Turkey fires back at 5 countries, ‘we ruined your

By News Desk -2020-05-12

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:15 P.M.) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry considered the statement from the UAE, Egypt, France, Greece and Cyprus on Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean as evidence of “double standards”.

Turkey responds to Egypt, France and other countries: “We have ruined your sabotage accounts to stabilize the region,” the Foreign Ministry said, ” Turkey is under severe attack from Egypt, the Emirates, Greece, Cyprus and France.”

“The statement of the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Greece, France, and Greek Cyprus on the Mediterranean basin is evidence of the double standards followed by these countries,” they continued.

“Instead of entering the ruling administration in Egypt in a dialogue with Turkey, they preferred to give up and not to defend the rights and interests of its people in the Mediterranean basin, in favor of external powers that allowed them to intervene. There is no reason other than hostility to Turkey as the Emirates has no relationship in the Mediterranean,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Turkey called on the signatories of the five-year statement to act “rationally” and in accordance with international law, and said: “Stabilization in the region will not be by forming coalitions of evil, but rather through transparent and real dialogue and cooperation.”

In a joint statement, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, France and the United Arab Emirates strongly condemned what it described as “Turkey’s military intervention in Libya” and Turkey’s “illegal” movements in the Mediterranean.

ALSO READ  Egypt intends to return Syria to its ‘natural location in regional and international arenas’

Greece’s Renewed Relations with Syria Further Isolates Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, May 08, 2020

On Tuesday, the Greek Foreign Ministry finally announced a restoration of relations between Greece and Syria and assigned former ambassador to Syria and Russia, Tasia Athanassiou, as a Special Envoy of Greece’s Foreign Ministry for Syria. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias confirmed this from his Twitter. The appointment of Athanassiou is extremely strategic as she was Greece’s ambassador to Damascus from 2009 to 2012, meaning she is already familiar with Syria and their authorities.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said that contacts will be made for the “international aspects of Syria and related humanitarian action, as well as coordination of actions in view of the ongoing efforts to rebuild Syria.”

Although the Foreign Ministry claims that the suspension of diplomatic relations “was dictated by the security conditions,” we know it was ordered by former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in December 2012 under orders from NATO and the European Union who were, and in some instances, still backing jihadists against the secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Greece became a country ruled by European banker, EU, and NATO puppets from 2010 onwards when on May 2 of that year, the so-called socialist government of George Papandreou signed the first of three bailout packages with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. This caused a 25% contraction of the Greek economy, an unemployment rate of 27% and skyrocketed poverty. Any semblance of Greek independence in domestic and foreign policy was lost.

However, moving to 2020, the economic and geopolitical situation in Greece and its surrounding region has drastically changed. Diplomatic sources quoted by Kathemirini, one of Greece’s oldest and most respected newspaper, said that the decision to appoint a Special Envoy for Syria is part of Greece’s steady activity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region. According to the sources, Greece’s increased desire in contributing to efforts in resolving the Syrian crisis was stated by Dendias in his meetings with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Otto Pedersen.Turkish Intervention in Libya: Another Erdogan Reckless Attempt to Revive Neo-Ottoman Empire

Therefore, a major reason for the reopening of relations with Syria is to further tilt the balance of power in the East Mediterranean in Greece’s favor against Turkey, especially at a time when Ankara does not have a single ally in the region, with the exception of the besieged Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya that is nearly collapsed because of the Libyan National Army’s assault.

The reopening of relations between Athens and Damascus comes at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is making a strong push for a “Blue Homeland” that aims to annex Greece’s Eastern Aegean islands and maritime space. Turkey for nine years attempted to oust Assad from power through various means, including an unsuccessful invasion attempt of Idlib province earlier this year, as well as its continued support for terrorist organisations. In addition, Erdoğan is propping up the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya by importing jihadists from Syria to the North African country.

Although Erdoğan has failed in all of these endeavours, Turkey still remains a major threat, even at a time when it is facing economic catastrophe with the Turkish lira at a near record low to the U.S. dollar and Turkey’s three largest banks, Garanti, Akbank and İşbank, on the verge of bankruptcy. Even with this looming economic disaster, Turkey still manages to find the funds to violate Greek airspace on a daily basis, send weapons to Libya and fund terrorist organizations in Syria.

As the Eastern Mediterranean becomes a potential major warzone because of Turkey’s aggression, Greece is now renewing relations with old friends. Hafez al-Assad, previous president of Syria and father to Bashar al-Assad, pledged that if Turkey was ever to go to war with Greece, Syria would automatically open a new front in southern Turkey in support of Greece.

Athens however is not completely independent from NATO and the EU. This suggests that although renewing relations with Syria is absolutely critical in protecting its sovereignty, perhaps Greece has gotten approval from the EU and/or NATO to do this.  Greece is perhaps the most important of the very few European countries that have maintained or reopened relations with Syria because of its history of friendly relations, as well as thousands of years of religious, cultural, financial and ethnic ties.

It can be suggested that as the war in Syria begins to end, continued only by Turkey’s refusal to stop backing terrorist organizations in Idlib, the EU wants to try and take advantage of lucrative reconstruction contracts that will be on offer and investment opportunities. It is unlikely that European companies will win reconstruction contracts, but the reality is that Assad has survived the near 10-year efforts to have him removed, and is not going anywhere. Greece could be used as an outlet for the EU to open dialogue and relations with Damascus again.

This is only speculative, but what is for certain is that by reopening relations with Syria, Greece is consolidating the emerging East Mediterranean order and opposes Turkish hegemony in the region. Greece will always have close relations with Cyprus, and has also entered a military alliance with Egypt, supports the Libyan National Army against Turkish-backed forces, and has strong military and energy ties with Israel. Relations with Syria has essentially finalized the strangulation of Turkey’s attempted hegemony of the Eastern Mediterranean and made it the most isolated country in the region – despite Athens’ insistence on improving ties with Ankara if it finally abandons its aggressive foreign policy.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Paul Antonopoulos, Global Research, 2020

سورية تهشّم أنياب العثمانيّين في إدلب وموسكو

د. وفيق إبراهيم

معارك إدلب ليست حدثاً عسكرياً عابراً يندرج في اطار تطور الازمة السورية، بدليل ان الرئيس التركي رجب اردوغان يبحث عن وقف لاطلاق النار عند نظيره الروسي بوتين في لقائهما اليوم في موسكو.

هو لقاء فرضته التوازنات العسكرية الجديدة التي تنبثق يومياً من المعارك المستعرة في منطقة ادلب السورية بين جيشها العربي السوري وبين منظمات تضم إرهاباً منبثقاً من جبهة النصرة وجيشاً تركياً مكشوفاً للعيان. من دون نسيان حوامل النصرة من هيئة تحرير الشام والجيش التركستاني والايغور ومعارضات سورية لا تعمل إلا في محطات التلفزة.

بالمقابل يدعم حلفٌ من حزب الله ومستشارون إيرانيون وسلاح جوي روسي عند الضرورة عمليات الجيش السوري.

لقد كان الأتراك يعتقدون ان هجمات الجيش ليست إلا مجرد تسخين للاوضاع من دون أي إمكانية لتغيرات في الميدان وهدفها التعجيل في المفاوضات الروسية التركية.

لكنهم أصيبوا بذهول لأن المعارك السورية تنفذ تدريجياً خطة لتحرير أرياف حلب وادلب، وخصوصاً ما يتعلق منها بالخطين اللذين يربطان حلب مع البحر المتوسط عند اللاذقية ويصلانها بحماة وحمص ودمشق وحدود سورية مع الأردن والعراق.

لقد حاول اردوغان استعمال الوسائل العسكرية فلم يفلح، متجهاً نحو الأساليب السياسية بتهديد روسيا وايران شريكتيه في سوتشي وآستانة، فجوبه بمواقف قاسية أفهمته أن شريكيه يغطيان الهجوم السوري بتبريرات متنوّعة ومرتبطة بتفاهمات لم ينفذها الجانب التركي، فاتجه الرئيس التركي مستنجداً بالأميركيين والأوروبيين وحلف الناتو الذي يجمعه بهم وصولاً الى «اسرائيل».

الا انه لم يلق الا جعجعة اعلامية لم تؤثر في الاندفاعة العسكرية السورية في ادلب.

الامر الذي دفعه الى الاستثمار في ورقة النازحين السوريين، كما يفعل منذ سنوات عدة.

وذلك لتهديد اوروبا بهم لعلها تدعمه في احتلاله لقسم من سورية، وتدفع بالأميركيين الى دعمه عسكرياً بالمباشر او عبر الناتو.

ان كل هذه الحركات الاردوغانية لم تؤدِ الى ما اراده الاتراك فعادوا طائعين الى كنف «الروسي» يبحثون عنده عن وقف لإطلاق النار يحفظ لهم عمقاً في سورية بذريعة الدفاع عن أمنهم القومي. فيطالبون بعمق على طول حدودهم مع سورية لا يقل عن ثلاثين كيلومتراً. وهذا ما ترفضه سورية قطعياً وسط محاولات روسية لجعل هذا العمق لا يزيد عن 8 كيلومترات إنما بمدة متفق عليها وليست مفتوحة.

هذا ما يناقشه أردوغان اليوم مع بوتين ويربطه بدور للمعارضة السورية المؤيدة لسياسات بلاده في إطار اللجنة الدستورية قيد البحث لتأسيسها والمفترض ان يناط بها إجراء تعديلات على المؤسسات الدستورية السورية.

هل هناك إمكانية لتحقيق «هلوسات» اردوغان؟

لا بد من الاشارة الى ان المطالب التركية المتعلقة بإشراك المعارضة السورية في الحكم، ليست جديدة.

وسبق لأردوغان وناقشها مع الرئيس بشار الاسد في بداية اندلاع الأزمة السورية في 2011، لكنه تلقى في حينه رفضاً سورياً قاطعاً حول مشاركة الاخوان المسلمين المدعومين من انقرة في مؤسسات الدولة السورية.

فإذا كان النظام السوري رفض أي مشاركة للاخوان في تلك المرحلة التي كانت صعبة عليه، فكيف يقبل اليوم وهو يكاد يحرّر كامل بلاده ومسجلاً انتصاراً واضحاً على الادوار السعودية والاردنية والقطرية، دافعاً بالاميركيين الى الشرق ومقلصاً من حجم العدوانية الاسرائيلية ومحطماً داعش وإفرازاتها.

