Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Europe: The rise of poverty among EU workers since the financial crisis — in charts

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Large numbers have failed to secure the benefits of strong economic growth

Europe

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): World – TIME: Satellite Images Show the Collapse of Indonesia’s Krakatau Island Volcano

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(JAKARTA, Indonesia) — Radar data from satellites, converted into images, shows Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau island volcano is dramatically smaller following a weekend eruption that triggered a deadly tsunami.

Satellite photos aren’t available because of cloud cover but radar images from a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency satellite taken before and after the eruption show the volcano’s southwestern flank has disappeared.

Dave Petley, head of research and innovation at Sheffield University who analyzed similar images from a European Space Agency satellite, said they support the theory that a landslide, most of it undersea, caused the tsunami that killed at least 430 people on Saturday evening.

“The challenge now is to interpret what might be happening on the volcano, and what might happen next,” he wrote in a blog.

Indonesian authorities are warning people to stay away a kilometer (less than a mile) from the Sunda Strait coastline because of the risk of another tsunami.

JASA’s post-eruption image shows concentric waves radiating from the island, which experts say is caused by ongoing eruptions.

Anak Krakatau, which means child of Krakatau, is the offspring of the infamous Krakatau volcano that affected global climate with a massive eruption in 1883.

Anak Krakatau first rose above sea level in 1929, according to Indonesia’s volcanology agency, and has been increasing its land mass since then.

World – TIME

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1. World from Michael_Novakhov (22 sites): Top stories – Google News: Asian stocks rise after Wall Street skyrockets; Japan soars 4 percent – CNBC

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Asian stocks rise after Wall Street skyrockets; Japan soars 4 percent  CNBC

In market action overnight stateside, stocks saw major gains as the Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 1086.25 points — its largest single-day point gain in …

View full coverage on Google News

Top stories – Google News

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Defense One – All Content: The Kurds Have Been Betrayed Again by Washington

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Fighters of People’s Protection Units, or YPG, gather at their outpost west of the city of Kobani, northern Syria, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.

Defense One – All Content

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Russia News: “Russia Ukraine” – Google News: In Russia want to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians – The Siver Post

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In Russia want to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians  The Siver Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians and Belarusians supported the idea of stricter control over immigration into the …

“Russia Ukraine” – Google News

Russia News


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Russia News: “Russia Ukraine” – Google News: In Russia want to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians – The Siver Post

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In Russia want to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians  The Siver Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians and Belarusians supported the idea of stricter control over immigration into the …

“Russia Ukraine” – Google News

Russia News

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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites): Russia News: “Russia Ukraine” – Google News: In Russia want to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians – The Siver Post

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In Russia want to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians  The Siver Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to simplify the rules of stay for Ukrainians and Belarusians supported the idea of stricter control over immigration into the …

“Russia Ukraine” – Google News

Russia News

Counterintelligence from Michael_Novakhov (50 sites)

Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)


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Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites): 1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (114 sites): Europe: Finland’s Liikanen most likely to head ECB, say economists

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Central banker who played key post-crisis role seen as favourite for top job, FT poll shows

Europe

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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: US Troop Withdrawals Threaten To Fuel Greater, Potentially Problematic Gulf Assertiveness – Analysis

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As far as Gulf leaders are concerned, President Donald J. Trump demonstrated with his announced US troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan that his insistence that the “world is a dangerous place” has never been truer.

The troop withdrawals coupled with Mr. Trump’s praising of Saudi
Arabia’s alleged willingness to foot the reconstruction bill in Syria,
moves that emphasized his lack of geopolitical interest in the Middle
East, leave primarily standing as a common interest between the United
States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates only Iran and a shaky
Afghan peace process.

If former US president Barak Obama’s seeming unwillingness to whole
heartedly support embattled Arab leaders during the 2011 Arab popular
revolts that toppled the heads of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, was
at the root of at times reckless greater assertiveness displayed since
then by the leaders of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Mr. Trump’s moves
literally threaten to leave them hanging in the air.

A similar conclusion can be drawn for Israeli prime minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, who appears to have successfully persuaded Mr. Trump to
postpone publication of his Israeli-Palestinian peace plan until after
Israel’s April 9 early elections because it portends to be less favourable to Israel than expected.

Despite Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the plan reportedly sees the city as the capital of both the Jewish and a Palestinian state.

The troop withdrawals and the peace plan confirm Middle Eastern
leaders’, particularly those in the Gulf, worst fears: they are left
without a reliable ally that will unconditionally protect their
interests and they have no one to turn to who could fully replace the
United States as their unquestioned protector.

The resignation of US defense secretary Jim Mattis deepens the crisis
for Gulf leaders. “Mattis’ departure means the loss of a key
interlocutor at the Department of Defense, the Cabinet-level agency with
which the Gulf countries deal most. It also means losing a senior
figure who views Middle Eastern strategic realities in terms very
similar to their own. The fact that Mattis resigned over policy
disagreements with the president does not bode well for future trends in
Washington from a Gulf Arab perspective,” said Middle East scholar
Hussein Ibish.

Mr. Trump has proven to be unreliable. His granting of waivers to Iran’s major oil buyers as well as for Indian investment in the Iranian port of Chabahar,
viewed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a threat to their geopolitical
and economic interests, was the writing on the wall despite the harsh
sanctions imposed on Iran by the president. Syria and Afghanistan cement
the fact that Mr. Trump is both unpredictable and unreliable.

The world’s other three major powers, Europe, Russia and China, have
at best aspects of what the United States has to offer but lack the
ability and/or interest to fully replace the United States as the Gulf
leaders’ protector in the way that Mr. Trump seemed to do at the outset
of his presidency.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE already have fundamental differences over
Iran with the three powers who oppose US sanctions and want to salvage
the 2015 international agreement that curbed the Islamic republic’s
nuclear program. Similarly, the three world powers have refused to back
the 18-month old Saudi-UAE-led economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar
and call for a speedy resolution of the crisis.

Russia, moreover, is keen to sell weaponry to the Gulf, who are among
the world’s biggest buyers, exploit vacuums created by US policy, and
capitalize as a non-OPEC producer in enabling Gulf efforts to manipulate
production and world oil prices but is not eager to inherit the US
defense umbrella for the region.

Said Russia and energy expert Li-Chen Sim: “The Gulf is not a key
focus of Russian foreign policy… I don’t see the Russians taking any
advantage of the problems between the Saudis and the Americans to play a
larger security role.” Ms. Sim was referring to US Congressional
blaming of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of
journalist Jamal Khashoggi and condemnation of Saudi conduct of the war
in Yemen.

By the same token, China has neither the ability nor the appetite to
replace the United States in the Gulf. On the contrary, China has
preferred to benefit from US regional protection, prompting US
assertions that the Chinese were free-riders. As is evident across
Eurasia in projects related to China’s infrastructure and energy-driven
Belt and Road initiative, Chinese support does not come without strings.
The same is true for Europe.

China’s brutal crackdown on Turkic Muslims that is expanding to other Muslim groups in the country, moreover, represents a potential black swan in China-Gulf relations.

The impact of Saudi and UAE uncertainty with no one world power
available to cater to all their needs is reflected in apparent efforts
to rebuild bridges with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad whose ouster
they sought for much of the Syrian civil war.

A recent visit to Damascus by embattled Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, the first by an Arab leader since the civil war erupted in 2011, was widely seen as the beginning of a thaw in Syrian-Arab relations.

Ali Mamlouk, the head of Syrian air force intelligence and a close associate of Mr. Al-Assad, met in Cairo days later with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.

The UAE is, according to unconfirmed reports, refurbishing its embassy in Damascus that has been empty since Gulf states broke off relations with Syria early on in the civil war.

Adding to Gulf leaders’ uncertainty, Mr. Trump left many guessing when he this week thanked Saudi Arabia on Twitter for agreeing to “to spend the necessary money needed to help rebuild Syria, instead of the United States.”

With Saudi Arabia refraining from comment, it was not clear what Mr. Trump was referring to. Saudi Arabia transferred in October in the immediate wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi US$100 million to the US to help stabilise parts of Syria.

The vacuum created by Mr. Trump risks fuelling greater Gulf assertiveness with potentially messy consequences.

A close associate of Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi asserted
earlier this year that the UAE had offered Tunisia financial assistance if Mr. Essebsi followed the example of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi,
who imposed a brutal autocracy after staging in 2013 a military coup to
topple Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s only democratically elected president.

