Turkey tests waters for new offensive against YPG (PKK/PYD)

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : IMPORTANT ARTICLE BY FEHIM TASTEKIN (AL MONITOR)

READ IN:    Türkçe  – Fehim Tastekin November 12, 2018  –  Article Summary  – Turkey is itching to go on the offensive against Kurdish forces in areas east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, but the US role in the area continues to act as a deterrence. Tensions have risen in northern Syria amid threats by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to intervene in areas east of the Euphrates River and Turkish artillery fire on Oct. 26 against Tell Abyad, Kobani and Zor Mughar. The Turkish attacks, which Ankara claims killed 16 fighters from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), came the day after Erdogan held a summit in Istanbul with the leaders of Germany, France and Russia.

“We will eradicate the terror structure east of the Euphrates,” Erdogan asserted, referring to Syrian Kurdish groups that Turkey considers PKK affiliates. “We have completed our preparations and plans. Soon we will crush the terror outfit.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE ACTUAL ESSENCE OF THE SYRIA SITUATION BY CHARLES LISTER

Charles Lister‏Verified account @Charles_Lister 12 Nov 2018 – #pt: As #Syria‘s northwest de-escalation continues [while slowly eroding], #HTS‘s internal divides are becoming clearer — one side doubling-down on a pragmatic posture to achieve survival // another seeking to advance gradual escalation to re-emphasize/rescue jihadi credibility.

The General Syrian Conference of the #HTS-backed Syrian Salvation Government has come to a compromise resolution regarding the flying of the Syrian revolution…

More via www.mesop.de

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS SHORT CUTS IRAN

 

Maxim A. Suchkov‏ @MSuchkov_ALM 50 minutes ago – 12 Nov 2018 – JUST IN:#Iran/ian central bank disconnected from SWIFT which makes it more difficult for Iran to settle import & export bills. #SWIFT came under pressure from #US to do so,Washington says the move is “the right decision to protect integrity of international financial system” – More via www.mesop.de

A NEW ERA OF A NEW & LASTING FRIENDSHIP ISRAEL & CHINA Israel-China Ties: A Developing Friendship that is Cause for Concern?

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS MIDEAST SPECIAL

עברית – Galia Lavi, Doron Ella – INSS Insight No. 1104, November 12, 2018

The Israel-China Innovation Conference, held in Jerusalem on October 24-25, 2018, signals a new era in Israel-China relations. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan attended the conference, heading a large delegation of senior officials and businessmen; Wang is the highest ranking Chinese official to visit Israel since 2000. It thus appears that the upgrade of political relations between the two countries matches the tightening of economic relations. At the same time, criticism has been voiced in Israel regarding Chinese investments in Israeli infrastructure, charging that Chinese investments in critical transportation infrastructure are liable to harm Israel’s national security. These voices are calling on the government to devise a regulatory system to assess and regulate foreign investments in Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu too is currently urging the establishment of an entity to examine foreign investments in Israel, which will likely also deal with Chinese investments.

This is a welcome initiative, which should define industry sectors considered strategic assets that are not for sale or for investment that would facilitate control by foreign parties. Overall, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is correct in arguing that Israel’s economic relations with China are welcome and should be expanded for the good of the Israeli economy. On the other hand, critics are right that Chinese investments in Israel should be scrutinized further to ensure the state’s independence and national security.

The Israel-China Innovation Conference, held in Jerusalem on October 24-25, 2018, signals a new era in the Israel-China relations that have developed over the past two decades. Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan attended the conference, heading a large delegation of senior officials and businessmen; Wang is the highest ranking Chinese official to visit Israel since 2000. Some regard his visit as an upgrade of relations and a welcome sign of the developing friendship between the countries; others in Israel call on the government to exercise caution and limit Chinese involvement in Israel’s economy out of concern for national security and Israel’s relations with the United States. The correct perspective lies somewhere in the middle.

