Turkey stakes out a new role

The weekend flurry of diplomatic and political messaging from Ankara tells everyone things are different now, an Arabic-language commentator says. Other topics: more Turkey, Israeli opinion, and September 11, 2011.

Turkey stakes out a new role for itself

On the weekend Turkey sent messages in every direction, internally, regionally and internationally. They represent a significant turn in Turkish politics, columnist Abdallah Iskandar, said in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat.

When Turkey announced the severance of some diplomatic ties and military cooperation with Israel, it was also announcing that the ruling Justice and Development Party has finally shifted decision-making to civil institutions and away from the military.

The unprecedented measures were a clear signal to the US that Ankara does not hesitate to take the appropriate positions that serve its national interests, even if they clash with the precepts of Washington politics.

At the same time, Turkey has finalised its adherence to the international balance of strategies by accepting to host radar installations for Nato's missile shield, swiftly confirming its affiliation to the western alliance.

"Ankara has positioned itself as an essential link in Nato's defensive strategy, not only against Russian missiles, but also against Iranian missiles, which were the reason behind the European missile shield in the first place."

Ankara, which has famously promised a "zero problems" foreign policy, through cooperation and containment of disputes, is now trying to demonstrate that it is also capable of facing a challenge to its interests and politics.

Israeli survey results provide insights

In an opinion article for the Emirati daily Al Khaleej, columnist Amjad Arrar suggested it is highly important to read the results of surveys conducted in Israel from time to time, as they are instrumental in predicting the future of the historical Arab-Israeli conflict that has proved so far to be impervious to negotiations.

A recent Israeli survey revealed an increased tendency among the young generation to adopt extreme and racist positions.

For instance, 75 per cent of the youth who were surveyed reject a lifting of the Gaza blockade and 60 per cent oppose an agreement that gives the Palestinians territories in the West Bank and a part of Jerusalem. Eighty per cent rejected an agreement with Syria over the Golan Heights.

"[The findings] suggest that the next generation of decision-makers expect a phase that promises to be conflictual, in the absence of viable alternatives."

The intellectual and political evolution of the Israeli population as depicted in recent surveys confirms that the Israeli community is shifting from left to right and from right to extreme right.

The rates shown in the survey will be translated into electoral rates, which means that the future political class in Israel will be more rightist and aggressive and rooted ever deeper in the Zionist ideology that promotes expansion, occupation, killing and destruction rather than coexistence and peace.


Al Qaeda threat to US negligible this month

As the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington draws closer, the United States has put all of its security apparatus on alert to pre-empt any "commemorative" Al Qaeda attack, stated the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi in its weekend editorial.

Al Qaeda did indeed vow to avenge the murder of its leader Osama bin Laden, shortly after he was killed by US Navy Seals in Pakistan and buried at sea last May. "But a verbal threat is one thing, acting on it is another," the newspaper said.

"Al Qaeda operations in recent years ranged from restricted in scope to non-existent, due to the fundamental change that occurred within the structure of the organisation.

"Al Qaeda is no longer a pyramidal system; it has become decentralised, branching out into splinter groups based in some Arab countries like Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and the [so-called] Islamic Maghreb area."

It's hard to see, then, how Al Qaeda might still preserve the capability to plan and carry out new attacks, especially on such a conspicuous date as the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Clearly, the US has not yet healed from its "September 11 syndrome", though Al Qaeda forces - and what remains of the organisation's command base in Afghanistan - have been emaciated.


Arabs could learn from Turkey's Israel policy

Unlike a number of Arab states, Turkey won't let Israel get away with an affront to the sovereignty of its people, commented Mazen Hammad, in a column for the Qatari newspaper Al Watan yesterday.

"That's the message from Ankara's decision to expel the Israeli ambassador, downsize Israel's diplomatic mission in Turkey in general … and freeze bilateral military agreements as punishment for Israel's assault on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship, which left nine Turks dead."

It's hard to remember the last time an Arab state had taken a measure as powerful and forthright in response to Israeli aggression.

"Turkey has just taught us a lesson in the way we must deal with countries that try to push us around," the writer went on. "Our usual way - which is to summons the ambassador and ask for 'clarifications' over coffee - would never cut it."

The Turkish government did not fall for Israel's standard ruse of procrastinating on everything (apologies, peace talks, promises) until old beefs are forgotten and overwritten by newer ones.

A key Arab country, Egypt, should have acted with that same Turkish resolve when some of its border guards were killed by Israel following the attack on Eilat last week, the writer said.

* Digest compiled by The Translation Desk


Published: September 5, 2011 04:00 AM


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