Turkey’s Terrorism Problem, and Israel’s

The New Year’s Eve shooting in Istanbul is additional grim testimony to the upsurge of terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past two years. Behind most of these attacks have been the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, and Islamic State (IS), which has claimed responsibility for the most recent. Nimrod Goren explains Turkey’s vulnerability, and how its response might affect its relations with Israel:

The growing motivation of both [the PKK and IS] to carry out attacks against Turkey, alongside their easy access to the country in light of its long borders with Syria and Iraq, are the main reasons for the dramatic rise in terrorism in Turkey. Additionally, Turkey’s growing involvement in Syria, including in military operations that Turkey had avoided in the early years of the conflict, . . . increases the desire and the sense of urgency among its enemies to carry out attacks against it, on its territory.

The Turkish defense establishment has had difficulty responding to this phenomenon so far. The consequences of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July, including the arrests of military and police officers, are not making it any easier to deal with the problem. . . .

Turkey is dealing with these challenges at a time of ongoing tension with its traditional Western allies. While Turkey enjoys security cooperation with these countries by virtue of its NATO membership, it seems this is not enough.

Given Turkey’s reality, some expect that the reconciliation with Israel will help with the war on terrorism. Although the Israeli government is highlighting natural gas as the central factor in its decision to normalize relations with Turkey, Turkish interests [in reconciliation] were focused on renewed security cooperation with Israel.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: ISIS, Israel diplomacy, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism, 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