بأي حال يحمل اردوغان معه بدائل لطلباته السورية تكشف عن مدى انتهازيته وبراجماتيته.

ويبدو انه مستعد للقبول بتراجع كبير في ادلب مقابل دعم روسي له في ليبيا التي يدعم فيها دولة السراج في طرابلس الغرب فيما يدعم الروس دولة حفتر في بنغازي.

بما يوضح الأصرار التركي على الانخراط في الصراع العالمي المندلع للسيطرة على منابع الغاز في البحر الأبيض المتوسط.

هنا يجد التركي نفسه قوياً، فهو يحتل منذ 1974 القسم التركي من جزيرة قبرص مؤسساً هناك جمهوريّة لا احد يعترف بها إلا تركيا ويرفضها الاوروبيون عموماً واليونانيون خصوصاً الذين ترتبط قبرص بهم في النسب الإغريقي والجوار والتاريخ.

فيبدو هنا اردوغان شرهاً يسعى للاستئثار بقسم من موارد الغاز في قبرص البرية والساحلية وكذلك في ليبيا السراج الداخلية والبحرية. بما يجعله طرفاً اساسياً في تقاسم ثروات الغاز النائمة في اعماق البحر المتوسط من كل جهاته.

فهل بوسع روسيا منحه ما ليس من ممتلكاتها؟

يعتبر الروس معركة البحر المتوسط جزءاً مركزياً من اهتماماتهم الاستراتيجية ربطاً بأنهم الدولة الاولى في الغاز إنتاجاً واحتياطاً ومبيعاً، هذا الى جانب أسباب أخرى تعود الى حيازتهم على حق التنقيب عن الغاز في سورية البرية والبحرية المطلة على البحر المتوسط. كما أن روسيا لا تقبل بأي سيطرة للاميركيين او الأتراك على هذه الثروات، بما يهدد من مركزية تصديرها لهذه المادة الى اوروبا عبر الخطوط الاوكرانية والتركية.

يمكن هنا التأكيد بأن بوتين حريص على امكانات الغاز في ليبيا وسورية وحقوقهما في مياه المتوسط.

فلا يتبقى امام اردوغان الا قبرص الاوروبية وهذه مسؤولية أوروبية في معالجة الغزو التركي.

فهل يفشل اللقاء بين أردوغان وبوتين؟

المعتقد ان هذه المحادثات لن تتعدى مسألة ادلب انما في اطار الالتزام بمتغيرات الميدان والانسحاب التدريجي التركي منها، على قاعدة تأمين منطقة عازلة مقابل موافقة تركيا على القضاء على حلفائها في «النصرة» وهيئة تحرير الشام.

اما إذا رفض اردوغان هذا الحل بإيحاءات اميركية، فإن للميدان الكلمة الفصل حيث يحقق الجيش العربي السوري وحلفاؤه الانتصارات ولن تتأخر روسيا في الزج بقواتها النوعية في معركة تحرير سورية وتدمير الأحادية القطبية.

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غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟

حسني محلي

حسني محلي

باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

لولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذّافي للثُنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح اليوم طرفاً أساسياً في كل معادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع، وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

  • غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟ (أ ف ب).

وقَّعت تركيا أواخر الشهر الماضي على اتفاقياتٍ هامةٍ مع دولتين في المنطقة، إحداهما الحليف العقائدي قطر، والأخرى تشكّل العُمق الاستراتيجي لأنقرة في شمال إفريقيا وهي ليبيا التي تشهد حرباً طاحِنة بين فريقين، أحدهما مدعوم من أنقرة والدوحة، والآخر من القاهرة والرياض وأبو ظبي.

إذا تجاهلنا الجوانب العقائدية والأمنية والعسكرية والمالية للعلاقة بين أنقرة وكل من طرابلس والدوحة، فالغاز الطبيعي هو القاسَم المُشترك لعلاقات إردوغان مع الدولتين الغنيّتين نفطًياً.

قطر هي الدولة الثالثة في العالم من حيث احتياطيات الغاز بعد إيران وروسيا، فيما تُعدّ ليبيا الدولة الثامِنة غازياً وفق الاحتياطيات المُعلَنة عالمياً والتي تُقدَّر بنحو 200 تريليون متر مكعب، تقع نحو 80 تريليون منها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

ويُقدِّر العديد من الدراسات الأميركية والأوروبية احتياطي الغاز في شرق المتوسّط أي مصر وفلسطين (غزَّة) و”إسرائيل” ولبنان  وسوريا وقبرص بحوالى 50 تريليون متر مكعب. كان هذا الغاز وما زال سبباً لصراعاتٍ صعبةٍ ومُعقَّدةٍ مع استمرار الخلافات السياسية والعسكرية والاستراتيجية بين كل الأطراف مع انضمام تركيا إليها.

أنقرة أعلنت أكثر من مرة أنها لا تعترف بالاتفاقيات التي وقَّعت عليها قبرص مع مصر و”إسرائيل” ولبنان في ما يتعلَّق بترسيم الحدود البحرية وتقاسُم المناطق الاقتصادية بينها، كما هدَّدت وتوعدَّت الشركات التي وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُتعدِّدة مع الدول المذكورة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه وتسويقه.

وجاء اتفاق أنقرة مع حكومة الوفاق الليبية (تسيطر على حوالى 8% فقط من مساحة ليبيا) في ما يتعلّق برسم الحدود البحرية بين تركيا وليبيا في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط ليُثير نقاشاً جديداً في المنطقة، بعد أن اتّهمت تركيا سابقاً القبارصة اليونانيين واليونان بالسيطرة على مساحاتٍ واسعةٍ في البحر على حساب مصر ولبنان و”إسرائيل” وسوريا. فبعد أن ناشد الجنرال خليفة حفتر مجلس الأمن للتدخّل ضدّ تركيا تحدَّث وزير خارجيّته عبدالهادي حويج للإعلام الإسرائيلي وعبَّر عن استعداد بلاده للتعاون ضدّ تركيا، فيما اعتبرت أثينا الاتفاق مُخالِفاً للقانون الدولي وعملاً استفزازياً كون المنطقة التي اعتبرتها تركيا ضمن حدودها البحرية، شملت جزءاً من المياه الإقليمية والجرف القاري للجزر اليونانية وأهمّها كريت التي كان من المُقرَّر أن يصلها الأنبوب الذي سينقل غاز قبرص إلى اليونان ومنها إلى إيطاليا.

وكانت أنقرة قد أعلنت قبل ذلك من جانبٍ واحدٍ عن خارطةٍ تُبيِّن حدودها البحرية في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط، ليزيد ذلك في الطين بلّة في ما يتعلّق بالتوتّر الموجود أساساً والمُستَنِد إلى عددٍ من الأسباب السياسية والتاريخية.

ففي تموز/يونيو 1974 تدخّلت تركيا في قبرص بحجَّة الانقلاب الذي وقع آنذاك ضدّ الرئيس مكاريوس وقالت عنه إنه يُهدِّد القبارصة الأتراك في الجزيرة التي سيطر الجيش التركي آنذاك على ثلث مساحتها. وترفض أنقرة أيّ اتفاق يوقّعه القبارصة اليونانيون باعتبارهم لا يمثّلون الجزيرة بأكملها، فأرسلت أربعاً من سفنها المحمية بالبوارج والطائرات إلى محيط الجزيرة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه.

وأعلنت واشنطن، التي تشهد علاقاتها توتّراً جدِّياً مع أنقرة على خلفيّة صفقة صواريخ  أس 400، رفضها للموقف التركي ووصفته بأنه استفزازي فيما فرض الاتحاد الأوروبي عدداً من العقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية والسياسية ضد تركيا باعتبار أن قبرص التي يمثّلها القبارصة اليونانيون عضو في الاتحاد.

وشكّل التعاون القبرصي مع “إسرائيل” واليونان من جهة، ومع مصر واليونان من جهةٍ أخرى، سبباً آخر في ردّ فعل أنقرة على هذه التحرّكات ذات الطابع السياسي والعسكري والأمني ووصفته بأنه يستهدف أمن تركيا القومي.

ويُفسّر ذلك ردّ فعل الدول المذكورة على اتفاق أنقرة مع طرابلس باعتبار أن الوضع الحالي في ليبيا لا يسمح لها بالتوقيع على مثل هذه الاتفاقيات، لاسيما وأن تركيا لم توقّع على معاهدة الأمم المتحدة الخاصة بترسيم حدود البحار المفتوحة بين الدول المُتشاطِئة. لذلك فهي على خلافٍ دائمٍ مع اليونان في ما يتعلّق بتقاسُم الجرف القاري ورسم حدود المياه الإقليمية في بحر إيجة الذي يحتضن عشرات الجزر اليونانية القريبة من الشواطئ التركية والتي ترى فيها أنقرة خطراً على أمنها الاستراتيجي.

دفع ذلك إردوغان أكثر من مرة إلى الحديث عن ضرورة إعادة النظر في اتفاقية لوزان لعام 1923 التي اعترفت باستقلال تركيا، فالاتفاقية اعترفت لليونان بمساحاتٍ أوسع من مياه بحر إيجة أي 43.5% لليونان و 7.5% لتركيا والباقي مياه دولية.

ويزعج ذلك أنقرة كما يزعجها الوضع في قبرص التي تحوّلت إلى قاعدةٍ مشتركةٍ لتحالفاتٍ إقليميةٍ ودوليةٍ مُعاديةٍ لها بالإضافة إلى صراعاتها الاقتصادية بعد اكتشاف الغاز فيها. فقد قامت نيقوسيا بترسيم حدودها البحرية مع مصر عام 2004 ومع لبنان عام 2007  ومع “إسرائيل” عام 2010، كما وقَّعت العديد من الاتفاقيات مع الشركات الأوروبية والأميركية والروسية وحتى القطرية، للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه ونقله إلى أوروبا.

ومن هذه الشركات شركة “أيني” الإيطالية و”توتال” الفرنسية و”نوبل إنيرجي” و”أكسون موبيل” الأميركية و”وود سايد” الأسترالية و”بي بي” البريطانية و”روسنفت” الروسية.

