Tag Archives: Turkey

Afghans left to pick up the pieces of the West’s failed war

As the Taliban rapidly expand in the shadow of US and NATO allies’ retreat, has anyone considered the impact on innocent civilians?

By Paul Rogers.  Published 7-3-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Piqsels

Military leaders in the United States and Britain, as well as allied countries, now accept that they have lost their war with the Taliban.

When US President Joe Biden confirmed his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, this was tacit acceptance of a position that is rarely stated so bluntly in public. Although General Austin S Miller, the US commander in Afghanistan, came close this week when he admitted it was worrisome that as his troops pull out, there has been a rapid loss of districts throughout the country to the Taliban. Continue reading

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Cracks in the Middle East’s stability grow wider as US influence wanes

With the region experiencing social unrest, greater influence of Russia and China, and Israel’s increasing independence, the future is uncertain

By Paul Rogers  Published 5-29-2021 by openDemocracy

A Palestinian making art out of an unexploded Israeli missile. Photo: Wajd/Twitter

The reopening of the US Consulate in East Jerusalem, which reverses one of Trump’s key moves against the Palestinian Authority, was the most significant outcome of the US secretary of state Antony Blinken’s four-state visit to the Middle East this week.

President Joe Biden’s top diplomat also announced immediate support for reconstruction in Gaza, while maintaining strong support for Israel. Yet Blinken has not proposed new peace talks, nor has he engaged with Hamas, which the US and Israel still deem to be a terrorist organisation. Instead, his quick tour through Jerusalem, Ramallah, Cairo and Amman was mainly focused on consolidating the ceasefire. If it helps, good, but it still does nothing to address the underlying issues. Continue reading

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106 years and 44 days of the Armenian Genocide

The US decision to recognise the Armenian Genocide has urgent relevance for the country in the wake of last year’s war in Nagorno Karabakh

By Avetis Harutyunyan  Published 5-7-2021 by openDemocracy

A view of Yerevan, the capital city of the Republic of Armenia, with the backdrop of Mount Ararat (locally known as Masis). Photo: Serouj Ourishian/Wikimedia Commons

“You have not seen Mount Ararat how I saw it growing up. I promise, one day I will take you back home.”

Since childhood, my grandfather grew up listening to these words of his great-grandfather, Baghdasar, who fled to Armenia with his family during the 1915 genocide.

My grandfather recollects how Baghdasar would tell stories of their home in Bayazet, or Doğubeyazıt in modern Turkey, in the shadow of Mount Ararat, and promise his grandchildren that one day they would return to their home. In 1915, to save his family from the massacres, Baghdasar closed the doors of his house, crossed the Araks River, which flows along the borders of Armenia and Turkey, and ended up in the Armenian city of Gavar. According to my grandfather, when Baghdasar died, he still had the key to his old house in his pocket. Continue reading

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Ramadan Brings No Relief for Yemen as Saudis Block Charities and Turks Unleash Foreign Mercanaries

Just as it transferred mercenaries from Syria to the conflict zones in Libya and Azerbaijan, Turkey — the financial and spiritual capital of the Muslim Brotherhood — is now doing the same in Yemen’s oil-rich Marib.

By Ahmed Abdulkareem  Published 4-21-2021 by MintPress News

Tribesmen allied with the Houthis patrol a frontline near Al-Jadafer village in Marib, along the governorate’s border with Al-Jawf, on September 6, 2020. Ali Owidha | Sana’a Center

Adel al-Hajajji is a proud man but, with a pregnant wife and three young mouths to feed, he can’t afford to wait around for a miracle. Instead, he has taken to wandering the streets of Sana’a, gathering discarded plastic water bottles to sell to the recycling center near his home in al-Rawdah. The meager earnings net him just enough to provide his family with a modest iftar, the evening meal that marks the end of the day’s fast during the month of Ramadan. The meal usually consists of bread and water but on occasion neighbors will bring by Saltah, Yemen’s national dish made of rice and potatoes, with meat blended in during more prosperous times.

Before the war, Adel was relatively well off, with a stable government job. He fasted during Ramadan without a passing thought about where his next meal would come from. In 2015, when the Saudis invaded and food become harder to find, he began to receive Ramadan meals courtesy of Muslim charities from wealthy patrons in the Gulf. This year, though, Adel says those charities have told him they could no longer donate to Yemen due to the blockade and subsequent crackdown from Saudi authorities, who claim that charity could fall into Houthi hands. Continue reading

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After 10 Years of Civil War in Syria, US (Quietly) Declares Defeat but Won’t Go Home

After a decade of bombing, invasions, exoduses and economic strife, it is clear that there are precious few winners in the Syrian Civil War — or from the rest of the Arab Spring, for that matter.

By Alan Macleod  Published 3-25-2021 by MintPress News

Montage of the Syrian Civil War. Photo: Collective, CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons

This March marks the 10-year anniversary of the Arab Spring and the protests that rocked Syria, which were a starting point for the ongoing civil war. That conflict has led to over half a million deaths and nearly 13 million people displaced, according to some estimates.

Now, after 10 years of attempts to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad, it appears that many in the U.S. government and media are quietly conceding defeat. Continue reading

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Sheryl Sandberg and Top Facebook Execs Silenced an Enemy of Turkey to Prevent a Hit to the Company’s Business

Amid a 2018 Turkish military campaign, Facebook ultimately sided with Turkey’s demand to block the page of a mostly Kurdish militia. “I am fine with this,” Sandberg wrote.

By Jack Gillum and Justin Elliott.  Published 2-24-2021 by ProPublica

Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

As Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish minorities in neighboring Syria in early 2018, Facebook’s top executives faced a political dilemma.

Turkey was demanding the social media giant block Facebook posts from the People’s Protection Units, a mostly Kurdish militia group the Turkish government had targeted. Should Facebook ignore the request, as it has done elsewhere, and risk losing access to tens of millions of users in Turkey? Or should it silence the group, known as the YPG, even if doing so added to the perception that the company too often bends to the wishes of authoritarian governments? Continue reading

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The far right’s rise within armed forces is a global threat to democracy

The suspected involvement of soldiers and police in the US Capitol riots echoes infiltration moves by extremists in Europe.

By Paul Rogers  Published 1-16-2021 by openDemocracy

The Capitol ambush was a low point for US democracy. Screenshot: CBS News

Earlier this month, the world was shocked by the Capitol rioters’ assault on US democracy. But more chilling still is that those who swore to protect the institutions of state may have been among the attackers.

One US army captain is under investigation for taking part in the 6 January rally that eventually led to the breach of the Capitol in Washington DC, while a former marine was reported to be among the mob that descended on the building. Two off-duty police officers have been charged in connection with the riots.

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UN Human Rights Expert Urges US to Lift Sanctions That ‘May Exacerbate the Already Dire Humanitarian Situation in Syria’

After nearly a decade of war, the special rapporteur noted, Syrians are living with “extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-29-2020

A study published last year by Amnesty International found that the U.S.-led bombing campaign on Raqqa, Syria in 2017 killed an estimated 1,600 innocent civilians while leveling the city. (Photo: Amnesty International)

A United Nations human rights expert on Tuesday called for the removal of unilateral U.S. sanctions targeting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, warning that despite claims by the Trump administration and congressional leaders that the measures aren’t intended to harm the people of war-torn Syria, they may do just that.

“The sanctions violate the human rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been destroyed by almost 10 years of ongoing conflict,” said Alena Douhan, U.N. special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights. “The conflict and violence have already had a dire impact on the ability of the Syrian people to realize their fundamental rights, having extensively damaged houses, medical units, schools, and other facilities.” Continue reading

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World Leaders Urged to ‘Stand Up for Democracy’ and Refuse to Meet With Pompeo After He Denies Election Outcome

“We cannot normalize Pompeo’s threats to democratic legitimacy and the principles of a peaceful transition of power,” stressed Serra Sippel of the Center for Health and Gender Equity.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is being accused of hypocrisy for castigating and sanctioning nations for “undermining democracy” while ignoring the legitimate results of the U.S. presidential election. .Photo: kremlin.ru

Responding to alarming remarks by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo denying the results of the 2020 presidential election, the head of an international health organization on Wednesday urged world leaders to refuse to meet with Pompeo until he acknowledges President-elect Joe Biden’s legitimate victory.

A day after the White House directed federal agencies to refuse cooperation with Biden’s transition team, Pompeo raised eyebrows and ire on Tuesday after asserting that “there will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” Continue reading

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Top Syrian Official Says US Has ‘Absolutely No Right’ to Occupy or Plunder Nation’s Oil Fields

“He’s talking about stealing it,” Bouthaina Shaaban said of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has kept troops in Syria to guard that country’s oil fields.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-26-2019

An oil refinery in Homs, Syria. Photo: High Contrast Wikimedia/CC

Citing U.S. President Donald Trump’s openly stated plan to maintain a troop presence in Syria with the sole purpose of plundering the country’s oil reserves, a top Syrian government official said America has “absolutely no right” to the nation’s natural resources and warned of “popular opposition and operations” against foreign occupiers.

“It is our oil,” Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told NBC News in an interview Tuesday. Continue reading

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