Aylık arşivler: Haziran 2019

Deal of the Century First Episode: Disappointment

June 28, 2019

On June 22, the White House released the first of a two-part Middle East peace plan, “the deal of the century”. Three days later, in Bahrain, President Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner presented the administration’s vision of a new prosperity for the Middle East, if peace could be achieved. As for the political dimension, all he said was: “We’ll get to the political plan when we are ready to get to the political plan. However, today is not about the political issues.” Okumaya devam et

A Sigh of Relief for Now

June 23, 2019

Everybody knew this was a landmark election, the last exit on the road authoritarian rule. And finally, the people of Turkey, for a multitude of reasons including their disapproval of the annulment of the March 31 Istanbul mayoral election said, “enough is enough” to the ruling Justice and Development Party (JDP). With a failing economy, extreme polarization, a chain of foreign and security policy disasters, government’s only hope of winning the rerun was JDP supporters restating their devotion to President Erdoğan and even that didn’t work. Okumaya devam et

Time to Launch “Operation Enduring Diplomacy”

 

June 18, 2019

Two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Washington holds Iran responsible. Iran denies the charge. While some observers draw attention to the possible role of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps in the attacks, others draw attention to Washington hawks’ desire to build a case for more pressure or action against Tehran.  Iran has announced that on June 27 it will exceed a limit on enriched uranium set by the JCPOA. Washington is sending more troops to the Middle East. Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s S400s/F35s Conundrum

June 14, 2019

The last episode of the S400 missiles/F35 fighters controversy has taken Turkey-US relations to unprecedented lows. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sent a letter to his Turkish counterpart. For some, this was an “ultimatum”.  Ankara’s earlier proposal to Washington was forming a “working group”. It now says the language of the letter is incompatible with the spirit of alliance between two NATO members. The huge gap between the “ultimatum” and the “working group proposal” is worrisome to say the least. In the meantime, Russia is making one announcement after the other saying the S400s will be delivered before the end of July. Only a week before the rerun of the Istanbul municipal election Turkish media keeps condemning the “ultimatum”. Anti-Americanism is on the rise. Okumaya devam et

Closing of Ranks in the East, Disarray in the West

June 7, 2019

In the West, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Venezuela and Jared Kushner’s Middle East peace plan took a back seat during the week. It was President Trump who dominated the headlines. Attention initially focused on the jabs he took at the Mayor of London and the Duchess of Sussex.

In responding to a question on Brexit during his joint press conference with Prime Minister May on June 4, 2019 President Trump said:

“… This is a great, great country and it wants its own identity.  It wants to have its own borders.  It wants to run its own affairs.  This is a very, very special place.  And I think it deserves a special place.  And I thought maybe for that reason — and for others — but that reason, it was going to happen.”

And, he reiterated his commitment to a “phenomenal trade deal” between the US and the UK. Okumaya devam et

The Mecca Summits

June 2, 2019

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held summit meetings in Mecca last week. All three were chaired by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman. The choice of the holy city of Mecca for the meetings was probably aimed at reiterating Saudi Arabia’s now contested claim to the leadership of the Islamic world.

The final communiques of the GCC and the Arab League strongly targeted Iran and the Houthis. While they did not exactly overlap, the message was clear.

The GCC and the Arab League underlined the need for Iran to abide by the principles of Charter of the United Nations and the international law including non-interference in internal affairs and refraining from the threat or use of force. They called on Iran to stop supporting, financing and arming terrorist militias and organizations as well as feeding sectarian conflicts. Okumaya devam et