Middle East

Anger mounts as Israel begins detention and deportation of African asylum seekers

Around 20,000 Israelis and African migrants took to the streets in Tel Aviv on February 24, protesting against a government policy of detaining and deporting African asylum seekers who refuse to leave the country. Tanja R. Müller The Conversation A few days earlier, a group of Eritrean asylum seekers held at a detention centre in Israel went on hunger strike in protest against their imminent expulsion from the country. In early Feburary, Israel began issuing expulsion orders to African migrants ... Read More »

North Korean “Cyber – Songun”

The main trends in the development of telecommunication technologies determine the continuous increase in the dependence of modern society on transnational network resources. International Security Forum The global information space consists of personalities as well as resources of civilian and military infrastructure. At the same time, today there is practically no legal regulation in this sphere. This situation creates ideal conditions for the work of “computer burglars” – the well-known hackers. Despite the constant perfection of means of protection, it ... Read More »

The U.S. and Turkey Go Their Separate Ways

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently said what many analysts have long been thinking: The relationship between Turkey and the United States has reached a “crisis point.” By Sinan Ciddi Stratfor The two countries’ strategic partnership has been increasingly rocky as Washington and Ankara take diverging approaches to the Syrian civil war. But more than protracted policy disagreements, the decline in U.S.-Turkish relations owes to a fundamental loss of trust. Visits by key U.S. government personnel — including Tillerson ... Read More »

US welcomes Saudi-led coalition’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen

JEDDAH: The US on Saturday has welcomed the Saudi-led coalition’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen. Arab News A statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The coalition released a humanitarian operations plan on Jan. 22, 2018, and as part of that plan, it has agreed to transfer $930 million to United Nations agencies in support of the 2018 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan by March 31. Four World Food Programme (WFP) mobile cranes funded by the United States have ... Read More »

Turkey’s march on Manbij stalled by wall of reality

Turkey’s Syria adventure is heading into deeper uncertainty, facing obscure American and Russian moves and the bitter realities of the field. Fehim Tastekin Al-Monitor The idea was to finish the operation against the Kurds in Afrin quickly and march on to Manbij Then, Turkey’s military planned to cross to the eastern side of the Euphrates River and deliver major blows to the main body of the Kurdish “democratic autonomy” in areas like Ras al-Ain and Tell Abyad, where Kurds do ... Read More »

Syria: ‘Unlawful’ civilian deaths in Afrin condemned as Assad forces raise stakes in Kurdish-Turkey conflict

More than 100 civilians have died in month-old-offensive, Human Rights Watch says, as new presence of Syrian government allied forces complicates battle Bethan McKernan Beirut Independent Human Rights Watch (HRW) has condemned Turkey’s offensive on a Kurdish held area of northern Syria as causing unnecessary civilian casualties, as some counts put the toll as high as 120. The statement on Friday cited three attacks in the contested canton of Afrin in late January that killed a total of 26 civilians, including 17 children. The Turkish military… Syria: ‘Unlawful’ civilian… Read More »

Report: Eni moving drillship to Morocco after Turkish navy ‘threatens force’ in Cyprus

Turkish navy on Friday reportedly threatened to use force against Eni-operated Saipem 12000 drillship, after the rig’s captain tried to move the drillship to the Block 3 offshore Cyprus. Offshore Energy Today The drilling vessel, which recently struck a potentially large gas discovery off Cyprus, has been blocked from moving to the offshore Block 3 for two weeks now, after the Turkish warships placed themselves in its way on February 9, on the grounds of conducting naval exercises in the area. According to ... Read More »

EU-Turkey Varna summit becomes conditional

The Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades succeded on Friday (23 February) in convincing his colleagues at the EU summit to make a planned “leaders’ meeting” with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Varna conditional on stopping “illegal violations” in the Cypriot economic zone. By Georgi Gotev EURACTIV Although the summit is informal and at 27, it was planned that Anastasiades would inform EU leaders of military activities by the Turkish navy aimed at discouraging Cyprus from offshore gas exploration activities. Speaking after ... Read More »

Dutch parliament recognizes 1915 Armenian ‘genocide’

The Dutch parliament has voted to recognize the deaths of Armenians during World War I as genocide. The decision is likely to enrage Turkey amid already strained relations with the Netherlands Chase Winter (with AFP, dpa) DW The Dutch parliament has overwhelmingly voted to recognize the World War I massacre of Armenians as genocide, in a vote that may stoke further tensions with Turkey. Dutch lawmakers voted 142 to 3 “that parliament in no uncertain terms speak about the Armenian genocide.” ... Read More »

U.S. Moves to Halt Turkey’s Drift Toward Iran and Russia

But Washington struggles to find a way to address Ankara’s chief grievance WASHINGTON—Five months ago, President Donald Trump hailed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as a friend and said the two North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies had never been closer. By Dion Nissenbaum WSJ But Mr. Trump’s optimistic view masked a more complicated reality: Turkey quickly has become one of the Trump administration’s most vexing relationships. Relations between the two countries, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conceded last week, are at a ... Read More »

Turkish genealogy database fascinates, frightens Turks

During the days when Turkey still hoped to join the European Union, its people were becoming willing to question their ethnic and religious ancestry. Fehim Tastekin Al Monitor Since then, the country has reverted to a time when people were disgraced and denigrated, with the government’s blessings, as “crypto-Armenians.” Hrant Dink was the editor of the Armenian-language newspaper Agos in 2004 when he wrote that Sabiha Gokcen, the first female military pilot of the Turkish Republic, was of Armenian parentage. Because of this and other articles he penned, Dink found himself ... Read More »

When apartheid Israel abuses Palestine’s children

Nelson Mandela, who knew a thing or two about national struggle, once said: “There is no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats children.” By Fawaz Turki, Special to Gulf News And no child in the world has suffered more grievously — indeed more barbarously — than those living under Israel’s rule of the gun. Think, as a case in point, of the first intifada, which lasted from December 1987 until the Madrid Conference in 1991, ... Read More »

China steps into the maelstrom of the Middle East

The Middle East has a knack for sucking external powers into its conflicts China’s ventures into the region have shown how difficult it is to maintain its principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. Dr James M Dorsey Today China’s abandonment of non-interference is manifested by its (largely ineffective) efforts to mediate conflicts in South Sudan, Syria and Afghanistan as well as between Israel and Palestine and even between Saudi Arabia and Iran. It is even more ... Read More »

Europe’s Sanctions-Blocking Threats Are Empty

When it comes to Iran sanctions, the EU must satisfy Trump’s demands. Access to the U.S. financial system hangs in the balance. BY RICHARD GOLDBERG FP A European Union official’s threat this month that Europe would block any attempt by the United States to reimpose sanctions on Iran showed a new level of desperation to deter President Donald Trump from leaving the Iran nuclear deal in May. But with their access to the U.S. financial system hanging in the balance, European banks ... Read More »

A Middle East Game Much Bigger Than Turkey

The course that Turkish leaders choose to follow in the Syrian war will have long-term consequences for their country and for the world. Marc Pierini Carnegie Europe Turkey’s foreign policy is dominated by a heated nationalist narrative, which in turn has triggered military operations in Syria. At the roots of these developments are several threats to Turkey—some very real, some perceived, others imagined—and the ways in which the political leadership uses them. But beyond the immediate horizon, littered with hard-to-digest ... Read More »

Russia calls on Jordan to help stabilize Syrian ‘safe’ zones

Jordanian King Abdullah visited Russia last week for the 20th time in 18 years, but this trip was far from a routine encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Yury Barmin Al Monitor The countries’ ties have been strong for decades. If the frequency of diplomatic gestures is an indication, Jordan appears to be Moscow’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Yet despite a solid record of cooperation, as well as a certain chemistry between Abdullah and Putin, Amman never really played a ... Read More »