[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] I [/yt_dropcap]n a way as to assure the global community of the serious approach of USA in changing political atmosphere following the presidential poll, US President-elect Donald Trump said he wants to put an end to the Israel-Palestinian conflict and thereby bring to the Mideast region.
“That’s the ultimate deal,” Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, referring to the complex conflict as the “war that never ends.” Just one day after winning the election, Trump has asked hawkish Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with him in the USA.
Relations between Israel and Palestine have been wrecked for decades, as Palestinians have been seeking diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip.
The most recent round of peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians was initiated by the United States in mid-2013 but ended in an impasse almost a year later. USA plays mischief in the name of diplomacy with Palestine and world. President Obama, like his predecessors had done, just could not push the arrogant Israeli regime to come to terms with reality and agree for peaceful resolution of the Mideast conflict, making the world vulnerable to tensions and wars.
Peace has not been the motto of Obama as he intensified the wars launched by roguish Bushdom leaders on the pretext of Sept-11.
President elect Trump is expected to choose peace in order to wind down all terror wars. Hence his views on Palestine gains importance.
Trump noted that any deal should be directly negotiated between Israel and Palestine, but that his government would play a “significant role” in helping the parties to achieve a just, lasting peace,” according to the Times of Israel.
He also stated that Israel is a “beacon of hope to countless people,” and that it shares the same values as the USA, such as “freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the importance of creating opportunities for all citizens to pursue their dreams.”
Trump however does not elaborate what exactly are the “values” shared between USA and Israel, except the ongoing illegal aggression and terror wars and genocides of Muslims in Arab world.
The Israeli right hopes Trump’s election will end the animosity between Netanyahu’s government and that of US President Obama’s government, according to the Jerusalem Post. However, two months are left before Obama leaves office. As US State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters in Washington, “I can’t rule out that there may be a new initiative before the end of this government.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia told Sputnik he hoped Donald Trump would “make some difference” in the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered Moscow as a venue for Israeli-Palestinian talks. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated, “Our country is ready to act as a mediator.” Russia called for the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue on the basis of a two-state solution, stressing its support for the Palestinian cause, the Palestinian news agency Wafareported yesterday.
Speaking during a visit to Jericho in the occupied West Bank where he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said: “This initiative is still on the table,” in reference to talks being held in Moscow without preconditions. “Russia has always clung to its consistent position which is that the solution of the Palestinian issue is a priority and a prerequisite for the settlement of a fair and inclusive Middle East based on the resolutions of the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations.”
During their meeting, Abbas told Medvedev: “We welcomed the invitation of President Putin to hold a tripartite meeting in Moscow, but the Israeli side requested a postponement.” “From a long time ago, we have been prepared for a direct dialogue with the Israeli side.” He added, however, that for those talks to occur, the Palestinians would want Israel to accept that a two-state solution would be based on the pre-1967 lines.
Medvedev met Israel’s PM B Netanyahu on Thursday and Palestinian President Abbas yesterday. He stressed that Moscow provides aid to Palestine on a regular basis, and it has provided $40 million in recent years and allocated an additional $5 million for the reconstruction of Gaza in 2015 after Israel’s devastating summer war in 2014.
The Palestinian ambassador to Russia told Sputnik his country hopes that cooperation between US President-elect Donald Trump and Moscow on the Israel-Palestine issue will make a substantial contribution to its peaceful resolution. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko said that Russia would continue to call on Israel and Palestine to resume dialogue as soon as possible.
Palestinians seek diplomatic recognition by UN for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which is partially occupied by Israel, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements on the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.
Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier agreed to bilateral talks in principle, but have repeatedly shifted blame onto the other side for the lack of definite date for the negotiations.
Upon failure of the Obama regime to pressure Israel to agree for peace, France took the initiative to pursue the peace goal. On June 3, 2016, an international conference on the Israeli-Palestinian settlement took place in Paris. Both Russia and the USA took part in the event as part of the Middle East Quartet, which also includes the European Union and the United Nations. The sides, as usual and without any seriousness and credibility, called on Israel and Palestine to engage in direct negotiations on the basis of corresponding UN Security Council resolutions.
