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

Saudi Arabia and Qatar in ‘war on Iraq’: Maliki

Baghdad (AFP) – Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting militant groups in Iraq and have effectively declared war on the country, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said as nationwide violence left 15 dead Saturday.

The rare direct attack on the Sunni Gulf powers, with Maliki also accusing Riyadh of supporting global terrorism, comes with Iraq embroiled in its worst prolonged period of bloodshed since 2008, with more than 1,800 people killed already this year, ahead of parliamentary elections due next month. Continue reading

How to Make a Bad Situation Worse

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – An expert at Berlin’s Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) is warning against an expansion of German-European military missions. “The analysis of interventions over the past twenty years” has led to “sobering insights into the limitations” of foreign military operations, according to a current position paper published by the SWP. This even applies to those military operations having the official objective of preventing massacres. In Libya, for example, “the risk of mass violence” is, by all means, “considered to be higher today, than before the intervention” in 2011. The SWP’s expert writes that in the USA “politicians and scholars” are “to a growing extent, agreeing that military interventions are an ineffective and extremely expensive instrument.” In fact, US experts are drawing a devastating conclusion about Washington’s intervention policy. One political scientist, taking the example of Syria, found that a military mission to that country, when seen in light of the experiences of Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya, would “make a bad situation much worse.” Regardless of such warnings, Berlin continues to adamantly pursue its expansion of German-European military missions – for the time being, particularly in Africa. Continue reading

Erdogan in Iran to hatch joint plans for striking US interests

Previous news of corruption scandals and a plagued administration the last few months tell a tale that’s similar to what has transpired in Egypt, Libya, Iraq and so on… The US has internally overthrown all of them. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a shock for Erdogan to believe the same will happen to him. This could also explain why Turkey has switched from American military systems to Chinese in their last purchase. This is likely a huge turning point in history and will have a measurable impact on NATO relations, future support for wars both politically and physically. This will also mean closer relations with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and even possible membership.

Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan has snapped his links with Washington and rushed into Iran’s arms for direct action against US interests. He is spiting the Obama administration in the belief of a US plot to replace him with President Abdullah Gul and discredit him by corruption scandals implicating members of his family in sanctions-busting business with Iran through the state-owned Turkish Halkbank. Continue reading

What Happens After a Superpower Dies?

What happens when a superpower dies? What happens when the geopolitical order that has stabilized the world for several decades crumbles?

We are all about to learn firsthand. Continue reading

Arab spring yields to Muslim winter

In France, more than 1000 cars were torched across the country on New Year’s Eve. It has become a tradition. As usual, the French media omitted to say most of the damage is done by young disaffected Muslim men and has become a form of protest.

In Iraq, the government has lost control of the city of Fallujah to the fundamentalist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, giving Islamists open control of a city for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2003. On Christmas Day, car bombs exploded outside three churches, killing 26 people and maiming 38, part of a campaign to remove Iraq’s rapidly decreasing Chaldean Christian population. Continue reading

“Security Arc” forms amidst Mideast terror


Many observers are correct in noting that the Middle East is undergoing yet another seismic shift – that the Russian-brokered destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, a US-Iranian rapprochement, the diminished strategic value of Saudi Arabia and Israel, and a US withdrawal from Afghanistan will all contribute to changing regional dynamics considerably.

But what is this new direction? Where will it come from, who will lead it, what will define it? Continue reading

The Elusive European Army

In both militarily intervention and investment in the defense industry, Europeans lack coordination and have lost credibility. Yet, after the French intervention in the Central African Republic, the issue has returned to the spotlight and will be discussed at the summit on December 19 and 20.

In 1991, the Belgian foreign minister of the time, Mark Eyskens, remarked on the EU’s incapacity to develop a common defence policy when he described Europe as “an economic giant, a political dwarf and a military worm.” In recent years, there is no denying that the EU has become more active in this field. But the grand and often expressed ambition for real investment in a common security and defence policy, which includes an independent military capacity, has yet to [sic] realised. And this continues to be the case at a time when global change is obliging Europeans to engage in a more serious consideration of security as an issue in common. Continue reading

EU ‘civilian’ mission training paramilitaries in Libya

BRUSSELS - The EU’s “civilian” border mission in Libya is in fact training paramilitary forces, amid a wider European and US effort to stop Libya becoming a “failed state.”

According to an internal EU paper – a blueprint for the border mission, Eubam Libya, dated 18 April and seen by EUobserver – its “main effort” is to build up the “operational level” of Libya’s “Border Guards (BG)” and “Naval Coast Guard (NCG).” Continue reading

Saudi nuclear weapons ‘on order’ from Pakistan

If one wanted to gauge how fed up the House of Saud is with the current US administration and how badly the trust and reliance upon America has eroded, look no further:

Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery. Continue reading

As Kerry met Egyptian and Saudi leaders, planning advanced for a Russian naval base in Egypt

Consider American influence in the Middle East 90% gone. The Saudi’s no longer trust America to follow through on its commitments to the region and have instead turned to Russia and Israel. Both Egypt and Libyia were overturned by the Obama administration and likely won’t see normalcy for quite some time. Syria and Iran can now go largely unchecked in the region as America retreats and leaves Israel out in the cold.

Moscow’s request for a naval base in Egypt submitted last week by a visiting Russian general prompted US Secretary of State John Kerry’s decision to hurry up and visit Cairo and Riyadh for an attempt to smooth their prickly relations over Washington’s policies for Syria and Iran. However, Sunday, Nov. 3, the day he stopped over in Cairo en route for Riyadh, saw a mighty buildup of Russian naval stgrength in the Mediterranean.

Russia’s Pacific Fleet flagship, the Varyag,and the powerful nuclear-fueled battleship Pyotr Veliky arrived to carry out “a number of tasks” with other Russian Navy ships in the region, according to the official statement form Moscow. Continue reading

Insular Military Solutions

BERLIN (Own report) – On the occasion of the December European Council meeting on European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation is applying pressure to have new steps made toward the intensification of EU military cooperation. According to a paper recently published by the foundation, the meeting – the first of its kind since 2003 – should assist in significantly enhancing the military clout of European countries. Given the fact that European military budgets are continuing to shrink and the previous rudiments of closer cooperation (“pooling and sharing”) have not really taken hold, new measures must be introduced. Under the slogan, “Insular Solutions,” the foundation pleads for the integration of the armed forces of a few states, first, at the regional level, to then make further attempts to consolidate these at the EU level. This concept is not only aimed at wearing down existing national resistance to the possible weakening of national arms industries, but also to weaken the British-French military alliance founded in November 2011 – seen as an obstacle to German military predominance in the EU. Continue reading