Monday, September 12, 2011

Update from the Middle East: Bye Bye Turkey

As I am speeding off to Israel for another whirlwind trip, it seems circumstances involving the tiny democratic Jewish state cast in a sea of Islamic hate are changing ever again.  With the Palestinian Authority (PA) pushing for a vote in both the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly, Israel is facing increased isolation.  Even with strong US support and potential vetoes from Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic, PA statehood, as granted by the U.N. is inevitable.  The question is exactly how the General Council phrases the statehood.  Will it include the right of return, borders, status of Jerusalem, and recognition of Israel? 
Then there’s the increasing rift between Israel and Turkey stemming from the Turkish flotilla Mavi Marmara incident.   This rapid breakdown is a confluence of the expansion of the Tayyip Erdogan Islamic Turkish AKP party at the expense of the Turkish military and the increasing shift to the right of the Israeli government.  The Palmer report regarding the events surrounding the flotilla attack supported Israel’s right to intercept the flotilla and the response of its soldiers when they were attacked, but it also recommended that the Jewish state apologize to Turkey and offer compensation.  The Erdogan government knew very well that this flotilla carried illegal materials for Gaza and harbored anti-American anti-Semites who cheered on 9-11.  Turkey now claims it will send armed escorts along with all future illegal flotillas destined to Gaza.  Clearly, Turkey has pivoted sharply from a west leaning secular state to a Muslim leaning Islamic state.  To further inflame the situation, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman has publicly announced that Israel should support the Kurds against the Turks and also reach out to the Armenians to shame Turkey for the 1914 - 1918 Turkish genocide of 500,000 Armenians. 
Further confounding situation is the Kurdistan-Syrian-Turkish-Iranian quadrangle of confusion.  Whereas George W. Bush viewed the world in the rather simple “you’re wither with us or against us” lens, the real world is more like sometimes you’re with me and sometimes you’re not.  Case in point, Turkey has become the West’s point person on negotiating the removal of Syrian President al-Assad, while Iran continues to prop the butcher up through military and financial aid.  Clearly they are at odds here.  But they both agree that the Kurds in northern Iraq represent a threat to their individual sovereignty.   The Kurdistan movement is led by the PKK, an organization that strikes at both Iran and Turkey in hopes of establishing an independent nation.   
Muslim nations are dangerous places.  30 people killed in Iraq from suicide bombers.  23 killed in a suicide attack in Nigeria.  18 people killed in an Al-Qaeda led attack in Algeria.  This is on top of the 2,600 Syrians killed by their own government and the hundreds killed in Kurdistan region of Iraq.   Want to know why Muslims hate Israel?  They have education, independence, democracy, law, and order. 

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