“Qatar has spent about three billion dollars in the past two years to support the opposition in Syria, which far exceeds what provided by any other government. However, the Saudi Arabia competes now in leading the bodies providing Syrian opposition with weapons,” the paper said. “The cost of the Qatari intervention in Syria, which is the latest effort of the oil-rich emirate to support an “Arab revolution,” only represents a very small part of the international investment of Qatar,” it added. “Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Arab countries puts it in confrontation with the other Gulf States and provokes competition with the Saudi Arabia,”
The recent discovery of oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean off the Israeli, Cypriot and Lebanese coasts is a great boost to the independence and self-sufficiency of these countries.
But the discoveries also add to existing tensions between Israel and Lebanon as both are claiming the oil and gas reserves as their own. In April, natural gas from the Israeli Tamar reserve began to flow from an offshore rig in the Mediterranean Sea into Israel, giving the country the chance to hone its energy security and freedom.
Israel’s rapprochement with onetime strategic ally Turkey is a vital element in Ankara’s drive to become the intercontinental east-west energy hub in the Mediterranean and many expect it to produce an energy alliance that will transform the region.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan has transformed his country’s economic prospects through a wide-ranging diplomatic drive aimed at restoring Turkish leadership in the region. He has long sought to transform Turkey, which has no energy resources of its own, into the unassailable central hub for transporting oil and gas from the eastern Mediterranean, the new hot zone, to Europe and maybe to Asia as well.
The Cyprus issue, energy security and the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone were examined during a meeting in Athens between the Defence Ministers of Cyprus and Greece, Fotis Fotiou and Panos Panagiotopoulos, respectively.
Fotiou also discussed with Panagiotopoulos the situation in the wider south-eastern Mediterranean region and Turkish threats against Cyprus with regard to oil exploration.
In spite of all obstacles, a major breakthrough is required to end the current nuclear deadlock in the region, where Israel is the only atomic power, though the Iranian nuclear programme continues to draw attention – and sanctions – in Western countries. Should such a breakthrough not happen, Egypt and Arab countries may withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which they were pushed to join in 1995 in exchange of U.S. promises to free the Middle East from atomic warheads, Israeli nuclear arsenal included.
In 2011, Bill Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times, offered a mea culpa for his support of the war in Iraq. “When the troops went in, they went with my blessing,” confessed Keller. “I could not foresee that we would mishandle the war so badly, but I could see that there was no clear plan for — and at the highest levels, a shameful smugness about — what came after the invasion.” He called his realization “the costly wisdom of Iraq,” which, according to his op-ed in the Times on Monday, doesn’t seem to apply to Syria.
Frustrated in its attempt to join the European Union, NATO-member Turkey last week signed up as a partner with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described the signing of the SCO cooperation agreement as an historic day for his country, saying Turkey is the first NATO state to establish such a relationship with the SCO. “If we look from a Cold War perspective,” he said, “these may seem like mutually exclusive institutions. However, the Cold War has ended. Turkey won’t be a slave of the Cold War logic.”
The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is set to stage a 10-day long military drills in the southern province of Adana. Adana is neighbor to Hatay, a province bordering on Syria, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The Yıldırım-2013 Mobilization Exercise will begin Monday, May 6 and end on May 15, according to an announcement posted on the official website of the Turkish General Staff. The exercise will test the army’s mobilization system and the coordination between public institutions and the armed forces in case of any mobilization, the statement said.
It is a profound problem, which may evolve into a true existential crisis. It is prompted by a question that organizations must sometimes confront: “What purpose do we serve?”
This is the question that is starting to be asked at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Meetings in Brussels without any real agenda, that lead to summits without decisions, the organization gets by actively trying to “redefine” itself. In reality, the end of the organization’s mission in Afghanistan in 2014, and its economic uncertainty due to the crisis that its European members are facing, puts it in a very difficult situation.
A NATO alliance where member nations are hamstrung by political and economic difficulties may be a militarily weakened one, former Secy. of State Hillary Clinton warned Wednesday night.
“NATO is turning into a two-tiered alliance with shrinking percentage of members willing – and able – to pay the price and bear the burdens of common defense,” Clinton said. “Even in these difficult economic times, we cannot afford to let the greatest alliance in history slide into military irrelevance.” Clinton was speaking at an annual Atlantic Council awards dinner in Washington where both she and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen were honored with Distinguished Leadership awards.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today. At the State Department, I am responsible for overseeing a wide range of defense policy issues, including missile defense policy. In this capacity, it was my responsibility and privilege to negotiate the details of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) agreements with Poland, Romania, and Turkey that will enable the United States to implement the European Phased Adaptive Approach (or EPAA), the U.S. contribution to NATO missile defense.
Residents of a number of Sunni cities in Iraq have announced the formation of “military forces” to counter attack the Iraqi army and its crackdown against protesters calling for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki – a Shiite – to step down, Al Arabiya reported on Thursday. The announcements come after Sunni tribesmen were called to arm following a government sponsored military raid on a Sunni Muslim anti-government protest at a camp in Hawija, near Kirkuk, on Tuesday. Dozens of people were killed and injured in the initial incident. It set off a wave of revenge attacks that hit five different Sunni-majority provinces, killing at least 110 people.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Friday said that the memorandum of understanding signed with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was a declaration of “common destiny” as well as the beginning of a long journey that the organization and Turkey would walk hand in hand. Turkey and SCO signed a memorandum of understanding in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Davutoglu, who was on a formal visit to Kazakhstan met with Secretary General of the SCO Dmitri Mezentsev, and signed the MoU in regards to the cooperation to be carried out between Turkey and the organization as “dialogue partners.”
A panel of experts at the recent SISO CEO Summit did a great job describing where they’d put their money now—and in five years. Interestingly, they are looking at, and investing in, MIST: Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. Some say the “S” should stand for South Africa.
In spite of the over-hyped press, Mexico is safe and on the rise. Between rising wages and transportation costs in Asia, the maquiladora business in Mexico is booming. Mexico has more free trade agreements in place than any other country in the world. There are good (privately owned) venues in the major cities and great suppliers, hotels and services.
The Arctic Ocean is deceptively vast, spanning 5.4 million square miles. In comparison, Russia in its entirety spans 6.6 million square miles. While most of the Arctic Ocean remains inaccessible, the shrinking of permanent sea ice has roused global economic interest for two reasons. First, the Northern Sea Route runs from the Bering Strait to the Barents Sea, and condenses the traditional “Royal Road” route by about 2500 nautical miles (approximately 10 days’ travel). If viable, the opening of this route would radically alter the transport of goods from Asian industrial hubs to Western consumer markets.
When National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror arrives in Turkey on Sunday to discuss compensation for flotilla victims, he will also be seeking to lay the groundwork for the stationing of Israeli fighter jets in an airbase near Ankara, ahead of a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Sunday Times reported.
“Until the recent crisis, Turkey was our biggest aircraft carrier,” an Israeli military source told the London-based publication. “Using the Turkish airbases could make the difference between success and failure once a showdown with Iran gets underway.”
The Kurdish government will sell oil and gas directly to Turkey in a deal that so far has bypassed the Iraqi government in Baghdad, which has warned the Kurds not to sign separate energy accords. Turkey may also take the Kurdish government’s stake in concessions operated by Exxon Mobil Corp. on the enclave’s border with the rest of Iraq, one of the people said.
“Large-scale oil exports would change the economic position of Kurdistan,” said Robin Mills, head of consulting at Dubai-based Manaar Energy Consulting and Project Management. “If this deal goes through, it’s an aggressive move by Turkey that really means busting relations with Baghdad.”
The Pentagon is sending about 200 soldiers from a U.S. Army headquarters unit to Jordan to assist efforts to contain violence along the Syrian border and plan for any operations needed to ensure the safety of chemical weapons in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress Wednesday.
The decision to dispatch the 1st Armored Division troops of planners and specialists in intelligence, logistics and operations comes as several lawmakers pressed the Obama administration for even more aggressive steps to end the two-year civil war.The Pentagon leaders made clear that the situation is extremely complicated and they must be certain of the endgame before any military step to try to end the bloodshed.
The Turkish energy minister, Taner Yildiz, says his country would be open to the construction of a pipeline to distribute Israel’s newly discovered gas.
“The issue may become an important topic that the two can cooperate on,” said Ozel. “The Israelis have already made a suggestion to send some of their gas by pipelines to Turkey. And this fits well with Turkey’s grand desire to be the grill full of pipelines from north to south, from east to west, and therefore become on energy matters, if not a hub, certainly an indispensable transition place.”
A union of this nature, reminiscent of the so-called “phantom” and comparatively short-lived Periphery Doctrine adopted by prime minister David Ben-Gurion in 1958 but collectively revived, strengthened, and upgraded in the present context, would pool the military resources of these countries under a joint leadership to be agreed upon, and would have the potential of impeding the Turkish hegemon from acting belligerently in the region. (One can see how this rejuvenated policy would work by studying Israel’s covert military agreement with a resurgent Ethiopia and in its leveraging of its knowledge-based industries with many other countries, such as Brazil, Nigeria, China, and India.)
Israel is set to send warships to the eastern Mediterranean for a joint military exercise with Cyprus, according to a report which appeared in the Cypriot Fileleftheros daily on Tuesday and which was cited by the Turkish Today’s Zaman. Cypriot Defense Minister Fotis Fotiou confirmed that the joint exercise, which will include the participation of four or five Israeli warships, is due to start on April 25, the report said. Fotiou also noted that the exercise will focus on the security of the eastern Mediterranean region and that of gas companies.
An Israeli general has raised the possibility of creating a buffer zone in Syria, in cooperation with local forces wary of jihadist fighters, should President Bashar al-Assad be toppled.
Major-General Yair Golan said “many hundreds” of radical Islamists were fighting in Syria’s two-year-old civil war and could “take root” in Israel’s northern neighbour should Assad fall. He said the Israeli military was working on the assumption that these fighters would ultimately launch attacks against Israel, which captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.
As it tries to play Russia off against Europe to salvage its economy, Cyprus has embarked on a high-stakes poker game that could see almost everyone lose. Its banks shattered by exposure to Greek debt, the island state urgently needs a way of bailing out its financial system. Cypriot policymakers hope they can begin to monetise as yet undeveloped offshore gas fields and position themselves as a vital source of energy for Europe. However, such income is still years away and delusions of becoming the Qatar of the eastern Mediterranean in the 2020s may prompt Cyprus to overplay its hand now.
