MIDDLE EAST POLICY COUNCIL WASHINGTON
Medlir Mema, PhD – Fellow, Middle East Policy Council – 9/9/21
Israel’s manhunt following the escape of six Palestinians from a high-security Israeli prison has revealed the inhumane conditions under which thousands of Palestinians have languished for years.
17.9.2021 – Speaking to survivors on the ground in Lebanon, STEVE SWEENEY documents the events and legacy of the 1982 genocide of Palestinians carried out by Christian Phalangists with the support of Israel
“This is not history for us,” Zeinab al-Hajj says as she grabs my arm. “We need journalists like you to tell our story, to keep the memory alive and make sure this never happens again.”
Zeinab is responsible for media relations in the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp, built in 1949 as a temporary site but now home to up to 22,000 people in the southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut.
Nearly 40 years ago today, it was the scene of a massacre in which thousands of men, women and children were brutally murdered in a depraved three-day killing spree by Christian Phalangist militias, with the co-operation of Israeli forces.
“Five generations are still living the war,” Zeinab continues, repeating: “It is not history for us: this is the same war every day. Every story has an end, but our story has no end.”
We are in a building belonging to Fatah, the governing party of the Palestinian Authority. Photos of the late Yasser Arafat adorn the walls, along with other fallen leaders of the liberation struggle.
It is not only Fatah that is present in the camp. All the Palestinian factions are represented, their posters pasted on the same walls where men, women and children were lined up and shot in September 1982.
Estimates vary as to the number killed by the right-wing Christian militia, who claimed to have entered the camp to flush out the remaining “terrorists” of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), accused of creating “a state within a state” in Lebanon.
The late Robert Fisk, one of the first journalists to enter the camp after the killings, reported: “After three days of rape, fighting and brutal executions, militias finally leave the camps with 1,700 dead.” Others, including the Lebanese Red Cross, numbered the dead at 3,500.
The exact total may never be known as Israeli-supplied bulldozers moved swiftly into the camp, dumping decaying corpses into mass graves that were later hit by bombs.
Read the full article here: https://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/sabra-and-shatila-memories-of-a-massacre-by-steve-sweeney/
Aron Lund 16.9.2021
Perhaps a quid pro quo for Biden keeping Trump’s recognition of Western Sahara as Moroccan soil? Or, perhapsier, preparation for coming feuds with/within EU? (Court of Justice ruling expected Sep. 29.) Whatever it is, clearly no genuine interest in restarting talks at this point.
After stalling for half a year, Morocco greenlights former Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura’s appointment as UN mediator in the Western Sahara conflict. https://rfi.fr/fr/afrique/20210916-le-maroc-soutient-de-mistura-comme-nouvel-émissaire-de-l-onu-pour-le-sahara-occidental
Turkey’s president told German President Steinmeier that the EU member states should provide swift assistance to Afghanistan’s neighbors to cope with irregular migration.Nazlan Ertan AL MONITOR – September 14, 2021
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed a call to the European Union to help Afghanistan’s neighbors cope with the Afghan refugee influx, warning against reliving the 2015 Syrian refugee wave.
Tens of thousands of displaced Syrians first crossed into neighboring countries in 2015 and then sought to get into more prosperous European countries. Ankara and Brussels then agreed on the 2016 Turkey-EU statement, a complex and fragile accord under which the EU set up the billion-euro Facility for Refugees in Turkey to help Ankara stop irregular migration to the EU. The deal also included vaguely worded promises to upgrade the Turco-EU customs union, liberalize visas for Turkish citizens and revive the accession negotiations.
In a phone call to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier Tuesday, Erdogan repeated that Turkey does not have the capacity to deal with a new migration burden, a statement from the Presidency Communication Directorate said.
“The president pointed out that Turkey and Germany, two NATO allies, has shown exemplary cooperation and coordination during the evacuation from Afghanistan, and expressed hope that this would continue during the critical period that Afghanistan is traversing,” read the statement.
Facing anti-immigration backlash at home, Erdogan has been in contact with European leaders from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to EU Council President Charles Michel to prevent irregular migration from Afghanistan and provide help to the displaced Afghans in the “neighboring countries” of Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran.
Erdogan also urged Steinmeier to “take rapid action” on the unfulfilled elements of the 2016 accord, such as an update of the Turco-EU customs union, visa liberalization for Turks and revived accession talks. Given the largely ceremonial role of the German president, these last points in particular sound more like political posturing than an actual request for action.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu echoed the same line on Afghanistan at a high-level UN ministerial meeting on the Afghan humanitarian situation Monday. Underlining the need for “urgent global action” for an effective response to the security and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, Cavusoglu pointed out that nearly half of the population is in need of urgent humanitarian aid and a third of the Afghan people face hunger.
The foreign minister told Turkey’s NTV last week that the best way to solve the Afghan migrant crisis was to solve the conflict domestically to ensure that people are not forced to leave their homes.
“It is also crucial to provide assistance to neighboring countries like Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran,” he said. “There is not considerable movement now [toward Turkey] but we need to be prepared” for future scenarios.
The EU “joins Turkey” in its aim to support the countries neighboring Afghanistan to provide asylum for Afghan refugees, Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, the head of the EU Delegation to Turkey, assured Monday from Turkish-Iran border city of Van, a major human trafficking route to Europe.
“The European Union has announced that it will increase by four times its humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan by the end of 2021, bringing it to more than 200 million euros [$236 million],” Meyer-Landrut, a German diplomat who served as the chief adviser for European affairs to Chancellor Angela Merkel between 2011 and 2015, told Daily Sabah. “We share the analysis of Foreign Minister Cavusoglu that it is now critical to bring assistance to the people of Afghanistan as quickly as possible.”
Turkey, which already hosts 3.7 million Syrians, is concerned about a potential influx of refugees fleeing the Taliban. Ankara say there are 182,000 registered Afghan migrants in Turkey and up to an estimated 120,000 unregistered ones.
by Anna Borshchevskaya Sep 10, 2021 – Also published in SHADE MED
Anna Borshchevskaya is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on Russia’s policy toward the Middle East.
Although Biden may not see Russia as his top priority, Moscow’s proxy military activities in the Mediterranean are directly aimed at diluting Washington’s leverage in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe.
Riyadh is looking to expand its relationship with the Taliban, to expand and protect its interests in the region, and counter Iranian influence.Sabena Siddiqui AL MONITOR 15.9.2021
Defense Minister Benny Gantz tells Foreign Policy journal that he can “accept” US approach of “putting Iran back in its box,” but wants to see a “viable Plan B.”
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