With the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire taking hold last Friday, the 11-day Gaza conflict is hopefully over.
By and large, this latest episode also conformed to the pattern of Gaza confrontations. There were clashes at Jerusalem’s holy sites; Israel reacted with force to Hamas rockets; Gaza suffered devastation; divided Palestinian leadership called for an end to subjugation and occupation; UN Secretary General and some countries urged de-escalation; Arab governments expressed indignation; and a senior US diplomat traveled to the region to help achieve a cease-fire.
In my last post I tried to highlight the roller-coaster pattern of Israeli-Palestinian violence.
In his New York Times article of May 14, titled “Arab World Condemns Israeli Violence but Takes Little Action”, Eric Erlanger started off with the following:
“The Arab world is unified in condemning Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and the way the Israeli police invaded Jerusalem’s Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Governments have spoken out, protests have taken place, social media is aflame.
“But by and large the condemnation is only words, not actions — at least so far.”
Palestinians remain more than frustrated with the status quo and in the absence of any progress towards the two-state solution their discontent usually hits the surface in the form of some violence. And whenever there is violence, Israel says that it will not tolerate incitement, terrorism and reacts with disproportional force; Palestinian leadership calls for an end to subjugation and occupation; UN Secretary General urges calm; Arab governments express indignation; they remember the Arab League; the Quartet issues a statement advising restraint; the EU expresses concern: finally, either the US Secretary of State or some other high official travels to the region to find a way out because such violence always puts Washington on the spot by virtue of its unique relationship with Israel. And a roller-coaster pattern of violence goes on.
From the very beginning of his presidency Mr. Trump’s principal foreign policy target was the Iran nuclear deal, described by many as his predecessor’s “signature achievement”.
Thus, the US announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018. A month later, on June 12, 2018 Mr. Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Following the summit, he held a press conference and said, “My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct, and productive. We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time, under very strong, strong circumstance. We’re prepared to start a new history and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations.”
With inauguration safely behind, President Biden would now start addressing America’s polarization, Covid-19, and a wrecked foreign policy. He has a far heavier agenda than many of his predecessors.
Among his major tasks in the international arena would be restoring confidence in the Washington’s foreign policy steadiness and charting a reasonable course in relations with China and Russia. Washington’s traditional Western allies, disillusioned with the Trump presidency, would give Mr. Biden more than a warm welcome while anxiously watching domestic developments in the US. Because according to a CNN poll, 47% of Republicans still say the party should continue to treat Trump as the leader of the party. And remains to be seen whether going ahead with a second impeachment, though more than justified, was a politically wise decision.
The main foreign policy topics of the past decade have been China’s ascendancy, relations between the West and a resurgent Russia, the rise of authoritarianism, democracy’s decline, the failure of multilateralism and climate change. With the Trump White House, most of the questions raised in recent years focused on Washington. People started asking “what went wrong?” to use the title of Bernard Lewis’s remarkable book on the clash between Islam and modernity in the Middle East. Pundits in the West, including the US, started talking about Washington’s external military interventions and their political/diplomatic/economic cost, racism, gridlock. Some of the questions raised went beyond the Trump years. With major foreign and security policy challenges and 251,000 new coronavirus cases recorded last Friday, Mr. Biden will not be moving to a dream house on January 20.
This is an attempt to describe, as briefly as possible, state of Turkey’s foreign relations.
Russia-Turkey: For the optimist the word of choice could be “tension”, for the pessimist “enmity”.
EU-Turkey: One can pick any one of the following for a single word description: annoyance, frustration, grief, irritation, vexation. There is, however, a two-word alternative: “unworthy deals”. Okumaya devam et →
July 14 will no longer be remembered only as the French National Day commemorating the storming of the Bastille. It will also be remembered as the day of the nuclear deal with Iran or V-Day for diplomacy.
In an interview he gave in early April 2015, President Obama told Thomas Friedman of The New York Times that “engagement,” combined with meeting core strategic needs, could serve American interests vis-à-vis countries like Burma, Cuba and Iran far better than endless sanctions and isolation. Okumaya devam et →
On 26 March 2015, Saudi Arabia supported by the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar started air strikes against the Houthis who in addition to Yemen’s capital Sana had also captured the country’s second largest city Aden forcing the deposed but still struggling President Hadi to flee. It was reported that Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, Egypt and Pakistan were also taking part in the operations. According to the Egyptian state news agency, Egypt’s support could involve ground forces. The US and Turkey also announced their support. Okumaya devam et →
It was only a decade ago that Turkey, in recognition of its commitment to continuing political and economic reform, was given green light to start accession negotiations with the EU. Peoples of the region were following the process with envy. It was less than a decade ago that Turkey was playing a facilitator role between Syria and Israel. Our relations with neighbors were characterized by a determination to open new avenues of cooperation reflecting shared interest. It was in 2004 that a consortium led by a Turkish company won the contract to build the third terminal of the Cairo airport. The terminal was opened at the end of 2008 and doubled airport’s passenger capacity. In April 2009 Turkey became the first country to host President Obama on a bilateral visit. Okumaya devam et →