27 August 2018

LEVANT/ Political and military evolutions in Middle East and North Africa (1-15 August 2018 Bulletin)

Laurenţiu Sfinteş

The Sea Law is no longer respected in Mediterranean’s blue waters. Red Sea’s Security is vital for Egypt. In a diplomatic scandal, unseen until now, Saudi Arabia announced Monday (06.08) the expulsion of Canada’s ambassador in Riyadh. Jordan is encountering with terrorism incidents. Votes counting in Iraq took 3 months, but it confirmed what was already announced after three days. “Either changes its threatening and destabilizing attitude and reintegrate in world’s economy, or continues towards economic isolation”- Trump message for Iran. Druze’s community loyalty from Israel was challenged. Syrians refugees do not wish to comeback home soon. The supposed collaboration with Iran costs the life for the Syrian chief of project for missile development. After retaking the control over Daraa district, the Damascus regime prepares the “Idlib Operation”. Israel-Hamas: fighting like cats and dogs. Anticipated, Turkey’s financial crises starts. In a “legitime” military operation, anti-Houthi international coalition forces killed 29 kids.

Image source: Mediafax

NORTH AFRICA

Sea’s Law is no longer respected on Mediterranean’s blue waters, and people who are helplessly, barely saved from Libya’s terror, are now losing their lives, one by one, with no one knowing about it.  According to AP, Friday (10 August), a ship rented by “SOS Mediterranean” NGO saved 141 people from Libyan waters (among them being 67 minors, without companions). Three quarters of them coming from Somalia and Eritrea.  Libyan authorities refused to offer a safe place to disembark the refugees, and the ship (Aquarius) headed North, hoping to drop anchor in some country (in June, Aquarius had to navigate for 4 days towards North Spain, after the Italian and Maltese authorities refused them to dock).

The rescued ones said that not less than 5 other ships refused to help them. Due to Italy’s and Malta’s decision to prohibit ships which have refugees on board to harbor, these avoid interfering in such cases. The freighters and other commercial ships which navigated in Mediterranean Sea saved multiple refugees cases from rubber boats or other wood ships which were in poor conditions. After the measure was adopted by Italy and Malta, they could stay for days on the sea, unable to anchor.

Libya is the main point of departure for migrants[1] who came mostly from Central Africa, who try to get to Europe on some unsafe boats, provided by dealers. The Libyan littoral, which has around 1300 km, not enough secure or secured by members of different militias which take advantages from collaborating with slave-trade, is a true hub for those who want to leave the African continent for Europe.

After encountering with the refugee’s crisis, Italy and EU’s objective was consolidating the Libyan security forces and give them, gradually, the responsibility of protecting the borders and  up to 10% of Mediterranean Sea, until 2020, despite the fact that supporting antagonist forces from Libya have major security risks.    

Making Libya more stable and then investing in responsible forces development to prevent migration, through an official govern capable to adequately manage groups of migrants, would obviously be a more efficient and reasonable solution than financing the militias in a devastated country by war. But this is not feasible, politically speaking. Europe tries to solve Libya’s migration issue, instead of solving the civil war issue, whose origins must be looked in the intervention from 2011. To get to control the migration phenomena, the causes which lead to its amplification must be counteracted. The migrants are no longer Libyan refugees, but individuals from almost the entire Africa, looking for a better life, a miracle which they think they could reach it: through images posted on Internet by those who actually made it, the illusion is real… but not there.

 

EGYPT

“Red Sea’s security is vital for Egypt”, said president Abdel Fattah al Sisi to its Yemenite counterpart, Abel Rabbo Mansour Hadi, during his visit in Cairo, on 13th of August. Certainly, the Yemenite official agreed, although his possibilities to work on assuring the security in this area are, at the moment, the lowest possible. Houthi’s militias attacks on the Saudi ships which transport oil provoked major concerns in Cairo, which is still, in certain way, dependent on Saudi Arabia’s imports, and mostly, on the incomes which result from using the Suez Canal. Blocking the Bab al Mandeb Strait would be a disaster for the Egyptian economy.

Although Egypt is not a direct participant at the military operations of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, only executing naval patrol operations in Read Sea’s South, it has an expertise which is, probably, more extended than in other states, regarding managing the consequences of a long-term conflict in Yemen. This is why is considered to be the state which, along Oman, could identify a solution, other than military, for this conflict. Maybe this is how president’s Sisi statement should be read regarding restoring stability inYemen. 

