A+ R A-

Middle East

Turkey's 'Arab Spring' moment: No Sisi and no more Gulen

E-mail Print PDF
TEHRAN, Jul. 19 (MNA) – Canadian journalist Eric Walberg argues that turning back the coup, thanks to social media and mass demonstrations, is Turkey's very own "Arab Spring".
"Fortunately for Erdogan, unlike in Egypt, the army was no longer the monolith it was in Kemalist days, headed by a ruthless general eager to crush the fledgling democracy," he said.

Who do you think are the main and real perpetrators of plotting attempted coup in Turkey?

The fallout from the July 15 failed coup continues. As many as 260 people were killed and 1,400 people wounded. Arrested and suspended include:
* a third of Turkey’s 360 generals
* 257 officials at the prime minister’s office, including Erdogan’s aide de camp
* 50,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers
* 500 people at the Religious Affairs Directorate,
Academics were banned from travelling abroad to prevent the risk of alleged coup plotters in universities from fleeing.

The sense of disappointment, dissatisfaction, distrust of Erdogan has continued to grow since his decision to involve Turkey in the uprising in Syria in 2012, breeding and opening the doors to terrorists and refugees. The mass arrests and firings attest to the broad dissatisfaction.

Erdogan's foreign policy mistakes are at the heart of the crisis. He burned one bridge after another--Israel, Syria, Russia, the Kurds, the West. Just before the coup, he was finally realizing the failure of his moves, the need to staunch the flow of blood, refugees and hard feelings all around, but too little, too late. The coup was a disaster waiting to happen, despite Erdogan's crack down on the military over the past decade.

Al-Quds Interview: The new troika in the Middle East?

E-mail Print PDF
Egypt's hand-over of Tiran Island to the Saudis, Saudi flirting with Israel, Turkish disarray -- all conspire towards an unholy alliance. al-Quds

1/ What is your opinion about a recent agreement between Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the Tiran Island? Do the Israelis gain from the deal?

Tiran is strategically located at the narrow straits separating the Gulf of Aqaba and Red Sea. It is part of the Ras Muhammad National Park, set up in 1983 by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency as a marine reserve for the protection of marine and terrestrial wildlife, and to protect against urban sprawl from Sharm el-Sheikh. The Straits of Tiran is Israel's only access from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea, and Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran on 22 May 1967 was the casus belli for Israel in the Six Day War.

Al-Quds interview: Palestinians and their allies resilient

E-mail Print PDF
Q: What are the achievements and gains of the Resistance Movements in Palestine in the past year in the face of the Israeli occupation?

Palestinians continue to live in their open-air prisons in Gaza and the West Bank, but the struggle goes on in creative ways. On the illegal Apartheid wall that cuts into much of the West Bank, ‘Existence is Resistance’ is lettered across many areas. This simple act underlying their peaceful resistance to blatant injustice is an ultimate form of resistance.

In sports, there are small but rewarding achievements. The Palestinian national team rarely practice together and yet they still managed to play in the Asia Cup Games last year. “It is time to show the red card to racism, humiliation and injustice in Palestine and everywhere,” said Jibril Al Rajoub at the FIFA conference in May 2015, calling for Fifa to investigate Israel’s racism towards Palestinian players.

Iranian elections: repercussions in Middle East

E-mail Print PDF
What are the messages Iranians signaled by their robust election campaign and high turn out? Western nay-sayers say it shows discontent. But perhaps with a touch of envy, at a time when western politics is rife with discontent and yet elicits at best a yawn, or at worse, looks more like a circus. The Islamic revolution has had bad press in the West from the start, but the results show a level of freedom that contrasts favorably with the West, and puts paid to the mantra that the 2009 elections were stolen by the bad guys.

All 30 reformists in Tehran won in Iran's highest turn out, but then Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa declaring voting a religious obligation, endorsed all candidates, and congratulated Iranians on the elections. "I thank Iran's wise and determined nation, and I hope the next parliament will act responsibly towards people and God." Iranians "showed the bright and powerful face of a religious democracy to the world. These are sensitive times and the future parliament will have a heavy responsibility.” He even asked those who don’t believe in the Islamic Republic to vote, because the government provides security for all.

In the Assembly of Experts election, both Rafsanjani and Rouhani were elected--their 'parties' People's Experts and Hope won 19 and 27 seats respectively--giving them a majority, and putting them in a strong position to determine who the next supreme leader will be.

Aksyon Interview: Turkey, ISIS, Russia, Iran, Arab Spring

E-mail Print PDF
Q: What do you think Kremlin has in mind in displaying such a harsh reaction to risk a total breakdown of its relations with Turkey?

As Putin put it, the shoot down was a 'stab in the back'. What would you suggest Russia do?

Q: But Turkey said it wouldn’t down the jet had it known it was Russian. Do you think Turkey’s aggression was deliberate?

I am not impressed by such a weak claim. The Russians said there was no warning communication (perhaps there was but it was not intercepted), the Turks claim there were lots of warnings, which suggests they must have known who it was. Declarations of innocence sound pretty lame. Who else could it have been? ISIS doesn't have military planes.

Q: After the jet crisis, the hashtag WWIII immediately became a globally trending topic on Twitter and since then, tons of articles discussing the possibility of a new world war is flooding the media. What do you think the chances are for that another globe-sized confrontation may be looming in the offing?

My first thought was 'Sarajevo 1914', a foolhardy provocation which indeed could topple into war. I am still shuddering. For the first time in my life, I genuinely fear that a world conflict could explode. Notice, like WWI and WWII, the location is conveniently far from Washington.

Q: With the direct involvement of the Western alliance and Russia in the Syrian civil war, Iran’s expanding influence in the region and the Arab Spring, the cards seem to have been reshuffled. What does the Syrian quagmire promise for the future given the most recent conditions?

The 2011 Arab Spring initially looked hopeful for the region. Tunisia and Egypt threw off odious dictators with hardly a shot fired. But it soon soured, with no consensus on a "new world", and entrenched elites that were able to reassert control, electorally in the case of Tunisia, and through a coup in Egypt. Bahrain and Yemen's 'springs' dragged out and were undermined without any real change. Civil war resulted in both, with the Saudis and Americans supporting the old Sunni elites against the Shia, leaving an ongoing legacy of anger and, in the case of Yemen, violence and war.

Page 4 of 27


Connect with Eric Walberg

Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html

'Connect with Eric on Facebook or Twitter'

Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

Purchase Eric Walberg's Books

Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html