September 12, 2019
Two days ago, the Guardian reported that White House national security adviser John Bolton “an ultra-hawk on foreign policy who under George Bush was a key architect of the invasion of Iraq in 2003” was fired by President Trump.
Iran’s rulers must have been pleasantly surprised. Continue reading
August 27, 2019
Last Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made an unexpected visit to Biarritz during the G7 summit. There he met with President Macron and had extensive talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. He later shared a picture taken during the meeting with the French President saying “Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.” The picture reflected the very cordial atmosphere of his meeting with the French President. Continue reading
August 19, 2019
In early August, American and Turkish military delegations met in Ankara to discuss plans to coordinate the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said they agreed on the rapid implementation of initial measures to address Turkey’s security concerns; to stand-up a joint operations center in Turkey as soon as possible in order to coordinate and manage the establishment of the safe zone together; and, that the safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country. Continue reading
August 6, 2019
In a couple of years, the world could well be speaking of a decade of conflict in Syria in which regional and external powers were involved either directly or through proxies.
The Islamic State remains a threat. Thousands and thousands of jihadist fighters not only from those directly involved but also from distant countries traveled to Syria to take part in the fighting. Their return home has now become a security challenge. Specialist monitors at the UN have warned that a recent pause in international terrorist violence may soon end, with the possibility of a new wave of attacks before the end of the year. What this portends for the clash or dialogue of civilizations remains to be seen. Continue reading
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Arab League, Arab-Israeli conflict, Ataturk, Gulf, Iran, JCPOA, Libya, Middle East, OIC, Syrian conflict, tanker seizures, Turkish foreign policy
Co-authored with Yusuf Buluc (*)
July 29, 2019
A year ago, if one were patient enough to draw up a list of the problems on the Turkish-American agenda this would have reflected a relationship not between NATO allies or family members as some seem to remember in times of distress but adversaries. It is the overall bilateral chemistry, Syria, PYD/YPG, FETO, Iran sanctions, Turkey’s purchase of S-400s, US threat not to deliver F-35 aircraft, obstacles to trade, not to mention the Brunson case.
Any progress after a whole year? None at all, except Pastor Brunson leaving Turkey on October 12, 2018 under dubious judicial procedures.
A development which has much more than symbolic value is the delivery of the S-400 air and missile defense system to Turkey. Consequently, and as threatened by the US, Turkey is going to be excluded from the F-35 program costing the Turkish economy dearly. Ankara and Washington still seem unable to find common ground in their respective operations in Syria. The current situation almost begs the question whether they are seriously searching for that. Continue reading
July 22, 2019
On July 4, British Royal Marines seized near Gibraltar the supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria. This was the first such detention of a ship under the European sanctions targeting supplies to Syria. The tanker is registered in Panama and owned by a Singapore-based company.
Coming on the Independence Day, the detention more than delighted the hawks in the Trump administration as Simon Tisdall wrote in the Guardian. (*) Continue reading
July 16, 2019
On July 5, The Atlantic published an article by Thomas Wright, Senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The title was “Trump Couldn’t Ignore the Contradictions of His Foreign Policy Any Longer”. (*)
The article provides interesting insight on the evolution of President Trump’s foreign policy. What attracted my attention more than anything else was the very first paragraph: Continue reading