The Innovation Conference, a mechanism established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serves as an annual platform for dialogue and cooperation between Israeli and Chinese government ministries. The conference is also an opportunity for visits by senior officials and an occasion to sign cooperation agreements in trade and investments. For example, the opening of negotiations for a free trade agreement was announced at the 2016 conference, and an upgrade of relations to an “innovative comprehensive partnership” was announced at the 2017 conference. In 2018, ministers and deputy ministers from 13 Chinese government ministries joined the Chinese vice president at the conference. Of these, the highest ranking was Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang; Jack Ma, chairman of the Alibaba ecommerce group, made his second visit to Israel, and other leading business figures from China attended. Some eight cooperation agreements in science and technology, life sciences, innovation, digital health, and agriculture were signed in the framework of the conference. In addition, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Wang signed a new three-year plan for the conference.

Government sources noted with satisfaction that the visit to Israel by the Chinese Vice President upgrades the level of political contacts with Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “This is the most important visit by a Chinese leader in the past 18 years. This is a sign of the developing friendship between us.” In 2000, then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Israel, but not long after the Phalcon incident occurred, which prompted China to suspend visits to Israel by its high-ranking leaders.

Moreover, Israel-China relations have grown closer in recent years, certainly in the economic sphere. In 2017, the volume of bilateral trade (excluding diamonds and Hong Kong) totaled $9.67 billion: one third comprised Israeli exports to China, with the rest Israeli imports from China. Israeli companies also exported $753 million in business services to China in 2017. In 2018, China became Israel’s second largest trading partner after the US, ahead of the European Union. Exports to China rose substantially in the first half of the year, reaching $2.8 billion – 73 percent of the total for the preceding year – with electronics constituting the dominant export sector. The importance of China for Israel is also reflected in the widespread deployment of commercial attaches sent to China by the Ministry of Economy and Industry. There are currently six economic offices there, Israel’s most extensive deployment in one country. Furthermore, Chinese tourism has become more significant for Israel. In 2017, 113,000 tourists from China visited Israel, a 46 percent increase over the preceding year. At the same time, new direct Tel Aviv-Shanghai and Tel Aviv-Chengdu air routes were opened.

It thus appears that the upgrade of political relations between the two countries matches the tightening of economic relations. If so, does the dispatch of the Chinese Vice President to the conference signal that China has put past tensions behind it, and is this the main reason for the visit? This is by no means certain. Another possibility is that there is a connection between the visit and a much broader question – the developing trade war between China and the United States.

In recent months, the United States and China have increased the customs duties imposed on one another. The Trump administration has levied customs duties of over $250 billion on Chinese goods, while China has retaliated by imposing customs duties on American goods, although to a lesser degree. The United States is also examining Chinese investments in industrial sectors that are considered as critical to US national security more rigorously than before, especially those involving American technologies that could be used to upgrade Chinese military capabilities and contribute to China’s becoming a significant military rival.

In view of the tense relations between China and the United States, primarily due to accusations of the theft of advanced technologies and purchases of dual use equipment, some in Israel have warned policymakers of a possible clash with the United States resulting from sales of similar technologies to China. According to the IVC research center, which analyzes business information in the Israeli hi-tech industry, Chinese investments in Israeli hi-tech companies have almost tripled in the past five years (from $232 million in 2013 to $596 million in 2017). China also emphasized innovation in the recent visit, which culminated in the Chinese Vice President’s inauguration of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. The business entourage accompanying Wang underscored China’s desire to continue cooperating with Israel in innovation and technology.

Criticism has also been voiced recently in Israel regarding Chinese investments in Israeli infrastructure. A Chinese company is building the new port in Ashdod, and another Chinese company is scheduled to exercise control over the operation of Haifa Port. Chinese companies are digging, wiring, and supplying equipment for the Tel Aviv light rail. The increase in these investments has alarmed former security figures, government figures, and analysts, who assert that Chinese investments in critical transportation infrastructure are liable to harm Israel’s national security. These voices are calling on the government to devise a regulatory system to assess and regulate foreign investments in Israel.

This criticism was voiced openly in many newspaper articles in advance of the Chinese Vice President’s visit to Israel. Some of the critics confined themselves to hints, while others made open statements that may have played a role in attracting attention in the United States to this question. According to a Channel 2 news report, at least three US administration figures have contacted Israel to clarify the nature of relations between China and Israel. These reports engaged the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which tried to ease the concerns of both its American colleagues and Israeli critics. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Director General for Asia-Pacific Affairs Gilad Cohen published an article in an effort to calm the critics, writing, “There is no question that every country has to safeguard its security and strategic infrastructure. But that is a far cry from the repeated statements, including in the media, to the effect that the Chinese should not be allowed to come to Israel – and such behavior even causes damage.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is correct in arguing that Israel’s economic relations with China are welcome and should be expanded for the good of the Israeli economy. On the other hand, the critics are right that Chinese investments in Israel should be scrutinized further to ensure the state’s independence and national security. Perhaps in defiance of the critics, Prime Minister Netanyahu said at the Innovation Conference that cooperation between China and Israel “has no restriction or limit,” but this statement cannot constitute a basis for practical and realistic policy.

Netanyahu himself is currently urging the establishment of an entity to examine foreign investments in Israel, which will likely also deal with Chinese investments. This is a welcome initiative, which should include a preliminary discussion to define industry sectors to be considered strategic assets that Israel does not plan to sell or allow investment that would facilitate control by foreign parties. Which sectors can be sold and where investment is allowed that might facilitate control by foreign parties should also be delineated. Industrialized democracies, such as Australia and the United States, have already defined such areas, and Israel can use their parameters for reference, with adjustments. The list of such assets can guide the entity to be established, but that is insufficient. It must also be ensured that the agency considers every foreign investment laterally, combining an assessment of the industrial sector in which the investment is made and all of the investments by the investing company, in the realization that Chinese companies tend to expand into areas that are not their original field of business. Such an examination will ensure that through government companies a foreign party does not hold concentrated investments or a monopoly that enables it to exercise direct or indirect influence on decision makers in Israel. www.mesop.de

 

The Fragility of Middle East Alliances

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS ANALYSIS BY BEGIN-SADAT (BESA) CENTER – ISRAEL

By Dr. James M. Dorsey November 12, 2018  –  BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,004, November 12, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Competition among Middle Eastern rivals and ultimate power within the region’s various alliances is increasingly as much economic and commercial as it is military and geopolitical. Battles are fought as much on geopolitical fronts as they are on economic and cultural battlefields such as soccer.

Three recent developments lay bare the fragility of Middle Eastern alliances and a rebalancing of their priorities: the Russian-Turkish compromise on an assault on the rebel-held Syrian region of Idlib, the fate of troubled Abu Dhabi airline Ettihad, and battles over the reconstruction of Syria.

These developments highlight the fact that competition among Middle Eastern rivals and ultimate power within the region’s various alliances is increasingly as much economic and commercial as it is military and geopolitical. Battles are fought as much on geopolitical fronts as they are on economic and cultural battlefields such as soccer.As a result, the fault lines of various alliances across the greater Middle East, a region that stretches from North Africa to northwestern China, are coming to the fore.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : WÄHLERBETRUG IN HESSEN / DAGEGEN SIND US WAHLEN EINE SAUBERE SACHE

Auszählungsfehler in Hessen : Zehn Stimmen für eine Volkspartei

„In einem anderen Sachsenhäuser Viertel wurden gerade einmal zwei Stimmen für die AfD gezählt, was 0,3 Prozent entspricht. Im selben Bezirk hatte die Partei bei der vorhergehenden Landtagswahl, damals gerade gegründet, schon fast vier Prozent bekommen.“ –

 FAZ Von Matthias Trautsch und Rainer Schulze – Aktualisiert am 12.11.2018- Die Fehler bei der Auszählung der hessischen Landtagswahl sind so gravierend, dass sie die Regierungsbildung in Frage stellen. Eine Aufarbeitung.

Es ist der Tag, an dem die CDU in Oberrad auf die Größe einer Satirepartei schrumpft. Ausgerechnet hier, in dem gutbürgerlichen Frankfurter Wohnviertel am Rande des Stadtwalds. Ja, die Querelen in Berlin haben den örtlichen Wahlkampf beeinflusst, aber nichts deutet darauf hin, dass der Union am 28. Oktober, dem Tag der hessischen Landtagswahl, ein Debakel bevorsteht.

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Putin pivots to Europe for next play on Syria

NORTH KURDISTAN (TURKEY) – MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : LAST ORDERS SYRIA WITH PUTIN –
Putin embraces “​four-party talks”

While US officials spoke last week about “contesting more actively” Iran’s actions in Syria, Russia pressed ahead with a new diplomatic initiative involving Europe.

