One major factor behind President Trump’s decision to withdraw US special forces from Syria is the dominant position achieved by Russia, in alliance with Iran, in restoring the fortunes of Syria’s President Bashar al Assad. Another seems to have been a telephone discussion with Turkey’s President Erdogan just before Christmas 2018. The implications of this are worrying.
Author Archive: Neville Teller
On September 2, 2018, a delegation from Israel’s Peace Now organization travelled to Ramallah in the West Bank to discuss with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas prospects for settling the conflict. The statements that follow such meetings rarely contain anything of substance. This was an exception.
“Churchill: Walking with Destiny” by Andrew Roberts Reviewed by Neville Teller
The world, fed hints but no details, ends 2018 with Trump’s “deal of the century” – his long-awaited Israel-Palestine peace plan – dangling tantalisingly before them.
Within ten months of his appointment as UN Special Envoy for Yemen, British born Martin Griffiths has succeeded in what has for years been regarded as the near-impossible – bringing the two main protagonists in the Yemen conflict to the negotiating table.
As if the discovery of sophisticated Hezbollah tunnels penetrating into Israel and violating the UN truce terms was not enough of an embarrassment to the Lebanese government, the political situation is deadlocked as well. Hezbollah is also at the centre of that débacle.
On 16 November 2018 Israel entered into a ceasefire arrangement with the de facto rulers of the Gaza strip – Hamas. It seems to be holding.
The dynamics of the Iranian state make for an intriguing case study. Informed observers maintain that two strong internal forces are pursuing irreconcilable political objectives. On the one hand there is the reformist camp, concerned about the people’s welfare and willing to engage with the outside world. On the other, there is the “deep state”, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supported by the powerful IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps), dedicated to upholding and strengthening the Islamic Revolution. It is the deep state that has complete dominance over the country’s political affairs, and can exercise its will in defiance…
In mid-October 2018 rumours about Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan were flying around the Israeli media. On the 22nd one TV channel reported a conversation between Donald Trump and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, during which Trump had apparently said that he was prepared to “get tough” if necessary with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s autocratic president, is a past-master at seizing the moment and turning it to his political advantage. The latest example is the Jamal Khashoggi affair, which he has managed masterfully, gaining a steadily increasing advantage over his prime rivals in the Muslim world – Saudi Arabia. But how secure is he against repercussions?