Kerry and Ban in truce bid to save Hamas from defeat. Israel holds reply. Cairo won’t amend truce proposal

Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN are pulling one way; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other; and Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are trying to manipulate the others.

Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi: Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire than ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”

Reported to be pushing for a long-term ceasefire, the UN Secretary went on to comment that it was impossible to go back to the situation that caused the conflict. He ruled out the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip as untenable. Continue reading

The EU is gearing up against internal unrest

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Gendarmerien are police forces, although they take on tasks of internal security. In contrast to the police but they are subordinated to the ministries of defense. Used in the interior they are under the authority of the Interior Ministries. They are described as “robust police issues” because they have a better weaponry, armored vehicles and military training. Therefore, they can also be used on the edge of military hostilities. There they are under the command of the responsible Department of Defense.

The EGF was originally planned around the turn of the millennium by Italy and France as EU force. Several Member States, including Germany, but had objections to such a paramilitary unit. The governments in Rome and Paris stuck to the plan and eventually founded the EGF as a multilateral, independent of EU unity. According to its statutes, the capabilities of NATO, the OSCE, the UN and the EU can be borrowed. In the foreground, however, are inserts of the European Union. Continue reading

‘Dragonfly’ virus strikes U.S. power plants

WASHINGTON – U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.

Unearthed by the cyber security firm Symantec, Dragonfly has been in operation since at least 2011. Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.

The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment. Continue reading

A new Turkish aggression against Syria: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates’ water

What we’re seeing is another wedge being placed between the Assad regime and the public with the aim of hastening the collapse of the leadership.

The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.

Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.

Violating international norms, the Turkish government recently cut off the water supply of the Euphrates River completely. In fact, Ankara began to gradually reduce pumping Euphrates water about a month and half ago, then cut if off completely two weeks ago, according to information received by Al-Akhbar. Continue reading

Exclusive: Confidential source reveals to me what really happened in Benghazi

I was seated beside someone who personally knew one of the men who was there on the roof in Benghazi. This person was excited to share with me the “ground truth” of what happened September 11, 2012.

My seat mate drew schematics to orient me to the “time and spacing” and the direction of the attack. I learned about the repeated orders to the men at the CIA annex to stand down and do nothing — thank God two of them, Glenn Doherty and Ty Woods, lived up to their code of honor and ran to the sound of the guns, resulting in their loss of life — but the preservation of life for others, their fellow Americans. Continue reading

Erdogan: Turkey to normalize relations with Israel “within days”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is prepared to normalize ties with Israel within days or weeks after counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for a deadly raid in 2010.

Erdogan, speaking on US broadcaster PBS late Monday, said US President Barack Obama was instrumental in arranging a phone call between the leaders of Israel and Turkey, once intimate allies, but who have been at odds since a 2010 Israeli assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships in which soldiers shot dead nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.

Officials said the two government in recent weeks have been narrowing the gap between them by overcoming sticking points including the amount of compensation to be paid to Turkey.

Erdogan said the issue has been resolved. Continue reading

Is Turkey planning to bypass global ammunition regime?

The Turkish technology and industry minister’s suggestion that the country will attempt to produce its own ammunition has caused concern among some NATO partners that the move could contravene an international treaty

Western diplomats and military officials remain puzzled over remarks by a Turkish minister that Turkey is set out to produce unspecified types of ammunition and thus circumvent foreign suppliers’ potential sales blockades.

In a recent speech, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık said Turkey would launch a “national” factory this year to produce its own “warheads, airplane bombs and plastic explosives.”
He said the new factory would end Turkey’s dependence on foreign suppliers of this type of ammunition.  Continue reading

EU ‘to Extend’ Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan

The EU would extend the route for supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and its pipes will make their way further into Europe’s mainland, according to reports.

Russia’s Vedomosti, which cites sources from the European Commission, suggests that pipes could lead into France and Spain and this could increase the amount of Azerbaijani gas received from the Union.

According to the same EC representative, the prospects of importing from Turkmenistan and Iran are also on the agenda. Continue reading

World Bank Director: Turkey to Become Global Energy Hub

ISTANBUL — Turkey has a good chance to become an energy hub if it keeps the historical achievements it made in the last decade, Martin Raiser, country director for Turkey of the World Bank, said on Friday.

“Turkey has taken major steps in the past decade and nearly half of them was to implement independent regulatory institutions for strengthening the rule of law to improve business opportunities,” Raiser told Anadolu Agency during the International Energy and Environment Fair and Conference in Istanbul. Continue reading

Can Turkey Use Water to Exert Power Across the Middle East?

ISTANBUL — Turkey hopes to take a first step this year towards long-held ambitions to be a supplier of fresh water across the Middle East.

The first phase of a project to pump fresh water from the Anamur River in southern Turkey to the drought-stricken northern part of Cyprus is slated to be completed this year, according to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Turkish government in Ankara.

The 1.2 billion lira (Dh2bn) pipeline, which runs under the Mediterranean, is to bring 75 million cubic metres of water a year to Northern Cyprus, an isolated self-declared republic recognised only by Ankara.

The Turkish ministry for forests and water said in a statement that work will be finished by July 20, the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 military intervention in Cyprus. Several experts in Turkey said the Cyprus water project could be a first step for Ankara to boost its role as a regional power by providing water to Middle East countries.

“It is technically feasible,” Ibrahim Gurer, a hydrologist at Gazi University in Ankara, said. “And it’s possible not only for Cyprus, but also for other countries like Israel or even Libya. It is not a distant dream.” Continue reading

Sparks fly over US plan to shift Internet role

It could be a difficult breakup between the US government and the Internet.

A plan unveiled last month would see the US relinquish its key oversight role for the Internet, handing that over to “the global multistakeholder community.”

US officials say the move is part of a longstanding effort to privatize the technical oversight of the Internet. Continue reading

‘An Historic Opportunity’: Turkish Cypriot Minister Says Reunification Deal Pending

Negotiations to end the division of Cyprus have been ongoing for years. Now, Northern Cyprus Foreign Minister Özdil Nami tells SPIEGEL that a deal is close. And he wants Germany to help with reunification.

SPIEGEL: You have recently been part of talks in the Chancellery in Berlin regarding the future of Cyprus. Why? Continue reading

Turkey Warns Russia it Will Blockade Bosphorus if Violence Occurs

According to diplomatic sources, Turkey has threatened Russia with a blockade of the Bosphorus Strait

The threat to close the Bosphorus to Russia comes from a report by Hvylya, citing a Turkish diplomatic source. According to the source, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan yesterday spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone and warned of the consequences for conflict with Ukraine. The Hvylya source was also reported on by UNIAN. Continue reading

Obama’s ‘Big Breakthrough’ Coming by End of Year

TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority received a pledge from the U.S. that by the end of 2014, the Obama administration will issue an official written declaration presenting general highlights of a future Palestinian state, a senior Palestinian negotiator told WND.

The negotiator further said the goal is to have the general framework for a deal ironed out by April. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing. Continue reading