10 August 2014   2 comments

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been elected to another term as Turkey’s President, making him the longest running leader of Turkey since Ataturk.  He is a controversial figure: there were large protests against his rule a few months ago and charges of corruption against some of his close associates.   But he has moved Turkey into a position of leadership in Muslim and Middle Eastern affairs, and has repaired Turkish relations with the Kurdish minority in the country.   His election assures that Turkey will continue to be a central state in the region.  But he has moved Turkey away from its former close relationship with Israel and is a sharp critic of Israeli policy.

Ukrainian troops have surrounded the rebel-held city of Donetsk and the leader of the Russian separatists has called for a cease-fire.  The possible surrender of the city will pose a serious concern for Russian President Putin as Russian nationalists strongly support the separatist movement in Ukraine.  But, even though Russia has massed troops around eastern Ukraine, Putin would risk a great deal by coming to the aid of the separatists.  NATO has shipped substantial amounts of military assistance to Kyiv, buttressing the ability of Ukraine to regain control of its territory.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki indicated today that he would run for a third term as Prime Minister, and deployed special military forces loyal to him at key locations in Baghdad.  The decision is a serious blow to those, including the US, who wished for a less partisan candidate.  al-Maliki has ruled along fairly strict sectarian lines, placing his favorites in key positions, including military command positions, without regard for competence or fair-mindedness.  His strategy has profoundly alienated the minority Sunni and Kurdish populations, and is partially responsible for the dramatic rise of the Islamic State in Sunni areas of Iraq.

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Posted August 10, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

2 responses to “10 August 2014

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  1. I can’t help seeing al Maliki as a reincarnation of Ngo Dien Ziem in Vietnam. Then we encouraged a coup to get rid of a problem. We don’t seem to learn much from history do we?
    Tad Evans, Kimball Farms

    • Dear Tad,
      You know your history well, and your analogy is spot on. The US has a knack for being held hostage by weaker allies. One would think we would have figured out something better by now.
      Best,
      Vinnie

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