Middle East – August 24th, 2014

Death Toll in Syria Estimated at 191,000 | New York Times

The number of dead in Syria’s civil war more than doubled in the past year to at least 191,000, the United Nations human rights office said Friday. The agency’s chief, Navi Pillay, bluntly criticized Western nations, saying their inaction in the face of the slaughter had “empowered and emboldened” the killers.

In its third report on Syria commissioned by the United Nations, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 191,369 deaths from the start of the conflict in March 2011 to April 2014, more than double the 92,901 deaths cited in the group’s last report, which covered the first two years of the conflict. [Read more]

Obama’s Budding Cambodia Policy in Syria | truthdig

Former British ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer is advocating that the U.S. and Western Europe stop advocating the overthrow of the Baath regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and instead coordinate with it to move against the so-called “Islamic State,” which controls some predominantly Sunni Muslim desert towns on both the Syrian and Iraqi sides of the border.

The Obama administration is also talking about hitting IS in Syria.  Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that the IS cannot be defeated without taking it on in Syria.  For U.S. fighter jets to fly over Syrian air space and avoid being shot down by Russian-supplied anti-aircraft batteries of the Baath government, the U.S. would have to in some way coordinate with Damascus in this aerial bombing campaign.  Typically this arrangement is made by sharing “Identify Friend or Foe” signal codes that the jets send out so that they can be seen as friendlies.  Since the stated U.S. position is that al-Assad should resign or be overthrown ASAP, such an arrangement would be, as Meyer says, “the mother of all U-turns.” [Read more]

US ‘set to launch air strikes’ on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria | The Guardian

The United States was said to be considering air strikes aimed at eliminating individual leaders of Islamic State as Turkey came under mounting pressure to stem the flow of jihadists across its border into Syria.

As Washington debated extending air strikes into Syria on Saturday, senior British politicians urged Ankara to act to block recruits from the UK and other countries from entering Syria via Turkey, en route to joining Islamic State (formerly Isis). This weekend large numbers of Isis jihadists were trying to secure greater control of the border area, pushing northwards in armoured trucks looted from abandoned Iraqi military bases. [Read more]

How the War on Terror Created the World’s Most Powerful Terror Group | The Nation

There are extraordinary elements in the present US policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the United States is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The US would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

But US , Western European, Saudi and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition. There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army. [Read more]

Sunset an Authorization for the Use of Force in Iraq | truthout

Judging from press reports, when Congress returns from its August recess in early September, the US military will have been bombing Islamic State fighters in Iraq for a month, with a broader set of missions than originally advertised, and with plans to continue bombing for months.

The US Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution require that such a war be authorized by Congress in order to continue. We cannot accept that such major decisions about the use of our power and resources, putting US soldiers at risk and shaping the perceptions of the world about us by shedding the blood of foreigners that we don’t know, be made indefinitely behind closed doors by executive fiat. [Read more]

Obama vs. ISIS: This Time It’s Personal | The Daily Beast

The Obama administration signaled Thursday that the United States has begun a new war against the so-called Islamic State, and that group’s operatives will not be safe from America’s wrath in Iraq, in Syria, or wherever they can be tracked down.

Since U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed the authenticity of a video that showed the beheading of American journalist James Foley this week, the president and top cabinet officers have employed rhetoric about the jihadists of the Islamic State (also known as the “caliphate,” ISIS, or ISIL) that echoes the Bush administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. [Read more]

A war that crosses national boundaries | The Economist

TEN days after America carried out its first air strike on August 8th against the Islamic State (IS) on Iraqi territory, government forces regained control of the biggest dam in the country, near Mosul, the country’s second city. A ferocious al-Qaeda-inspired jihadist group that controls swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and wants to turn the entire region into a caliphate, IS looks as if it is at last on the defensive in northern Iraq.

Thanks to a series of American air raids, Kurdish and Iraqi forces scattered IS fighters who had hoisted their black flags on the walls of the great dam. The Iraqi government in Baghdad hailed the event. The Iraqi Kurds in their capital, Erbil, posted photographs of their Peshmerga forces lording it over the turquoise lake. Barack Obama cited the recovery of the dam as “important progress”. [Read more]

Islamic State can’t be beat without addressing Syrian side of border, top general says | Washington Post

Islamic State cannot be defeated without addressing “both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border” between Iraq and Syria, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

The United States and its allies in the Middle East and beyond need to join together to defeat the terrorist group “over time,” Gen. Martin Dempsey said. Asked whether the United States would extend its current campaign of airstrikes in Iraq into Syria, Dempsey said airstrikes were “only one small part” of what is necessary to defeat the group. [Read more]

Last year, Assad was the enemy. This year? We’re making friends with Syria | The Guardian

Oh the fickleness of humanity and history! This time last year, the British parliament was recalled by the prime minister, who appeared confident that he would receive a mandate to join the US in air strikes on Syria – the immediate and urgent reason being the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad’s, use of sarin gas to crush the growing uprising against him. Of course, “we” had few illusions about either the unity or the ethics of those rebels, but the argument was that there were enough people we could do business with and the Assad regime was the greater evil.

