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Friday, 17 August 2018 00:00

Tel Aviv is apparently seeking to team up with the Sunni Arab countries in the Middle East to crackdown on Iran. Speaking to Sputnik, Russian and Israeli analysts have shared their views on the possibility of Israel's admission to an "Arab NATO."

On August 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dropped a hint that Israel may join an anti-Iranian Arab coalition in the event Tehran blocks the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the southern entrance to the Red Sea.

"If Iran tries to block the Bab al-Mandab, I am convinced that it will find itself facing a determined international coalition to prevent this. This coalition would also include the state of Israel and all its arms," the Israeli prime minister stated.

Sputnik reached out to Boris Dolgov, a researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences' Center for Arab and Islamic Studies and Simon Tsipis, a security analyst at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Israel, asking them whether the Israeli-Arab coalition is possible.

Israeli-Arab Alliance Sounds 'Absolutely Realistic'

According to Tsipis, the Israeli-Arab alliance is quite probable, especially when it comes to a confrontation with Iran.

"The possibility is absolutely real, because Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia have a common interest — to confront Iran. At the beginning of his presidency, [Donald] Trump paid a visit to Saudi Arabia, demonstrating to the world that his policy would be aligned with the Sunnis, led by Saudi Arabia, and directed against the Shiite world, whose leader is Iran. The interests of [the Sunni Arabs and] Israel coincide here. Israel has long been in a very tense political confrontation with Iran," he explained.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the 2018 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, at Washington Convention Center, Tuesday, March 6, 2018, in Washington
© AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana
 

According to the security analyst, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) and its nuclear program poses a direct threat to Israel. He believes that Tehran is escalating tensions in Syria by supporting militias on the ground and trying to "build infrastructure for future aggression against Israel from the territory of Syria." Tsipis emphasized that additionally "Iran supports the Hamas group which periodically attacks the Israeli Army from the territory of the Gaza Strip."

At the same time, he noted that Egypt and Jordan had signed peace treaties with Israel in 1979 and 1994 respectively, and maintained a so-called "cold peace" with Tel Aviv. Given all of the above, the prospect of an Israeli-Arab alliance is "absolutely realistic," Tsipis insists. 

Moreover, the US and its Arab allies might need Israel's assistance in case of a potential confrontation with Tehran: "Israel boasts substantial naval, air and reconnaissance capabilities," he said. "Participants in the coalition, in particular the United States, would want to resort to Israel's help."

A Palestinian Hamas military policeman inspects the damage caused by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. Israel struck targets in the Gaza Strip after dozens of rockets were launched Wednesday from the coastal territory ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas group, the Israeli military said
© AP Photo / Khalil Hamra
A Palestinian Hamas military policeman inspects the damage caused by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. Israel struck targets in the Gaza Strip after dozens of rockets were launched Wednesday from the coastal territory ruled by the Islamic militant Hamas group, the Israeli military said

Palestinian Issue to Take Backseat

As for the Palestinian problem, it would pale in comparison with a "struggle against Iran," the Israeli security analyst opined.

"In both Jordan and Egypt, Palestinian minorities may oppose this alliance, but they pose no threat to the national security of Egypt or Jordan," he suggested. "The Palestinian issue would fall by the wayside, while the Middle Eastern NATO would become a priority."

 

Commenting on the possible conditions of Israel's participation in a potential anti-Iran alliance, Tsipis presumed that Tel Aviv could be obliged to "stop aggression against Palestinians who live, in particular, in the Gaza Strip," "lift the land and sea blockade from the Gaza Strip" and "open the checkpoints through which humanitarian supplies come to the Gaza Strip." These checkpoints were previously closed by Israel in response to missile strikes by Hamas.

"In my opinion, Israel will accept these conditions," the security analyst presumed. "First, participation in such a coalition would enhance Israel's prestige in the eyes of many countries of the Muslim world, since it would become a de facto ally. Second, the most important issue for Israel — the Iran problem — would be solved. Even if the IRI is not defeated, it would be significantly weakened in terms of military capabilities."

According to Tsipis, that would directly play into the hands of Tel Aviv who is seeking to reduce Tehran's influence in Syria and in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli-Arab Alliance Just Propaganda Rhetoric

Dolgov holds the opposite opinion. According to him, Netanyahu's statement is nothing but a propaganda stunt, since the Saudi-led Arab coalition would never bring Israel into its fold.

There is a Sunni-Shiite confrontation in the region," the Russian researcher said. "The Sunnis are led by Saudi Arabia, and the Shiites — by Iran. Iran is also opposed by Israel, who considers Tehran its enemy. As long as the Ayatollahs are in power, Israel will consider Iran its rival. An alliance between Israel and Sunni states, led by Saudi Arabia, is unrealistic. In the Muslim world, it would be perceived rather negatively."

Israel and Palestine flags
© AP Photo /
 

However, Dolgov did not rule out that Israel wants to throw its lot in with a potential "Arab NATO."

Still, even if the Arab states agree to join Israel in a potential alliance, they could demand that Tel Aviv solve the Palestinian problem — a condition Israel is likely to reject, the scholar presumed.

"The Palestinian issue remains a bone of contention between Israel and the Arab world," Dolgov said. "In this conflict Egypt is in league with the Palestinians. There are a lot of Palestinians and Palestinian organizations in Jordan; they, naturally, will oppose such a solution to the Palestinian problem."

