On Bombing Syria

On Bombing Syria

By Zenonas Tziarras

The United Kingdom and Germany have been the latest powers to join the war in Syria though Germany’s contribution will be in ground forces and aerial reconnaissance operations. The UK’s decision has stirred up a heated debate about whether this is the right line of action that should be followed from London, or any other country for that matter.

International bombing operations in Syria have been taking place at least since September 2014 in the context of the Western anti-ISIS “Coalition of the Willing” led by the United States. States like the U.S., France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Qatar, Germany and the UK are participating in one way or another in this coalition. On the other end, Russia and the Syrian regime are also conducting large scale military operations. (See map below)

zones in syria

Source: geopolitical-info.com

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Is the BRICS Bank an Alternative for Greece?

Is the BRICS Bank an Alternative for Greece?

By Konstantinos Myrodias and Panos Chatzinikolaou

Over the past few weeks speculations have been circulating over Greece’s potential accession to the New Development Bank established by the BRICS-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Russia’s invitation to Greece to become a member of the BRICS bank comes in a delicate point for the latter, since its new leftist SYRIZA-led government is attempting to strike a deal with its European counterparts in order to avoid a potential bankruptcy that would have tremendous impact on the country and the Eurozone as a whole. Is Russia’s invitation to Greece just a mere coincidence? Have the BRICS decided to save Greece from collapsing, enhancing Eurozone’s sustainability? At a time like this, where West- Russia relations bring back Cold War memories, such an explanation seems to be a truly superficial one.

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Turkey and Saudis in Syria: Aligned Interests, Clashing Revisionisms

Turkey and Saudis in Syria: Aligned Interests, Clashing Revisionisms

by Zenonas Tziarras

In early May, 2015 it became known that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are supporting extremist Islamist groups in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. That Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among others, have – mostly indirectly – been supporting Islamist groups is not news as similar reports have been emerging from time to time since 2011, if not earlier. But this policy with regard to the Syrian conflict became increasingly overt amidst growing instability and lack of Western commitment to Assad’s overthrow. According to The Independent and other media, Turkish and Saudi support focuses on the overarching jihadist group Jaish al-Fatah which includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra – a rival to both Assad and the self-styled “Islamic State,” also known as ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham).

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Elections in Northern Cyprus: The Akinci-Eroglu Showdown

Elections in Northern Cyprus: The Akinci-Eroglu Showdown

Source: financialmirror.com

By Yiannis Charalambous*

For those who follow developments in northern Cyprus, the results of the first round of the unrecognized ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ elections confirmed what had more or less been predicted. Notably, that these elections are unpredictable and will definitely be decided in a two-round election.

19th of April saw incumbent Dervis Eroglu supported by the UBP and DP-UG coalition garnering 28.18%. He was followed by Mustafa Akinci, who was supported by the TDP and BKP and managed to receive 26.92%. CTP-BG candidate, Sibel Siber received 22.54% while former negotiator in the Cyprus peace process and independent candidate, Kudret Ozersay, garnered an astonishing 21.23%. Continue reading

The Cyprus Problem: Evaluating the Momentum of 2014

The Cyprus Problem: Evaluating the Momentum of 2014

by Yiannis Charalambous

In 2014, a combination of external as well as domestic developments gave rise to cautious optimism regarding the solution of the Cyprus Problem.

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Who Buried the South Stream and Why? The EU or Russia?

Who Buried the South Stream and Why? The EU or Russia?

by Ilgar Gurbanov

Zbigniew Brzezinski had once described Russia’s energy policy as an initiative “to separate the Central Europe from the Western Europe”; something able to divide Member States’ solidarity on the EU and NATO’s potential enlargement in the post-soviet space. Therefore, the EU was not happy leading its member states’ ‘preferential relationship’ with Russia, notably on the South Stream.

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The Day after the Torture Report

The Day after the Torture Report

by Marianna Karakoulaki

After a long wait and many delays the US Senate’s infamous ‘torture report’ was released on Tuesday 9th December. The torture report is 528 page document entitled ‘Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program’ written by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The released document is an executive summary of a more than 6,700 page report which analysed more than 6 million memos, statements and other documents and focuses on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme from 2001 until 2009 – when the programme was officially terminated. The gruesome torture techniques used by the CIA remained a well-guarded secret until Tuesday despite a decade full of accusations and rumour games.

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Before the Law Stands a Gatekeeper

Before the Law Stands a Gatekeeper

By Ioana Cerasella Chis

 All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948).

‘Before the law stands a gatekeeper’ – this is how Franz Kafka’s short parable begins. A man from the countryside (K) arrives in front of a legislative building to be admitted to the Law. However, the gatekeeper stands in front of the door, always deferring the man’s admittance. K waits patiently, at times bribing the gatekeeper; in return, he is told: ‘I am taking this only so that you do not think you have failed to do anything’. The gatekeeper informs K that the latter can try to enter the Law, but he also reminds the countryman of the former’s power to keep him away from the gate: ‘It is possible’ to be admitted, the man is told, ‘but not now’. K waits his entire life before the Law, and dies outside the building. The parable ends here.

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Turkey in the Middle East: The Tacit Revisionist

Turkey in the Middle East: The Tacit Revisionist

By Zenonas Tziarras

Source: The Independent (Getty Images)

Turkey has lately moved to the epicenter of world politics, and rightly so. The jury is still out on whether that is a good or a bad thing and that is because of its handlings with regard to the Islamic State (IS) crisis in Iraq and Syria. Indeed, Turkey’s indecisiveness and belated actions in the face of the potential fall of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane and the advancements of IS more generally, bring to mind the Turkish foreign policy of the past.

Through the delay to take action or the refusal to allow Western allies to use its military bases, Turkey demonstrated a well-known reluctance to engage regional security problems, a suspicion toward Western powers, and a pro-status quo tendency. These were the very features that characterized the foreign policy of Turkish Republic for the most part of its history; a doctrine very much influenced by the founder of Turkey, Kemal Ataturk, and the military-bureaucratic establishment. Similarly, Turkey’s opportunism, namely, its wish to be on the right side of history without being willing to play its part, draws parallels between today and 1945 when Turkey joined the Allies of World War II only a couple of months before the end of the war and after its outcome had already been decided. Continue reading

Fighting for a Seat: The US Midterm Elections

Fighting for a Seat: The US Midterm Elections

By Marianna Karakoulaki

Almost a month before the US Midterm Elections which are to be held on November 4, and the US public is called to decide their next representatives at the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. Just two years after Obama’s re-election, things are looking rather tough for the Democrats as polls seem to favor the Republican Party for both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

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