In light of the history of US-Turkey relations, it might not be very difficult to decipher the crux of the developing differences between the United States and Turkey, and to understand the rationale behind the actions and intentions of the two countries.
The ongoing tension between the two NATO allies, the United States and Turkey, recently took a pivotal course when Turkey received its first shipment of “the Russian S-400 air defense system”, its parts and components, in Ankara, at the Murted military airbase on Friday, 12 July. Subsequently, the United States reportedly put forward plans to penalize Turkey for its purchase of a Russian air defense system. Before the actual delivery, Turkey was already being warned that it “could face possible sanctions and a block on its participation in the US-made F-35 fighter jet programme because of the Russian deal.” On Wednesday, 17 July, the United States officially cancelled the delivery and sale of the F-35 aircrafts to Turkey. According to The New York Times, “The White House informed Turkey on Wednesday that would not sell F-35 stealth fighter jets to its NATO ally, in retaliation of the country’s purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.”
A country’s actions and its relationship with other countries could be a demonstration of an interrelated and a convoluted web of several national and international experiences and developments. Hence, it might be interesting to observe how countries could be viewing and handling different issues in a variety of ways according to their economic, political, and social backdrop. Perhaps, the recent break in relations between the United States and Turkey could be analysed in a similar way. There is no doubt that disagreement continues to dog US-Turkey relations owing to the delivery of the Russian S-400 system to Ankara. The other side of the coin is that Trump is inherently against the NATO alliance and does not wish that the US should disproportionately bankroll the historic alliance which Turkish leaders cleverly joined in 1952. Continue reading
British MPs voted 397 votes to 223 – a majority of 174 – and approved airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and hours later the RAF was in action. Ministers predict British involvement in the conflict for at least two years.
How strange that David Cameron should so quickly and randomly shift his military focus from the Damascus regime to the “medieval murderers” of ISIS in Raqqa – the group’s nerve centre or the “head of the snake” which needs to be “crushed”. But given the frequency and scale of the attacks mounted by the extremist group, it is not surprising that the slippery British prime minister is finding it quite easy to cash in on the short-term counter-terrorism/foreign policy windfall options available to him. Proceedings lacked the sobriety one would associate with a decision to bomb another country, a decision that will inevitably kill innocent civilians. MPs cheered the vote to expand the war initiative but the parties remained divided. With emotions running deep, the British Parliament exposed its crusader proclivities and MPs who dared to vote against Cameron’s will were labelled as a “bunch of terrorist sympathisers” the night before the vote. Four Tornados from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus took part in the operation against ISIS near Omar oil fields soon after MPs voted to approve military action. Moreover, six Typhoons also arrived in Cyprus from Scotland.
The recent surge in terrorist attacks helped Cameron to obtain Parliament’s approval for the RAF to conduct air raids against ISIS in Syria. Here is a short list of some attacks. On 10 October, in Ankara more than a 100 people were killed at a peace rally by explosions. On 31 October, a bomb planted by the ISIS affiliated Sinai Province organisation brought down a Russian Metrojet over Sinai, Egypt killing all 224 passengers on board. On 4 November, also in Sinai, nine people were killed at a police club by Sinai Province. Continue reading
Interest in an engaged presence in South Asia is rapidly waning in the wake of the coming American elections. It remains to be seen whether the strategy will be beneficial for both sides in the long run.
Foreign policy rarely figures prominently in American elections. The upcoming November presidential and congressional contests demonstrate the continued pertinence of this hoary political maxim. Still buffeted by an anemic recovery from the 2008 financial meltdown, few US voters will give much thought to foreign policy as they enter the polling booths. And fewer still will consider how South Asia will be affected by their choices, let alone how the region will in turn influence the leaders elected this November. Continue reading
NATO’s attack on Pakistan has enveloped the entire region in a serious row between regional and extra-regional forces. This dispute has compelled the regional actors to join hands to push the influence of external forces away. Rather than apologizing to Pakistan, US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter invited envoys of NATO countries in Pakistan to high tea at the US embassy in Islamabad. He asked them to persuade the Pakistani leadership to cooperate with the US. The US has been trying to portray the incident as a non-deliberate act.
However, Major General Ishfaq Nadeem, Director-General of Military Operations, had already claimed that two or three helicopters launched an unprovoked attack early on 26 November 2011. He also stated that NATO/ISAF forces had been conveyed positions of military posts through map references that left no scope for mistakes.
The response of China and Russia over this rift has exposed their serious regional concerns. China, expressing deep shock at the incident, stressed the need for ensuring Pakistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity at any cost. It also emphasized that the event should be investigated thoroughly. Continue reading