NATO was ready to engage in Syria if its members saw the need, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis said.
Addressing US Senate’s Armed Services Committee, NATO commander said the North Atlantic Alliance was making contingency plans for a NATO military presence in Syria and was prepared to engage provided that such action was demanded. “We are looking at a wide range of operations, and we are prepared, if called upon, to be engaged as we were in Libya,” Stavridis said.
The relations between two regional allies, Turkey and Azerbaijan, are in a state of crisis once again. The Azerbaijani authorities are indignant over Turkey’s initiative to establish an air route with Armenia.
According to media, the Turkish air company Bora Jet is going to start flights to the Armenian capital, Yerevan. Azerbaijan believes that the Turkish government has something to do with the idea. The fact that Turkish President Abdullah Gul immediately congratulated Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarsgyan on his victory at the presidential elections was also a very unpleasant surprise for Azerbaijan.
The recent revelation, by a member the general secretariat of Kuwait´s National Party, according to whom the USA and Qatar are planning to divide Syria into small-states, is likely to further cool down east-west relations. The agreement, so al-Hamad, contains several points, such as a division of Syria into several smaller states with so-called moderate Islamist governments, the permanent annexation of the disputed Hatay region by Turkey, a reduction of the Syrian military forces to maximum 50,000 troops and other, which coincide with recent analysis by Dr. Perencik and Major Agha H. Amin.
The NATO oil pipeline in Turkey, which has so far been used solely for NATO purposes, will opened for civilian use, according to a source in the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources who prefers to remain unnamed. The goal of expanding the use of the pipeline is to deal a harsh blow against oil smuggling. The legal procedures and amendments to regulations concerning limits on the pipeline’s use are expected to be completed soon. The pipeline is roughly 3,000 kilometers long. The ministry source told Today’s Zaman that at present only 20 percent of its capacity has been utilized.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said after a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that Turkey was seriously considering becoming a member of the SCO instead of continuing its efforts to join the EU.
‘The European Union needs to stop stalling us,’ Erdogan said. ‘We have a strong economy. I told [Putin], “You should include us in the Shanghai Five [the former name of the SCO] and we will say farewell to the European Union.” The Shanghai Five is much better off economic-wise. It is much more powerful. We told them, “If you say come, we will”.’
Will armies battle each other, as the cry for “blue gold” gets furious? Will “water wars” be as prevalent as conflict for the “black gold” of oil? Two documentary films have wetted public interest – Blue Gold: World Water Wars, and Last Call at the Oasis, and a dystopia novel – The Water Wars – warns of its imminence.
In actuality, history’s pages are already splashed with dozens of conflicts. In 2,450 B.C. the Sumerian cities of Lagash and Umma warred over Tigris-Euphrates water. More recently, Senegal and Mauritaniabattled in 1989 over grazing rights in the Senegal River Valley – hundreds were killed, 250,000 fled their homes. The Pacific Institute provides an excellent map and timeline of 225 water skirmishes.
One of the most complex situations in the Middle East right now is the ongoing conflict in Syria between the government and opposition forces, in which at least an estimated 70,000 people have been killed.
Brahimi calls it a “quasi-Cold War” situation, with the United States supporting the opposition and Russia supporting the regime. Complicating the issue is the influence of regional powers such as Iran, Turkey, the Gulf States and the Arab League, as well as Israel’s military power in Israel.
Calling the continuing crisis an “absolute tragedy,” Brahimi holds many parties responsible for using tools of absolute war in order to gain power.
In the conflict zone stretching from Syria to Afghanistan lies another war waiting to re-emerge: Nagorno-Karabakh. This dispute is likely to occupy President Obama’s new foreign-policy team whether they want it or not.
Two decades ago the newly independent states of Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a bitter war over this remote area of mountains and valleys. Armenia won the war, but nobody has achieved peace. A fragile ceasefire signed in 1994 remains the only tangible achievement of diplomacy. Since then, a mediation effort led by Washington, Moscow and Paris has sought a solution.
Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times, unsuccessfully, to join theShanghai Cooperation Organization (informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three former Soviet Central Asian states (a fourth was added in 2001), the SCO has received little attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO to democracy to the U.S. dollar as reserve currency.
Cyprus on Wednesday signed an agreement with French energy major Total to conduct exploratory drilling for gas and oil in two blocks off its southern shore. The deal comes as Cyprus aspires to become a regional energy hub with the prospect of oil as well as natural gas being tapped beneath the sea bed. Total signed a deal to exploit blocks 10 and 11 that are adjacent to a large natural gas find in block 12 and said it seeks to proceed in drilling for oil as well as gas reserves in the said blocks.
The present NATO-Armenia relationship is still in the phase of identification of goals rather than real regional partnership. As to real military cooperation, Armenia provides services to NATO without receiving military assistance, namely supply of weapons.
Armenia’s priority of its relation with NATO is political cooperation, identification of a form of cooperation which would allow avoiding isolation, prevent the use of the arena and mechanisms of NATO for isolation and blockade of Armenia. While Russia has not identified the nature of its claims to and concerns over NATO-Armenia rapprochement, there are no alternatives to further cooperation with the alliance.
