MESOP BREAKING NEWS AFRIN/SYRIA : PKK/PYD BACK IN ASSAD’S SHELTER ! – YPG reaches military agreement with Syrian rejime [Waar Media]

YPG reaches militery agreement with Syrian rejime

Date: 2018/02/19 – 1:12 PM – WAAR MEDIA – WAAR-DUHO:Forces loyal to the regime are amassing near Afrin on Monday.A build-up of pro-regime forces to the east of Afrin was broadcast by Al Mayadeen TV.The forces were shown on the road between Aleppo and Afrin cities.“Popular forces will arrive in Afrin in the next few hours to support the steadfastness of its people in confronting the aggression which Turkish regime forces have launched on the region,” state news agency SANA reported, citing its correspondent in Aleppo.

A Kurdish politician from Syria told Rudaw on Sunday that Syrian Arab Army Forces would come to Afrin on Monday.“The agreement is to protect borders,” explained Sheikho Bilo, an official from the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Unity Party (PYDKS), adding that “the agreement is only militarily.”

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MESOP NEWS SOUTH KURDISTAN : FINISH WITH TRADITIONAL PARTIES – Is the sun setting on KDP-PUK dominance in Iraqi Kurdistan?

Fazel Hawramy February 12, 2018 – AL MONITOR  – Article Summary – Poverty, widespread disillusionment and the emergence of new political players could spell the beginning of a new political era in Iraqi Kurdistan.

After 26 years of governing oil-rich Iraqi Kurdistan, the region’s two main political parties are on the verge of economic and political bankruptcy.

While officials of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) live in luxurious houses with 24/7 electricity, the majority of residents have not been receiving their salaries, which had previously been reduced, and the Kurdish economy is in a free fall, creating unprecedented levels of poverty and resentment. The situation has become so dangerously unstable that a senior peshmerga commander on Feb. 11 threatened to seize oil tankers unless the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) pays soldiers’ their salaries.

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EAST KURDISTAN (IRAN) –  Major Challenges Faced by Iran in the Regional Arena in 2018

Published: 18/02/2018  – Main Argument – Regional Challenges Facing Iran

The far-reaching political transformations that have occurred in recent years in the Arab world created new opportunities for Iran to increase its regional clout. Iran exploited the weakness of the Sunni Arab states as well as the regional turmoil and instability to promote its over-arching strategy that strives for regional hegemony. Additional factors contributed to the expansion of Iran’s sphere of influence: Washington’s policy, which eschewed active involvement in the region; Saudi-Arabia’s forcible policies, which often played into Iran’s hands; and the nuclear agreement, which provided Iran with a greater degree of freedom of action from the Western powers led by the United States.

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MESOP NEWS TODAYS HEADLINE / STARTER – The rigid Transformation of Ataturks Turkey

by Soner Cagaptay  – Washington Post – February 16, 2018

Erdogan will not declare Islamic law overnight, but his steady empowerment of the country’s religious directorate is a disturbing omen.

Over the past few weeks, Turkish officials have broken with decades of precedent in what is still, at least nominally, a secular republic: they have begun describing the country’s military deployment in Syria as “jihad.” During the first two days of the operation, which began on Jan. 20, the government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs ordered all of Turkey’s nearly 90,000 mosques to broadcast the “Al-Fath” verse from the Koran—”the prayer of conquest”—through the loudspeakers on their minarets. Mainstreaming jihad, which sanctions violence against those who “offend Islam,” is a crucial step in draping the sheath of sharia over a society. Sadly, Turkey seems to be slowly moving along that path…

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Turkey, US reach ‘understanding’ to normalize ties /  In Ankara, Rex Tillerson, Mevlut Cavusoglu address issue of terrorist PYD/YPG/PKK in Manbij, northern Syria

 By Nilay Kar Onum, Satuk Bugra Kutlugun and Cansu Dikme  – 17 Febr 2018 –  ANKARA – Anadolu Agency  

Ankara and Washington have “reached an understanding” to normalize ties following a period of tensions, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Friday.Speaking alongside his visiting U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson at a press conference in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “We’ve reached an understanding to normalize our relations [with the U.S.].”