Russia’s envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, met Nov. 6 with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after arriving from Tehran. “The focus,” reports Maxim Suchkov, “was the Russian-Turkish memorandum on Idlib signed in Sochi on Sept. 17; the formation of the Constitutional Committee; Syria’s postwar restoration; and the creation of conditions for the return of refugees. The Russians also briefed Syria on the results of the Oct. 27 meeting in Istanbul between the presidents of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France.”
“Russia is making sure its own initiatives are well sealed and recognized by other major regional players before UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura steps down at the end of November,” writes Suchkov. “Russia is thus pressing Assad to speed up the formation of the Constitutional Committee — part of the mission of the high-level delegation in Damascus. Meanwhile, in Moscow, Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Sergey Ryabkov have engaged in a frenzy of diplomatic activity, meeting with ambassadors of virtually all Middle Eastern countries over the last four days.”

“Putin’s embrace of the four-party talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel made many in Moscow believe that Russia now seeks to merge the two formats of the Astana group and the two leading European nations from the so-called small group,” adds Suchkov. “Now that any meaningful progress within the small group is stalled — from Russia’s perspective — with its participants seeking other venues to strengthen their own positions in the Syrian political settlement, and the United States lacking any clear set of objectives that could genuinely unite other members, Moscow believes the conditions are ripe to engage the Europeans who are open to such engagement, albeit each for their own reasons.”

“Although Iran is absent from the Istanbul quartet,” writes Suchkov, “Russia sees it as an important puzzle piece for a Syria settlement and thus briefs both Tehran and Damascus on the consultations within the group, which Moscow, too, considers to be a step into linking the Astana format with the Istanbul group. The Astana trio was critical in shifting the balance of forces in Assad’s favor, but now that the conflict has moved to the political realm, a broader coalition with Europeans is needed, both for the sake of the process’ legitimacy and for financial reasons. German companies are eyeing possible contracts in Syria’s restoration, partially helping to alleviate Russia’s own concerns for finding the money for reconstruction.”

Erdogan plays big with US

Cengiz Candar explains how Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be leveraging the Jamal Khashoggi case to play “big,” writing that Erdogan “is one of the very few people in the international game who has leverage with the leaders of both the United States and Russia.”

Erdogan has not held back on his opposition to US policies. He said last week that joint US-Syrian Democratic Forces patrols “can cause serious negative developments” and slammed US sanctions on Iran as ‘imperialist,” Jasper Mortimer reports.

Candar wrote of Erdogan, “His relations with Washington are better than they have been for some time. Turkey has surprisingly become one of the eight countries exempted from the American oil sanctions against Iran. What makes Turkey privileged is that it is the only country among the eight on the oil waiver list that is Iran’s immediate neighbor. … Nothing can illustrate better how relations between Erdogan and Trump have warmed up than this exemption. Erdogan even went as far as to say publicly that the American president promised to instruct his people to review the case of a Turkish bank that is expected to be fined by US Treasury over the Iran sanctions scam.”

When the Turkish president speaks with US President Donald Trump, Candar writes, “It is almost certain that Erdogan will bring up the issue of the eastern Euphrates, where the American military cooperates with the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Erdogan, emboldened with the dazzling diplomatic show in Istanbul, spelled out Turkey’s intention to eradicate the presence of the Kurdish allies of the United States in the eastern Euphrates and Turkish artillery began to pound the Kurdish targets. Erdogan went as far as to imply that Turkey will move militarily to the towns such as Tell Abyad and Kobani. After the Turkish artillery bombardment, the Americans started joint patrols with elements of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units along the Turkey-Syria frontier to deter Turkey from creating a potential bone of contention between the two NATO allies.”

“It remains to be seen how Trump will react to Erdogan’s possible demands involving the eastern Euphrates,” Candar concludes. “It appears that Turkish objectives are irreconcilable with those of the Syrian Kurds and the United States, unless the latter decides on a “sell-out” of the Kurds. History has a record on this that Erdogan should well know.”

An Abbas-Netanyahu summit in Oman?

Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Oct. 31, five days after the Israeli prime minister’s visit to Oman, with a message for Abbas from Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, placing Oman at the center of a diplomatic flurry on the otherwise stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

“Netanyahu’s visit to Oman on Oct. 26 triggered the fears of the various Palestinian factions,” writes Adnan Abu Amer. “Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab told Al-Mayadeen on the same day that Netanyahu’s visit to the sultanate could open a new channel of negotiations with Israel. In turn, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described the visit in a press statement as an advanced stage of normalization in tandem with the efforts of the United States to pass its “deal of the century. … Head of Fatah’s Information Department Munir al-Jaghoub said in a press statement that the visit aims to undermine the Arab peace initiative based on “the land for peace” formula. On Oct. 27, he denied these statements.”

“Hamas was angered by Netanyahu’s visit to Oman,” reports Abu Amer. “In an interview with Al-Monitor, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said, “It is terribly wrong to receive Israelis on Arab premises. This cannot be justified as a step aimed to achieve the best interest of the Palestinians. This must not be repeated. Israel is the enemy.”

“Israel and the PA are aware that Oman has managed to organize negotiations on major files such as Iran’s nuclear deal, the Yemen war and the Gulf crisis,” Abu Amer continues. “This makes it a neutral intermediary, though it operates in secret and out of the limelight. … Oman has emerged as a mediator with the ability to host the Palestinians and Israelis. It could be planning to hold a summit between Abbas and Netanyahu, which could be a golden opportunity for the sultanate to rise as a political mediator, while all other regional countries are preoccupied with their internal issues.”

“Israel has managed to be hosted in yet another Arab capital despite the halt of negotiations with the Palestinians,” Abu Amer concludes. “This proves that Israel can communicate with the Arabs by bypassing the peace process. As for the Palestinians, they have yet to reap the gains contemplated from this Omani movement.”  www.mesop.de

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : WHILE PKK FIGHTS AGAIN CONTRA ISIS WASHINGTON GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO ERDOGAN

Turkey Given Green Light to Shell Syrian Kurdish Territories: Source

Basnews English – 11/11/2018 – 17:19 – ERBIL — The Turkish army has received the green light by the United States to bombard the Syrian Kurdish territories in north of the country, said a source. Turkish artillery forces recently several times fired at areas around Kobani, Tel Abiyadh, Gire Spi in the Syrian Kurdistan. It has threatened to also launch another military operation into the areas of east Euphrates river.

A source with knowledge about the issue from the Syrian Kurdistan, who wished to remain unnamed for security reasons, told BasNews that Washington has given Ankara the green light for the cross-border shelling, hoping to give the Democratic Union Party (PYD) a warning message over its ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).According to the source, the US is concerned about PYD’s policies which are devised by the PKK while the party is maintaining close relations with Tehran.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : PKK/PYD(SDF) STAR A NEW! – SDF resumes anti-IS campaign after talks with US-led coalition

11 Nov 2018 ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Following intensive discussions with the US-led coalition, the General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday announced the resumption of military operations against fighters from the Islamist State (IS) in Syria’s eastern city of Deir al-Zor.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : NICHT MEHR NOT & NOTWENDIGKEIT, DRUCK & MISERE – SONDERN: EIN GUTES RECHT! SO CAMOUFLIERT SCHON SPRACHLICH DIE POSTMODERNE SIMULATION LEBENSWELTEN

UNO-Mitgliedstaaten: Migration ist ein Menschenrecht – von Judith Bergman – GATESTONE  – 11. November 2018

Englischer Originaltext: UN Member States: Migration Is a Human Right

Es kann nicht genug betont werden, dass es bei diesem Abkommen nicht um Flüchtlinge geht, die vor Verfolgung fliehen, oder um ihr Recht auf völkerrechtlichen Schutz. Stattdessen propagiert das Abkommen die radikale Idee, dass Migration – aus welchem Grund auch immer – etwas ist, das gefördert, ermöglicht und geschützt werden muss.

  • Die UNO hat kein Interesse daran, zuzugeben, dass ihr Abkommen die Migration als Menschenrecht promotet; bis vor kurzem gab es wenig Diskussionen darüber. Mehr Diskussionen könnten das gesamte Projekt gefährden.

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