Russia and the Middle East

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As sometimes in Cold War days, the congruence between Russian and Western interests in the Middle East is so close as to be almost embarrassing. But the Russian style has changed; asked by a listener how he got such a nice tan the Russian Foreign Minister replied "Just dark complexion, I take after my mother …

Turkey and Saudi Arabia

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Erdoğan visits Riyadh immediately after al-Sisi of Egypt and before Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan. A thaw, but Egypt remains a point of difference. The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was among the leaders attending the funeral of King Abdullah last month, has paid a second visit to Saudi Arabia arriving in Jedda to perform …

UAE feud with Qatar: beware of spin

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Among various lobbyists the Norway-based GNRD has been particularly active in praising the UAE and its friends and in criticising Qatar. Its website claim to use "out of the ordinary and unique approaches" says it all. The UAE and Qatar have both been criticised for their use of spin doctors. Qatar has …

China and the Middle East

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Are linked by large and growing economic interests. China is developing its military, political and economic outreach. But Chinese entry into the region is hesitant for two reasons: the disorganisation and complications of the Middle East, and reluctance to mount yet another challenge to America. The Middle East is the …

Syrian dilemmas

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The US-led alliance has not found a convincing military and political strategy to deal with IS and the governments of Syria and Iraq. Time to reassess priorities and come to terms with the Asad regime? The declared military and political objectives of the US led alliance against IS do not correspond to reality in Syria today. In …

The Middle East: Russian views

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Russian views on the IS are largely identical with western views. The Moscow Times of 25 August quotes Ilya Rogachyov, head of the Foreign Ministry’s department on new and arising threats. The Islamic State, a radical militant group terrorizing Iraq and Syria, also poses a threat to Russia. Fighters affiliated with the Islamic State could return home to Russia after having fought alongside the group in Syria. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov warned of such an outcome in December, as did the Federal Security Service …

Turkey

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The WAND aims to cover developments in the Arab world, and therefore looks from time to time at international or regional developments elsewhere which affect it. The elevation from prime minister to president of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the election on 10 August was expected (detailed results are at link.) The new government has not yet been …

Egypt and Turkey

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The military-backed government in Egypt appears to have achieved an adequate level of international recognition and respect, with support including financial support from Arab states (other than Qatar) and visits by world leaders including the foreign ministers of the US and Russia, although its actions are critically watched; for example Reuters reports US concern over a …

Turkey and the Kurds

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On 16 November the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomed the leader of Iraqi Kurdistan Masud Barzani in a ground-breaking visit to the Kurdish heartland of Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey. In unprecedented conciliatory language both leaders called for peace between Turks and Kurds. However the ceasefire between Kurdish PKK fighters inside Turkey called by the …

Turkey feels the impact

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Turkey, like Lebanon and Jordan, has felt the direct impact of the Syrian civil war, including occasional exchanges of fire and a massive refugee problem. Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan has sided since the beginning of the crisis with the Sunni rebels and against his ex-ally, President Bashar al-Asad. He was one of the main supporters of American plans …