Israel and Iran have not maintained diplomatic relations since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Over the past decades tensions between the countries have substantially escalated. For its part, Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with the IRI following an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in January 2016. Saudi-Iranian relations have always been strained over geopolitical and religious issues. Although Tel Aviv and Riyadh do not have any official diplomatic relations, the Saudi Arabian leadership has recently softened its rhetoric towards Israel with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman "recognizing" the right of the Jewish people to have their own land.

 

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201808161067249699-israel-arab-states-iran/

 

Friday, 17 August 2018 00:00

Caspian nations have agreed on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Following twenty plus years of debate over the deal, countries signed a Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in the Kazakh city of Aktau on Sunday. The signatory nations include Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Sputnik has discussed the significance of the Caspian Sea Convention with Joaquin Flores, editor in chief of Fortruss news which has closely reported on and broken a number of stories relating to Turkey's geopolitics, energy markets, and its present financial crisis.

Sputnik: Caspian nations agreed a convention on the legal status of the sea. How landmark is this event, considering the latest tensions of Iran, Russia and Turkey with the US?

Joaquin Flores: This is very much linked to the Turkish lira situation, directly. So this agreement really can be termed in many ways. First of all, as an anti-NATO pact with regard to the Caspian, because one of the main factors of this, in terms of military, is that there’s a general agreement now, that there will be no military presence of any country which is not an actual a country with its own natural access; that is on the Caspian Sea.

So that is a huge development, and that’s going to lead toward the rationalization of the TANAP project or the development of the Shah Deniz 2 expansion project, because Azerbaijan's relationship to the Caspian Sea affects everyone and who has claims to what amount of the Caspian Sea is going to be changing our entire precepts of how international relations work.

 

This is similar to what we’ve seen in China with the South China Sea, because now we need to develop into a stage in the development of international relations and diplomacy where there is an increased sense of supply line security over oceans, and as pipeline projects, or Internet cables, or energy markets require supply line security which the traditional models of oceans as being international really no longer apply in many respects. So I think that moving forward what we will find is that this will have a stabilizing effect over any possible disputes moving forward. It will allow Azerbaijan to develop its pipeline corridor and it really should work with Iran.

There is no real need for there to be an either or approach here, and of course, Russia is also able to develop the Turkish Stream project. Now it is Europe that really needs this energy, and doesn’t really produce the energy that it needs in many respects, and at least in terms of keeping price point within the needs for investment and development, we should say.

So if Europe's economies continue to grow it is going to rely on all of these countries working together in defiance of what the transatlantic alliance historically has urged, which is, of course, a decrease in sovereignty of these states, increased foreign military presence in the Caspian, in the Black Sea and so forth, and it has a negative consequence both on sovereignty and on supply line security.

 

Joaquin Flores: This type of cooperation is very important. This is a positive development, not all developments are a positive per say, and certainly there are many things to be criticized in a general trajectory of these things, but this particular development is positive.

It will, of course, create the political framework that gives the assurances required for the different investment consortia to come together; make an agreement with the knowledge that there won’t be foreign market intervention or global market interference primarily from Western financial capital centers into the project.

And I think that this protects it and creates investor confidence within the context of market psychology and will work very well for all Caspian countries including Russia, including Iran and its neighbors.

Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Joaquin Flores and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

https://sputniknews.com/analysis/201808151067199599-caspian-sea-convention-international-relations/

 

Friday, 17 August 2018 00:00

By Matanat Nasibova 

The largest contribution in signing the Convention to determine the status of the Caspian Sea, was made by Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, candidate of historical sciences, senior lecturer of the Russian History Department of Astrakhan State University, the head of the Center for International and Social and Political Studies "Caspian-Eurasia" Andrey Syzranov told Trend.

"Although all the Caspian countries without exception have done more or less for the solution of the most important Caspian issue, the three countries stand out showing the greatest flexibility," the expert said.

"Adoption of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea in Aktau will form the foundation for further development of all countries of the region, create many prospects for cooperation between the regional states in various fields , including military security, ecology, energy, transport and tourism. It is clear that the Convention will not solve all the problems between the Caspian countries. This is a matter for the future. Particularly, in the format of new bilateral and trilateral meetings, the issue of division of the Caspian Sea bed between Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran will be discussed," Syzranov added.

"For the Caspian states, in particular for Russia, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan, the Caspian region is not only important for political interaction and joint use of rich resources, but also for the creation of a sustainable social and economic development zone," he said.

The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was signed by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

In addition, heads of the respective structures of the Caspian littoral states signed other important documents stemming from this Convention - the Protocol on Cooperation in the Fight against Organized Crime in the Caspian Sea, the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation among the Governments of the Caspian Littoral States, the Agreement on Cooperation in the Transport Sphere among the Governments of the Caspian Littoral States, the Agreement on the Prevention of Incidents in the Caspian Sea and the Protocol on Cooperation and Interaction of Border Agencies.

 

https://en.trend.az/azerbaijan/politics/2941026.html

 

Thursday, 16 August 2018 06:06

By Adam McConnel

The writer teaches Turkish history at Sabanci University in Istanbul. He holds an MA and PhD in history from the same university.

