July 3, 2019
On April 27, 2018 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un crossed the line that has divided the Korean Peninsula for the last 65 years, for a historic summit with President Moon Jae-in. The two leaders signed the three-page “Panmunjom Declaration,” which mentioned the ushering in of a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, alleviating military tension and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula. The declaration also confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a “nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.” However, this was the last item coming after other measures to ensure the normalization of relations between the two Koreas.
The two leaders also had one-to-one chats. Okumaya devam et
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
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
May 16, 2019
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. The Arab Spring led to a new set of confrontations. Snowden affair became an irritant and led 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 a brief encounter of the two leaders there paved the way for the agreement on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons only to be followed by the crisis in Ukraine. Okumaya devam et
May 9, 2019
That Turkey has a strategic location is an axiom of our foreign policy. Although this is generally presented as an asset, it has always been a double-edged sword since we border on conflict areas, prominently among them the Middle East. In the past, we believed that non-involvement in regional problems particularly inter-Arab feuds, doing our best to control damage and to promote stability served our interests.
Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had severe consequences for Turkey’s security, trade and economic relations with the region. Later, the US invasion of Iraq, the Arab spring, the Syrian conflict and the rise of the Islamic state threw our immediate vicinity into turmoil. Okumaya devam et
April 25, 2019
President Hassan Rouhani had called the JCPOA a “golden page” in his country’s history, opening a new chapter in Iran’s engagement with the world. It was hoped that the deal would end decades of hostile relations between Tehran and Washington.
With President Trump that “golden page” has unfortunately turned into a fond memory. With the IAEA regularly reporting that Iran is abiding by its commitments under the JCPOA, the P4+Germany and the international community, with the exception of Israel and US’ Gulf allies, still support the deal. Washington’s reneging on its commitments under the JCPOA will no doubt lead to questions regarding the consistency of US foreign policy. But equally if not more important will be dealing with Mr. Trump’s threat that “anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States”, despite the fact that these new sanctions are not endorsed by the UN. Okumaya devam et
March 2, 2019
The three paragraphs below were among the conclusions I had drawn from the first Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore on June 12, 2018 (*):
- The Singapore summit marks the relaunching, under more favorable circumstances and with a lot of theater, of decades of diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang on denuclearization. However, the DPRK is now an established nuclear power. Thus, there is a long road ahead and a US president with little patience.
- One may conclude therefore that in the negotiations soon to be launched, the Trump White House would insist on rapid denuclearization and Kim Jong Un on the need to normalize relations and at least a gradual lifting of sanctions.
- It seems that under Mr. Trump conventional diplomacy will give way to one-to-one deal-making with no mention of agreements, treaties and multilateralism.
Okumaya devam et