Showing posts with label Turkey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Turkey. Show all posts

September 2, 2016

Assad and Erdoğan said to be preparing for face-to-face meeting in Russia

    Friday, September 02, 2016   No comments
Assad and Erdoğan in 2009
It has been reported for sometime now that Turkish and Syrian intelligence officials have met on many occasions. Now, some sources are revealing that those meetings were not just about coordinating efforts to combat common threats to both countries, namely the Kurdish separatist, but to arrange for political leaders to meet. 

Turkey broke all diplomatic relations with Syria mere days after the start of the peaceful protest movement in Syria. Because of the lack of open channels of communication, the two countries relied on third parties to reach out to one another when necessary.

Earlier this year, some media outlets reported that Algeria played a key role in opening a communication channel between Syria and Turkey. Now, new reports are suggesting that Russia, after the surprising meeting between Erdoğan and Putin, is working behind the scene not only to transmit information between the two countries, but also to arrange for a meeting that will bring together Assad and Erdoğan in Russia. Importantly, the meeting is significant in that it will be part of a plan that could end the civil war in Syria.

Reportedly, the plan is based on some ideas from the Geneva and Vienna meetings, but more specific in terms of the fate of Assad and his role beyond the transition period.

The proposed plan will call for a unity government that will include members of the "moderate" opposition groups, with Assad still in charge of key ministries during a transition period. After about 18 months, a period during which the constitution will be amended, new presidential and parliamentarian elections will be held, in which Assad may choose to run. However, should he run and win, it will be his last term. Some of the opposition fighters will be absorbed into the Syrian army and officers who deserted  but did not take part in the war will be re-instated. Assad must work towards reconciliation by declaring a new amnesty for these officers who are now residing in Turkey with their families.

These are extraordinary events should they actually come true. But given the steps taken by Erdoğan when he apologized for shooting down the Russian jet near the Turkish-Syrian border, it is not at all impossible to see him take steps to reconcile with the Syrian government. After all, given that his troubles with Russia were over Syria, his normalizing of relations with Putin will be meaningless without addressing the main issue that caused the crisis with Russia in the first place.

It is clear by now that Turkey after the failed July 15 coup is very different from the pre-coup Turkey, albeit under the same president.

August 21, 2016

Will Erdoğan abandon Islamist armed groups now fighting in Syria?

    Sunday, August 21, 2016   No comments
It is established that the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the party he founded, the AKP, are primary supporters of armed groups fighting the Syrian government. The AKP-led Turkish government opened its borders for Islamist fighters from all over the world to join the war against Assad’s forces.  It provided them with training, money, and weapons. The Turkish government also hosted the families of the Syrian fighters. 

Although its support went to all groups fighting the Syrian government because it prioritized the overthrow of Assad over all other matters, including fighting terrorism, the Turkish government offered special support to Islamists including al-Nusra Front and ISIL. It did so for sectarian and ideological reasons, but also for practical reasons: ISIL and al-Nusra were the strongest fighting groups in Syria and Assad’s government cannot be ousted without them. 

Five years later, and when Russia threw its military weight behind Assad, the Turkish government came to the realization that Assad is, and will remain, for the near future at least, a “key actor” who would play a role in any political solution for the Syrian crisis. That is when Erdoğan decided to adjust his strategy and work with Russia, instead of against it, to preserve some level of influence over the future of Syria. 

Syria is important for Turkey because of their shared problems and concerns: the status of the Kurdish people in both countries forced them to work together in the past, and will force them to work together in the future. In other words, Turkey has no choice but to remain engaged in dealing with the Syrian crisis. 

Adjusting the Turkish strategy will necessarily have significant effects on Turkish relations with Islamist fighters in Syria. Will Turkey abandon them?

The answer can be drawn from Erdoğan’s history. He is a very skilled politician who is willing to sacrifice old alliances in favor of better ones. If his alliance with Islamists becomes a burden, Erdoğan will dump them. Consider his alliance with Fethullah Gülen for proof.