وقد وقَّعت “روسنفت” على اتفاقٍ هامٍ مع مصر ولبنان وسوريا كما سبق لها أن وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُماثلة مع العراق وإيران وكردستان العراق.

ويرى كثيرون في التواجُد الروسي في سوريا ذات الاحتياطي الكبير جداً (أكثر من قطر) سبباً هاماً في الحسابات الروسية الخاصة بالغاز، لأن موسكو لا تريد لغاز الأبيض المتوسّط أن يُنافِس غازها في أوروبا وبشكلٍ خاص في ألمانيا وإيطاليا التي يصلها الغاز الروسي عبر أنابيب يمرّ بعضها عبر  الأراضي التركية التي يصلها الغاز الإيراني والأذربيجاني والتركمنستاتي، فيما تغطّي تركيا 60% من استهلاكها للغاز من روسيا.

ويُفسّر ذلك مع عناصر أخرى العلاقة الاستراتيجية بين موسكو وأنقرة بانعكاسات ذلك سلباً كان أو إيجاباً على الوضع السوري.

وكانت أنقرة قبل تدهور علاقاتها مع تل أبيب قد بذلت مساعي مُكثّفة لإقناع الأخيرة بمدّ أنابيب تنقل الغاز الإسرائيلي والقبرصي إلى تركيا، مقابل أنابيب للمياه التركية تصل قبرص ومنها إلى “إسرائيل”.

فشل هذا المشروع بسبب تدهور العلاقات التركية- الإسرائيلية كما فشلت مباحثات توحيد شطريّ الجزيرة القبرصية وهو المشروع الذي لو تحقّق لكان ساعد أنقرة على تحقيق أهدافها الاستراتيجية عبر قبرص طالما أنها دولة ضامِنة لاستقلال الجزيرة وفق اتفاقية 1960، حالها حال اليونان وبريطانيا التي تمتلك قاعدتين هامّتين في قبرص.

وكان لـ”إسرائيل” ومن قبلها اليهود منذ بدايات العهد العثماني أطماع مُثيرة في الجزيرة باعتبارها بوابة الانفتاح البحرية الوحيدة لنجاة اليهود من الطوق البري العربي في حال تفعيله.

وجاءت التطوّرات اللاحِقة في المنطقة لتضع أنقرة أمام تحدّيات جديدة بعد خلافها العقائدي أي الإخواني مع مصر، الدولة الأهمّ في حسابات الغاز بسبب تقارُبها مع قبرص واليونان ومجاورتها لقطاع غزَّة الذي يذخر أيضاً باحتياطي هام من الغاز.

وتُبيّن كل هذه المُعطيات مدى صعوبة الحسابات الوطنية والإقليمية والدولية لكل الأطراف بخصوص الغاز الذي يبدو أنه سيحرق شرق الأبيض المتوسّط حاله حال البترول الذي كان ومازال سبباً لكل مشاكل المنطقة العربية منذ استقلالها وحتى اليوم.

ومع استمرار الحرب في سوريا وانعكاساتها الإقليمية والدولية، لاسيما في ما يتعلّق بالتواجُد الروسي والدور التركي هناك وهو ما يؤجِّل حسم ملف الغاز السوري بحرياً، فقد وقَّعت بيروت على اتفاقيّتين مع شركات “توتال” الفرنسية و”إيني” الإيطالية و”نوفاتك” الروسية للتنقيب عن البترول والغاز واستخراجهما في منطقتين يقع جزء من إحداهما في المياه المُتنازَع عليها مع تل أبيب.

ومع استمرار مساعي الوساطة الأميركية التي بدأها ديفيد ساترفيلد وهو الآن سفير أميركا في أنقرة، فقد قدَّرت الدراسات حصَّة لبنان من الغاز الطبيعي في  المتوسّط بنحو 11 تريليون متر مكعب وهي كافية لإنهاء جميع مشاكل لبنان.

وكان الأمين العام لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصرالله قد تحدَّث في 16 شباط/فبراير من العام الماضي عن معركة الغاز في المنطقة وقال “إننا نستطيع تعطيل العمل بمحطّات الغاز الإسرائيلية في البحر المتوسّط في حال اتّخذ مجلس الدفاع اللبناني الأعلى قراراً بذلك”. بالمقابل أعلنت تل أبيب أنها طوَّرت درعاً صاروخية أسمتها “مقلاع داوود” الصاروخي لصدّ أيّ هجوم من حزب الله يستهدف منصّات الغاز.

ويعكس ذلك بكل وضوح الوضع المُعقَّد والصعب والخطير في قضية الغاز وانعكاساتها على حسابات الدول المعنية مباشرة أولاً. وثانياً الدول ذات العلاقة ومنها أوروبا وأميركا وروسيا وبالطبع تركيا التي يريد لها إردوغان أن يكون لها باع وذراع طويلة في جميع أنحاء العالم لأنه يريد لتركيا أن تعود إلى أمجاد الدولة العثمانية التي حكمت العالم فانتهى بها المطاف بحدودها الحالية فخسرت جميع مناطق الغاز والبترول في المنطقة التي كانت تحت حُكم الدولة  العثمانية. ويؤمِن إردوغان أنه وريث هذه الدولة بعقيدتها وقوميّتها، وهو ما يُفسِّر ما قام ويقوم به في سوريا وليبيا والمنطقة عموماً منذ ما يُسمَّى بالربيع العربي.

فقد اعترض إردوغان على التدخّل الأميركي والأوروبي في ليبيا في 28 شباط/فبراير 2011 إلا أنه عاد وأعلن تأييده لذلك في 21 آذار/مارس، أي بعد عام من القمّة العربية في سرت التي حضرها بدعوةٍ من معمّر القذافي. ولولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذافي للثنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما من السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح الآن طرفاً أساسياً في كل مُعادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

«Israeli» Spy Van Scandal Triggers Privacy Breach Probe in Cyprus

«Israeli» Spy Van Scandal Triggers Privacy Breach Probe in Cyprus

By Staff, Agencies

Cypriot police are deepening their probe into a high-tech ‘spy van’ spotted on the island, owned by an Israeli surveillance firm and capable of hacking into any smartphone from a kilometer away. Its exact purpose remains unknown.

The mysterious vehicle first piqued curiosity after it featured in a Forbes report showing off its sophisticated surveillance set up, raising questions about how the gear was being used.

Owned by WiSpear, an “Israeli” spy firm registered in Cyprus, the high-tech van contains some $9 million of snooping gear which can breach virtually any smartphone application – including WhatsApp and Facebook messages, texts, calls and contacts – according to WiSpear founder Tal Dillian.

A 24-year veteran of the “Israeli” entity’s military intelligence service, Dillian bragged about his company making “a lot of money” from the widening gap between spying technology and encryption, adding that he expected more cash to roll in as governments struggle to find “back doors” to digital messaging apps.

A probe launched earlier this month into whether the van violated any privacy laws was widened on Thursday, when Attorney General Costas Clerides announced that he would appoint an independent investigator to the case, which continues to perplex authorities.

After a search of WiSpear’s headquarters in the city of Larnaca earlier in November, the van was seized and remains in police custody, though it is still unclear whether any additional evidence has turned up.

President Nicos Anastasiades said he would “never tolerate” breaches of any citizen’s privacy after a meeting last week on the matter with the country’s justice minister, chief of police and the head of the hard-left AKEL party, which first raised concerns about the vehicle.

WiSpear has denied any wrongdoing and insists the van was not used for spying purposes, nor rented out to any third party, arguing that the firm is the victim of a “witch hunt.”

“We would like to restate that the car has not been active within Cypriot territory other than for demo and field-test purposes only, solely on company-owned devices,” the company said in a statement last week.

البحر المتوسط يختزن الصراعات على مواقع القوة في العالم

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نوفمبر 25, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

أكثر من أربعين بارجة حربية من الأكثر فتكاً وتدميراً تجوبُ مياه البحر الابيض المتوسط قبالة سواحل تمتلك الدول العربية ثلثيها وليس فيها بارجة عربية واحدة كالعادة.

تتصارع هذه الاساطيل على نحو 30 تريليون قدم مكعب من الغاز، تشكل ركيزة الاستهلاك الوقودي للعالم الصناعي في العقود المقبلة وآبارها في قبرص ومصر وفلسطين المحتلة وغزة ولبنان وسورية.

فإذا ما أضيفت احتياطات قطر وإيران والعراق يصبح الشرق الاوسط محتكراً عالمياً لإنتاج الغاز لا تخرج منه الا احتياطات الغاز الروسية الضخمة.

هذه اذاً إعادة إحياء لدبلوماسية الاساطيل التي لا تزال تعتمد اسلوب السيطرة على البحار وسيلة للسيطرة على دوله المتشاطئة، وبالتالي للتوضيح فإن سيطرة الرومان على المنطقة قبل الإسلام جعلت المؤرخين الإغريق يسمّونه بحر الروم وسرعان ما أصبح لقبه بحر اللاذقية بعد انتصار العرب على الروم في معركة ذات الصواري، لكن السيطرة الغربية الأميركية المعاصرة على الجزيرة العربية والعراق وسورية، حوّلته الى البحر الابيض المتوسط لانه يتوسط العالم جغرافياً.

وهكذا تكشف هذه الأهميات بسرعة اسباب حصار ايران واحتلال العراق وقسم من شمال سورية وشرقها والعبث بأمن مصر بالمياه والارهاب والصراع التركي الغربي على قبرص، وسورية والعراق والهجوم الأميركي الغربي على لبنان، والقواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في قطر والإمارات والربع الخالي في السعودية وتمزيق ليبيا والسودان والجزائر.

إنه الغاز إذاً مقبل على متن دبلوماسية الأساطيل القاتلة.

هناك ثلاثة عناصر تجذب العالم بأسره الى منطقة البحر المتوسط العربية القبرصية التركية بعمقها العراقي وصولاً الى الجزيرة واليمن وهي أنها تحتوي على 122 تريليون قدم مكعب من الغاز 1.7 مليار برميل من النفط، بما يجعل لعاب القوى الكبرى يتصبّب شبقاً وشهوة.

