U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has ended his four-day excursion to the Middle East where he was publicly rebuffed by Israel, schooled by Egypt and Jordan and protested in Turkey. Blinken will arrive back in the United States where hundreds of thousands of Americans, including many Democratic Party voters, are in the streets eviscerating the Biden Administration for its role in genocide. He returns to a State Department where one official resigned over the administration’s unconditional support for Israel, and a second Department employee accused Joe Biden on social media of being “complicit in genocide.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered on 5 November outside the Incirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkiye to protest US support for Israel’s bombing campaign in Gaza that has now killed almost 10,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children. Sunday’s protest was organised by the IHH humanitarian relief fund, which in 2010 led a flotilla of ships full of peace activists to Gaza to break the Israeli blockade on the enclave. Israeli forces attacked the flotilla, raiding its ships from helicopters and killing ten Turkish activists.
Joe Biden got what he needed before the NATO summit this week by somehow turning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan inside out and getting him to rebuff Vladimir Putin by announcing that he would support NATO membership for Sweden. The public story for Biden’s face-saving coup was talk about agreeing to sell American F-16 fighter bombers to Turkey. I have been told a different, secret story about Erdogan’s turnabout: Biden promised that a much-needed $11-13 billion line of credit would be extended to Turkey by the International Monetary Fund. “Biden had to have a victory and Turkey is in acute financial stress,” an official with direct knowledge of the transaction told me.
West Asia is a region that is currently experiencing a great deal of geopolitical activity. Recent diplomatic efforts, initiated by Russia and overseen by China, secured a long-elusive Iranian and Saudi Arabian rapprochement, while Syria’s return to the Arab League has been welcomed with great fanfare. The diplomatic flurry signals a shift away from the Imperial “Divide and Rule” tactics that have been used for decades to create national, tribal, and sectarian rifts throughout this strategic region. The proxy war in Syria, backed by the Empire and its terror outfits – including the occupation of resource-rich territories and mass theft of Syrian oil – continues to rage on despite Damascus having gained the upper hand.
The Arab and International Campaign to Break Siege on Syria announced plans on 24 February to launch a popular, pan-Arab campaign to confront the western-led blockade against Syria through an aid convoy in light of the devastating earthquake that killed over 50,000 people in Turkiye and Syria. On Saturday, the Syrian news agency SANA reported that the preparations to participate in the Arab Youth Forum in Solidarity with Syria in March are already underway. The campaign, titled “The Arab Unity Convoy to Break the Embargo Imposed on Syria,” is headed by Magdi al Masrawi, former secretary-general of the Arab National Congress, and draws an example from the “Convoy of Arab Unity, Maryam” to break the siege on Iraq in the early 2000s.
The head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Khaled Hboubati, demanded on Tuesday, February 7, that Western countries, specifically the US and its allies, lift their siege and sanctions on Syria so that rescue and relief work can proceed unimpeded, after the country was devastated by a powerful earthquake on Monday. “We need heavy equipment, ambulances and fire fighting vehicles to continue to rescue and remove the rubble, and this entails lifting sanctions on Syria as soon as possible,” Hboubati said at a press conference on Tuesday, as reported by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). A powerful earthquake registering a magnitude of 7.8 struck Turkey and Syria on Monday. Over 5,000 people have been reported dead so far. In Syria alone the death toll was 1,602 on Monday. These numbers are only expected to rise as a large number of people are suspected to be still buried under the debris of houses that collapsed in the earthquake and its aftershocks.
Earlier today two large earthquakes have caused widespread damage in south Turkey and north Syria. Some 10 million people live in the affected area. The current count of death is already above 2,500. Whole city blocks have 'pancaked' (vid) and were destroyed. Many dead will likely still be under the rubble. The area is prone to earthquakes. Just days ago an expert had warned that a big one was coming. International support for the areas has started. Turkey is generally earthquake prone and has a lot of rescue stuff. It will now get more. Unfortunately Syria, which is under devastating sanctions, will get little. This would be a good time to lift those sanctions if only for purely humanitarian reasons.
The Biden administration’s efforts to put on fast track Sweden’s accession as a NATO member petered out as Turkey balked, exercising its prerogative to withhold approval unless its conditions regarding Stockholm’s past dalliance with Kurdish separatist elements is fully addressed. President Biden was bullish and insisted publicly that Sweden’s NATO membership was a foregone conclusion. He underestimated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s tenacity and overlooked the geopolitical ramifications. Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg assumed that all that was needed was a face-saving formula to pander Erdoğan’s vanity — ie., a few Kurdish militants in Sweden would be extradited and Ankara and Stockholm would thereupon kiss and make up.