Part of the credit for AKP and Erdoğan’s rise to power goes to the role played by Gülen and his movement. Yet, a decade later, when Erdoğan wanted to consolidate his power, he took steps to control that movement and its institutions. Gülen became aware of Erdoğan’s thirst for more power and he resisted him covertly at first. Erdoğan decided to bring him home where he can better control him. So on June 14, while speaking at a public event organized by a Gülen organization, he issued a public invitation, telling Gülen “it is time to come home.” Gülen, perhaps aware of the risks, tearfully declined the invitation on June 16, saying, in essence, not yet.

Four years later, Gülen stands accused by Erdoğan of being the mastermind of the failed military coup. Had Gülen accepted the invitation then, he would be in prison now, without creating a diplomatic and legal crisis with the U.S. administration, which is refusing to extradite him at this point.

Erdoğan, is the kind of politician who knows how to survive and will do whatever it takes to not just survive, but reverse losses and thrive. For this reason, Erdoğan is not only capable of abandoning his Islamist fighters in Syria, he could launch a military campaign to eradicate them altogether, and throw their Turkish supporters in prison. Justifying such actions will not be that difficult either. Terrorist attacks, like yesterday's, are enough to turn the Turkish public against all Syrian opposition fighters and create a new path toward reconciliation with a Syrian government with or without Assad.


August 11, 2016

Turkish and Russian leaders can no longer compartmentalize their relations

    Thursday, August 11, 2016   No comments
by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

Turkey’s president may have pushed the reset button of his country’s relations with Russia, but it will be a while before he can reap economic benefits.
 
Reason for Putin wanting gradual restoration of economic ties with Turkey: Russia cannot help rejuvenate the Turkish economy to enable the Turkish government to kill Russian soldiers (and abuse their corpses) in Syria by proxies