دافعاً روسيا الى اقتحام المشهد المغري من خلال الميدان السوري الأثير لديها فتندفع نحو مصر ولبنان وتعقد علاقات جيدة مع السعودية والإمارات، الى جانب حلف مع إيران «الغاز» والنفط والموقع بخلفية صينية كامنة تتمظهر بابتسامة تاجر سوق ماكر.

أما العنصر الثاني فهو الموقع الاستراتيجي للمتوسط الذي يتشاطأ مع القارات الثلاث آسيا وأفريقيا وأوروبا مشرئباً عبر المحيط الأطلسي الى القارة الأميركية.

لجهة الأكثر قدرة على استهلاك سلع العالم الغربي، لأن بلدانها هي الاكثر تخلفاً ولا تنتج شيئاً باستثناء الكيان الإسرائيلي في فلسطين المحتلة وتركيا وايران.

لقد الهبت هذه الأهميات الاميركيين فنشروا في مناطق حروبهم المباشرة وغير المباشرة والناعمة مركزين على إيران والعراق وسورية وليبيا وقطر والسعودية والبحرين، كما أثاروا الأتراك الذين يتذرّعون بخطورة المشروع الكردي وعيونهم العثمانية على غاز سورية ونفط وغاز العراق وغاز قبرص التي تحتل أنقرة ثلثها في الشمال الشرقي منذ 1974 وتقيم عليها دولة أطلقت عليها اسم جمهورية شمالي قبرص التركية، لكن لا أحد يعترف بها منذ اعلانها في 1983 الا ان انقرة بالطبع. وهنا يقول الخبراء ان قبرص تحتوي بمفردها على 400 مليار متر مكعب من الغاز، اليس هذا كافياً لعودة العثمانية إلى فيينا؟

«إسرائيل» بدورها تضرب غزة كل شهر تقريباً وتمسك بسواحلها المليئة بالغاز وبالشاطئ الفلسطيني المحتل وصولاً الى حدود اعماق البحر اللبناني المكتنز بدوره على كميات وقود هائلة تريد «اسرائيل» السطو عليها.

هذا ما يدفع اليونان للعودة الى الأساطير الإغريقية لضمّ قبرص فتجد تركيا متهيئة لحرب عسكرية من أجل عيون «أفردوديت» ورائحة الغاز المنبعث منها التي تجد أيضاً الاوروبيين الحالمين ايضاً بالعودة الى المتوسط.

لذلك لا يمكن تفسير أسباب الحروب في منطقة الشرق الاوسط الا بمدى الحاجة اليها في عصور الغاز على مستويي الاحتياطات او مناطق المرور.

فهذه هندسات مستقبلية يجري رسمها بدماء شعوب المنطقة وانصياع دولهم وحكامهم لحركة أقلام الرسم في مختبرات صناعات الدول. ألم ترسم دبلوماسية بريطانية في بغداد حدود العراق وهي تضع ساقيها الطويلتين على طاولة عالية للمزيد من التركيز؟

فتظهر سورية خزاناً للوقود، ومعبراً له الى اوروبا، ومطمعاً مباشراً للأميركيين والسعوديين والقطريين والأتراك والإسرائيليين. بما يفسر أسباب تركيز هذه الدول حروبها في سورية.

ونتيجة لبدء مشارف عصر الغاز، يريد الأميركيون منع روسيا والصين والأوروبيين والهند من احتكار قسم أساسي من احتياطاته فيحاولون جهدهم ضرب ايران او محاصرة احتياطاتها الهيدروكربونية ويريدون أيضاً خطوط نقل يحاولون بناءها بالحروب لضرب أدوار الغاز الروسي او بالاضطرابات والضغوط الاقتصادية وتفجير الداخل.

لذلك فهم يهندسون هذه الخطوط بشكل يخرج فيه الغاز القطري الى العراق وسورية فالمتوسط بإسقاط الدولة السورية وهذا فشل.

والغاز السعودي المرتقب الى سورية عبر الاردن والى البحر الاحمر ايضاً. هذا الى جانب منع نهائي لتصدير غاز إيران عبر العراق الى سورية او أي علاقة تصدير للغاز او النفط من العراق الى سورية مباشرة.

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كما يسعى الأميركيون الى تأسيس حلف للغاز بين الكيان الإسرائيلي واليونان وقبرص ومصر وحظر روسيا من التموضع في الشرق والشمال السوريين حيث الغاز والنفط ودحر الصين الى أقصى الأرض، فيتبين بالاستنتاج ان الصراع الاميركي الروسي الصيني الإيراني التركي والإسرائيلي يجري في ميدان عربي صرف لا تخترقه الا قبرص، ومضمونه استراتيجي جيوبوليتيكي يهندس عصر عالم متعدّد القطب ركيزته الوقود الأحفوري ومحوره المدى العراقي السوري المحطة الأساسية لترجيح واحدة من القوتين الأميركية او الروسية.

ففيما تحاول اميركا القضاء على خطوط النقل الروسية من تركيا وسورية يركز الأميركيون على ضرب سورية واعتقال تركيا واحتلال العراق وإسقاط إيران، فيما العرب عاكفون على تسليم ثرواتهم للأميركيين مقابل تعهد أميركي بإبقاء القرون الوسطى ورقصة «العرضة» وسباق العجن في إماراتهم.

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Israeli Gang Rape-The Horrific Details British Press Seems to Conceal.

Source

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Since the British press fails its duty here is a translation of a Ynet’s article about yesterday’s alleged rape of a British young woman by 12 Israelis

Prime suspect raped and called his friends to join the act, the British victim barely escaped

Horror in room 723:

The British tourist told the police in Cyprus how the 12 Israelis raped her one by one, and after escaping without clothes, they followed her. She claimed that the suspects ignored her pleas and photographed the attack. The Cypriot police collected findings and samples from the room and bodies (DNA) of the suspects.

She cried, tried to escape – but was mercilessly raped.

The police document filed yesterday (Thursday) at the Cyprus court paints a harsh picture of the horror of the 19-year-old British rape victim in room 723, Pambus Napa Rox Hotel in Ayia Napa. According to the police document, the young woman was summoned on the night of July 17 to the room of one of the suspects she met and had sex with in the days preceding the group rape. After a brief conversation, he treated her violently, raped her while ignoring refusal – he then invited his 11 friends who raped her one by one.

The young victim told the police that some of the suspects photographed the group rape on their mobile phones. Eleven phones were taken for inspection, but the police have not yet released their findings. So far, nine suspects admitted to being in the room at the time of the incident, and three others insist that they were not involved.

The 19-year-old British tourist testified that she knew two of the suspects three days before the group rape and that she had sex with one of them (defined as “suspect number 1”) at least twice during the vacation. Yesterday, after talking again, she was invited to the room of one of them for another intimate meeting – but he treated her violently. She asked him to stop. The young woman said that the Israeli youth ignored her pleas and continued his actions against her will.

As the young man continued to force himself on the tourist – he invited 11 of his roommates, who were gathered around the bed. According to the police document, the young man committed sodomy on the young Brit while his friends raped her one by one. According to the police document, only some of them used contraception.

The Cypriot police notes in its report that at one point the young man who invited his friends tried to hold on to her legs so that she could not resist his friends. After she tried to free herself from their grasp, the young woman managed to escape from the room naked. The young (israeli) man who initiated the rape, according to the local police, began to follow her along with some of his friends.

According to the police report, the British girl met her friends after fleeing the room and described the horrors she was subject to. The friends took her to the hotel clinic, and from there they called the local police. The British tourist was evacuated to the hospital, where she underwent a rape test.

The police report shows that the young man changed his version and confessed that he had sex with the British woman along with another friend, but insisted that there was no one else besides them. In the course of the interrogation, the suspect changed his version again, and confessed to the interrogators that additional members were present in the room.

Police investigators arrived at the suspect’s room, who first denied any connection to the British girl, and collected 18 condoms, including five used ones, four bedsheets and samples from the carpet in the room. The police said it would compare the DNA samples taken from all suspects to findings found in the hotel room.

Two of the suspects were bruised, according to the police, resulted from fight that broke out with other tourists at the hotel after the rape.

https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5553294,00.html

Turkey’s Economic Crisis: Limited Options

Image result for erdogan economic trajectory

August 15, 2018

by Gary Littlejohn for The Saker BlogTurkey’s Economic Crisis: Limited Options

It is said that when Groucho Marx was asked how he went bankrupt, he replied “Slowly at first, and then much more quickly”. The Turkish Lira had started to slide slowly and then last week it went down much more quickly. The context for this was made clear by the Moon of Alabama on 10th August, on the very same day that the decline of the Lira reached the tipping point into an urgent crisis level.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/08/how-turkeys-currency-crisis-came-to-pass.html#more

The fact that he could analyse it so quickly indicates that the crisis had been developing for quite a while, and so he had already digested the implications of Turkey’s political and economic trajectory. Given that Greece has recently received what is claimed to be the last tranche of its bailout funding from the European Central Bank [ECB] one has to wonder why Turkey apparently learned no lessons from Greece’s long-run debt crisis, or even from the much smaller and shorter financial crisis in Cyprus. Both showed that when the financial crunch arrives, events move very quickly. Even though in Greece the Syriza government had a plan to exit from the Euro and return to the Drachma, when it was ready to do that, it found that the funds had already disappeared from Greek banks. A rapid bank run had meant that funds had disappeared abroad. In the case of Cyprus, only quick-witted wealthy Russians managed to get their funds out quickly enough, by using a bank that also had a branch in London, which was a loophole that the authorities had not thought to close when capital controls were imposed and banks were closed temporarily.

There is no sign that Erdogan or his advisers fully understand the speed with which a financial crisis can develop, despite all the evidence of the last 10 years, or the Asian financial crisis of 1997-8, a crisis from which Russia evidently learned to avoid being so vulnerable again. So what can the Erdogan government do in such difficult circumstances? Until today (15 August 2018) all that had been seen was rhetoric and blaming others, but as the Moon of Alabama pointed out, the economic leverage now available to those hostile to Turkey was provided by Turkey’s own economic policies.

Now that debt in US dollars and Euros probably exceeds 50 per cent of the total debt owed by Turkish financial institutions, and the Lira had accelerated its fall over the 5 days to the 14th August, repaying such debts quickly is impossible. Nor would trade retaliations have a sufficiently large effect to hurt the USA. [The Turkish economy is only about 8 per cent of the size of the EU economy.]