Speaking on Turkish television the other night, the PM was asked about his country’s stalled and troubled European Union membership drive. Erdogan’s blunt bombshell of an answer suggested Turkey is considering dropping its EU bid in favor of joining the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “When things go so poorly, you inevitably, as the prime minister of 75 million people, seek other paths. That’s why I recently said to Mr. [Vladimir] Putin: ‘Take us into the Shanghai Five; do it, and we will say farewell to the EU, leave it altogether. Why all this stalling?’”
Turkey is in a rush to grow its energy sector. And recent news that the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, will invest heavily in Turkish coal-fired power plants shows how serious Ankara is taking this commitment.
The deal, announced at the start of the year, will see Taqa build and operate a power generation base totalling 7,000 megawatts, or about 10 per cent of Turkey’s electricity needs by the time the plants are completed.
Last Friday, the Kurdish regional government stated that it had begun shipping crude oil to Turkey over the past week. That, of course, displeased the Baghdad government, which has now declared that it may seize such unauthorized oil exports and sue companies engaged in such dealings.
The Washington Post reports that the threatening notification was first spotted on the State Oil Marketing Organization’s website. The move will undoubtedly put further pressure on already-strained relations between the Iraqi central government and that of the Kurds—coming shortly after both parties apparently were prepared to go to war and troops were deployed along the internal border just two months ago.
Turkey’s intelligence services have held talks with jailed Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Direct negotiations may lead to a solution to the Kurdish conflict and could end decades of fighting. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government want to work out a scheme with Ocalan that would allow Kurdish rebels to lay down their weapons. News reports have leaked that PKK leaders in northern Iraq’s Qandil mountains would not be brought to trial but would instead be given the opportunity to seek exile elsewhere. Regular PKK fighters would be reintegrated into society.
Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which conducts special operations outside Iran, visited Egypt at the end of December at the invitation of President Mohamed Morsi’s government.
The Times of London reported that the purpose of the visit was “to advise the government on building its security and intelligence apparatus independent of the national intelligence services, which are controlled by Egypt’s military.” During the visit he met with Essam al-Haddad, foreign affairs adviser to Mr Morsi, and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood.
In November 2007, Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas jointly addressed the Turkish parliament, an event that buttressed Turkey’s role in the region as an honest broker for peace. The Peres address was the first ever by an Israeli president before a Muslim parliament.
Turkey and Israel at that time were weighing the construction of an “infrastructure corridor” between the port cities of Ceyhan and Haifa, which would have included five separate underwater pipelines for oil, natural gas, electricity, water and communications. There was also speculation that these pipelines could go through Northern Cyprus.
The US helped to train and now equips the Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF). The forces are used by Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki to help him centralise power and repress opposing Sunni politicians.
Robert Tollast in The National Interest maintains that even as the US prepared to drawn down its forces “elements of ISOF were already being used as a private army by Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki.”
Syrian rebels severed one of the civil war-wracked country’s major natural gas pipelines, state media reported Monday.The Los Angeles Times reported rebels had seized oil fields and attacked other strategic targets in an attempt to deprive the Syrian government of much-needed cash.
The destruction of the pipeline north of the city of Dair Alzour Sunday wiped out production of an estimated 1.5 million cubic meters of natural gas that had fueled fertilizer factors and power generating plants, the Syrian Arab News Agency said.
United States Senator Richard Lugar has urged the Obama administration to break Russia’s energy monopoly in Europe and called on congress to lift limitations on deliveries of liquefied natural gas (LNG) deliveries to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in Europe.
His critical report, “Energy and Security from the Caspian to Europe”, and the proposed LNG for NATO Act came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline in the Russian Black Sea town of Anapa. Senator Lugar urged the US administration to do more for European energy security by supporting the Southern Corridor from Central Asia and the Caucasus to Europe.
Endless supplies of cigarettes, a BMW or Mercedes for between $4,000 and $6,000 but fuel at vastly inflated prices – the black market is thriving on the Syria-Turkey border.
“The vehicles come from Switzerland, where my brother is a second hand car dealer,” Abu Ahmad says. “They arrive in Syria legally,” he says, along with shipments of blankets, food and medicines for Syrians who have taken refuge from the country’s civil war in camps along the Turkish border.
Almost all of the Syrian refugees Iraq has accepted are Kurds into Iraqi Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous state in the north that exercises many of its own policies. Authorities elsewhere in Iraq have refused all but 9,000 Arab refugees for fear that the highly sectarian violence across the border in Syria may whip up similar flames in Iraq. The Kurds, though, are eager to help out their brethren, even if their resources are already stressed. So far, the Kurdish government has spent $11 million for the camp, but much more is needed. “We plan an international appeal,” Bakir says.
Syria appears to be moving closer by the day toward the end of Assad’s regime. In Western countries, the debate on a military intervention to secure the country’s “hot zones” is gaining momentum.
Until now, Western leaders have said that they would only support a military intervention if Assad used chemical weapons. Unfortunately, if the use of weapons of mass destruction is the only reason for intervention, people are going to make unhappy parallels with the recent past.