In 2011, the sudden protest movement popularly known as the Arab Spring triggered fundamental changes in the political and social landscapes of the Middle East—not just the Arab world as the name suggests. Turkey’s government, like many others around the world, did not know how to react at first. Erdoğan, as his country’s prime minister and then president, supported the Tunisian revolution, wavered in his support for the Egyptian president before committing to supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, and opposed NATO’s war on Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi. When peaceful protesters took the streets in some Syrian cities, Erdoğan, relying on a sectarian instinct and a nationalist impulse, offered Assad fifteen days to meet the protesters’ demands before he would cut all relations and put all his weight behind the Syrian opposition forces. A few weeks later, Turkey played a pivotal role in using Qatari and Saudi money and weapons to transition the protest movement into an armed rebellion committed to a single objective: overthrowing Bashar al-Assad. This role, to which Erdoğan committed himself, necessarily created a conflict for him with two other powerful neighbors and economic partners: Russia and Iran.
For the first four years of the Syrian crisis, the leaders of Turkey, Iran, and Russia thought that they could compartmentalize their relations. They could continue to strengthen their economic ties, while agreeing to disagree on Syria. That approach failed when it became clear that the differences between Turkey on one hand, and Russia and Iran on the other, in relation to Syria were more than disagreements. Iran and Russia have had long-standing strategic alliances with Syria for many years. In fact, two years earlier, Iran had signed a security deal with Syria that required each of them to come to the aid of the other should one be attacked. Russia has had a naval base in Syria since the days of the Soviet Union. With that being the case, it was not possible to compartmentalize, especially when all three countries were committed to preserving their interests in Syria and in the region.
So it was no surprise that all three countries were actively involved in Syria beyond what they publicly revealed. Russia and Iran first provided the Syrian government with weapons and economic assistance to help it weather the crisis, but Turkey took a direct role from the start of the conflict and allowed the free flow of weapons and fighters into Syria. By 2015, all three countries increased their involvement. Turkey provided training, control and command centers, and free flow of weapons and fighters to the opposition groups. Russia and Iran sent more military hardware and eventually fighter jets and military personnel to Syria. That escalation led to the crucial mistake on the part of the Turkish leaders.
Hoping to draw NATO deeper in the Syrian conflict, Erdoğan ordered a Russian bomber shot down. The crew ejected, but one member was killed by an armed group supported by Turkish security forces and partially staffed by Turkish citizens. This incident prompted President Putin to impose harsh economic sanctions that further stressed the slumping Turkish economy. Russia’s economic, rather than military, response to what they saw as an act of war rendered NATO useless in terms of assisting Turkey. Putin then insisted that economic sanctions would stay in place and might even be tightened unless Erdoğan formally apologized and took responsibility for downing the Russian fighter jet and killing the pilot. Erdoğan insisted that it was Putin who should apologize for violating Turkish airspace. Seven months later, with the Turkish economy in decline, Erdoğan sent a letter to Putin expressing sorrow and taking responsibility for the incident. Russian leaders welcomed the gestures and promised to ease some of the sanctions. But Erdoğan wanted more than easing the sanctions—he needed economic relations between the two countries to be restored to the pre-incident period or better. So he requested an earlier meeting with Putin than the one scheduled to happen on the sidelines of the G-20 in China in September of this year. Putin obliged and offered to meet him in Saint Petersburg on August 9.
Erdoğan’s eagerness to meet with his Russian counterpart was motivated by economic considerations, with all other interests being secondary. Russian leaders are also interested in boosting economic ties, but not in a way that will undercut their broader interests in the region. Consequently, the two sides went into the meeting with different priorities. However, it is clear that the Turkish side lacks the strategic thinking that would allow them to see the connection between the Syrian crisis and their national economic conditions. The Turkish economy’s growth was cut by almost 50% immediately after the Syrian crisis, and that correlation alone should be enough to convince Turkish leaders to address both their economic concerns and the Syrian crisis at the same time, not in isolation from one another. Failure to do so soon will undo the possible benefits of the apology.
