Ever since the rise of ISIL and Syria’s proxy wars compelled Moscow and Washington to engage in greater cooperation they have had three hurdles to tackle:
• Breaking the deadlock over Assad’s future.
• Persuading the regional backers of Damascus and the opposition to give their support, not only in words but also in deeds, to a Syrian-owned political transition.
• Securing a broad-based agreement on who is a “terrorist” and who is a “moderate”.
During the past year, Syrian President’s future, at least during the initial phases of such transition, seems to have become less of an issue. Even his archenemy Turkey’s position has shifted. The other two still top the agenda, but in reverse order. Okumaya devam et →
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 →
During his first visit to Moscow on 6-8 July 2009 President Obama tried to “reset” relations. Unfortunately for the international community this failed to materialize. Russians probably preferred to wait and see. The Arab Spring led to a new set of confrontations. Snowden affair became an irritant and lead to the cancellation by Washington of an Obama-Putin summit that was to take place during the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg on 5-6 September 2013. Yet their brief encounter there led to the 14 September 2013 agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons only to be followed by the crisis in Ukraine.
Since the Syria chemical weapons deal which was indeed an achievement, both Secretary Kerry and Minister Lavrov have repeatedly said that the resolution of many international problems depend on their countries’ joint efforts, that together the US and Russia can make a difference, make things happen. I share their judgment. Yet, the US and Russia have hardly made concrete progress on anything since the Syria chemical weapons deal. Conflict over Ukraine has become a major stumbling block. They need to break the impasse. Okumaya devam et →
21 May 2015
22 September 2015 will mark the 35th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq-Iran war which lasted eight years. This was followed by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the First Gulf War. In 2003 it was the turn of the US to invade Iraq. In other words, an Iraqi born in the year 1980 or after does not know what peace is.
On 31 March 2015, PM Haider al-Abadi announced the liberation of Saddam’s hometown Tikrit from Daesh by Iraqi security forces and popular mobilization units. Vice President Biden cautioned that the war in Iraq was far from over but sounded upbeat. There was talk about Iraqi forces getting ready for an offensive to liberate the entire Anbar province and later Mosul. Okumaya devam et →