Turkey’s affiliations are swinging from West to East.

Turkey’s affiliations under the leadership of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — a devout Muslim — are swinging from West to East. This is good news for the Arab world as Ankara is a major political and military player on the international stage with substantial clout. In recent times, Turkey has thawed the freeze with Syria by signing a slew of economic, cultural, social and strategic cooperation agreements and is mulling over lifting visa restrictions for Syrian and Lebanese nationals.

At the same time, Turkey is reaching out to Armenia by setting up a commission to study the World War I conflict that robbed the lives of over a million Ottoman-Armenians. Last October, Ankara and Yerevan signed protocols designed to establish ties that would result in the reopening of their border but the main sticking point is Armenia’s insistence that Turkey and the international community officially recognize the Armenian genocide. Turkey has always resisted that damning label and always insisted that those who died were casualties of conflict.

Simultaneously, the Erdogan government is cementing relations with Russia with trade and energy agreements; Russia currently supplies around 65 percent of Turkey’s natural gas requirements and may assist Turkey with the construction of a nuclear energy plant. This new closeness has resulted in plans to extend cooperation to the South Caucasus — traditionally within Russia’s sphere of influence — as well as visa-free travel for the citizens of both nations.

Likewise, Ankara currently enjoys good relations with Tehran. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki held talks in Ankara with Prime Minister Erdogan involving the transportation of Iranian natural gas to Europe via Turkey, establishing a joint refinery, jointly constructing industrial centers and increasing bilateral trade from $10 billion annually to $30 billion. The Turkish minister of state said Turkey is keen to begin a “golden age” in Turkish-Iranian ties. While Turkey is against nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, it backs Iran’s right to nuclear energy and does not support anti-Iranian sanctions.

But there the love fest ends. Ankara’s relations with some of its traditional allies are strained to say the least.

Its important strategic alliance with Washington, which culminated in America’s Incirlik Air base was shaken when the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Turkey was against the Iraq war from the get-go and blames it for strengthening Kurdish secessionist ambitions. And when, in 2007, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a resolution in favor of Armenia’s stance on the alleged “genocide,” Turkey temporarily withdrew its ambassador from Washington.

However, for its part, the US government tends to tread softly with Turkey in light of its NATO role as a strong eastern bulwark and its hosting of Incirlik which was a crucial asset during the Cold War and the 1991 Gulf War. Turkey’s importance to Washington was reflected by President Barack Obama’s official visit, last April — criticized within some US circles as blessing a country embarked on establishing a powerful Islamic bloc contrary to American interests. The US has also fervently backed Turkey’s efforts to join the EU, which has been somewhat of an annoyance to European countries that are vehemently opposed. Linda Heard
—AN

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U.S. Mourns the Loss of Lebanon

It is only a few years ago that Rafiq el Hariri was assassinated and barely a few hours after his assassination the US and Zionist controlled media were already blaming Syria.  The pro-Syrian government in Lebanon resigned.   The US’ fueled and financed “Cedar’s ‘revolution’ ” took place while world media covered it from every angle and played its complicit political role.

The majority of the Lebanese fell for the American/Zionist trap and the UN was quick to pass resolution 1559 to “free” Lebanon from Syria… but not from occupying Israeli forces of course.  The Syrian army left while Israeli agents spread like bushfire into Lebanon in order to prepare for the US/Israeli engineered war of 2006 aimed at getting rid of Hezbollah.  Surprise however… the resistance stood its ground against the mighty Israeli army and against years of covert operations and attempts to incite sectarian strife inside Lebanon along with massive media campaigns designed to discredit and weaken Hezbollah and Lebanon itself.

Today… the “Cedars revolution” has become a bad memory of the past…  while the pillars of the March 14 Forces have shifted position and have aligned with Hezbollah, the Lebanese opposition,  Syria… and Iran.  Today, the US mourns the loss of Lebanon and stands more isolated than it already was in the Middle East.  Of course… there is always Israel to console the Unites States with another war or another conflict somewhere… sometime..

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Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad el Hariri, in Turkey:

“Defending Lebanon is not an act of terrorism, but attacks on Lebanon are terrorism itself… Israel is an enemy of Lebanon… We have to stand shoulder by shoulder against the enemy’s plans… We have to stop Israel”

Lebanese MP, Walid Jumblatt (Druze Party Leader) met with MP Michel Aoun (Free Patriotic Movement Leader) in Rabie on Monday, stating:

“Enough is enough. My meeting with Aoun brings the reconciliation process to an end,”

In a joint press conference, Jumblatt told reporters from Aoun’s residence Rabieh.

“The meeting was not directed against anyone … It is in the interest of the country and the nation and national unity.”


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Hariri from Turkey: Defending Lebanon is Not Terrorism

PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey and PM Saad ed Deen Rafiq al-Hariri, Lebanon meet in Turkey

Naharnet – Turkey and Lebanon signed Monday a number of cooperation agreements including an accord on visa-free travel between the two countries and other deals envisaging cooperation in the military, agriculture and transport realms.

The signing ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan, at a joint press conference with Hariri, assured support for Lebanon at all levels.

“We are continuing to put pressure on Israel to implement international resolutions and I have asked Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to visit Lebanon,” Erdogan said.

He slammed the Israeli overflights as “unacceptable action that threatens global peace.”  Erdogan said Turkey would supply natural gas and electricity to help meet Lebanon’s energy needs and that the two countries planned a ferry service between their Mediterranean coasts.

Hariri, for his part, said: “We are not advocates of war, but advocates of the return of our stolen land.”