There is a reason Erdoğan is widely popular in Turkey: since he and his party, AKP, won the first elections that allowed them to govern without the need for a coalition for nearly a decade and a half, he turned a slumping economy with a negative GDP growth rate—-5.7 in 2001—into a formidable global force. He attracted investors, rebuilt the infrastructure, and turned Turkey into a magnet for businesspersons and tourists. The results were impressive: Between 2002 and 2011, Turkey’s average GDP growth rate was 5.45.
The average GDP  in the last four years, since the start of the so-called Arab Spring (2012-2015), barely reached 3.33. The numbers for 2016 are worrisome. Turkey’s problem became tied to the Syrian crisis when Erdoğan took it upon himself to be the defender of the Syrian people against their own president: he threw his support behind violent groups allowing the flow of weapons and fighters into that country with the aim of overthrowing Assad’s government. Given the long-standing relationship between Russia and Syria, Turkish-Russian relations suffered, especially when Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 near its border with Syria . The connections between the Syrian crisis, Turkey’s relations with Russia, and the health of the Turkish economy are compelling . Although Russia would benefit from economic ties with Turkey, Russian leaders have made the connection between long-term economic development and strategic alliances with other countries. With Russia soldiers now dying in Syria on the hands of fighters enabled, trained, and supported by Turkey, it would be reckless for Russia to fully separate economic interests and military and security matters involving Turkey. That is one of the main reasons Erdoğan returned from Russia practically empty handed, with only promises.
Russia will not shore up a Turkish economy that supports terrorists in Syria who killed Russian soldiers, abused their corpses, and threaten to kill more. For that reason, Putin insisted that the lifting of sanctions must be gradual. Russian thinking is long term: if Putin waited for seven months to receive Erdoğan’s apology, he is prepared to wait another seven months to see Turkey implement its commitments to fighting terrorism by sealing the border and stopping the flow of weapons, fighters, and stolen Syrian oil and goods.
Russians are prepared to fast-track the economic projects that are long term and delay the ones with immediate payoff for the Turkish economy until Turkey meets its obligations. Russia’s thinking was reflected in their plan to restart work on Turkish Stream pipeline, without shelving alternative projects involving other countries. The principle that Russian leaders are using to reset their relations with Turkey also favors restarting economic exchange that benefits the Russian economy and while delaying exchange that benefits the Turkish economy until Turkey changes its calculus on Syria. Russia is not conditioning its economic relations with Turkey on Syria because it cares about Assad, but because Turkey is indirectly killing Russians in Syria.
The other principle guiding Russia’s foreign policy in relation to the Syrian crisis was made clear during the press conference that Erdoğan and Putin held after their first meeting. Responding to the first question, Putin looked at his guest and declared:
“Our position is based on this enduring principle: It is impossible to achieve democratic change except through democratic means.”
Not only are these principles guiding Russia’s approach to the Syrian crisis making it difficult for Erdoğan to capitalize on his pragmatism, the consequences of his involvement in Syria are making it almost impossible to start from zero. Indeed, making amends for one jet and one pilot may cost him some political capital and about $25 million. Should Syria pursue legal action to force countries that supported military aggression and profited from looted goods and natural resources to pay reparations, Turkey could be on the hook for billions. Erdoğan was willing to apologize and normalize relations with Putin but not with not Assad because of the cost that might be associated with admission of responsibility in the destruction of Syria.
This is not to say that Turkey has no way out of its problem with Syria. Erdoğan could use Russia as intermediate partner to spend the next five years rebuilding what he helped destroy in Syria over the past five years. This indirect action could be the compromise that might actually work for all parties. The “coup” that Erdoğan wanted to launch against the Syrian government using genocidal fighters did not work, will not work, and may have inspired the failed coup against his government. He has this one opportunity that he had created when he apologized and took responsibility for downing the Russian plane; if unused, all will be for naught.
___________________________
* Prof. SOUAIAIA teaches at the University of Iowa. His most recent book, Anatomy of Dissent in Islamic Societies, provides a historical and theoretical treatment of rebellious movements and ideas since the rise of Islam. Opinions are the author’s, speaking on matters of public interest; not speaking for the university or any other organization with which he is affiliated.