 

“From time to time during the past year, Turkish officials have indicated their preference for dealing directly with us in lend-lease matters. The Turks have felt that they would know where they stood much better if they dealt directly with us, would know precisely to whom they were indebted, and would have more control over American material destined for them. An additional reason for the Turkish attitude was undoubtedly a feeling that they were being treated more or less as a British colony or protectorate.”

– Memorandum by George V. Allen, Division of Near Eastern Affairs, March 16, 1943, Foreign Records of the United States

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of the greatest United States presidents, recognized as early as 1941 that Turkey would be vital to U.S. global strategy in the coming era. Another five years would pass -- including the Bretton Woods conference, World War II's conclusion, and the Cold War’s advent -- before U.S. policymakers also concluded that Turkey would be a fundamentally important component of U.S. strategy towards the USSR, and therefore required massive amounts of economic and military aid. The eventual results were the Truman Doctrine, Turkey’s inclusion in the Marshall Plan and, in 1952, Turkey’s NATO membership.

Now, after five years of recurring crises in Turkish-American relations, the events of WWII and the Cold War era seem eons in the past. Renowned American journalist Tom Brokaw called America’s WWII leadership and citizens the “Greatest Generation,” and even though historians have voiced important reservations about Brokaw’s evaluation, his definition may well be justified. But once that WWII generation gave way to younger arrivals, American officials gradually lost the ability to formulate well-informed, astute, or creative policy towards the Turkish Republic. After Harry Truman, Dean Acheson, and the NATO accession glow receded, disasters have been Turkey’s typical experience stemming from the choices of U.S. officials.

Examples? The Jupiter Missiles and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Johnson Letter. Cyprus and the arms embargo. Vague official U.S stances towards repeated military interventions into Turkey’s democratic political system. Two Iraq invasions. Granting Fethullah Gulen residency. The George W. Bush Administration’s reaction to the March 2003 Turkish parliamentary resolution’s failure, and Paul Wolfowitz. Robert Pearson and Ambassador Eric Edelman. U.S. attempts to force Turkey to abide by its unilateral sanctions against Iran; the Reza Zarrab-Hakan Atilla-Halkbank revenge trial. The Obama administration’s collaboration with the PKK. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone. The Obama administration’s sluggish and tepid response to Fethullah Gulen’s July 2016 coup attempt, and consequent inaction on Gulen’s extradition. Ambassador John Bass and his fly-by-night visa ban. The Trump administration’s 30,000-man PKK/YPG army. And now Trump’s sanctions -- carried out for domestic political considerations -- against the Turkish interior and justice ministers, accompanied by tariffs on certain Turkish export products.

Respect essential in foreign relations

The above paragraph lists only the main lowlights of the past 70 years of Turkish-U.S. relations. This alliance began with U.S. recognition that, as a Great Power with urgent geostrategic imperatives, it needed allies; in order to cultivate those allies, certain steps would have to be taken in order to cement relationships. U.S. officials recognized that those steps were their responsibility, and that they had to approach their allies with respect and circumspection. That was the reason why George Marshall’s famous speech was a Harvard commencement address, and why the speech’s tone and content were carefully crafted.

After the Cold War’s conclusion, Turkey’s role in U.S. global strategy arguably became even more vital, which begs the question of why the U.S. has not been able to maintain the same level of responsibility and respect towards the Turkish Republic that it maintained towards other European allies. However, the current U.S. president, Donald Trump, has now thrown almost all other U.S. partners under the bus as well. Trump’s obnoxious behavior towards traditional U.S. allies could be understood as simply taking previously established precedents to their logical ends. That is, other U.S. allies are now treated with the same sort of brusque regard that Turkey has been subject to since the 1960s.

From that perspective, Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan’s remarks on Aug. 4, 2018 to a Justice and Development Party women’s congress appear similar to sentiments expressed by earlier Turkish politicians when confronted by unconstructive and regrettable U.S. behavior. Erdogan, commenting on recent talks between Turkish and U.S. officials, explained:

“So what was said? That, ‘on this issue, this sort of approach with Turkey is not appropriate. If we are going to act sincerely, if we are truly a strategic partner, we should do what is necessary for our partnership.’ Were we not together with you in Somalia? Were we not together with you in Afghanistan? Did we not take steps together and in unity with you for NATO in various places in the world? If you treat your partners this way, in what manner do you expect us to perceive you?"

As logical as these statements are, similar comments from earlier Turkish politicians had little effect on U.S. policymakers. The problem was that U.S. officials were not able to follow or were simply not aware of the logic which brought the U.S. together with Turkey during and after WWII. Concurrently, U.S. officials forgot the necessity to approach Turkey with respect, as an equal. This is a problem that continues to plague U.S. policy formulation towards Turkey.

Rising UK profile in Turkey

U.S. inability to devise sound policy towards Turkey in the past 60 years can, at least partially, be blamed on consistently poor understanding of Turkish society, history, politics, and interests. But the actors clamoring to affect U.S. policy, and the number of factors influencing policy calculations have also greatly increased.

The George V. Allen memorandum quoted at the beginning of this commentary brings up issues which U.S. officials had identified as important to Turkish officials during WWII, but that U.S. policymakers have subsequently either neglected or forgotten. For example, Turkish officials still prefer foreign representatives who deal with them openly, directly, and honestly. They also prefer foreigners who treat them with the respect that should be accorded to equals.