Saudi Arabia this month pledged US$830 million in aid for Tunisia
following Prince Mohammed’s controversial visit last month as part of a
tour designed to demonstrate that his position remained strong despite
Mr. Khashoggi’s killing.

Mr. Trump described the world as a dangerous place in shrugging off
allegations that Prince Mohammed may have been responsible for the
killing. Gulf leaders are likely to share that perception in response to
the president’s seeming unwillingness to fully take their interests
into account.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Making Sense Of Sri Lanka’s 2018 Political Crisis – OpEd

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President Maithripala Sirisena’s sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on October 26, 2018, ended the national unity government, which was formed in 2015. The President installed an administration headed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Since Mahinda Rajapaksa could not prove his majority in Parliament and since parliamentary affairs became a contentious issue, the President dissolved Parliament on November 9, 2018. Political parties and civil society entities that opposed the dissolution challenged the presidential action in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the dissolution was unconstitutional leading to the reinstatement of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister. This essay while recording the events examines the causes and nature of the crisis.

Causes?

Why did Sirisena dismiss Wickremesinghe? Following his unanticipated move, Sirisena cited personal and political reasons for the decision to remove Wickremesinghe and appoint a new government under the stewardship of Rajapaksa. The President said that he could not work with Ranil Wickremesinghe due to Wickremesinghe’s habit of ignoring the president or making unilateral decisions. It is important to note that Sirisena was made president mainly by the UNP and minority support as his party’s votes went to Mahinda Rajapaksa. In other words, one could argue that Sirisena became president thanks to Ranil Wickremesinghe. This factor may have played a role in the nature of relations between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe in the recent past.

Also, both had serious policy differences mainly concerning Sri Lanka’s dealings with India. Some of the concessions Ranil Wickremesinghe decided to make to New Delhi was not welcomed by Sirisena. Wickremesinghe was negotiating with New Delhi to lease the eastern terminal of the Colombo port to India. Sirisena argued that he was opposed to it because it went against the national interest of the country. Sirisena painted Wickremesinghe as an anti-national and unpatriotic personality and maintained that he was forced to remove him from the office to save the country.

Sirisena also claimed that Ranil Wickremesinghe and his government was corrupt. This argument stemmed from what was called the bond scam where Ranil Wickremesinghe’s friend and former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and his nephew Arjun Aloysius were implicated for inside trading in the 2015 selling of treasury bonds.

An important factor that could have played a significant role in the President’s decision to remove Wickremesinghe was his own political future. In 2015, Sirisena left his political party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the presidential election representing the opposition alliance. He won. Following the electoral victory, he was appointed leader of the SLFP.

However, Mahinda Rajapaksa who controlled and dominated the SLFP until the 2015 election, formed his political party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and managed to lure most of the SLFP members and loyalists. The SLPP convincingly won the 2018 local government election as well. The Sirisena headed SLFP was pushed to the third place. The SLPP was also gearing up to face the next presidential election on its own, and it was expected that one of the Rajapaksa siblings would contest the election under the SLPP banner.

Meanwhile, the differences between President Sirisena and the UNP, especially Ranil Wickremesinghe indicated that he would not get the UNP votes if he contests the next election. Wickremesinghe had his presidential ambitions and may contest under the UNP banner.

These realities indicated to Sirisena that he could not successfully contest the forthcoming presidential election and his presidency will be confined to only one term. It is possible that Rajapaksa and Sirisena had some understanding about accommodating Sirisena’s ambitions. Sirisena would not have reappointed Mahinda Rajapaksa, his arch opponent after 2015, without something in return. However, details of the Sirisena-Rajapaksa pact, which led to the political coup, remain extremely sketchy.

Moreover, one cannot completely rule out a possible China connection in this drama. Sidelining India and the West, Mahinda Rajapaksa leaned drastically towards China, especially after the end of the war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Sri Lanka almost became a Chinese colony in this period as China’s presence in Sri Lanka began to be extremely visible. China pumped millions of dollars mostly into infrastructure projects, supplied military hardware, and defended Sri Lanka in international fora. Sri Lanka and China were best buddies during the immediate post-war period.

This began to change in 2015 as the new government strived to balance relations with India, the West, and China. The shift was not pleasing to China. On the eve of the political change, a story suggesting that Indian military intelligence was trying to assassinate President Sirisena was floated by many actors including Sirisena himself. The point is that the Wickremesinghe government did not adequately serve the Chinese interest in Sri Lanka. Hence, China could not wait to see Rajapaksa back in power.
Of significance is the fact that it did not take too much time for the Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka to meet Rajapaksa in person to express China’s pleasure and congratulate him on his new appointment despite the controversy surrounding the political change. Perhaps, the strategy was to confer instant legitimacy on an illegitimate government. Most of the Western governments and India avoided this gesture. It won’t be surprising if evidence of a China connection in the decision to dismiss Wickremesinghe emerges in the future.

Three-Pronged Strategy

Mahinda Rajapaksa most probably accepted the invitation to form a government on the belief that Sirisena would supply the parliamentary majority, 113 seats in this case. It is possible that he believed that there had been a crack within the UNP. Equation within the national legislature suggested that without the support of a small number of UNP parliamentarians, the new government could not garner the necessary numbers. However, Wickremesinghe had an iron grip on his party’s parliamentary group, and his coalition partners also remained loyal to him. Hence, Rajapaksa could not return to Parliament with a simple majority. This ignited the unprecedented political situation and the chaos within Parliament and the county.

The Rajapaksa response was to proceed with the business of governance regardless of the number deficiency. The Sirisena-Rajapaksa coalition believed that effective functioning of the government would create the public acceptance and necessary defections within Parliament. The strategy eventually failed as Rajapaksa was forced to resign following the Supreme Court ruling.

The UNP and the coalition partners effectively executed a three-pronged strategy that entailed the following actions: (1) not accepting the claim that Rajapaksa’s new administration was legitimate, symbolically and otherwise, (2) constantly proving their dominance in the national legislature, and (3) mobilizing public support and sympathy.

First, the dismissed government refused to accept the titles used and appointments made by the new government. It, not without reason, criticized the media and others who called Mahinda Rajapaksa the prime minister. According to some assessments, there were two prime ministers in Sri Lanka from October to December 2018. Wickremesinghe also refused to vacate the Temple Trees, the official residence of the Prime Minister.

Second, the dismissed government presented and approved two no-confidence motions against Mahinda Rajapaksa proving that they, not the Rajapaksa faction, had the majority in Parliament. In addition, a parliamentary select committee was approved, and a confidence motion on Wickremesinghe was adopted. These calculated measures of the dismissed government were aimed at proving their majority in Parliament and thereby indicating to the people of the country and the world that Rajapaksa’s government was illegal.

The parliamentary strategy of the UNP created enormous pressure on the new administration, which first tried to disrupt the operation of the national legislature and then boycotted Parliament, conceding its inabilities and flaws, to a certain extent. The disruption strategy created a chaotic environment in Parliament. Reports indicated that soft and hard weapons, for example, chili-powder and knives were used by parliamentarians to make their points.

Third, the UNP and its allies effectively mobilized the masses conducting several protest campaigns. People were brought to the street. They angrily rejected the moves of the president and the new government. These campaigns effectively constructed the image that the dismissed government had adequate support in the country.

The three-pronged strategy of the UNP created adequate pressure on the new government and the President. It seemed that by the end of November both were looking to get out of the crisis they themselves created.

Judicial Intervention

Although the UNP argued that the dismissal of the Prime Minister was illegal, it did not approach the judiciary to seek redress. The executive presidency created in 1978 conferred powers on the president to appoint the prime minister. Hence, the president has the power to dismiss as well. At least this was a gray area, and the UNP could not take a chance with the judiciary. The dismissal of Ranil Wickremesinghe was essentially a political question. It was undemocratic because the newly appointed prime minister did not have adequate support in Parliament.

Unable to deal with the chaos created within the national legislature, the President dissolved Parliament on November 9. The dissolution was illegal and unconstitutional. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution explicitly states that the President “shall not” dissolve Parliament within the first four-and-half-years of its first meeting. The current Parliament met for the first time on September 1, 2015. Hence, it cannot be dissolved by the President until February 2020.