Rasmussen said, according to participants of the dinner, the Alliance should not “bury its head in the sand.” He explained his ideas among others by pointing to U.S. intelligence reports , according to which the Syrian army could prepare the use of chemical weapons. The Minister interpreted this as an attempt to develop plans for a direct or indirect intervention in Syria. One of the participants said, you’ve heard “the drums of war” used at the table. Rasmussen was supported by the United States, United Kingdom and Turkey according to SZ “very contentious” discussion.
The German government has decided to send up to 400 troops to Turkey’s border with Syria as part of a NATO mission. The troops are to accompany Patriot missile systems requested by Turkey.
The government confirmed in an early morning cabinet session what had emerged in media reports on Thursday. Germany is one of three NATO nations, along with the US and the Netherlands, that have access to the Patriot missile defense systems Turkey has requested to help defend against spillover violence in neighboring Syria.
A military coalition led by the US, ready to intervene in case the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons against rebel forces, could include Israel, Maariv has reported.
“It won’t require major movement to make action happen. The muscle is already there to be flexed,” a US official told The Times. “It’s premature to say what could happen if a decision is made to intervene. That hasn’t taken shape, we’ve not reached that kind of decision. There are a lot of options, but it [military action] could be launched rapidly, within days.”
The Greek Cypriot Administration of Southern Cyprus had long been looking for appropriate international conditions to begin prospecting for petrol and natural gas and speeded these operations up after becoming a member of the EU in 2004. It prepared the way legally by signing exclusive economic zone agreements with Egypt, Lebanon, and Israel and then waited for a propitious set of circumstances to begin drilling. Just around this time in 2010, Israel announced that it had discovered about 685 billion m3 of natural gas in its Tamar and Leviathan fields.
NATO members Germany and the Netherlands will supply Turkey with the Patriot missile systems it has sought to bolster its national security against potential threats from war-torn Syria, Today’s Zaman reported.
Germany will provide two Patriot PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles to Ankara, while the Netherlands will deliver one Patriot PAC-2 missile, say reports by Turkey’s private NTV television, citing NATO sources.
The İzmir base, which will act as the Alliance’s sole Land Forces Command, will be where the coordination for troops in Afghanistan or the Middle East will be conducted from. Approximately 1,000 soldiers will be deployed to the base. However, with additional deployments from Spain and Germany the total number of military personnel on the base will reach 1,500.
Adm. James Stavridis, supreme allied commander, Europe, presided over a ceremony today that established NATO’s Allied Land Command. More than 100 distinguished visitors from various NATO countries and commands attended the ceremony held at the General Vecihi Akin Garrison in Sirinyer, Izmir, Turkey.
It delivers a planning capability in support of higher headquarters and the NATO Force Structure. And, when directed by the SACEUR provides the core of the headquarters responsible for the conduct of land operations and the synchronization of land forces command and control in accordance with the alliance’s level of ambition.
The United States should focus increasingly on courting Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey, four “global swing states” critical to the preservation of the Western-dominated international order, according to a new report released here Tuesday by two major U.S. think tanks.
“These four nations each possess a large and growing economy, a strategic location in their region and a commitment to democratic institutions. And critically, each nation’s precise international role is now in flux,” they noted.
The courtship of Hamas between rivals Iran and Qatar has been one of the Middle East’s intriguing subplots of the Arab Spring. The bloodshed in Gaza has now sharpened their competition for influence with the Palestinian militant group and the direction it takes in the future.
Qatar has sought to use its vast wealth to win over Hamas with investments and humanitarian aid and encouraging Arab partners to do the same — part of the hyper-rich U.S. allied nation’s broader campaign to bring under its wing Islamist movements that have risen to power
The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council. The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.
He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Nearly 70,000 Turkish farmers in 13 provinces are allowed to plant opium poppy and produce unscratched opium poppy capsules in a 700 million square meter area, a limit set by the United Nations.
The global consumption of opiate, which is a chemical found naturally in the opium poppy plant and has uses for medical and scientific purposes, is nearly 350 tons per year. The largest importer of this substance, the United States, supplies 80 percent of its imports from Turkey and India.
Observers believe that the reason why some Gulf states have launched a campaign against Muslim Brotherhood members is because they are worried of the group’s reaching power in the Arab Spring countries. Adding to their worries is the developing relationship between Muslim Brotherhood governments on the one hand and the Turkish Republic, which seems to have found in the organization a new ally that could help Turkey extend its influence in the Arab region.
The Syrian soldier, whose name has been changed and will be known as Abu-Husayn for his own security and the safety of his relatives in Syria, has disclosed details of his encounter with Chinese intelligence operatives in Damascus. “I saw Chinese operatives visiting the Ministry of Defense. The regime purchased Chinese surveillance equipment and wiretapping devices. These operatives were teaching Syrians how to use these devices and technologies,” he said.
THOUSANDS of Israeli troops have made preparations to move into Gaza after Palestinian rockets reached Jerusalem and the shores of Tel Aviv.
Senior members of the military have told The Times that they expect to invade this weekend. One officer confirmed that troops had been ordered to prepare “to the highest state of readiness”. As the latest crisis escalated in the Middle East, Palestinian militants deployed longer range missiles for the first time. In Gaza City, families sheltered in cellars as Israeli air strikes rocked buildings and war planes created incursion corridors for troops.
German soldiers could be sent from their barracks in northern Germany to the Turkish-Syrian border. The government in Ankara has recently expressed interested in a air defense system and, according to a report in the German daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” will make an official request for one on Monday.