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/14/erdogan-turkey-boycott-us-Lira-trump-pastor-brunson

While Erdogan’s supporters helped him to withstand the recent coup attempt, they are not wealthy enough to finance such debts by selling their gold or other assets. It has already been calculated that Turkish commercial bank reserves have effectively been liquidated by the decline in the exchange value of the Lira. Total Turkish government reserves are about $131 billion.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/13/how-serious-is-turkeys-Lira-crisis-and-what-are-the-implications

Turkish institutions have borrowed about $150 billion, and it would now take about double the pre-crisis amount of Lira to repay this. This far too big for, say, Russia to support and Erdogan has stated that he did not seek Russian financial aid in his recent phone call with Putin.

http://tass.com/economy/1017031

Russia has simply declared that bilateral projects such as the Turk Stream gas pipeline and the atomic power plant are not in jeopardy, but then Russia is financing most of these costs and the clear implication is that no further financial aid will be forthcoming. This is hardly surprising when Russia’s reserves amount to $458 billion, only about 3.5 times more than Turkey’s reserves, and Russia too faces sanctions. So it is likely that Erdogan’s denial that he asked for aid is a face saver.

Nor is it likely that China would feel able to come to Turkey’s aid, for two main reasons. Firstly, it has just taken an 80 per cent stake in Iran’s natural gas project, based on the largest single reservoir of natural gas in the world, and it has longer-term plans to build a rail link from Central Asia to Iran. Secondly, with today’s announcement by Turkey of what is called a ‘soft capital control’, the Lira has bounced back today and the financial pressure from investors has suddenly switched to China.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-15/futures-slide-dollar-surges-tencent-yuan-chinese-stocks-tumble

According to the link above, the phrase ‘soft capital control’ refers to a newly announced requirement by the local banking regulator “that the total amount of foreign currency and Lira swap and swap-like transactions can’t exceed 25% of banks’ legal shareholder equity (which followed a similar determination at 50% just two days earlier). The logic behind the move, taken straight out of the PBOC’s [People’s Bank of China] playbook: to ‘kill offshore Lira liquidity to stop foreigners shorting the Lira’….” So foreign speculators are not going to find it easy to buy Lira in order to bet against the Turkish currency.

This is the first sign that Turkey is using what international investors would recognise as credible financial measures to deal with the crisis. Meanwhile, the Lira crisis has made global financial markets more nervous and carries the danger of a global crisis. This now-panicky mood partly explains why China has suddenly attracted negative attention.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/aug/13/turkish-Lira-record-low-ripples-through-global-currency-markets

Yet the danger of ‘contagion’ within the EU is not over, even though the weak French, Italian and Spanish banks most exposed to Turkish debts are considered to have sufficient reserves to withstand bad Turkish debts. While Turkish debts are not considered to be an existential threat to such banks, the fact is that any additional destabilisation of EU banks, such as a so-called ‘hard Brexit’ by the UK, could destabilise the EU banking system. The ECB is already finding it difficult to buy EU government bonds as a way of pursuing its policy of ‘Quantitative Easing’ (QE, effectively printing money electronically) without causing high levels of inflation, and so QE may be coming to an end as a policy fairly soon. Since this is happening at a time when the US Federal Reserve has made it clear that it wishes to raise interest rates, and the Bank of England has just done so, the nervousness on global markets that the last 10 years of cheap credit might be coming to an end is understandable. So the Turkish Lira crisis may be seen as a possible precursor of a much wider financial crisis, whose likelihood is increased by Trump’s trade war measures.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-14/current-state-global-trade-war-one-infographic

The actual point of origin of any such global crisis can only be guessed at, and while many might expect it to start in the USA as it did in 2007-8, it could well happen within the EU, where many banks are comparatively over-stretched dealing with what are politely called ‘non-performing loans’. These problems are exacerbated within the EU by the large flows of funds from southern EU countries to northern ones.

Geopolitical Implications

The Moon of Alabama pointed to the sort of political price that various countries might extract from Turkey now that it is suddenly in a much weaker position. Readers of the South Front website could readily outline the probable implications for the Syrian conflict. Neo-Ottoman dreams of a buffer zone between Turkey and any Kurdish groups seem far from being viable.

With regard to the recent BRICS conference in South Africa, where Turkey suggested that it might join BRICS, that will inevitably be shelved at best. I am not aware of Turkey having engaged in any of the currency swap arrangements signed in recent years by Russia and China with various partners, and so Turkey’s references to reorienting by turning to new allies and markets carries little credibility in the short run. Yet I expect Erdogan to resist calling in the IMF since that will be seen in many quarters as a public surrender to the USA. That may scare off Western tourists (and the share price of the large German travel firm Tui has declined in recent days) but Russian tourists might still take their holidays in Turkey. The alternative to the IMF is probably stronger capital controls, rising goods shortages as international trading becomes more difficult, and fairly high inflation. In the longer term of such a scenario, food rationing cannot be ruled out.

The Essential Saker II
The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker
The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world

«Israeli» Energy Projects & The Fuel For Regional Instability

Theories related to Qatar’s role in the Syrian war and Doha’s desire to construct a natural gas pipeline that runs through Syria and supplies Europe have preoccupied analysts throughout the last five years.

Natural gas

But “Israel’s” energy ambitions have received far less media attention.

Within the space of ten years, the “Israelis” went from hardly even consuming natural gas to being a major producer, now eyeing significant export opportunities.

The real game changer was the discovery of the Leviathan field in the Mediterranean, which is estimated to hold at least 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

The December 2010 find was conveniently followed by the Syrian conflict just three months later.

However, the failure to oust the Damascus government ruled out prospects for the construction of overland pipelines – the cheapest delivery system to potential markets.

Instead, the “Israelis” had to turn to other more expensive alternatives to deliver their so-called ‘trapped gas’ to customers in Europe.

In early April, “Israel’s” energy minister, Yuval Steinitz, signed a preliminary agreement with Cyprus, Greece and Italy to pump natural gas across the Mediterranean, with costs estimated to run up to a whopping USD 7 billion.

Aside from being extremely pricy, the seabed pipeline would also be the world’s longest and deepest, extending for over 2,200km from “Israeli” and Cypriot offshore gas fields, to Greece and Italy.

But most experts agree that this supposed bold gambit on the part of Tel Aviv is nothing more than a tactic in negotiations with Turkey, where the “Israelis” are eyeing a much shorter, safer and most importantly, cheaper pipeline.

Erdogan’s dream of a pipeline crossroads

Last week, “Israel’s” Steinitz visited Ankara for a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Berat Albayrak. The two agreed to speed up the adoption of an agreement for the construction of a pipeline that would carry “Israeli” natural gas to Europe through Cypriot waters, and onto Turkey.

The project, which directly undermines Europe’s main gas supplier – Russia – has already seen four rounds of negotiations between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

For the European Union and the bloc’s obsession with not becoming a ‘hostage’ to Russia’s Gazprom, the prospect of being able to rely on “Israeli” gas is welcome news in Brussels.

“We highly value gas supply from the region… that can make a valuable contribution to our strategy to diversify our sources and suppliers,” said the EU’s climate and energy commissioner, Miguel Arias Canete, after the “Israelis” and the Europeans reached their preliminary agreement in April.

Turkey’s motivations are equally ambitious.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has always dreamt of turning his country into a strategic pipeline crossroads; serving as a transit route for Russian, Caspian, Iraqi, Iranian, and, of course, Persian Gulf oil and gas to Europe.

His role in fueling the Syrian conflict was partly about turning this dream into reality, until the costs began to outweigh the benefits.

But despite the setbacks, Erdogan has still managed to clinch key agreements; the Trans Adriatic Pipeline [TAP] as well as the Turkish Stream, which will be transporting Caspian and Russian gas to the European continent via Turkey.

Hoping to bolster its role as a key gas portal for European states, Ankara now has its eye set the “Israeli” pipeline. The realization of these projects would undoubtedly transform Turkey from a regional to a global energy corridor.

Meanwhile, the “Israeli” energy minister and Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, have promoted the pipeline as a ‘win-win’ for both countries.

Naturally, for the increasingly isolated Tel Aviv, the benefits are far from just economic.

Becoming a leading energy exporter comes with obvious geostrategic advantages, which would also elevate foreign support for the “Israeli” occupation of Arab lands, as well as Tel Aviv’s frequent and bloody military adventures in the region.

That is an enticing prospect for the political and military establishment in Tel Aviv, and one worth going the extra mile for.

The “Israeli”-Lebanese maritime dispute

The recent natural gas discoveries are not confined to “Israeli” shores, but stretch across the eastern Mediterranean.

According to experts, the reserves are sizable, and the region has enormous potential to transform itself into an important supplier of the natural recourse.

Tel Aviv, though, is not exactly keen on having regional competitors.

If the “Israelis” are to fulfill their ambition of being crowned as a new global energy exporter, they need more than just the reserves found off their coast thus far, which pales in comparison to true gas giants – Russia, Iran and Qatar.

So, when the government in Lebanon, led by President Michel Aoun, published a tender in March to explore untapped gas and oil reserves that lie off the Lebanese coast, Tel Aviv was quick to react.

The “Israelis” laid claim to the 860 square-kilometer zone, which is believed to be flushed with natural gas reserves.

The move was described as a “declaration of war” by Lebanon’s parliament speaker, Nabih Berri.

Speaking to al-Jazeera on condition of anonymity at the time, an official from the Lebanese Ministry of National Defense estimated “that there are approximately 865 million barrels of oil and 96 trillion cubic feet of gas in that area”.

“This is something that “Israel” will fight tooth and nail for,” he said.

Although tensions have been rising for years between “Israel” and Lebanon over the contested waters, the likelihood of a military confrontation remains low.

However, it is important to point out that the leader of the Lebanese Resistance movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, repeatedly vowed to defend Lebanon’s natural recourses. He sent a very clear message – that Hezbollah was ready to take all necessary steps including the use of force, in order to prevent the “Israelis” from stealing the underwater reserves.

Meanwhile, Lebanese political factions have shown their willingness to cooperate in protecting the country’s gas and oil wealth.

The Lebanese state has also managed to adopt a pragmatic approach when challenging Tel Aviv’s claims, combining legal, political and economic measures.

The discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean certainly have the potential to help Lebanon attain higher energy security, improve its industry, transportation and power sectors.

Furthermore, the oil and gas revenues would have a very positive effect on the country’s public finances and the economy as a whole, while helping to reduce the cost of local goods and services.

Such prospects are unlikely to go down well in Tel Aviv. The “Israelis” are certainly more than just prone to employing the use of natural gas discoveries as a tool – not just to further their own economic interests – but to sabotage those of Lebanon.

Source: Al-Ahed News

22-07-2017 | 09:48

Jerusalem, Nicosia and WW3

June 19, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

By Gilad Atzmon

Cypriot press reported last week on a large joint Israeli-Cypriot military drill.

The following Israeli video  publicises an elite Israeli commando brigade engaged in aggressive military routines around Cyprus’ Troodos Mountain range.

https://youtu.be/uvQJfqnPuME

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How did this came about? How did the Cypriots, who are known to support the Palestinian cause, become a province of the Israeli empire?

An Israel-Europe gas pipeline deal is the answer.

 

In the beginning of April we learned about a proposed 2,000 kilometer subsea pipeline connecting gas fields located offshore in Gaza and Cyprus with Greece and possibly Italy.

The pipeline agreement among Israel, Italy, Cyprus and Greece leaves both the Turks and the Palestinians out. While Gaza faces a critical energy crisis with electricity reduced to less than three hours a day; Israel aims to collect billions of dollars from a significant natural gas reserve located off the Gaza shore and well within Palestinian territorial water (assuming such a term exist).

Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s energy minister,  hailed the pipeline project expected to be in operation in 2025 as the “beginning of a wonderful friendship between four Mediterranean countries.” Of course, not all related Mediterranean nations are included in the deal. We can foresee that this is a recipe for disaster: the pipeline and the gas installation are soft targets. The region is volatile. Cyprus is putting its sovereignty at risk. It may, within a short time, God forbid, become a battle ground for some merciless global operators.

Cyprus leadership realises that it has to become an Israeli province if it wants an oil pipeline that dispatches plundered Palestinian natural gas. And as the video reveals, Cyprus is now protected by its Israelite big brother. The Israeli-Cypriot joint military drill was performed to deliver a message to Turkey and other regional players: any attempt to interfere with their gas theft project will be met by Israeli military brutality.

Gilad’s Being in Time can be ordered on Amazon.co.uk  & Amazon.com  and on Gilad’s site  here.

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

PETER KORZUN | 24.03.2017 | WORLD

Turkey, NATO: Getting Closer to Divorce

Turkey has been a NATO ally since 1952, and US aircraft have used Incirlik Air Base in the south during the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The base is home to a stockpile of US tactical nuclear weapons. A perusal of media reports leads to the conclusion that Turkey and NATO are heading for a major rift or even a breakup – a problem the North Atlantic alliance hasn’t experienced in its nearly seven decades of existence.

Germany and the Netherlands have blocked Turkish ministers from staging rallies to court the vote of expatriate Turks in the April 16 referendum on giving President Erdogan greater powers. Denmark is siding with its north European neighbors. Turkey faces deep differences with the USA, accusing it of being behind the failed plot in 2016. Both countries have opposing views on the role of Kurds in Syria. Former State Secretary John Kerry came close to threatening Turkey with the loss of its NATO membership.

Add to this the perennial tension between Turkey and Greece and the problem of Cyprus to get the whole picture. According to Bloomberg, «All in all, Turkey appears to have more disputes than friendships with its NATO allies. And its engagement with the alliance itself, which it joined in 1952, isn’t particularly strong».

The NATO annual report for 2016 says Turkey only took part in four of the 18 key NATO exercises held last year. Despite having the fourth-strongest military in the bloc (after the US, France and the UK but ahead of Germany) and the second-highest number of military personnel (after the US), its involvement in NATO’s deployments is small, amounting to just 4 percent of the personnel in the mission to train the Afghan security forces, and 7 percent of the Kosovo force.

Ankara has recently blocked some rolling programs with NATO, including political events, civilian projects and military training, in an escalation of a diplomatic dispute with a number of European states.

Turkey is unable to block cooperation with full-fledged NATO members. The move to block the activities is apparently aimed at Austria, which is not a member of NATO but is a partner country. It has banned Turkish referendum rallies on its territory. Austria has called for the EU to end accession talks with Turkey over alleged human rights violations after the aborted coup.

As a result, a very important NATO project to threaten Russia is in jeopardy. This month, Brigadier General Vladimir Chachibaia, new Chief of General Staff of Georgian Armed Forces, proposed to turn the port of Poti into a NATO military base. This, he argued, would help the alliance get around the provisions of Montreux Convention, which limit non-Black Sea powers access to the Black Sea.

Increasing the number of port calls is a way to boost the bloc’s naval presence, but the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states is restricted by the Convention. Strengthening the naval forces of Georgia and Ukraine and building a bloc’s «coast guard» base in Georgia would boost NATO’s sea power in the region. Poti could become a home port for the ships of Black Sea NATO members. Georgian military expert Irakli Aladashvili told Russian Kommersant daily that the facility would be protected by ground based weapons systems and land forces.

Ukraine’s plans to buy old ships from NATO members could also be suspended.

Turkey’s action encompasses many more areas of NATO’s activities. The programs cover most of Europe, plus many countries in the Middle East and Asia. Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine and Afghanistan are affected. Austria is one of the biggest providers of troops in Kosovo. «It is a very unfortunate situation and it means some cooperation programs can’t be launched», said NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg during a visit to Copenhagen.

Last November, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey could become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The idea had been discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Established in 1996, the SCO is a political, military and economic organization comprising Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Iran, Mongolia, Belarus and Afghanistan are granted observer status. India and Pakistan are set to join this year to make the SCO a powerful group with global influence. Turkey’s accession would be a milestone bringing together the Shanghai Pact and the Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) – an international organization of Turkic countries, comprising Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey. The General Secretariat is in İstanbul, Turkey. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are possible future members of the council.

Turkey is developing military cooperation with Russia. This January, Russian and Turkish air forces launched a joint operation against Islamic State (IS) militants holding the town of al-Bab northeast of Aleppo. The parties have agreed to form a joint military and intelligence mechanism to coordinate their activities in the Middle East. If peace efforts to stop hostilities in Syria succeed, Russia and Turley lead the crisis management process. It could be a start on the way to forming a broader alliance against global terrorism.

Russia and Turkey have been getting increasingly close recently, especially after the two countries brokered a Syria truce in late December to join together in the Astana process. Turkey is in talks with Russia on purchasing the advanced long-range S-400 air defense systems to protect its skies. This issue was on the agenda during the President Erdogan’s visit to Moscow on March 9-10, 2017. Ankara also seeks procurement deals in electronic systems, ammunitions and missile technology.

Both nations are parties to the ambitious Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline project. It should be noted that Russia, not the US or any other NATO member, was the first country to be visited by the Turkish president after the failed coup last year.

Ankara is also getting closer to Beijing. The two countries are closely cooperating to implement China’s the One Belt One Road project. Turkey is again taking the position as a key investment and cooperation partner that will help bridge the East and the West.

Turkey is distancing itself from the West while getting closer with the partners outside NATO and the EU. The abovementioned events conform to the trend. NATO stands to lose its second largest military power as well as one of its key airbases, while Russia, China and other countries are developing the relationship of alliance with the country, which enjoys a unique geographic location between Europe, the Middle East and Asia. It gives it easy access to strategically important areas and major energy resources. Turkey is a founding member of the OECD (1961) and the G-20 major economies (1999), it has the world’s 15th largest GDP-PPP and 15th largest Nominal GDP. The development is a major loss for the West and a major win for those who strive for a multipolar world.

The Cyprus Problem

February 06, 2017

by Kakaouskia

Part 1 – A Beginners Guide

Greetings to the Saker community and readers.

In the past few months there has been a flurry of international activity in an effort to resolve the Cyprus problem. While to most people the problem is either unknown or a passing note, it does pose a bit of a headache for the southern flank of NATO as it is a constant point of friction between Greece and Turkey.

With this article I will try to present the problem in brief and establish historical context; a second article will follow analyzing the latest developments in the area.

First, let us consider early Cyprus history in a brief. Throughout the ages, Cyprus was conquered / administered one way or another by every single major power of the time.

Greeks came to Cyprus around the 13th century BC, followed by the Phoenicians around the 9th century BC. Then Cyprus became part of the Roman Empire (30 BC), followed by the Byzantines (330 AD). After a relatively long period King Richard the Lionheart of England ruled for a year (1191 – 1192) followed by the Lusignans (Franks) until 1489 and the Venetians until 1571.

The Ottomans came in 1571 and until 1878 ruled over the island. The Ottoman Empire, having been weakened by that time agreed as part of the Treaty of Berlin in 1878 to hand over the administration of Cyprus to the British Empire in exchange for protection against Russia. The British annexed Cyprus in 1914 after the Ottomans joined WW I on the side of Germany, formally acquired Cyprus as part of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 and declared the island a Crown Colony in 1925.

After an unsuccessful uprising in 1931 with the aim of unification with Greece, the British promised Cypriots that they will consent to unification with Greece should the Cypriots volunteer to fight for them during WW II; that promise was duly broken once the war ended. To give an idea of the hatred for the British, at the early stages of WW II Cypriots working for the British were engaging in active sabotage as the Germans looked to their eyes as fighting the oppressors (the British). All that changed once the Axis powers invaded Greece.

After WW II the British seeing the tendency of Crown colonies to break from the Empire begun to take measures to hold on to Cyprus as it was deemed too strategic; an example being the relocation of the Middle East Land Forces HQ to the island. The pivoting point came in 1955 when, despite the fact that colonialism was collapsing all around the world in Cyprus Georgios Grivas (a Cypriot born Colonel of the Greek Army) formed a guerrilla organisation (EOKA) with the aim to unify Cyprus with Greece. According to a character profile by MI5’s head in Cyprus, Grivas was a “ferocious anticommunist”(Original archives here and here). Indeed, in a manifesto of EMAK (the organisation preceding EOKA) discovered on a boat loaded with weapons by the British which prohibited Cypriot communists from joining the struggle against the British (http://euacademic.org/UploadArticle/872.pdf page 17)

“EMAK demands from them and their party not only to be opposed to EMAK but also not to get involved in the armed conflict, just like the population will. We will not accept communists at EMAK, mainly for purposes of feasibility and if the communists are really interested in the Enosis, they will not desire to get involved in the battle for liberation… The best patriotic action they can do is not to participate and one day this action will be recognized as wise and patriotic.”