“Defending Lebanon is not an act of terrorism, but attacks on Lebanon are terrorism itself… We have to stand shoulder by shoulder against the enemy’s plans… We have to stop Israel,” said Hariri answering a question.

Hariri hailed Turkey’s improving ties with Arab countries and increased activism in peace efforts in the Middle East.

“We hope and expect Turkey to continue playing a positive role in trying to bring peace,” he said.

Later Monday, Hariri and the accompanying delegation visited the Turkish parliament in the afternoon.

The premier crowned his talks by an evening meeting with the Turkish President Abdullah Gul in presence of Lebanese Ministers Ali al-Shami, Ziad Baroud, Jerban Bassil, Mohammed Jawad Khalifeh, Mohammed Rahhal, Salim Wardeh, and a number of top Turkish officials.(Naharnet-AFP)


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Now consider the following article published in the Washington Post on January 11. The U.S. and the WP still cannot swallow what happened to them in Lebanon… and still wonder “if the momentum of the Cedar’s ‘Revolution’ has been lost”!!  Read below as the the Washington Post speaks of pro-US camps winning the elections… conveniently ignoring the popular vote and the facts on the ground…


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Hariri’s struggles in Lebanon show limits of U.S. influence
By Howard Schneider Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, January 11, 2010


BEIRUT — The victory by a pro-U.S. faction in last June’s parliamentary election has given way to a situation in which Hezbollah will keep its large arms stockpile and a veto over major government decisions, while efforts are underway to repair relations with neighboring Syria.

The compromises made by new Prime Minister Saad Hariri as he assembled a governing coalition are seen by supporters as unavoidable in a country in which complex internal politics and the influence of outside powers can make governing difficult. But they also show the practical limits of the Obama administration’s overture to the Islamic world.

The June election victory by Hariri’s coalition came just after Obama delivered a major speech from Cairo and just before violent street demonstrations rattled the government in Iran, considered an important influence in Lebanon because of its support for Hezbollah. Some Obama advisers went so far as to attribute Hariri’s success to the mood of reform the president had brought to the region.

But victory at the polls did not translate so smoothly on the ground. Hariri spent six months trying to form a government, and could do so only after accepting key Hezbollah demands and giving up on a main aim of his coalition: to curb the Islamist group’s influence.

He also agreed to visit Damascus and meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad, a difficult symbolic step because of Syria’s suspected involvement in the 2005 assassination of Hariri’s father, former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. A United Nations tribunal is still investigating the killing. It is one of a number of political assassinations that led to a U.N. resolution and other outside pressure, prompting Syria to end its longstanding military presence in Lebanon.

“We won the election, but it looks like we lost,” said Marwan Hamadeh, a member of parliament and supporter of the “Cedar Revolution,” which has aimed to curb the influence of both Syria and Iran in the country at a time when other power brokers, especially the United States, want to talk with both nations. “There has been a lot of realism and a lot of frustration. The Cedar Revolution forces were convinced: Why look for a fight when everyone is trying to negotiate with Iran and Syria?”

The shape of Hariri’s coalition is not seen by U.S. officials as a major setback; they view it instead as far preferable to a coalition dominated by Hezbollah and its allies. Hezbollah maintains a militia that it justifies as necessary for potential conflict with Israel, despite a U.N. resolution ordering the group to disarm. The United States regards Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The group’s opponents in Lebanon argue that its arms stockpile puts the country at risk of another war, such as the one in 2006 in which Israel maintained that all of Lebanon would be held accountable for Hezbollah’s actions.

U.S. military and economic aid to Lebanon is continuing, largely to strengthen the Lebanese armed forces and other state institutions and undermine Hezbollah’s argument that the country can’t defend itself. The United States has contributed about $400 million to Lebanon’s military since 2006, a level expected to continue in the form of supplies that range from armored personnel carriers to new boots.

“It’s glass half empty, glass half full,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said as he toured the country last week. “Does Hariri’s visit to Damascus mean you have to beg for Damascus’s dispensation, or does it mean that Bashar wants a new relationship? It remains to be seen.”

It is a question central to the discussion here and connected to U.S. efforts to turn Syria away from Iran, derail Iran’s nuclear program, and limit Iran’s influence through proxies like Hezbollah here and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Hariri’s visit to Damascus, according to his supporters and others, was brokered by Saudi Arabia, which has been taking its own steps to repair relations with Assad. What’s less clear — and under debate here — is whether the Saudis were hoping to weaken Syria’s long-standing alliance with Iran by making amends or were hedging against the possibility that Obama will fail in his efforts to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons technology.  The White House has its own policy of engagement with Syria, though progress has been fitful. The expected return of a U.S. ambassador to Damascus has not occurred, and there is still U.S. dissatisfaction with Syrian efforts to control its border and halt the flow of insurgents into Iraq.

Hariri’s meeting with Assad did produce some concessions, including an expectation that the countries will work more closely on defining borders and other issues that are considered a source of instability inside Lebanon and between Lebanon and Israel.

Diplomats and analysts also regarded Assad’s willingness over the past year to exchange ambassadors with Lebanon as an important acknowledgment of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

But there is still worry here that the momentum of the Cedar Revolution has been lost, and skepticism that U.S. efforts to engage Syria and Iran will change the behavior of either. The shape of the new government has only added to those concerns.

“Everybody is waiting to see if the Syrians will deliver, and if the Iranians win or lose their battle” both internally and with the United States, said Ghattas Khoury, a former member of parliament who is close to Hariri. “I think everyone reached the conclusion that these were not things you can do much about.”(Washington Post)


Cherifa Sirry (Axis of Logic)

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