“Of course, there are steps which have been taken for this. Both sides have expectations of each other,” Cavusoglu said. “We clearly expressed [to the U.S. side] our expectations with regard to the fight against FETO and the PKK terrorist organizations, and the U.S. support for the YPG.”

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Tillerson Meets Erdogan as Tensions Flare Over Kurds

Editor’s note: There will be no Daily Brief on Monday, February 19, for President’s Day.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Thursday as already fractured relations between the countries have worsened over continued U.S. support for Kurdish forces near Turkey’s border.

No U.S. aides nor an official translator were present at the meeting, which lasted more than three hours. Turkey’s foreign minister attended the discussion (CNN), aimed at easing tensions amid a Turkish offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Tillerson said the “endpoint objectives” in Syria for the two NATO allies are aligned but that they have tactical differences (Bloomberg). U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with his Turkish counterpart in Brussels on Thursday to discuss the conflict, which Mattis said is “probably the most complex security situation” he has seen in four decades (WSJ).


“The level of distrust between the two countries over this issue of northern Syria and the implied threats that Turkish leaders had made against U.S. military forces in the area make [a resolution] extremely difficult,” CFR’s Steven A. Cook said in an interview on Bloomberg.

“Turkey will not accept defeat in this battle [with Kurdish militias in Syria] no matter what the cost of victory. This is because a defeat would reflect negatively on the ruling party’s image and reputation domestically and internationally,” Asaad Hanna writes for Chatham House.

“There is a genuine conflict of interest and this is something unprecedented in the U.S.-Turkey relationship,” Lisel Hintz said in an interview with Kurdistan 24.



 MESOP NEWS 1 HOUR AGO: Erdogan ‘clearly’ told Tillerson of Turkey’s expectations

By Rudaw 1 hour ago  – 16. Febr 2018

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The United States is trying to salvage its relationship with Turkey and de-escalate the conflict in northern Syria. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson kicked off a two-day trip to Turkey with a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that lasted over three hours Thursday evening. “Turkey’s expectations and priorities on these issues were clearly communicated,” read a brief Turkish statement after the meeting.

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SOUTH KURDISTAN (IRAQ) –  Featuring Bilal Wahab – Mediterranean Institute for Regional Studies  – February 12, 2018

An in-depth conversation on why corruption, political squabbles, inadequate legislation, and other problems continue to hinder the Iraqi/KRG energy sector, and what the international community can do about it.  The following is the edited text of a conversation between Dana Taib Menmy of the Mediterranean Institute for Regional Studies (MIRS) and Bilal Wahab of The Washington Institute. 

MIRS: What is the future of energy pipelines across the Middle East—particularly Iraqi ones with Iran—in light of ongoing conflicts in the area? 

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Israel’s Engagement in Syria: Causes & Significance – The Institute for National Security Studies – Israel


Carmit Valensi, Zvi Magen, Sima Shine – INSS Insight No. 1020, February 14, 2018

There are two possible explanations for the events on Israel’s northern border that began before dawn on February 10, 2018 with the downing of an Iranian drone that penetrated Israeli airspace. One is Iran’s desire to conduct a covert move to examine its intelligence capability, The second explanation is that Iran initiated a deliberate provocation in order to redefine the rules of the game in Syria against Israel. The Israeli response was extensive and included attacks on Syrian and Iranian targets, and Israel must prepare for a possible delayed Iranian response to the blow it suffered. In addition, the incident requires an examination of the role played by Russia in the Syrian arena.

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MESOP NEWS TODAYS INDEPTH ANALYSIS – Russia & the Israeli-Syrian-Iranian Confrontation

By Emil Avdaliani February 15, 2018  – Emil Avdaliani teaches history and international relations at Tbilisi State University and Ilia State University.- BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 742, February 15, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: On February 11, 2018, Israel conducted multiple airstrikes on Syrian-Iranian targets in Syria in response to the downing of an Israeli F-16 in Israeli territory following infiltration by an Iranian drone. Moscow’s mild reaction to these events reflects its desire to maintain cooperation with both Tehran and Jerusalem.

Russian politicians have been surprisingly mute on the Israeli airstrikes in Syria that took place on February 11. Nothing notable has been said beyond an official statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry urging all sides to show restraint and avoid actions that could lead to further complications.

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