Allen’s memorandum concludes as follows:

“The Turks believe that Great Britain has made commitments to Russia which will prevent Britain from exercising a restraining influence on Russia after the war. The Turks would be much encouraged if they were convinced that the United States retains a strong interest in Turkey’s welfare. It is difficult to create such a conviction while we continue to agree to British demands in Turkey’s regard.”

Certainly after the past two decades, but especially after the past five devastating years, can we argue convincingly, using the evidence available to us, that the U.S. “retains a strong interest in Turkey’s welfare”? Every passing month, and every new crisis has made the argument more difficult to make.

Originally, I intended to write a commentary that wrapped up with U.S. Ankara Embassy Charge d’Affaires Philip Kosnett’s recent trip to the Black Sea. During his visit to the Trabzon Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Kosnett commented to the press on current Turkish-American relations, stating that “the important thing is to keep communication channels open” in reference to ongoing issues between the Turkish and U.S. governments. I then planned to suggest that Turkish-U.S. relations were not only about inter-government relations, and that the U.S.’ representation in Turkey needed to be more proactive in establishing an open dialogue with Turkish society, not just with Turkish officials. That would be another important way to “keep communication channels open.”

But the U.S. Embassy in Ankara consistently acts as if they are oblivious to Turkish citizens’ sentiments and concerns. This July 15 the U.S. Ankara Embassy did nothing more than tweet the original and a Turkish translation of the State Department’s press release commemorating the failed 2016 Turkish coup attempt. As the U.S. government’s in-country representation, there wasn’t anything that the embassy might have been able to add in order to show some empathy?

On Aug. 1, the day after a PKK attack in southeastern Turkey killed a mother and her infant, the British deputy head of mission to Turkey, Jennifer Anderson, tweeted a condemnation in English and Turkish. But the U.S. Embassy in Ankara? Silence, except for self-promotional tweets, including one on Kosnett’s Trabzon junket. That is exactly the sort of inability to engage directly and sincerely with the issues important to Turkish society that deepens and magnifies Turkish distrust of U.S. intentions.

Thus, in terms of the U.S. representation in Turkey’s sensitivity to and understanding of Turkish society, nothing has changed over the past five years, whether the secretary of state is John Kerry, Rex Tillerson, or Mike Pompeo, or whether Kugulu Park’s primary resident is Francis Ricciardone, John Bass, or… no one. The United Kingdom’s representation in Turkey, on the other hand, now displays more attention to issues important to Turkish citizens.

In fact, since the Brexit vote, Turkish-British relations have been experiencing a revival. Most importantly, the U.K. government has put a top-level member of Fethullah Gulen’s cult, Akın Ipek, under house arrest, with possible extradition proceedings pending. This is a stark contrast to the U.S. government’s refusal -- displayed by both the current and previous administrations -- to take even an initial step towards legal procedures that might result in Fethullah Gulen’s extradition.

Demands from White House ruspanti

George Allen’s memo also suggested that “demands” were emanating from the British side in 1943. Then, the most important demands were from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who wanted Turkish soldiers to do the fighting in the Balkans instead of British soldiers. Now, during the Trump administration, demands come from the U.S., and specifically from whomever has Trump’s ear. Trump’s attention span is notoriously short and his White House is occupied by ruspanti constantly vying for his attention and favors. At the moment, Vice President Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton apparently dominate Trump’s time because the November 2018 midterm elections are fast approaching. For that reason, sanctions against Iran, and the Brunson case, are front-and-center in Trump’s field of vision.

But Trump’s demeanor is so volatile that no one knows what will happen from one day to the next. Trump also has far too many other problems occupying his mind to focus extensively on Turkey, a subject for which he has apparently left U.S. policy to the soldiers (attested to by the recent statements from both sides strongly asserting that military matters in northern Syria were totally separate from the Brunson case). This means that demands can come from multiple sectors, and that policy-making is even more diffuse and chaotic. Allen’s memo accused the British of fomenting a similar situation, so apparently we have experienced a complete reversal in the Anglo-American-Turkish relationship since WWII.

Finally, on Aug. 7, 2018, the U.S. Ankara Embassy tweeted two Turkish-language tweets aimed at Turkish society. One reaffirmed the strength of Turkish-American collaboration, and the other denied a Turkish press rumor. Those tweets, at the very least, recognize the Turkish public.

In reality, though, it should not take provocative Turkish press rumors to elicit such tweets. The U.S. Embassy needs to be more energetic in taking the initiative to promote open, positive, and constructive dialogue with Turkish society. This can take many forms, but in the age of social media, Twitter is an important route through which the U.S. Embassy can begin establishing better “communication channels.” As an illustration, the embassy might start with putting a more Turkey-friendly picture on their Twitter page (compare the current picture with the picture featured on the British Embassy’s Twitter page). That and similar efforts, over the long term, can help to show Turkish citizens that the U.S. representation in Turkey respects them, their culture, and their democratically elected representatives, and does not see them as a “colony or protectorate”.

* Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/analysis-news/turkey-us-relations-from-visionary-to-myopic/1229937

 

Wednesday, 15 August 2018 06:49
Controversy and conflict are resolved at the Aktau Summit of the Caspian States, the summit, which has been scheduled to be held from 11 to 12 August 2018 between the five heads of states "Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan", whereas Aktau is one of the most important ports of Kazakhstan on the Caspian Sea, the richest sea in the world with "oil, gas and fish", which is suitable for all purposes of investment universally recognized, and is one of the most important areas of Eurasia investment. 
 
Indeed, China has entered the Eurasia region as one of the most welcome investors for the vast infrastructure it is doing in this region, to link Asia with Europe as a "challenge" to America and also to secure energy resources in one of the world's richest points of such resources with a country that has the highest rates of economic development and growth in the world and in line with the principle of "win-win" for partners, Of course, the five countries are important in each of China's new global economic and cultural initiatives, the "Silk Road - Shanghai Cooperation Organization - BRICS", the anti-American international financial groups. 
 
Of course, according to the geo-strategic concept, the one who controls Asia and Europe; the latter which economically exhausted, also entered into an economic war with America, and in a thirst for Chinese liquidity; dominates the world. 
 
Congratulations to the five countries finally reach an agreement that prevents the existence of any Western or foreign bases on the Caspian Sea, which may fuel strife among its members and cause tension and terrorism. 
 
In my opinion, this is very important to preserve the security and stability of Central and West Asia, and it has a positive impact on the war on terror, especially that some young people of these countries went to war in Syria because of the lies and misinformation of the Western and the Gulf media, as there was a war of genocide for the Sunnis in Syria by a Shiite regime, and unfortunately exploited by sheikhs/clergymen, money and the Gulf regimes to promote these sectarian strife under Western auspices, and believed by young Muslims in Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. There is a need for a unified media platform among the countries of the Caspian Sea to prevent such futility in the future. 
 
There is a single initiative "Russia and the Islamic World" established for this purpose, but unfortunately a purely governmental initiative. We need mixed initiatives amid intellectuals, civil society and governments so that there is integration of the vision and take advantage of new ideas and exchange of experiences in this area, especially with those who deal professionally with digitization, which reaches most of the young people in the world for different perceptions to the past. 
 
This also has a positive impact on Turkey, which has also entered into a trade war with the United States, and has no way but the Eurasian countries, and increase the economic and strategic alliance with them, as Turkey is characterized as an agricultural, industrial and tourist country, it has good relations with the five countries, seeks to have relations of the same quality with China, and can enter into a financial and monetary alliance that allows the exploitation of local currencies between it and the Caspian countries without the need for dollar, or the conclusion of agreements or the conversion to the Chinese Yuan, as it is an international currency. 
 
Also to reach the point of good exploitation of resources of the Caspian Sea, referred to by President Rowhani, and it needs more meetings between the five States, both at the level of presidential or ministerial to reach the best ways to exploit and divide the resources of the seabed, where the main sticking point was how to split the seabed, many prefer to divide by an even line of the five coastlines, but Iran has the smallest coast line - does not accept it. 
 
The second dispute was that Russia was reluctant to allow Turkmenistan to continue its 300 km gas pipeline to Azerbaijan, which would open up its huge cheap gas reserves to the European market, which is currently dominated by Russian gas giant Gazprom. The solution seems to be to preserve wording and delay controversial decisions. On Sunday, the five nations agreed to 15 miles of exclusive sovereign economic waters, plus 10 more miles of fishing grounds, and then there would be shared water and of course the men of international maritime law would have The floor, not presidents, on practical issues of division.
 
I think that Egypt and the Arab world should reconsider their relations with foreign countries and especially with Eurasia and the Caspian countries, and not be like the slave who loves his executioner "America and Europe" because there are richer and closer areas in culture and religion than America and Europe, we know that Egypt has applied for a partnership in the Eurasian Economic Zone, like China and Iran, and unfortunately the Zionist entity, but what we hope is the activation of such agreements, which will be reflected in the welfare of the Egyptian citizen. 
 
Ahmed Moustafa
Political Economist, Director of Asia Center for Studies
 
 
 
Tuesday, 14 August 2018 08:13
Extremist Zionists are in decision making in US and push Trump the current president to satisfy his son-in-law Kushner and his daughter Ivanka the matter that will lead USA to a real curse. Surely, we are in the biggest media war in the world, because as we said several times before the USA economy on the brink and no internal reform could be occurred, as long as the two main parties and lobbies are controlled by powerful families like Rockefeller's, Roschield's, Morgan's etc...
 
 For only personal profits regardless the 500 million citizen who represent the US people. We are justifying why we are in a sever global media war, we do remember the brilliant interview of Fox News, the biggest media channel worldwide, that has made with the Tsar Putin coinciding with of Helsinki Summit with Trump in July, whereas Putin has put the American TV presenter in several critical situations throughout 35 minutes, it seemed that Putin almost controlled the interview and made it on his own way.
 
 Not only that, Putin addressed several deep messages to the USA audience the followers of such big channel, also Putin gave the USA audience the impression that USA officials themselves, as of President until the TV presenter, used to lie to them, because that amazing success of the world cup Russian Mondial 2018 demolished all the stereotype images made about Russia.
 
 Thus, USA institutions criticized Trump for holding such interview and closed meeting with Putin alleged that it made USA lose in it, in addition they postponed the invitation that was addressed to Putin from Trump to visit USA in September, lest Putin, this charismatic figure, to address USA people, via USA media, several messages that could made them dissatisfied with their regime. 
 