Fast forward a year, and authoritative word has winged its way across the Atlantic from the Pentagon – in the shape of a joint press conference by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the defence secretary, no less – that the only way to halt the advance of Islamic State (Isis) in northern Iraq is to bomb … Syria. But this time not the forces – official and unofficial – of Assad, but the Syria of his enemies. Because, hey, we have revised our view of the lesser evil. [Read more]

Liberman says Israel’s Gaza operation should end with ‘Hamas waving white flag’ | Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israeli television on Friday that military operations in Gaza must continue “until Hamas waves the white flag.”

In an interview with Channel 2 that aired just a few hours after it was learned that a four-year-old boy succumbed to his wounds which he sustained as a result of a mortar strike on a kibbutz near the Gaza frontier, Liberman said that the government needs to spell out “a strategic goal” that encompasses “defeating Hamas, bringing it to submission.” [Read more]

Hamas kills 18 suspected ‘collaborators’ | Times of Israel

Masked Hamas gunmen on Friday afternoon killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque as worshipers were ending midday prayers, bringing the total number of alleged collaborators killed in the coastal strip during the day to 18, according to witnesses and Hamas media.

One witness said masked gunmen lined up the seven men in a side street and opened fire on them. He spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his own safety. [Read more]

A mystery air raid | The Economist

THE warplanes came under cover of darkness on August 18th, bombing several sites in and near Tripoli, Libya’s capital, that have been associated with Islamist militias. Few Libyans know for sure who was piloting the aircraft or who had sent them. Some close to Khalifa Haftar, a former general whose forces have been fighting Islamist militias mainly in Benghazi, the country’s second city to the east, have claimed responsibility, though the strikes were probably beyond the capacity of Libya’s own depleted air force. The government of Egypt to the east, known to be worried by the Islamists bidding for power in neighbouring Libya, generally applauds attacks on them and may quietly back Mr Haftar but is loth to intervene directly. To the west the Algerian government, no less hostile to the Islamists, has been widely rumoured to have backed the aerial assault. In any event, the air raids have done nothing to end the prevailing chaos. They may even have made it worse. [Read more]

Islamists carry out ‘public execution’ on a Libyan soccer field | Washington Post

Video footage has emerged of an execution-style killing carried out by an Islamist militia in the eastern Libyan city of Darna. In a statement published Friday, human rights group Amnesty International decried the purported execution, which took place in a soccer stadium on Aug. 19, apparently “organized by an armed group called the Shura Council of Islamic Youth,” and said the act was a sign of the Libyan government’s “failure to prevent parts of the country from descending into violence and lawlessness.”

Buried beneath the grim news of bloodshed further east in Gaza, Syria and Iraq, Libya’s summer of chaos continues unabated. On Thursday, neighboring countries halted most flights to the country on security grounds after “unidentified warplanes,” believed to belong to rogue general Khalifa Haftar, bombed targets in the capital Tripoli, Reuters reported. [Read more]

ISIS Threat to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan | Guardian Liberty Voice

As U.S. public debate centers on how forcefully President Barack Obama should strike the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the muted responses by the governments of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to the threat of ISIS should be noted. The regional turmoil unleashed by ISIS tempers the actions of each these U.S. allies, as all three Sunni dominated countries have concerns that strong action to counteract the movement or overt support for U.S. efforts could increase domestic problems and turn significant portions of the populace against the respective governments. No doubt President Obama is seeking input from leaders of these states in order to determine the best course of action.

Western nations stepping into conflicts in the Middle East generally find that it is the “land of unintended consequences.” Misunderstanding regarding religious disputes going back for centuries underlie many of the problems. Acting to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq brought to the forefront the Shia and Sunni ethnic divisions in Iraq. Casting the Sunni power structure aside created the impetus behind al-Qaeda in Iraq, which then led to ISIS. Turning a blind eye to the Syrian civil war gave ISIS a recruiting platform to generate support. While perhaps feeling that Bashar al-Asaad losing control over Syria is not a bad result, remaining on the sideline as opposition forces fought against him gave ISIS credibility among many Sunni’s. [Read more]

Turkey’s Failed Foreign Policy | New York Times

In 2002, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P., turned to Ahmet Davutoglu, then an obscure academic, to help craft its new foreign policy.