 

GULF ARAB STATES

In an unprecedented diplomatic scandal, Saudi Arabia announced on Monday (06.08) that it expelled Canada’s ambassador to Riyadh, called back their own diplomatic representative from Ottawa and suspended all the commercial connections with Ottawa (according to Deutsche Press-Agentur).

These measures come after the Canadian embassy called for the immediate release of some human rights  militants inprisoned in Saudi Arabia and after the Canadian Foreign Minister, Chrystie Freeland, declared to be “very concerned” about the apprehension of one of Raif’s Badawi[2] sister by the Saudi authorities. The Foreign Minister in Riyadh said, through a message posted on Twitter, that the Saudi Kingdom “will not accept any other country’s intervention in its internal bussineses”. Following the decisions of the Saudi’s authorities, Canada expressed on Monday their “serious concern” about their ambassador`s expulsion from Saudi Arabia.

The measures adopted by Saudi authorities come after Ottawa’s government repeated the critics regarding militant’s repression for human rights. Ottawa Government, led by liberal prime-minister Justin Trudeau, encounters with internal pressures to stop the exports[3] of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, due to the concerns regarding its use to commit abuses in this country and also in Yemen.

Riyadh’s actions do not have as a main target Canada particularly, but they want to get Western`s governments attention that any critics against Kingdom’s internal policy are unacceptable. If in the past such situation were managed behind Saudi authorities’ closed doors, the new administration in Riyadh wants to establish a new set of rules in the regional/international relations.

Donald Trump’s election as US’s president and his attitude regarding the Kingdom and foreign policy in general, offered Riyadh’s authorities a big chance to disrespect human’s rights.

After Mohamed bin Salman’s took over the power, the political freedom is almost nonexistent in Saudi Arabia, and the power is even more centralized than with the previous leaders. In this context, Canada accidentally became the for a general message: “Do not get involved in our internal policy”.

JORDAN

Criticized by many, appreciated by few, United Nation’s Commissioner for Human Rights, prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, started to handover the position he had for 4 years. Next in this extremely disputed UN position will be Michelle Bachelet, ex-president of Chile. Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a really Arab professional diplomat, annoyed not only the 5 permanent members of the Security Council, but also the traditional partners of his country, Jordan, among them also being the financial donor who supports Amman, Saudi Arabia. According to his recent statement[4] “Jordan is the country where I was born and where I have been raised […]. When it came to this position (UN Commissioner for Human rights) it was like any other country”.

Thus, even if he had the highest international position ever offered to a representative of the Arabian states, after the one of UN Secretary-General held by the Egyptian Boutros Boutros-Ghali in the 90’, prince Zeid, member of the Iraqi Hashemite Royal House, but Jordanian citizen, he is close to end his politic career, marginalized, yet with firm principles.

Often, Jordan encounters with terrorism attacks, initiated and developed by ISIS or Al Qaida sympathizers, disguised among population with moderate Islamic opinions.  The most recent one, from 10th August, was in Salt district, 20km North-West of Amman, and ended, according to the information made publicly until now, with at least 3 dead people among the Jordanian security forces.

According to a scenario used in the previous years, these terrorist attacks, relatively reduced as scale, due to the limited support among the local population that the terrorists benefit of, aims to destabilize the kingdom by attacking tourism places, well promoted in media, or are made, as the recent attack, during some festivals of other major cultural activities. For this attack there is another detail, which was not that presented in Jordanian press[5]: the first phase of the armed incident was at a festival in Al Fuheis, a district placed a few km away from Salt, the only city inhabited mostly by Christians. According to the same scenario, after the initial attack, they attacked a vehicle of Jordanian Gendarmerie. The attackers hide after that in an barricaded location, where the Jordanian security forces made a massive attack. The hideouts are in crowded urban area, so the number of humans loses increases, with dead people or hurt ones, among the civil population. In this case, the preliminary numbers are around 30 victims, deaths and hurt. The aftermath involves popular mobilization to reject the terrorism, to promote internal stability and moderation. The fact that, often,  these incidents occur, in a country with a tight security structure, is a hint that Jordanian’s security marginalized or radicalized segments continue to exist and act.

 

IRAQ

The vote counting took three months, but it confirmed what was already announced three days after the elections, that the parliamentary elections in Iraq, from 12th of May, were won by the electoral alliance led by the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The announcement made by the Iraqi Central Electoral Commission, on 10th of August, ends a long period of provisional state and opens the door to electing the president of the country, the election of a candidate for the prime-minister position, the creation of a new government and the approval of its program. The calendar schedule of these new politic structures start after a 15 days period from the moment of the official announcement of the election results, when the actual president must demand the reunion of the new Parliament. The next step is the election of a new president, who has to choose the candidate for the prime-minister position.

The potential parliamentary and political alliances are already made and were presented by Defence and SecuriHYPERLINK "https://monitorulapararii.ro/alegerile-din-irak-cateva-certitudini-multe-necunoscute-o-privire-asupra-situatiei-post-electorale-1-3570"tHYPERLINK "https://monitorulapararii.ro/alegerile-din-irak-cateva-certitudini-multe-necunoscute-o-privire-asupra-situatiei-post-electorale-1-3570"y Monitor. The manual votes counting did not change the result of the elections, as only one deputy member was transferred from a political group to another[6], so that what was marked before remains marked, and the winner, the Saairun/Sairoun Alliance, formed by Muqtada al- Sadr’s and Iraqi’s Communist Party sympathizers could look for other individuals and candidatures.

Ending the transitional period is even more necessary as Iraq faced a hot summer, literally, but also as the anti-ISIS military operations and massive protests continue, which extended from South to Bagdad capital, in the same time facing a public service degradation. Forming a governmental coalition is not, at the moment, so easy to realize, even if announcing election’s final results opened the door to make the constitutional steps. Even if the first three winning groups of the election announced that they agreed for a new governance, the concrete treaties are few and the negotiation space is still very large. Sadr’s intransigence, which demands the support for 40 measures which would stabilize the country in the “right direction”, could send the alliance towards the opposition. Especially when among these measures is the elimination of obligatory parliamentary funding based on ethnicity, the new ministers have to be without previous ministerial positions, the prohibition of access to parliamentary position for the individuals with dual citizenship, the elimination of corrupt officials from public positions. The last could be, paradoxically, the hardest to accept. In a country which gets tens of billion income from energy resources exports, the cuts in providing electric energy became a norm,  and the functionaries accountable in the area were hard to identify and sanction.

 

IRAN

“Either changes its threatening and destabilizing attitude and reintegrate in world’s economy, or continues towards economic isolation”, said U.S’s president, Donald Trump, quoted by The Associated Press, after signing (06.08, Monday, in the afternoon), the executive order which re-imposed the sanctions against Iran.

“We urge all nations to take such steps to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation”, stated Trump, quoted by The Associated Press.

Trump said he is open to negotiate a larger treaty which includes the entire regime’s “malign” activities palette (from Teheran), including the ballistic program and the support for terrorism. The Teheran leader refused Trump’s offer, saying that “negotiation under sanctions have no sense”.

The first sanctions part took effect Tuesday (07.08, 04.00 am), creating strong reaction for the European officials, who are making great efforts to protect the European companies which have businesses with Iran, but also to keep the nuclear Treaty from 2015 (JCPOA) with Teheran, which the U.S withdraw from in May. The sanctions include stopping the financial transactions and the commodity imports, as well as restrictions regarding the acquisition in the auto and aeronautical sectors. A second part will take effect in November and refers to oil and natural gases sector, but also transactions made by Iran’s Central Bank.

The European companies risk, in their turn, sanctions from Washington if they do not stop making businesses with Iran or, because for some products, they need American licenses, as it happens with the airplanes produced in Europe, but which have elements made in the U.S. There will be affected businesses of the European companies from aeronautical, auto, oil, tourism and air transport industries, railway and naval industries, the pharmaceutical domain etc.

The Teheran regime will not survive without the oil export. The Nuclear Treaty in 2015 (JCPOA) could have been the big chance for Iran’s economical relaunch, but economy’s revival was too modest. The presidential elections from May 2017 brought Hassan Rouhani the second mandate, but the population is far from being enthusiastic with the economic-social progresses promised after the JCPOA. There were protests against the water crisis from some of the country’s cities. The authorities had to release recently two politic detainees. U.S’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the sanctions already re-imposed affected the Iranian economy, which was anyway vulnerable due to damaging corruption and bad management. From March until now, the Iranian rial lost half of its worth, and the regime seems more and more unstable. 

What will be next? Does president Trump need a war and a significant military success to approach with bigger chances the electoral campaign in 2020? Does he act like a continuation of the success he had with North Korea?

Iran is a step ahead others in region by having the strongest potential to provoke an “explosion” in the Middle East, with multiple consequences at international level. Teheran’s regime internal instability, caused by the economic situation, the social issues, water crisis, living’s costs and the increase of the population’s dissatisfaction, but also the foreign relations which are more and more problematical in the region (Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Turkey etc.), as well as with the U.S, are important factors in this situation.

The optimist scenario would be for the Iranian leaders to accept the negotiations with the U.S, thus avoiding sanctions and the diplomatic isolation’ consequences. The Iranian regime could make concessions regarding what Washington considers Iranian ill-fated influence in the region, especially the support Teheran regime offer to Damascus. On the other hand, an exacerbation of the internal situation, by renewal the sanctions, would create a regime change and a reorientation of Iran in the direction that Washington wants. Until 1979, the Shah`s regime from Teheran was close to U.S. A comeback to that situation could be very useful for the foreign American policy in the Middle East.

In a pessimist scenario, the sanctions could augment the tensions between Washington and Teheran, the Iranian authorities threatening recently[7] (again) that they could block the oil transport through Hormuz Strait. Such an evolution starts to be more and more evocated in the political statements, interviews, analyses and comments coming from Iran or about Iran.

Even if not as scaring as the North-Korean nuclear bomb, an eventual blocking of the Hormuz Strait by Iran could be one of the strongest actions Teheran regime will be able to take (according to some statistics, through Hormuz move between 20 and 40% of world’s oil). Such an evolution would be Iran’s revenge against the American sanctions and the prohibiting the Iranian oil exports. On the other hand, such an evolution would be president’s Trump perfect reason and a plausible motivation to military hit Iran, alone, or probably, throughout an international coalition.

It should consider also other factors in this scenario: Russia’s hostile reaction, the opposition of majority American’s society against another big war, and the lack of an Western consensus too.

For the moment, Trump’s commitment for new negotiations with Teheran seems to indicate that the American president does not want a classic conflict with Teheran, military, but one to lead to a double pressure, internally and externally too, where the calm voices to be available to renegotiate a treaty with the U.S, on some provisions basis

 

ISRAEL

Druze’s community loyalty was challenged with the approval of Nationality Law, or the Nation State Law, as everybody knows it. Before the document be adopted [8] there were intense manifestation and protest actions coming from this community, known as being one of the most loyal community to Israel. These were taken place even in Defence’s Israeli Forces, where the Druzes have a superior percentage comparing it to the community one, especially in the special forces structures. On 1st of August, three Druze officers announced their resignation. Another one expressed his complaint on Facebook, a rare gesture among the Israeli military. Druzes’ importance for the army forces forced general Gadi Eizenkot, the chief of the army, to have an urgent meeting with the spiritual leader of Israeli Druzes, Sheik Mowfaq Tari, the two asking after the meeting, through a press release, the Druze military young men to not leave the army, to not hurt the “blood connection between the Druze and the Jewish”, a functional alliance before the creation of Israel State. Ulterior meeting between the Druze political leaders and prime-minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not ended with success, confirmed the gravity of the issue.

One of the most respected members of the Druze community, brigade general (r) Hason Hason, ex member of the military intelligence services, but also military counsellor of presidents Shimon Peres and Reuven Rivlin, confirmed that adopting the law drives Israel to a “steep slope”, the solution being the abjuration of the new legislative document and the comeback to the fundamental law: the Independence Declaration since the creation of the Israel State, which defines the Jewish character of the state, but also the equality between the communities.

Druze’s community demonstration, deployed on 4th of August, in Rabin Square, showed its unity, but also the solidarity of an important part of the Israeli community. Around 50.000 participants protested so that the 130-140.000 Druzes from Israel to not become inferior citizens in a state they helped to be created.

Although the Druze community is significantly numerical inferior to the Israeli Arabs, its voice was stronger, thanks to its supra-representativity in the forces structures. Therefore, the processes to identify a legislative solution which corresponds to “equality” demand transmitted during the demonstration from the Rabin Square, already started. For now, the prime-minister Netanyahu has the support of the conservative majority of the Israeli population, so that his position remained firm. Yet, if the Druze protests will be accompanied by the Bedouins ones from the south of Israel and the Israeli Arabs from North, the situation could change.

 

LEBANON

Syrians refugees do not wish to comeback home soon, despite the measures taken by the Lebanon security structures, which logistically encouraged and supported their deployment over the border with Syria. 137 refugees were transported by bus in Syria, on 14th of August, from the districts in Shebaa and Central Bekaa areas, through the border Masnaa border check point. The information was publicly made by the Lebanese security services, which mentioned that the Syrian refugees offered to be volunteers for this repatriation operation. The volunteering does not seem to be diffused among the 1,5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, as only 13.000 of them chose this option in the first 6 months of 2018.

Of course, the comeback is still discouraged by the continuous military operations in some regions of Syria, as well as by the lack of consensus between the states which can contribute to solving the conflict and managing the refugee’s problem. Lebanon created 17 registration points to for the refugees who want to come back home, in Damascus it will be created a national committee for repatriating the Syrian refugees, as a consequence of the civil war, but the situation stays tense regionally speaking, and the option to comeback to an authoritarian regime is not yet an attractive perspective for most of the Syrian refugees from Lebanon.

 

SYRIA

The supposed collaboration with Iran costed the life for the Syrian chief of project for missile development, the professor Azis Asbar. On 4th of August, he was killed in an explosion provoked by a car bomb in Masyaf district, West of Hama. The assassination of the chief of Sector 4, the research structure working in an underground location, was not assumed but the media speculates that he was the “beneficiary” of an Israeli legal provision, which allows the Israeli prime-minister to approve assassination operations, know in Mossad’s interior as “negative treatment”, applied, of course, to individuals who are considered to be dangerous for the Israel State. The Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, denied involvement in this operation: “Each day, in the Middle East, take place hundreds of explosions, with tens of killed individuals. Each time they are trying to blame us. We do not take these things so serious.”[9]

Despite the fact the professor Asbar was not a threat for Israel, and even if its researches were in a sensitive domain for the Jewish states, about improving the solid combustible performances used in missile’s technology with military destination, his assassination could have some explanations:

  • Israel is interested in blocking any missile technology development in the region, especially in its neighbors’ territories, Syria and Hezbollah group;
  •  There is the option that, after the end of the civil war in Syria, Damascus’s attention to comeback to Israel, wherewith it has a dispute for decades over the Golan Hights. The war experience and the technological accumulations will be important in a potential confrontation.
  • Professor’s Asbar possible contacts with Iranian military leaders, among them being Major General Qassim Soleimani, as well as the perspective of a long-term Iranian presence in Syria, ringed the alarm in Jerusalem. A second front at the North border, after the one at the border with Lebanon, is unacceptable for Israel.

Thus, the attempt, which is the fourth at least, over some researchers in the region, is a warning that the scientific activity in missile domain is a dangerous occupation, if it is made outside Israel’s borders.

After retaking the control over Daraa district, the Damascus regime prepares the “Idlib Operation”, for the elimination of country’s North-West rebels. The re-location of military forces is still in process, and on a diplomatically plan, the confrontation for Idlib already started. The Russian Foreign Minister’s visit, Serghei Lavrov, in Turkey, 13-14th of August, foregoes the leaders’ summit in France, Germany, Russia and Turkey, which the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, intents to organize in 7th of September, in Istanbul. For now, the Russian diplomatic representatives deny a potential operation of Damascus’s regime in Idlib, meanwhile the Turkish part says that, if this happens, Turkey’s interests must be protected. The diplomatic language does not cover situation’s complexity in the field, where Russia and Turley’s interest rarely overlaps, often meeting, meanwhile the Damascus regime, after 7 years of war, seems rushed to put an end to the last rebel district. Unlike the rest of Syria, in Idlib are now more inhabitants than there were at the beginning of the war, the majority members of the refugee’s opposition from other districts. Also, the Syrian rebel groups from other districts were re-located, after some agreements with the regime, in the same district. Thus, at the moment, in Idlib are around 2,7 million inhabitants, comparing with 1,5 million before the war. These are defended by almost 18.000 fighters, coming from various groups: The Syrian Front of Liberation/ Jabhat Tahrir Souria, The National Front for Syria’s Liberation/ Jabhat al-Wataniya lil-Tahrir Souria, as well as Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group close to Al Qaida. The first two unified recently (on 1st of July) in the National Front/ Jabhat Wataniya. Periodically, these groups engage in bloody internal confrontations, and the Turkish forces present in the region are not avoided. For the situation to become even more complicated, Turkey has already 12 observation points in the region, inside the Syrian territory. [10]

Alongside the diplomatic efforts, the military dislocations continue. According to an optimist scenario, the negotiated situation would be the first option. A refugees’ wave, as the one in 2015, would be hard to manage for Turkey, which is in full economy crisis. This is why we are expecting Ankara to make pressures over the rebels to get to an agreement with the regime. Such an approach would be a handicape for managing the situation from north of Syria, Afrin Canton and Jarabulus city, where Turkey is also present. The refugees who come from Idlib are radicalized and will be hardly accepted in Turkish communities. So, at the horizon, it is projected, for this situation too, the military solution. With pro regime Al-Fu’ah and Kafriya enclaves’ disappearance, the evacuation already made on 17th of July[11], the regular Syrian forces have now free permission to execute massive cleaning operations. The summit in Istanbul could stop this option, if not, somehow, at the moment of the summit, Damascus’s military campaign will not be in full swing.

 

PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

The “cats and dogs” or “today peace, tomorrow war” game continues between Hamas and Israel. Last week (Wednesday, 8th of August), the Hamas fighters launched over 70 missiles from Gaza Strip to Israel. The Israeli army fought back with air raids over 12 terrorist basis of the Palestinian Islamic movement which control the enclave, according to a release of the Israeli army (according to AFP). The Hamas group and Israel got to an agreement[12] to stop the fire in the second part of month (the night from 20 to 21 of August, with Egypt and ONU’s mediation), after a new escalation of the violence which ended with the death of 4 Palestinians and one Israeli soldier.

Since March the tensions increased significantly, Hamas organizing weekly violent demonstrations and trying incursions across the border, launching missiles and fire balloons towards the Israeli territory. In the last weeks were launched more than 200 missiles, creating concerns regarding the start of a new major conflict. In the last weeks, the tensions between Hamas and Israel escalated, and the security situation from the Gaza Strip damaged really quick. The tensions reached their highest level, after the Protective Edge Operation, in the summer of 2014, followed by a relatively peaceful period of 4 years. The traumatic moments of that operation discourage the Hamas fighters from provoking another major conflict with Israel, but the recent actions increased the concerns regarding the remaking of 2014 conflicts.

The conflict in 2014 was a lot serious than the previous conflicts between the Israeli forces and the Hamas fighters. Moreover, it was not planned or initiated by any part, but the result of the dynamic of some military actions-reactions whose control was lost. Even if the intentions of the two parts were not to hire in a large-scale conflict, the field dynamic led to this evolution.

Recent evolutions show that despite the fact that Hamas is not looking for a new large-scale conflict, it starts to assume some increasing risks due to various factors: the necessity of winning from concessions coming from Israel to relax the blockade over the Strip, especially considering the loses among the participants at the manifestation “Grand March of Return” (started on 30th of March).

On the other hand, Israel tries to firmly answer Hamas’s actions and seems to be too occupied with North’s border situation and it does not want to escalate the Strip situation, offering the Islamic group more maneuver space.

To sum up, is seems that none of the parts wants an escalation of the conflict, but both wish to change the actual situation: Hamas wants to raise the blockade over the Gaza Strip and stop the raids, and Israel wants to stop the attacks and the incursions across the border. Still, accomplishing these objectives led to actions which could create the exact result they want to avoid.

Will these actions lead to large-scale confrontations? No one can know yet, but both parts seem to accept the fact that such a scenario could happen on short-term and are preparing for this. They will give up on doing everything to prevent the war, as each part’s wish is to change the status quo and to answer back to other’s actions.

 

TURKEY

The financial crisis in Turkey was projected by Defence and Security Monitor[13] which anticipated a degradation of the economic and financial situation in Turkey, in the post-electoral period. Of course, it is hard to anticipate if it will be raised by a bilateral conflict with a strategic partner, in this case the U.S. Friday. 10th of August, the Turkish lira was losing 16% at the exchange rate comparing to dollar[14], respectively 45% comparing with the beginning of the year[15]. At a first sight, the evolution is a consequence of the conflict between Ankara and Washington on the subject about the pastor Andrew Brunson, American citizen, who at the moment is in house arrest, accused of spying and terrorist activities. At a second sight, the actual crisis in Turkey is rather the result of some politic-economic issues, more than a decade old, which used cheap credits for massive investments, indebting country’s finance, hoping that these investments will bring short-term incomes. It did not happen like that, and the fact that this is happening in one of the first economies in the world means that the consequences will extend also in the region, if not on the entire globe. Turkey’s foreign debts are around 50% from the GDP, not much comparing with other states, but the negative economic perception is amplified by president’s Erdogan authoritarian regime, as well as by the reduced rates of the credits, discouraged the investors.

The perceptions are important for the foreign investors, and a president who rules the monetary policy amplifies this phenomenon. Thus, although the Turkish economy had progresses, the effect over Turkish lira was devastating: from an exchange rate of 2,9 liras for a U.S dollar in august 2016, to 6,8 liras in august 2018.

Turkey’s development based on foreign credits came with a price that had to be paid. Considering that the American creditors have rights on 25% from Turkey’s performant state obligations and more that 50% from the ones with standards income, it was understandably that a diplomatic or politic conflict between Ankara and Washington to afflict the economic area.

YEMEN

In a “legitime” military operation, anti-Houthi international coalition forces killed 29 kids in only one air attack in the north of Saada district, on 9th of August. Despite the fact that, usually, the American officials abstain from condemning the Saudi military operations in Yemen which resulted with civil casualties, this time the message had to be transmitted, due to the dimension of the tragedy: “We are worried after seeing the reports which say that an attack (of the coalition) ended with the death of a number of civilians. We are asking the coalition led by Saudi Arabia to investigate transparently this incident”, said the spokeswoman of State Department, Mrs. Heather Nauert.

The statement of coalition’s spokesman[16] for “Restoring the Law in Yemen”, colonel Turki AmMalki, blames the Houthi rebels, who are using the civilian population as a human shield to execute their own ballistic missile attacks over some target in Saudi Arabia. It is hard, however,to explain how a bus full of kids, stopped in a market place in Dahyan, North of Yemen, could influence the launch of a ballistic missile, but, as the Saudi military press release shows, the military operation was a “legitime” one.


[1] According to UN’s agency for migration, 51.782 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea this year, until 18 July, comparing to 110.189 in the same period in 2017 and with 244.722 in 2016. The number of dead individuals is 1.490 people (comparing to 2.846 in 2017).

[2] Raif Badawi, borned on 13.01.1982, is a saudi writer, activist, creator of Free Saudi Liberas website. He was arrested in 2012 for „insulting Islam through electronic methods”. Ensaf Haidar, Raif’s wife, lives in Quebec qith their three kids. These recently became canadian citizenz.

[3] The comercial exhange value between Canada and Saudi Arabia raised in 2016 to almost 2,3 billion dollars. In the same year Canada exported military equipment to Saudi Arabia of 142,2 million dollars. 

[4] https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/un-human-rights-chief-leave-post-principles-intact-and-few-friends-1307642573

[5] http://jordantimes.com/news/local/least-three-people-dead-several-injured-terrorist-hideout-salt-raided

[6] https://www.juancole.com/2018/08/nationalist-communist-recount.html

[7] Guardians of the Revolution (elite forces of Iranian army) announced on Sunday (05.08) the deployment in the anterior days for some important military exercises in Persian Gut and in Hormuz Gut, with the participation of 100 ships. The American officials confirmed an increasement of Iranian ships activity in the area, but there were not noticed ampleness maneuvers.

[8] https://monitorulapararii.ro/buletin-levant-evolutii-politice-si-militare-in-orientul-mijlociu-si-africa-de-nord-iulie-2018-1-5062

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_al-Fu%27ah_and_Kafriya

[12] The second agreement between the two parts, in a week.

[13] https://monitorulapararii.ro/alegerile-anticipate-din-turcia-pentru-erdogan-astrele-s-au-aliniat-mai-devreme-1-296

[14] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/11/business/turkey-lira-crisis.html

[15] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/turkey-us-sanctions-tariffs-standoff-pastor-andrew-brunson-lira-drop-markets/

[16] https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=1796130#1796130