August 9, 2016

Putin-Erdogan first face-to-face talks since Turkey downed the Russian plane cannot avoid addressing the Syrian crisis

    Tuesday, August 09, 2016   No comments

Immediately after the first meeting, the Turkish and Russian presidents set down for a press conference. After reading their prepared remarks, the first question to both of them was about Syria. Erdogan, avoided answering the question claiming that a meeting after the press conference will address the Syrian crisis and it would not be appropriate to comment now. Putin on the other hand, revealed his governments' principle, which will guide the scheduled discussions about Syria:

Our position is based on this enduring principle: It is impossible to achieve democratic change except through democratic means.
 Putin added that he stood by Turkish democracy as a matter of principle, and the same principle applies to Syria. In other words, there cannot be a political solution in Syria that does not go through the Syrian people. The Turkish president, who wanted the world to support democracy against an attempted violent takeover, cannot ask his Russian counterpart to overthrow the president of Syria, and remain consistent. He could argue that Assad’s handling of the protest movement may have reduced his standing among the Syrian people, but only a fair and transparent elections can validate that claim.

July 28, 2016

Could the Cessation of Hostilities help U.S. and Russia overcome their differences on Syria?

    Thursday, July 28, 2016   No comments


by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
 
ISIL fighters
It is evident at this point that Syria’s war is not a civil war. It is a world war and now the two superpowers, the U.S. and Russia emerged out of the shadows of their regional allies to take charge. Early this year, the two countries reached an agreement called Cessation of Hostilities (CH), initially effecting select cities but open to be applied across Syria.  The Cessation of Hostilities is simply a bilateral understanding between the U.S. and Russia. It is not a peace accord nor is it an armistice. It is something in between necessitated by the complex map of groups fighting the Syrian government. This CH automatically excluded any and all groups labelled terrorists by the UNSC, including the self-proclaimed Islamic State and its offshoot, al-Nusra Front. In theory, any armed opposition group can be party to this deal provided its members--or a representative thereof--contact monitoring centers staffed by Russian personnel, since Americans are not authorized by the Syrian government to be on Syrian soil, overtly at least. The deal worked in bring some calm to some areas and gave many Syrians some hope.

July 7, 2016

#IslamicSocietiesReview : Turkish-Russian relations in the context of the war in Syria and Turkish economy

    Thursday, July 07, 2016   No comments


by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*

At one point last year, when the Turkish and Russian leaders had their last meeting, they had hoped that economic trade between their two countries would reach $100 billion. Turkish leaders also wanted to triple trade with Iran to $30 billion. Erdogan, the co-founder of the AKP that has governed Turkey for a decade and a half, knows the importance of economic growth for him to remain in power and shape the country’s future to his liking.

May 10, 2016

Context and consequences of the resignation of the architect of Turkey's zero-problem foreign policy

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016   No comments

By Rahmat Hajimineh*

A recent decision by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, which was announced on May 5, to resign his post, can be considered as the outcome of a power struggle in Turkey’s political structure a review of which will not only be important in terms of typology of politicians’ behaviors, but also from the viewpoint of its consequences.

The first thing that seems to be important following Davutoglu’s resignation is the meaning and type of his resignation in political literature of Turkey. The development has been described as the “palace coup” by those opposed to the ruling Justice and Development Party and outspoken critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, including the leader of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu. This term is used to denote that Davutoglu has been actually deposed from power by Erdogan.

November 16, 2015

The Genealogy, Ideology, and Future of ISIL and its Derivatives

    Monday, November 16, 2015   No comments


Abstract: The organization known today simply as the “Islamic State,” or by its Arabic acronym, Daesh (English, ISIL), has historical and ideological roots that go beyond the territories it now controls. These deep roots give Daesh confidence that it will succeed in dominating the world, but give others reasons to believe that it will fail in controlling even a single nation. Mixing puritan religious and political discourses, ISIL managed to dominate all other armed opposition groups in conflict zones (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya) and has inspired individuals in many other countries (Egypt, Pakistan, France, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia) to carry out brutal attacks in its name.
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Dogmatic Origins: Traditionism

November 3, 2015

Turkey’s elections results prioritize stability, continuity, and inclusion

    Tuesday, November 03, 2015   No comments
 
Source: aa.com.tr
Turkey’s elections, despite the difficult circumstances and some of the intimidating practices against Kurdish voters and the media, are  victory for those who believe in an empowered citizenship and peaceful transition of power. This is especially important because, in Islamic societies, fostering shared governance and strengthening democratic institutions are urgent needed. Participation in elections is powerful rebuke to those who believe in changing political order through violence and military coups. I do not speak the Turkish language, therefore, I cannot claim that I know the motives of the Turkish voters. However, statistics and persistent trends suggest that the winners of these elections should not use it to continue ignoring voices of dissent.

First, Turkish nationalism is retreating before religious conservatism. During these redo elections, the AKP siphoned more public support from the Nationalist Movement party (MHP) than from any other party. Voters' support for MHP dropped to 11.96% from 16.5% (June’s results).

October 14, 2015

Why is AKP - led Turkish government punishing Kurds and leftists for ISIL suicide crimes?

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015   No comments


When ISIL suicide bombers killed more than 32 people at a cultural center in Suruç, near Kobani, the AKP led government unleashed waves of airstrikes against PKK fighters in southern Turkey and northern Iraq, instead of launching punishing trikes against ISIL. When two suicide bombers targeted a peace coalition activists, mostly Kurds and leftists, killing more than 96 people, Prime Minister Davutoglu, blamed “the Islamic State, Kurdish militant factions, or far-leftist radicals.” 