In 2009, he became foreign minister and was soon attempting to resolve the region’s numerous crises. His foreign policy vision guided Turkey’s approach to the Arab Spring uprisings and has served as the basis for Turkey’s handling of the Syrian civil war. [Read more]

THE WEST IS LOSING TURKEY  | Daily Sabah

In early July this year, a spy trying to sell state documents to the Russians was caught during an operation conducted by German police. The documents had also been sold to the CIA before. This incident might have been laid aside as a belated Cold War story, but it did not happen since it was revealed that the German intelligence agency BND wiretapped some American politicians and one “friendly nation.” Then, it turned out that this friendly nation was Turkey.

The announcements were both as expected and made one smile. Evidently, the main reason is the ambiguity of the policies implemented by the Erdoğan government, which shows an unbounded character according to them. Aside from wiretapping some politicians and bureaucrats of Turkey, the BND also probably used other communication tools such as the Internet. Former BND chief Wieck stated that such authority could only be granted by the German government, while intelligence experts underlined that such an operation could only be conducted by using some intermediaries in Turkey. [Read more]

Turkey’s ambiguity over ISIL has to stop | Cihan

A broad international coalition against the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) is building up rapidly, with countries ranging from the US to Iran temporarily joining forces to crush the merciless barbarians bringing havoc to the region. That also means Turkey will be put under growing pressure to make up its mind: Will Ankara join the anti-ISIL alliance, or will Turkey remain on the sidelines and let others do the dirty job?

Till now, the Turkish government used the 49 Turkish hostages taken by ISIL as a good excuse to be extremely discrete about ISIL. Many in Turkey and abroad understood very well that bringing the hostages home safely was the most important responsibility of the Turkish authorities. The problem, however, is that the current position of carefully avoiding any position on ISIL is becoming unsustainable. [Read more]

 

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http://wp.me/p4sUqu-wx – Michael’s Blog

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Middle East – August 24th, 2014

Death Toll in Syria Estimated at 191,000 | New York Times

The number of dead in Syria’s civil war more than doubled in the past year to at least 191,000, the United Nations human rights office said Friday. The agency’s chief, Navi Pillay, bluntly criticized Western nations, saying their inaction in the face of the slaughter had “empowered and emboldened” the killers.

In its third report on Syria commissioned by the United Nations, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 191,369 deaths from the start of the conflict in March 2011 to April 2014, more than double the 92,901 deaths cited in the group’s last report, which covered the first two years of the conflict. [Read more]

Obama’s Budding Cambodia Policy in Syria | truthdig

Former British ambassador to the United States Sir Christopher Meyer is advocating that the U.S. and Western Europe stop advocating the overthrow of the Baath regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and instead coordinate with it to move against the so-called “Islamic State,” which controls some predominantly Sunni Muslim desert towns on both the Syrian and Iraqi sides of the border.

The Obama administration is also talking about hitting IS in Syria.  Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that the IS cannot be defeated without taking it on in Syria.  For U.S. fighter jets to fly over Syrian air space and avoid being shot down by Russian-supplied anti-aircraft batteries of the Baath government, the U.S. would have to in some way coordinate with Damascus in this aerial bombing campaign.  Typically this arrangement is made by sharing “Identify Friend or Foe” signal codes that the jets send out so that they can be seen as friendlies.  Since the stated U.S. position is that al-Assad should resign or be overthrown ASAP, such an arrangement would be, as Meyer says, “the mother of all U-turns.” [Read more]

US ‘set to launch air strikes’ on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria | The Guardian

The United States was said to be considering air strikes aimed at eliminating individual leaders of Islamic State as Turkey came under mounting pressure to stem the flow of jihadists across its border into Syria.

As Washington debated extending air strikes into Syria on Saturday, senior British politicians urged Ankara to act to block recruits from the UK and other countries from entering Syria via Turkey, en route to joining Islamic State (formerly Isis). This weekend large numbers of Isis jihadists were trying to secure greater control of the border area, pushing northwards in armoured trucks looted from abandoned Iraqi military bases. [Read more]

How the War on Terror Created the World’s Most Powerful Terror Group | The Nation

There are extraordinary elements in the present US policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the United States is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The US would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

But US , Western European, Saudi and Arab Gulf policy is to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, which happens to be the policy of ISIS and other jihadis in Syria. If Assad goes, then ISIS will be the beneficiary, since it is either defeating or absorbing the rest of the Syrian armed opposition. There is a pretense in Washington and elsewhere that there exists a “moderate” Syrian opposition being helped by the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and the Saudis. It is, however, weak and getting more so by the day. Soon the new caliphate may stretch from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean and the only force that can possibly stop this from happening is the Syrian army. [Read more]

Sunset an Authorization for the Use of Force in Iraq | truthout

Judging from press reports, when Congress returns from its August recess in early September, the US military will have been bombing Islamic State fighters in Iraq for a month, with a broader set of missions than originally advertised, and with plans to continue bombing for months.

