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Anyone who has been following the events in Syria and the region over recent years would not deny that the stalemate in the northern regions of the country is not unexpected. After more than a year of negotiations – most of them without much effect or emotion – the United States and Turkey continue to fail to resolve their differences with regard to the establishment of the so-called “buffer zone” along the Turkish-Syrian border. President Recep Erdogan has repeatedly stressed that his country intends to intervene in northern and north-eastern Syria to secure its territory from possible penetration by PKK forces, currently part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Washington-backed coalition. The latest threats for an offensive came just as Ambassador James Jeffrey was visiting Ankara to hold talks
This is the second article on radical Islam in Bulgaria Analytica. It is based in part on Alex Alexiev, The Wages of Islamism: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West and the Muslim World, Hudson Institute, Washington D.C., 2011. The emergence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the undisputed leader, some will say dictator, in Turkey after the last election has again brought into focus the nature of his belief system and specifically sharia – a doctrine he has on numerous occasions declared himself to be a proud “servant of.” To the extent that very few Muslims (and even fewer non-Muslims) know much about the subject, it is worthwhile sketching out what sharia is and what it is not. It is also important because it provides us with important clues
On April 4, 2017, when 23-year old Akbarzon Jalilov has blown himself up taking 15 other innocent people lives at the St. Petersburg metro, very few people initially paid attention to his place of birth. Shortly, it turned out that him, as another eight of his friends who were detained, were ethnic Uzbeks from a Kyrgyz town of Osh. Another Uzbek man, Rakhmat Akilov, is suspected of steering a hijacked beer truck into a crowd of shoppers in Stockholm on April 7 that left four people dead and 15 others wounded. Yet another Uzbek national, Abdulkadir Masharipov, has been arrested for allegedly killing 39 people of different nationalities only two hours into the New Year in the Reina nightclub in Istanbul on January 1, 2017. All three of them
Moscow is not a reliable partner for Washington in combating international terrorism. On the contrary, the Kremlin supports forces in the Middle East and elsewhere that oppose the US. It aims to deflect violent jihadism toward the West both to shield Russia from being targeted and to weaken America’s global influence. Vladimir Putin’s Russia possesses all the attributes of a terrorist sponsor, by engaging in terrorist attacks against its own population and playing a significant role in developing terrorist networks outside its borders. Russia’s security services have engaged in domestic terrorism both to subdue and manipulate public opinion. The most notorious outrage occurred in September 1999 shortly before Putin was appointed President. John Dunlop, a distinguished scholar at the Hoover Institution, in his landmark book The Moscow Bombings of
By launching cruise missile strikes on government forces in Syria, successfully obliterating dozens of ISIS terrorists in Afghanistan, and dispatching a military flotilla to confront the North Korean regime, the Trump administration has sent four strong messages: to dictators, allies, Russia, and Western populists. Trump’s moves overturn several years of fruitless diplomacy and empty threats by the Obama administration and appear to be working. Although the cruise military strike in Syria only involved one airfield, it was swift and decisive, thereby demonstrating to dictators such as Bashar al-Assad that the new White House values hard deeds above tough words. White House action was in stark contrast with the previous administration, which warned of consequences for war crimes and the use of prohibited chemical weapons but did not deliver
In a year that has begun with a bloody attack on Europe’s southeastern edge, the SEE region figures to again factor prominently in world events. What transpired in Southeastern Europe in 2016 and what lies ahead in 2017? 2016 was a very violent year in Turkey, where war, terror and mass arrests grabbed the headlines. In 2017, the bloodshed has already begun. More than three dozen New Year’s Eve partygoers were killed just minutes after the year began. Now, Turkish President Recep Erdogan will seek to exploit the chaos in order to transform Turkey’s system of governance and obtain the executive presidency he has long desired. While blood spilled in Turkey, the year 2016 in the Balkans was characterized by an uneasy peace. Following the Brexit vote
Prognostications of what the New Year might bring are more often than not a fool’s errand and pundits are usually better served with a laconic “more of the same” answer to what to expect. Usually, but not this time, for 2017 promises to be a very different year and quite possibly the beginning of a new geopolitical era. The last such watershed year in recent history was 1980 and it is worth remembering briefly the momentous changes ushered in by that year. The 1970s were a decade marked by a seeming retreat by the United States as the dominant Western power and a commensurate increase in the status and military might of its chief protagonist – the Soviet Union. Beginning with the Arab oil embargo in 1973, the US