Just one day after the attack, Turkish warplanes struck PKK targets in northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey, killing “some 30-35 PKK guerrillas on Sunday alone.” No reported strikes against ISIL. Which brings us to the obvious question: Why is the AKP government punishing Kurds for crimes committed by ISIL?

June 9, 2015

The controversial rule that benefited the Justice and Development Party now diminishes its chances to quickly form a government

    Tuesday, June 09, 2015   No comments


Turkey’s democracy has had many pitfalls since the early days of the modern republic. The ruling elite, initially from the military and recently from the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP), have tweaked the rules of the game to exclude others and preserve their stay in power. Since 2002, Turkey’s powerful AKP politicians benefited from the rule that required political parties to win at least 10% of the votes to send representative to the parliament. Kurdish politicians, especially, were marginalized forcing them to compete for elections only as independents, increasing the chances of the more powerful parties, in this case the AKP, to artificially inflate their share of seats. If the 10% rule were not in place, and more political parties were represented this time around, AKP would have an easier time finding a coalition partner that had won just 17 seats--not 80.

For the first time, the pro-Kurdish party known as Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) has surpassed the 10% threshold and will be sending about 81 highly disciplined members to the parliament. This victory is not only good for the Kurdish people, it is also good for Turkish democracy. It deprived the increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from a chance to amend the constitution and give himself more powers. It solidified political pluralism. And it added a voice to minority voices in a political landscape dominated by a single party for nearly two decades.

January 12, 2015

Where is the Outrage?

    Monday, January 12, 2015   No comments

Europe’s hypocrisy and latent racism displayed after the Paris attacks


On January 11, 2015, an estimated 1.6 million people walked the streets of Paris as part of a “unity march” in reaction to the recent attack in the French capital. Some 40 world leaders joined the march. Other high-profile individuals also recognized the attack and the march—for instance, George Clooney and other actors referred to the events as they received awards on January 11. “Paris is the capital of the world today,” declared Francois Hollande. 

October 12, 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ought to be tried for crimes against humanity

    Sunday, October 12, 2014   No comments



by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
 
ISIL attacks Kobane
Earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden angered some Middle Eastern leaders by making a true statement. Speaking at Harvard, Biden said that the U.S. allies were determined to overthrow Bashar al-Assad from power so they “poured hundreds of millions dollars, and tens thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against al-Assad, accepted the people who would be in supply for al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadists coming from other parts of the world.” Known for his blunt statements, Biden flatly admitted that U.S. “biggest problem is our allies. Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks… the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc...”

September 17, 2014

ISIL cannot be defeated militarily without addressing the roots of its genocidal creed and confronting its sectarian backers

    Wednesday, September 17, 2014   No comments

Less than a year after the start of the crisis in Syria, I warned that militarizing the Syrian uprising is a dangerous step. Picking sides and arming them would amount to  launching a new proxy-war similar to the one that took place in Afghanistan in the 1970's and 1980's. The danger, I reasoned, comes from the necessary outcome of using non-state actors as tools to destabilize other nations and adopting violence to escalate the confrontation with international political adversaries. Such escalation, generally, produces groups that cannot be kept under control as happened with al-Qaeda. Today, it has become evident that Syria is indeed a proxy-war zone that produced ISIL, an upgraded version of al-Qaeda, which was the byproduct of the proxy-war in Afghanistan. Such a new proxy-war will not be limited to Syria's border. Indeed, all countries involved in such a war, especially the ones sharing borders with Syria like Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, and Jordan, will face serious political and security challenges.

