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Turkey vs ISIS: Where's the new caliphate now? Part II

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In Part I, Erdogan's mounting dilemmas—ISIS terrorism, Kurdish resistance, Assad's Syria alive and well—showed how his bid for regional hegemony has gone awry. His pact with the ISIS devil, as long as they target Kurds, just made things worse. Davutoglu's dream of a "common history and a common future" for the Middle East under Turkish guidance is now in history's dustbin. The Turkish plan for a "global, political, economic and cultural new order" in the Middle East remains in the hands of the US and, of course, Israel.

Israeli rationale

Israel has been noncommittal about Syria since the uprising in 2011, not joining the western chorus for Assad's head. Israeli indifference to the outcome can be explained easily enough. First, Israeli public support for anyone would be a kiss of death for the beloved. On the other hand, the Assads have been the biggest thorn in Israel's side since 1971 when Hafiz Assad consolidated power, and Israel would be delighted to see the last of Bashar. But Israel was worried about what might emerge from a post-Assad Islamic state.

With Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked's bold call for an independent Kurdish state, a radical new claim for regional hegemony is unfolding, not by a neo-Ottoman Turkey, but by the Jewish state. “We must openly call for the establishment of a Kurdish state that separates Iran from Turkey, one which will be friendly towards Israel,” Shaked told the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv. This sounds novel, but it really only reflects age-old plans for a Jewish state to control the Middle East which have been on the drawing board since Lord Shaftesbury first made it a British imperial objective in 1839. 1948 got the project off to a savage start, 1967 added the entire Holy Land to the map, and let the settler state move into high gear.

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Turkey vs ISIS: Where's the new caliphate now?

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Under intense pressure from the United States--not to mention Russia--Turkey has begun to reassess its support for anti-Assad groups. ISIS's third attack in six months in Turkey has pushed it where it did not want to go. The first two attacks were against Kurds (one killed 33 outside a Kurdish cultural center in the border town of Suruc in July, another killed more than 100 in Ankara in October).

The poor Kurds have no friends anywhere. The West betrayed them at Versailles in 1919. They are a Turkish thorn and ISIS's mortal enemy, so those attacks did not raise much protest either abroad or in Turkey. But the latest was in the heart of Istanbul against foreign tourists. ISIS broke its devil's pact with the Turkish government as a sort-of ally, undermining Erdogan's rationale to let them carry out attacks as long as they target Kurds. Pacts with the devil usually go wrong and this is one of those.

Erogan's wild scheme in Libya and Syria


The Turkish political scene has changed dramatically since the Arab Spring five years ago. At that time, Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan was the golden boy, with his "zero problem" foreign policy with neighbours, and the ability to square the circle--to have good relations with Russia, Iran and NATO. Even the Kurds got an olive branch, with a peace process in 2013, after Ocalan, from his prison cell, called on his fighters to abandon their armed struggle in return for political reforms.
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Al-Quds interview: Israeli media tricks backfire

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Q: Do you think that protests against the failure of peace talks are the motivation behind the current Intifada?

A: No one on either side takes the endless talks seriously. Netanyahu has made it clear more than once that he has no intention as prime minister of ceding any more settlements or of stopping their expansion. His goal is to make Jerusalem the capital of Israel, to lead the way to destruction of al-Aqsa Mosque and the building on Temple Mount a Jewish temple dedicated to King Solomon. Palestinians have no 'negotiating' position, as they were granted a state in 1947 by the UN, which Israel subsequently denied them. They merely trust that the UN will eventually be able to enact the original agreement or convince Israel to negotiate a solution in line with the agreement that allowed Israel to be created in 1947. So the intifadas will continue as long as there are Palestinians alive to fight for their rights.

Q: Please comment on the hypocrisy of western countries, which loudly bemoan every death of a western and/or Israeli citizen and ignore the daily killing of dozens of Palestinians.

A: Yes, western media is hypocritical, marginally concerned when a westerner dies, but oblivious to the daily torture and murder of Palestinians. But the concern for westerners and those with western passports does have some effect. Just two days ago, a Canadian artist of Palestinian origins, Rehab Nazzal, was shot in Bethlehem unprovoked, merely taking pictures which the Israeli conscripts resented. Resented with good reason, for these members of the Israeli Defense Forces were spraying a Palestinian neighborhood with  "skunk," a smelly, nonlethal liquid used for crowd control. So one of them turned around and shot her to teach her who is boss.
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Ayatollah Khameini: 'Westerners mourning French tragedy should pause for a moment'

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The leader of the Islamic Revolution has once again addressed western youth, who either for the most part are misinformed about Islam because of the bias in media and society in favour of Israel and Zionism, or are Muslim but living in a climate of Islamophobia and in desperation have drifted to the militant jihadist movement which began in Afghanistan in 1979 with US blessing, and is now a permanent feature of world politics. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calls on them to "reconsider the threat of terrorism in the world, its roots and to find a deep insight into Islam."

The tone of the Ayatollah's reflections is calm and friendly, the content intelligent and at the same time heartfelt. You can feel his spirit of universal love and his anguish at the suffering that terrorism brings. It is sad to note that western media and politicians have an obsession against Iran, despite Iran's constant reaching out and attempts to help the West fight terrorism. The reasons, of course, are Iran's staunch support for Palestine and its refusal to submit to the dictates of imperialism. Both unforgivable 'sins'.
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Time to rekindle UN spark

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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently held a commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the squashing of UN resolution 3379, equating Zionism with racism. It was passed in 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions). The festive event this year was attended by US Secretary of State John Kerry and head of the Israeli Labour Party and Zionist Union Isaac Herzog, son of Chaim Herzog, president of Israel from 1983 to 1993, and star of the 1975 UN session.

The 1975 vote took place approximately one year after resolution 3237 granted the PLO “observer status”, following Yasser Arafat’s “olive branch” speech to the General Assembly in November 1974. It succeeded only because the Soviet Union and its allies were there to support the Arab and Islamic majority countries.
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