The problem is the Quartet shamelessly continues to support Israeli regime. Outside the Middle East Quartet, Russia and the USA are not cooperating on settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In late September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a press conference following his address to the UN General Assembly that Moscow continued working with both Israel and Palestine to resume negotiations, noting that the parties were not equally eager to consider the initiative. But USA does not allow Russia to directly initiate any mediatory efforts and Russia needs US supports for its economic goals.
The State of Palestine is recognized by 137 countries, including Russia. The war in Syria has not changed the friendly relations maintained between the Russian and Israeli armed forces, as no incidents have occurred that could undermine these relations
Cunning Israel was one of the first countries to set up communications with Russia in an effort to prevent accidents and dangerous incidents throughout Russia’s counter-terrorist campaign in Syria.
The Syrian civil war, broke out in 2011when armed opposition groups rose up against the government of President Bashar Assad, is still on.. The conflict has since grown in complexity and has given rise to a number of jihadist terrorist groups inside Syria. Russia began its anti-terrorist aerial campaign in September 2015 at the request of Assad.
Israel is eagerly waiting for more terror wars in Mideast by the Pentagon led NATO so that it needs not worry about surrendering Palestinian territories back to Palestinians themselves.
Trump should know mere worlds wont be enough to make Israel shed its mindset and agree for peace deal with Palestine. Mere “talks” won’t do any good for Palestinians and Mideast as Israel abruptly ends the talks by suing its agents in Gaza Strip to fire toy missiles into Israel rocks. Like USA Israel employs false pretexts and fake threat perceptions to accelerate aggression and genocides of Muslims in Palestine.
As all his predecessors have failed to use the surer power statues to bring Israel to any credible peace deal, Trump should adopt new techniques to end wars I between Israel and Palestine, on the one hand, and between USA and Arab nations, on the other.
If, however, Trump also is not sincere and plays just the usual US gimmicks, nothing would change in Mideast. The terror blockades of Israel and Egypt would continue to crush the youth of Palestine. Israel would continue to attack and kill the besieged people Palestine.
Erdogan’s Calamitous Authoritarianism
Turkey’s President Erdogan is becoming ever more dangerous as he continues to ravage his own country and destabilize scores of states in the Middle East, the Balkans, and North Africa, while cozying up to the West’s foremost advisories. Sadly, there seems to be no appetite for most EU member states to challenge Erdogan and put him on notice that he can no longer pursue his authoritarianism at home and his adventurous meddling abroad with impunity.
To understand the severity of Erdogan’s actions and ambitions and their dire implications, it suffices to quote Ahmet Davutoglu, formerly one of Erdogan’s closest associates who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and subsequently Prime Minister. Following his forced resignation in May 2016 he stated “I will sustain my faithful relationship with our president until my last breath. No one has ever heard — and will ever hear — a single word against our president come from my mouth.”
Yet on October 12, Davutoglu declared “Erdogan left his friends who struggled and fought with him in exchange for the symbols of ancient Turkey, and he is trying to hold us back now…. You yourself [Erdogan] are the calamity. The biggest calamity that befell this people is the regime that turned the country into a disastrous family business.”
The stunning departure of Davutoglu from his earlier statement shows how desperate conditions have become, and echoed how far and how dangerously Erdogan has gone. Erdogan has inflicted a great calamity on his own people, and his blind ambition outside Turkey is destabilizing many countries while dangerously undermining Turkey’s and its Western allies’ national security and strategic interests.
A brief synopsis of Erdogan’s criminal domestic practices and his foreign misadventures tell the whole story.
Domestically, he incarcerated tens of thousands of innocent citizens on bogus charges, including hundreds of journalists. Meanwhile he is pressuring the courts to send people to prison for insulting him, as no one can even express their thoughts about this ruthlessness. Internationally, Erdogan ordered Turkish intelligence operatives to kill or smuggle back to the country Turkish citizens affiliated with the Gülen movement.
He regularly cracks down on Turkey’s Kurdish minority, preventing them from living a normal life in accordance with their culture, language, and traditions, even though they have been and continue to be loyal Turkish citizens. There is no solution to the conflict except political, as former Foreign Minister Ali Babacan adamantly stated on October 20: “… a solution [to the Kurdish issue] will be political and we will defend democracy persistently.”
Erdogan refuses to accept the law of the sea convention that gives countries, including Cyprus, the right to an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for energy exploration, while threatening the use of force against Greece, another NATO member no less. He openly sent a research ship to the region for oil and gas deposits, which EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called “extremely worrying.”
He invaded Syria with Trump’s blessing to prevent the Syrian Kurds from establishing autonomous rule, under the pretext of fighting the PKK and the YPG (the Syrian Kurdish militia that fought side-by-side the US, and whom Erdogan falsely accuses of being a terrorist group).
He is sending weapons to the Sunni in northern Lebanon while setting up a branch of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) in the country—a practice Erdogan has used often to gain a broader foothold in countries where it has an interest.
While the Turkish economy is in tatters, he is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the Balkans, flooding countries with Turkish imams to spread his Islamic gospel and to ensure their place in his neo-Ottoman orbit. Criticizing Erdogan’s economic leadership, Babacan put it succinctly when he said this month that “It is not possible in Turkey for the economic or financial system to continue, or political legitimacy hold up.”
Erdogan is corrupt to the bone. He conveniently appointed his son-in-law as Finance Minister, which allows him to hoard tens of millions of dollars, as Davutoglu slyly pointed out: “The only accusation against me…is the transfer of land to an educational institution over which I have no personal rights and which I cannot leave to my daughter, my son, my son-in-law or my daughter-in-law.”
Erdogan is backing Azerbaijan in its dispute with Armenia (backed by Iran) over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inhabited by ethnic Armenians and has been the subject of dispute for over 30 years.
He is exploiting Libya’s civil strife by providing the Government of National Accord (GNA) with drones and military equipment to help Tripoli gain the upper hand in its battle against Khalifa Haftar’s forces. Former Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis said in February 2020 that “The unclear Turkish foreign policy by Erdogan may put Turkey in grave danger due to this expansion towards Libya.”
He is meddling in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an effort to prevent them from settling their dispute unless Israel meets Palestinian demands. He granted several Hamas officials Turkish citizenship to spite Israel, even though Hamas openly calls for Israel’s destruction.
He betrayed NATO by buying the Russian-made S-400 air defense system, which seriously compromises the alliance’s technology and intelligence.
He is destabilizing many countries, including Somalia, Qatar, Libya, and Syria, by dispatching military forces and hardware while violating the air space of other countries like Iraq, Cyprus, and Greece. Yakis said Turkey is engaging in a “highly daring bet where the risks of failure are enormous.”
Erdogan supports extremist Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, and an assortment of jihadists, including ISIS, knowing full well that these groups are sworn enemies of the West—yet he uses them as a tool to promote his wicked Islamic agenda.
He regularly blackmails EU members, threatening to flood Europe with Syria refugees unless they support his foreign escapades such as his invasion of Syria, and provide him with billions in financial aid to cope with the Syrian refugees.
The question is how much more evidence does the EU need to act? A close look at Erdogan’s conduct clearly illuminates his ultimate ambition to restore much of the Ottoman Empire’s influence over the countries that were once under its control.
Erdogan is dangerous. He has cited Hitler as an example of an effective executive presidential system, and may seek to acquire nuclear weapons. It’s time for the EU to wake up and take Erdogan’s long-term agenda seriously, and take severe punitive measures to arrest his potentially calamitous behavior. Sadly, the EU has convinced itself that from a geostrategic perspective Turkey is critically important, which Erdogan is masterfully exploiting.
The EU must be prepared take a stand against Erdogan, with or without the US. Let’s hope, though, that Joe Biden will be the next president and together with the EU warn Erdogan that his days of authoritarianism and foreign adventurism are over.
The views expressed are those of the author.
Syrian Refugees Have Become A Tool Of Duplicitous Politics
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria the issue of Syrian refugees and internally displace has been the subject of countless articles and reports with international humanitarian organizations and countries involved in the Syrian conflict shifting responsibility for the plight of migrants.
The most notorious example of human suffering put against political games is the Rukban refugee camp located in eastern Syria inside the 55-km zone around Al-Tanf base controlled by the U.S. and its proxies.
According to official information, more than 50,000 people, mostly women and children, currently live in the camp. This is a huge number comparable to the population of a small town. The Syrian government, aware of the plight of people in Rukban, has repeatedly urged Washington to open a humanitarian corridor so that everyone can safely return home. However, all such proposals were ignored by the American side. U.S. also refuse to provide the camp with first aid items. Neighbouring Jordan is inactive, too, despite Rukban being the largest of dozens other temporary detention centres in Syria, where people eke out a meager existence.
At the same time, the problem is not only refugee camps. Syria has been at war for a decade. The country’s economy has suffered greatly over this period, and many cities have been practically grazed to the ground. Moreover, the global coronavirus epidemic didn’t spare Syria and drained the already weakened economy even more. However, Damascus’ attempts of post-war reconstruction and economic recovery were undermined by multiple packages of severe sanctions imposed by the U.S. At the same time, U.S.-based human rights monitors and humanitarian organizations continue to weep over the Syrian citizens’ misery.
The situation is the same for those refugees who stay in camps abroad, especially in countries bordering on Syria, particularly Jordan and Turkey. Ankara has been using Syrian citizens as a leverage against the European states in pursuit of political benefits for a long time. No one pays attention to the lives of people who are used as a change coin in big politics. This is equally true for Rukban where refugees are held in inhuman conditions and not allowed to return to their homeland. In those rare exceptions that they are able to leave, refugees have to pay large sums of money that most of those living in camp are not able to come by.
It’s hard to predict how long the Syrian conflict will go on and when – or if – the American military will leave the Al-Tanf base. One thing can be said for sure: the kind of criminal inaction and disregard for humanitarian catastrophe witnessed in refugee camps is a humiliating failure of modern diplomacy and an unforgivable mistake for the international community. People shouldn’t be a tool in the games of politicians.
Is Syria Ready For Second Wave Of COVID-19?
Despite a relative calm that has been holding on the front lines of the Syrian conflict since the beginning of the year, Syria had to face other equally – if not more – serious challenges. The spread of COVID-19 virus in the wake of a general economic collapse and a health care system battered by nine years of war threatened Syria with a death toll as a high as that of resumed military confrontation. However, the actual scale of the infection rate turned out to be less than it was expected considering the circumstances.
Although Syria did not have much in resources to mobilize, unlike some other countries that were slow to enforce restrictions or ignored them altogether, the Syrian authorities did not waste time to introduce basic measures that, as it became obvious in hindsight, proved to be the most effective. A quarantine was instituted in the areas controlled by the government, all transportation between the provinces was suspended, schools and universities were temporarily closed and face masks were made obligatory in public spaces.
As a result, official data puts the number of people infected with COVID-19 in the government areas at modest 4,457 while 192 people died of the infection. In turn, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria announced that 1,998 people contracted the virus. The data on the infection rate in the opposition-controlled areas in Idlib and Aleppo is incomplete, but the latest number is 1,072. Compared to the neighboring Turkey with 9,000 of deaths of COVID-19, Syria seems to be doing relatively well.
Tackling the virus put the already embattled health care system under enormous strain. Syrian doctors are dealing with an acute shortage of medicines and equipment, and even hospital beds are in short supply. Over 60 medical workers who treated COVID-19 patients died.
The situation is worsened even further by the economic hardships, not least due to the sanctions imposed on Syria by the U.S. and the European states. Syrian hospitals are unable to procure modern equipment necessary for adequate treatment of COVID-19, most importantly test kits and ventilators.
The economic collapse exposed and aggravated many vulnerabilities that could have been easily treated under more favorable circumstances. A grim, yet fitting example: long queues in front of bakeries selling bread at subsidised prices, that put people under the risk of catching the virus. Many Syrians are simply unable to avoid risking their health in these queues, as an average income is no longer enough to provide for a family.
Moreover, despite a nation-wide information campaign conducted with the goal of spreading awareness about means of protections against COVID-19 like social distancing and mask-wearing, for many Syrians the disease is still stigmatized, and those who contracted it are often too ashamed to go to a hospital or even confess to their friends. As consequence, a substantial number of cases goes unreported.
With the second wave of COVID-19 in sight, it is of utmost importance that the work of health care professionals is supported, not subverted by the citizens. Otherwise Syria – and the world – may pay too high a price.
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