September 11, 2014

Combating ISIL should not be America’s business, it is Saudi Arabia's

    Thursday, September 11, 2014   No comments




ISIL is a global threat but it is a bigger threat to the Middle East than to U.S. homeland. It is a bigger threat to Muslims than to Americans because, until now, the absolute majority of victims are Muslims. The U.S. could be part of a coalition that should combat ISIL but it should not take the lead. Saudi Arabia should take the lead in fighting ISIL because Saudi Arabia helped create it in the first place. The ideology and practices of ISIL are derived from the brand of a religious tradition called Salafi Wahhabism that was founded in Saudi Arabia and promoted by Saudi preachers under the patronage of the Saudi ruling family. Therefore, the fight against ISIL is Saudi Arabia’s and the rulers of Saudi Arabia must be forced to take the lead in this war.

April 21, 2014

The slow moving wheel of democracy in Turkey and the future of women in politics

    Monday, April 21, 2014   No comments
By Sumeyye Pakdil
* see key below
Turkey has been occupied with a corruption scandal and the recent split between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen, a prominent religious figure who leads a worldwide Sunni movement named after him. Arguably, this split dates back to the government’s decision to close all school preparation programs (dershane) run by the Gulen movement. Then, by late 2013, when some corruption scandals involving members of the Erdogan cabinet surfaced, Erdogan looked at the Gulen movement as the source. Erdogan has accused Gulen and his movement as being politically and religiously treachery after the corruption scandals came on the Turkish political scene on December 17, 2013. While the local elections approached, the outcome of the elections would become so important for Erdogan to confirm his power and control over Turkey. Eventually, the local elections of March 2014 turned into a referendum to prove that whether Erdogan’s government would continue to rule the country and approve Erdogan’s leadership.

November 4, 2013

Why are the rulers of Saudi Arabia losing their cool?

    Monday, November 04, 2013   No comments


The Umayyad Syndrome



For more than seventy years, Saudi Arabia has cultivated the image of a state run by level-headed, moderate, wise, deliberate, and cool-headed leaders. Publicly, its diplomats gave the impression that the Kingdom would chose dialogue over confrontation, moderation over extremism, and reconciliation over antagonism. Wikileaks unveiled the true nature of the regime when it revealed that the rulers of Saudi Arabia were in fact leading two lives: one public and another private.

July 25, 2013

Why did the Salafi Party in Egypt support the removal of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood?

    Thursday, July 25, 2013   No comments


Balancing political interests and religious idealism in Islamic Societies

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*


Alarabiya channel cheered the ouster of Morsi and the Brotherhood
Many analysts and observers of Middle Eastern affairs were surprised when the Salafi political party, al-Nour, supported the protest movement and the military that ousted Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood from power. Some tried to explain it by highlighting the fundamental ideological differences between Salafi and non-Salafi Islamism. Others contended that what the Salafi have done was dictated by political acumen. Salafi leaders wanted to position al-Nour party and the Salafi movement as the heirs of the Brotherhood. The failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to govern and to include others in the process was also posited as a reason for the rift between the Salafis and the Brotherhood.



In my view, leaders of the Salafist political party abandoned Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood because their patrons, Saudi Arabia and UAE, wanted them to do so.

July 19, 2013

Majority, including supporters of National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces, want a negotiated solution to the Syrian crisis

    Friday, July 19, 2013   No comments


The Coalition will either negotiate with the regime or it will become irrelevant

by Ahmed E. Souaiaia*
Responding to a non-scientific poll posted on the website of the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (the Coalition), 66.2% of the respondents wanted the group to attend the Geneva-2 conference. In fact, 33.6% of the respondents wanted the Coalition to attend without any conditions. Only 30.8% thought that the Coalition should not negotiate. That sentiment reflects a non-scientific vote that ran on a website that is likely to be frequented by sympathizers with the Coalition. It is likely that if a similar poll surveyed people inside Syria, even more respondents would want the regime and the opposition groups to sit down and negotiate a political solution to the crisis. With that in mind, it is bewildering that leaders of the Coalition, including the new president, Ahmed Bin Awinen Asi AlJarba, have refused to enter into negotiations with the Syrian government.

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