Aylık arşivler: Haziran 2015

Dealing with Middle East Violence

29 June 2015
Four years after the killing of Usame bin Laden, Al Qaida, far from being eradicated, has new footholds in the Middle East. Its offshoot IS now controls swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, extending its reach to Africa, Asia and displaying an insatiable hunger for violence. Thousands of Muslim recruits have joined its ranks from all over the world. By standing up to the Iraqi regular army, the Shiite militias and the US-led coalition air strikes for more than a year, IS has now gained an aura of invincibility. The result is an upsurge in violence as reflected in the last assault on Kobani and terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait.
The world is worried. Moslem countries should worry more than others because increasingly frequent use of the expression “Islamist/jihadist terror” serves neither their faith nor their interests. Furthermore, it is essentially their people who are bearing the brunt of the suffering. If the present trend is allowed to continue, the cultural divide which separates them from the rest of the world would become impossible to bridge and millions of Muslims living in other countries would become suspect. Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Failed Syria Policy

24 June 2015
A week ago, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified before the House Armed Services Committee.
According to the Associated Press, the Secretary told the Committee that the U.S. will fall way short of meeting its goal of training 24,000 Iraqi forces to fight Islamic State militants by this autumn since only enough recruits to train about 7,000 — in addition to about 2,000 counterterrorism service personnel – has been received so far.
Carter said that the train-and-equip mission in Syria also lacks enough trainees to fill existing training sites, primarily because it’s difficult to make sure the recruits are people who can be counted on and are not aligned with groups like IS. “It turns out to be very hard to identify people who meet both of those criteria…” Carter said. Okumaya devam et

Middle East’s Vicious Circle

19 June 2015

The following is a key paragraph from “The Modern History of Iraq” by Phebe Marr:
“Without substantial international support and lacking in understanding of Iraq or clear planning for Iraq’s future, the decision by the United States to occupy Iraq was fraught with dangers. Toppling Saddam proved easy and swift, but replacing the government and the political and social institutions that underpinned the regime was a long, difficult, and costly process – for both the United States and Iraq. The initial attack, followed by unchecked looting and the ill-advised dismantling of the political and military structures, created widespread destruction and a political and social vacuum, which foreign personnel proved unable to replace. Iraq soon began to fracture into ethnic and sectarian components.”(*) Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Elections and Foreign Policy

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç (*)

15 June 2015
On 7 June Turkey held parliamentary elections. Result: The ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP) lost its parliamentary majority of twelve years. This was largely attributed to hubris, excessive government spending on luxury, allegations of corruption, growing income disparities and President Erdogan’s relentless campaign for a custom made presidential system. We dispute none of that. And, we believe that JDP’s disastrous foreign policy has also played a part.

Normally and perhaps universally, foreign policy as a factor that shapes electorate choice comes way down the list. But once foreign policy is identified as impacting negatively on national security and prosperity then its prominence gets vastly upgraded. Foreign policy pundits would examine and try to gauge what role JDP foreign policy failures have played in its significant loss of electorate favor on 7 June elections. We believe that JDP’s foreign policy both for its substance and the way it was executed has engendered lessened security and concomitant waste of national resources. This is so not just in the perception of the public; today Turkey is measurably much less secure owing to JDP’s dismal foreign policy record. We have sketched out below the salient negatives of that policy. Okumaya devam et

US and Russia Need to Cooperate (2)

11 June 2015
Every time they meet, Secretary Kerry and Minister Lavrov raise hopes of cooperation between Washington and Moscow on international issues; they refer to their countries’ ability to “make a difference”, “make things happen”. This was again what they said in Sochi on 12 May 2015. What has followed inspires little optimism.

It may be worth remembering in this connection what Minister Lavrov said at the end of his introductory remarks during the joint press conference in Sochi:
“…Our president firmly emphasized that we are ready for as broad cooperation as possible and as close interaction as possible with the U.S.A. based on equal rights and mutual respect of interests and positions of each other…” Okumaya devam et

Time to Put Arab Boots on the Ground

7 June 2015

On 17 December 2010 a Tunisian, Mohammed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in an act of protest. This was followed in many Arab countries by widespread demonstrations calling for democracy, respect for human rights, a better life and more equitable sharing of national wealth. All that the world sees after nearly five years of Arab Spring is internal strife, war, displacement of people and suffering.

Underlying the current state of affairs are ideological differences, power struggles, tribal and regional conflicts of interest and above all sectarian divisions. But whatever the reason, Arab Spring’s constant feature is Arabs fighting Arabs in endless fratricide. This has created great opportunities for terrorist organizations such as Daesh, al Qaida and al Nusra to entrench themselves across the region and in the case of Daesh claim large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. In the face of such disaster Arab countries remain as divided as ever thereby rendering the concept of “the Arab nation”, once referred to with well-deserved pride and later aspired to with hope, a total myth. Okumaya devam et

Ukraine: Learning to Live With a Frozen Conflict…

3 June 2015

On 12 May 2015 Secretary Kerry had eight hours of talks with President Putin and Minister Lavrov in Sochi.

During the joint press conference held after the meetings Mr. Lavrov stated that the state of bilateral relations was also discussed, including specific irritators that have been in place recently. “But” he said, “we fully understand that it is absolutely necessary to avoid any steps that could further detriment relations between Russia and U.S. We believe that it is necessary to continue the cooperation between our countries, especially given the fact that resolution of many international problems really depends on our joint efforts – on the joint efforts of Russia and the U.S. – and I believe this is one of the main ideas about today’s negotiations, one of the main conclusions and outcomes of today.”

Mr. Kerry referred to the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons as an example of US-Russian cooperation. He said that it was the confidence in the two countries’ ability to be able to make a difference on some important issues that brought them together in Sochi. Okumaya devam et