The Assassination of a Russian Ambassador Won’t Stop Russo-Turkish Reconciliation

Dec. 26 2016

After a brief period during which Ankara and Moscow found themselves backing opposite sides in the Syrian civil war, reconciliation now seems inevitable—despite the dramatic assassination of the Russian envoy to Turkey. Eyal Zisser explains what this renewed alliance portends:

Russia’s [return to the Middle East] has been facilitated by Iranian cooperation, in exchange for substantial profits. Thus in Syria the Russians are bombing targets from the sky and the Iranians are fighting on the ground. It is safe to assume that this partnership between Moscow and Tehran, which also includes Hizballah, is predicated on an agreement to partition Syria and essentially the entire [Arab] Middle East—Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon—into spheres of Russian and Iranian influence. . . .

At the base of the shift in Turkey’s position is the recognition of Russian military might and ability to inflict damage, but also the realization that Washington has abandoned the region and its friends there. The Turks are also realistic enough to understand that under the present circumstances their proxies in Syria, the rebels fighting Assad, have only a slim chance of emerging victorious. Yet aside from all this, Turkey views the Kurds as the real danger. Thus latching onto Moscow and moving against the Kurds, who are supported by Washington, is a prudent and necessary step.

We can assume that in return for its willingness to help stabilize the situation in Syria, Turkey’s proxies—fighting in northern Syria, in the Idlib province and north of Aleppo—will receive immunity that will allow them to stay in control there and focus primarily on fighting with the Turks against the Kurds, who are seeking to establish their own autonomy in those areas. . . .

Turkey’s attachment to Russia strengthens Moscow, which can now maneuver as it pleases between Ankara and Tehran, and via a policy of “divide and conquer” advance its interests at the expense of both.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russia, Syrian civil war, Turkey

Israel Has Survived Eight Years of Barack Obama’s False Friendship

Jan. 20 2017

In his speech justifying America’s decision to allow passage of the UN Security Council resolution declaring it a violation of international law for Jews to live in east Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Golan Heights, Secretary of State John Kerry declared that “friends need to tell each other the hard truths.” John Podhoretz comments:

The decision in December by President Obama to abstain on the UN Security Council vote . . . marked the moment he crossed the finish line in the course he had charted from 2008 onward. The turn against Israel was complete. And, as he had when he began it, in farewell interview after farewell interview he characterized his assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish presence in the Holy Land as an act of tough love. . . .

Which raises the key question: why [only] abstain [from the resolution]? If “hard truths” define friendship, then by all means they should have made the truths as hard as possible. If Barack Obama and John Kerry truly believe the Jewish presence in east Jerusalem is illicit, then they should have voted for the resolution. Instead, they took the coward’s way out. They opened the vault to the criminals and placed the jewels in their hands while wearing white gloves so there would be no residual trace of their fingerprints. The abstention was in some weird sense the mark of their bad conscience. They wanted something to happen while maintaining some historical deniability about their involvement in it.

In the eight years of the Obama presidency, war broke out twice between the Palestinians and the Israelis and nearly broke out a third time. In each case, the issue was not the West Bank, or east Jerusalem, or anything near. . . . The idea that the settlements and the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem are the main barrier to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was proved to be a lie right before Obama’s eyes in 2009, and 2012, and 2014. And he didn’t care to see it, because he is blinded by an antipathy he wishes to ascribe to Israeli action when honesty would compel him to find it in his own misguided leftist ideology—or within his own soul.

Israel has survived the horrendous blessing of Barack Obama’s false friendship.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Barack Obama, Israel & Zionism, John Kerry, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations