MENA WATCH Analysis: Turkey & Qatar emerge as Taliban government’s main envoys to the West

by Joseph Fitsanakis  INTEL ORG 


TURKEY AND QATAR, TWO countries with a growing diplomatic and intelligence network inside Afghanistan, are emerging as significant envoys to the Western world for the new government of the Taliban. Their newfound role in the Central Asian country puts them in direct competition with China and Russia, which have kept their embassies in Kabul open throughout the dramatic events of the past month. Three other countries with historically close ties to the Taliban, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are also important players amidst the new reality in the war-torn country.

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Der Katechismus der Deutschen – Von Dirk Moses

 „Nichts ist „rein“. Der Holocaust ist Teil vieler Geschichten: des Antisemitismus, der massenhaften Versklavung, von Aufständen in den Kolonien und von Vertreibungen, um nur einige Beispiele zu nennen. “

  1. Dirk Moses ist Frank Porter Graham Distinguished Professor of Global Human Rights History an der Universität North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Er ist Herausgeber des Journal of Genocide Research; sein letztes Buch ist “The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression”, Cambridge 2021.

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MENA WATCH NEWS : U.S. Should Intensify Efforts to Extradite Turkish Money Laundering Suspect — FDD


  • Sep 04 2021   AHVAL NEWS – The successful extradition of Turkish businessman Sezgin Baran Korkmaz, who is wanted by the United States for allegedly playing a role in money laundering, from Austria to Turkey could enable Ankara to cover up the alleged crimes of an individual with close ties to top Turkish officials.

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Sep 3, 2021 – Ezgi Yazici INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR

By Ezgi Yazici with Doga Unlu and Kursat Gok

Turkey is evaluating the changing security environment and the emerging Taliban government to strike a minimal-risk balance between Ankara’s ambitions and constraints.

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MENA WATCH REPORT: Iranian Involvement in Iraq

  • On August 27, the Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad Hussein, spoke on the phone with the Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and congratulated him on the occasion of assuming his position.
  • The Iranian minister of foreign affairs stressed Iran’s ongoing support to Iraq, and its willingness to deepen the relationship between the two countries. He also called for implementing cooperation agreements previously inked by leaders of both countries (ILNA, August 27).
  • The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, took part in a conference on regional cooperation, which was held on August 28 in Baghdad, upon the initiative of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kazimi. The conference was also attended by the Jordanian king, the Egyptian president, the French President, Emanuel Macron, and representatives from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Qatar. Before his departure to Baghdad, Abdollahian stated that Iran supports any regional initiative of the government in Iraq. He added that Syria should have been invited to the conference as well, as an important neighbor of Iraq. He made sure to mention that Iran consults Syria’s leadership concerning regional security and will hold direct discussions with it concerning any regional initiative (Tasnim, August 28). During his visit to Baghdad, Abdollahian met with senior Iraqi government officials, chief among them Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kazimi, and Iraqi President, Barham Salih (Fars, August 29).
  • The Iranian Ambassador to Iraq, Iraj Masjedi, conducted a visit to the work site at the shrine in al-Kazimiya in northern Baghdad, where laborers are expanding and renovating the pilgrimage site. The development works in the region, where the seventh and ninth Shia imams are buried, is being carried out by Iranian engineers working for the headquarters for the rehabilitation of Shia holy sites in Syria and Iraq (Sha News, August 22). In recent years, the organization has worked to expand and reconstruct Shia pilgrimage sites, a few of which have been damaged in the wars in Syria and Iraq.
  • The Iranian Organization for Trade Development reported a significant rise in the volume of trade between Iran and Iraq in recent months. According to the data of the organization, the value of Iranian exports to Iraq during the first four months of the Persian year (March until July 2021) has increased by 23 percent compared to the same period in 2020, reaching 2.817 billion dollars. Iraq is ranked second (after China, and ahead of the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Afghanistan) among Iran’s top export destinations. In parallel, a significant rise took place in the volume of Iraqi exports to Iran. The value of Iranian imports rose by 540 percent compared to the same period last year, reaching 140 million dollars (ISNA, August 25).

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MENA WATCH NEWS : Afghanistan May Be a Bellwether for Saudi-Iranian Rivalry

By Dr. James M. Dorsey – BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 2,143, September 2, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Boasting an almost 1,000-kilometer border with Iran and a history of troubled relations between the Iranians and Sunni Muslim militants, including the Taliban, Afghanistan could become a bellwether for the future of the rivalry between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.

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MENA WATCH NEWS : Turkish President Erdoğan: ‘We Have No Hesitation At All In Getting The Second Shipment’ Of S-400s; Central Asian Countries ‘May Want To Join Together As Partners In The Positive Steps That The Taliban Will Take’


On August 29, 2021, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke to Turkish journalists about the second shipment to Turkey of the Russian S-400 air defense system, Turkey’s relations with the Taliban and a possible Turkey-Taliban agreement on the joint management of Hamid Karzai International Airport, and a forthcoming new law to prevent what he calls “lying terrorism” by the opposition parties in Turkey. Erdoğan spoke to the journalists on a flight returning from a diplomatic trip to the Balkans in which he visited Bosnia Herzegovina and North Macedonia. This report will review some of his statements.

“We Have No Hesitation At All In Getting The Second Shipment” Of S-400s

Following a June 11, 2021 meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and President Erdoğan on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels, President Erdoğan said that he had told Biden: “As Turkey, do not expect us to change course, either on the F-35 or on the S-400, because we did our part for the F-35.” Following the same line, Erdoğan recently announced that Turkey would be getting a second shipment of S-400s from Russia, a decision that has been criticized by some in the opposition press. In the August 29 meeting with journalists on his plane, he said of the S-400: “On the subject of Russia, we have no hesitation at all in getting the second shipment [of S-400s]. We have many steps [taken] with Russia, be it on the matter of the S-400 or concerning the defense industry.”

“If [The Taliban] Take Care Of The Security, Then If Many People Are Killed There, How Are We Going To Explain This To The World?”

President Erdoğan also spoke to journalists about relations between his government and the Taliban as the group establishes its governance of Afghanistan. Among other Turkish military personnel in Afghanistan, there had been 600 Turkish soldiers stationed at the airport in Kabul. Following Biden and Erdoğan’s June meeting, the two leaders agreed on Turkey’s role in securing the airport following the withdrawal of American military forces from Afghanistan. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said after the meeting: “The clear commitment from the leaders was established that Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working through how to execute to get to that.” An article in the Turkish press reported that “those with news of the meeting” were saying that Erdoğan agreed to secure the airport in exchange for, among other things, U.S. recognition of Turkey’s positions in Libya and Nagorno Karabagh, and U.S.-Turkey cooperation in Idlib.

The prospect of Turkish troops remaining in Afghanistan after an American withdrawal provoked a brotherly yet uncompromising response from the Taliban, who have insisted that all foreign troops leave Afghanistan in accordance with the agreement signed in Doha in February 2020 and threatened military action against Turkish forces. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said: “We want to see Turkey as Turkey, not as a part of NATO. Turkey is treating us like it treats the Syrian opposition. Whereas, at the least we want a relationship like [that of Turkey’s relationship with] Libya. We want to meet with President Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan is a very distinguished leader for us and for the world of Islam. We want to share the realities of Afghanistan with him.” In the past week, there have been claims in the Turkish press that Turkey and the Taliban are close to an agreement over the joint management of the airport. However on August 29, it was reported that the Taliban had said that “it is still early” for such an agreement. On August 31, spokesman Mujahid said to Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu Ajansı: “We want Turkey’s support to continue. To have good relations with Turkey is one of our goals. The people and government of Turkey are our friends. There are many reasons for this friendship to continue.”

It is in this context that President Erdoğan said to journalists on August 29: “What does the Taliban say about the airport issue? [they say]: ‘We’ll handle the security and you handle the operation [of the airport].’ How can we let you handle the security? If you take care of the security, then if many people are killed there, how are we going to explain this to the world? This is not an easy task. We talked about such things, and then just the next day close to 200 people died.” He was likely referring to the August 27 twin suicide bombing at the airport that killed over 100 people, including 13 U.S. service members.

Read The Full Report

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MENA WATCH REPORT :Al-Qa’ida Statement on Taliban Victory in Afghanistan

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi  •  Aug 31, 2021

Owing to poor communication channels with the outside world, al-Qa’ida’s general command is typically slow in issuing statements on recent developments. Here, the group predictably praises the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan as an example

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MENA WATCH REPORT: Taliban victory inspires pro-Iran militias in Iraq

The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has encouraged Sunni extremist armed groups in Syria and pro-Iran Shiite militias in Iraq.

Shelly Kittleson August 31, 2021 AL MONITOR – ERBIL — As the world focuses on the end of the US military presence in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s rapid takeover of most of the country, culminating with the handover of Kabul on Aug.15, Iraqis are watching closely.

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MENA WATCH OPINION: The American House of Cards

By Lev Stesin  ISRAEL

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 2,139, August 30, 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: US policy in Afghanistan was based on lies, ignorance, and irrational thinking. Many other aspects of American foreign policy, still doggedly pursued, look dangerously similar. For 30 years, US policy has amounted to the construction of a huge house of cards in all directions. Now that one card has fallen, the rest will inevitably follow.  

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