February 6, 2020
The agreement reached in May 2017 by Russia, Iran and Turkey in Astana called for the cessation of hostilities between rebel groups and regime forces in four “de-escalation” zones in the mainly opposition-held areas of Syria with Russia, Turkey and Iran acting as guarantors.
In broad terms, the deal covered four areas:
Zone 1: Idlib province,
Zone 2: The Rastan and Talbiseh enclave in northern Homs province,
Zone 3: Eastern Ghouta in the northern Damascus countryside,
Zone 4: The rebel-controlled south along the border with Jordan. Continue reading
February 2, 2020
Last week, I watched President Trump’s and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s White House remarks on television. I also read the transcript[i]. President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke for 47 minutes. During those 47 minutes there were 71 applause, most of them standing. There were no Palestinian leaders present. Even the Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz was not visible. It was all about President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu and their being family. Continue reading
January 28, 2020
“Canal İstanbul”, first introduced to the public as a “crazy project” by Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (JDP) Government, has become the subject of an increasingly heated discussion. Among the various aspects of the project currently debated are its environmental impact, the cost, huge private land purchases in the area and last but not least its implications for the Montreux Convention of 1936 regulating passage through the “Straits of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus comprised under the general term ‘Straits’ ”. Continue reading
January 20, 2020
The motto for Arab spring strife has always been “there is no military solution to the conflict”. Yet, the pattern of behavior has always been the opposite and this started with Libya.
Measures taken by governments to quell Arab Spring revolts caused the “international community”, a misnomer, “grave concern”. But no other country became the subject of a “UN sanctioned” intervention except Libya. Continue reading
January 8, 2020
President Obama made his intention to engage Iran public in his landmark Cairo speech on June 4, 2009, well before the election of Hassan Rouhani. He said:
“…For many years, Iran has defined itself in part by opposition to my country, and there is indeed a tumultuous history between us. In the Middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government. This history is well known. Rather than remain trapped in the past, I have made it clear to Iran’s leaders and people that my country is prepared to move forward. The question, now, is not what Iran is against, but what future it wants to build…” Continue reading
January 5, 2020
The Iraq-Iran war started on September 22, 1980. It lasted eight years. In August 1991 Iraq invaded Kuwait. A massive US-led military campaign forced Iraq to withdraw in February 1991. It was followed by years of no-fly zones, sanctions and the food for oil program. In March 2003 US invasion of Iraq toppled Saddam Hussein’s government, only to mark the start of years of violent conflict with different groups competing for power. In June 2004 Czar Paul Bremmer III handed sovereignty to the interim government headed by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Continue reading
December 28, 2019
The fighting and the humanitarian tragedy in Yemen remind older generations of Turks of a beautiful but sad folk song, “Yemen türküsü”[i], mourning the loss of thousands of Turkish soldiers in this far away part of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Its goes;
There are no clouds on air, why is this smog?
There are no deceased in neighborhood, why is this outcry?
Mum, I haven’t died yet, why is this groan?
This is Yemen, its rose is grass
Those who go there do not return, I wonder why? Continue reading