The Taliban are Back (2)

August 16, 2021

The principal challenge in Afghanistan has always been Afghan groups forging a united front not only to fight tribalism, warlordism and corruption but also to achieve better governance. The country has remained divided on ethnic, sectarian, and regional lines. While the Afghans have demonstrated an exceptional capacity for resistance to foreign interference, they have failed time and again to show the ability to agree on common denominators. Even the formation of consecutive Kabul governments proved a challenge.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“No Military Solution”

August 9, 2021

In the past decade, the phrase “no military solution to the conflict” became a diplomatic cliché.

In November 2013, speaking to the BBC  about the situation in Syria, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad said that there is no military solution

In September 2016, addressing the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama said,

“… in a place like Syria, where there’s no ultimate military victory to be won…”

In July 2019, after meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Trump said, “There is no military solution in Afghanistan…”

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s New Refugee Challenge

August 4, 2021

In my last post, dated August 2, I said that the increasing number of Afghans crossing into Turkey from Iran leads one to question whether the Kabul subcontract is just about the airport or more.

Later in the day, Secretary Blinken in remarks to the press[i], announced the “US Refugee Admissions Program Priority 2 Designation for Afghan Nationals[ii], a new resettlement opportunity for Afghans who assisted the US, but do dot qualify for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV).

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kabul Subcontract

August 2, 2021

Whether Turkish troops would stay at Kabul airport beyond withdrawal has become another controversial topic of our foreign and security policy. In my last post I asked the following questions:

•          Would Turkish troops fight the Taliban in case of an assault on the city?

•          Would Turkish troops remain in Kabul to ensure the orderly operation of the airport?

•          Would they remain there to secure the safe and timely evacuation of diplomatic missions remaining in Kabul in case of a battle for the capital’s control?

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Dance with the Taliban

July 26, 2021

Turkey’s “offer” to remain at the Kabul airport beyond US and other nations’ withdrawal from Afghanistan has become another controversial foreign policy topic. Like the rest of our foreign and security policy issues, this too has immediately turned into another “riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”, to use Winston Churchill’s words referring to Soviet policies in 1939. Because Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) government keeps the public in the dark about its “intricate” foreign policy schemes.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Global Leadership: The Moral Dimension

July 19, 2021

On February 19, President Biden addressed the global community for the first time. At 2021 Virtual Munich Security Conference he defined the partnership between Europe and the US as the cornerstone of all that the West hopes to accomplish in the 21st century, just as it did in the 20th century. He expressed his strong belief that democracy will and must prevail.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Afghanistan Withdrawal (2)

July 13, 2021

On July 8, 2021, President Biden delivered remarks on the drawdown of US forces in Afghanistan and took some questions. With the words “Afghanistan” and “failure” now glued to one another, and reports from Kabul reflecting nothing but doom and gloom, his was a tough task. Contradictions were unavoidable.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon’s Vicious Circle

July 5, 2021

On August 4, 2020, Beirut experienced its own Hiroshima. After the explosion thousands took to the streets in Beirut, once called the “Paris of the Middle East”, to express their anger with Lebanon’s leaders. On August 10, the government resigned.

The BBC reported that Mr. Hassan Diab, who was appointed prime minister in January 2020 after months of deadlock, said his government had “gone to great lengths to lay out a road map to save the country”. But corruption in Lebanon was “bigger than the state” itself, and “a very thick and thorny wall separates us from change; a wall fortified by a class that is resorting to all dirty methods in order to resist and preserve its gains”, he added.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Political Mucilage

June 28, 2021 Canal İstanbul, called “a crazy project” by ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) government remains high on our agenda. We are a divided, polarized nation but not on this issue. The large majority of Turks object to the project because they do not see the logic of it. They object to it because its economic, environmental, foreign and security policy consequences are more than likely to prove disastrous.

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

President Biden’s First Overseas Trip

June 17, 2021

In June 1961, President John F. Kennedy, on his first overseas trip, visited France. At the time France had not withdrawn from NATO’s integrated military command and the Alliance headquarters was still in Paris.

On June 1, 1961, President Kennedy addressed the North Atlantic Council. The following are from his remarks:

Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment