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

The State Department Seems to Be Covering Up Palestinian Incitement

July 26 2017

Last week, the U.S. State Department released its annual report on global terrorism in the year 2016, and, for apparently the tenth consecutive year, the report defended the Palestinian Authority in language identical or nearly identical to that used in years before. For example, the 2016 report notes that “The PA has taken significant steps during President [Mahmoud] Abbas’s tenure (2005 to date) to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank under its control do not create or disseminate content that incites violence.” That same sentence also appeared in the department’s reports for 2015, 2014 and 2013. Similar repetition of language from those years and years earlier can be found across the report.

What’s going on? “Two prominent former Israeli diplomats are charging that the State Department is recycling parts of its old reports in order to whitewash the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) incitement to violence,” Rafael Medoff writes, quoting the former Israeli diplomat Alan Baker:

[According to Baker], State Department officials seem to be “taking previous reports and copying them, making slight changes where they consider it relevant,” instead of objectively assessing the PA’s most recent behavior.

Baker said that not only has the PA failed to take “significant steps” against incitement, but “the opposite is the case—their own actions, statements and publications, naming streets and squares after terrorists, formally paying fees to terrorist families, all point to a distinctive step backward in violation of Palestinian commitments pursuant to the Oslo Accords.”

The result, Baker said, is that “the Palestinians see it as a license to continue and as support for their struggle. If the State Department closes a blind eye, this is tantamount to giving a green light.”

[According to a second Israeli diplomat], the State Department slants its reports about the PA because the department “fears that its own words will be used to buttress congressional efforts to cut aid to the PA. . . . ”

Read more at JNS

More about: Israel & Zionism, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, State Department