Another Chapter in the Libya Lesson

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

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Iran-US Confrontation with Iraq in the Middle

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

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The Middle East: A Disheartening Beginning for the New Decade

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

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No to Greater Involvement in Libya

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

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2019: The Year in Review

December 22, 2019

During the past year, climate change, corruption, street protests, polarization and disarray in the West dominated the global agenda.

Frequent fires are part of California’s natural state but since the 1970s, the amount of area burned in the state has increased by a factor of five. As the National Geographic has reported, climate change’s stamp is evident in many of the fires, scientists say, primarily because hotter air means drier plants, which burn more readily. Australia too has always had devastating bushfires, but experts say climate change can and does makes bushfires worse. Despite the evidence, however, the UN climate conference in Madrid could only achieve modest results. Continue reading

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Turkey-US Relations: The Downturn Continues

December 15, 2019

On October 29, Turkish National Day, the US House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to formally recognize the “Armenian genocide”. The Senate voted unanimously on Thursday for the same resolution. Lawmakers in the Senate and the House are busy working on more measures targeting Turkey. Continue reading

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NATO at Seventy

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç (*)

December 5, 2019

Literature on “The Art of Human Survival” will have you believe that to have reached the age of seventy must be a testimony for having mustered this art. But for a military alliance to have functioned, changed, adapted and enlarged for seventy years would mean significantly more than mere survival, but an unequivocal success. While ripe and mature age seventy for a human being deserves celebration albeit with an eye on life expectancy averages, for a military alliance such celebration would call for unreserved pride and a solemn commitment to cohesion, collective re-dedication to allied goals. But those were not the type of public announcements or more discreet messages that were coming from the London Summit to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary. Continue reading

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The Arab Spring Nine Years On

 

December 2, 2019

The Arab Spring began on December 17, 2010 in Tunisia as street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the arbitrary seizing of his vegetable stand by police. Mass protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign in January 2011, after 23 years in power and go into exile in Saudi Arabia.

In February 2011, mass protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign after three decades in power. Continue reading

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Lessons from the Impeachment Inquiry

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluc (*)

November 23, 2019

As the US House Intelligence Committee continued with its impeachment hearings, NATO foreign ministers met in Brussels in preparation for the summit which will take place on December 3-4 in London to mark NATO’s 70th anniversary.

Following the Brussels meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, “We had excellent discussions and we all agree that NATO remains indispensable for our security.  And that despite our differences, we are stronger as we face the future together.”

The NATO Secretary General is the Alliance’s highly respected top international civil servant and he is duty bound to underline the importance of the Alliance and solidarity among its members. Unfortunately, however, NATO is not only faced with external challenges but also with skepticism from within. Continue reading

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A Frank Exchange of Views

November 14, 2019

On Wednesday, President Erdoğan made his long-anticipated visit to Washington. At the White House, he met not only with President Trump but also senators Joni Ernst, Jim Risch, Ted Cruz, Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham, one of President Trump’s staunchest allies. Continue reading

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