With the law on their side, the UNP, some of its coalition partners, and civil society entities approached the Supreme Court. Given the intensity of the crisis created by the dismissal of Wickremesinghe and the dissolution of Parliament, and the straightforward nature of the case presented, many people expected a speedy verdict from the Supreme Court. The court took its time and rendered a decision on December 13. The court declared that the proclamation issued by the President dissolving Parliament was “null and void.” The Court further stated that the proclamation “has been issued outside legal limits and has resulted in a violation of Petitioner‘s rights…”

The verdict effectively canceled the plans for a fresh general election in January 2019 and dealt a partial blow to the plans of Sirisena and Rajapaksa. The final blow came, again, from the Supreme Court a day after the verdict on the dissolution of Parliament case was delivered.

While the case against the dissolution of Parliament was in progress, 122 members of Parliament filed a case in the Court of Appeal against the appointment of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister. The Court of Appeal issued an interim order preventing Mahinda Rajapaksa and his government from functioning on December 3. The Court decided to hear the case on December 12. However, it was clear that the court was not convinced that the Rajapaksa government had legitimate authority to continue. Hence, the interim injunction.

The interim order made Sri Lanka a government less state for about two weeks. Rajapaksa filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the injunction. The Supreme Court upheld the interim order of the Court of Appeal on December 14 and decided to hear the case in the first week of January 2019.

The pressure was already mounting on the President and Rajapaksa based on public outcry and the activities undertaken within Parliament by the UNP and its allies including the main opposition party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The Supreme Court dealt a partial blow when it delivered the verdict on the dissolution of Parliament. The fate of the Rajapaksa government was sealed when the Supreme Court refused to dismiss the Court of Appeal interim restriction imposed on the newly appointed government.

Return to the Status Quo

The writing was on the wall for Rajapaksa and his followers as they realized that their scheme could not be sustained without catastrophic consequences. Rajapaksa was also losing his “strong man” image and public support, which had the potential to undermine his chances in the forthcoming elections. Hence, he resigned on December 15. The President, who hitherto vowed never to reappoint Wickremesinghe even if all 225 parliamentarians supported him, agreed to reinstate the UNP led government under the headship of Wickremesinghe. Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Prime Minister by the President on December 16 bringing the political crisis to a holt.

One has to wait and see if the truce between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena will sustain or reexplode sooner or later.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Stars and Stripes: Air Force looks to use fleet’s largest cargo plane for medical evacuations

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Nearly as long as a football field, the Super Galaxy has significantly more capacity than the C-17, the largest aircraft used by the Air Force for aeromedical evacuations in the cargo area.

Stars and Stripes

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Tom Friedman: Columnist Without A Clue – OpEd

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When the columnist with the longest tenure at the country’s leading
newspaper has no clue on the biggest issues facing the world, then it is
a good sign that the elites in general have no idea what they are
doing. He notes the disaffection of large numbers of middle class people in both Europe and the United States with the status quo.

Friedman correctly observes that “average work no longer returns an
average wage that can sustain an average middle-class lifestyle.”
However he absurdly blames this on “rapid accelerations in technology
and globalization.”

This is the big lie. Bill Gates is not incredibly rich because of
rapid accelerations in technology and globalization, he is incredibly
rich because the government gives Microsoft patent and copyright
monopolies on Windows and other software. It will arrest people who make
copies without his permission. In fact, it negotiates trade deals
(wrong called “free trade” deals) that require other countries to arrest
people too. Patent and copyright monopolies may transfer as much as $1 trillion a year
from average workers to people who have these forms of property in the
United States alone. That’s 5 percent of GDP or 60 percent of after-tax
corporate profits.

The reason there are very rich people in finance, who can bid up
property prices in major cities to make them unaffordable to the middle
class, is that we coddle the financial industry. Remember when the
market was about to work its magic on Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and the
rest back in 2008? The leaders of both parties could not run fast enough
to rescue these bloated turkeys from being destroyed by their own greed
and stupidity.

And the reason globalization puts downward pressure on the pay of
factory workers, but not doctors and dentists, is that we have
protection for doctors and dentists. We make it very difficult for
foreign professionals to practice their professions in the United
States.

There is a longer list, but the point is that we have screwed middle
class workers by deliberate policy, it was not just something that
happened, as in “rapid accelerations in technology and globalization.”
The fact that our elites refuse to acknowledge this reality and treat
the plight of the middle class as a result of personal failings, as in
not the right skills, will inevitably cause many to be angry, like
yellow vest protestors in France. As long as this is the standard line
in policy debates, their anger is not likely to go away.

(Yes, this is the theme of my [free] book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer.)

This column originally appeared on Dean Baker’s Beat the Press blog.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): GlobalSecurity.org: Sikorsky, Boeing Provide First Look at SB>1 DEFIANT™

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Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company [NYSE: LMT], and Boeing [NYSE: BA] provided the first look at the SB>1 DEFIANT™ helicopter the companies have developed for the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role technology demonstrator program. The SB>1 DEFIANT™ is designed to fly at twice the speed and range of today’s conventional helicopters and offers advanced agility and maneuverability. It will help inform the next generation of

GlobalSecurity.org

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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The FBI News Review: Happy Kwanzaa! The Holiday Brought to You by the FBI – Townhall

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Feedly Logo
December 26, 2018
Happy Kwanzaa! The Holiday Brought to You by the FBI – Townhall
FBI looking for 2 suspects after bank robbery in North Kansas City – WDAF FOX4 Kansas City
FBI investigating $785,000 fraudulent payment in Teton School District – Idaho EdNews
“fbi surveillance” – Google News: Jerome Corsi Says Mueller, FBI ‘Harassing’ His Family – Newsmax
“fbi surveillance” – Google News: Masked pair rob bank in North Kansas City, FBI says. Authorities looking for suspects – Kansas City Star

Happy Kwanzaa! The Holiday Brought to You by the FBI – Townhall

Townhall
The day after Christmas, President Trump issued his official Kwanzaa greetings from the White House: “This annual celebration of African heritage, unity and culture is a special opportunity for many to reflect on their shared ancestry and values.
Read More

FBI looking for 2 suspects after bank robbery in North Kansas City – WDAF FOX4 Kansas City

WDAF FOX4 Kansas City
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI are attempting to locate two suspects after a bank robbery in North Kansas City Wednesday. Officials say just before 3 p.m. two unknown subjects entered the Country Club Bank located off Armour Road.
Read More

FBI investigating $785,000 fraudulent payment in Teton School District – Idaho EdNews

Idaho EdNews
DRIGGS — The FBI is investigating a major case of fraud in the Teton School District. On Thursday, the district notified police that an employee made a payment of $784,833.71 to a fraudulent bank account accessed through a district email account, Jeannette Boner of Teton Valley News reported Friday.
Read More

“fbi surveillance” – Google News: Jerome Corsi Says Mueller, FBI ‘Harassing’ His Family – Newsmax

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
One of the targets of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation claims the FBI is surveilling and “harassing” members of his family. Jerome Corsi, who said last month he is expecting to be indicted by Mueller over allegations that he had advance knowledge of leaks that contained damaging information about Hillary Clinton in 2016, said on Fox Business Wednesday night he is fed up with Mueller and his team.
Read More

“fbi surveillance” – Google News: Masked pair rob bank in North Kansas City, FBI says. Authorities looking for suspects – Kansas City Star

FBI from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
A North Kansas City bank was robbed Wednesday afternoon, and police are looking for two suspects who were wearing masks, according to a news release from the Kansas City Field Office of the FBI.
Read More
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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Japan’s Security Challenges And Its Deterrent Military Posture – Analysis

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By Dr Subhash Kapila

Japan facing comprehensive threats from a militaristic China and its
nuclear proxy North Korea has finally woken up from its Peace
Constitution Article 9 slumber realising that the ‘China Threat’ to
Japan’s National Security is real and embarked on review of reinforcing
its deterrent capabilities both in terms of military hardware and
operational doctrines.

Japan’s security environment as Japanese PM Shinzo Abe recently
remarked “Has become more tough in the last five years”. Analytically
interpreted this five year span is coincident with ascension to power in
China of incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping
and China’s switch-over from use of ‘Soft Power’ strategies to adopting
‘Hard Power’ muscular strategies incorporating aggressive military
brinkmanship and political/military coercion.

Japan’s main Threat Perceptions focus on China, North Korea and the
maritime threats that could threaten her National Security and economic
survival. The latter has acquired pronounced and threatening contours
with China’s disruptive activities in the South China Sea and China’s
increasing intrusiveness in the Indian Ocean posing potential threats
not only to Japan but also Indo Pacific security as a whole.

