Middle East

The S-400: Erdogan’s Fail-safe

Moscow and Ankara continue to signal that the $2.5-billion sale of four S-400 anti-aircraft batteries will proceed Boris Zilberman Foundation for Defense of Democracies  While questions remain about when delivery will occur and under what conditions, both sides have an overriding interest in seeing the deal through. President Vladimir Putin wants the deal not only for monetary reasons, but also to chip away at NATO unity and to validate such sales to other nations traditionally aligned with the West. For ... Read More »

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a criminal. Our foreign policy should treat him as such.

Earlier this year, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega died quietly in Panama City ending a life marked by fantastic highs and lows. Michael Rubin Washington Examiner Noriega was Panamanian military officer and CIA informant who let greed get the best of him. He cast his lot with Colombian drug lords flooding their cocaine into the United States. The George H.W. Bush administration had enough of their former partner and client and ordered an invasion of Panama to snatch Noriega. He ... Read More »

Turkey’s plan to acquire Russia’s S-400 air-defense system may never happen, analysts say

While Russia continues to tout the planned sale of its S-400 strategic air-defense system to Turkey, some U.S. analysts are growing more skeptical about the deal. Jeff Daniels CNBC On Thursday, the CEO of Russia’s state-owned Rostec defense company said the deal with Turkey exceeded $2 billion, according to Tass, the Russian news agency. It followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September announcing the longtime member of NATO had made a down payment to Moscow for the S-400 and ... Read More »

U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Turkey Raise Alarm

Deteriorating relations between the United States and Turkey have prompted a growing debate about the wisdom of maintaining U.S. tactical nuclear weapons at the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and, more broadly, about whether to remove all such U.S. weapons from Europe. Kingston Reif  Arms Control Association Although Turkey is a NATO member and Incirlik is a key base of operations for the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State group, developments over the past year and a half ... Read More »

The 100-year-old promise

The international community enabled the birth of Israel In theory, who doesn’t believe in self-determination, the idea, developed in the 19th century, that all nations have a right to sovereignty? Clifford D. May The Washington Times By the early 20th century, President Woodrow Wilson was insisting that “National aspirations must be respected; people may now be dominated and governed only by their own consent.” In theory, self-determination is today a fundamental principle of international law. In practice, not so much. The ... Read More »

Corbyn to skip Balfour centennial dinner with Netanyahu

Emily Thornberry to attend event in Labour leader’s absence; Israeli envoy to UK brands opponents of declaration ‘extremists’ Alexander Fulbright The Times of Israel UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has reportedly declined to attend a dinner in London this week with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which pledged Britain’s support for a Jewish national… Although no reason was given for Corbyn’s decision to skip the event, which was reported by the Sunday ... Read More »

Breaking neutrality, Spanish Jews come out against Catalan independence

‘As Spanish Jews we wholly support the Spanish Constitution’ Despite umbrella body statement, Jews living in the secessionist region appear divided over the crisis that is roiling the country JTA The Times of Israel Breaking with its policy of neutrality on Catalan independence, the main umbrella group of Spanish Jews on Friday blamed separatists for the kingdom’s crisis and declared allegiance to the constitution. The Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, or FCJE, did this in a statement released hours ... Read More »

Turkey can’t integrate Russian missiles: NATO

A leading NATO official has said that Turkey will face “consequences” if it purchases a Russian air-defense system “The principal of sovereignty obviously exists in acquisition of defense equipment, but the same way that nations are sovereign in making their decision, they are also sovereign in facing the consequences of that decision,” said Gen. Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, on Oct. 25 during a Washington meeting with a group of reporters hosted by the Defense Writers Group. Hurriyet ... Read More »

Does Saudi robot citizen have more rights than women?

Meet Sophia, a robot who made her first public appearance in the Saudi Arabian city of Riyadh on Monday. Rozina Sini BBC UGC and Social News Sophia was such a hit she was immediately given Saudi citizenship in front of hundreds of delegates at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh on 25 October. But as pictures and videos of Sophia began circulating on social media many started to ask why a robot already seemed to have secured more rights than ... Read More »

ISIS: Some Things Cannot Be Killed Off

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: ISIS is facing defeat and liquidation, but its members are dispersing throughout the world and establishing local branches. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA The idea of the Islamic Caliphate is not dead, and the struggle in the West is not over. ISIS may disappear as an organization, but the world will continue to suffer from the evil spirit that this organization has instilled among too many Muslims. As the city of Raqqa, the capital of the ... Read More »

Turkey’s other Hagia Sophia – in Trabzon

Once a church – and a hospital and a museum – it is now a mosque and also one of Turkey’s best-preserved buildings of the late Byzantine era. Admission is free and there is much here for visitors of all faiths Caroline Eden The Guardian It may be far smaller and much less famous than its namesake in Istanbul, but what Trabzon’s Hagia Sophia lacks in architectural splendour it makes up for in tranquillity and beauty. Right by the sea, ... Read More »

Kurdish Fears of New Iranian-Backed Genocide ‘Must Be Taken Seriously,’ Expert Urges

Kurdish warnings that they face a potential genocide at the hands of the Iranian-backed forces that have swept through Iraqi Kurdistan over the last ten days “need to be taken seriously,” a leading expert on Kurdish affairs said on… Ben Cohen  Algemeiner “There is a great fear among the Kurds that they could face another genocide at the hands of the Iraqi government and the Shia militia forces backed by Iran,” Julie Lenarz — the executive director of the Human ... Read More »

There is a bright spot amid the world’s problems and we should mark it

It’s easy to get a bit depressed by the state of the world’s problems, so we should take a moment to mark the triumphs. Peter Hartcher  One of the world’s most malicious and vicious groups, Daesh, which wants to be called Islamic State, has just been crushed. The Sydney Morning Herald  It’s been crushed in the Middle East and, simultaneously, crushed in South East Asia. To its credit, Australia is one of only three countries that joined the effort in ... Read More »

Expansion of Gaza fishing zone ‘pointless PR stunt’

For the 4,000 registered fishermen in the besieged Gaza Strip, a proposed Israeli plan to let them temporarily fish farther out from shore is “far from enough”. Farah Najjar Al Jazeera Fishermen told Al Jazeera that Israel’s move to slightly expand the fishing zone limit from six to nine nautical miles, implemented this week, will have little effect in reality. “It makes no difference whatsoever to us,” Nizar Ayash, head of Gaza’s fishermen’s union, told Al Jazeera. “It’s economically pointless, and this is ... Read More »

US, France slam detention of leading Turkish activist Osman Kavala

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the arrest of the prominent activist and businessman Osman Kavala was an example of a “very alarming trend” of the detention of civil society leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and… Hurriyet “We have expressed to the Turkish government our concerns on many occasions about this trend … It remains a major concern of ours,” Nauert told reporters in Washington on… The French Foreign Ministry also stated on Oct. 19 that it ... Read More »

Here’s How to Pull Turkey Back From the Brink

Erdogan gets more authoritarian, and closer to Russia and Iran, every day. But kicking him out of NATO would make things worse. James Stavridis Bloomberg Since its founding nearly a century ago, Turkey’s foreign policy goal has been summed up in a simple phrase: “No problems with our neighbors.” But the situation today is different: “all our neighbors have problems.” And the Turks have plenty of their own. There is no understating how important it is that the U.S. and ... Read More »