The US Constitution and the 1973 War Powers Resolution require that such a war be authorized by Congress in order to continue. We cannot accept that such major decisions about the use of our power and resources, putting US soldiers at risk and shaping the perceptions of the world about us by shedding the blood of foreigners that we don’t know, be made indefinitely behind closed doors by executive fiat. [Read more]

Obama vs. ISIS: This Time It’s Personal | The Daily Beast

The Obama administration signaled Thursday that the United States has begun a new war against the so-called Islamic State, and that group’s operatives will not be safe from America’s wrath in Iraq, in Syria, or wherever they can be tracked down.

Since U.S. intelligence agencies confirmed the authenticity of a video that showed the beheading of American journalist James Foley this week, the president and top cabinet officers have employed rhetoric about the jihadists of the Islamic State (also known as the “caliphate,” ISIS, or ISIL) that echoes the Bush administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. [Read more]

A war that crosses national boundaries | The Economist

TEN days after America carried out its first air strike on August 8th against the Islamic State (IS) on Iraqi territory, government forces regained control of the biggest dam in the country, near Mosul, the country’s second city. A ferocious al-Qaeda-inspired jihadist group that controls swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and wants to turn the entire region into a caliphate, IS looks as if it is at last on the defensive in northern Iraq.

Thanks to a series of American air raids, Kurdish and Iraqi forces scattered IS fighters who had hoisted their black flags on the walls of the great dam. The Iraqi government in Baghdad hailed the event. The Iraqi Kurds in their capital, Erbil, posted photographs of their Peshmerga forces lording it over the turquoise lake. Barack Obama cited the recovery of the dam as “important progress”. [Read more]

Islamic State can’t be beat without addressing Syrian side of border, top general says | Washington Post

Islamic State cannot be defeated without addressing “both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border” between Iraq and Syria, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

The United States and its allies in the Middle East and beyond need to join together to defeat the terrorist group “over time,” Gen. Martin Dempsey said. Asked whether the United States would extend its current campaign of airstrikes in Iraq into Syria, Dempsey said airstrikes were “only one small part” of what is necessary to defeat the group. [Read more]

Last year, Assad was the enemy. This year? We’re making friends with Syria | The Guardian

Oh the fickleness of humanity and history! This time last year, the British parliament was recalled by the prime minister, who appeared confident that he would receive a mandate to join the US in air strikes on Syria – the immediate and urgent reason being the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad’s, use of sarin gas to crush the growing uprising against him. Of course, “we” had few illusions about either the unity or the ethics of those rebels, but the argument was that there were enough people we could do business with and the Assad regime was the greater evil.

Fast forward a year, and authoritative word has winged its way across the Atlantic from the Pentagon – in the shape of a joint press conference by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the defence secretary, no less – that the only way to halt the advance of Islamic State (Isis) in northern Iraq is to bomb … Syria. But this time not the forces – official and unofficial – of Assad, but the Syria of his enemies. Because, hey, we have revised our view of the lesser evil. [Read more]

Liberman says Israel’s Gaza operation should end with ‘Hamas waving white flag’ | Jerusalem Post

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israeli television on Friday that military operations in Gaza must continue “until Hamas waves the white flag.”

In an interview with Channel 2 that aired just a few hours after it was learned that a four-year-old boy succumbed to his wounds which he sustained as a result of a mortar strike on a kibbutz near the Gaza frontier, Liberman said that the government needs to spell out “a strategic goal” that encompasses “defeating Hamas, bringing it to submission.” [Read more]

Hamas kills 18 suspected ‘collaborators’ | Times of Israel

Masked Hamas gunmen on Friday afternoon killed seven suspected informants for Israel near a Gaza City mosque as worshipers were ending midday prayers, bringing the total number of alleged collaborators killed in the coastal strip during the day to 18, according to witnesses and Hamas media.