According to records, EOKA in its 4 years of action is accountable for the deaths of 371 British servicemen, 14 Greek-Cypriot policemen, 198 Greek-Cypriot citizens (full list of Greek-Cypriot names, dates and conditions of death here – in Greek). Note to readers – I am unable to find accurate numbers for Turkish-Cypriot victims – if one has such sources I would be very grateful if a link is provided.

Up until then Cypriots lived in mixed villages; they were predominantly either Greek or Turkish but mixed none the less. In 1958, the first major inter-communal riots erupted. The starting point was the predominantly Turkish-Cypriot town of Lefka and the cause appeared to be rumours that EOKA murdered two Turkish- Cypriots. It took some time for the British to restore order; however these events lead to the first round of physical segregation between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots and to the creation of TMT, the Turkish-Cypriot equivalent of EOKA.

EOKA also made another strategic error by effectively giving an ultimatum to Greek-Cypriot policemen to either resign from their posts or be treated as traitors and summarily executed. The British took advantage of this to replace Greek-Cypriot policemen with Turkish-Cypriots, thus further seeding discord among the populace along racial lines.

At the end of the conflict, the Republic of Cyprus was established; a total of four documents were signed that are valid to this day and constitute the foundation of Cyprus as an independent state. The signatories for all documents are The United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and The Republic of Cyprus. This is an important detail as to this date any agreement to change the current status of Cyprus must have the approval of all original signatories. These documents are:

Treaty of Establishment: This is the foundation of the Republic of Cyprus. From the very first Article the sovereignty of the British military bases still present in Cyprus is established.

Treaty of Guarantee: While a two page document, this treaty is the basis which Turkey used in 1964 skirmishes and 1974 during its invasion of Cyprus. Effectively, this treaty states that The UK, Greece and Turkey guarantee the independence and territorial integrity of Cyprus, that Cyprus cannot be partitioned nor be part of any political or economic union with any other State. Finally, this treaty allows for any of the guarantors to unilaterally take action when this Treaty is breached.

Treaty of Alliance: The least known of the four documents, it states that Cyprus, Greece and Turkey are to be allied for the defence of Cyprus and that a Tripartite HQ will be established in Cyprus commanded by a Cypriot, Greek and Turkish general on a one year rotation basis. Most importantly, it grants the right for Greece and Turkey to staff the Tripartite HQ with a contingent numbering 950 personnel for Greece and 650 personnel for Turkey.

Constitution of The Republic of Cyprus: The basis of Cyprus laws, it sets the foundation for the separation of power between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. It grants the right of veto on government decisions to both the Greek-Cypriot president and the Turkish-Cypriot vice-president. Importantly Article 130 states:

“The security forces of the Republic shall be composed as to seventy per centum of Greeks and as to thirty per centum of Turks:

Provided that for an initial period and in order not to discharge those Turks serving in the police on the 11th February, 1959, except those serving in the auxiliary police, the percentage of Turks may be kept up to a maximum of forty per centum and consequently that of the Greeks may be reduced to sixty per centum.”

Note that at the time the population of Cyprus was about 80% Greek-Cypriots, 18% Turkish-Cypriots and 2% other nationalities.

In 1963 the first president of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III citing “constitutional deadlocks” put forward a document with 13 points suggesting constitutional amendments:

  1. The right of veto of the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to be abolished.
  2. The Vice-President of the Republic to deputise for or replace the President of the Republic in case of his temporary absence or incapacity to perform his duties. In consequence, therefore, all the constitutional provisions in respect of joint action by the President and the Vice-President of the Republic to be modified accordingly.
  3. The Greek President of the House of Representatives and its Turkish Vice-President to be elected by the House as a whole and not as at present the President by the Greek Members of the House and the Vice-President by the Turkish Members of the House.
  4. The Vice-President of the House of Representatives to deputise for or replace the President of the House in case of his temporary absence or incapacity to perform his duties.
  5. The constitutional provisions regarding separate majority for enactment of Laws by the House of Representatives to be abolished.
  6. The constitutional provision regarding the establishment of separate Municipalities in the five main towns to be abolished. Provision should be made so that: (a) The Municipal Council in each of the aforesaid five towns shall consist of Greek and Turkish Councillors in proportion to the number of the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of such town by whom they shall be elected respectively. (b) In the Budget of each of such aforesaid towns, after deducting any expenditure required for common services, a percentage of the balance proportionate to the number of the Turkish inhabitants of such town shall be earmarked and disposed of in accordance with the wishes of the Turkish Councillors.
  7. The constitutional provision regarding Courts consisting of Greek Judges to try Greeks and of Turkish Judges to try Turks and of mixed Courts consisting of Greek and Turkish Judges to try cases where the litigants are Greeks and Turks to be abolished.
  8. The division of the Security Forces into Police and Gendarmerie to be abolished, (Provision to be made in case the Head of the Police is a Greek the Deputy Head to be a Turk and vice versa).
  9. The numerical strength of the Security Forces and of the Army to be determined by Law and not by agreement between the President and the Vice-President of the Republic.
  10. The proportion of the participation of Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the composition of the Public Service and of the Forces of the Republic, i.e. the Police and the Army, to be modified in proportion to the ratio of the population of Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
  11. The number of the members of the Public Service Commission to be reduced from ten to either five or seven.
  12. All the decisions of the Public Service Commission to be taken by simple majority. If there is an allegation of discrimination on the unanimous request either of the Greek or of the Turkish members of the Commission, its Chairman to be bound to refer the matter to the Supreme Constitutional Court.
  13. The Greek Communal Chamber to be abolished.

These amendments were duly rejected by the Turkish-Cypriots. Further inter-communal violence erupted just before Christmas in 1963 forcing an even deeper physical segregation between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots. In 1964 and as clashes continued between militias from both sides and the newly founded Cyprus National Guard the UN passed resolution 186 (1964) which established the UN peace keeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) which remains active to this date. Community segregation was so bad that many roads had roadblocks and the only way to travel between the capital Nicosia and the northern sea city of Kyrenia was by being part of regular UNFICYP-organised and escorted convoys.

In 1967 and as clashes once against climaxed, Turkey made its first use of the Treaty of Guarantees to launch an air campaign against Cyprus. This forced Greece to recall Georgios Grivas (then acting commander of Cyprus NG) in an attempt to defuse tension. Grivas returned in 1971 forming EOKA B in an attempt to unite Cyprus with Greece by force. The coup of 1974 against Makarios provided the final pretext for Turkey which invaded Cyprus and to this date occupies the north of the island.

This is the end of Part 1. In Part 2, I will provide more information on what is the basis being discussed for a solution and what are the key points of contention between the two sides.

Part 2 – Trying for a solution

Since 1974 the UN has been trying in vain to solve the Cyprus problem.

In 1977, the basis for the talks between the two communities was set: the new Cyprus will be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation consisting of two states – Turkish-controlled north and Greek-controlled South – with a single international representation. Let’s call this United States of Cyprus. Since then, the discussions focus on the following key points:

Property: After the war in 1974, tens of thousands on both sides were displaced from their homes and land. Should all of them be allowed to return? If not, how and who will compensate those who will be left behind? What happens to the properties which were used for public infrastructure? Unfortunately the Cyprus government in 1974 in its efforts to recover from the war made some crucial mistakes which add to the complexity of the problem:

  • It recognised as refugees only those people whose father had a house in the occupied part of Cyprus (the people whose mother had a house were recognised as refugees a few years ago). As an example of the paradox this created, consider this scenario: There was one 20 year old builder born in Kyrenia working at Paphos. You also have another 20 year old builder born at Paphos and working in Kyrenia. The second builder liked Kyrenia much so he bought land to settle there, but did not build a house yet. The war comes, Kyrenia is occupied. The first builder is considered a refugee and gets government help, the second is an unlucky person who gets nothing.
  • The status of refugee is hereditary to this day and government funds are still allocated to the “relief of refugees”. Since the war happened 43 years ago, we are now in the fourth generation of refugees, the majority of which were born after the war. A colleague of mine offered me her experience on the subject: Her grandparents owned a plot with a house which they lost in the war. They also had 5 children. After the war, the government provided them with a hastily build house to live in. Once their children became adults, they each received about 75,000 euros as government help because they could not mortgage their occupied property (for every one the whole of the property was used in the calculation, not the 20% they would inherit from their parents). Then each had 2-3 children which they also got government help when they were building their houses, using the same calculation method. While the government of Cyprus did limit the amount of help and has introduced financial criteria, until today the grants for refugees are considerable if one takes into account the financial state of the country (details here, in Greek).
  • Gross misuse of Turkish Cypriot properties. After the war the Cyprus Government formed a body to manage all the property left behind by Turkish Cypriots. At first, the land was used to either build infrastructure (schools, hospitals etc.) and government settlements to house the Greek Cypriot refugees. As the years passed though, the people living in the government settlements got title deeds for their apartments. Worse, the managing body started renting out the land for commercial purposes (especially high-valued land in tourist areas). Coupled with the hereditary nature of the refugee status, there are cases today where the children of the children of the refugees rent plots for a couple of hundred euros per month which in turn they sublet for over 5,000 euros per month.

A characteristic case highlighting the complexity of the property issue is the case of Dr. Mike Tymvios. Dr Tymvios filed a lawsuit against Turkey in the ECHR on the grounds of inability to use his property due to the occupation. His property in question is an area of 8,640,000 square feet in which part of the Tymbou airport has been build and the value was estimated at 60 million euros. He won the case in 2003. In the meantime, Turkey established a committee in the occupied Cyprus to facilitate property exchanges as a way to resolve the property issue. In its decision, ECHR requested the use of this committee on a trial basis. Turkey was quick to act and offered Dr Tymvios an exchange of property; his property in the North with the property of a state organisation in the South, valued at the time at 30 million euros, which Dr Tymvios accepted. A key point is that both parties in this deal were the legal owners of their respective properties; the title deeds issued by the land registry of the Republic of Cyprus. However when Dr Tymvios approached the Cyprus government asking how to proceed with the land transfer (parts of the land were used for building schools), he was practically accused as a traitor and told he should have waited for a solution to the Cyprus problem. Dr Tymvios in one of his interviews in 2009 (here – in Greek) claimed that he did not want to evict anyone nor demolish the schools, however the government refused to answer his letters on the issue. In the end, after threatening the Cyprus government with a lawsuit in ECHR, in 2012 the council of ministers agreed to buy the land from Dr. Tymvios for 13 million euros, a decision which raised a small political storm.