China strategically recognises that what stands between China
establishing hegemony over Western Pacific and East Asia is Japan with
impressive Major Power credentials historically and existent in 2018
also. Japan’s Mutual Security Treaty with United States and Japan’s
hosting of US Forward Military Presence in Japan has been a strong
deterrent against Soviet Union earlier and more significantly against
China’s military assertiveness manifested in last five years.

Japan under leadership of incumbent PM Shinzo Abe has in view of the
unsettled security environment that surrounds Japan has set in motion
reinforcement of Japanese deterrent capabilities and formulation of new
National Defense Program Guidelines to replace the earlier 2008 version.
This will also incorporate Mid Term Defense Program Acquisitions for
the next five years for the Japanese Armed Forces for the next five
years.

Japan has in the preceding five years been engaged in an incremental
gradual military buildup of its military capabilities but with Japan
perceiving that its security environment having become more complicated
with a downslide in US-China relations seems to be putting into place a
faster pace in military buildup.

China’s propensity and temptations to use aggressive military
brinkmanship stands reflected in China’s actions in South China Sea
which included forcible military occupation of Vietnamese and
Philippines islands in South China Sea and construction of artificial
islands to facilitate China’s ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ of the South
China Sea maritime expanse.

China attempted the above strategy against Japan claiming sovereignty
over the Senkaku Islands until stopped in its tracks by Japan standing
firm against China’s military and political coercion and forcing the
United States that the United States was obliged to assist Japan in
event of aggression against its Senkaku Islands.

China’s establishment of full control over the South China Sea is a
direct military threat to Japan’s National Security and its economic
survival as Japan’s sea-lanes of energy supplies and trade and commerce
travers the South China Sea. China is in a position to choke Japan’s
life lines.

China’s actions in the East China Sea against Japanese Senkaku
Islands and China’s continuance of aggressive naval activities and
aerial combat air patrols in vicinity of East China Sea besides
declaring a Chinese ADIZ was and is highly provocative bordering on it
being a potential flashpoint. Chinese Navy submarines prowl around the
seas of Japan.

Both of China’s actions outlined above are manifestations of the’
china Threat’ to Japan and by implication to the United States Forward
Military Presence in Western Pacific centred in Japan and South Korea.
The China Threat existent in Western Pacific is a crucial component of
the overall ‘China Threat’ to Indo Pacific security.

The North Korea threat to Japan’s National Security is not a direct
military threat to Japan by North Korean military forces but a more
potent threat manifested by North Korean provocative missile tests
overflying Japan’s mainland. China proxy use of North Korea’s long range
missiles arsenal facilitated by Chinese assistance become s a
provocative tool to be used by China without initially getting actively
involved in aggression against Japan.

China’s main military threat against Japan is essentially a naval one
either in terms of interdiction of Japanese seaplanes in the South
China Sea or forcibly occupying outlying Japanese Islands by amphibious
operations. To the potency of the ‘China Threat’ against Japan must be
added significant advances China has made in Cyber space and Outer Space
Warfare.

Japan now fully alive to its potential military threats and the
nature of challenging threats posed to Japan’s security. Japan in its
new military preparedness is thinking of switching over from an overall
reinforcement of its conventional deterrent capabilities to buildup of
multi-dimensional military capabilities aimed to cater for specific
nature of threats that are emerging. It is also taking into account
China’s increasing focus and buildup of Cyber Warfare and Space Warfare
capabilities.

In terms of discernible shifts of Japan’s military postures there is
now a greater weightage in increased South-centric military deployments
catering for possible China threats as opposed to the earlier
North-centric deployments focussed on the Soviet threats.

In terms of operational doctrines, Japan has exhibited its readiness
to increase the frequency and reach of its naval deployments right upto
the farthest end of the Indian Ocean, namely the Gulf of Aden and
opposite the Chinese new base at Djibouti. Japanese Navy has conducted
joint exercises with the navies of Indo Pacific and more significantly
with Indian Navy both in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.

Japan is also engaged in creation of Rapid Deployment Forces and also
an Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. Both are said to be for
operations to regain control over forcible occupation of outlying
Japanese islands by hostile forces. While said to for defensive purposes
these formations also provide Japan with force projection capabilities.
This is a welcome departure from long held Japanese defensive mindsets.

With Japan’s pronounced threat being naval and maritime in content,
Japan has focussed on a significant increase of Japanese Navy
capabilities both in terms of acquisitions of naval combat destroyer
ships and submarines. Japan had already in service two Helicopter
Carriers which with the acquisition of Stealth vertical take-off F-35
fighter planes can be converted into full-fledged Aircraft Carriers. As I
have always maintained that the Japanese Navy qualitatively can
outmatch the Chinese Navy. Japan has a second Navy in the form of the
Japanese Coast Guard whose larger ships match the tonnage of Japanese
Navy destroyers and with fitting in of advanced weapon systems could be
speedily converted into full-fledged destroyers.

The Japanese Air Force is in the process of replacing its combat
fighter planes with the Fifth Generation US advanced Stealth Fighters
F-35s. Israel is the only other country to which the United States has
supplied these Stealth Fighter Aircraft. This would add a significant
punch to the Japanese Air Force. Japan has major indigenous defence
production capability of combat aircraft and other Air Force
requirements.

The Japanese Army will see acquisition of advanced ant-tank missiles
and other weapon with advanced surveillance sensors systems. The focus
is likely be weapon systems which can inflict heavy damage on any
attempts by hostile forces amphibious landings on Japanese territory.

In terms of weapons systems acquisitions and other military equipment
no problems exist for Japan for two reasons. First, Japan has advanced
capabilities in indigenous defence production of naval ships, fighter
aircraft and submarines beside requirement of the Japanese Army. Second,
Japan feels obliged to acquire advanced weapons systems from the United
States which provide increased inter-operability with weapon systems of
US Forces in Japan. Taken together both these avenues give Japan the
option of a fast-track military buildup should the security environment
so dictate.

Seldom publicised is Japan’s advanced capabilities in terms of
indigenous production of long range missiles and spacecraft. One can
expect a major increase in effort in these two fields ostensibly under
the excuse of defensive operations like ballistic missile shields and
surveillance satellites. Japan has the capability I believe of advanced
anti-ballistic missiles which could destroy incoming hostile missile
launches against Japanese targets far away from Japan over maritime
spaces.

Japan exists in a hostile nuclear weapons security environment with
China, Russia and North Korea having nuclear weapons and long-range
missiles capabilities. Japan at some stage has to face the challenge of
going-in for its own nuclear weaponisation however distasteful the
choice is presently. This has been advocated by me right from 2002
onwards in my writings. Besides nuclear weapons being the currency of
power, Japan cannot shy away from the nuclear option to maintain and
sustain her rightful place as a global Major Power.

Financial resources for Japan’s defence buildup to meet increased
threats are not a problem but there is a problem of manpower. Japan’s
population base is small and so is the rate of population growth. In
that eventuality Japan may have no options but to go in for highly
advanced weapons systems with limited manning yet greater lethality.
Robotics in which Japan has a lead of decades over other countries may
provide the options.

Even with present military capabilities Japan is ranked fifth in
terms of the world’s most powerful Armed Forces and that speaks volumes
for a small island nation. Japan has a long history of martial
traditions which may be latent presently because of Peace Constitution
mindset fostered in the minds of the Japanese public for over decades.
But when Japan’s survival assumes criticality, I firmly believe that
Japan would not be found wanting in terms of political will to use all
the instruments of power at its disposal to great effect.

Since China figures high in Japan’s threat perceptions it may be
worth pointing out that in recent surveys it was found that 72% of
Japanese citizens do not trust China. It is also worth pointing that
unlike India which abounds in China-apologists despite a more pronounced
China threat to India, no China-apologists are noticeable in Japan.
That is a critical additive for Japan’s political leadership.

Concluding, it needs to be reiterated that Japan along with India is a
critical pillar of Asian security and Indo Pacific stability. Conscious
of that responsibility Japan has embarked on reformulation of its
National Defense Guidelines and buildup of its military capabilities
with particular reference to the nature and dimensions of emergent
threats to Japan’s security. That Japan is making headway in this
direction is well indicated that China thought it prudent to invite
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Beijing recently—seven years after the last
Japanese Prime Ministerial visit to Beijing. This was also accompanied
by a lessening of anti-Japanese rhetoric in China.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Japan’s Security Challenges And Its Deterrent Military Posture – Analysis

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By Dr Subhash Kapila

Japan facing comprehensive threats from a militaristic China and its
nuclear proxy North Korea has finally woken up from its Peace
Constitution Article 9 slumber realising that the ‘China Threat’ to
Japan’s National Security is real and embarked on review of reinforcing
its deterrent capabilities both in terms of military hardware and
operational doctrines.

Japan’s security environment as Japanese PM Shinzo Abe recently
remarked “Has become more tough in the last five years”. Analytically
interpreted this five year span is coincident with ascension to power in
China of incumbent Chinese President Xi Jinping
and China’s switch-over from use of ‘Soft Power’ strategies to adopting
‘Hard Power’ muscular strategies incorporating aggressive military
brinkmanship and political/military coercion.

Japan’s main Threat Perceptions focus on China, North Korea and the
maritime threats that could threaten her National Security and economic
survival. The latter has acquired pronounced and threatening contours
with China’s disruptive activities in the South China Sea and China’s
increasing intrusiveness in the Indian Ocean posing potential threats
not only to Japan but also Indo Pacific security as a whole.

China strategically recognises that what stands between China
establishing hegemony over Western Pacific and East Asia is Japan with
impressive Major Power credentials historically and existent in 2018
also. Japan’s Mutual Security Treaty with United States and Japan’s
hosting of US Forward Military Presence in Japan has been a strong
deterrent against Soviet Union earlier and more significantly against
China’s military assertiveness manifested in last five years.

Japan under leadership of incumbent PM Shinzo Abe has in view of the
unsettled security environment that surrounds Japan has set in motion
reinforcement of Japanese deterrent capabilities and formulation of new
National Defense Program Guidelines to replace the earlier 2008 version.
This will also incorporate Mid Term Defense Program Acquisitions for
the next five years for the Japanese Armed Forces for the next five
years.

Japan has in the preceding five years been engaged in an incremental
gradual military buildup of its military capabilities but with Japan
perceiving that its security environment having become more complicated
with a downslide in US-China relations seems to be putting into place a
faster pace in military buildup.

China’s propensity and temptations to use aggressive military
brinkmanship stands reflected in China’s actions in South China Sea
which included forcible military occupation of Vietnamese and
Philippines islands in South China Sea and construction of artificial
islands to facilitate China’s ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’ of the South
China Sea maritime expanse.

China attempted the above strategy against Japan claiming sovereignty
over the Senkaku Islands until stopped in its tracks by Japan standing
firm against China’s military and political coercion and forcing the
United States that the United States was obliged to assist Japan in
event of aggression against its Senkaku Islands.

China’s establishment of full control over the South China Sea is a
direct military threat to Japan’s National Security and its economic
survival as Japan’s sea-lanes of energy supplies and trade and commerce
travers the South China Sea. China is in a position to choke Japan’s
life lines.

China’s actions in the East China Sea against Japanese Senkaku
Islands and China’s continuance of aggressive naval activities and
aerial combat air patrols in vicinity of East China Sea besides
declaring a Chinese ADIZ was and is highly provocative bordering on it
being a potential flashpoint. Chinese Navy submarines prowl around the
seas of Japan.

Both of China’s actions outlined above are manifestations of the’
china Threat’ to Japan and by implication to the United States Forward
Military Presence in Western Pacific centred in Japan and South Korea.
The China Threat existent in Western Pacific is a crucial component of
the overall ‘China Threat’ to Indo Pacific security.

The North Korea threat to Japan’s National Security is not a direct
military threat to Japan by North Korean military forces but a more
potent threat manifested by North Korean provocative missile tests
overflying Japan’s mainland. China proxy use of North Korea’s long range
missiles arsenal facilitated by Chinese assistance become s a
provocative tool to be used by China without initially getting actively
involved in aggression against Japan.

China’s main military threat against Japan is essentially a naval one
either in terms of interdiction of Japanese seaplanes in the South
China Sea or forcibly occupying outlying Japanese Islands by amphibious
operations. To the potency of the ‘China Threat’ against Japan must be
added significant advances China has made in Cyber space and Outer Space
Warfare.

Japan now fully alive to its potential military threats and the
nature of challenging threats posed to Japan’s security. Japan in its
new military preparedness is thinking of switching over from an overall
reinforcement of its conventional deterrent capabilities to buildup of
multi-dimensional military capabilities aimed to cater for specific
nature of threats that are emerging. It is also taking into account
China’s increasing focus and buildup of Cyber Warfare and Space Warfare
capabilities.

In terms of discernible shifts of Japan’s military postures there is
now a greater weightage in increased South-centric military deployments
catering for possible China threats as opposed to the earlier
North-centric deployments focussed on the Soviet threats.

In terms of operational doctrines, Japan has exhibited its readiness
to increase the frequency and reach of its naval deployments right upto
the farthest end of the Indian Ocean, namely the Gulf of Aden and
opposite the Chinese new base at Djibouti. Japanese Navy has conducted
joint exercises with the navies of Indo Pacific and more significantly
with Indian Navy both in the Indian Ocean and the Western Pacific.

Japan is also engaged in creation of Rapid Deployment Forces and also
an Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade. Both are said to be for
operations to regain control over forcible occupation of outlying
Japanese islands by hostile forces. While said to for defensive purposes
these formations also provide Japan with force projection capabilities.
This is a welcome departure from long held Japanese defensive mindsets.

With Japan’s pronounced threat being naval and maritime in content,
Japan has focussed on a significant increase of Japanese Navy
capabilities both in terms of acquisitions of naval combat destroyer
ships and submarines. Japan had already in service two Helicopter
Carriers which with the acquisition of Stealth vertical take-off F-35
fighter planes can be converted into full-fledged Aircraft Carriers. As I
have always maintained that the Japanese Navy qualitatively can
outmatch the Chinese Navy. Japan has a second Navy in the form of the
Japanese Coast Guard whose larger ships match the tonnage of Japanese
Navy destroyers and with fitting in of advanced weapon systems could be
speedily converted into full-fledged destroyers.

The Japanese Air Force is in the process of replacing its combat
fighter planes with the Fifth Generation US advanced Stealth Fighters
F-35s. Israel is the only other country to which the United States has
supplied these Stealth Fighter Aircraft. This would add a significant
punch to the Japanese Air Force. Japan has major indigenous defence
production capability of combat aircraft and other Air Force
requirements.

The Japanese Army will see acquisition of advanced ant-tank missiles
and other weapon with advanced surveillance sensors systems. The focus
is likely be weapon systems which can inflict heavy damage on any
attempts by hostile forces amphibious landings on Japanese territory.

In terms of weapons systems acquisitions and other military equipment
no problems exist for Japan for two reasons. First, Japan has advanced
capabilities in indigenous defence production of naval ships, fighter
aircraft and submarines beside requirement of the Japanese Army. Second,
Japan feels obliged to acquire advanced weapons systems from the United
States which provide increased inter-operability with weapon systems of
US Forces in Japan. Taken together both these avenues give Japan the
option of a fast-track military buildup should the security environment
so dictate.

Seldom publicised is Japan’s advanced capabilities in terms of
indigenous production of long range missiles and spacecraft. One can
expect a major increase in effort in these two fields ostensibly under
the excuse of defensive operations like ballistic missile shields and
surveillance satellites. Japan has the capability I believe of advanced
anti-ballistic missiles which could destroy incoming hostile missile
launches against Japanese targets far away from Japan over maritime
spaces.

Japan exists in a hostile nuclear weapons security environment with
China, Russia and North Korea having nuclear weapons and long-range
missiles capabilities. Japan at some stage has to face the challenge of
going-in for its own nuclear weaponisation however distasteful the
choice is presently. This has been advocated by me right from 2002
onwards in my writings. Besides nuclear weapons being the currency of
power, Japan cannot shy away from the nuclear option to maintain and
sustain her rightful place as a global Major Power.

Financial resources for Japan’s defence buildup to meet increased
threats are not a problem but there is a problem of manpower. Japan’s
population base is small and so is the rate of population growth. In
that eventuality Japan may have no options but to go in for highly
advanced weapons systems with limited manning yet greater lethality.
Robotics in which Japan has a lead of decades over other countries may
provide the options.

Even with present military capabilities Japan is ranked fifth in
terms of the world’s most powerful Armed Forces and that speaks volumes
for a small island nation. Japan has a long history of martial
traditions which may be latent presently because of Peace Constitution
mindset fostered in the minds of the Japanese public for over decades.
But when Japan’s survival assumes criticality, I firmly believe that
Japan would not be found wanting in terms of political will to use all
the instruments of power at its disposal to great effect.

Since China figures high in Japan’s threat perceptions it may be
worth pointing out that in recent surveys it was found that 72% of
Japanese citizens do not trust China. It is also worth pointing that
unlike India which abounds in China-apologists despite a more pronounced
China threat to India, no China-apologists are noticeable in Japan.
That is a critical additive for Japan’s political leadership.

Concluding, it needs to be reiterated that Japan along with India is a
critical pillar of Asian security and Indo Pacific stability. Conscious
of that responsibility Japan has embarked on reformulation of its
National Defense Guidelines and buildup of its military capabilities
with particular reference to the nature and dimensions of emergent
threats to Japan’s security. That Japan is making headway in this
direction is well indicated that China thought it prudent to invite
Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to Beijing recently—seven years after the last
Japanese Prime Ministerial visit to Beijing. This was also accompanied
by a lessening of anti-Japanese rhetoric in China.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Iran: Implications Of Suicide Attack In Chabahar – Analysis

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By S. Chandrasekharan

On 6th December, a terrorist driving a vehicle laden with
explosives tried to enter the Police Headquarters in Chabahar, of
Sistan-Baluchistan Province of Iran.

The alert security forces guarding the Headquarters were quick to
respond and prevented the suicide bomber from attacking the intended
target. Yet the explosion that was triggered by the suicide bomber
caused the death of  two Policemen, and injury to 42 others. Official
Iranian reports indicate that the injured included 4 children, a
pregnant woman and 10 Policemen. Other reports indicated that 4
Policemen had died.

Pakistan based Ansar-al-Furqan, a Sunni Baloch terrorist outfit
claimed responsibility for the attack.  The IRGC Spokesman, Brig.General
Ramadan Sharif claimed that the attack was executed by a terrorist
group linked to intelligence agencies in foreign countries including
Saudi Arabia.  He did not elaborate the basis on which he made this
claim.

The Indian media was quick to point out that the Sunni militant
outfit Ansar al-Furqan was suspected to have links with the notorious
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM),though there is no evidence of involvement of JEM
in this attack.

The Deputy Governor of Security Affairs in Iran said that Iran’s
Sistan-Baluchistan Province had seen several terrorist attacks before,
targeting both the civilians and security forces over the years.  This
is true.

 The Sistan-Baluchistan Province in the undeveloped region of eastern Iran has a large number of minority Sunni Muslims.

One may recall the attack by two suicide bombers in 2010 in a mosque
in Chabahar that killed over 38 people.  A terrorist outfit based in
Pakistan claiming to protect the rights of Sunni Muslims owned the
attack.

The port of Chabahar is the only major port of Iran that has direct
access to the Indian Ocean and its geo strategic importance needs no
over emphasis.  The other port Bundar Abbas along the same coast is
comparatively a shallow port that cannot handle standard Cargo Ships.

Any incident in the Chabahar region should be of concern to India. 
India has invested in a big way to develop two berths, a Special
Economic Zone as also a railway link to Zahedan, close to the Afghan
border.  In May 2016 India had signed a series of Memorandum of
Understanding to develop the port Chabahar. The underlying objective is
said to be, to free Afghanistan from dependence on Pakistan for transit
of its goods.  This is not the only reaon.   The port when developed has
immense strategic and economic value not only to Afghanistan but also
to other countries in Central Asia.

In the development of Charbaharr port, one comes across three narratives that have no basis.

First is that the port is being developed to rival China built Gwadar
Port that is hardly 76 nautical miles from the Charbahar port and thus
to diminish the importance of Gwadar.  This is not true.  In fact, Iran
has invited China to get involved in the development of this port also.

Second is that the Port is being developed to help India to have an
independent access to Afghanistan and to other Central Asian States thus
bypassing Pakistan altogether. What is forgotten is that the rail and
communication links between Chabahar and Afghanistan and Central Asia
States work both ways.  It will give an access to the Central Asian
States and Afghanistan to have direct access to the Indian Ocean.  The
rich mineral resources in Afghanistan could be exploited and shipped
directly through the port. This potential includes a trans Afghanistan
Gas pipe line too.  The point that is being made is that the development
of the Port is not India focused but would be a major paradigm changer
for communication and trade links of Central Asian States and
Afghanistan too. 

Third is myth that the Chabahar port is the result of the direct
rivalry between India and Pakistan and is therefore vulnerable to
hostile Jihadi forces sheltered in Pakistan.  Viewed  in a larger
context, the explosion in Charbaharr should be seen in the larger matrix
of Saudi-Iranian rivalry that is overspinning into the Charbahar region
where it stands to impact on Indian interests too.  It is known that in
the past Saudis have been actively encouraging an insurgency in the
province of Sistan- Baluchistan and there are reports that Saudis have
invested heavily among this Sunni minority region   It is also suspected
that it could have US blessings too.

It is also seen that the security situation in Chabahar region is
still fragile.  Otherwise how could one explain the kidnapping of Kul
Bhushan Yadav by Taliban from the Chabahar  and handed over to the ISI
of Pakistan for some monetary or other consideration?

It is imperative for India therefore to approach Iranian authorities to strengthen the security around Chabahar region.  It should also approach both Saudi Arabia and Iran not to let their rivalry to over spill and affect Indian interests in the process.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Iran: Implications Of Suicide Attack In Chabahar – Analysis

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By S. Chandrasekharan

On 6th December, a terrorist driving a vehicle laden with
explosives tried to enter the Police Headquarters in Chabahar, of
Sistan-Baluchistan Province of Iran.

The alert security forces guarding the Headquarters were quick to
respond and prevented the suicide bomber from attacking the intended
target. Yet the explosion that was triggered by the suicide bomber
caused the death of  two Policemen, and injury to 42 others. Official
Iranian reports indicate that the injured included 4 children, a
pregnant woman and 10 Policemen. Other reports indicated that 4
Policemen had died.

Pakistan based Ansar-al-Furqan, a Sunni Baloch terrorist outfit
claimed responsibility for the attack.  The IRGC Spokesman, Brig.General
Ramadan Sharif claimed that the attack was executed by a terrorist
group linked to intelligence agencies in foreign countries including
Saudi Arabia.  He did not elaborate the basis on which he made this
claim.

The Indian media was quick to point out that the Sunni militant
outfit Ansar al-Furqan was suspected to have links with the notorious
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM),though there is no evidence of involvement of JEM
in this attack.

The Deputy Governor of Security Affairs in Iran said that Iran’s
Sistan-Baluchistan Province had seen several terrorist attacks before,
targeting both the civilians and security forces over the years.  This
is true.

 The Sistan-Baluchistan Province in the undeveloped region of eastern Iran has a large number of minority Sunni Muslims.

One may recall the attack by two suicide bombers in 2010 in a mosque
in Chabahar that killed over 38 people.  A terrorist outfit based in
Pakistan claiming to protect the rights of Sunni Muslims owned the
attack.

The port of Chabahar is the only major port of Iran that has direct
access to the Indian Ocean and its geo strategic importance needs no
over emphasis.  The other port Bundar Abbas along the same coast is
comparatively a shallow port that cannot handle standard Cargo Ships.

Any incident in the Chabahar region should be of concern to India. 
India has invested in a big way to develop two berths, a Special
Economic Zone as also a railway link to Zahedan, close to the Afghan
border.  In May 2016 India had signed a series of Memorandum of
Understanding to develop the port Chabahar. The underlying objective is
said to be, to free Afghanistan from dependence on Pakistan for transit
of its goods.  This is not the only reaon.   The port when developed has
immense strategic and economic value not only to Afghanistan but also
to other countries in Central Asia.

In the development of Charbaharr port, one comes across three narratives that have no basis.

First is that the port is being developed to rival China built Gwadar
Port that is hardly 76 nautical miles from the Charbahar port and thus
to diminish the importance of Gwadar.  This is not true.  In fact, Iran
has invited China to get involved in the development of this port also.

Second is that the Port is being developed to help India to have an
independent access to Afghanistan and to other Central Asian States thus
bypassing Pakistan altogether. What is forgotten is that the rail and
communication links between Chabahar and Afghanistan and Central Asia
States work both ways.  It will give an access to the Central Asian
States and Afghanistan to have direct access to the Indian Ocean.  The
rich mineral resources in Afghanistan could be exploited and shipped
directly through the port. This potential includes a trans Afghanistan
Gas pipe line too.  The point that is being made is that the development
of the Port is not India focused but would be a major paradigm changer
for communication and trade links of Central Asian States and
Afghanistan too. 

Third is myth that the Chabahar port is the result of the direct
rivalry between India and Pakistan and is therefore vulnerable to
hostile Jihadi forces sheltered in Pakistan.  Viewed  in a larger
context, the explosion in Charbaharr should be seen in the larger matrix
of Saudi-Iranian rivalry that is overspinning into the Charbahar region
where it stands to impact on Indian interests too.  It is known that in
the past Saudis have been actively encouraging an insurgency in the
province of Sistan- Baluchistan and there are reports that Saudis have
invested heavily among this Sunni minority region   It is also suspected
that it could have US blessings too.

It is also seen that the security situation in Chabahar region is
still fragile.  Otherwise how could one explain the kidnapping of Kul
Bhushan Yadav by Taliban from the Chabahar  and handed over to the ISI
of Pakistan for some monetary or other consideration?

It is imperative for India therefore to approach Iranian authorities to strengthen the security around Chabahar region.  It should also approach both Saudi Arabia and Iran not to let their rivalry to over spill and affect Indian interests in the process.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Sri Lanka Voted By Travel Influencers As Top Destination In Asia For 2019

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A panel consisting of five of the world’s
top travel influencers and bloggers has voted Sri Lanka as the top
emerging Asian travel destination for 2019. The awards were published
last week on the site TravelLemming.com, which focuses on emerging and
off-the-beaten path travel spots around the globe.

Winners for the Asian awards were selected by an expert panel
consisting of five of the best renowned travel bloggers and influencers
in the world, with a combined following on social media of over 750,000.

In describing why Sri Lanka won, the article reads: “Sri Lanka has
been poised on the edge of tourism popularity for a few years now, and
2019 might finally be the year it pops. In fact, it was just named the
#1 country in the world to travel to in 2019 by Lonely Planet. And,
honestly, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. From dreamy surf
coasts to quiet jungle retreats, to incredible wildlife and history, Sri
Lanka has all the makings of one of the greatest travel destinations on
the planet.”

One of the judges, Meg Jerrard of the popular travel blog Mapping
Megan, is quoted as saying: “Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing and magical
place with something for everyone, and enough diversity to keep a trip
interesting. It has stunning beaches, is a haven for budget travelers,
has flavorful food, and there are oodles of heritage, wildlife, and
incredible landscapes just waiting to be hiked.”

Other judges on the panel included popular gay travel bloggers
Nomadic Boys, hipster travel star Travels of Adam, the San Diego-based
Instagram star Hackerette, and the acclaimed travel blogger Otts World.

Nate Hake, CEO of Travel Lemming, said: “One of the biggest trends in
travel these days is the desire of tourists to get off the beaten path.
Our six winning destinations in Asia are all great options for
wonderful places to explore without the crowds!”

The site TravelLemming.com is dedicated to the promotion of travel to
emerging travel destinations. The name lemming derives from the
Scandinavian rodent, which is rumored (falsely) to engage in such
mindless group behavior that it will literally follow fellow lemmings of
a cliff to death. Travel Lemming encourages travelers to think beyond
the popular destinations and to forge their own path.

Travel Lemming was started by its founder Nate Hake, an American
traveler from Denver, Colorado who is most famous for visiting 43
countries in a single year.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Sri Lanka Voted By Travel Influencers As Top Destination In Asia For 2019

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A panel consisting of five of the world’s
top travel influencers and bloggers has voted Sri Lanka as the top
emerging Asian travel destination for 2019. The awards were published
last week on the site TravelLemming.com, which focuses on emerging and
off-the-beaten path travel spots around the globe.

Winners for the Asian awards were selected by an expert panel
consisting of five of the best renowned travel bloggers and influencers
in the world, with a combined following on social media of over 750,000.

In describing why Sri Lanka won, the article reads: “Sri Lanka has
been poised on the edge of tourism popularity for a few years now, and
2019 might finally be the year it pops. In fact, it was just named the
#1 country in the world to travel to in 2019 by Lonely Planet. And,
honestly, it’s hard to disagree with that assessment. From dreamy surf
coasts to quiet jungle retreats, to incredible wildlife and history, Sri
Lanka has all the makings of one of the greatest travel destinations on
the planet.”

One of the judges, Meg Jerrard of the popular travel blog Mapping
Megan, is quoted as saying: “Sri Lanka is a mesmerizing and magical
place with something for everyone, and enough diversity to keep a trip
interesting. It has stunning beaches, is a haven for budget travelers,
has flavorful food, and there are oodles of heritage, wildlife, and
incredible landscapes just waiting to be hiked.”

Other judges on the panel included popular gay travel bloggers
Nomadic Boys, hipster travel star Travels of Adam, the San Diego-based
Instagram star Hackerette, and the acclaimed travel blogger Otts World.

Nate Hake, CEO of Travel Lemming, said: “One of the biggest trends in
travel these days is the desire of tourists to get off the beaten path.
Our six winning destinations in Asia are all great options for
wonderful places to explore without the crowds!”

The site TravelLemming.com is dedicated to the promotion of travel to
emerging travel destinations. The name lemming derives from the
Scandinavian rodent, which is rumored (falsely) to engage in such
mindless group behavior that it will literally follow fellow lemmings of
a cliff to death. Travel Lemming encourages travelers to think beyond
the popular destinations and to forge their own path.

Travel Lemming was started by its founder Nate Hake, an American
traveler from Denver, Colorado who is most famous for visiting 43
countries in a single year.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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The Global Security News: 1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Recalling Turkey’s Peace Process – Analysis

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To subdue ethnic conflict, Turkey must reassess its institutional framework while engaging demands from Kurds and other minorities.

By Ronay Bakan*

In 2015, the rising of Rojava, a Kurdish region in Northern Syria, as
an autonomous region escalated tensions between Turkey and the Kurdish
national movement, in the context of rising authoritarianism. Kurds
represent about 13 percent of Turkey’s population and the ruling
government perceives such prospective autonomy
within and  alongside its border as a threat. The region has discovered
that ever-increasing levels of authoritarianism do not deliver peace.

A ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK rebels had been in place in 2013, with a peace deal near completion. After 2014, however, the civil war in Syria and Kurds rising as important actors in that country aggravated tensions and contributed to rising authoritarianism in Turkey. When the Turkish government ended the peace process in 2015, the military wing of the PKK movement called for autonomous self-rule declarations in the Kurdish region, soon adopted by neighborhood associations, pro-Kurdish political parties and local residents. The central government of Turkey refused to recognize the self-rule declarations, and the militias started to bear arms and prepare a defense. In response, the central government imposed curfews in the urban centers, resulting in violent confrontation between the central state and PKK in Suriçi, Nusaybin, Cizre and others. The 2016 report on urban warfare in Suriçi by HDP, the pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party, detailed human-rights violations including incursions into homes, torture and maltreatment, particularly after the June 2015 national election, and suggested that these also contributed to the declarations of autonomy.

Starting from August 16, 2015, the state officially declared curfews
at least 63 times for either a single day or an indefinite period in
various communities in the Kurdish region, according to the Human Rights Association of Turkey. The curfews prohibited movement in more than 30 neighborhoods and towns, also preventing evacuation
of the residents caught between the so-called security operations. An
estimated 2,000 people died including civilians, militia members and
state security staff. The number of displaced people ranged from 355,000
to 500,000 according to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Human rights violations included gender-based violence, disappearances, and the destruction of homes and cultural monuments.

According to the UN human rights report, local, national and
international NGOs had trouble accessing the areas of the conflict and
monitoring the human rights violations after the conflict ended in March
2016. Some NGO staff members reported state surveillance and
harassment, notes the UN report. Moreover, the government conditioned
assistance for displaced people based on a clean criminal background,
according to the local non-government organizations. Such measures
complicated assessments of the true levels of destruction in the Kurdish
region.

Residents also endured the consequences of emergency expropriation
decisions by the state. The Council of Ministers expropriated 22 parcels
of land in Cizre from three neighborhoods and 6,292 parcels of land
from Suriçi, resulting in relocations, demolitions and lasting demographic changes. An ongoing curfew in the six neighborhoods of Suriçi is now the longest in world history.

The emergence of urban warfare must be contextualized within Turkey’s growing political and economic instability since 2015. The urban clashes combined with a failed coup attempt in July 2016, creating an environment in which the AKP government declared emergency rule for two years. Emergency rule helped the government consolidate power through executive orders. After snap elections in June 2018 the AKP government  again consolidated and secured its power. Amnesty International reports that, with the consolidation of power, criticism of the government vanished in Turkey, with media and internet restrictions, closures and self-censorship. These political dynamics have added to tensions, posing consequences for the Turkish economy: The unemployment rate exceeds 10 percent, and foreign direct investment fell from $16.8 billion in 2015 to $12.3 billion in 2016 and $10.9 billion in 2017. More recently, inflation has climbed, and the Turkish lira lost value.

In
such a political and economic environment, the victims of urban warfare
continue to seek justice. Turkey already has the distinction of ranking
first among countries convicted for rights violations between 1959 and
2011 by the European Court of Human Rights, and that court has begun
hearing cases related to curfews in Turkey in 2015.

As noted, rising authoritarianism in Turkey and the end to the
ongoing peace process triggered the urban warfare. To prevent internal
conflict and restore economic and social stability, Turkey must
transform in two ways as recommended by analysts and scholars:

First, the Turkish state must take necessary institutional steps to
create more democratic and inclusionary space for all citizens –
including the 72 percent who are ethnic Turks, the 13 percent who are
Kurds and the 15 percent who represent other minority groups. This
requires addressing the demands of minorities through institutional
means rather than military intervention. Restoration of democratic
public spaces – based on the principles of deliberation, equality and
freedom of speech – could allow for peaceful resolution of the most
radical demands and would go a long way in preventing conflicts.

Second, Turkey must reconsider organization of operations for some
services. There are various ways to operationalize the state apparatus,
as described by political scientists, from highly decentralized to
highly centralized. Turkey is an example of a highly centralized state.
The country provides critical services such as health and education from
the center, with exclusive use of Turkish language, criticized by
minorities. The central government could delegate some responsibilities
to local government. This would enable local governments to perform
certain services with respect to the needs and demands of local
citizens, including the use of Turkish and local languages while
providing vital services.  

The central state also has significant power over the local
governance and municipalities. Since 2011, the Peace and Solidarity
Party, or BDP, has urged more regional autonomy
and recognition of the reality of various ethnic identities in Turkey
as a roadmap to democracy. Thus, a critical policy intervention would
include reconstructing governance mechanisms and delegating select
responsibilities to local governance while encouraging participation of
local residents. By decentralizing the state and increasing
participatory democracy, Turkey would recognize the ethnic and cultural
differences of its citizens by engaging with them and listening to their
demands.

This model of governance, by reducing authoritarianism and increasing
democratic participation, would contribute to the aim of preventing
ethnic conflict and stabilizing Turkey.

*Ronay Bakan is a 2018-2019 Fox International Fellow at Yale’s MacMillan Center. She is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University, and her research interests include politics of space, social movements, gender studies and Kurdish issues in Turkey and Turkish politics.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)

The Global Security News


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1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites): Eurasia Review: Recalling Turkey’s Peace Process – Analysis

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To subdue ethnic conflict, Turkey must reassess its institutional framework while engaging demands from Kurds and other minorities.

By Ronay Bakan*

In 2015, the rising of Rojava, a Kurdish region in Northern Syria, as
an autonomous region escalated tensions between Turkey and the Kurdish
national movement, in the context of rising authoritarianism. Kurds
represent about 13 percent of Turkey’s population and the ruling
government perceives such prospective autonomy
within and  alongside its border as a threat. The region has discovered
that ever-increasing levels of authoritarianism do not deliver peace.

A ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK rebels had been in place in 2013, with a peace deal near completion. After 2014, however, the civil war in Syria and Kurds rising as important actors in that country aggravated tensions and contributed to rising authoritarianism in Turkey. When the Turkish government ended the peace process in 2015, the military wing of the PKK movement called for autonomous self-rule declarations in the Kurdish region, soon adopted by neighborhood associations, pro-Kurdish political parties and local residents. The central government of Turkey refused to recognize the self-rule declarations, and the militias started to bear arms and prepare a defense. In response, the central government imposed curfews in the urban centers, resulting in violent confrontation between the central state and PKK in Suriçi, Nusaybin, Cizre and others. The 2016 report on urban warfare in Suriçi by HDP, the pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party, detailed human-rights violations including incursions into homes, torture and maltreatment, particularly after the June 2015 national election, and suggested that these also contributed to the declarations of autonomy.

Starting from August 16, 2015, the state officially declared curfews
at least 63 times for either a single day or an indefinite period in
various communities in the Kurdish region, according to the Human Rights Association of Turkey. The curfews prohibited movement in more than 30 neighborhoods and towns, also preventing evacuation
of the residents caught between the so-called security operations. An
estimated 2,000 people died including civilians, militia members and
state security staff. The number of displaced people ranged from 355,000
to 500,000 according to the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. Human rights violations included gender-based violence, disappearances, and the destruction of homes and cultural monuments.

According to the UN human rights report, local, national and
international NGOs had trouble accessing the areas of the conflict and
monitoring the human rights violations after the conflict ended in March
2016. Some NGO staff members reported state surveillance and
harassment, notes the UN report. Moreover, the government conditioned
assistance for displaced people based on a clean criminal background,
according to the local non-government organizations. Such measures
complicated assessments of the true levels of destruction in the Kurdish
region.

Residents also endured the consequences of emergency expropriation
decisions by the state. The Council of Ministers expropriated 22 parcels
of land in Cizre from three neighborhoods and 6,292 parcels of land
from Suriçi, resulting in relocations, demolitions and lasting demographic changes. An ongoing curfew in the six neighborhoods of Suriçi is now the longest in world history.

The emergence of urban warfare must be contextualized within Turkey’s growing political and economic instability since 2015. The urban clashes combined with a failed coup attempt in July 2016, creating an environment in which the AKP government declared emergency rule for two years. Emergency rule helped the government consolidate power through executive orders. After snap elections in June 2018 the AKP government  again consolidated and secured its power. Amnesty International reports that, with the consolidation of power, criticism of the government vanished in Turkey, with media and internet restrictions, closures and self-censorship. These political dynamics have added to tensions, posing consequences for the Turkish economy: The unemployment rate exceeds 10 percent, and foreign direct investment fell from $16.8 billion in 2015 to $12.3 billion in 2016 and $10.9 billion in 2017. More recently, inflation has climbed, and the Turkish lira lost value.

In
such a political and economic environment, the victims of urban warfare
continue to seek justice. Turkey already has the distinction of ranking
first among countries convicted for rights violations between 1959 and
2011 by the European Court of Human Rights, and that court has begun
hearing cases related to curfews in Turkey in 2015.

As noted, rising authoritarianism in Turkey and the end to the
ongoing peace process triggered the urban warfare. To prevent internal
conflict and restore economic and social stability, Turkey must
transform in two ways as recommended by analysts and scholars:

First, the Turkish state must take necessary institutional steps to
create more democratic and inclusionary space for all citizens –
including the 72 percent who are ethnic Turks, the 13 percent who are
Kurds and the 15 percent who represent other minority groups. This
requires addressing the demands of minorities through institutional
means rather than military intervention. Restoration of democratic
public spaces – based on the principles of deliberation, equality and
freedom of speech – could allow for peaceful resolution of the most
radical demands and would go a long way in preventing conflicts.

Second, Turkey must reconsider organization of operations for some
services. There are various ways to operationalize the state apparatus,
as described by political scientists, from highly decentralized to
highly centralized. Turkey is an example of a highly centralized state.
The country provides critical services such as health and education from
the center, with exclusive use of Turkish language, criticized by
minorities. The central government could delegate some responsibilities
to local government. This would enable local governments to perform
certain services with respect to the needs and demands of local
citizens, including the use of Turkish and local languages while
providing vital services.  

The central state also has significant power over the local
governance and municipalities. Since 2011, the Peace and Solidarity
Party, or BDP, has urged more regional autonomy
and recognition of the reality of various ethnic identities in Turkey
as a roadmap to democracy. Thus, a critical policy intervention would
include reconstructing governance mechanisms and delegating select
responsibilities to local governance while encouraging participation of
local residents. By decentralizing the state and increasing
participatory democracy, Turkey would recognize the ethnic and cultural
differences of its citizens by engaging with them and listening to their
demands.

This model of governance, by reducing authoritarianism and increasing
democratic participation, would contribute to the aim of preventing
ethnic conflict and stabilizing Turkey.

*Ronay Bakan is a 2018-2019 Fox International Fellow at Yale’s MacMillan Center. She is a PhD student in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Boğaziçi University, and her research interests include politics of space, social movements, gender studies and Kurdish issues in Turkey and Turkish politics.

Eurasia Review

1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (86 sites)


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