Yesterday, Pres. Rejep Tayyip Erdogan was here in DC. His presence and the apparently lengthy meeting he had with Pres. Trump both attracted many criticisms and a non-trivial street protest in the square across from the White House. Yes, there are numerous serious things to criticize Erdogan for, including some of those mentioned in the … Continue reading Some quick thoughts on Turkey
The United Nations’ Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, recently expressed confidence that the Syrian Constitutional Committee (SCC), a key gathering of representatives of the country’s government, opposition, and civil society, can convene as planned in Geneva, October 30. If this does occur-even with, perhaps a slippage of a few days-it could mark the beginning … Continue reading Can the Turkey-Russia Agreement Help Syrians End Their Civil War?
Washington, DC — It took less than a week after President Trump announced the summary withdrawal of the tripwire U.S. force deployed in northeast Syria alongside the Kurdish-dominated “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF), before the SDF concluded a new alliance with the Syrian government. What happened between, of course, was the large-scale incursion of Turkish forces into the … Continue reading U.S. forces (and policy) in Syria head south
This week, Mideast watchers have been breathlessly awaiting the arrival in NATO member Turkey of the first of the two batteries of Russian-made S-400 air defense systems that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan purchased from Russia in December 2017. Officials in the State and Defense Departments have warned that, with Turkey’s receipt of the S-400s, … Continue reading Global Power Shifts Sparked in Syrian Hornets’ Nest
On July 3, the Washington Post carried an intriguing op-ed from Cemil Bayik, whom it identified as “one of the five founders of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)” The PKK is a militant movement of ethnic Kurds who are Turkish citizens and who make up a large portion of the population of Eastern Turkey. From … Continue reading Intriguing peace feeler from Turkey’s “PKK” Kurdish movement
In the northwest Syrian province of Idlib, three million civilians find themselves at the vortex of large-scale battles as the Syrian government and its allies seek to retake the area from the rebel forces that have controlled the region for nearly eight years. Idlib is now the beleaguered last redoubt within Syria of the armed … Continue reading The Real Plight of Idlib’s Civilians