One witness said masked gunmen lined up the seven men in a side street and opened fire on them. He spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for his own safety. [Read more]

A mystery air raid | The Economist

THE warplanes came under cover of darkness on August 18th, bombing several sites in and near Tripoli, Libya’s capital, that have been associated with Islamist militias. Few Libyans know for sure who was piloting the aircraft or who had sent them. Some close to Khalifa Haftar, a former general whose forces have been fighting Islamist militias mainly in Benghazi, the country’s second city to the east, have claimed responsibility, though the strikes were probably beyond the capacity of Libya’s own depleted air force. The government of Egypt to the east, known to be worried by the Islamists bidding for power in neighbouring Libya, generally applauds attacks on them and may quietly back Mr Haftar but is loth to intervene directly. To the west the Algerian government, no less hostile to the Islamists, has been widely rumoured to have backed the aerial assault. In any event, the air raids have done nothing to end the prevailing chaos. They may even have made it worse. [Read more]

Islamists carry out ‘public execution’ on a Libyan soccer field | Washington Post

Video footage has emerged of an execution-style killing carried out by an Islamist militia in the eastern Libyan city of Darna. In a statement published Friday, human rights group Amnesty International decried the purported execution, which took place in a soccer stadium on Aug. 19, apparently “organized by an armed group called the Shura Council of Islamic Youth,” and said the act was a sign of the Libyan government’s “failure to prevent parts of the country from descending into violence and lawlessness.”

Buried beneath the grim news of bloodshed further east in Gaza, Syria and Iraq, Libya’s summer of chaos continues unabated. On Thursday, neighboring countries halted most flights to the country on security grounds after “unidentified warplanes,” believed to belong to rogue general Khalifa Haftar, bombed targets in the capital Tripoli, Reuters reported. [Read more]

ISIS Threat to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan | Guardian Liberty Voice

As U.S. public debate centers on how forcefully President Barack Obama should strike the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the muted responses by the governments of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to the threat of ISIS should be noted. The regional turmoil unleashed by ISIS tempers the actions of each these U.S. allies, as all three Sunni dominated countries have concerns that strong action to counteract the movement or overt support for U.S. efforts could increase domestic problems and turn significant portions of the populace against the respective governments. No doubt President Obama is seeking input from leaders of these states in order to determine the best course of action.

Western nations stepping into conflicts in the Middle East generally find that it is the “land of unintended consequences.” Misunderstanding regarding religious disputes going back for centuries underlie many of the problems. Acting to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq brought to the forefront the Shia and Sunni ethnic divisions in Iraq. Casting the Sunni power structure aside created the impetus behind al-Qaeda in Iraq, which then led to ISIS. Turning a blind eye to the Syrian civil war gave ISIS a recruiting platform to generate support. While perhaps feeling that Bashar al-Asaad losing control over Syria is not a bad result, remaining on the sideline as opposition forces fought against him gave ISIS credibility among many Sunni’s. [Read more]

Turkey’s Failed Foreign Policy | New York Times

In 2002, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party, known as the A.K.P., turned to Ahmet Davutoglu, then an obscure academic, to help craft its new foreign policy.

In 2009, he became foreign minister and was soon attempting to resolve the region’s numerous crises. His foreign policy vision guided Turkey’s approach to the Arab Spring uprisings and has served as the basis for Turkey’s handling of the Syrian civil war. [Read more]

THE WEST IS LOSING TURKEY  | Daily Sabah

In early July this year, a spy trying to sell state documents to the Russians was caught during an operation conducted by German police. The documents had also been sold to the CIA before. This incident might have been laid aside as a belated Cold War story, but it did not happen since it was revealed that the German intelligence agency BND wiretapped some American politicians and one “friendly nation.” Then, it turned out that this friendly nation was Turkey.

The announcements were both as expected and made one smile. Evidently, the main reason is the ambiguity of the policies implemented by the Erdoğan government, which shows an unbounded character according to them. Aside from wiretapping some politicians and bureaucrats of Turkey, the BND also probably used other communication tools such as the Internet. Former BND chief Wieck stated that such authority could only be granted by the German government, while intelligence experts underlined that such an operation could only be conducted by using some intermediaries in Turkey. [Read more]

Turkey’s ambiguity over ISIL has to stop | Cihan

A broad international coalition against the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant (ISIL) is building up rapidly, with countries ranging from the US to Iran temporarily joining forces to crush the merciless barbarians bringing havoc to the region. That also means Turkey will be put under growing pressure to make up its mind: Will Ankara join the anti-ISIL alliance, or will Turkey remain on the sidelines and let others do the dirty job?

Till now, the Turkish government used the 49 Turkish hostages taken by ISIL as a good excuse to be extremely discrete about ISIL. Many in Turkey and abroad understood very well that bringing the hostages home safely was the most important responsibility of the Turkish authorities. The problem, however, is that the current position of carefully avoiding any position on ISIL is becoming unsustainable. [Read more]

 

Related Articles

http://wp.me/p4sUqu-wx – Michael’s Blog

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