One or two of the German units could make up part of a multinational system sent to Turkey. Such a deployment would “serve to protect” Turkey, said de Maiziere. But being stationed in Turkey would be more dangerous than the base in northern Germany and would risk pulling Berlin into the Syrian civil war.
The Pentagon has told the Obama administration that any military effort to seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons would require upward of 75,000 troops, amid increasing concern that the militant group Hezbollah has set up small training camps close to some of the chemical weapons depots, according to senior American officials.
The minister said that Pakistan is fighting against narco-terrorism despite having meager resources, adding that “Our nation has suffered losses both in term of human lives and material ($80 billion loss in economy and over 45,000 people have been martyred in terrorist activities).
He said Pakistan is major transit route for Afghan opiates with nearly 160 metric ton of heroin, which makes up 44 per cent of total Afghan heroin which transits through its territorial jurisdictions.
Speaking at the Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said Turkey was on the edge of one of the most combustible parts of the world, and that an explosion such as military action in Iran or wider violence in Syria would be catastrophic for world stability.
“Turkey is a key pivotal power. Its success as a European-type democracy is vital for Europe’s security,” he said.
The Caspian Sea region is an often-overlooked one, compared to the Middle East, when assessing the antagonisms of world powers. However, this hinterland of Eurasia is of great importance for a whole range of issues.
The Caspian Sea dominates on a geo-economic level Central Asia, Caucasus, Southern Russia and the upper part of the Middle East. More than 10 billion tons of oil reserves are to be found there along with trillions of cubic meters of natural gas, most of them still unexplored or underdeveloped.
India’s oil-rich Western neighbourhood, extending from the Arabian Sea to the Bosphorus, is engulfed in conflict arising from sectarian and civilisational rivalries, aggravated by the meddling of external powers. With an arsenal of over 100 nuclear weapons, Pakistan is witnessing a period of internal strife, largely arising from the pernicious role of its military establishment and tensions across its disputed borders with Afghanistan. This conflict, involving radical groups such as the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, is engulfing Central Asia.
Armenia’s interest needs large-scale and deep relations with NATO with new proposals because they contain new prospects of new quality and modernization of strategic and economic security of Armenia.
This is the fundamental issue for Armenia because even with the optimal demographic pattern Armenia will hardly be able to compete with its neighbors over the next several decades, particularly Azerbaijan and Turkey. Besides, the Kurdish issue rises in the context of demography.
Syria’s opposition needs to be more representative and inclusive, say U.S. officials mindful of the dangers of an increasingly sectarian civil war. But the scale of the challenge in creating an opposition that draws in ethnic and religious minorities sometimes more fearful of the rebellion than they are of the regime was highlighted in last week’s clashes in Aleppo, between units of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and a local Kurdish militia.
Ankara plans to request NATO deploy a Patriot missile defense system in its territories in case of escalation of the scale of attacks against Turkey by the al-Assad regime. A senior Turkish diplomat says Turkey and NATO have been working on contingency plans
Patriot missiles were deployed twice in the past in Turkey, both in the context of the Iraqi war in the early 1990s and 2000s. Turkey plans to officially request NATO deploy a Patriot missile defense system in its territories as a security precaution against a potential large-scale military offensive from Syria as Syrian shelling on the border raises tensions.
If Iran starts to build nuclear weapons Turkey would soon follow, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said during an interview with UK’s Telegraph. “Saudi Arabia will turn nuclear within weeks – according to them. Turkey will turn nuclear in several years,” Barak was quoted as saying. Egypt will follow as well, causing a “nightmare” as “nuclear material ends up in [the] hands of terrorist groups,” according to Barak.
From a geopolitical perspective, Syria’s sensitive location played a key role in attracting Western ambitions from World War I until the present day. The region’s decade-long instability has also contributed to this. Syria only witnessed relative stability during the tenure of late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, which was marked by tyranny, oppression, the suppression of freedoms and the erosion of rights. This was primarily due to [Hafez] Al-Assad’s characteristic ability to play various conflicting interests off of each other.
The Arab Spring has brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Tunisia and Egypt, and may yet in Libya and Syria. Observers have speculated on how they will govern now that they finally lead governments where the practical problems of managing public affairs will confront them. But we need not speculate too much, since the Muslim Brotherhood has governed one country for 23 years: Sudan. Omar al-Bashir, president of Sudan, and Hasan al-Turabi are the leaders of Sudan’s Muslim Brotherhood.
The U.S. Armed Forces recently sent soldiers to Turkey amid the incidents in Syria and the soldiers deployed in Turkey have been sharing intelligence, U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling has said, according to USNews.com. “We have had a relatively few number of U.S. Army Europe personnel in Turkey recently,” the general said. “Some of that has been sharing intelligence.” Turkey is concerned about how to handle the humanitarian crisis on its border with Syria, Hertling added.
Yes, no-fly zone but nobody is talking about using any military force of any kind, no-fly zone for the purpose of creating a safe zone, safe area, preventing the Syrian air force from attacking this secure zone, so that the Syrian Free Army will have abase in Syria itself and they will be better prepared in dealing with the eventuality. The consensus here is that Bashar Assad is going to go one way or the other whether in a month or two, even 6 or more, he is going to go but the concern is what will Iran do, what will Russia do, what will Saudis do.
