Turkey is not officially at war, but rather says it is engaged in a “military operation” in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin. But there must have been a political space for arguments in favor of peace or for a peaceful solution. Alas, we do not seem to have any space for such dissent in Turkey. This is the case primarily because of the political understanding of the ruling party, which views any argument against a military solution as tantamount to “treason.” But that is only one reason among many.
Category Archives: Middle East
Turkey is recruiting and retraining Isis fighters to lead its invasion of the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria, according to an ex-Isis source.
“Most of those who are fighting in Afrin against the YPG [People’s Protection Units] are Isis, though Turkey has trained them to change their assault tactics,” said Faraj, a former Isis fighter from north-east Syria who remains in close touch with the jihadi movement.
In a phone interview with The Independent, he added: “Turkey at the beginning of its operation tried to delude people by saying that it is fighting Isis, but actually they are training Isis members and sending them to Afrin.”
Why we should fear the ‘Washington establishment’ figures who are pulling the strings in the Trump administration
People sitting in cafes in Baghdad under the rule of Saddam Hussein used to be nervous of accidentally spilling their cup of coffee over the front page of the newspaper spread out before them. They had a good reason for their anxiety, because Iraqi newspapers at that time always carried a picture of Saddam on their front page. Defacing his features might be interpreted as an indication of disrespect or even of a critical or treasonous attitude towards the great leader.
Saddam Hussein invariably got star billing in the Iraqi press, but he would be impressed at the astonishing way in which it has become the norm in the US media for the words and doings of President Trump to monopolise the top of the news. Day after day, the three or four lead stories in The New York Times and CNN relate directly or indirectly to Trump. And, unlike Saddam, this blanket coverage is voluntary on the part of the news outlets and overwhelmingly critical.
On the front line in Syria, a confusing conversation with a doctor who may be an official of the YPG
Quando le immagini dell’intervento turco nel nord della Siria hanno mostrato i carri armati di fabbricazione tedesca Leopard 2 che bombardavano il cantone curdo di Afrin, in Germania è subito scoppiato un caso politico. A molti è sembrato intollerabile che le armi tedesche fossero impiegate per invadere uno stato sovrano e attaccare le milizie curde dell’Ypg, che sono state l’unico vero alleato sul campo dell’occidente nella lotta al gruppo Stato islamico.
Di fronte alle polemiche il governo tedesco è stato costretto a sospendere un accordo con la Turchia per l’ammodernamento degli stessi carri armati, rinviando la discussione a quando saranno terminate le trattative per la formazione del nuovo esecutivo.
A sign across from a quiet Beirut park advertises a taxi service: “For everyone, everywhere,” the sign reads in French. “Day and night,” it says in Arabic on the other side of the sign. Two sheets of printer paper are taped up on a wall nearby. One advertises an apartment for rent, delivering different pieces of information in English, French, and a transliteration of Arabic into Latin letters. On the wrinkled page pasted next to it, a hookah delivery service lists its flavors in Arabic—alternating between Arabic and Latin script—and entices customers with an offer of “free delivery” in English.
Beirut, Lebanon’s cosmopolitan capital, is famous for the chaotic jumble of languages it contains. Arabic, French, and English mix and mingle in writing and in conversation. For visitors and locals alike, it can be hard to pin down just how they interact, and the unwritten rules for how they’re used.
On the ninth day of Turkey’s incursion into the Kurdish district of Afrin, an international movement is underway to try to stop the galloping Turkish assault into Syria.
Germany announced Thursday it would halt arms shipments and suspend the deal it signed to upgrade Turkey’s German-manufactured tanks. France convened a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday, and U.S. President Donald Trump warned Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday to “avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces” in Syria.
The day Isis attacked Mosul, Wassan, an affable young doctor with a cherubic face, ran from the maternity ward to the emergency room at Jimhoriya hospital. Injured civilians had begun pouring in. Wassan had just graduated from medical school, and had no experience in treating trauma casualties. As the wounded continued to arrive, what she lacked in knowledge she tried to make up for with enthusiasm.
By the evening, the wards were overflowing, patients spilling into the corridors. Wassan slept overnight in the hospital, ignoring her father’s incessant phone calls to come home.
The next morning, when mortar shells started falling near the hospital, doctors and patients alike piled into ambulances and fled across the bridge to the east side of the city.
There, they heard the news. The governor and senior generals had fled. Western Mosul had fallen.
Every day, early in the morning, the former missile scientist would leave his house in Mosul. Riding buses, or on foot – he could no longer afford petrol – he’d call on friends, check on his mother or visit his sister’s family. Sometimes he’d hunt for cheap kerosene, or try to score contraband books or cigarettes. Most often, he’d meander aimlessly – a traveller in his own city.
In the evening, he’d sit at his old wooden desk, bent over his notebook, recording the day. Most of what he wrote was banal: the price of tomatoes, a quarrel with his wife. But he also wrote his observations of the remarkable events unfolding in Mosul.