterranean island nation. Defense Minister Gavin Williamson said after talks with Cypriot counterpart Christoforos Fokaides on ... Read More »

Sanctions, refugees and the marginalised: Iran uprisings are Australia’s concern too

Tehran’s response to this week’s anti-government protests in Iran has been harsh and reminiscent of the state response to the post-election uprising of 2009 Omid Tofighian ABC Back then, Iranians contested the re-election of former ultra-conservative president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by taking to the streets in support of reformist candidate Mir-Hussein Mousavi, and decrying election fraud. A key difference this time around is that the leader of Iran’s reformist movement — former president Seyyed Mohammad Khatami — has joined centrist President ... Read More »

Ötüken Union Party, an openly racist/fascist political party, founded in Turkey

The Ötüken Union Party, Turkey’s first openly racist and fascist political party, was established on Dec. 20, 2017, according to a report by online news outlet Duvar on Friday. Stockholm Center for Freedom By citing the political party list released by the Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor’s Office at the end of the year, Duvar has reported that “Ötüken” is a legendary capital city in both Turkic mythology and Tengrism, a shamanistic central Asian religion that once prevailed over Turkic ... Read More »

How Iran’s President Rouhani Can Turn Crisis into Opportunity

Daily street protests across Iran since 28 December 2017 have pitted many young Iranians against the government, but the state’s response is revealing deep fractures in the political establishment. Ali Vaez ICG To outflank both the unrest and his political opponents, President Rouhani’s best option is to address head-on the drivers of the protests and pursue popular reform. Manifold reasons lie behind Iran’s ongoing protests, but the immediate trigger appears to be widespread disgruntlement over the country’s economic performance, especially ... Read More »

Yemen civil war: Norway suspends arms sales to UAE as part of ‘precautionary line’

There is “great concern” over the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world’s poorest country, says Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide Jan M. Olsen Independent AP Norway has suspended exports of munitions and arms to the United Arab Emirates as a “precautionary line,” based on its assessment of the situation in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition including the UAE has been fighting Shia rebels in the country for nearly three years. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said she had “no information” that any of Norway’s military exports have been used in Yemen, but that there’s ... Read More »

Palestinians are watching Saudi Arabia closely

Palestinians have been carefully watching Saudi Arabia drawing closer to Israel. Adnan Abu Amer AlJazeera The past few months have seen not only a flood of Saudi statements on social media supporting normalisation with Israel (some saying that Saudi is “more important” than Palestine and others apparently dreaming of Israel becoming Saudi’s top vacationing spot), but also a flurry of diplomatic activity between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Saudi and Israeli political leadership agree on a number of issues, the most important of which is the need ... Read More »

Yemen: Remaining Peaceful Was Their Choice – OpEd

People living now in Yemen’s third largest city, Ta’iz, have endured unimaginable circumstances for the past three years. Kathy Kelly Eurasia Review Civilians fear to go outside lest they be shot by a sniper or step on a land mine. Both sides of a worsening civil war use Howitzers, Kaytushas, mortars and other missiles to shell the city. Residents say no neighborhood is safer than another, and human rights groups report appalling violations, including torture of captives. Two days ago, ... Read More »