GEN Votel CENTCOM’s Commander visited the streets of #Manbij with the #MMC, SDF and arab representatives. In speaking with the inhabitants he notice the #peacefulness and #joy in the city. More via www.mesop.de
Jennifer CafarellaVerified account @JennyCafarella 5 hours ago 21 June 2018 (ISW)
Thoughts on the trajectory of the so-called “de-escalation” zone in southern #Syria #Jordan, #Israel, & #Russia have been negotiating in attempt to avoid a major pro-#Assad military offensive & to restrain #Iran‘s role. Would require local rebel communities to reconcile w/ Assad
More via www.mesop.de
Spotlight on Iran June 10 – June 21, 2018 Editor: Dr. Raz Zimmt
Overview – In an interview to Iranian Arab-language television, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asserted once again that Iran’s military presence in Syria is limited to that of “advisers” alone, and that there are no Iranian military units or Iranian bases on Syrian territory. Against the backdrop of negotiations between Russia, the United States and Israel concerning Syria’s future, including Iran’s presence in the country, Iranian and Syrian officials have emphasized that Iran does not maintain a military presence in Syria and that the presence of Iranian military advisers in Syria is based on an official request of the Syrian government.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS GENERAL COMMENTARY : ERDOGAN ENTERS TURKISH ELECTIONS WITH MORE POWER BUT LESS SUPPORT
by Soner Cagaptay – Axios – June 20, 2018 – The president will probably become even more authoritarian in the coming months, knowing that a majority of citizens would vote him out in a fair election.
Opinion polls suggest a tight race in Sunday’s Turkish elections, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces off against two opposition candidates. The winner will enter office with new presidential powers, granted by an April 2017 referendum.
The big picture: The race has been an unfair one: Votes will be cast under a state of emergency, the government is censoring online content, and pro-Erdogan businesses control around 90% of the national media, which has covered Erdogan more often and more favorably than his opponents. Erdogan needs these advantages: he now represents the status quo in Turkey, and has few enticements to offer the electorate.
Reading Between The Lines: In Iraqi Kurdistan, Politicians’ Holiday Greetings Indicate Depth Of Division – Maaz Farhan – Niqash 21 June 2018 –
In past years the various political parties in Iraqi Kurdistan would always send each other a letter of greeting at Eid al-Fitr, the festival that ends Ramadan, a month of religious commemoration. For Europeans, it’s a little like sending a Christmas card to one’s business colleagues and rivals.
But this year, the letters that political parties in the semi-autonomous, northern region of Iraqi Kurdistan are sending one another are just a little different – mainly this is because of an increase in antipathy and a breakdown in relationships after, firstly, the referendum on Kurdish independence last September, and secondly, the Iraqi elections, held May 12 this year. Things have become so tense that even common courtesies have ended. Reading between the lines of the Eid greetings, they differ from previous years: usually they talk about solving problems in the period following the religious holiday. This year, the seasonal greetings are more critical – and that’s if they were sent at all.
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : PREPARATIONS ON SYRIA
Anton Mardasov June 21, 2018 AL MONITOR – Article Summary – The formation of the Syrian Constitutional Committee has been mired by disputes and delays, though this stalling could be beneficial to Moscow and the Syrian government. High-level representatives of the three countries involved in Syria talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana — Russia, Iran and Turkey — have taken part in a two-day session in Geneva this week dedicated to the political resolution of the Syrian conflict. The delegates discussed with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the formation of the Syrian Constitutional Committee. The countries had reached an agreement to form the committee in January during the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi.
‘We cleared Afrin – we’ll do the same thing in Qandil’: Turkish PM
By Rudaw 21 June 2018 – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has 11 temporary military bases in northern Iraq conducting operations against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
US National Security Adviser Set to Visit Moscow- Kremlin
Thursday, 21 June, 2018 – 11:15 Asharq al Awsat- Asharq Al Awsat
The Kremlin said Thursday that US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser is to visit Moscow.
Asked to comment on an Interfax news agency report that John Bolton is due to visit Russia next week as part of preparations for a US-Russian summit, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed the expected visit. Responding to media reports that Putin’s meeting with Trump may take place next month, Peskov said Thursday that “we have nothing to say yet, and if and when we are ready we will make the relevant statement.”
THE ULTIMATE CRASH AGAINST EUROPE
Seth J. Frantzman – Jerusalem Post – 21 June 2018
How NGOnialism, the process by which countries outsource their foreign policy to large NGOs, helped fuel the migrant and refugee crises in the Mediterranean; a look at the Libya crises, the refugees and how good intentions led to unintended consequences, – A disaster has been created in the Mediterranean. It is fueled by the relative wealth of NGOs who seek to help but who have created a cycle of chain migration and empowered smugglers.