Will Turkey Join the Russia-Iran Axis?

Aug. 25 2017

Last week, the chief of staff of the Iranian military traveled to Ankara, where he met with his Turkish counterparts and apparently arrived at a strategic agreement, to be finalized during a reciprocal visit to Tehran. Turkey also announced recently that a delegation of senior Russian officials will soon be arriving to discuss cooperation among all three countries. According to reports in the Iranian press, writes Amir Taheri, this would involve working together to repress Kurdish national aspirations in the area that includes part of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. And that’s just the beginning:

[Turkey wants] to promote a regional alliance that could eventually include Iran, Russia, and Iraq. The idea is that such an alliance, though limited in scope, would leave little space for the U.S.-led Western powers and their regional Arab allies to regain the influence they had enjoyed in the Middle East since the fall of the Ottoman empire over a century ago.

That, in turn, would give Turkey a big voice in the Levant as a springboard for a greater projection of power across the Middle East. . . .

[Likewise], Tehran believes the future of Syria must be determined by Iran, Turkey, and Russia to the exclusion of the U.S. and its Arab allies, [not to mention Israel]. . . . Don’t be surprised if Iran presents the new informal alliance as Russia and Turkey joining “The Resistance Front” led from Tehran. . . .

Is an Iran-Turkey-Russia triangle really taking shape? To judge by noises made in Tehran, Ankara, and Moscow, the answer must be yes. However, the three remain strange bedfellows, with contradictory positions and conflicting interests. In other words, between the cup and the lip there may be many a slip.

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Read more at Asharq Al-Awsat

More about: Iran, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Turkey

Is the Attempt on Salman Rushdie’s Life Part of a Broader Iranian Strategy?

Aug. 18 2022

While there is not yet any definitive evidence that Hadi Matar, the man who repeatedly stabbed the novelist Salman Rushdie at a public talk last week, was acting on direct orders from Iranian authorities, he has made clear that he was inspired by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call for Rushdie’s murder, and his social-media accounts express admiration for the Islamic Republic. The attack also follows on the heels of other Iranian attempts on the lives of Americans, including the dissident activist Masih Alinejad, the former national security advisor John Bolton, and the former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who was held hostage by the mullahs for over two years, sees a deliberate effort at play:

It is no coincidence this flurry of Iranian activity comes at a crucial moment for the hitherto-moribund [nuclear] negotiations. Iranian hardliners have long opposed reviving the 2015 deal, and the Iranians have made a series of unrealistic and seemingly ever-shifting demands which has led many to conclude that they are not negotiating in good faith. Among these is requiring the U.S. to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in its entirety from the State Department’s list of terror organizations.

The Biden administration and its European partners’ willingness to make concessions are viewed in Tehran as signals of weakness. The lack of a firm response in the shocking attack on Salman Rushdie will similarly indicate to Tehran that there is little to be lost and much to be gained in pursuing dissidents like Alinejad or so-called blasphemers like Sir Salman on U.S. soil.

If we don’t stand up for our values when under attack we can hardly blame our adversaries for assuming that we have none. Likewise, if we don’t erect and maintain firm red lines in negotiations our adversaries will perhaps also assume that we have none.

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Read more at iNews

More about: Iran, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy