Aylık arşivler: Ocak 2016

Washington’s Troubled Relations with Its Middle East Partners

January 25, 2016

On January 22, 2016 Secretary Kerry addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This is how he started off his remarks on the Iran nuclear deal:
“… It wasn’t so long ago that … Iran was only months away from having enough weapons-grade uranium to build 10 to 12 bombs. We were on the cusp of confrontation – believe me. I can’t tell you how many leaders, when I traveled through certain areas, said, ‘You have to bomb it. That’s the way you will solve this problem.” He then gave a brief account of what had been achieved through the JCPOA and concluded by saying, “My friends, the region is safer. The world is safer.” Okumaya devam et

Iran Nuclear Deal: Implementation Day

January 19, 2016

During the weeks preceding “implementation day” for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), world’s attention focused once again on the Iran nuclear deal. Different aspects of the agreement negotiated between Iran and the “P5+1” or “the US and five other nations” were re-examined. Some analysts saw the deal as a landmark development and expressed optimism that it could end three decades of hostility between Tehran and Washington and usher in an era of cooperation in Middle East conflicts. Others appeared more reserved. And, some continued to reject it as a “bad deal”. Two observations can be made with regard to this debate:

Firstly, the “five other nations” referred to are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany. In other words, Iran’s counterparts at the table were the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, world’s governing body plus Germany, EU’s “primus inter pares”. This in itself is a measure of the achievement which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described as a “golden page” in his country’s history opening new windows for Iran’s engagement with the world. Okumaya devam et

Syria Talks Approaching

January 14, 2016

On December 18, 2015 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2254 approving the road map which had emerged from International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG) two Vienna meetings. A week later, Staffan de Mistura, UN’S Special Envoy for Syria, set the target date of January 25 to start talks in Geneva. And, at the very end of the year, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi went to Ramadi to celebrate its liberation from ISIL.

Two weeks later, the regional mood is still not one of optimism. Okumaya devam et

When Better Is the Enemy of Good

January 8, 2016

For a good number of years drafting a new constitution has been on Turkey’s agenda. The 1982 Constitution has been amended numerous times but our political parties still regard it as the legacy of a military coup and wish to write a new one. For some at least, this appears to be a knee-jerk response rather than a reasoned position. The amended Constitution may indeed not be the perfect one, but it has not prevented democratic reform. The following are excerpts from the Presidency Conclusions of EU’s December 16-17, 2004 Brussels summit when Turkey was given a date for the launching of accession negotiations: Okumaya devam et

The Riyadh-Tehran Rupture

January 5, 2016

A year ago, some Middle East analysts referred to Saudi Arabia’s new leadership as a cadre of youthful, dynamic royals and technocrats. They said that Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to rise above the fray of the past decade and begin bridging the considerable gaps dividing the main Sunni nations. They thought that the changes appeared to deepen Saudi Arabia’s links with the United States and make it a more reliable security partner. A year later, the Saudi-led coalition is still battling Yemen’s Houthis with no end in sight. It has recently announced that it will no longer observe the ceasefire agreed last December. More importantly, Riyadh has cut diplomatic relations with Iran. Surely, the setting ablaze of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran constituted a flagrant violation of international law but there will be consequences. Okumaya devam et