Putin in this interview reaffirmed several times that there is no a tangible proof about USA allegations concerning meddling in their Presidential elections, and all the trials they made or fabricated to prove that were vain. The same issue he repeated concerning the false allegation of poisoning of Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, and when the presenter asked him, is not it strange that all such incidents related to Russia? Putin answered, it happens everywhere, of course Russia is a big a power and a member of SC and has some enemies, and Russia is a country respecting the power of the law, but just show me one evidence against Russia in such incidents, but I am reminding you that you have a president assassinated in the beginning of 1960s and so far no criminal has been presented to the justice in USA, is that a good thing? 
 
Also concerning the maltreatment with Afro-Americans using brutality by police that led to several killings, is that represents USA democracy? Despite all of that, yesterday we were surprised that USA has imposed new sanctions on Russia concerning Skripal fabricated incident made by the British regime, as if they are blowing in the fire again. 
 
The problem here is the presence shrinking of USA, Britain and Isreal in the Middle East, especially after the big loss in Syrian battlefield, despite all the amounts spent, around US$ 1 trillion, by KSA and UAE to support them and bringing mercenaries from 100 nationalities to carry out such diabolic plan concerning collapse of Syrian regime to the favor of Israel and concluding the century deal to sell Palestine to Israel and keep Arab autocratic regimes safe as long as they accept and normalize with Israel. As revealed by different US and British experts and columnists that maybe Obama was good and generous enough with both of Iran and Turkey during his era as both of them are considered pivotal countries nearby USA permanent enemies "China and Russia", but unfortunately the Americans they are far enough to understand the integration of civilizations of such 4 countries. 
 
Our view concerning the good understanding amid the four countries China and Russia are the main supporters currently for Iran and Turkey especially in the crisis of USA withdrawal from 5+1 nuclear agreement with Iran, the Russian extra trade and armament deals with Turkey, because according to the foreign policy of China and Russia, Iran and Turkey are very important and reliable allies to carry out the new alliances especially Silk Road Initiative that includes currently 65 countries, G20 by which China, Russia and Turkey are members, BRICS as well as SCO. It is a double war, media war from one side, by which the west presided by USA is the winner because they spend a lot on media as well as they control over digitalization.
 Economic war by which the East I mean Asia including China is the winner as long as China is the world biggest treasury for foreign currencies and finance. Thus, our battle currently is not the money, as long as China is the world financier not any other country, having great economic alliances with EU, Africa, Arab world, Latin America, our battle is how to unify our efforts and to know who is our future ally, as well as how to have a unified media platform for all of us, the countries which aggrieved by USA, because as we see and monitor that USA is irresponsible partner and quitted about ten international agreements once Trump reached the presidency. 
 
The most ironic thing that even with Canada, USA used KSA to revenge from Canada concerning the recent failed drama concerning the status of human rights in KSA, and the Canada request from KSA to free some activist detained in prison for illogical crimes or for some tweets, the matter that made KSA expresses its fury from Canada and dismisses its ambassador, because USA gave it the green light, but when some US and British NGOs disclose some human rights scandals inside KSA, nobody in KSA can object such reports, an absolute double standard. The timing was very good for KSA to cover the massacres by which Saudi-Emirati military alliance is carrying out on civil targets in Yemen especially the latest two incidents the first the last week attacking a gate of hospital and yesterday attacking young students school bus in Saada, and unfortunately no urgent session to be held in security council for USA, UK, KSA and UAE mutual interests, what a hell is that!!! Concerning the opportunity that our countries may get the profit of it according to this trade war, as long as we are countries like "Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, ASEAN etc.." are not vulnerable to the USA trade sanctions, we could offer our third party services to the countries vulnerable to USA sanctions "China, Russia, Canada, Iran, Turkey and EU" via the transfer of production lines and factories to our countries at least in garments production, thus we can get the know-how, train and gain a greater numbers of manpower, fighting unemployment, as well as a percentage of the profits of such projects.
 
 Also maybe "Occupy Movement" was aborted by USA regime, as they were aware that all the economic crises worldwide made by the money lenders of Wall-Street, who where the reason of the global recession in 2007-2009, and also who resorted, via CIA, to Drugs Tycoons for seeking their liquidity to save Wall-Street financial system, IMF and WB, which is considered the biggest money laundry scandal in the contemporary history. 
However, maybe a group greater than "Occupy Movement" is being formed, and this time no one in USA will stop them, because the economic performance not better than neither Bush, nor Obama, and USA economic curve is always down. 
 
Finally, it is the time for China and the other countries which vulnerable to US sanctions to shift to Yuan instead of US$, as well as barter system, I remember when USA and IMF were practicing pressures on the left government of Argentina by the beginning in 2000 and made it in a deficit status according to scarcity of US$, as there was a leftist Argentinean president called "Cristina Kirchner" she was against USA supremacy and atrocity, also she wished Argentina to be an absolute independent state, at such time Chavez, the Venezuelan president, advised her to carry out with him the barter system, as Argentina is full of livestock and Venezuela is full of oil, thus Venezuela could import meat from Argentina in return for Oil without need for US$.
 
