Much has changed in the Middle East since the eruption of the Syrian Conflict. A late bloomer to the Arab Spring, Syria has gone beyond the narrative of dictator vs. the people and become a major proxy war with the potential to consume the entire region. In the past two years, age old strategic alliances have collapsed while strange and questionable partnerships have been formed. One of the more interesting breakdowns involves the relationship between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Turkey, most recently evident by Turkey exploring the option of reducing oil imports from Iran.
Archive for the ‘Turkey’ Category
Tags: Civil War, Erdogan, Periphery doctrine, Regional hegemony, Regionalism, Syria
Tags: AK Parti, Cyprus, Erdogan, Periphery doctrine, Strategic Alliance
Featured on Al Jazeera World, filmmakers Mariam Shahin and George Azar chart the deterioration of the Israeli-Turkish relationship. Once part of the United States’ strategic alliance in the Middle East, new realities within the region are forcing these competing powers to clearly define and prioritize their self-interests from their mutual interests. The documentary also looks into the impact of recently discovered gas deposits on the future of this once key strategic alliance.
To read more of about the history of Israeli-Turkish relations and their loose grouping under the periphery policy, click here.
Tags: Arab Spring, Assad, Civil War, Middle East, Politics, Regionalism, S, Shiite, Shiite Crescent, Sunni, Syria
By Frazier Fathers
This past week’s decapitating strike by Syrian opposition forces resulted in the deaths of Defense Minister Dawood Rajiha, his “deputy” Asef Shawkat (Assad’s brother-in law), Assistant Vice President Hassan Turkmani and Hisham Ikhtiar (Syria’s National Security Chief). The brazen bombing showed that the situation in Syria has recently deteriorated much quicker than many expected; the ability of the ever emboldened opposition to strike at the higher echelons of the Syrian regime is becoming a potential game changer. As the situation continues to spiral out of control, reports of ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods and villages to the driving out of Iraqi refuges are raising sectarian tensions.
With pundits all agreeing that it is not a matter of “if” the Assad regime will fall but rather “when,” attention needs to be paid to what the aftermath of his fall might be. Syria is a divided nation in a divided region, where the majority Sunni population has been repressed at the hands of the Alawites (Shiites). Meanwhile the Kurds of Syria much like Kurds in Iraq and Turkey has suffered years of repression that has led to various nationalistic movements within the group. Smattered between these major groups are enclaves of Druze and Christians who are positioned to be potential targets of reprisal for their years of supporting the Assad regime.
Tags: Arabs, International Relations, Middle East, Pan-Arabism, Politics, Regionalism
It has been well over a year since the Arab Spring began sweeping through the Middle East like a stack of dominos. While some states have found a new beginning, many are still struggling to find their identity, let alone stability. Amidst the ongoing turmoil, there has been a lack of political unity and leadership amongst the Arab states. During this commotion, the region’s non-Arab states have been strengthening their claims of regional leadership, leaving the majority Arabs to become mere spectators. If and when the dust settles on the Arab Spring, will the Arabs find themselves to be pawns in a larger regional competition; one that hasn’t seen a decent Arab contender since the first Gulf War. So, the question arises; who will lead the Arab world? Turkey? Iran? America? Or will we see an Arab leader/nation spring forth?
Tags: Ethiopia, India, Iran, Israel, Middle East, Politics, Turkey
Most observers have stressed on Israel’s Western support, particularly the United States, as an integral part to its survival in the region. Since its inception in 1948, Israel has had to come to terms with the hostilities of its Arab neighbours, many of whom were against the establishment of the Jewish state on the former British mandate of Palestine and took part in an effort to undo its creation. However, Israeli leaders like David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, saw that it a necessity to establish ties with other regional, non-Arab states like Iran, Turkey and Ethiopia, through a policy often referred to as the Periphery Doctrine. With the Islamic Revolution of 1979, this secret and unofficial alliance was called into question; many refer to it as an antique of Israeli foreign policy. As relations with Turkey have soured in the past few years, can we relegate Israel’s Periphery Doctrine to the history books? Or has it simply evolved into something else?