Security: While Greece and the UK have no objection in abolishing the Treaty of Guarantees and the Treaty of Alliance, Turkey insists on keeping its right to militarily intervene when they deem it necessary (Responsibility to Protect, 1960s style). This is a red line for the Greek side; Russia and France also made clear statements that having third parties guaranteeing the security of an independent state is ridiculous in the 21st century. Still, the fear exists in both communities. There are voices saying that perhaps EU can guarantee the safety of the new Cyprus; how this can be accomplished though since EU does not have an army is a mystery. What is being proposed is upon agreement for a solution a big percentage of Turkish troops (50%+) be repatriated to Turkey and the rest to gradually leave within 5 years. Recent visits by Victoria Nuland probably have something to do with this issue. While guarantees by NATO will not be easily accepted, both for ideological reasons plus the oxymoron of removing Turkey as a guarantor and bringing it back as a NATO member, a formula can be found for “neutral” NATO members like Germany to help with the security. Basically, the US is trying to avoid Russia establishing yet another base in the Mediterranean.

Power Sharing: The provisions inside the Constitution of 1960 made it unworkable. To this effect the Greek side wants to remove the veto powers from the constitution; however the Turkish side wants to have rotational presidency in return. The Greek side has for the most part accepted the rotational presidency and discussions are under way to build a framework for this.

Settlers: Since 1974 Turkey has encouraged a great number of people to immigrate from its eastern provinces to Cyprus altering the demographics to such extend that it is estimated that settlers and their descendants make up 45% of the population of the north part of Cyprus. These people were given homes and land that belonged to displaced Greek Cypriots. What will happen to those people should a solution to the problem becomes a reality? Should a person born from settler parents in 2000 be forced to move to another country? While a possible peace plan will allow for a number of settlers to remain (number are estimated between 40,000 and 50,000), it will still require massive population movement to Turkey (over 100,000 people). This is hard to stomach for the Turkish government, as it will portray Erdogan to be weak.

Territory: What percentage of Cyprus should each state control? At the moment, Turkey controls roughly 36% of Cyprus territory; how much shall be returned to the Greek state to make the deal work? Currently on the table is the transfer of about 7% under Greek state control. The issue here is that the Turkish side is reluctant to return a major town.

Finally, one has to consider the geopolitics involving the three signatories to the original agreements (Greece, UK and Turkey).

Greece is the weakest party of the three. Under the IMF boot and facing an endless influx of migrants, Greece would like nothing more than to settle this issue and remove a permanent problem. This being said, Greece is not set to selling out Cyprus; it is assisting diplomatically the best they can although the options are limited.

For the UK, as long as its military bases are left alone it will agree to any plan. This also presents an opportunity for British diplomacy to show that is still relevant and can play in the big league after Brexit. It will be a big plus for the current British government to be able to claim they helped solve this issue. The UK though in its efforts to build business relationships after Brexit is not very choosing with whom it makes deals; recently Theresa May travelled to Turkey and signed a 100 million pounds deal for BAE to assist Turkey in developing an indigenous stealth fighter jet, while the EU is blocking companies from providing engines for the Atlay tank. It is reasonable to conclude that the UK will not be applying much pressure to Turkey for concessions in the upcoming negotiations.

Turkey is the most complicated and unpredictable of the three. It has always seen North Cyprus as some sort of province and has a habit of issuing orders to the local “government”. For example this year they were forced to keep their time zone the same as Turkey’s resulting in Nicosia being perhaps the only city globally having two time zones on the same street. Erdogan does not want to appear weak for any reason; the recent bleeding Turkish army received in Al Bab in Syria resulting in joint operations with the Russian air force to help the Turkish army needs to be eclipsed by a success somewhere else. This also poses a dilemma for Russia; while traditionally were very supportive of Cyprus, joint military operations and shedding of blood with a country tend to realign diplomatic priorities. Erdogan also tries to use a united Cyprus as a backdoor for Turkish citizens to be allowed free movement in the EU (taking into advantage the confirmation by the EU that Cyprus will still be a member after any form of resolution), something the EU is vehemently against. It is telling that in the latest round of negotiations at Mont Pelerin the EU was represented as an observer by its ambassador to Geneva plus the special envoy of Commission President Pete van Nuffel; their instructions were to assist the Turkish Cypriot side with preparing for EU regulations, plus intervene if deemed necessary.

While not as close to a solution as in 2004 with the plan proposed by Kofi Annan (full text here – interesting read if one is interested in seeing a UN peace plan), there are good prospects for a solutions this time. What I see on the Greek side though does not leave me with much optimism. Apart from the main two political parties, I would dare say that everyone else knows they will become politically extinct once the Cyprus issue is resolved. The Church also wants to revive its role as the nation’s leader above the government (role bestowed to it by the Ottoman Empire along with the role of the tax collector). It is telling that in a recent public appearance, the current Archbishop told the Cyprus President that “the next President of Cyprus will be the one chosen by me”. Unfortunately the Church in Cyprus is in favour of an ethnically and religiously clean Cyprus, meaning only Greek Orthodox Christians to stay.

I still recall the events preceding the 2004 referendum for the proposed solution. The fact that the published plan was 192 pages long and written in advanced legal language enabled various parties to interpret it at will and push that interpretation to the people. There were politicians going on public record with the words “whoever voted yes is a traitor and should be hanged in the main square” – after 24% of the Greek side population voted yes (something similar to the “deplorables” speech by Hillary). There were students in the streets protesting against the plan, before it was even published. Meetings were organised for the members of the armed forces and the police telling them that if the plan passes, they will be out of a job – my military commander actually celebrated the night the result came out once it was clear the plan was rejected, and made sure the whole unit knew of his sentiment. All of these took place due to the continuous indoctrination of people at schools; for the past 40 years students in Greek side only hear that we are victims, Turkey is not to be trusted ever and always to be feared, that we did nothing wrong etc. And no one dares question why our history books jump from 1960 to 1974.

Still, if both sides decide to become adults and realise that hard decisions have to be made, followed by harder work then there is hope. Oh, and focusing on the single national identity of Cypriot instead of prefixing with Greek or Turkish (of course one should be able to speak their language and follow whichever religion they one sees fit) will be a good place to start. Otherwise, identity politics will do what they do best; permanently destroy the country.

Victoria Nuland’s Last Coup?

 photo vnulandprop_zps35srfejs.jpg

[ Ed. note – The English translation of this article is a little rough, but still readable. Basically what we have here is the latest US chess move against Russia. If the State Department succeeds in orchestrating the coup in Cyprus which the author details, it could lure Turkey away from its present alignment with Russia and back into the US/NATO orbit. Given Erdogan’s previous escapades, my guess is he is easily corrupt enough to go along with it. The plan would set the stage for a permanent military occupation of Cyprus by Turkey, rendering the people of that island nation subjects of a newly-created “Frankenstein” totalitarian state overseen by foreign judges.

Of course, anybody who believes Victoria Nuland is gone for good come January 20 probably isn’t fully aware of the revolving door nature of US politics. ]

Building Totalitarianism

Since April 2016, US neoconservatives have been trying to change the status of Cyprus. It is for them both (1) to reunite the island (2) to deprive it of its army (3) but also to deploy the Turkish army under cover of NATO…

By Dimitry Konstantakopoulos

Victoria Nuland, the US Assistant Secretary of State, did not spend much time and energy with Christmas and New Year celebrations this year. She has another very urgent and pressing problem to solve, before leaving the State Department, and this is the “Cyprus conflict”. The way she wants to solve this conflict is by transforming a second member of the EU, after Greece, into a protectorate. As the proposed solution for Cyprus is higlhy unstable, powers outside the EU will be provided also with a bomb inside it, that is with the possibillity of provoking a Bosnian-type conflict inside, not outside EU borders.

In the same time she wants also to get Turkey admitted immediately to the EU, by the window of the “Cypriot settlement”. By virtue of the provisions of the “Cyprus settlement” under consideration now, Turkey is invested after January 12 with many of the rights and powers (and none of the obligations) of the member-states. It will also legalize in Geneva, its military presence and its right to intervene militarily inside the European Union.

Continued here

This is not Gaza After Israeli Invasion

This is how Pambos Napa Rocks, a 5 stars hotel in Cyprus looked when a group of Israeli youngsters checked out.  Israeli Ynet reports this morning on the incident. The Israeli youth vandalized the place and terrorized the local population. Zionism promised to civilize the Jews, it vowed to make them ‘people like all other people’…it failed!    

And this is how it looked before the Israeli invasion…

From ynet:  “Deepening into detailed reviews on the (hotel’s) site,   reveals a terrible description of the Israeli tourists in  the island. ‘Israelis stayed in the hotel because it seems that no one else would agree to take them. They were either rude or sexually abusive. They attempted to steal things from other people’s rooms,’ wrote one of the guests at the hotel two years ago… ‘I do not recommend this hotel unless you want to mingle with the Israelis.

‘”More from another ynet article:”According to the hotel, the boys vomited in the balconies  resulting guests had left and received a refund. They destroyed the wallpaper in the corridors and threw bottles from their balconies. They swam in the pool at 4 in the morning when they are intoxicated, even though they were told that this is forbidden. When the cleaner knocked on their door, they opened it they all naked and asked her, do you want to have sex with us?. Cleaning lady left her job subsequently. ”

The hotel also said that Israelis ‘did not respect the property and destroyed furniture in the lobby and reception. They threw bottles at guests. On leaving we discovered that they caused more damage to the premises, so we decided to cancel the deposit to repair some of the damage. We told them a repeatedly that  smoking is not allowed in the reception, but they laughed and smoked all the time and put the cigarettes on the furniture for the lobby, and consequently destroyed furniture.”

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