 We remember that the Egyptian leader Nasser did the same 60 years before, when he created with his counterparties from India, Yugoslavia and Indonesia "Non Aligned Movement" to circumvent the USA sanctions.
 Ahmed Moustafa Political Economist Director of Asia Center for Studies and Translation Member of CODESRIA and Group of Strategic Vision Russia and Islamic World
 
       
Ahmed Moustafa
 
 
Monday, 13 August 2018 08:47

The landmark deal was made after more than two decades of diplomatic efforts, by the the five littoral Caspian nations – Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

They agreed a legal framework for sharing the world’s largest inland body of water, which bridges Asia and Europe and is packed with oil, gas and sturgeon.

Diplomats describe the document as a regional constitution.

“Our summit is exceptional if not truly epoch-making,” Russian President Vladimir Putin told the Caspian Sea presidents and foreign ministers.

President Hassan Rouhani of Iran also said, “Today we have taken a very important step but we should recognize there are more important issues that need to be addressed.”

Rouhani also thanked his Caspian partners for their support since the United States’ unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

According to the Guardian, this was a hard won diplomatic victory. Their main sticking point was how to carve up the seabed. While everyone else agrees it should be divided by a line equidistant from the five coastlines, Iran – with the smallest coastline – does not.

The five nations agreed to 15 miles of sovereign waters in addition to a further 10 nautical miles of fishing area after which there will be common waters.

The thorny issue of how to divide the hydrocarbon-rich subsoil territory has been put off. Reading from the convention document, Kazak Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said, “The methodology for establishing state base lines shall be determined in a separate agreement among all the parties according to this convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.”

Talking to reporters, Abdrakhmanov added, “This is a key phrase, especially important for our Iranian partners.”

‘Iran is a huge country and a huge market’

Asked if they feared sanctions on the two big regional players (Russia and Iran) would undermine the Caspian’s trading potential, delegates to the summit responded with wait-and-see pragmatism.

“We will have to look into this issue but for us Iran is an opportunity. It’s a huge country and a huge market. We should not miss this opportunity of cooperating with them,” said a senior Kazakh diplomat.

“Iran is our neighbor and our inevitable partner,” he added, according to the Guardian.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/426439/Iran-four-other-states-sign-Caspian-Sea-legal-regime

 

Monday, 13 August 2018 08:31
It is two years since Edward Carwardine was appointed as the UNICEF Representative to Azerbaijan. In his interview with Eurasia Diary, he commented on the impacts of wars on the most vulnerable segment of the population – children. 
 
Edward Carwardine: It’s been a very fulfilling two years that I have been here in Azerbaijan. I think what’s been particularly exciting for me is to have the chance to meet with so many children and young people around the country; who are so full of energy and are so determined to get the best from their lives. Of course UNICEF works very much with vulnerable children in the society, children with disabilities, handicapped children, children without families, with children living in conflict affected areas and also with the young people who’ve experienced hard lessons. I think I really feel confident that Azerbaijan has a great future ahead of it because these young people are determined to make a contribution but what they need of course is our contribution, our support and our collective assistance to grant them a chance to implement their full potential. 
 
Speaking about positive changes, I have seen a lot of new programs established in Azerbaijan in the last years. We have to admit that the situation with children is getting better and better all the time. Moreover, we’ve seen of huge reductions in poverty rate. There are more healthy children in recent times. The health conditions of children have improved over the years but there are still challenges to be addressed. I reckon for UNICEF some of those challenges are affecting handicapped children who still don’t have opportunities to try and exercise the balance in society by being able to go to school or whether it’s by being unable to take part in activities in their communities and come out of their homes. On other hand, we still see challenges for young girls who’ve told me that they don’t feel they are able to really participate fully in the lives of their community. They want to have that opportunity.
 
I see this situation in the regions but I think it’s an issue across the entire country and the capital as well. We noted that there are still families who are still struggling financially. Families where only one of the parents is left of whom is usually the mother; the children will find life really difficult but we support those families, not just financially but by helping children so that they are able to go to school and they are cared after to fulfill their potential. I think this focus on the vulnerable population in the country is important for these families and for the children. It’s also important for the country as a whole because when we support those families, when we create employment for these children we know that later when those children become adults will be able to play a much more constructive and positive role in the life of Azerbaijan. That has a long term benefit for the country in terms of social development and economic development.
 
Eurasia Diary: Could you tell us more about cooperation between UNICEF and government structures and of course with NGOs and civil societies?
 
Edward Carwardine: UNICEF as in other countries works very closely with government. We design our projects and activities by collaboration with the key government Ministries and that’s exactly what we do here in Azerbaijan. I think we have enjoyed a good relationship with our partners in government and I think we have a common vision which is aimed on investment in children and in youth respectively. As the president of Azerbaijan said, citizens of Azerbaijan are regarded as the precious assets of this country. Taking this into account, we together with state bodies should effectively design projects and implement them.
 
It should be admitted, that the non-governmental sectors and civil society in Azerbaijan play an important role in this process. Actually, they often play roles within the community. They are in the districts, they are in the villages and they really are the connection between the work that we try to develop nationally and people who need to benefit from that support down the community level. Therefore we cooperate very closely with International Eurasia Press Fund (IEPF) because it’s very good at implementing partner of ours when we are working with bigger organizations like the National Youth Foundation for example. We need to find ways that we can insure that the work that we are trying to do reaches out to as many children as possible.
 
