Aylık arşivler: Ekim 2015

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Sending a Reminder

October 29, 2015

Palestinians remain deeply dissatisfied with the status quo and in the absence of any progress towards the two-state solution their discontent hits the surface usually in the form of some violence. And whenever there is violence, Israel says that she will not tolerate incitement, terrorism; Palestinian leadership calls for an end to subjugation and occupation; UN Secretary General urges calm; the Quartet issues a statement advising restraint; finally, the US Secretary of State rushes to the region to find a way to put the episode behind because such violence always puts Washington on the spot by virtue of her special relationship with Israel. By and large, the current picture fits the pattern with two differences. Okumaya devam et

Reklamlar

Turkish Elections: Continuing to Sail in Rough Seas

October 26, 2015

On June 7, Turkey held parliamentary elections. The result was a disappointment for the Justice and Development Party (JDP) because the electorate denied them a fourth consecutive term with parliamentary majority. The logical solution would have been a coalition government but in a polarized country that proved to be impossible. So we are going to the ballot box again this Sunday, November 1 and all we hear is endless promises. Okumaya devam et

Russia’s Intervention in Syria (2)

October 22, 2015

Despite growing evidence of a build-up of military personnel and equipment around Latakia the scale of Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict caught the West by surprise. Many analysts tend to see it as a new assertiveness on the part of Russia; President Putin flexing muscles, displaying power; Moscow striving to restore lost role in the Middle East; Russia trying to teach Americans a lesson. Some believe that the intervention aims at propping up the regime and if Putin had been eager for peace he would have exerted pressure on President Assad before the outbreak of full scale civil war. Others say this is an attempt to deflect attention from the Ukraine conflict and a mismanaged economy. A few want a robust reaction from the US and say that NATO being tested by Russia. Assad’s visit to Moscow will probably reinforce these assessments. There may be some truth in all that. But, a little more needs to be said to complete the picture. Okumaya devam et

Russia’s Intervention in Syria (2)

October 22, 2015

Despite growing evidence of a build-up of military personnel and equipment around Latakia the scale of Russian military intervention in the Syrian conflict caught the West by surprise. Many analysts tend to see it as a new assertiveness on the part of Russia; President Putin flexing muscles, displaying power; Moscow striving to restore lost role in the Middle East; Russia trying to teach Americans a lesson. Some believe that the intervention aims at propping up the regime and if Putin had been eager for peace he would have exerted pressure on President Assad before the outbreak of full scale civil war. Others say this is an attempt to deflect attention from the Ukraine conflict and a mismanaged economy. A few want a robust reaction from the US and say that NATO being tested by Russia. Assad’s visit to Moscow will probably reinforce these assessments. There may be some truth in all that. But, a little more needs to be said to complete the picture. Okumaya devam et

Chancellor Merkel’s Untimely Visit to Turkey

October 18, 2015

Struggling to cope with a massive influx of refugees, most of them crossing over to Greek islands from Turkey’s Aegean towns and cities, the EU was bound to seek some accommodation with Turkey. Needless to say this is “a massive influx” by European standards; massive enough to bring Chancellor Merkel to Istanbul.

In order to judge the timing of Chancellor Merkel’s trip to Istanbul one should remember the controversial visit PM Netanyahu paid to Washington in early March this year. Mr. Netanyahu’s visit constituted a breach of protocol because an invitation to a head of state or government can be extended by no other official than his or her counterpart, who is the head of state or government of that country. In this case, it was House Speaker John Boehner who had invited Mr. Netanyahu to visit Washington without properly consulting the White House. He was wrong to do that and the Israeli prime Minister was wrong to accept the invitation without seeking President Obama’s agreement. That was the “invitation aspect” of the problem, but there was more to be said. Okumaya devam et

Downing of MH17 and the Dutch Safety Board Report

October 16, 2015

On October 13, 2015, the Dutch Safety Board published its report on the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Hrabove, Ukraine. The report says that the crash of flight MH17 on July 17, 2014 was caused by the detonation of a 9N314M-type warhead launched from the eastern part of Ukraine using a Buk missile system. The 279 page report contains extensive technical detail on various aspects of the crash but it does not address questions of blame and liability. Yet, some see it as a vindication of their claims as to those responsible for the disaster. Others contest part, if not all, of its findings. There are accusations, rebuttals and counter-accusations. With the Ukraine conflict far from settled this is only to be expected. Okumaya devam et

The Unhappy Trajectory of US-Russia Relations

October 12, 2015
Only hours after having delivered clashing remarks, Presidents Obama and Putin met on the sidelines of the 70th United Nations General Assembly. This was on September 27 and their first meeting in two years. Within a span of two weeks, however, relations appear to be further strained as result of Russian intervention in Syria. For someone who has put faith in the wisdom of US-Russia cooperation this is a disappointment. Okumaya devam et