DECISION MAKING ON SECURITY ISSUES – US AND RUSSIAN FEDERATION

 

Decision Making on Security Issues

By Seyfi Taşhan

In this essay, we will look at the decision making mechanism in various countries, chiefly the United States, Russia.

United States

In the United States final decision making rests on the President himself provided his decisions are not against the US aims and traditions and interests. Which bodies contribute to the formation of security decisions and which bodies control their decisions taken? Contributor factors: Chief contributers are the National Security Council, Defense Department, State Department and other official bodies. In turn State Department, Defence Department and others are asisted by such official organizations as Armed Forces, CIA, Homeland Security Department and diplomatic missions abroad. These bodies use private organizations such as think thanks (like RAND Corp. for. Defence Department) Council of Foreign affairs, Middle East Institute as well as other regional study foundations or non-profit Organizations. Opposition parties also support and cooperate with such private organizations.

These also benefit from and train experts that provide executive power of the governments later when the opposition parties win the elections and become government themselves. Before Ronald Reagan became president his policies were developed by RAND Corporation, which was also supported by the Defence Department at the time, the hardliners that contributed to the information of policies under Reagen that caused the down fall of the SSCB.

Who controls?

Which boundries control the security decisions of the government? US Congress is the principal body that controls or negates President’s decision decrees and makes the defense budget. Congress itself is guided by the principals of political parties that its members belong and also by the lobby interests that support interests of war industries and regional electors, as well as foreign governments which aim at impressing the Congress for their interests. We should not forget the very important role of media in controling and/or supporting the activities of the government in a completely free manner.

Russia

During the Soviet era like many other countries that were firmly attached to political ideas, Soviet Union’s security decisions were aimed at furthering their ideological aims not only inside the union but globally. This policy had a very expensive cost for supporting Comunist Parties abroad and their revelant activities. During the Cold War, to support its idealism Russia had to enter into an arms race with the United States. This could not be maintained during the Cold War and eventually the regime collapsed. Now the Russian government’s interests are at the forefront and resist the aggressive policies of the US around the World, to resist U.S. that countinues a softer Cold War and a policy of pursuing Israel’s interests in the Middle East even at the cost of using armed forces.

Therefore, U.S.-Soviet Cold War relations still continue in a lesser mode and Russia must endure U.S embargos. Russia does not hesitate to use arms in such areas as Georgia and Ukraine, where, the aim is to support Russian interests.

Apperance of the Russian regime is democratic where there is a parliament elected by people and prime minister and the president also elected by people. However, this democratic appearance does not shadow the ultimate decision making authority of the president, unlike U.S, where there is and effectively controlling body of the decision making capacity. Currently, no one knows, if the current Russian President, who was a member of KGB is ever controlled.

Visits: 624

RUSSIA – UKRAINE CRISIS SUMMARY

Ukraine is a lovely country targeting EU membership. It has a well educated population and they can be considered very peaceful. However, following the end of Soviet Union, the country could not put things in order to become a nation of welfare. Instead Russian Federation continue to abuse Ukraine and provokes unrest in the country. They have some justifiable reasons for that, like Ukraine’s continuous stealing of gas from Russia’s gas lines but mostly Russia creates problems for the Ukraine.

Below there is a summary of conflict between Ukraine and Russian Federation published by thebalance.com

 

Ukraine Crisis Summary and Explanation

BY KIMBERLY AMADEO

Updated January 27, 2020
The Ukraine crisis is a power struggle between factions within Ukraine; one wants to align with the European Union and the other with Russia. As one of the founding states of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had been an important contributor to the Soviet Union’s economy between 1920–1991.1 In March of 2014, the current crisis erupted when Russian special forces occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, claiming it was protecting its port access to the Black Sea.2 Ukraine had planned to develop Crimea’s natural gas reserves in two years in a partnership with U.S. companies.

If they had accomplished this, Russia would have lost one of its largest customers.

Between 2014–2018, a military conflict between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists continued in eastern Ukraine, and more than 10,000 people were killed.3 On November 25, 2018, Russian ships attacked and boarded three Ukrainian vessels in the Crimean port of Azov near the Black Sea. It placed a freighter to block the port, stating that Ukraine had violated Russian waters, although the two sides signed an agreement in 2003 to guarantee free passage through the strait.4

Critics at the United Nations Security Council meeting said Russia’s attack was a violation under international law. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization increased its military presence in the area.5

Explaining the Conflict
Putin’s attack responded to the February 23, 2014, overthrow of his ally Viktor Yanukovych, where the pro-West faction of Ukraine’s Parliament took over the government.6 The crisis occurred because Yanukovych mismanaged the budget and forced Ukraine to ask for financial help. It appealed to the EU, then Russia, causing political unrest. Those who wanted to be closer to the EU objected when that solution was abandoned. Russia’s military strike supported Yanukovych’s return to Kiev and closer ties to Russia.

In April 2014, Russia supported local rebels who took over city halls and police stations throughout eastern Ukraine, an area home to ethnic Russians who don’t want to be part of the EU.7 Those Russians were moved there by Joseph Stalin, who intended to strengthen the Soviet Republic’s hold on the area.

Earlier that month, NATO revealed satellite photos showing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s eastern border.8 An EU emergency meeting added further sanctions on Russia’s oil and banking sectors, which occurred shortly after Russia sent a convoy of trucks over the border.9 They were bearing aid to Ukraine’s eastern cities, held by pro-Russian rebels. Several of those trucks entered without approval.

Ukraine had also destroyed a convoy of Russian military vehicles that were bringing arms to the rebels.10 It was the first time that Ukraine attacked Russian forces directly. A few days later, Ukraine reported that several military vehicles were near the Russian border at the Crimean port of Azov.11 It claimed that Russia was creating a second front for the rebels and wanted land access through southern Ukraine—a shorter route to Crimea.12

In July 2014, Russia built up its military force on the border.13 Since 2014, Russia has added an airborne battalion to the naval infantry brigade and doubled the number of troops to 30,000.14 It was a battle-ready force that could launch an attack into eastern Ukraine at a moment’s notice. Russia had already launched rockets across the border in support of Ukrainian rebels.

Why Ukraine Is so Important to Putin
Putin’s standoff over Ukraine boosted his popularity rating in Russia to 80%.15 To maintain this popularity, he will continue to hold onto Ukraine despite the cost. Putin knows that NATO won’t protect Ukraine since it is not a member, and that encourages him to continue to attack.

Ukraine, which provided the Soviet agricultural output, had been an important contributor to the former Soviet Union’s economy.16 It also supplied heavy industrial equipment and raw materials to industrial sites throughout the former USSR.17

Sanctions Against Russia
On July 29, 2014, the United States and the EU extended economic sanctions against Russia.18 19 They wanted to convince Putin to stop supporting those in eastern Ukraine who want to break up the country. The United States had proof that Russia supplied separatists that shot down a Malaysia Airlines commercial jet over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing 298 people.20

The sanctions severely limit five major Russian banks’ ability to obtain medium and long-term financing from Europe. The United States also restricted technology exports to Russia’s deep-water Arctic offshore or shale oil production.9 Russia had already been ousted from the Group of Eight.21

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan, Barclay’s, Deutsche Bank, and UBSBoeing are the largest investment banks doing business in Russia. Morgan Stanley announced in 2019 that it will cease operations in the country by 2020.22

United Technologies started hoarding titanium.23 In response, Russia banned imports of U.S. and European foods for one year.24 This included $300 million of U.S. poultry products.25

To head off inflation, Russia’s central bank raised interest rates.

The sanctions created a recession in Russia, and the International Monetary Fund cut its 2014 growth forecast for Russia from 1.3% to 0.2%.26 Russia is one of the emerging markets that suffered a currency meltdown in 2014.27 Forex traders abandoned these markets when the Federal Reserve began tapering its quantitative easing program, which reduced credit around the world.28 Even though Putin continues to be popular at home, these sanctions are hurting the country’s economy.

The Bottom Line
Ukraine’s desire to open its markets to the EU and to collude with U.S. companies to develop its natural gas reserves were perceived by Russia as huge threats to its economy.2930 So, in March 2014, Russia invaded and occupied Crimea.

Since then, relations between the United States and Russia have continued to deteriorate with the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement have failed.

In April 2016, NATO announced its deployment of battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to deter further Russian aggression especially in the Baltic region.

The Baltic states have become NATO and EU members since 2004. Should Russia invade the Baltics, the United States and NATO would be compelled or bound by Article 5 of the NATO treaty to retaliate. Such could escalate into a war between Russia and the United States and its NATO allies.31

 

Here is another summary and current situation assesment made by glastnostgone.org

 

For those new to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, here’s a summary.

The below two Feb 10th situation reports, show firing by Russia’s forces on Feb 9th. The explosion graphics indicate the areas hit by this fire.

1: The conflict area lies within Ukraine’s eastern Oblasts (Provinces) of Luhansk (blue) and Donetsk (yellow). These both border Russia (brown).

2: Russia-led forces occupy part of those Oblasts, including the two regional capital cities of Donetsk & Luhansk (beige).

3: From Ukraine’s southern Azov Sea coastline (bottom light blue) to the outskirts of Luhansk city in the north, the active front line stretches for around 500km.

4: Since Sept 2014, Russia-led forces in Ukraine have had total control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia (thick red line). Effectively, this means Russia has complete control over 409km of Ukraine’s eastern border. Much of the border area is remote & sparsely populated, making it easy for Russia to send in supplies and military forces. Along with controlling numerous Ukrainian border crossings, Russia also controls two rail lines into eastern Ukraine.

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5: Since 2015, the front line has remained virtually unchanged, with each side dug in along it. Over the last few years, both sides have occupied a few small undefended villages and settlements located between the front lines, but since 2015, it has mainly been a long-range firing conflict. I say long-range, but some military positions are only a few hundred meters away from each other.

6: Inside the occupied territory, two Russia-backed, so-called republics were created: The Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) & Luhansk people’s Republic (LPR).

7: These self-proclaimed republics, haven’t published any wage expenditure accounts or explained how they could afford to pay the monthly wages of the tens of thousands of troops defending their territory. Neither have they presented any verifiable evidence as to how they acquired their vast amounts of military hardware, including hundreds of tanks.

8: After almost 6 years of daily firing along the front line and weekly live firing exercises, the Donetsk & Luhansk republics forces have never run out of ammunition. It’s safe to say they have an endless supply.

9: Previously, the DPR & LPR claimed they capture all their hardware and ammo from the Ukrainian army, but if the front lines been static for the best part of five years, they haven’t had an opportunity to capture diddly squat.

Visits: 201

EU DECISION ABOUT LIBYA CONFLICT

There is unrest in Libya and an internal war continue between conflicting forces. Libya is important for Europe as it is one of the main sources of the illegal immigration. EU leaders have been gathered and took decisions which can affect the conflict. Here is the Article from bbc.com regarding the subject

Libya conflict: EU agrees new patrols to stop arms flow

EU states have agreed to launch a new military mission off the Libyan coast to enforce a shaky UN arms embargo.

The 27 governments still have to draft a legal text for the mission, after agreeing it in principle in Brussels.

“The main objective is the arms embargo,” said Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

The UN-recognised government in Tripoli is under attack from the forces of Gen Khalifa Haftar, which control most of eastern and southern Libya.

The EU’s new naval and air mission is to operate in the eastern Mediterranean, away from the migrant-smuggling routes from Libya which have caused bitter divisions in the EU.

Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said that if the EU ships proved to be a “pull factor” for migrants desperate to reach Europe “the mission will be stopped”.Under international law EU ships – whether military or civilian – are obliged to rescue people in distress at sea.

Former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini took a hard stance on migrant boats, implementing a closed ports policy.Austria led opposition to renewing EU naval patrols off the Libyan coast, but finally accepted a new mission with a different mandate from Operation Sophia, which had sought to stop people-smuggling gangs.

Operation Sophia began in 2015 and its mandate ends in March. Last year Italy blocked the deployment of new ships, accusing its EU partners of a lack of solidarity, as Italy has had to cope with the largest numbers of irregular migrants.

Libya control map showing oilfields and pipelines

Many of those rescued off Libya are refugees from the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. But many impoverished migrants from sub-Saharan Africa also risk their lives on unseaworthy boats, desperate to flee the violence and abuse that are rife in Libya.

As in Syria, international rivalries are being played out in Libya, and that competition is fuelling arms deliveries to the warring sides.

Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) has support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, France and Russia, while the Tripoli government has the backing of Turkey, Qatar and Italy, among others.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the EU would not be able to patrol the Egypt-Libya land border, across which artillery is still being supplied to Gen Haftar’s forces.

Visits: 248

GLOBAL DEFENCE BUDGET IS RISING

Instead of a peaceful global living there are wars and conflicts all aorund the world. Middle East is continuously a source of conflict for the last thousands of years. In Africa internal wars and unrest never ends. US being a superpower tries to impose its policies almost to all nations. Russia with its great military strength tries to establish a balance against US. So there are several reasons to spend for military defence budgets. It appeared that in 2109 global defence budget has risen and here is an article by Jonathan Marcus from bbc.com regarding the issue;

Global defence spending is on the rise in an unstable world

Jonathan Marcus

In 2019 global defence spending rose by some 4% over 2018 – the highest year-on-year increase in a decade.

The figures are included in this year’s Military Balance – the annual publication of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), which is to be launched later this morning at the Munich Security Conference.

Appropriately, defence spending in Europe is also on the up, reaching levels not seen since before the financial crisis – an increase of some 4.2% when compared to 2018.

This is all a reflection of a changing world and the return of state-on-state competition.

In both the US and China defence spending increased by 6.6% in 2019, though the rate of growth is accelerating in the US, while it is slowing in China.

Asia – where defence spending has been rising for some years in response to Beijing’s rise as a regional superpower – continues the trend. Overall defence spending in Asia has increased by 50% in a decade, fuelled by the region’s rising levels of GDP.

The Military Balance asserts that defence debates remain dominated by an unstable international security environment. Key elements of the rules-based international order that characterised the post-World War Two period, it says, are being challenged.

One of the best examples of this is the unravelling of the fabric of arms control agreements inherited from the Cold War. The Military Balance points to the demise of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, prompted by Russian breaches and a growing concern in the US about Chinese weapons in this category; Beijing was not a party to the original treaty.

The Military Balance says that observers are “looking nervously” towards both Moscow and Washington to see if the key remaining element of the arms control architecture – the New START Treaty – will be renewed. This expires in less than a year and is the only surviving agreement limiting the strategic arsenals of the two nuclear super-powers.

Growing unease about Russian behaviour is one factor driving the increase in defence spending in Nato countries. To this can be added a significant element of US pressure, with President Donald Trump rarely missing an opportunity to condemn what he sees as the freeloading of Washington’s European allies.

European spending is growing – but even in 2019 it only reached the levels observed when the financial crisis began in 2008, though the Military Balance notes that more money is slowly going into procurement, research and development.

Germany, a country much criticised by Mr Trump, is said by the IISS to account for a third of the overall rise in European defence expenditure. It calculates that German defence expenditure rose by some 9.7% between 2018 and 2019. However, Berlin still fell short of the Nato target of spending 2% of GDP on defence. The Military Balance calculates that only seven Nato members currently meet this goal: Bulgaria, Greece, Estonia, Romania, Latvia, Poland and the UK.

The Military Balance points to significant advances in military technology; systems that are now either entering service or have already made their mark. The relative ubiquity of uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) used now by both state and non-state actors has prompted renewed interest in anti-UAV systems.

At the strategic level, both Russia and China appear to be in the process of deploying hypersonic glide-vehicles and hypersonic cruise missiles – super fast systems that threaten to overturn calculations about the effectiveness of missile defences.
This year’s Military Balance also points to one of the fundamental strategic problems of our day, the concern that “competitor states” are now using “strategies to achieve effect by operating below the threshold of war”.

It points to Russia’s initial move into Crimea; its denials of involvement in eastern Ukraine; its use of chemical weapons in the UK; and its alleged election meddling. It cites Iran’s activities as another example, particularly its ability to conduct warfare through third parties.

All these approaches are hard to counter with conventional military responses.

As the Military Balance concludes: “They place a premium not just on developing the right military and intelligence capabilities but on boosting the adaptability and resilience of equipment and military forces and, more broadly, of societies and political decision-making.”

Visits: 174

AFTER BREXIT LIFE SHALL NOT BE EASY FOR BRITS

Following the Brexit UK should make new trade deals with EU as EU is the main trade partner of the UK and all types of advantages regarding customs duties and several other issues shall help UK economy a lot. But it seems that EU shall not make the life easy for the UK. Here is an article from bbc.com regarding the issue.

Brexit: EU Parliament makes tough demands for talks

Visits: 221

MAIN CONFLICT REGIONS OF THE WORLD FOR USA

There are several countries and regions of the world in which ongoing conflicts contradicts with the policies of United States of America. Here is an analysis of the conflicting areas of the world with a US view. The information has been gathered through cfg.org (council on foreign relations)

THe following condilcist signifcantly impact US interests;

  • Civil War in Syria
  • Political Instability in Iraq
  • Islamist Militancy in Pakistan
  • Political Instability in Lebanon
  • Instability in Egypt
  • Conflict in Ukraine
  • Conflict Between Turkey and Armed Kurdish Groups
  • Criminal Violance in Mexico
  • ISraeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • Bako Haram in Nigeria
  • Conflict Between India and Pakistan
  • Instability in Venezuela

There are also some conflicting areas which have limited impact on US interests

  • Civil War inLibya
  • War in Yemen
  • Nagarno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Destabilization of Mali
  • Violance in the Central African Republic
  • Violance in the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar
  • Civil War in South Sudan
  • Al Shabab in Somalia

 

Here are the details why those conflicts are related with US;

 

Instability in Egypt

Region
Middle East and North Africa

Impact on U.S. Interests
Significant
Conflict Status
Unchanging
Type of Conflict
Political Instability

32.6 PERCENT
Estimated total youth unemployment

Source
800–1,200
Estimated number of Islamic State fighters in Egypt
Source
$94 MILLION
U.S. foreign aid in 2019

Source

Recent Developments

In February 2018, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered the Egyptian military to defeat the militant group Wilayat Sinai, a local affiliate of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The military subsequently announced the launch of wide-ranging counterterrorism measures in the Sinai Peninsula and parts of the Nile Delta and Western Desert. Operations have included the demolition of homes, commercial buildings, and farms, resulting in the displacement of thousands. The military stated in February 2019 that it has killed more than five hundred and fifty militants since operations began in 2018.

After orchestrating the arrests of his primary challenger and dozens of critics, Sisi was re-elected for a second term in March 2018. Sisi has since pushed through new laws to combat extremism, including one in August 2018 that increased government control over the internet, and has consistently extended Egypt’s state of emergency, which was first declared in April 2017 following terrorist attacks on Coptic churches. In February 2019, a proposal to extend Sisi’s presidency and expand his power was put before Egypt’s parliament; despite allegations of bribery, the proposal was approved in a referendum later that month, allowing Sisi to extend his term and run again in 2024.

Background

Wilayat Sinai (formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis) emerged as a terrorist organization in the Sinai Peninsula following the popular uprising and subsequent overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Mubarak’s successor, the democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi, was also ousted from power by the military in July 2013 following widespread anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests. After a year-long interim government, former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was elected president in May 2014 and vowed to continue crackdowns against the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

In November 2014, Wilayat Sinai declared its allegiance to the Islamic State. The group has since claimed responsibility for numerous attacks, including the November 2017 attack on a mosque that killed more than three hundred people, the April 2017 attack on Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria that killed at least forty-four people, the December 2016 attack on at a Coptic chapel in Cairo that killed at least twenty-five people, and the October 2015 downing of a Russian airplane that killed all 224 people aboard. Wilayat Sinai has also carried out attacks on Egyptian military and government sites near Egypt’s border with Gaza and Israel, prompting security cooperation between Egypt and Israel.

Egypt also faces a burgeoning terrorist threat in its western desert where al-Qaeda affiliate, Ansar al-Islam, has begun operating. The group orchestrated an attack on Egyptian security forces in October 2017 and has since operated along Egypt’s border with Libya.

Since assuming office in 2014, Sisi has enacted economic reforms to improve the flagging economy, and counterterrorism laws to combat the threat of insurgency. Critics of Sisi have warned that his government has marginalized poor communities, repressed free speech, and infringed on human rights.

Concerns

The United States remains concerned that Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Western Desert could become sanctuaries for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Terrorist groups could also contribute to political instability in Egypt, which remains a key regional ally for the U.S. military, further destabilize Libya, and threaten Israel.

 

Conflict in Ukraine

Region
Europe and Eurasia

Impact on U.S. Interests
Significant
Conflict Status
Unchanging
Type of Conflict
Territorial Dispute

MORE THAN 10,000
Estimated number of civilian casualties

Source
1.5 MILLION
Estimated number of internally displaced people

Source
280 MILES
Length of front line

Source

Recent Developments

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has transitioned to a stalemate after it first erupted in early 2014, but shelling and skirmishes still occur regularly, including an escalation in violence in the spring of 2018.

Since taking office, the Donald J. Trump administration has continued to pressure Russia over its involvement eastern Ukraine. In January 2018, the United States imposed new sanctions on twenty-one individuals and nine companies linked to the conflict. In March 2018, the State Department approved the sale of anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, the first sale of lethal weaponry since the conflict began, and in July 2018 the Department of Defense announced an additional $200 million in defensive aid to Ukraine, bringing the total amount of aid provided since 2014 to $1 billion.

In October 2018, Ukraine joined the United States and seven other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries in a series of large-scale air exercises in western Ukraine. The exercises came after Russia held its annual military exercises in September 2018, the largest since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Background

The crisis in Ukraine began with protests in the capital city of Kiev in November 2013 against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to reject a deal for greater economic integration with the European Union. After a violent crackdown by state security forces unintentionally drew an even greater number of protesters and escalated the conflict, President Yanukovych fled the country in February 2014.

In March 2014, Russian troops took control of Ukraine’s Crimean region, before formally annexing the peninsula after Crimeans voted to join the Russian Federation in a disputed local referendum. Russian President Vladimir Putin cited the need to protect the rights of Russian citizens and Russian speakers in Crimea and southeast Ukraine. The crisis heightened ethnic divisions, and two months later pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine held a referendum to declare independence from Ukraine.

Violence in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatist forces and the Ukrainian military has by conservative estimates killed more than 10,300 people and injured nearly 24,000 since April 2014. Although Moscow has denied its involvement, Ukraine and NATO have reported the buildup of Russian troops and military equipment near Donetsk and Russian cross-border shelling.

In July 2014, the situation in Ukraine escalated into an international crisis and put the United States and the European Union (EU) at odds with Russia when a Malaysian Airlines flight was shot down over Ukrainian airspace, killing all 298 onboard. Dutch air accident investigators concluded in October 2015 that the plane had been downed by a Russian-built surface-to-air missile. In September 2016, investigators said that the missile system was provided by Russia, determining it was moved into eastern Ukraine and then back to Russian territory following the downing of the airplane.

Since February 2015, France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine have attempted to broker a cessation in violence through the Minsk Accords. The agreement includes provisions for a cease-fire, withdrawal of heavy weaponry, and full Ukrainian government control throughout the conflict zone. However, efforts to reach a diplomatic settlement and satisfactory resolution have been unsuccessful.

In April 2016, NATO announced that the alliance would deploy four battalions to Eastern Europe, rotating troops through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland to deter possible future Russian aggression elsewhere in Europe, particularly in the Baltics. These battalions were joined by two U.S. Army tank brigades, deployed to Poland in September 2017 to further bolster the alliance’s deterrence presence.

Ukraine has been the target of a number of cyberattacks since the conflict started in 2014. In December 2015, more than 225,000 people lost power across Ukraine in an attack, and in December 2016 parts of Kiev experienced another power blackout following a similar attack targeting a Ukrainian utility company. In June 2017, government and business computer systems in Ukraine were hit by the NotPetya cyberattack; the crippling attack, attributed to Russia, spread to computer systems worldwide and caused billions of dollars in damages.

Concerns

The conflict in Ukraine risks further deterioration of U.S.-Russia relations and greater escalation if Russia expands its presence in Ukraine or into NATO countries. Russia’s actions have raised wider concerns about its intentions elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and a Russian incursion into a NATO country would solicit a response from the United States as a NATO ally. The conflict has heightened tensions in Russia’s relations with both the United States and Europe, complicating the prospects for cooperation elsewhere including on issues of terrorism, arms control, and a political solution in Syria.

 

Al-Shabab in Somalia

Region
Sub-Saharan Africa

Impact on U.S. Interests
Limited
Conflict Status
Unchanging
Type of Conflict
Transnational Terrorism

7,000–9,000
Estimated number of al-Shabab fighters

Source
20,626
Number of AMISOM uniformed personnel

Source
$421.8 MILLION
Total U.S. humanitarian assistance to Somalia

Source

Recent Developments

Al-Shabab continues to conduct attacks both within Somalia and in neighboring Kenya, including a January 15, 2019, attack on an upscale Nairobi hotel complex in which at least twenty-one civilians were killed and hundreds held hostage. The militants also continue to target the Somali state and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces.

The United States has significantly increased the tempo of air strikes against al-Shabab since 2016 and broadened its troop presence and involvement in Somalia in 2017. In June 2018, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack that killed one U.S. special operations forces soldier, the first U.S. combat death in Somalia since a member of the Navy SEALs was killed in a raid in May 2017.

Background

Since its inception in 2006, al-Shabab has capitalized on the feebleness of Somalia’s central government, despite the government’s strengthening in recent years, to control large swaths of ungoverned territory. The terrorist group reached its peak in 2011 when it controlled parts of the capital city of Mogadishu and the vital port of Kismayo. Kenyan troops, operating as part of AMISOM, entered Somalia later that year and successfully pushed al-Shabab out of most of its strongholds.

In response to the 2011 intervention, al-Shabab has committed more than 150 attacks in Kenya, a long-time U.S. ally. The most brutal were a January 2016 attack on a Kenyan army camp in El Adde killing 200 soldiers, an April 2015 attack on a Kenyan college campus that killed 148 people, and a September 2013 attack on a mall in Nairobi that killed at least 67.

The United States has pursued a two-pronged approach in Somalia by providing financial and logistical support to AMISOM and conducting counterterrorism operations, including drone strikes and special operations forces raids, against suspected al-Shabab militants. Since 2007, the United States has provided more than half a billion dollars to train and equip African Union forces battling al-Shabab. In September 2014, the United States launched an air strike that killed at least six people, al-Shabab’s leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, after which the group immediately named Ahmed Umar as his successor. In May 2016, a U.S. strike using both drones and manned aircraft reportedly killed 150 al-Shabab soldiers at a training camp north of Mogadishu.

Concerns

The primary U.S. objective in Somalia is to minimize the ability of al-Shabab and other violent groups to destabilize Somalia or its neighbors and harm the United States or its allies. Al-Shabab’s continued attacks degrade the Somali government’s ability to both provide security and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation in the country, and its influence in Somalia undermines the United States’ efforts to prevent the use of Somalia as a refuge for international terrorists.

Visits: 230

IMPACT OF CORONA VIRUS ON WORLD ECONOMY

No doubt that there were lot worse epidemics in the history of our old world but thanks to the developing information technologies the impact of the corona virus may be the biggest on global scale. Anyone who has internet access can read all the news about it and may get really anxious as the health authorities and politicians make some declarations almost everyday about it. There will be great economic impact on the world economy as China is one of the biggest economies in the world and again one of the biggest exporters of the world. With a population of around 1.4 billion China’s consumption of goods is signifcant alone and together with the psychology of foreign buyers the production of goods shall decrease and it will affect the world economy.

China is a very popular touristic destination in recent years and there is no doubt that the number of tourists who are willing to visit China this year shall drop tremendously. Most probably importers of Chinese goods shall stop their purchases until China becomes virus safe and this will affect the prices in China and the world.

Here are some views from the respectable sources of the world press regarding the situation;

 

How will the coronavirus affect the world economy?

by DW.com
Less consumption, idle factories, broken global supply chains. It’s not just the Chinese economy that is suffering from the spread of the coronavirus — but the moment of truth is yet to come.
The coronavirus epidemic is spreading further in China and Chinese experts believe that it could peak in 10 to 14 days. Around 45 million people in the Chinese province of Wuhan are cut off from the outside world. In order to curb the spread of the virus, Beijing has extended the Chinese New Year holiday, and pushed back the opening of the stock markets. When it finally opened on Monday, stock prices crashed. They, however, stabilized again on Tuesday.

As a precaution, Beijing had given the financial system an unusually high injection of 1.2 trillion yuan (€156 billion, $171 billion) to keep the domestic money market and banking system functioning. In addition, import duties on goods that are important in the fight against the disease were eased.

But it’s not only the stock markets that have been hit. Chinese consumption has also plummeted as a result of the outbreak. Large New Year’s events were canceled; tourist attractions and cinemas were closed. The doors remain closed at around 2,000 Starbucks, hundreds of McDonald’s restaurants, 130 Uniqlo shops and at all 30 Ikea stores.

The travel industry has also been badly affected. Several countries issued travel warnings about China; some airlines even suspended flights to China. Lufthansa and its subsidiaries Swiss and Austrian Airlines canceled their connections to and from Beijing until February 29. The Chinese authorities urged its own population to postpone travel abroad and prohibited domestic travel groups.

Most factories and offices will remain closed this week. Several carmakers, including Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo, Toyota and Tesla, extended their annual New Year production breaks. Additionally, China’s largest oil refinery cut production by around 600,000 barrels a day due to shrinking fuel demand.

Learning from SARS

When SARS hit China 17 years ago, domestic trade suffered significantly and stock markets fell. However, the global economy is now much more interconnected and the Chinese economy is much more important. At the time China’s share of the world economy was only around 5%, today it is more than 16%.

Now the world’s second-largest economy is an important export market for German products, an important production location for German industrial companies and the starting point for many global supply chains.

The ifo Institute’s economic expert Timo Wollmershäuser believes that “the economic consequences will be greater than the SARS epidemic.” That crisis, which lasted 6 months, cost China about 1% growth in gross domestic product (GDP), a number so small that it was hardly reflected in the German figures. “Since then, the country’s economic importance has grown, the infection rate is greater and the Chinese government has reacted harder,” said Wollmershäuser.

Too early for a true analysis

Many experts believe that it is too early to talk about the extent of economic consequences. Jens Hildebrandt, the director of the German Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, told DW that the country is at a practical standstill anyhow because of the Chinese New Year and spring festivities. “All factories close for three to four weeks,” he added. Thus, even under normal circumstances, the entire economy — except for the important tourism industry — would be offline.
CORONAVIRUS: TIMELINE OF THE DEADLY VIRUS IN CHINA AND WORLDWIDE

On December 31, 2019, China notifies the World Health Organization of a string of respiratory infections in the city of Wuhan, home to some 11 million people. The root virus is unknown and disease experts around the world begin working to identify it. The strain is traced to a seafood market in the city, which is quickly shut down. Some 40 people are initially reported to be infected.
How the coronavirus outbreak is impacting employment and ongoing production will only become apparent from next or the week after next, according to Hildebrandt, since the Chinese government has extended the holidays until February 2 and in some cities until February 9.

The reason is that a large part of the factory workers come from the region around Wuhan, which is almost completely quarantined, says Hildebrandt. Only in the coming week will it become clear how many workers will return to the main production locations in the Shanghai and Beijing areas and in southern China, and to what extent production and thus the international supply chains will be affected by the virus.

Hitting the supply chain

“We see no signs as of now that supply chains will be completely disrupted, even if there are delays,” said Gerhard Wolf, head of foreign trade at the Association for Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA). His credo: No need to panic.

So far, there is no trace of panic among German companies, says Hildebrandt from the German Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. “At the moment they are acting rather calmly, though plans are being drawn up for how to deal with the situation.”

The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) is also taking a careful approach. “It is still far too early to be able to carry out a serious analysis of the economic effects of the coronavirus,” said DIW President Marcel Fratzscher. “If the spread of the coronavirus in China and worldwide can be successfully contained, then the economic costs should be limited and be limited to a short-term loss of production in China.”

Stopping the supply chain

However, should the production stops in China last longer, the international supply chains would be at risk, warns Klaus-Jürgen Gern from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

“China is significant as a supplier to the rest of the world,” said Gern. A long standstill could interrupt supply chains in the chemical, automotive, textile and electronics industries, warn Allianz economists. International companies would no longer get the parts they need and would have to find other suppliers or shut down production.

One that has already been hit is the South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Motor. The company announced on Tuesday it would suspend all production in South Korea later this week. The reason for the suspension is that the cable harnesses required for production, which Hyundai usually gets from China, are just not coming.

 

What Will the Coronavirus Do to the US & Chinese Economy?
by Wolf Richter • Feb 6, 2020 •
Is this the black-swan event people have been predicting for years?

The numbers are getting bigger every day. As of the end of Saturday in China, there have been over 14,000 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, a city with 11 million people, in Hubei province. 304 people have died in China, according to official numbers.

And there are reports coming out that confirm suspicions that official numbers in China may have to be taken with a grain of salt. According to a report by the New York Times today, Chinese authorities silenced doctors and others who were seeing the first symptoms starting in early December. Authorities obfuscated even the basics: for example, they told the public that they closed the food market, where the virus had first infected humans, for renovations.

This crackdown on doctors and others kept people in the dark, prevented them from taking protective measures, delayed an effective public health response, and allowed the virus to spread.

What the Chinese government is still not telling the public, or what it is telling the public that is wrong, just adds to the list of known unknowns that the economy and markets have to deal with.
And now there are fears what unknown unknowns may still be lurking out there that might surprise everyone.

Maybe all this will blow over in a few weeks, and China’s economy goes back to normal, with just another flu-like disease on its hands, running in parallel with the flu.

Or maybe it will drag out and get worse and more complicated and more insidious, as baffled authorities lumber from what with hindsight may look like one wrong decision after another, and then the repercussions are going to spread.

One thing we already know: 14 provinces and cities that account for nearly 70% of China’s GDP have now shut businesses and factories until at least February 9.

In the US, 8 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. In Japan 17. None of these patients have died. But in the Philippines, a Chinese man, traveling from Wuhan, has died of the coronavirus, the first death outside China.

On Friday, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency and said that foreign citizens who’ve traveled anywhere in China within the past 14 days will be denied entry to the US. And it said that US citizens who had traveled in Hubei province will be quarantined for up to 14 days.

We don’t know yet what the coronavirus will end up doing, though we know what the flu virus has already done so far this year in the US alone.

The CDC estimates that this flu season in the US alone, that medical conditions caused by the flu have killed at least 10,000 people. The top end of the CDC’s weekly estimate now sits at 25,000 deaths, with somewhere around 20 million Americans infected with the flu, and we’re only about half-way through the flu season.

Globally, the flu has killed between 290,000 and 650,000 people each flu season in recent times.

But there are differences between the flu and the novel coronavirus.

This coronavirus is new, and there is no vaccine, while the flu is a known issue that kills tens of thousands of people in the US every year, and hundreds of thousands of people globally every year, though there is a vaccine which is only moderately effective, and tens of millions of people in the US alone get sick every year, and miss work and stop shopping and cancel trips.

But because it happens every year, it’s part of the seasonal economic ups and downs, and it’s baked into the cake of life, so to speak, and it’s baked into the economy and into financial markets.

But this coronavirus is new, and it’s in addition to the ravages of the flu. The flu will kill tens of thousands of people in China this flu season. The coronavirus is in addition to that. And preliminary data indicates that the coronavirus death rate is quite a bit higher than the death rate of the flu, though it’s not nearly as high as the death rate of SARS was.

And there is something else that is different – the reaction to the virus by authorities and large and small economic players, spreading across China, from draconian quarantines and lockdowns of entire huge cities and travel restrictions, to closed universities, cafe chains, stores, and manufacturing plants.

Entire transportation systems have gotten shut down. People stopped going places – and this was the Chinese New Year when nearly all of China goes somewhere. And just plain daily life has been disrupted in the affected areas, as the fear of infection is keeping many people at home. And economic activity has dropped.

Economic activity doesn’t need to drop a lot in an economy as vast as China’s before it has an impact globally.

On Monday, February 3, the financial markets in China will reopen, after having been closed since the end of trading on January 23rd for the New Year break. Over the last five trading days before the break, the Shanghai Composite index dropped over 3%.

Markets were supposed to have reopened on Friday, January 31, but authorities extended the national holiday to get a better handle on the markets before they re-open.

Chinese government entities, state-owned financial firms, and regulators, along with big financial market participants will try to keep the bottom from falling out of the markets, as they have done in the past.

Authorities have urged market participants to not panic and to remain calm. China’s securities regulator urged investors to look at the coronavirus “rationally and objectively.” And it urged investors to “adhere to the concept of long-term investment and value investment.”

And the People’s Bank of China said it would drown the market in liquidity over the next few days to prop up the markets.

Nevertheless, I expect some fireworks in Chinese markets on Monday, as markets are trying to price in the known unknowns, and as they’re trying to figure out what the unknown unknowns might be.

Authorities may also counter this with some monetary and fiscal stimulus in order to prevent further slowing of the Chinese economy. The defaults in corporate debt are already spooking said authorities; and at smaller and regional banks, loans have soured to such an extent that bailouts are now happening in a routine manner. The coronavirus comes on top of it.

One thing that is becoming increasingly clear: the reaction to the coronavirus will be a blow to the Chinese economy, at least for the period that these measures are in place, and some of it will percolate around the world.

Transportation and tourism outside China are already being impacted. A number of airlines have canceled flights in and out of China. Foreign citizens who’re coming from China, in particular Chinese citizens, are no longer allowed into a number of countries.

In many places, tourists from China have become the largest group. Suddenly, they’re not showing up. They’ve made reservations, but they’re not coming. This impacts the tourist industries in cities like Paris, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

China has become the largest market in the world for passenger vehicles. Peak sales occurred in 2017, with nearly 25 million cars and light trucks delivered. But in 2018 and 2019, sales fell by a combined 13% from 2017. This year already started out on a bleak note, and then the coronavirus hit.

It is hitting in two ways:

One, auto sales: people have cut back on going out and doing stuff, and buying things, and in some of the most affected areas, auto sales have come to a near-standstill.

And two: production. Auto manufacturing is one of China’s official key industries. All major global automakers have plants in China. Most of the vehicles sold in China are made in China.

Some of the biggest automakers in China, including Volkswagen and GM, have announced that they closed at least some of their plants through February 9. Tesla’s Gigafactory in Shanghai also suspended production before it ever got going properly. And companies across the board have warned that they anticipate disruptions.

The components industry in China is huge. And it faces similar shutdowns that will then translate into supply chain disruptions for automakers.

Research firm IHS Markit said that if the coronavirus spreads rapidly across China, it could entail a further wave of plant closings that might drag into mid-March, and this could slash auto production by as much as 32%.

In terms of global automakers, if the disruption to their global supply chains and the plunge in sales in China lasts much beyond February 9, they’re going to show up in their first-quarter earnings calls, or before. And this includes GM, which is a huge player in China.

The reduction in every-day activity in China and the shutdown of part of the transportation system, including the cancellation of countless flights, is going to impact global demand for crude oil. And this already hit the beaten-up US shale oil industry.

The crude-oil benchmark grade, WTI, was trading at over $60 a barrel at the beginning of the year. It has since then slumped by 15% to below $52 a barrel, the lowest level since early August. This comes at the worst possible time for US shale oil producers, which are already reeling from overproduction, losses, and bankruptcies.

There are other industries that will be impacted by the reaction of authorities and economic players to the coronavirus.

But for once, the big trade deficit that the US has with China ensures that even if demand takes a nose-dive in China, it’s going to hit the US economy to a much smaller extent.

Supply-chain disruptions may become a headache for manufacturers in the US, particularly in industries with sophisticated machined products, such as the auto industry, that cannot be re-routed quickly.

And a general slowdown in the global economy is going to impact the US. Tourism and the entire travel industry, and airlines are going to take a hit, at least temporarily.

But here is the thing: health scares have a tendency to blow over fairly quickly, in terms of their economic impact. In the past, they disrupted things for a few months, and then everyone got used to it and adjusted to it, and companies found partial solutions and workarounds, and life sort of went back to normal.

The flu is a big killer, but has been baked into the economic pie. Companies and people live with it. Other diseases came and went. SARS has essentially disappeared.

Human nature is resilient and resourceful, and economies will get through this.

So I expect a significant impact in China in the first quarter, and I expect a small impact in the US economy. It’s going to put more pain on the US shale oil industry, but it was already in trouble before this started.

And if disruptions drag out, I expect troublesome supply chain issues that will eventually get worked out. Broadly speaking, inventories are high in the US. And there is a buffer for many products.

But the biggest factor is just how concentrated the US economy is on services and on consumer spending – not manufacturing.

So beyond some limited sectors, I don’t expect a huge impact in the overall US economy. I don’t think this is the black-swan event that people have been predicting for years. I expect that the reaction to the coronavirus will eventually settle down. This may happen over the next few weeks, or it may take longer, but it will settle down.

The outbreak of a health threat – whether it’s Ebola, SARS, or the coronavirus – always causes an uproar in the US media, and rightly so because people should know about it. But the economic impact of these health threats in the US – and that’s the key here, in the US – has been only minor in recent times.

The big thing that can kill the US economy is a disease in the financial system, as we have seen. The US economy runs on credit, and when credit gets the flu, as we have seen during the Financial Crisis, when banks and other financial firms threaten to collapse, that’s when all bets for the US economy are off.

What Will the Coronavirus Do to the US & Chinese Economy?

 

Coronavirus: The economic cost is rising in China and beyond
By Andrew Walker
BBC World Service economics correspondent
The furniture store Ikea closed all its 33 shops in China in response to the outbreak
The human cost of the coronavirus outbreak is climbing across China and beyond. The economic cost is also mounting, mainly, but not only, in China.

That damage is, for the most part, not due to the virus itself so much as efforts to prevent it spreading.

There are strict restrictions on moving out of Wuhan, where the outbreak began, a city with a population of 11 million.

The lockdown, also now extended to other parts of Hubei province, prevents business-related travel as well as the movement of goods and workers.

Fear of the virus also means many people will choose to avoid activities they think might expose them to the risk of infection.

So restaurants, cinemas, transport providers, hotels and shops are all quickly feeling the impact.

And the timing of the health crisis, during the lunar New Year break, means those industries have been particularly exposed to commercial losses.

The New Year holiday was extended for a few days by the national Chinese authorities and there have been longer extensions imposed by some provincial authorities, delaying the return to work for some businesses even longer.

Any delay resuming production and selling goods is likely to lead to cash-flow problems, especially for smaller operations.

Many companies will have to continue paying bills, including employees’ pay.

And for manufacturers selling goods abroad, there may be some issues with buyers becoming more reluctant to buy from China.

Herbert Wun, who owns Wing Sang Electrical, which makes products such as hair-straighteners and blow-dryers in Guangdong province, told BBC News, many companies would not have much slack to take this kind of impact, coming, as it did, on top of the US-China trade war.

And the epidemic “will add to the pressure on customers trying to shift their supply chain away from China”.

The impact is not confined to China.

International retailers have closed operations in China – the furniture seller Ikea and the coffee shop chain Starbucks, for example.

Several overseas airlines have stopped flights to China and international hotel chains have been offering refunds.

And beyond that, there is growing concern about integrated international supply chains.

China has a much bigger role in these networks than it did at the time of the last major health problem that emerged from the country – the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) virus 17 years ago.

Hyundai, of South Korea, has suspended its car production because of problems with the supply of parts from its operation in China – an early warning sign of possible extensive disruption ahead.

China is an important supplier for the global motor industry and the electronics sector.

Many mobile phones and computers are made in China or at least have components manufactured there.

Financial markets have also felt the effect of the health crisis.

Stock markets around the world are lower than they were two weeks ago. China’s market fell 8% on the first day of trading after the holiday.

There has been a particularly marked impact on the prices of industrial commodities, as China is such an important buyer.

Crude oil hit its lowest level in more than a year.

It has dropped by about 15% in the past two weeks, reflecting declining demand from China – underlined by reports the country’s leading refiner, Sinopec, is cutting back.

A group of oil exporting nations is considering production cuts in an effort to reverse the price fall.

Copper is also cheaper – by about 13% over the past two weeks.

It is an important material for the construction industry, which is also sure to be affected in China.

Many of the suppliers of these commodities are emerging and developing economies.

It is early days to attempt to quantify the likely economic effects.

Much will depend on how well the Chinese authorities are able to contain the virus.

But some forecasters have made rather tentative efforts to put some numbers on the impact.

One example is the consultancy Oxford Economics which predicts the Chinese economy will grow less than 4% in the first quarter of 2020 from a year earlier.

For the full year, the forecast is average growth of 5.6%.

For both figures, the previous, pre-virus forecast was 6%.

It also expects the global economy to grow slightly less – by 0.2 percentage points – than it would have done otherwise.

But Oxford Economic says this is all based on an assumption the “worst case scenario” will be avoided. So there is a risk of the economic damage turning out to be more severe.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51386575

 

Visits: 203

LIFE WITHOUT A EU – WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER BREXIT

After years of long debates and changing governments UK managed to exit from the EU. All aspects of this exit have been deeply analyzed over the recent years. And the latest thoughts of some respectable journalists are as follows regarding the Brexit;

 

Brexit: Will it be a Canadian or an Australian ending?

By Laura Kuenssberg (bbc.com)

A large Commons majority will make it easier for the PM to withstand the inevitable trade-offs ahead
First “Brexit meant Brexit”. Then it was the “exact same benefits”. Then it was “frictionless trade”.

Then it was a reluctant acknowledgement that to get a deal done with the EU, there would have to be some friction, some customs checks, but the promise was they would be minimal.

And never fear, there was still the claim during the election that there was “absolutely zero” chance of failing to get a trade deal by the end of the year, that would guard against some of the risks of leaving the EU.

Now today, as the prime minister acknowledged, “we have made a choice”.

With a thumping majority in his back pocket, he wants a Canada-style deal with the EU, a free trade agreement where the two sides – after many years – agree not to charge taxes on imports or to restrict the amount of business that can be done. And, oh, he wants it wrapped up by the end of the year.

It is a significant understatement to say that the Tory Party has been on a journey when it comes to what it wants in the long term from Brexit for how we trade with the EU.

Theresa May was accused by her former chief of staff, Nick Timothy, as always seeing Brexit as a damage limitation exercise.

Whether that’s fair or not, it is certainly the case that for the first couple of years after the referendum, the government’s agony was largely because the then prime minister was on a quest to avoid too much disruption and it drove Brexiteers round the twist.

But Boris Johnson’s team are looking through the other end of the kaleidoscope.

They seem to prioritise the potential, if uncertain, wins of Brexit over protecting against the guessable losses. The ability to do things differently is, for them, the point of having left. And that’s why, at the moment, the prime minister is adamant the UK, newly sovereign at the end of this year, simply would not contemplate letting anyone else tell the country what to do.

This philosophy, which was absolutely obvious during the election, smacks headlong though into the EU’s opening gambit in these vital trade talks.

It’s simple from their point of view as well. The further the UK tacks away from the EU the more complicated it will be to do business, and the less willing they will be to preserve access to their vast market.

Even though Boris Johnson suggested it was outrageous to imagine that the UK was behind the rest of the EU on standards, Brussels does worry about the UK undercutting their businesses, becoming a more nimble competitor ready to grab billions from across the Channel.

So if they’re to play nice in terms of doing a deal, they want the government to give legal guarantees that they will stick to the letter of EU rules. If Boris Johnson sticks and says ‘no’, they might say ‘non’ to a deal altogether.

Of course there is lots of hard bargaining ahead. The kind of deal that is reached or not reached could have an impact on millions of jobs here and across the continent and billions of pounds of business. And yes, it is in both sides’ interests to get a deal done (you’ll have heard that before).

But gone today was Boris Johnson’s previous breezy optimism about there being “zero chance” of there being no deal by the end of the year. In its place a new claim that if there is no “Canada” deal, there could instead be an “Australian” deal.

Let’s be clear about one thing. There is no Australian free trade deal with the EU. Negotiations started on one last year, and at the moment the two sides trade under a decade old much looser partnership while trying to thrash through issues from fuel emissions to what producers on opposite sides of the world should be allowed to call their cheese.

And for Number 10, this sudden reference to an “Australian deal” seems to be an effort to rebrand what the government’s written statement later said was a relationship “based simply on the Withdrawal Agreement deal agreed in October 2019, including the Protocol in Ireland/Northern Ireland”.

In other words, if there isn’t a comprehensive trade deal by the end of the year, the UK would move to a situation trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. This would mean taxes on exports and customs checks which, if it came to pass, could be massively disruptive for businesses and very costly for the economy.

An “Australia-style deal” sounds a lot less scary than the “no deal” circumstance that politicians have talked about for so long. And yes, the issues on paying the EU bill, citizens’ rights and the Irish border were all settled in the last few years and the overall divorce deal agreed before our departure last week.

But when it comes to the trade arrangements, it is not the case that as one government official tried to suggest “no deal is not a concept” .

There is no substantial agreement on how the UK will do business with the EU in the years to come. It will take time. There will be big political rows ahead. Right now it seems like the two sides are very far apart.

But don’t expect either Number 10 or the EU negotiating team to be particularly rattled by the tough talking by their opponents across the table. It’s not surprising that there is a certain amount of chest beating going on. It will be a while before the talks properly begin.

And the EU cannot, this time around, accuse the UK of not being clear about what it wants. That common claim was made repeatedly during the early stages of Theresa May’s negotiation. That can’t be made this time. There is an obvious approach and a tight deadline.

And however definitive the prime minister was today, the Tories’ approach to the kind of deal they will ultimately strike may have more evolutions yet.

With a majority of 80, Mr Johnson doesn’t have to worry, like his predecessor, about being able to cope with trade-offs. But he’ll be all too aware that the kind of deal he can do, and how long it takes to do it, will be a big factor in defining his political success or failure.

P.S. One former minister suggests waspishly that by suggesting we could leave with a relationship just based on the Withdrawal Agreement, that the government has already got its capitulation in early. Under their interpretation, just basing it on the Withdrawal Agreement would mean prolonging the status quo of the transition period, where we pay into the budget and follow the EU rules.

This, of course, is the opposite to what the government says it is after. But these trade talks will go through many, many machinations and on both sides, smoke and mirrors may apply!

 

Brexit: What will change after Friday, 31 January?

Now that the UK has formally left the European Union, it immediately enters an 11-month transition period.

During the transition the UK will continue to obey EU rules and pay money to the EU. Most things will stay the same but there will be some changes:

1. UK MEPs lose their seats

Nigel Farage celebrating with newly-elected Brexit Party MEPSImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe Brexit Party won the most UK seats in the May 2019 European elections

Familiar faces such as Nigel Farage and Ann Widdecombe are among the UK’s 73 MEPs who will automatically lose their seats in the European Parliament.

That’s because, at the moment of Brexit, the UK will leave all of the EU’s political institutions and agencies.

However, in addition to the UK following EU rules during the transition period, the European Court of Justice will continue to have the final say over legal disputes.

2. No more EU summits

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have to be specially invited if he wants to join other leaders at EU Council summits in the future.

British ministers will also no longer attend regular EU meetings that decide things such as fishing limits.

3. We will be hearing a lot about trade

The UK will be able to start talking to countries around the world about setting new rules for buying and selling goods and services.

It has not been allowed to hold formal trade negotiations with countries like the US and Australia while it remained an EU member. Brexit supporters argue that having the freedom to set its own trade policy will boost the UK’s economy.

There’s also a lot to be discussed with the EU. Agreeing a UK-EU trade deal is a top priority, so extra charges on goods and other trade barriers aren’t needed when the transition ends.

If any trade deals are reached, they won’t be able to start until the transition period ends.

4. The UK’s passports will change colour

British passports
Image captionBlue passports were replaced in 1988 with the burgundy design

Blue passports will be making a return, more than 30 years after they were replaced by the current burgundy design.

Announcing the change in 2017, then Immigration Minister, Brandon Lewis, praised the return to the “iconic” blue-and-gold design, first used in 1921.

The new colour will be phased in over a number of months, with all new passports issued in blue by the middle of the year.

Existing burgundy passports will continue to be valid.

5. Brexit coins

Sajid Javid with the new coinImage copyrightPA MEDIA
Image captionThe coins had to be re-made after Brexit was delayed

About three million commemorative 50p Brexit coins bearing the date “31 January” and the inscription: “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations”, will enter circulation on Friday.

The coin has received a mixed reaction, with some Remain supporters saying they will refuse to accept it.

The government had planned to introduce a similar coin on 31 October, the date Brexit was previously meant to happen.

However, those coins had to be melted down and recycled after the deadline was extended.

6. The UK’s Brexit department shuts down

The team that handled the UK-EU negotiations and no-deal preparations will disband on Brexit day.

The Department for Exiting the European Union was set up by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2016.

For the upcoming talks, the UK’s negotiating team will be based in Downing Street.

7. Germany won’t extradite its citizens to the UK

It won’t be possible for some suspected criminals to be brought back to the UK if they flee to Germany.

Germany’s constitution does not allow its citizens to be extradited, unless it’s to another EU country.

“This exception cannot apply any more after the UK has left EU,” a spokesman from the German Federal Ministry of Justice told BBC News.

It’s unclear if the same restrictions will apply to other countries. Slovenia, for example, says the situation is complicated, while the European Commission was unable to provide comment.

The UK Home Office says the European Arrest Warrant will continue to apply during the transition period. (That means Germany will be able to extradite non-German citizens.)

However, it adds that if a country’s laws prevent extradition to the UK it “will be expected to take over the trial or sentence of the person concerned”.

Seven things that will stay the same…

Because the transition period begins immediately after Brexit, the vast majority of other things remain the same – at least until 31 December 2020 including:

1. Travel

UK nationals will still be treated the same as EU nationals during the transition

Flights, boats and trains will operate as usual.

When it comes to passport control, during the transition period, UK nationals will still be allowed to queue in the areas reserved for EU arrivals only.

2. Driving licences and pet passports

As long as they are valid, these will continue to be accepted.

3. European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

EHICs will still be valid during the transition

These are the cards that provide UK nationals with state-provided medical treatment in case of illness or accident.

They can be used in any EU country (as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and will continue to be valid during the transition period.

4. Living and working in the EU

Freedom of movement will continue to apply during the transition, so UK nationals will still be able to live and work in the EU as they currently do.

The same applies for EU nationals wanting to live and work in the UK.

5. Pensions

UK nationals living in the EU will continue to receive their state pension and will also receive the annual increase.

6. Budget contributions

The UK will continue to pay into the EU budget during the transition. This means existing schemes, paid for by EU grants, will continue to be funded.

7. Trade

UK-EU trade will continue without any extra charges or checks being introduced.

Visits: 195

Cyprus: Situation Status Quo

Cyprus: Situation Status Quo

By: Seyfi Tashan

In his article that appeared in the Hürriyet Daily News of February 4th, 2020 columnist Yusuf Kanlı analyzes the pre-Presidential election programs of political parties in Northern Cyprus and informs us that a great majority of party leaders support federation as a solution to the Cyprus problem.

On the other hand, the Greek Cypriots also support a federal solution. But the contents of federation claims on both sides contrast each other. While Turkish Cypriot federation supporters demand a federation based on the principle of absolute equality, the Greek Cypriot side wants to put the role of the Turks to a minority status under the title of federation. Many countries in the world support the Greek interpretation while the UN’s attitude is unclear and shifting all the time, postponing a clear decision since the leaders of the two peoples in the Island began to negotiate a solution almost 70 years ago. Under these conditions and due to the firm attitude of Turkey on equality in Cyprus even though not clearly declared support of the Western World the current situation cannot be expected to change in the near future.

It is likely that hydrocarbon discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean have made it more lucrative for Greeks to not to change their position and a s a result this complex situation in Cyprus cannot be expected to change in the near future. Therefore, the current situation in Cyprus, a Turkish Cypriot State in the North and a Greek Cypriot State in the South, seems to have become the status quo and we must look at the future accordingly.

Visits: 403

TRUMP’S MIDDLE EAST PLAN WITH A VIEW OF ZIONISM

TRUMP’S MIDDLE EAST PLAN WITH A VIEW OF ZIONISM

by Seyfi Taşhan

 

In one of my contributions that appeared in the Herald Tribune I was answering a question about Turkey’s relations with Israel. My answer to the question was that Turkey has no problem with the Jews and owed empathy and support for their tragedy in Europe before and during WWII. But Turkey cannot be expected to support Israel’s expansionist policies, our hope for a solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict ended after Israel first began to expand beyond the 1967 borders. My statement that Turkey cannot support Israel’s aggression was based on this Israeli expansionism. In a meeting with several Israeli think tank members, I said, Turks lost a multinational empire, but they established a state based on the national pact, which defines Turkey’s current borders. The Israeli participants said; you believe in Ataturk’s ideas but we firmly believe in Zionism.

This statement was my belief in that Israel would fulfill its Zionist tenets and aims. During brief of history since the foundation of Israel many attempts were made to contain Israel within the final borders. But all failed to moderate Israel’s obstinacy and narrow mindness buried in Zionism tenets. Palestine now looks like a panther skin. Palestinians map with all the dots at Israel settlements. Can US President Trump’s proposal provide sufficient map clean of Israel settlements? Can this settlement proposal plan home any references to millions of Palestinian refugees in camps in Lebanon and in Jordan? Can the plan guarantee secure borders for Palestine, despite Israelis persistence on Zionism.

Lastly, President Trump said that 20 billion dollars for Palestine would be collected from European Countries. But would any European country agree to pay more money than they already paid for reparations to Israel? I believe that these questions will demonstrate how baseless and ignorant is the proposed plan. Any person with knowledge of Israeli expansionism and mercy in their hearts for Arabs in Palestinian camps will keep themselves away from this play of U.S. and Israel elections.

Visits: 199

TRUMP’S PLAN FOR JERUSALEM: A TRAP OR A REAL SOLUTION?

At the last week of January 2020, US President Trump announced a plan for bringing permanent peace to the Israel-Palestenian conflict that continues for decades. That plan has been declared, as the deal of the century but many critics claim that it is a one sided plan mainly for the benefit of Israel and Palestinians have nothing to agree within. We have tried to gather information from the respectable sources to deeply analyze that plan.

 

Jan. 29, 2020;

President Trump stood alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the White House on Tuesday to reveal a long-awaited plan intended to resolve generations of conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

Noticeably absent from that announcement, though, was any Palestinian representation, and Palestinian leaders have flatly rejected the plan. The proposed settlement strongly favors Israeli priorities rather than having both sides make significant concessions.

Mr. Trump vowed at the start of his presidency that he would negotiate a “bigger and better deal” to broker peace than anyone could imagine. Three years later, experts say that the plan, developed under the supervision of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, falls remarkably short of that goal and is unlikely ever to become the basis for a peace agreement.

Here are some of the plan’s main features.

What does the plan say?

While Mr. Trump’s proposal is the latest in a series of United States-brokered attempts to forge peace between Israelis and Palestinians, his framework was a sharp departure from decades of American policy. The United States has long voiced support for the creation of a Palestinian state with only slight adjustments to the Israeli boundaries that existed before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, when Israel wrested the West Bank from Jordan, and Gaza from Egypt.

Instead, the 181-page Trump plan proposes a West Bank riddled with interconnected chunks of Israeli territory containing Jewish settlements, many of them largely encircled by Palestinian lands. For the Palestinians, it would mean giving up a claim to large amounts of West Bank land — including places where Israel has built settlements over the past half-century and strategic areas along the Jordanian border. Most of the world regards the settlements as illegal.

 The framework also sets aside the longtime goal of a fully autonomous Palestinian state. Instead, Mr. Trump vaguely promised that Palestinians could “achieve an independent state of their very own” but gave few details, while Mr. Netanyahu said the deal provided a “pathway to a Palestinian state” with significant caveats.

The Palestinians do not subscribe to the plan, though the deal provides for a four-year window for them to engage in renewed settlement talks. During that time, Israel would refrain from constructing settlements in those parts of the West Bank that the plan has designated for Palestinians.

Previous American proposals spoke of uprooting tens of thousands of Israelis from the settlements to return those areas to the Palestinians for inclusion in their state, but the Trump plan promises to leave both settlers and Palestinians in their current homes. Rather, it maps out a series of linked settlements and other areas that would officially become Israeli territory in the midst of the West Bank.

The plan also envisaged a Palestinian capital in “eastern Jerusalem,” on the outer edges of the city beyond Israel’s security barrier, while guaranteeing Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem. The city is a holy site for the Jewish, Muslim and Christian faiths and has long been a sticking point in peace negotiations.

Mr. Netanyahu later clarified that the proposed Palestinian capital would be in Abu Dis, a Palestinian village on the outskirts of the holy city.

The plan proposes transportation links between the unconnected Palestinian territories in the West Bank and Gaza. But the element of the plan that may prove to be its only lasting effect is American recognition of Israel’s claim over the Jordan Valley and all Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

 How would this redraw the map of Israel?

The proposal gives American approval to Israel’s plan to redefine the country’s borders and formally annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley that it has long sought to control.

That would leave the West Bank portion of any potential Palestinian state surrounded on all sides by Israel. Israeli forces seized the West Bank from Jordan during the 1967 war, and Israeli settlements have steadily encroached on the region over the decades since, a move largely condemned internationally.

Mr. Netanyahu caused controversy in September when he vowed, while running for re-election, to annex the Jordan Valley, a strategically critical chunk of the occupied West Bank nestled against the border with Jordan. On Tuesday, he made it clear that he saw President Trump’s plan as giving legitimacy to claiming Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley as Israeli territory.

“For too long, the very heart of the land of Israel where our patriots prayed, our prophets preached and our kings ruled has been outrageously branded as ‘illegally occupied territory,’” Mr. Netanyahu said. “Well today, Mr. President, you are puncturing this big lie.”

Mr. Netanyahu said that his cabinet could move within days to assert sovereignty over those areas, but the decision could be subject to legal challenges because the current government is an interim administration.

 What has the Palestinian reaction been?

Despite Mr. Trump’s assertion that the deal was “a win-win opportunity” for both sides, Palestinians have largely rejected it.

Mahmoud Abbas, the 84-year-old leader of the Palestinian Authority, condemned the plan in a speech on Tuesday evening, calling it a “conspiracy” not worthy of serious consideration.

“We say a thousand times over: no, no, no,” Mr. Abbas said, speaking from Ramallah in the West Bank.

The Palestinian leadership cut off communication with the Trump administration in 2017 after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and later moved the American Embassy to the city. On the streets of Gaza and the West Bank, protests against the plan broke out on Tuesday.

The reaction from other Arab governments has been mixed. None of the United States’ Arab allies have formally endorsed the plan or committed to ushering it into reality, though ambassadors from Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates attended the announcement.

 Was the focus peace or politics?

David Friedman, the United States ambassador to Israel, said in a call with reporters after the plan was announced that the big reveal was timed in a “nonpolitical way.”

He said that the plan was “fully baked” before an Israeli election last April but that American officials had held off introducing it then. When that election produced no government, the United States again postponed any announcement until after a second election in September, he said.

Now, as Israel approaches a third election in less than a year, which could also fail to produce a government, Mr. Friedman said that the time had been right to introduce the proposal. He noted that American officials had also discussed the plans with Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White Party and Mr. Netanyahu’s main rival in the March 2 election.

But experts say that the timing of the rollout has more to do with the domestic politics of the United States and Israel than with resolving the conflict, with Mr. Trump facing an impeachment trial and Mr. Netanyahu facing trial on corruption charges.

 William F. Wechsler, director of Middle East programs at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research organization, said in an emailed statement that the plan was unlikely to have a major impact in the short term.

“The announcement’s chosen timing, specific staging, limited participants, and indeed its substance make clear that it has less to do with a good-faith effort to reach peace between Israelis and Palestinians,” Mr. Wechsler said, “and more to do with the immediate legal and electoral challenges that confront both leaders.”

You can find the original text at:

 

Nir Hasson from haaretz.com interprets the sitaution as follows;

A bulldozer in a china shop. That’s how the section of U.S. President Donald Trump’s peace plan on Jerusalem feels. The authors of the plan talk about the need to treat the issue of Jerusalem’s holy sites with “utmost sensitivity,” but they are brutally trampling over the sensitive, complex and dangerous problems. It shows a minimal understanding of the city, does not delve into details and is rife with major contradictions.

For example, the plan declares the status quo in the holy sites will be maintained: “In particular the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif should continue uninterrupted.” But in the next paragraph it says: “People of every faith should be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, in a manner that is fully respectful to their religion, taking into account the times of each religion’s prayers and holidays, as well as other religious factors.”

But the most important section of the unwritten status quo on the Temple Mount is that Jews and other non-Muslims have no right to pray there. This status quo was approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, in his own voice, in 2015. So what is the significance of the status quo if everyone has the right to pray on the Temple Mount?

The authors of the American plan totally accept the view that Israel has the right to continue to keep all the holy sites. This right, according to the authors of the peace plan, who base themselves on Netanyahu here, stems not only from Israel’s ties to these holy sites but also because it is the only ruler that safeguarded the freedom of worship for all religions in Jerusalem. As a result, the plan concludes that Israel should continue to maintain the Holy Basin area.

The plan even includes a list of the 35 holy sites in the city, including the City of David, the Pool of Siloam and numerous churches. For the Palestinians: “Licenses shall be provided to Palestinian tour guides to operate tours in the Old City of Jerusalem as well as at sites sacred to Christianity and Islam in other areas of Jerusalem.” In return, they are supposed to give up what is considered to be a religious symbol and the most important center of their nationalism.

According to the Trump peace plan, almost all of Jerusalem will remain in Israeli hands, except for two small corners: The Shoafat refugee camp and Kafr Akeb in the north of the city. These two neighborhoods, which are within Jerusalem’s municipal borders, were cut off from the capital about 15 years ago when the separation barrier was constructed. As a result of this isolation, Israeli authorities almost completely withdrew from these neighborhoods and anarchy reigned.

As a result, huge apartment buildings were constructed there illegally, and today some 120,000 to 140,000 people live there, most of whom have Israeli residency. In other words, one out of every three Palestinians in Jerusalem lives in these two neighborhoods, which will be left outside of the city according to the plan.

The plan proposes that the Palestinians make these two ill-fated neighborhoods – along with Abu Dis in eastern Jerusalem – their capital. The plan is even surprisingly generous to the Palestinians in the way it allows them to call this capital city al-Quds, “or another name selected by the State of Palestine.” To emphasize their generosity, this phrase is even repeated three times in the document.

Residents of these neighborhoods beyond the fence were shocked by this part of the plan. For a long time, they have feared Israel was plotting to cut them off from their city. Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin even promoted such a plan. On Tuesday, residents of the Shoafat refugee camp and Kafr Akeb could be heard panicking and many were asking if they needed to start looking for apartments inside Jerusalem, or somewhere else in Israel, so as not to lose their rights.

These are Palestinians from Jerusalem, who moved to these neighborhoods because of a housing shortage in East Jerusalem. Their work, schools, health clinics, mosques and relatives are in Jerusalem. If a border is established between them and all this, it will be disastrous for them – and for us.

To calm friends of mine from there, I sent them a copy of the Basic Law on Jerusalem. The law was advanced enthusiastically by the right and it is now the strongest legal barrier to implementing the plan in Jerusalem. The Basic Law on Jerusalem is the most entrenched law in Israel’s law books. If the Israeli government does want to transfer the neighborhoods beyond the fence to the Palestinian Authority or Palestinian state, it will need to approve it with a super-majority of at least 80 Knesset members, and also through a referendum. It seems that for now, the Palestinians in the refugee camp can stay calm. Jerusalem city council member Arieh King has already attacked the plan for dividing Jerusalem.

What will happen to the 200,000 Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem, inside the fence? The plan proposes that they choose between remaining residents of Israel, or becoming citizens of the Palestinian state. No, there is no explanation as to how it will work or who will provide them with services. Which police will serve them? For which parliament will they vote and what authority will that parliament will have over their lives? Or they can become Israeli citizens. As of today, Israel says they have the possibility of becoming citizens, but this is an empty declaration, because the process of receiving citizenship is so difficult and long that it is irrelevant for the great majority of the residents of East Jerusalem.

Nowhere is the plan’s disconnect from reality more apparent than in the section addressing a “special tourist area.” This section states that Israel will allow Palestinians to develop a special tourism zone in Atarot in the far north of Jerusalem, but is located on the Israeli side of the separation barrier – and the future border, according to Trump’s peace plan. It is completely clear that whoever wrote this section has never visited Atarot. The neighborhood is made up of an ugly and neglected industrial zone, the Qalandiya checkpoint, a waste separation facility, a huge concrete wall and an abandoned airport. Why would someone want to visit there?

We can continue analyzing the absurdities of the plan, the lacunae and contradictions – but it would be a waste of time. This proposed peace plan needs to be examined according to only one single measure: Today, two babies were born in the Hadassah University Hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem, one Israeli and one Palestinian. Will this peace plan guarantee them that in another 20 years the two young people will have equal rights? Will both of them have a country? Will both of them be able to influence their own lives by voting? Will they have the right of equal access to resources, space, self-determination, freedom of movement, freedom of worship and dignity?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then this is not a peace plan and it is not a solution – it is part of the problem.

For the original text go to: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-trump-s-deal-offers-east-jerusalem-palestinians-a-grim-vision-of-the-future-1.8469393

BBC sees the situation as follows;

Israel’s prime minister called the plan the “opportunity of the century” and said he was willing to endorse it as the basis for negotiations with the Palestinians.

But the Palestinian president dismissed the plan as the “slap of the century”.

So what is Mr Trump proposing on core issues that divide the two sides?

Palestinian statehood

The Palestinians have long sought to establish an independent, sovereign state in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, which were occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War. Israeli prime ministers have previously accepted the notion of a Palestinian state existing alongside Israel.

The White House said Mr Trump’s plan offered “a viable path to Palestinian statehood”. It “designates land reasonably comparable in size to the West Bank and Gaza for the establishment of the State of Palestine” and would “more than double the size of the land currently used by the Palestinians”.

Israel has agreed to a four-year “land freeze” to secure the possibility of a two-state solution, according to the White House. Mr Trump said that during this time, when the land allocated under his plan for a new Palestinian state would “remain open and undeveloped”, the Palestinians would be able to study the deal, negotiate with Israel, and “achieve the criteria for statehood”.

Mr Trump said the criteria included “adopting basic laws enshrining human rights; protecting against financial and political corruption; stopping the malign activities of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other enemies of peace; ending the incitement of hatred against Israel; and permanently halting the financial compensation to terrorists”.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) said the US plan “recognises Israel’s illegal colonisation and annexation of occupied lands belonging to the State of Palestine”, while Israeli human rights group B’Tselem warned that Palestinians would be “relegated to small, enclosed, isolated enclaves, with no control over their lives”.

Jerusalem

Both Israel and the Palestinians hold competing claims to the ancient city. Israel – which occupied the formerly Jordanian-held eastern part in 1967, and effectively annexed it in 1980 in a move not recognised internationally – regards the whole of Jerusalem as its capital.

Palestinian leaders want East Jerusalem – which includes the Old City and major Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy sites, and is home to about 350,000 Palestinians and 200,000 Jewish settlers – to be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Mr Trump’s plan says: “Jerusalem will remain the sovereign capital of the State of Israel, and it should remain an undivided city.”

It adds: “The sovereign capital of the State of Palestine should be in the section of East Jerusalem located in all areas east and north” of Israel’s West Bank barrier, including Kafr Aqab, the eastern part of Shuafat, and Abu Dis.

Map of Jerusalem
Presentational white space

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who broke off contacts with the Trump administration in 2017 when it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, insisted that a Palestinian state without East Jerusalem was impossible. “Jerusalem is not for sale,” he said.

Mr Trump’s plan also says Israel will “continue to safeguard Jerusalem’s holy sites and will guarantee freedom of worship” for people of all faiths.

The plan proposes that the “status quo” at the key holy site in Jerusalem known to Jews as the Temple Mount and al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims is preserved.

Borders

The Palestinians insist on borders based on ceasefire lines which separated Israel and East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza between 1949 and 1967.

Israel says those lines are militarily indefensible and were never intended to be permanent. Its leaders have not previously said where the borders should be, other than making clear that the eastern border should be along the River Jordan.

The White House said it “reached an understanding with Israel regarding a map setting forth borders for a two-state solution”. A joint committee will be formed to “convert the conceptual map into a more detailed and calibrated rendering so that recognition can be immediately achieved”, according to Mr Trump.

The president’s map showed 15 Israeli “enclave communities” – currently Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank – that would be located inside the future Palestinian state and be connected to the rest of Israel by access roads.

Map showing Donald Trump's plan for a State of Palestine
white space

In exchange for letting the settlements remain, the Palestinians would be given territory in what is now Israel that adjoins the West Bank, as well as two large enclaves in the Negev desert, near the border with Egypt, connected by road to Gaza. Gaza itself would be linked to the West Bank by a tunnel.

Settlements

Since 1967, Israel has built about 140 Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as 121 outposts – settlements not authorised by the government. They have become home to some 600,000 people.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this. Palestinians say all settlements must be removed for a Palestinian state to be viable. Mr Netanyahu has vowed not only to never uproot any settlements but to bring them under Israeli sovereignty.

The White House said that “neither Palestinians nor Israelis will be uprooted from their homes”. Mr Trump said the US would “recognise Israeli sovereignty over the territory that my vision provides to be part of the State of Israel”.

Under Mr Trump’s plan, Israel will “incorporate the vast majority of Israeli settlements into contiguous Israeli territory” and “Israeli enclaves located inside contiguous Palestinian territory will become part of the State of Israel and be connected to it through an effective transportation system”.

Mr Netanyahu told reporters that the Israeli cabinet would vote on Sunday on whether to start the process of applying Israeli sovereignty to the settlements, and to parts of the Jordan Valley allocated to Israel under Mr Trump’s plan.

Map of the West Bank settlements
Presentational white space

Jordan Valley

The Jordan Valley is a fertile strip of land running along the border with Jordan that makes up almost 30% of the West Bank. It is sparsely populated – home to around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Jewish settlers. Palestinians say the valley would form an integral part of the land that they want for a future state.

Israeli leaders see the Jordan Valley as a vital security buffer with the Arab world and have held that Israel would maintain some kind of military control there under any peace deal with the Palestinians. Mr Netanyahu has promised to apply Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.

Mr Trump’s plan states: “The Jordan Valley, which is critical for Israel’s national security, will be under Israeli sovereignty.”

Refugees

The United Nations says it supports 5.5 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Most are the descendants of people who fled or were expelled during the Arab-Israeli war that followed Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948.

Palestinians insist on their right to return to their former homes, but Israel says they are not entitled to, arguing that such a move would overwhelm it demographically and lead to its end as a Jewish state.

The White House said that under Mr Trump’s plan, “Palestinian refugees will be given a choice to live within the future State of Palestine, integrate into the countries where they currently live, or resettle in a third country”.

The US will work with the international community to establish “a generous trust to aid in the process of resettling refugees”, it added.

Recognition

Israel insists any peace deal must include Palestinian recognition of it as the “nation-state of the Jewish people”. Without this, it argues, Palestinians will continue to press their own claims to the land, causing the conflict to endure.

The Palestinians say that what Israel calls itself is its own business, but that to recognise it as the Jewish state would discriminate against Israel’s Arab population of Palestinian origin, who are Muslims, Christians and Druze.

The White House said Mr Trump’s plan aimed to “achieve mutual recognition of the State of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people and the future State of Palestine as the nation-state of the Palestinian people”.

Security

Mr Netanyahu has said any Palestinian state should be demilitarised with the powers to govern itself but not to threaten Israel.

Mr Abbas has expressed support for a demilitarised Palestinian state and proposed that an international force patrol it indefinitely, with troops positioned at all border crossings, and within Jerusalem.

The White House said Mr Trump’s plan provided for “a demilitarised Palestinian state living peacefully alongside Israel, with Israel retaining security responsibility west of the Jordan river”. The Palestinians would work with the US and Israel to “assume more security responsibility as Israel reduces its security footprint”.

Mr Netanyahu said the plan would give Israel “a permanent eastern border to defend ourselves”.

He stressed that the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip and has fought three wars with Israel since 2008, would be disarmed. Hamas said the talk of it disarming was “delusional”.

You may find the original story by this link;

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51299145

 

 

Visits: 235

FOREIGN POLICY INTERN LETTERS

Ege Eralp

European Union’s Enlargement on Balkans and Russia as a Great Opposition

 

European Union is an organization that aspiring to unite democratic European countries in an union and improve their citizens’ living standards in a basic scale. If we take Europe’s history as an example which contains full of wars, creating a cooperation system was very difficult for them. But with the innovations and developments most importantly on single market which enables the free circulation of capital, employment and commodity, they managed to maintain peace and prosperity on Europe. With the increasing development rate of European Union, their plans on extending its scope became more of an issue because with an enlargement, the European Union’s prosperity could grow and provide better conditions to its members. But before examining the EU’s enlargement, we need to take a closer look to the meaning of “enlargement” on multinational organizations’ scale.On multinational organizations scale, especially European Union in this study, most of the time “enlargement” means prosperity. With the new participants (it could be a country, a company, an association, etc.) the union’s sphere of influence enlarges, thus its capability on providing development and providing market profit improves. Therefore, the enlargement of a multinational organization is an important achievement to procure.

European Union is focusing on an enlargement mainly because the factors we mentioned above. Chances of extending the free market and its profit, and also single market. With the enlargement of “the single market”, “innovative business models could improve, retailers could do business in more extensive areas”[1]. In the meantime, the improvements on free and single market could provide a basis for prosperity and opportunities for both European businesses and citizens.  Also with the enlargement, EU could ensure the peace and stability in its surrounding regions. By this means, the European Union can gain strength and pursue its interests. With all of these advantages and benefits of the enlargement, European Union’s long-term objectives on the enlargement seems judicious.

  

  • Why Western Balkans are Very Important for the EU Enlargement?

            In the EU’s plans on enlargement, Western Balkans plays an important role for their goals. Approximately for the past 15 years, the European Union has been contemplating and planning the prospect of membership of the Western Balkans countries. Due to this, relationship between the EU and the Western Balkans taking shape from this situation. The European Union’s enlargement plans on Balkans are mainly based on the ground of EU’s desire of protecting its political deepening process against the conflicts and regional wars which taking place in Balkans.Before the 2003, relations between these two side were not that good. In the 1990’s Yugoslavia fell apart, the state authority broke down in 1997 in Albania, a civil war just barely averted in Macedonia in 2001 and the idea of nationalism in Serbia and Crotia created an autocracy[2]. Therefore, the criteria which European Union stipulates for the membership was excessively impossible to fulfill by the Western Balkans countries, and beside that, most of them also did not want to become a member of the Euopean Union mainly because of their communist background. But after the death of Crotian dictator Franjo Tudjman in 1999 and the ouster of the Milosevic regime in Serbia, a new democratic chapter seemed to be opening within the EU and the Balkans. In the sequel, with the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, some type of social contract constituted between the Balkan states and the European Union, and this contract seemed as it will be well suited for the consolidation of democracy in the post-Yugoslav space. Together with social contract which came up with the Shessaloniki Summit, European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy became the main topic in relations between the Balkans and due to this policy, EU subsequently deployed civilian and military missions in Balkan countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Macedonia. Ever since the starting of these missions, the European Union viewed these countries throughout the lens of EU enlargement. The CSDP of the EU seemed as successfully delivered and no major violence has occured in the region since 2000’s, except some little incidents. All of the countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania and Serbia have democratic institutions and regular elections nowadays. Since the early 2000’s, power just has passed peacefully, democratically and regularly between government and opposition in the countries which I mentioned above.

 

 

  • Changing Aspects of EU Enlargement

Today with the current circumstances, the sense of optimism on EU’s enlargement and relations between Balkans which became more essential with the important developments that started in the early 2000’s, seems like disappearing. There is a policy drift on the EU side and a regression in the “Western Balkan 6” think tanks. Most of the powerful members of the European Union have turned against the idea of enlargement. Member countries like Netherlands, Austria and the France which was always agrees with the opinion of enlargement are now stopped supporting the enlargement. More importantly the United Kingdom, which is the main supporter of enlargement, is on the brink of departing the EU. This change of mind mainly depends on hostile public opinion towards enlargement in leading member states and this ideational change creates a labefaction on EU’s strategic commitment to enlargement. With the ups and downs on popular or elite opinions for enlargement in the leading members, the European Union could not manage to reevaluate its enlargement plans and also still could not ensure that enlargement is a prior policy on its future agenda.

As a result, the European Union lost the great chance of gaining influence in the region, which would serve to it as a tool of gaining “soft power” that underlies in union’s self-indentification. Meanwhile in Balkans, political elites have started to learn how to acquire European Union’s main elements without being a member of it. These elements are primarily; reforming, the rule of law, civil society involvement, etc.. Also these politicans used these elements to consolidate their power over civic space, the media and political parties. “Leaders of these countries started to defy the European Union without thinking the consequences and addition this, ordinary citizens of the some Balkan countries have learned not to expect any effective support from abroad.”[3] For example Serbia praised as a “frontrunner” in the European Union accession process but with the following attitudes of President Vucic, which includes consolidation of his power and hegemony over the Serbian media, the institutions and the political life, made Serbia to lose its political freedom, which is not acceptable by EU criteria.

However, the European Union is evidently aware of this state of affairs in the Western Balkans countries. EU’s own reports showing us that the main problem lies in the continuation of the current approach. The problematic and non-democratical administrations in the candidate countries are great obstacles against the membership process, but the reports proved that 35 policy chapters which prepared by the EU just failed to create the convenient conditions for the candidate countries too, and its diplomatic language made it incomprehensible in the eyes of civil society. Consequently, the European Union enlargement process on Balkans is continuing and relations between them are still in progress. With the rise of different aspects, both Balkans’ and the EU’s point of view on enlargement regularly changing. But, apart from EU and Balkans, this enlargement operation has one more component which is very huge, Russia.

 

  • Russia’s Thoughts and Behaviors Against EU’s Western Balkans Enlargement

 

Balkans always had an important role in Russian foreign policy throughout the history. The relevancy between Russia and the Balkans firstly and most importantly base on their sameness on culture, religion and origin. The idea of integrating the Christian (Orthodox) and Slavic people was always a dream ever since the times of the Russian Empire. At the times of Russian Empire, reasons behind adopting this policy were coming from wideness of the Balkans lands and its closeness to the Europe. But in the process of time, after the World War II, the integration idea remained the same, but its ingredients were changed. After the war, their policy was focusing on spreading the communion of socialism. They planned to instil the Soviet model of socialism in the Eastern Europe and the Balkans to become dominant in the region, but the multi-national structure of the Soviet Union made it difficult to achieve because of the various political opinions in those nations under Soviet Union. In the early phases of post-war era, the Soviets were planning to prevent Balkans nations (which are already suffering from crisis) from an unification. If this kind of unification just had occured, Tito’s Yugoslavia might have gained more strength and this situation would seriously damage the Soviet plans of dominating the region. Even though their culture and religion were so similar, Tito’s behavior on implementing a different type of socialism in Yugoslavia (mainly because of the disagreements between Tito and Stalin due to the agreements which arranged within Stalin and Churchill during the World War II)  was the starting point of this situation. So esentially, Russian behavior on Balkans is once again shaped around the idea of holding the region in its hands and not allowing any other nation to rise powerfullyin the region.

In the 1990’s, Balkans were a war zone for a long time. After the death of Josip Broz Tito (1980), ethnical conflicts and economic depressions increased too much and these factors combined and concluded with pitched wars. With the end of these civil wars (in this case these wars in Yugoslavia should be considered as civil wars even if them happened between different sides of population like Serbians or Kosovans, due to the federation system) which continued for almost 20 years, Yugoslavia divided into seven different sovereign country. Lastly after the death of Milosevic, Serbia and Montenegro also decided to loose the union between them which came with Yugoslavia’s Federated system. With this regulation, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia changed to the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro.

Even though Balkans were struggling with serious conflicts, Soviets could not manage to intervene to the region and secure its dominance, but it has some important reasons. In 1991, President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned from his assignment and the disintegration of the Soviets just started. Disintegration of Soviet Union has several reasons like their defeat against Western Bloc on armament race and economic troubles which happened due to this race. Starting from 1992, Russia decided to draw away from Balkans by using its inside problems as an excuse. The problems that Russia suffers were so huge and it had to gather some strength but this alteration process did not last very long. Russia revised its foreign policy once again in 1994 and decided and set the Balkan crisis as a non-negligible foreign case for them. In the absence of Russia, Western countries started to gain dominance in the Balkans region and this situation created a panic in Russian foreign policy.So the tension between West and the Russia wasquite important that it had the potential of making Russia to change its foreign decisions in a short period of time. While changing its policy, Russia used the existence of Western countries in the Balkans as a legitimate reason to expand its military force in the region.

Including Russian Empire, Second World War, Post-War and Cold War periods, Russia’s Balkans policies were always both ideological and strategical. Like I mentioned above, Western Bloc’s efforts on creating a sphere of influence on Eastern Europe is a crucial case for Russians. For example, the military operations of NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovina corresponded with concern by Russia and accepted as an expansion of European Union on Balkans. Since there are cultural and religious similarities between Russia and the Balkans, and Russia’s long-term policies which shaped around their ambitions on retaining the Eastern Europe region, this type of military operations are quite naturally have the potential of making Russia worried. With the EU’s enlargement on Balkans, Russia would be obliged to watch EU’s pressure on themself and degrade to a lower position for retraining its dominance, and end up with economic and geographic difficulties.At this point, since because we are examined the importance of the region for both Russia-EU relations and Russia’s own foreign policies, I want to continue with Russia’s moves which are adopted in order to absorbing the European impact on their interests.

After realizing the importance of the Balkans region again, Russia started to improve their relations with the new constituted countries which were occured after the collapse of Yugoslavia. Developing relation with the regional countries was so important for Russia because a stable and consistent dialogue with these countries ensure the safety of Mediterranean and Black Sea regions for the benefit of Russia. For the purpose of securing its interests in a highyl important geopolitical area, Russia chose the way of creating commercial relation with regional partners and used its energy resources to maintain it. In this case, using the energy resources for the purpose of holding the Balkans in its hands is a very functional and reasonable action by Russia, because the Eastern Europe region is requiring too much of an energy to continue their development process. In these circumstances, Russia is the perfect supplier for their demands with their rich sources. Despite the old connections (origin, religion and culture) between them, their relations are mostly shaped around these commercial actions, so using this method to obtain dominance in the Balkans region is a very effective way to achieve it for the side of Russia. Due to these reasons, it is impossible for Russia to avoid bilateral relations with the Balkans nations because it would end up with a great risk of losing the influence on precious geological zones. Lastly, in a hypothetical and inevitable crisis with the Balkans, Russia would have constrained to adopt the path of cooperating with the West, because the situation that contains bad relations both with the Balkans and the West could seriously damage the Russian benefits and end up with a permanent lose of power in this region. Regarding this, the trade agreements which formed between Russia and the countries like Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Montenegro are have a great importance for Russia to maintain its influence on region and overall state income.

 

  • What Could Take Place on Balkan Casein the Future

European Union and Balkans –

             During the time of war (1990-2000), European Union tried to take the control and become a dominate power in the region with its Common Security and Defence Policy. Since they could not manage to achieve it while the socialist thoughts were still dominant, they tried to take the advantage of Eastern Europe’s disordered position. Their efforts on integrating the Balkans to the organization was very effective at this time. With the increased and improved relations, the Balkans seemed like it could be included into the European Union system very successfully any time soon. But there was a quite important problem in the process of integration and it was the historical difference of opinion between these two sides. Balkans countries like Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia showed some significant progress with the attempts on creating more democratic political platform and fulfil the European Union criteria. However, even if these developments were remarkable for their democratization process, it was not enough to bring them together with the fundamental thoughts of European Union. With the re-rising ideas around the world (especially in Europe) like nationalism, its meaning came to light more clearer. In Europe, far-right parties just started to gain strength in their countries (Austria, Italia, Spain, etc.) and follow policy in paralel with it. Due to their attitude, a region’s involvement to the European system which contains socialist ingredients in its past became an impossible job to complete. Apart from this, European countries started to dissent on basic issues and could not manage to strike a balance. So even when Europe agitating with the far-right parties’ impact on daily political life, relationship between the European Union and the Balkans seems like it will stay constant.

 

  • Russia –

While European Union suffers from the rise of far-right parties and ideas, Russia could take an advantage from this uncertainty between EU-Balkans relations. Tentative future of their relations could be useful for Russia to improve and regulate its works in the region. To achieve its aim, Russia could use its common background with the Balkan countries. Since the rising nationalism seems like it is also effecting the Balkan region, it would not be so difficult to create a common ground with the regional countries for Russia. Creating this type of common ground would be so significant for Russia’s economic and strategical goals. If it can manage to achieve this, it could help Russia to invigorate its dominance on Balkan region and with this evolvement, Russia could create a huge pressure on West, economically and psychologically. While Europe is struggling with internal conflicts, Russia’s pressure could create a more severe impact than it could in a more stable time of period. So, from my point of view, this moment is the correct time for Russia to concentrate its policies and affairs on Balkan region.

To conclude, this case has multiple aspects in it. All the sides have its own perspective and they are trying to achieve their objectives. When we look, we can see that this enlargement is a wide-ranging case that concerns more elements than only Russia, Eastern Europe or European Union. So its results will absolutely effect more elements more than just the three main actors.

 

  • References

 

 

Demirci, S., R., (2008, 18 Haziran), Rusya’nın Balkan Politikası, https://tasam.org/tr-TR/Icerik/899/rusyanin_balkan_politikasi

Sancaktar, C., (2006, 14 Haziran), Avrupa Birliği ve Balkanlar, https://tasam.org/tr-TR/Icerik/400/avrupa_birligi_ve_balkanlar

Demirtaş, Birgül, AB’nin Dönüştürücü Gücü ve Batı Balkanlar’da Demokratikleşme Süreci: Başarılanlar ve Başarılamayanlar, Hukuki, Siyasi ve İktisadi Yönleriyle Avrupa Bütünleşmesinde Son Gelişmeler ve Türkiye-AB İlişkileri, Ankara, 2018.

Gower, Jackie, EU-Russian Relations and the Eastern Enlargement: Integration or Isolation?, (2008 May), 75-93.

Dejevsky, Mary, How the European Union’s Eastern Expansion created Brexit and made an enemy of Russia, (2019, May 2).

https://europa.eu/newsroom/highlights/special-coverage/enlargement_en

Miner, L., Parrock, J., Amiel, S., EU-Western Balkans Summit: Is Enlargement in Sight?, (2019, July 5)

https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/countries/package_en

Nadibaidze, Anna, Can EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans Revive?, (2019, January 31), https://www.socialeurope.eu/eu-enlargement-western-balkans

 

[1]https://ec.europa.eu/growth/single-market_en

[2]https://eu.boell.org/en/2018/10/09/out-focus-eus-relations-western-balkans

[3]https://eu.boell.org/en/2018/10/09/out-focus-eus-relations-western-balkans

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FOREIGN POLICY INTERN LETTERS

NEW THREAT IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS:   CYBER-ATTACKS AND CYBER-TERRORISM

Nagehan Vatansever

Cyber threat is a relatively new concept in international relations discipline. With the developments in technology, risks in cyberspace are increasing. Not only states or major companies use internet and smart technologies, but also it is a part of daily life now. Because of the increasing usage of smart phones, smart houses or e-state technologies, most of the people use it in their daily life. Although that makes our lives easier and faster, it also causes new and major problems. It increases vulnerability and new kinds of crimes are emerging. This is the new threat of era.

Cyber systems and cyber-crimes do not have a long history but it have damaged a number of people until now. There are several serious examples about how cyber-crimes affect people’s life.

Cyber-crimes were mostly about some hacker activities that did not affect states at the beginning. However, recent developments made cyber-attacks a part of international relations. There are a number of types of cyber-attacks and if those attacks have a political purpose and aim a state or states, these attacks are called as “cyber-terrorism”.

“Cyber”, “Cyber space”, “Cyber-crime” and “Cyber-terrorism”

The word “cyber” is originated from “cybernetics” which means “Any kind of control or communication by any machine or any living form”[1] according to Mehmet Yayla(2013).According to Cambridge’s definition cyber means “using or relating to computers and internet.”[2]

“Cyber space” means the space where cyber networks exist and where is the movement area of cyber actions happen. According to United Nations terminology, cyber space is “A world-wide virtual space, different from real space, with many sub-communities unevenly distributed using a technical environment – first of all the Internet – in which citizens and organizations utilize information and communication technologyfor their social andcommercial interactions.” [3]It should be emphasized that cyber space has no limits or boundaries.

“Cyber-crime” refers to any crime those are committed by using internet and cyber networks. David Weissbrodt(2013) defines cyber-crime as “any crime which is enabled by, or that targets computers.”[4]RohasNagpal(2002) defines it “unlawful act wherein the computer is either a tool or a target or both”[5] in the simplest term.

“Cyber terrorism” refers to any cyber activities that aim to states or international actors and have a political purpose. The difference between other terror activities and cyber terror is, cyber terrorists have remote access to physically damage or to produce an effect. [6]

An Overview to Cyber Attacks

Cyber-attacks may affect people in different ways. According to Havelsan’s report, there are 8 different sphere of influence of cyber terrorism. Those are attacks that targeting real estate properties, aviation, retail sector, construction sector, shipping sector, power and energy infrastructures, health services and telecommunication systems.

Most devastating attacks are those which are targeting critical infrastructure of a state. Critical infrastructure is defined by the US Department of Homeland Security as “physical and cyber systems and assets that are so vital to the United States that their incapacity or destruction would have a debilitating impact on our physical or economic security or public health or safety.”[7] If critical infrastructure is aimed by attacker and critical infrastructure systems lose their functions that would affect society and order for a long time. According to Havelsan’s report, transportation systems, power and energy systems, healthcare services, and telecommunication systems are critical infrastructure systems. In report it is also emphasized that most of the recent cyber-attacks were aiming critical infrastructure. [8]

James A. Lewis(2002) argues that aiming critical infrastructure is not a new tactic in international relations. States used this during World Wars. He emphasizes the fact that states used strategic bombing in order to damage their enemies’ critical infrastructure. Now, aiming critical infrastructure changed and now it is “cyber”. [9]

Cyber-attacks are defined as “cyber terrorism” as long as they have a political aim. These terror activities may be from any independent groups or they might be state sponsored. States and terrorist groups choose cyber-attacks instead of classical terrorism methods because states are vulnerable in cyberspace. Technology is developing from day to day and it is hard to keep up with state-of-the-art.

In order to protect themselves from cyber-attacks, states also work with hackers. At that point, it should be emphasized that there are different types of hackers. White hat hackers are the ones who work with state departments and aim to protect state’s information and critical infrastructure. On contrary, black hat hackers’ aim is to damage companies, states and their critical infrastructure, steal secret information or identities. Grey hat hackers may differ, in some cases they act like black hat hackers, in some cases they act like white hat hackers. Last type is red hat hackers, they are against black hat hackers but they are not white hat hackers, they act in a different way. In addition to those 4 types, there are few others such as blue hat hackers or green hat hackers, they are beginners and mostly they have not much effect in terms of “cyber-attacks”.

Cyber terrorism is a crucial problem because there is not only state sponsored terrorism, but also terrorist group’s activities in cyberspace. The problem is that counterterrorism in terms of cyber-terror is really hard because it is not known where attacks come from.

This is why terrorist groups choose cyber tools recently. It is easier to aim critical infrastructure. States are vulnerable in terms of cyber security rather than other security areas. Even though cyber-attacks come from a computer or from another cyber tool, its outcomes may not be only in cyberspace. If it affects critical infrastructure, it will probably has a physical damage.

The problem in here is, as all terrorist groups do, any terrorist who uses cyber tools will also aim civilians and damage them, because the target and the audiences of terrorist attacks are not the same.

Even though cyber-attacks and cyber-terror activities seem different than classical terrorism understanding, there is no much difference. Only difference is the way to fight against it. States should increase their cyber security. As it has mentioned before, white hat hackers are the best way in counterterrorism in cyberspace.

James A. Lewis (2002) believes that cyber-attacks may cause a change in national security understandings of states.[10]Terrorists aim critical infrastructures of states in cyber-attacks and at that point military security is less important than cyber security. It might have an effect to redefine “security” and “threat”.

How Does Cyber Attacks and Cyber Terrorism Affect International Relations?

In international relations, states act in their territory, where they have sovereignty. However, it is seen that cyber activities can easily affect other states. There is no specific regulation about cyberspace.

Another important point is that cyberspace has no limits. In cyberspace, there are no specific boundaries or limits such as in real life. Physical boundaries are not valid in cyberspace. This also causes problems. Since it is not under any state’s national law, it cannot be regulated. It causes a problem because while a state accept a specific activity as “cyber-crime”, another state may not accept this. There is no specific regulation about cyber-attacks and that causes a problem in international relations.

There is the awareness about cyber-terrorism in international society. There are a number of regulations in different institutions in order to provide cyber-security.

To begin with, there is a United Nations Resolution against cyber-terrorism. Resolution 53/70 is “Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security” and S. Berner(2003) states that this resolution “calls member states to give information about their opinions and evaluations to the Secretary General about cyber-terrorism.” [11]

Secondly, NATO has a cyber-security policy as well. NATO’s middle-term aims to strengthen its role in cyber-security are as following:

  • NATO aims to make cyber security its mainstream policy.
  • NATO supports cooperation between allies by supporting official and unofficial platforms and channels.
  • NATO supports international law and international rules which aimestablish cyber-security in cyberspace.
  • NATO aims to increase information exchange between allies or between allies and other international institutions. Also it is emphasized that to cooperate with international law enforces such as Interpol is crucial in order to provide cybersecurity.
  • NATO believes European Union should be supportive in terms of cyber-security. It is emphasized mutual NATO-EU cooperation is a tradition and while NATO aims to provide cyber-security, EU should support NATO. [12]

Another international organization which has cyber-security policy is the Council of Europe. In 2001, Council of Europe signed a convention named Budapest Convention against cyber-crimes. It is the first international agreement on this issue. Convention emphasizes cyber-crimes’ extent. According to Convention, not only acts which are targeting computers and data are cyber-crimes, but also other actions which are accepted as problems that occurred after the internet became popular are also in the extent of cyber-crimes. [13]

Do Cyber-Terrorism and Cyber Threats Really Exist?

There are a number of examples of cyber-attacks for last few decades. Still, there are a few academicians who believe cyber-attacks are not real threats. They believe cyber-attacks are not real threats since there is no continuity of them and even though they mostly aim damaging critical infrastructure, their damaging capacity is not too much physically.

Cyber threat and cyber-terrorism really exist. As it has mentioned before, most of the international institutions such as Council of Europe and NATO –the larger security alliance in the world- accept cyber-threat’s existence and work on prevent any cyber-attacks. There are initiatives to regulate “cyber-attacks” internationally.

Cyber-attacks are really threatening state’s security. Even the most powerful states in terms of military power, such as the US, have suffered from cyber-attacks.

History of cyber-attacks: What kinds of attacks have been done until today?

  • Estonia: Estonia’s e-state application is very common and it has a system that closely depends on internet and electronical systems. However, Estonia’s cyber-security was not that successful.

In 2007, as a former Soviet country Estonia removed a Soviet War Monument which was called “Red Army Monument” and that caused a tension between Russian Federation and Estonia. Russia believed what Estonia did was disrespect to Soviet army. After removal, there have been protests and thousands of people affected during these protests.

After the removal, Estonia was targeted by cyber-attacks. Estonian officials believed these attacks were coming from Russia. According to BBC News, during attacks Estonia Presidency, political parties and the Parliament became targets. In addition to that most of the banks were also targets. In article it is mentioned central processors have collapsed and that almost caused Estonia’s cut off from outside world. [14]

This was the first example of cyber-attacks which targeting a state. This case showed in international relations, there is a new concept. States are able to attack each other by cyber tools.

After attacks, Estonia asked for help from NATO and EU. [15]That case shaped NATO’s point of view to cyber threats. After attacks, NATO has worked on cyber threats more than before and now, NATO has a broader cyber security understanding. [16]

  • Iran: Since the Islamic Revolution, there has been a tension between the USA and Iran. Last phase of this tension is about Iran’s nuclear operations and uranium enrichment.

In 2010, it was determined a Stuxnet virus in Iran’s nuclear plant’s systems. Its aim was to prevent physical activities. Even though it could not affect Iran’s nuclear systems physically, it affected 30.000 computers. [17]

Iran thought the USA and Israel was responsible for this attack.

This was not the only cyber-attack from the USA to Iran. In 2015, Iran and the USA agreed and signed “Comprehensive Plan of Action” and in 2016, President Donald Trump withdrew from it. That caused a new tension between two states.

On June 2019, a new cyber-attack happened. After Iran’s attacks to tankers in Persian Gulf, the USA attacked Iran again and prevented its access to missile and rocket launchers. [18] Again, the USA attacked by cyber tools.

These two cases also indicate the fact that cyber-attacks are becoming a part of international relations and it is commonly used during conflicts.

  • United States: In 2009, American drone system was attacked by a program named SkyGrabber. It caused a collapse in the system. The crucial point is that this program was only cost $26; however the US spent $45 million to this system. VahitGüntay mentions it is not important which party is more powerful than the other. Even though the US is the most powerful actor in international system, even though attackers had fewer budgets than the US had, they were successful. [19] At that point, it is clearly seen that cyber-attacks cause a change in security perceptions, because traditional security understanding is also changing. Traditionally, more powerful one was able to defend itself better. This “power” was economic and military mostly. However, it has changed now. In terms of cyber-security, what is more important is to defend cyber-systems better.

In fact, the US is the one of the states that is mostly aimed in cyber-attacks. Another example about the US occurred in 2015. ISIS attacked the US by cyber-tools and United States Central Command (CENTCOM)’s website was captured for a while. ISIS published messages from website. [20] This case also indicates there is a transition in terrorism and terrorist groups are using internet and computers to show their power to states.

 

Conclusion

For centuries, international relations were challenged by different threats and this has changed the nature of relations for years. Now, the new challenge is the “cyber-threats”. These threats might be from one state to another one, or it might be from terrorist groups. Either way, it is threatening states’ security.

Although there are a number of initiatives to form norms about cyber-crimes, there is a problem about that. Since there are no boundaries in cyber-space, it is hard to supervise it by law. It is hard to determine which national law will judge cyber-crimes. International law should do it, but states have not agreed about cyber-crimes yet. It is not clear that which actions will be accepted as “cyber-crimes” and which ones will not.

For now, states try to achieve security against cyber-threats since there is no consensus yet. In addition to that there are institutional initiatives in NATO or Council of Europe and members of these institutions try to have a consensus on cyber-security.

Although there are debates about the reality or seriousness of cyber-threats, one should be aware of the reality of it. Most of the states such as the US, Canada, Germany, Russia, Turkey, United Kingdom, India, Australia or Singapore have regulations about cyber-security.

We are living in a technology era and our lives are getting more dependent on technology from day to day. That makes all of us more open to threats which come from technology. Not all of the people use technology for good causes. Therefore, state leaders should be aware of the new threat and make provisions for their cyber-security.

 

REFERENCES

  • Yayla, M., (2013). HukukiBirTerimOlarak “SiberSavaş”. TBB Dergisi, 104, 177-202
  • Cambridge Dictionary, https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cyber
  • UN definition,https://en.unesco.org/glossaries/igg/groups/1.%20Internet%20governance%20general
  • Weissbrodt, D., (2013). Cyber-Conflict, Cyber-Crime, and Cyber-Espionage, Minnesota Journal of International Law, 347-387. Retrieved from https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/mjgt22&i=363
  • Nagpal, R., (2002). Cyber Terrorism in the Context of Globalization, 2nd World Congress on Informatics and Law, Madrid, Spain
  • SST-HavelsanSiberSavunmaTeknolojileri. (2018, December). SiberTerör, Retrieved from http://sisatem.com.tr/kategori/haberler/68574/siber-teror.html
  • Schmitt, M., (2019, June 18). U.S. Cyber Command, Russia and Critical Infrastructure: What Norms and Laws, Apply? Retrieved from https://www.justsecurity.org/64614/u-s-cyber-command-russia-and-critical-infrastructure-what-norms-and-laws-apply/
  • Lewis, A. J., (2002). Assessing the Risks of Cyber Terrorism, Cyber War and Other Cyber Threats, Center for International Studies, 1-12, Retrieved from https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/media/csis/pubs/021101_risks_of_cyberterror.pdf
  • Berner, S., (2003), Cyber-terrorism: Reality or Paranoia?, South African Journal of Information Management, Vol 5, No 1, Retrieved from: sajim.co.za/index.php/SAJIM/article/view/208
  • NATO Dergisi. (2016). NATO: SiberSavunmadaVitesDeğiştiriyor. Retrieved from: https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2016/Also-in-2016/cyber-defense-nato-security-role/TR/index.htm
  • Yayla, M., (2013). HukukiBirTerimOlarak “SiberSavaş”. TBB Dergisi, 104, 177-202
  • BBC Turkish. (May 2007). Estonya’yaSiberSaldırı. Retrieved from: bbc.co.uk/turkish/news/story/2007/05/070517_estonia_cyber.shtml
  • TUİÇ Akademi. (August 2015). İlk Modern Siber-Atak: Estonya Retrieved from: tuicakademi.org/ilk-modern-siber-atak-estonya/
  • Deutsche Welle. (September 2010). İran’aSiberSaldırıDüzenlendiğiİddiası. Retrieved from: dw.com/tr/irana-siber-saldırı-düzenlediği-iddiası/a-6050644
  • CNN Türk. (June 2019). ABD İran’ınSilahKontrolSistemlerineSaldırıDüzenledi. Retrieved from: https://www.cnnturk.com/dunya/abd-iranin-silah-kontrol-sistemlerine-siber-saldiri-duzenledi
  • Güntay, V., (2018). SiberGüvenliğinUluslararasıPolitikadaEtkiAracınaDönüşmesiveUluslararasıAktörler, GüvenlikStratejileriDergisi, 14/27
  • Deutsche Welle. (January 2015). ABD’yeSiberSaldırı. Retrieved from: https://www.dw.com/tr/abdye-siber-sald%C4%B1r%C4%B1/a-18187103

[1]Yayla, M., (2013). Hukuki Bir Terim Olarak “Siber Savaş”.TBB Dergisi, 104, 177-202

[2]Cambridge Dictionary,https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cyber

[3] UN definition, https://en.unesco.org/glossaries/igg/groups/1.%20Internet%20governance%20general

[4]Weissbrodt, D., (2013). Cyber-Conflict, Cyber-Crime, and Cyber-Espionage, Minnesota Journal of International Law, 347-387. Retrieved from https://heinonline.org/HOL/P?h=hein.journals/mjgt22&i=363

[5]Nagpal, R., (2002). Cyber Terrorism in the Context of Globalization, 2nd World Congress on Informatics and Law, Madrid, Spain

[6]SST-HavelsanSiberSavunmaTeknolojileri.(2018, December).SiberTerör, Retrieved from http://sisatem.com.tr/kategori/haberler/68574/siber-teror.html

[7]Schmitt, M., (2019, June 18). U.S. Cyber Command, Russia and Critical Infrastructure: What Norms and Laws,  Apply? Retrieved from https://www.justsecurity.org/64614/u-s-cyber-command-russia-and-critical-infrastructure-what-norms-and-laws-apply/

[8]SST-HavelsanSiberSavunmaTeknolojileri.(2018, December).SiberTerör, Retrieved from http://sisatem.com.tr/kategori/haberler/68574/siber-teror.html

[9]Lewis, A. J., (2002). Assessing the Risks of Cyber Terrorism, Cyber War and Other Cyber Threats, Center for International Studies, 1-12, Retrieved from https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/media/csis/pubs/021101_risks_of_cyberterror.pdf

[10]Lewis, A. J., (2002). Assessing the Risks of Cyber Terrorism, Cyber War and Other Cyber Threats, Center for International Studies, 1-12, Retrieved from https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/legacy_files/files/media/csis/pubs/021101_risks_of_cyberterror.pdf

[11]Berner, S., (2003), Cyber-terrorism: RealityorParanoia?, South AfricanJournal of Information Management, Vol 5, No 1, Retrievedfrom: sajim.co.za/index.php/SAJIM/article/view/208

[12]NATO Dergisi. (2016). NATO: Siber Savunmada Vites Değiştiriyor. Retrievedfrom: https://www.nato.int/docu/review/2016/Also-in-2016/cyber-defense-nato-security-role/TR/index.htm

[13] Yayla, M., (2013). Hukuki Bir Terim Olarak “Siber Savaş”. TBB Dergisi, 104, 177-202

[14] BBC Turkish. (May 2007). Estonya’yaSiberSaldırı.Retrieved from: bbc.co.uk/turkish/news/story/2007/05/070517_estonia_cyber.shtml

[15] BBC Turkish. (May 2007). Estonya’yaSiberSaldırı. Retrieved from: bbc.co.uk/turkish/news/story/2007/05/070517_estonia_cyber.shtml

[16]TUİÇ Akademi. (August 2015). İlk Modern Siber-Atak: EstonyaRetrieved from: tuicakademi.org/ilk-modern-siber-atak-estonya/

[17]DeutscheWelle. (September 2010). İran’a Siber Saldırı Düzenlendiği İddiası. Retrievedfrom: dw.com/tr/irana-siber-saldırı-düzenlediği-iddiası/a-6050644

[18]CNN Türk. (June 2019). ABD İran’ın Silah Kontrol Sistemlerine Saldırı Düzenledi. Retrievedfrom: https://www.cnnturk.com/dunya/abd-iranin-silah-kontrol-sistemlerine-siber-saldiri-duzenledi

[19]Güntay, V., (2018). Siber Güvenliğin Uluslararası Politikada Etki Aracına Dönüşmesi ve Uluslararası Aktörler, Güvenlik Stratejileri Dergisi, 14/27

[20]DeutscheWelle. (January 2015). ABD’ye Siber Saldırı. Retrievedfrom: https://www.dw.com/tr/abdye-siber-sald%C4%B1r%C4%B1/a-18187103

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FOREIGN POLICY INTERN LETTERS

SANCTIONS ON IRAN THROUGH THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND, REASONS AND EFFECTS

Esma Doğan

INTRODUCTION

Despite Iran is a regional power which has affected international politics historically and has rich resources, young population, and extensive territory. Also, Iran had strong relations with great powers like the US until the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the relations have proceeded negatively through sanctions on Iran by the US, UN, and EU.  The deterioration of relations is seen mostly with the US. As a result of these sanctions on the regional power, other regional countries and international politics have been affected deeply. In this article, sanctions on Iran are explained historically and reasons of these sanctions are mentioned as well as considering the nuclear program as the main reason. Lastly, effects of sanctions on the Iranian governments’ policies, public ideas, the economy of the country and one of the important regional power, Turkey, is analyzed within the context of relations of countries and organizations which have implemented sanctions.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Most of the sanctions which are implemented on Iran are based on the US with the emergence of the new regime in Iran. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in 2007 shows that the US sanctions on Iran include three categories as implementing a comprehensive trade and investment ban on Iran, sanctioning foreign parties that are related to proliferation or terrorism activities with Iran and imposing financial sanctions, including freezing the assets of Iran and banning its access to the US’ financial system.

The conflict between the US and Iran started after the Iranian Islamic Revolution. According to Aghazadeh(2013), the directional change in the Iranian government and having a religious tendency in the political decision process was new concepts for the US and the changes in the Iranian’s policy did not fit the US’ policies in the region.[1] The first sanctions of the US started with the Iranian hostage crisis which Iranian radical students took 52 American officers who work in the US Embassy in Tehran as hostages for 444 days. This increased the tension between these two countries and the Carter administration ended the diplomatic relations withIran.Also, the Iranian government’s assets in the US which are approximately 12 billion$ and interest properties were frozen by the US government.

In 1980, trade embargo which includes transactions as the prohibition of making any payment or transfer of any property on Iran started. The sanctions included restrictions on sales of the US dual-use items, banning on direct the US financial assistance and arms sales to Iran, withholding of US aid to organizations that assist Iran.

The trade embargo was tightened under Ronald Reagan’s presidency through Iran’s support of terrorism. According to the Iranian government, the increase on sanctions as because of the US concerns about Iranian’s economic and military development and the US’ interests in the Middle East. In 1995, additional economic sanctions by the Clinton administration started towards Iran’s continuing support for international terrorism. However, the US needed to more influential steps with its allies as European countries but these countries had more trade relations with Iran and it would affect them in a negative way. Thus, they did not want to be part of the sanctions on Iran within the beliefs that sanctions would be effective.

After the 11 September attacks, the US policies have become stricter. In 2001, the president, George W. Bush administration and the Senate approved for the extension of sanctions and Bush called Iran as an “axes of evil” in his speech. With the effects of attacks, at the beginning of the 2000s, Iran’s nuclear energy programs became more visible and IAEA reports in 2003 did not mention that Iran has or tries to have nuclear weapons but there were some concerns for the international community because Iran did not declare its nuclear program to IAEA clearly and some facilities of nuclear energy did not check by the IAEA.

In 2004, the Paris Agreement was signed by France, Germany, the UK, and Iran to sustain confidence. Iran voluntarily suspended all uranium enrichment temporarily. According to Aghazadeh(2013), despite all Iranian governments’ efforts to cooperate with the IAEA, the result was not successful. The reason lays in the fact that the West distrusted Iran regarding its nuclear program due to concerns over Iran’s likelihood of pursuing nuclear military goals.[2]With the nuclear weapon program threat, the pressure on Iran increased and added to the US sanctions, the UN and the EU started to implement sanctions on Iran. In 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted the Resolution 1696 because of Iran’s refusal to allow full access of the IAEA.According to resolution, if Iran wants to be verified by the IAEA, it should suspend all activities and Iran refused the suspension of uranium enrichment. Thus, sanctions were detailed on the Resolution 1737 in 2007 which includes prevention the provision to Iran of any technical assistance or training, financial assistance, investment, brokering, the transfer of financial resources and services related to the supply, sale transfer, manufacture or use of the prohibited items, materials, equipment goods and technology (which could be relevant to Iran’s enrichment program or heavy water-related activities). Also, this resolution includes arms embargo which blocks supplying, selling or transferring directly or indirectly from its territory or by its nationals or using its flag vessels or aircrafts any arms or related material.[3] Sanctions continued with the resolution in 2010 with further sanctions about enrichment plants of Iran.

In 2010, the US Congress passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 against Iran’s secret uranium plant in Qam and prevent Iran from continuing its “ illicit nuclear efforts”, nuclear program activities and make pressure on the Iranian government about respect human rights and religious freedom in Iran.[4]

Despite trade relations between Iran and the EU is high until 2011, Iranian nuclear program caused a change in relations and the EU started to implement sanctions on Iran including the export-import ban on arms, goods, and technologies that could be related to nuclear enrichment or dual-usee products. Thus, sanctions on oil trade, export-import, and international banking are aimed to isolate Iran from the international society by cutting from the international finance system.

After 2013, a different kind of political environment occurred between Iran and the US. Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed to form cooperation between Iran and the West through easing sanctions against Iran and decrease the uranium enrichment. Despite this deal seems a new start of relations between Iran and international society, its continuance could not be provided. In 2018, the US withdrew from the nuclear deal and started to implement sanctions which aim to damage Iran’s economy through blocking energy production and trade on the country again. On the contrary, Iran decided to restart the nuclear actions which were stopped to sustain the agreement as a result of the US’ withdrawal from the agreement. The conflict between the US and Iran continues after all these implications and the polarization despite the EU’s effort to solve the crisis.

REASONS OF THE SANCTIONS

The continuing conflict between the US and Iran started after the Iranian Islamic Revolution. According to Jahangir Amuzegar, the concept of the Islamic Republic of Islamic government is new for the US, also it does not fit the US’ policies and interests in the Middle East. He explains reasons of this conflict between these two countries as Iran’s aim to expose the Islamic revolution in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region, Iran’s supports terrorism as Hamas and Hizbullah, aspiring to be a hegemonic power, human rights abuses and distrusts of the West to Iran’s nuclear program.[5]

Reasons for sanctions show differences in terms. The US grounded the first sanctions after 1979 with the hostage crisis in Iran. In the 1980s and 1990s, Iran was accused of supporting terrorism because of the connection with Hizbullah and Hamas and the US signed the Iran- Libya Sanctions Act(ILSA) in 1996. After the 9/11 attacks, the policies towards Iran changed and became more aggressive. President Bush called Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the axes of evil in 2002.

In the 2000s, sanctions have been based on Iran’s nuclear program as a perception of threat. The US accepted Iran’s nuclear program and uranium enrichment as a possibility to have nuclear weapons. Also, hiding the enrichment program from the IAEA caused insecurity for the international community. As a result of the enrichment program, Iran went beyond the norms of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran is a party to it since 1970. The US gained support from the international community about using sanctions with these reasons. The UN, the EU started to implement sanctions on Iran to block its nuclear weapon program.

These reasons have been used to sharp sanctions and form policies on Iran and the Middle East. According to Borszik(2016), the importance of sanction objectives such as nonproliferation, counterterrorism and democratization have defined the sanction objective of regime change as encompassing ‘not only the explicit targeting of a particular foreign leader but also structural changes that imply new leadership, most notably the embrace of democracy.[6] Therefore, the structure of Iran after the Iranian revolution caused problems with the US.Interests and policies of both countries in the region have clashed and the polarization and insisting about following their policies instead of negotiation has increased the tension which reverberates to the international community. While the US is insisting on sanctions to damage Iran’s economy and discipline, Iran is insisting on improving the nuclear program.

IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Nuclear program of Iran dated back to 1950s, Shah Reza Pehlevi, with support of the Western countries including the US to mostly have trade relations with Iran about nuclear equipment.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which has three main pillars as non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy was signed by Iran in 1968. With the treaty, Iran’s nuclear program could be checked by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The process of the nuclear program was accelerated with the increase of the number of Iranian scientists after the establishment of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. However, the report of the IAEA in 2003 concluded that “Iran has failed to meet obligations under its Safeguards Agreement for the reporting of nuclear material, the subsequent processing and use of that material and the declaration of facilities where the material was stored and processed.”[7] The secession from the treaty and withholding the process of the nuclear program from the IAEA caused distrust and concerns of the international community against Iran. These concerns resulted in the UN and the EU sanctions on Iran about uranium enrichment and the nuclear program of Iran because of the possibility of producing nuclear weapons.

According to Katzman and Kerr, Iran has three gas centrifuge enrichment facilities which can produce both low-enriched uranium(LEU) that can be used in nuclear power reactors and weapons-grade highly enriched uranium(HEU) and contains about 90% uranium-235.[8] Iran can produce nuclear weapons by using low-enriched uranium.

In 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of action was signed by Iran and the West under the leadership of Hassan Rouhani who gained power in 2013 and is moderate and liberal. After all these years from the Iranian revolution, these two countries contacted directly. Also, negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries (China, France, the US, the UK, Russia, and Germany) started about a possible nuclear deal. This process continued until 2015 and ended with the agreement.According to this deal, Iran would allow IAEA to have controlled entrance and access to Iran’s military bases. Also, Iran would decrease in two-thirds of the number of centrifuges which are used for the uranium enrichment. According to a November 14, 2013 report from IAEA, Iran had generally stopped expanding its enrichment and heavy water reactor programs.[9] In return, sanctions on Iran would remove gradually. According to Kanapiyanova(2017), Iran could gain its position in the international trade and show its power in the region through cooperation on economy and energy with the removal of sanctions.[10] After the withdrawal of the US from the treaty in 2018, new sanctions started against Iran and the country decided to exceed the limit of uranium enrichment in 2019.[11]

According to Mehrish(2012), the reasons of insisting on the nuclear program despite the pressure from the US and international community are using the program as the deterrence factor against other countries which challenge the country and the perception of threats from the US against Iranian regime type.[12]

EFFECTS OF SANCTIONS ON IRAN

The process of using sanctions on Iran by the US, the UN and the EU has some effects on the country’s economy, social structure and political decision process.

Economic Effects

According to Pape(1997), there are two crucial factors which affect the success rate of sanctions as economic structures of countries that use sanctions and face these sanctions and second factor is the longevity of the sanctions.[13]Firstly, the structure of Iran’s economy mostly depends on oil trade and according to Berber(2013), the main reason of the failure of establishing the balanced economic order in the country is remaining constant the former economic system which depends on state policies after the Iranian Islamic Revolution.[14] Also, the US has a developed economic structure which can diversify its trade relations and can damage the Iranian economy. Secondly, sanctions on Iran have continued since the Iranian regime change with different types of economic sanctions from different structures as the US, the UN, and the EU. Thus, Iran economy has damaged because of economic sanctions. They result in many areas as oil, gas, petrol producing and selling decreased, banking, finance, and insurance sectors are damaged, industrial production decreased, unemployment grew, currency and GDP decline, the inflation rate increased and the prices of consumer goods rose. Tehran responded to these economic sanctions in different ways as adopting measures at the international level such as shifting its economic relations from European countries to Asian countries. Moreover, China and Russia are seen as countries which sustain the balance against the US sanctions on Iran by using increasing trade relations with these countries. Also, the adaptation to sanctions has increased. According to Torbat(2005), the efficiency of sanctions has diminished due to the fact that elasticity is higher in the long run and Iran has been able to adjust to the sanctions and find alternative sources for the US-made products.[15]

Political effects

Political effects of sanctions cause a debate between academicians. Some academicians believe that sanctions affect Iran politically. According to Borszik(2016), the efficiency of sanctions brought Iran to the table in 2015 to sign the treaty.[16] On the other hand, some academicians believe that sanctions could not exactly fulfill the desire of pressure on Iran. According to Uzun(2013), despite economic sanctions which Iran faced from only the US until last decades cause economic problems in Iran, they could be able to sustain neither the isolation of Iran from the international area nor economic damage in order to form political pressure.[17]Until the sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, Iran continued its trade relations with great economies as European countries except for the US.

Despite the signing Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Treaty with Iran after sanctions from the UN and the EU can be seen as a political success, the current situation of the treaty, withdrawal of the US from the treaty and Iran’s decision in order to continue enrichment uranium, shows that the continuity of political gains by using sanctions has not sustained yet. Thus, it is hard to say that sanctions are not able to sustain Iran’s restatement from the nuclear program by the political pressure and political isolation of Iran. Moreover, Instead of aiming public pressure on the government about the damage on the economy by sanctions which are based on Iran’s nuclear program, facing and standing against the international pressure make Iran leaders more popular and Iranian people perceive the US and Western powers as attackers against Iranian regime type.[18] Thus, Iranian people with national feelings support their government about the nuclear program and against the sanctions. The reason for economic failure in Iran is seen by the public as a problem within the country. According to Uzun(2013), the reason for economic problems is the government’s incorrect economy policies and nuclear program of Iran is seen as not just a government policy but as the state policy.[19]

EFFECTS OF IRAN SANCTIONS ON TURKEY

As a result of that Iran is a regional power which has trade relations within the Middle East; sanctions against Iran have effects on other regional powers as Turkey. Historically, Turkey and Iran are competing countries which try to be more powerful than others and have a balance in the region. According to Özdağ(2018), although Iran’s possibility of having nuclear programs can cause the balance disorder, the trade relations between Iran and Turkey have continued because Iran needs to protect its trade relations in order to overcome effects of sanctions and the relations fit the JDP government’s policies in the region as the policy of zero problems with neighbors.[20]

On the other hand, as a result of that one of the aims of sanctions on Iran is the isolation of the country; the US has applied pressure on Turkey through trade relations. Turkey decreased its petrol trade slowly within the exemption from sanctions and sustained the trade relations over gold. The US prepared a new resolution against the trade relations over gold in 2013 and targeted Iran’s banking to isolate Iran from the international finance. These negatively reflected on the Turkish economy. Limitation of trade relations with Iran damages the economy and the pressure of the US causes the decline of the currency. Also, Reza Zarrab crisis can be seen as an example of the pressure of the US on Turkey about Iran trade relations.

CONCLUSION

Sanctions on Iran which started after the Iranian Islamic Revolution are used as tools to change the Iranian governments’ policies about regime type, social structure and after the 2000s mostly nuclear program. It is seen that these sanctions damage Iran economically because of Iran’s dependency on the oil trade. However, Iran diversifies its political and trade relations to protect itself. Moreover, new challenger countries of the US as Russia and China seem to support Iran to balance the US. Thus, isolation of Iran from the international society could not be sustained by the sanctions. Also, people of Iran perceive sanctions attacks of Western countries instead of criticizing the government and it is used by the Iranian leaders as rally round the flag effect. The possibility of Iran’s producing nuclear weapons causes tension and concerns in the international society and these concerns reflected in the UN sanctions. However, the only concern is not just about the Iranian nuclear program. Besides, the US’ popular discourse and policies on Iran trigger the polarization between these two countries and make people think about a possible war.  Lastly, Turkey is one of the countries which is affected because of the sanctions economically and politically. While, the limitation of trade relations causes economic problems, insisting on continuing on oil trade with Iran causes tension increase between Turkey and the US.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aghazadeh, M. (2013). A Historical Overview Of Sanctions On Iran And Iran’s Nuclear Program, AkademikAraştırmalarDergisi, 56, 137-160

Berber, S. (2013). İran’ınEkonomiPolitikası, YaptırımlarınEtkisiveİkilemleri, Bilge Stratejisi, 5(9), 61-84

Borszik, O. (2016). International sanctions against Iran and Tehran’s responses: political effects on the targeted regime, Contemporary Politics, 22(1), 20–39, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13569775.2015.1112951

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Implementation of the NPT safeguards aggrement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (IAEA reports, 6 June 2003):3

Kanapiyanova, Z. (2017). İran’ın “OrtakKapsamlıEylemPlanı” SonrasıEnerjiPolitikalarıÜzerineÇıkarımlar, EgeAkademikBakış, 17(4), 553 -564, Doi: 10.21121/eab.2017431303

Kibaroglu, M., Caglar B. (2008). Implications Of A Nuclear Iran For Turkey, Middle East Policy, 15(4), 59-80

Mehrish, B. N. (2012). Iran’s Nuclearization and Its Implications for Global and Regional Security, IUP Journal of International Relations, 6(2), 67-79.

OrhonÖzdağ, H. H. ( 2018). 2000’lerde ABD Yaptırımlarının İran-TürkiyeEkonomikİşbirliğineEtkileri: Neo-GramsciyenBirÇözümleme, Marmara University Journal of Political Science, 6(2), 231-261, Doi: 10.14782/ipsus.460140

Stevens, C. T.(ed). (2014). Iran’s Nuclear Program, Sanctions Relief, and Associated Legal and Legislative Issues, New York : Nova Science Publishers

United Nations Security Conceal, Resolution Number 1747: Adopted by the Security Council at its 5647th meeting(Security Council S/RES/1747:2007): 02.

Uzun, S. Ö. (2013). İran’aEkonomikYaptırımlar: KırılganlaşanNükleer Program mıHükümet mi? , OrtadoğuAnaliz, 54, 62-70

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act (CISADA), (July 01,2010): 04.

Torbat, A. E. (2005). Impacts of the US Trade and Financial Sanctions on Iran, California State University, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing, Doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9701.2005.00671.x

Yorulmaz, R. (2019). İran’aYaptirimlarVeTürkiyeEkonomisi Ne Oldu?NelerYaşandi?,OrtadoğuAnaliz, 10(85), 76-81

https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-48662044

https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-48985571

 

[1]MahdiehAghazadeh. (2013). “A HistoricalOverview of Sanctions on Iran andIran’sNuclear Program,” Akademik Araştırmalar Dergisi 56: 137-160

[2]MahdiehAghazadeh. (2013). “A HistoricalOverview of Sanctions on Iran andIran’sNuclear Program,” Akademik Araştırmalar Dergisi 56: 137-160

[3]United Nations Security Conceal, ResolutionNumber 1747: Adoptedbythe Security Council at its 5647th meeting(Security Council S/RES/1747:2007): 02.

[4]The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, AccountabilityandDivestmentAct (CISADA), (July 01,2010): 04.

[5]JahangirAmuzegar.(1997) “Iran’sEconomyandthe U.S. Sanction,” Middle East Journal 51, No. 2: 186-187

[6]O. Borszik.(2016) “ International Sanctionsagainst Iran Tehran’sresponses: politicaleffects on thetargetedregime,” ContemporaryPolitics 22, No. 1, 20-39

[7]International AtomicEnergyAgency (IAEA), Implementation of the NPT safeguardsaggrement in theIslamicRepublic of Iran (IAEA reports, 6 June 2003):3

[8]KennethKatzman, Paul K. Kerr. “Iran NuclearAgreement,” CongressionalResearch Service. (May 2016). 1-40

[9]KennethKatzman, Paul K. Kerr. “Iran NuclearAgreement,” CongressionalResearch Service. (May 2016). 1-40

[10]ZhuldyzKanapiyanova, “İran’ın Ortak Kapsamlı Eylem Planı Sonrası Enerji Politikaları Üzerine Çıkarımlar,” Ege Akademik Bakış, Vol.17.No.4. (Ekim 2017), 553-564

[11]BBC, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-48662044, 2019

[12]B. N. Mehrish, “Iran’sNuclearizationandItsImplicationsfor Global andREgional Security,” Vol.6.No.2, 67-79

[13]Robert A. Pape, “WhyEconomicSanctions Do Not Work,” International Security, Vol.22.No.2. (Autumn,1997),91.

[14]Seçkin Berber,”İran’ın Ekonomi Politikası, Yaptırımların Etkisi ve İkilemleri,” Bilge Strateji, Vol.5.No.9 (Autumn 2013) 61-84

[15]Akbar Torbat. “Impacts of the US Tradeand Financial Sanctions on Iran,” California StateUniversity,

[16]O. Borszik.(2016) “ International Sanctionsagainst Iran Tehran’sresponses: politicaleffects on thetargetedregime,” ContemporaryPolitics 22, No. 1, 20-39

[17]Özüm S. Uzun. İran’a Ekonomik Yaptırımlar: Kırılganlaşan Nükleer Program mı Hükümet mi?” OrtadoğuAnaliz. Vol.5.No.54.(Haziran 2013) 62-70

[18]BBC, https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-dunya-48985571, 2019

[19]Özüm S. Uzun. İran’a Ekonomik Yaptırımlar: Kırılganlaşan Nükleer Program mı Hükümet mi?” OrtadoğuAnaliz. Vol.5.No.54.(Haziran 2013) 62-70

[20]H. Hande Orhon Özdağ. 2000’lerde ABD Yaptırımlarının İran-Türkiye Ekonomik İşbirliğine Etkileri: Neo-Gramsciyen Bir Çözümleme. Marmara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilimler Dergisi. Vol.6.No.2 (Eylül 2018) 231-261

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Note of the Month – May 2019

Note of the Month – May 2019

S-400 Crisis

As the timeline of delivery approaches, the tension between US and Turkey increases day by day. In May several US institutions declared their concerns about that matter. US government and military has made several threats including the non delivery of the F-35 fighter jets, interrupting the training of Turkish pilots, a possible suspension of Turkey’s NATO membership and economic sanctions.

The determined position of US about the matter put Turkish Government into trouble as Turkey has already paid for S-400s and the delivery should begin during July. As an independent state Turkey should be buying arms from the country it wishes. However, US’ main concern is the conflict of software of the S-400 missiles with weapons of NATO. They claim that they will cause fatal problems in case they used in the same army. That can be a reality or an excuse to make Turkey cancel its order.

Turkey has some alternatives regarding the issue, first it can cancel the order but that will be very difficult to explain to the Turkish citizens. Second Turkey may suspend the delivery of the missiles and gain more time to make a final decision. Third, the delivery will be made by Russia but Turkey will give its word to US that it will not use these missiles and take them to a storage facility. Fourth, Turkey shall find a way to sell these missiles to a third country but in that case Russia and US most probably will object to that.

Turkey is in a difficult situation about S-400 missiles and it seems there isn’t any feasible solution to satisfy all those three countries.

 

Resignation of Theresa May

In the last week of May, UK Prime Minister Theresa May declared in tears her resignation from the office. She may be a successful politician but no matter how hard she tried she could not find a solution to the Brexit. As UK’s main problem for the last couple of years is the Brexit process her work could be considered as a failure as the faith of the Brexit is still unknown and very complicated.

 

Re-election of the Mayor of Istanbul

After several objections and recounting the votes High Election Board of Turkey decided a re-election for Istanbul. The elections will be on 23rd of June and voters shall only vote for the Mayor of Istanbul city.

Visits: 210