Eurasia Diary: Why it is important for UNCEF to involve the youth in the project?
 
Edward Carwardine: In Azerbaijan young people make up about one third of the population and that’s incredible force for potential, positive contributions that can be made to the life of the country. I really believe that young people are of course going to be the adults of the future they are going to be decision makers at their family level or whether its their local government and the private sector. Young people are going to be the group that designs success of this country in years to come and so that’s why it is important we invest in those people today. We create opportunities for young people to become engaged in decision making so that they feel that they can express their views and to share their ideas and to have receptive audience particularly in form of government. In that way we find that sometimes the challenges they face, the issues that matter to them can be addressed more effectively by having the dialogue between young people and decision makers. Therefore, all of our work goes to investing in young people’s skills to be effective in those discussions to build their confidence and to build their life skills. Also it’s to enable them to design projects and programs themselves and also to take responsibilities and sense of ownership for those activities .That’s important for when they grow older because we want young people to feel that they do have a responsibility, they do have a contribution to make and most importantly they can be part of the decision structures that Azerbaijan has.
 
Eurasia Diary: How does UNICEF promote SDGs in Azerbaijan particularly among youth?
 
Edward Carwardine: Well the Sustainable Development Agenda of course is now the global agenda for all countries. I think it"s an important area because its recognized that we have to be looking always to the future and what we do today has to last for generations to come. Additionally  with young people, they are the people who are going to take things forward. They are going to be the group in the population that makes decisions as adults that makes choices that will benefits hopefully future generations children still to come. Therefore involving young people in the sustainable development Agenda as you say SDGs as we call them, it is important because I think it has two particular benefits. One is by listening to young people and understanding their concerns where they see needs. By doing this we come to a decision today that will have positive impact on them. One example, is a lot of youths in Azerbaijan are concerned with the environment, about the space in where they live and improvements in the environment.  They want to see a healthier place to live, a healthier country. A country where the environment is better protected whether it’s the seas or whether it’s the country side. By listening to those concerns we can help make decisions today that address those issues. At the same time by involving young people in those discussions we help them to build their our interests; we help to build their commitment so that when they grow older and when they become parents , as they become teachers and as they become the next political leaders of the country they will be taking these issues seriously. That’s how we see sustainability. We see the benefits continuing from generation to generation and that’s really the positive direction that we want to move in.
 
Eurasia Diary: As we know that wars and conflicts affect mostly children because they are part of the most vulnerable population. How can you evaluate the situation in this sphere in Azerbaijan?
 
Edward Carwardine: I think the thing that frustrates me about conflicts is that they are created by adults but the worst impact is always on children and I have worked in many countries where there were conflicts. I’ve seen the first hand impact it has on children. It affects their education, it affects their family life, and it prevents some from taking patterns simple activities that children elsewhere in the world do all the time i.e. taking part in sport and recreation being able to move around safely. Above all it has psychological impact on children and we know that in Azerbaijan and in areas that has been affected by the conflict, young people have felt that very strongly. The course of concern is that if it is allowed to continue, it actually shapes the way young people think and the way they behave as they grow older and unfortunately it’s not in a positive way. Therefore, this is why in some of the districts which were affected by conflict here in Azerbaijan we have been working specifically with young people to create more positive, constructive ways in which they can be active in their communities. There is a very exciting project which involves IEPF which is called Azerbaijan Youth Advocacy Program  which brings young people together in these districts to identify activities that they can lead to discuss those activities with local administration and design a plan of work that can get implemented. We have also seen really exciting projects. I went recently to the new 3D Cinema in Tartar; a book club in Barda where young people come together after school and they read and discuss issues together; to Goranboy to this wonderful new sport facility, sport ground the young people helped to design an put together themselves. Here young people can come together safely and take part in sporting activities and recreation for girls as well as boys. I think enabling young people in these difficult circumstances to have a positive outlet for their energy, to feel that there is something constructive that they can do has a long term impact on their psychological state. I think it helps them really to find opportunities in life but at the end of the day the adults has to stop the conflict. It’s their responsibility to find a peaceful solution wherever is in the world, that there may be a conflict taking place.
 
Eurasia Diary: The last question will be about the World Breastfeeding Week initiated by UNICEF. Could you tell us more about this wonderful initiative?
 
Edward Carwardine: Well every August around the world the first week of August is for breastfeeding week. It involves UNICEF also the World Health Organization and here in Azerbaijan we are really promoting the importance of breastfeeding. Milk breast feeding is the best start a newly born baby can have in life. If as a mother breastfeed your child, just breast milk for the first six months it provides enormous health benefits. It helps the child’s physical development, brain development it also have positive health benefits for the mother as well and it really is the best cost effective, straight forward way of feeding the child in those critical first six months.
 
We want more women in Azerbaijan to  breastfeed wherever they may be safely but they also with dignity whether they are in a shopping mall, whether they are restaurant, whether they are in a place to work or they are at home. So our campaign in this week is promoting through the stories of the women themselves mothers talking about breast feeding but also fathers talking about how they’ve seen the positive impact of seeing their child being breast fed. I think when you hear those personal stories and you see the joy and the happiness of the parents and when you see the healthy child sitting there as well you just know that breast feeding is the best start to life. The more we can do it to promote and help mothers to do it the better it is for everyone.
 
 

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