Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anders Åslund, Project Syndicate, August 28, 2012
Russia has shown itself to be an international spoiler with its ardent support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The contrast with its benign policy toward Libya in 2011 reflects how Russian foreign policy changed with the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin. On foreign policy, at least, Russia’s former president, Dmitri Medvedev, mattered more than is commonly understood… (more) http://ow.ly/1maPj2
By Sinan Ülgen, Carnegie Europe, August 24, 2012
Syria used to be the poster child for Ankara’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy. At the peak of their rapprochement, Turkey and Syria were holding joint cabinet meetings and talking about spearheading a common market in the Middle East. Then the Arab wave of reforms reached Damascus. The relationship turned hostile as the Syrian leadership resisted reforms and engaged in large-scale massacres to subdue the opposition.
With the support of Prime Minister Erdogan, Turkey’s foreign minister Davutoglu positioned Ankara in the vanguard of the community of nations seeking regime change in Syria. Thus Ankara gave support to the Syrian National Council and harbored the Free Syrian Army. Even when former UN secretary-general Annan’s plan for a political settlement was announced, the Turkish leadership made it clear that there could be no solution with Assad in power… (more) http://ow.ly/1m7kOw
By Amberin Zaman, German Marshall Fund of the United States, August 24, 2012
The car bomb explosion that rocked the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep on August 20, killing nine people including three children, has sharpened debate as to whether Turkey’s support for Syrian rebels is boomeranging in the form of greater separatist violence at home… (more) http://ow.ly/1m7eGQ
Official portrait of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hurriyet, August 13, 2012
The Turkish media naturally highlighted U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s flattering remarks concerning Turkey’s role in Syria and her promise of support against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after her recent visit to Turkey. But in fact she used very cautious language, and also emphasized the U.S.’s concern about post-al-Assad Syria and “extremists” such as al-Qaeda, as well as the PKK.
By Sami Moubayed, Carnegie Institute
If the EU remains noncommittal in its approach to the conflict inWhen protests broke out against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the spring of 2011, local, regional, and international actors developed very different sets of expectations about how the crisis would unfold. The Syrian regime, for its part, believed the protests to be foreign-orchestrated and calculated that a rapprochement with the United States and the European Union would bring them to a halt… (more) http://ow.ly/1lUz2C
Iran (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Nigel Inkster, Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk, International Institute for Strategic Studies
Both under pressure, Iran and Hizbullah seem to be involved in a ‘shadow war’ with Israel. Iran’s economy is suffering from international sanctions imposed because of concerns over its nuclear programme, and the risk of an Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, possibly before the US presidential election, remains a real possibility. Its ally Hizbullah, the powerful Lebanese Shia group founded in the 1980s with Iranian backing, is also concerned about the possible demise of the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, which could cut off vital supply lines to Iran…
English: U.S. soldiers wearing full chemical protection (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
ACUS: From the Economist: Western intelligence agencies have been monitoring Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons and have been trying to work out what to do about them: Syria is the first country with weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to be ripped apart by civil war.
None of the options looks good. In the first place, Syria has an awful lot of the stuff, produced or stored at about 50 different sites scattered around the country. . . . (more) http://ow.ly/1lGf71
Thematic map, general view over the Turkey – Kurdistan Workers’ Party conflict (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Ottomans and Zionists, July 27, 2012: Turkey is suddenly gearing up to face what might be the biggest foreign policy challenge the AKP has faced in its decade in government, which is the emergence of an autonomous Syrian Kurdistan. As Assad’s forces pull back and retrench, they have left the Kurdish areas of northern Syria in the hands of the PYD, which is the Syrian counterpart to the PKK, and all of a sudden Turkey is facing the prospect of a Syrian Kurdish state right on its border.
The president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Jorge Benitez, NATOSource, July 20, 2012
From Bruce Riedel, BBC: Syria‘s embattled President Bashar al-Assad is sitting on a powder keg of angry citizens who want his brutal regime to end.
He also sits on the Arab world‘s most lethal arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, hundreds of chemical warheads and dozens of Scud missiles which can deliver them anywhere in the Levant. Now there are reports that the regime is moving these weapons out of their usual storage facilities for reasons unknown. (more) http://ow.ly/1lwGkx
English: Bashar al-Assad under pressure (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Itamar Rabinovich, Project Syndicate, July 20, 2012
During World War II, Winston Churchill famously drew a distinction between “the end of the beginning” and “the beginning of the end.” That distinction is equally applicable to the unfolding Syrian crisis. Recent events – the growing number of high-level defections from the regime’s leadership, the killing of three of President Bashar al-Assad’s most senior officials in a bomb attack, and the rebellion’s spread into Damascus itself – suggest that, after a long period of gradual decline, the Assad regime is now approaching collapse or implosion. (more) http://ow.ly/1lvuo8