Neo-Ottomanism Surges in Middle East Politics

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The fate of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hangs in the balance. The common perception is that everything depends on which way President Donald Trump moves – go by his own preference to bury the scandal over Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance or give in to the rising demand that Saudi-American relations can no longer be business as usual. Trump’s mood swing suggests he is dithering. Continue reading

Erdogan Shifts on Syria After Third Russian Phone Call

Erdogan Shifts on Syria After Third Russian Phone Call

Erdogan Shifts on Syria After Third Russian Phone Call

 

  • “The aim of the Euphrates Shield Operation [in northern Syria] is not any country or person, but only terrorist organizations,” Erdogan said Thursday, as quoted by the Hurryiet Daily News.
  • “No one should doubt this issue that we have uttered over and over, and no one should comment on it in another fashion or try to derail it,” he added.
  • The latest comments come in contrast to remarks Erdogan made on Tuesday, when he said Turkey’s operation in Syria, launched in late August, aimed “to end the rule of the tyrant [Syrian President] al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror.”
  • This drew surprise from Russia, which asked for clarification of the remarks.

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Did Saudi Arabia Just Clear The Way For An Invasion Of Syria And Iraq?

And now, a further turn for the absurd…

While it’s still far from common knowledge among the Western public that Washington’s closest allies in the Mid-East are funding, arming, and otherwise enabling the Sunni extremists (including ISIS) battling for control of Syria and working to destabilize Iraq, the massacre that unfolded earlier this month in San Bernardino has managed to focus some much needed attention on the role Saudi Arabia plays in promoting extremism.

As we noted in the immediate aftermath of the California mass shooting, the fact that Tashfeen Malik spent 25 years in Saudi Arabia living with a father who, according to family members who spoke to Reuters, adopted an increasingly hardline ideology as time went on, underscores the fact that the puritanical, ultra orthodox belief system promoted by the Saudis is poisonous. That’s not a critique of Islam. It’s a critique of Wahhabism and the effect it has on the minds of those who are inculcated by Saudi culture.  Continue reading

Policy-Shaping Power in the Middle East (I)

BAGHDAD/ERBIL/BERLIN (Own report) – With its military intervention in Syria and Iraq, Germany is emerging as a “policy-shaping power in the Middle East,” according to a government advisor of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The intervention in Syria, decided last week, could, therefore, last ten years and could be accompanied by “long-term” efforts to “politically reorganize” the entire region, with the cornerstone being military units, equipped and trained by the German government, serving as ground troops for the war against the “Islamic State” (IS/Daesh). In Iraq, the militia of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq could take on this role, whereas Berlin only provides minimal support to the Iraqi government’s armed forces. Whereas the government in Baghdad has good relations with Iran and Russia, the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq is seen as loyal to the West. Having illegally remained in office beyond the August deadline in an insidious coup, the Regional Government’s President Masoud Barzani, with whom German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met yesterday, is responsible for the brutal repression of civil protests. Ultimately – and with Berlin’s military aid for his Peshmerga – Barzani may be able to proclaim “Iraqi Kurdistan’s” statehood.

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Iraq Could Ask Russia for Help After ‘Invasion’ by Turkish Forces

The head of Iraq’s parliamentary committee on security and defense, Hakim al-Zamili, in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, said that Baghdad could turn to Moscow for help after Turkey had allegedly breached Iraq’s sovereignty.

Numerous reports suggest that on Friday Turkey sent approximately 130 soldiers to norther Iraq. Turkish forces, deployed near the city of Mosul, are allegedly tasked with training Peshmerga, which has been involved in the fight against Daesh, also known as ISIL. Continue reading

US issues first-ever worldwide travel alert as terror threats loom

In the aftermath of the assault on Paris, the American government on Monday warned its citizens around the globe to be aware of possible threats from terrorist groups that are plotting attacks. Continue reading

Checkmate

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s message at the UN General Assembly was stark; either sovereign states get together in a broad coalition against all forms of terror, and the principle of statehood is respected as enshrined in the UN charter – or there will be chaos.

This UN General Assembly revealed that the Obama administration’s perpetual newspeak does not cut it anymore. A review of UN speeches by both Putin and Obama is almost painful to watch. Putin acted like a serious global statesman. Obama acted like a poseur flunking a screen test.

Putin’s key talking points could not but be easily accessible to the Global South — his prime audience, much more than the industrialized West. Continue reading

New war on terror: Iraq joins Russia, Iran, Syria against ISIL

Iraq’s military said on Sept. 27 that it will coordinate with Russia, Iran and Syria on “security and intelligence” details in the ongoing battle against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

Iraq will “help and cooperate in collecting information about the terrorist Daesh (ISIL) group,” according to a statement from the Iraqi Joint Operations Command. Continue reading

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