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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
Reaction to President Trump’s sudden announcement of troop pullout from Syria and the talks between Washington and the Taliban have reignited the debate on the war on terror.
On February 3, the New York Times editorial titled “End the War in Afghanistan” said:
“But as part of any withdrawal discussions, it should be made clear to the Taliban, the Afghan government and neighboring nations that if the country is allowed to again become a base for international terrorism, the United States will return to eradicate that threat…”
It then mentioned the possibility that the Taliban and regional players like Pakistan, Russia, Iran, India and China might work together on acooperative solution to stabilize Afghanistan and deny terrorists a regional base. And, it concluded by saying that America needs to recognize that foreign war is not a vaccine against global terrorism. (emphasis added) (1) Okumaya devam et →
With rising but controlled tension over the Kerch Strait incident, a cancelled Trump-Putin meeting, uncertainty regarding U.S.-North Korea dialogue, the war in Yemen, continuing turmoil in the broad Middle East, U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA, the prospect of a widening China-U.S. trade war with political consequences, the rise of populism, Brexit, yellow-vests in France, poor global governance and lack of leadership, world agenda has become even more complicated.
The Syrian conflict which remained on top for almost a decade no longer seems to be a priority. In earlier years this was about the future of the Assad regime, dialogue between Damascus and the opposition, a new constitution, elections. Now, however, the content appears to be shifting away from these towards a confrontation between the U.S. and the Astana format. The shift can be explained to a good measure by Trump administration’s anti-Iran policy jointly defined with Israel and supported by the Saudi-led coalition. An interrelated issue is Washington’s cooperation with the PYD/YPG.
Guarantors of the Astana format met in Kazakh capital on November 29, 2018. Their Joint Statement (*) had two messages. Okumaya devam et →
The JCPOA was finalized by Iran and the P5+1 on July 14, 2015. Six days later the UN Security Council voted unanimously to endorse the agreement and “terminate” all prior UN sanctions subject to re-imposition through a snapback mechanism. High level visits to Tehran immediately started. The first to arrive was German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. He was followed by EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. These were months before the IAEA certified that Iran had fulfilled her obligations under the JCPOA and the US and the EU lifted their nuclear-related oil and financial sanctions against Iran. President Hassan Rouhani described the achievement as a “golden page” in his country’s history opening new windows for Iran’s engagement with the world. It was hoped that the deal would end decades of hostile relations between Tehran and Washington. Okumaya devam et →