Soon after the Russian onslaught against Ukraine, most observers agreed that the conflict would gradually become a protracted war. In other words, the fighting would lose intensity, and perhaps ceasefires would be declared, only to be followed by allegations of their violation. As NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said, it is absolutely possible that this war will drag on for months and years.
Yesterday, following an extraordinary meeting in Cairo, the Arab League re-admitted Syria to its ranks after an 11-year absence. According to CNN, “Syria, from tonight, is a full member of the Arab League, and starting tomorrow they have the right to participate in any meeting. When the host nation, in this case, Saudi Arabia, sends the invitation, (Assad) can attend if he wishes to,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit told journalists. Moreover, the Arab League supports the “territorial integrity of Syria,” and the “withdrawal of all foreign forces” from the country said the Arab League statement.
On May 14, Türkiye will hold what can only be defined as “the last exit to democracy” presidential and parliamentary elections. The AKP has been in power for two decades. Its early years in power inspired cautious optimism. Its last decade in terms of foreign and security policy, domestic politics, independence of the judiciary, the economy, and Türkiye’s internal peace and unity has been a disaster. In brief, the people of Türkiye will give marks to the AKP government, and the people of the world will give marks to the people of Türkiye.
On March 10, 2023, the “Joint Trilateral Statement by the People’s Republic of China, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Islamic Republic of Iran” was issued in Beijing. The Joint Statement started with a reference “to the noble initiative of President Xi Jinping and China’s support for developing good neighborly relations between the Kingdom and the Islamic Republic”. It then mentioned the gratitude of both parties to the Republic of Iraq and the Sultanate of Oman for hosting rounds of dialogue that took place between both sides during the years 2021-2022. The two sides also expressed their appreciation and gratitude to China for hosting and sponsoring the talks. Getting credit for peace-making in the Middle East is a noteworthy achievement.
Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, and Tony Blair served as Prime Ministers for approximately 9, 12, and 10 years respectively. Are they on top of the list of longest-serving British leaders? No. Sir Robert Walpole, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Leader of the House of Commons, in other words, the de facto first Prime Minister of Great Britain. He remained in power for almost 22 years but that was in the mid-18th century.
On June 14, 2021, Mr. Biden arrived in Brussels on his first trip to Europe as President. The Brussels Summit Communiqué issued by the NATO Heads of State and Government on that day broke new ground by mentioning China in a NATO public statement for the first time. It said, “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behavior present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and areas relevant to Alliance security.”
On February 23, 2023, the UN General Assembly through its Resolution A/ES-11/L.7, once again called for ending the war in Ukraine and demanded Russia’s immediate withdrawal from the country in line with the UN Charter. The voting was very similar to last year’s Resolution ES‑11/4. And the message of the majority was the same: “End the war.”
On February 6, 2023, two major earthquakes struck southern and central Turkey and northern and western Syria. The international media correctly referred to them as the “Turkey-Syria earthquakes”. But for those familiar with the downturn relations between the two countries as a result of the Turkish government’s misguided leadership role in the regime change project in Syria, the title also had a political message: cooperation between neighboring countries is the dictate of reason no matter what. Twelve years ago, Ankara and Damascus were the closest friends, but then they became enemies. And the earthquakes united them in misery. The delays in getting international aid to quake-stricken regions of Syria were most unfortunate.