At this stage, the “battle for Syria” is a specific role for foreign intelligence agencies, which in the summer of this year, significantly expanded its operations in the country. American, British, Turkish, French and Qatari and Saudi secret services are particularly active on the weakening of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Their subversive work is multifaceted. Until recently, Western intelligence agencies have shown themselves very carefully. This was explained by fears of the U.S. and its European allies to help to strengthen the Islamist component of the Syrian opposition.
Turkey no longer entirely trusts U.S. intelligence despite its apparent offer to help eliminate Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) figures, according to a prominent scholar, adding that Ankara has been convinced that the U.S. military presence in Iraq since the Gulf War has fed the militant organization. Washington has come to see the group as an obstacle in Turkey and wants to eliminate certain figures in the organization.
Blindsided by QE: Why Global Investors Can’t See Geopolitical Threats that May Drive Markets Sharply Lower
Global investors are in danger of being so blindsided by several rounds of Quantitative Easing (QE) by the FED, the ECB, and Bank of Japan that they cannot see the geopolitical threats which could unsettle financial markets — and wind up costing those who are on the wrong side of the market a great deal of money.
I’m talking about the proliferation of the European sovereign debt crisis, and the escalation of crises in the Middle East and between China and Japan.
The U.S. ambassador to Ankara Francis Ricciardone revealed on October 16 that the Turkish government rejected the U.S. proposal for joint venture extermination of Murat Karayılan and other leaders of the Kurdish PKK in northern Iraq are exposing irreparably Turkish government. As stated by the American ambassador in Turkish journalists, Washington submitted this proposal to the Turkish government to launch an operation similar to that which led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Iraq urges the Kurdish autonomy to approve the deployment of troops on the border with Turkey to prevent the Turkish troops’ entering Iraq, as well as to stop air strikes on the country against the militants of Kurdistan Workers’ Party, head of the Iraqi parliamentary security committee Iskander Witwit told Trend on Wednesday.
“We urge the Kurdish autonomy to provide the central government with all rights to deploy the troops on the border with Turkey to prevent Turkish troops’ entering Iraq,” he added.
Russia has begun installing a new state-of-the-art anti-aircraft weapon system in its southern military region with an eye toward targeting Turkey in response to a NATO missile defense shield outpost that was recently established in East Anatolia, daily Hürriyet reported.
The installation will be completed by the end of this year, said Russian Col. Igor Gorbul, adding that the S-400 anti-aircraft missiles were capable of destroying all types of airplanes, as well as ultra-stratospheric and ballistic missiles.
It goes like this: Syria has Russian-made air defense systems. Western institutions don’t know the details of these systems. We are even told that this is the system that helped to down our F-4 plane last June. More critically, since the details of the Syrian air defense systems were not known, NATO could not calculate its losses in a potential operation against Syria.
In what possible way could the United States conceivably share any interests with either the Muslim Brotherhood or al Qaeda? The answer is mutual opposition to Assad’s bloody reign (both Assad and his father brutally suppressed the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist movements for several decades). Since Assad has been a traditional ally of Iran—which is now providing weapons to shore up his fragile hold on power
War edged closer last night as Turkey lined up warships and tanks against neighbouring Syria.
Turkish forces were on yellow alert, one step away from military engagement, as naval destroyers moved in to protect their Mediterranean coast and a brigade of tanks rolled up to the 560-mile Syrian border.
Reports of “discreet” action by Western intelligence agencies are not surprising, according to Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, head of the Peace Policy Research Institute.
“The US intelligence agency CIA has been active for months, mainly in Turkey,” he told DW. “The intelligence agencies that brought about the fall of the Gadhafi regime in Libya are now at work in Syria,” Schmidt-Eenboom added.
* TURKEY’S ARMED FORCES:
– Turkey has the second largest standing force in NATO after the United States.
– Its armed forces consist of nearly 890,000 personnel including 378,700 reserves.
Numbers: 402,000 personnel including 325,000 conscripts
Turkey redirected the European missile defense system in the Kurecik base near the city of Malatya to Syria to monitor the situation in the country, the Sabah newspaper reported.
This will allow Turkey to control offensive and defensive actions of the Syrian government troops and missile launches. According to the newspaper, Turkey took such a decision with the consent of NATO after shells from Syrian territory killed five Turkish citizens on Oct.3.
Turkey’s armed forces have been put in a state of high alert over increased tensions along the border with Syria, according to anonymous NATO sources. Events between Ankara and Damascus are developing according to a highly critical scenario,” said the source as quoted by ITAR-TASS. The report adds that NATO’s headquarters have taken up standing consultations and analysis regarding the situation along the Turkish-Syrian border.
The United States has sent military troops to the Jordan-Syria border to help build a headquarters in Jordan and bolster that country’s military capabilities in the event that violence escalates along its border with Syria, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
Speaking at a NATO conference of defense ministers in Brussels, Panetta said the US has been working with Jordan to monitor chemical and biological weapons sites in Syria and also to help Jordan deal with refugees pouring over the border from Syria.