On August 20, left-wing organizations in Turkey formed the Union of Socialist Forces, a new electoral alliance. The alliance comprises the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), the Revolutionary Movement (Devrim Hareketi), the Left Party (Sol Party) and the Communist Movement of Turkey (TKH). In a press conference organized in Ankara last week, the Union of Socialist Forces launched its manifesto regarding the 2023 general elections. The press conference was attended by Ozan Yılmaz of TKP, Ercan Bölükbaşı of Devrim Hareketi, İsmail Hakkı Tombul of the Left Party and Umut Kuruç of TKH. The Union of Socialist Forces has resolved to end the conservative regime in Turkey led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his right-wing Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Syrian foreign minister Faisal Mekdad, who was visiting Iran, said on Wednesday, July 20 that his country welcomed the joint statement issued at the end of Astana peace summit a day earlier which talked against all kinds of external aggression in his country. During his meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Amir Abdollahian Mekdad noted that “we are against any interference of Turkey in Syrian lands and establishment of any settlements and attempts of Turkification of Syria.” On Tuesday, during the first day of his two-day visit to Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the summit of the Astana format or peace process in Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi. After the summit meeting, the three leaders issued a joint statement declaring that there is no military solution in Syria and warned against any such attempts.
On May 18, the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a Norwegian named Jen Stoltenberg, stood on a stage, flanked by the ambassadors to NATO of Finland and Sweden, Klaus Korhonen and Axel Wernhoff, respectively. It was one of those made-for-television moments that politicians dream of — a time of high drama, where the ostensible forces of good are faced off against the relentless assault of evil, which necessitates the intervention of like-minded friends and allies to help tip the scales of geopolitical justice toward those who embrace liberty over tyranny. “This is a good day,” Jen Stoltenberg announced, “at a critical moment for our security.” Left unsaid was the harsh reality that hundreds of miles to the east the military forces of Russia and Ukraine were locked in deadly combat on Ukrainian soil.
The Iraqi geopolitical analyst, Ali Fahim, recently said in an interview with The Tehran Times: “The arrival of [newly elected Iranian President] Ebrahim Raisi at the helm of power gives a great moral impetus to the resistance axis.” Further, with new administrations in the United States, Israel, and Iran, another opportunity presents itself to reinstate fully the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement, as well as completely lift the US economic sanctions from Iran. Let us wait and see after Raisi is in power in August 2021. It is a fact that, since the Trump administration pulled out of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, tensions have been on the rise. One can legitimately suspect that the Trump pull out had as its real intentions: first, to provoke Tehran; second to undo one of the only foreign policy achievements of the Obama administration, which was negotiated by John Kerry for the US.
Since Sept. 27, fighting in the disputed south Caucasus Mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh has killed over 1,000 people, both civilians and combatants, while uprooting the lives of thousands. This includes new 11 casualties on Sunday, Oct. 25, noted in a Deutsche Welle report citing numbers released by the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Ministry. Leading up to the 2020 election, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, its disputed history between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and its geopolitical implications, along with many other critical foreign policy issues, have been largely ignored by the American media...
The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria has signed an agreement with an American oil company, well-placed sources with close knowledge of the deal told Al-Monitor. One of the sources said the agreement to market oil in territory controlled by the US-backed entity and to develop and modernize existing fields was inked last week “with the knowledge and encouragement of the White House.” The sources named the company as Delta Crescent Energy LLC, a corporation organized under the laws of the state of Delaware. The sources gave no further details about the company but would only say they had been in talks for “a long time” and that it had received an OFAC license to operate in Syria. Oil is a politically radioactive topic, with the central government in Damascus accusing the United States of stealing its oil after Trump declared last year in the wake of Turkey’s October incursion against the SDF that he was keeping some 500 US Special Forces in the Kurdish governed space “for the oil.” Despite steadily tightening sanctions on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the United States has turned a blind eye to ongoing oil trade between the Kurds and Damascus. A fair amount of the oil is also sold at cut-rate prices to the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Despite the odds stacked against it, the women’s movement is determined to continue the struggle. In response to the Turkish invasions, hundreds of thousands of women from the different communities in Northern Syria have taken to the streets. On the International Day against Violence against Women, all the women’s organizations in Northern Syria organized large rallies across the region with the slogan ‘Occupation is Violence’. These local actions were echoed by feminist actions around the world under the campaign ‘Women Defend Rojava’. ‘Day and night, we engage in efforts to struggle against the occupation,’ Evîn says. ‘Our aim is for these areas to be liberated and for our people to see a dignified return. Both things must be led by the organized, free woman.’