Showing posts from January, 2017

The great Middle East board game

President Trump has just come to the Great Game with an immense stack of chips. He is about to discover that not everyone is playing the same game. The game he knows best is Real Estate Scam or Monopoly, which is played with money and without regard to geo-political realities. Two hints about his future behavior: he once asked why we have nuclear weapons if we don't use them, and his comment that the US should have kept tie Iraqi oil and may get another chance to secure it.

The other major players are as follows:

President Erdogan's great achievement is that he managed to make enemies of Russia (later he mended that), the US, Iran, the Syrian Government, all different brands of Kurds, some Sunni Arabs, Isis and other Jihadists, as well as a fair percentage of his own electorate. The advantage of this is that he does not owe anyone anything. The disadvantage is he is condemned to play Whack a Mole with his opponents popping up out all over the place - disturbingly also within T…

President Erdogan: the Man Who Went to War with Everyone

Turkey had a terrible year in 2016 and within minutes of the opening of 2017, dozens who were celebrating the New Year, were massacred in a posh waterside club in Istanbul. In the past year terror attacks hit military and civilian targets throughout the country including the vital air hub, the Istanbul Ataturk Airport.

But the tragedies of this year did not come out of the blue: they were the result of a series of relationships gone awry over the past
ten years of the present regime.


There was a purge of the army command beginning in 2010 carried out by the governing AKP regime and its Gulenist allies in the judiciary. Hundreds of top army and navy officers were thrown into jail with what everyone now agrees was falsified evidence.

Then there were the Gezi riots in Istanbul in May and June, 2013. These were set off by the government's determination to build an Ottoman monument in a park that was one of the last green area in the city. At the same time, the government attacked…