“Obviously Turkey can rely on NATO solidarity,” Fogh Rasmussen said ahead of a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. “We have all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary.” When pressed on what kind of trouble on the border would trigger those plans, NATO’s chief said he could not discuss contingency plans. “We hope it won’t be necessary to activate such plans, we do hope to see a political solution to the conflict in Syria,” he said.
Turkey has confirmed it is deploying more fighter jets to an airbase close to the border with Syria, amid artillery exchanges along its tense southeastern border with Syria. The announcement came amid reports of fierce fighting in the northern Idlib province on Tuesday where Syrian rebels are trying to take control of a strategic town. At least 25 additional F-16 fighter jets were deployed at Turkey’s Diyarbakir airbase late on Monday.
Committee member Mahdi al-Musawi told Azzaman yesterday [Oct. 6]: “Committee member Safia al-Suhail — in the presence of officials from both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and from the central government [in Baghdad] — said that 16 Turkish military bases exist on Iraqi territory. No one denied these claims.”
Suhail explained that “the committee is implementing several measures to deal with this issue. These include communicating with the KRG to review and re-examine the agreements that the former regime had previously signed with Turkey regarding Turkey’s presence inside Iraqi territory.
Sovereignty curtailed?: Armenia agrees to ask CSTO permission for hosting other states’ military facilities
On October 4, the Parliament ratified the Protocol on the Location of Military Installations in Collective Security Treaty Organization (OSCE) Member Countries that was signed still in December 2011 and under which Armenia is not entitled to host military forces or other infrastructure of other states without the permission of the CSTO, a Russia-led defense alliance
The Turkish Parliament voted in favor of a motion which gave green light to the government to stage cross-border raids on Syria after the Oct. 3 shelling from there killed five Turkish citizens. “I am calling once more on the al-Assad regime and its supporters: Don’t dare to test Turkey’s patience,” Erdoğan said, adding that testing Turkey’s capacity for deterrence would be “a fatal mistake.”
“We are not bluffing and we will follow this incident closely. God willing, the Syrian people would soon be saved from this cruelty and governed by an administration that guarantees the rights of all parties.”
Turkey is at the forefront of nations directly confronting the Syrian government, potentially drawing its NATO allies into a conflict many in the region had hoped to solve locally.
Several regional analysts are confident Ankara will not pursue that route, despite the Wednesday’s incident in which Syrian shells killed five civilians in a Turkish border town. “Turkey will not declare war,” said Nadim Shehadi, a researcher at London-based Chatham House.
A senior Turkish foreign ministry official Thursday said Turkey has contributed to the operational effectiveness of NATO’s ballistic missile defence capability by hosting two early warning radars on its territory but stressed that they are not directed against any country.
“Turkey’s decision to host the radar was a difficult one. Given the sensitivity felt in the Turkish public opinion,” Bulent Meric, Director General for international security affairs at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, said.
“In the face of negative domestic and regional reactions to host the radar ,” he said Turkey’s move should be appreciated as our robust commitment to NATO solidarity.”
Few countries are in better position to shape US foreign policy than Armenia.Armenia borders Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Iran. As a part of the former Soviet Union, it relies on nearby Russia extensively for trade and military backing. The US has a significant stake in all five countries, and Armenia is now coming into view as a potentially potent lever to advance American aims.That is, if the Armenians can be won over.As the US tries to woo Armenia to become a stronger ally in the region, the term “geostrategic” has never been more apt.
Lebanon becomes the fourth country to search for natural gas in Eastern Mediterranean. However, the area is disputed with Israel and Greek Cyprus, which are advanced in oil and gas search there along with Turkey
Lebanon is technically ready to start drilling for offshore natural gas reserves, its energy minister has said, after exploration in around half the country’s exclusive economic zone was completed.
Lebanon has been slow to exploit its maritime resources compared with other eastern Mediterranean countries. Israel, Greek Cyprus and Turkey are all much more advanced in drilling for oil and gas.
The image of an Ottoman sultan glowered at the gridlock from a highway billboard in the Egyptian capital, hands clasped, his feathered headgear and gold-hewn epaulettes in elegant contrast to the grind of traffic below. The poster for a Turkish-made movie about the 1453 fall of Constantinople recalled the early feats of an empire that eventually ruled the Middle East and beyond.
Egypt, like Turkey, has its own grand history – evident in the pyramids and other monuments that its ancients left behind, and in a national pride that’s distinctive in the Arab world.
The descendants of yesterday’s sultans and pharaohs, so to speak, also have ambitions of an outsized role for their respective countries. Each wants to speak for the Middle East.
Greece staying in the eurozone is not just an economic question, some experts say. It is also a geopolitical concern. They argue that a Greek exit could have negative effects for NATO. But is that really the case?
The endless discussions about the future of Greece took an unexpected turn in Germany recently, and it had nothing to do with if, or when, the country would leave the eurozone. Instead, politicians focused on the potential security risk to the European Union, if Greece were to abandon the currency.
They presented a nightmare scenario in which economic instability leads to political volatility and regional unrest.
Giraldi said he thought there were 15-20 high-ranking CIA agents in Turkey working on the Syrian conflict alone.
“They would be paramilitary agents,” Giraldi said. “They would be based at the consulate in Adana or the İncirlik Air Base, but could operate in the field as well,” Giraldi said, adding that the agents would not cross into Syria but would direct intelligence operations from within Turkey in collaboration with Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT).