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Middle East Press (29 Dec 2016 NewAgeIslam.Com)

Aleppo: A Journey Of Blood, Silence And Tears: New Age Islam's Selection, 29 December 2016

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

29 December 2016

Aleppo: A Journey Of Blood, Silence And Tears

By Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin

UN Vote A Slap At Netanyahu Rather Than Defense Of Peace

By Ray Hanania

Eliminating Daesh

By Diana Moukalled

Obama Played His Last Settlements Trump Card

By Yossi Mekelberg

The Turkish-Russian Road Map For Syria Peace

By Murat Yetkin

Rocky Road Ahead For America's Ties With UN

By Thalif Deen

The Coming Turbulence Of 2017

By Maria Dubovikova

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau


Aleppo: A Journey Of Blood, Silence And Tears

By Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin

Dec 29, 2016

The Guardian describes the overtaking of many districts of Aleppo by the forces of the Syrian regime as having resulted in “one giant graveyard”.

The heavy shelling with missiles and the systematic killing have left this ancient city soaked in blood and strewn with mutilated corpses. The terrorist regime, backed by Russia and Iranian militia, is guilty of a brutal, inhumane and atrocious massacre of thousands of innocent civilians including women and children in Aleppo. It has repeated the events of Bosnia and Rwanda, and the silence of the whole world in the face of such crimes, in violation of all human rights guaranteed by international law, is shameful in the 21st century. With its control over Aleppo, the regime and its backers are attempting to achieve the following goals:

Firstly, it aims to change the balance of power on the ground for negotiations. In view of the US administration’s transition, Russia is backing the regime’s takeover of Aleppo as it holds great strategic significance. The fall of Aleppo will enhance the regime’s negotiating power in any future political settlement. It will put pressure on the opposition to accept any terms laid down by the regime, particularly with regards to the political process which would include Assad being involved in the transition term.

Secondly, it intends to resettle the regime militia by cracking down on the opposition and forcing it out. Col. Abdul Jabbar Al-Oqaidi, founder of the Aleppo Revolutionary Military Council, says: “It seems clear that the regime wants to displace the people of Aleppo in order to impose a new demographic reality in the region, leaving families with no option other than resistance”.

Aleppo is known to be divided into opposition-held areas and those held by the regime-backing forces. The regime commands the western side of the city while the rebels have control of the eastern side. So, the regime is putting pressure on the opposition-held citizens to distance themselves from the rebels.

As has been the case in other areas of Syria, the regime is displacing those in Aleppo who resist and attempt to remain in their city despite the loss of livelihood, and replace them with the regime-backing militia. “During the past 24 hours, thousands were displaced to the west from the opposition-held areas” says Mr. Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian observatory. He confirms that “some eastern districts of the city have become completely devoid of population”. If the regime is successful in its mission in Aleppo, it will do the same in the rest of the cities in Idlib down to the coastal area. It should not be forgotten that the regime followed the same course in 2012 when it launched a brutal attack on Aleppo forcing 200,000 people out of the city, as confirmed by the UN.

Thirdly, it is cutting supplies to the opposition. Aleppo is regarded as Turkey’s backyard, which functions as the opposition’s lifeline by smuggling arms and fighters and provides a way out for the wounded for treatment. Cutting off Turkish aid to the opposition through such a vital and safe passage would only be possible with a besieged Aleppo. Moreover, Russia and the regime seek to empower the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to take control of the countryside north of Aleppo adjacent to Turkey. Hence, Turkey will be threatened by the YPG and Daesh (the self-proclaimed IS).

It is essential that the international community should work to provide relief for the stricken people, end this tragedy, bring about justice and stop the daily massacres being committed against them. The only way out is to strip the terrorists of power; otherwise the spark of this war will ignite and consume the entire world. If this tragedy continues, outrage will increase, especially among zealous youth, driving them to join terrorist organizations in their search for salvation. The longer this situation continues, the more refugees will spill out over the world.

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Othaimin is a Middle East affairs specialist and security analyst based in Riyadh.

Source: saudigazette.com.sa/opinion/aleppo-journey-blood-silence-tears/


UN Vote A Slap At Netanyahu Rather Than Defense Of Peace

By Ray Hanania

29 December 2016

Much is being made of US President Barack Obama’s decision not to veto a UN Security Council resolution declaring what the whole world already believes: Israel’s settlements violate international law.

Israel’s extremist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to withdraw from the UN body. Obama’s critics have slammed him as “anti-Semitic.” The pro-peace movement of Arabs and Jews has hailed the move as a step forward. US President-elect Donald Trump warned the vote makes it harder to negotiate a final peace.

It is none of that, of course. All the praise and criticism is just a manifestation of the lack of will from the US and even the Arab and Muslim worlds to end the conflict by creating a Palestinian state. What is the point of an abstention? Maybe it was little more than a personal shot by Obama against Netanyahu. Their rivalry has received much attention, even though Obama has spent eight years doing everything for Israel and blocking Palestinian aspirations.

Compare Obama to his predecessor George W. Bush. The latter abstained on six pro-Palestinian resolutions, and just before leaving office failed to veto a resolution demanding Israel end its military assault on the Gaza Strip.

Despite the emotional histrionics of pro-Israel fanatics such as the Zionist Organization of America, many members of the US Congress and much of the American news media, the resolution was so watered down you have to wonder why anyone cares.

The irony is a reflection of consistent hypocrisy in US politics when it comes to Israel. No one really reads the resolution. The mainstream American news media simply reports assertions and distortions spun by Israel’s sophisticated and effective multimillion-dollar public relations campaign.

America’s former UN Ambassador John Bolton, for example, has asserted the resolution calls Israel’s occupation “illegitimate,” but the word is nowhere to be found in the resolution text. All the resolution does is repeat past policies that even the US has supported. You cannot occupy a territory and expel its people, take their lands and create your own colonies (settlements), as Israel is doing in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The resolution urges Israel to abide by legal agreements it signed as a sovereign nation and UN member, and warns that settlements undermine the chances for peace. However, the resolution also condemns all acts of violence and terrorism by both sides, including the Palestinians.

That the US only abstained from supporting those fundamental principles, instead of voting in favor of the resolution, should be shocking to every American. Are those not the very principles that the US represents as a democracy and leader of the “free world?”

To the American media, Israel’s defenders and the US Congress, truth is irrelevant when dealing with Israel’s atrocities. I urge readers to read UN Resolution 2334 and compare it to what is being said and reported. It does not challenge Israel’s right to exist, nor deny its sovereignty in the pre-1967 borders.

Immediately after the adoption of the resolution, Netanyahu announced plans to massively increase Jewish-only settlement in occupied East Jerusalem. Settlement expansion exposes the fundamental fact that Israel does not want peace, it wants the land. It also serves as a reminder of the impotency of the Arab world, which has been in a political coma since the peace process began in the 1970s.

The Arab and Muslim worlds have condemned Israel’s violations, but have done nothing to prevent them. Instead, they have expanded political and economic relations with Israel. In a way, their response reflects the bipolar policies of the Obama administration, which has put a critical spotlight on Israel’s resistance to peace, while at the same time strengthening Israel with billions in military aid, political support and technology.

How can you support peace and the two-state solution when you continue to expand settlements? The inconsistency of criticism and a lack of action have become a shield for Israel. It can do what it wants. Netanyahu understands something Arabs and Muslims do not: Once Palestinians have a sovereign state, there will be no stopping Palestinian empowerment. Sovereignty of a state, not its size, gives that state its international integrity.

A Palestine recognized by the UN and the world as a sovereign state is a much more powerful victim of brutality than the Palestine that it is today, with no recognized borders or independent government.

If Obama really wanted to make a statement, he would support a UN Security Council resolution recognizing Palestine as a sovereign state. That would dramatically change Israel’s actions, elevating them from occupation to invasion, and opening them up to far more significant war crimes charges and international sanctions.

Many Palestinians view a “mini-state” as their own destruction, but no one ever said Palestinian activists are smarter than their Israeli rivals. Palestinian rejectionism has also strengthened Israel’s own extremism, and made it easy for Israel to prevent a two-state solution.

Israel and the US have transformed that solution into a bipolar two-policy disintegration that allows Israel to expand without accountability or paying a price. Regardless of how one feels, Obama will be remembered not for what he did, but for what he failed to do.

Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian-American former journalist and political columnist.

Source: .arabnews.com/node/1030936/columns


Eliminating Daesh

By Diana Moukalled

29 December 2016

It seems the whole world continues to believe in the deceptive global mission to eliminate Daesh. There is a widespread belief that achieving a military victory over this satanic entity will eventually pay off. This belief has made great powers, political elites and parties overlook the deeds of tyrannical powers that have promoted the illusion that they are fighting Daesh and obscurantist thoughts.

Anyone subjected to fear will seek a military victory, as if Daesh emerged as a result of its own military victory. There are widely agreed-upon causes for its rise, none of which have been handled. Iraq has been repeating this equation since the fall of the Baathist regime — no one has learned the lesson. The US disbanded the Iraqi Army and banned the Baath Party. As a result, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s group emerged.

“Awakening” groups were created following bloody clashes with the terrorist organization. At first this seemed to be a solution, but then-Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki criticized them so Al-Qaeda fighters returned to the cities from the desert.

The US tried to handle this failure by launching airstrikes on the terrorist organization and killing its leaders one by one. Soon after, the government released detainees from Bucca prison, who founded Daesh and developed it into a “caliphate” that expanded to Syria. The rest is history.

All this has taken place within a defined and specific political context that has been left untreated. The world remained silent about the massacres of Aleppo and Iranian expansion into Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon, which has resulted in a Sunni-Shiite conflict that has split the Middle East.

Daesh and other militant organizations will be defeated, but they will seize chances to retain their presence in any area where political and military conditions allow them to regain their influence. The political and security conditions that give rise to Daesh are still present.

Daesh was born because some sides decided to capitalize on the defeat of a domestic group — their investment bore fruit when it produced this freakish creature. Today, a considerable war to defeat the organization in Iraq and Syria is underway, yet at the same time there is also a war against Sunnis to further humiliate them. In other words, we have two wars: One against Daesh, and another to recreate the conditions that produced it.

Daesh is not a hierarchical organization like Al-Qaeda — in a sense it cannot be considered an organization. It is more like a disorder that is stronger and bloodier than the group that the world is fighting in Mosul, Raqqa and Al-Bab. Efforts to understand the relationship between the executors and the organizational heads have not helped, because no clue has led to a sure-fire result. Discovering more cells or tracing accomplices and suspects will not be of real value as long as there are those who can plow a truck into innocent people, assassinate an ambassador or seize a castle, such as last week’s incidents in Berlin, Ankara and Karak, respectively.

These incidents, which were not the first and are perhaps not the last, stress the fact that all are battling a dormant thought that does not need direct orders or organizational contact to be awakened. The rattling echoes of victory seem to be a celebration of an illusion that could trigger a new freak unless the real reasons are addressed.

 Diana Moukalled is a veteran journalist with extensive experience in both traditional and new media. She is also a columnist and freelance documentary producer.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1030931/columns


Obama Played His Last Settlements Trump Card

By Yossi Mekelberg

28 December 2016

Last Friday’s Security Council resolution calling for cessation of Israel’s settlement activity was a decision waiting to happen. It has been a very long time since this body sent such a clear and united message of disapproval of the Israeli settlement project. Astonishingly, the last such instance was in 1980 with the passing of Resolution 465, which bluntly and totally denounced the building of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land. One of the most obvious reasons for this long delay was the US’s persistent exercising of its veto power to block similar resolutions.

This obstruction was reflective of both the domestic power configuration in the United States, and the structure of the Security Council, which entrusts disproportionate power in the hands of five countries that do not necessarily use it wisely. However, on this occasion, weeks prior to bidding farewell to the White House, President Obama chose for his country to abstain and thereby allowed the resolution to pass with the support of the other 14 members of the Security Council.

In the hours leading up to the vote, President-elect Trump did his tweeting best to pressurize the outgoing Obama administration to avert the resolution from passing. Obama, free from the need to appease his domestic political rivals, opted for prudence, ready to absorb top-heavy and at times vile criticism from the Israeli government and its allies in the United States. The Netanyahu government overreacted in its characteristic counterproductive and hysterical manner. It lambasted Obama asserting, “The Obama administration conducted a shameful anti-Israel ambush at the UN.”

An anonymous diplomatic source briefed journalists stating, “this is the last sting from President Obama. An act that revealed the true face of the Obama administration.” In a rush of blood to his head, Netanyahu conveniently forgot that this is an administration that only recently signed the largest military aid agreement ever with Israel, and a fortnight ago handed it the first of a few dozen of the most sophisticated stealth fighters in the world, the F-35.

Regrettably, Netanyahu was in no state of mind to take a deep breath and reflect on his and his government’s contribution to this international condemnation of its settlement policy. Their deliberate actions to ensure the failure of the Kerry peace initiative, the constant announcements of the expansion of settlements, and in the last few weeks the passing of a bill allowing for the illegal confiscation of more Palestinian land, compelled the members of the Security Council to act.

However, Netanyahu for his own domestic political reasons and due to a complete lack of long term strategic thinking, embarked instead on a massive verbal attack on all the member states of the Security Council. Serving also as a foreign minister, Netanyahu, in an unusual act of folly, summoned and rebuked all the ambassadors to Israel from Security Council member countries, including US ambassador Dan Shapiro. While some members of his own cabinet called for the annexation of the West Bank and intensifying the building of settlements, Netanyahu opted to “punish” those who dared to support this UN Resolution.

He cancelled visits of senior dignitaries from these countries to Israel and of Israeli officials to their countries. In addition, he suspended some of Israel’s funding to the UN and to Senegal, who was one of the sponsors of this UN resolution. Even in a moment of rage he should know that a small country such as Israel, as powerful as it is, makes itself look utterly unreasonable and ridiculous, when it takes on a united international front. Will the next step be to sever all diplomatic relations with these countries or boycott them?

These cavalier acts of bravado and opportunistic anger may gain him some traction with the Right in Israel and some elements in US society, but they will only push Israel into a corner and lead to its international isolation. At this stage last week’s resolution has no more than symbolic significance, but rejecting it out of hand may end in more concrete measures against the Jewish state.

Anyone who cares to read Resolution 2334 carefully will recognize that it was meticulously crafted to ensure that criticism of Israel did not go beyond its settlement activity. There was nothing new in reminding Israel of its obligations as an occupying power in accordance with international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

For the Security Council to reiterate that Israeli settlements have “no legal validity and constitute a flagrant violation under international law,” not to mention that they present a major hindrance to the prospect of two-state solution, can only be considered as stating the obvious. At the same time, the resolution takes pains to emphasize that members of the UN should differentiate in their dealings with Israel between the internationally recognized territory of the State of Israel, and the territories occupied by it in 1967. The resolution almost represents desperation on the part of the international community to salvage the peace process, based more on hope than conviction.

In reacting to the most recent Security Council resolution, Israeli officials ignored the fact that the fifteen members also called for the prevention of terrorism. Furthermore, two members of the Security Council, Venezuela and Malaysia, which have no diplomatic relations with Israel, supported the resolution which explicitly recognizes Israel and one which does not exclude changes in the 1967 border as long as it is agreed by both sides.

Netanyahu might feel bitter and frustrated that Obama outmaneuvered him so close to the latter’s departure from the White House. Yet, considering his conduct during the nuclear negotiations with Iran, he deserves little sympathy. To think that this was an act of revenge by a departing president is over simplistic. It is more a case of acting on what he believes is in the best interest of the United States, Israel and the region.

Considering his successor and his choice for the US’s next ambassador to Israel, an extreme right-wing supporter of the settlements, this may have been Obama’s last act of establishing some sense in US foreign policy towards Israel—an attempt to help it to stay Jewish and democratic. Maybe, just maybe, had Obama been as assertive on the peace process all along as he was last week, the peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians would have stood a better chance.

Yossi Mekelberg is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, where he is involved with projects and advisory work on conflict resolution, including Track II negotiations. He is also the Director of the International Relations and Social Sciences Program at Regent’s University in London, where he has taught since 1996. Previously, he was teaching at King’s College London and Tel Aviv University. Mekelberg’s fields of interest are international relations theory, international politics of the Middle East, human rights, and international relations and revolutions. He is a member of the London Committee of Human Rights Watch, serving on the Advocacy and Outreach committee. Mekelberg is a regular contributor to the international media on a wide range of international issues .

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2016/12/28/Obama-played-his-last-settlements-trump-card.html


The Turkish-Russian Road Map For Syria Peace

By Murat Yetkin


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu’s statement on Dec. 28 that expanding the cease-fire to evacuate Aleppo across Syria was “at hand” thanks to talks with Russia has raised hopes and questions in equal measure.

How could Russia and Turkey work together on ending the civil war in Syria after supporting opposing fighting parties? Were countries like the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Kingdom, for example, included in such a deal? What about the Russia, Turkey, Iran talks on the future of Syria to be held in Astana hosted by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as declared by Russian President Vladimir Putin and seconded by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan?

According to diplomatic sources in Ankara, the picture resembles a road map and is not as complicated as it seems, which doesn’t mean that it will be possible to achieve it easily.

The suggested process can be divided into three stages in such a way that if an earlier stage fails, the remaining ones will not succeed.

1- The truce: This is the current stage. If the fighting parties in Syria, forces loyal to the Bashar al-Assad regime and the opposition forces, excluding the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra, agree to a truce in which Russia and Turkey act not like sides but guarantors, every fighting party would agree to freeze at the points they hold. No air raids or artillery attacks would be made against each other, excluding the forces which are designated as terrorists by all sides, ISIL and al-Qaeda affiliated groups, mainly al-Nusra.

2- The talks: If that truce is achieved, the Syrian representatives of forces loyal to the regime and opposition will be invited to the Kazakh capital of Astana, where Russia, Turkey and Iran will again act as guarantors, not negotiating parties and facilitators. Turkey wants the United Nations to be present at the Astana talks as observers and facilitate them if necessary.

3- The commitment: If the negotiating parties in Astana agree to continue the truce, spread it across Syria and extend it to a political solution, then Turkey and Russia (as is being discussed for the time being) will take it to a Geneva conference under the auspices of the U.N. sometime in February 2017 as complementary to those talks for a lasting peace in Syria, not as an alternative plan.

Ankara has already contacted the U.N. for the Astana talks, while providing information about the ongoing process. Çavusoglu has contacted the U.N. special envoy for the Syria crisis, Staffan de Mistura, along with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Lavrov is reported to be in contact with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and De Mistura on the issue. The Turkish Foreign Ministry has been in contact with a number of countries with heavy involvement in the Syria crisis, including the U.S., the U.K., Saudi Arabia and Qatar through their ambassadors to Ankara.

“This is a peace effort we thought we have to give a try,” a ranking Turkish official who asked not to be named told the Hürriyet Daily News. “When Russia and the U.S. had announced the cessation of hostilities agreement without telling a word to us, Turkey immediately announced its support with the hope that it could end the bloodshed in Syria. This is an effort in support of the U.N. initiative, and let’s hope that this time it works.”

The next few days will have key importance regarding the future of a cease-fire and perhaps an end to the nearly six-year-old civil war in Syria.

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com/the-turkish-russian-road-map-for-syria-peace.aspx?pageID=449&nID=107876&NewsCatID=409


Rocky Road Ahead For America's Ties With UN

By Thalif Deen

December 28, 2016

Trump, who will take office on January 20, challenged the effectiveness of the world body

The US has had a longstanding love-hate relationship with the UN ever since 1952 when the world body began operations in New York city on an 18-acre piece of land which housed an abattoir where cattle was being trucked daily for slaughter.

The late Republican senator Jesse Helms, a full-time chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a part-time UN basher, once said "providing funds to the UN was like pouring money into a rat hole."

Former New York city mayor, Ed Koch used a five-letter word to describe the UN: a "sewer". And one of his successors, Rudolph Giuliani, said he will not miss the UN if it decides to pack up and leave New York.

When the 193-member UN General Assembly voted some of the world's "repressive regimes" as members of the Human Rights Commission (now the Human Rights Council), congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Republican of California) hollered: "The inmates have taken over the asylum. And I don't plan to give the lunatics any more American tax dollars to play with." And now, US president-elect Donald Trump, peeved over a Security Council resolution last week chastising Israel over its continued settlements in the occupied territories, has signalled an implicit warning he will review his relationship with the UN.

Having been rebuffed by outgoing President Barack Obama who refused to accede to Trump's appeal to veto the resolution, the incoming president, who will take office on January 20, challenged the effectiveness of the world body and dismissed it as "a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time." Immediately after the resolution was adopted by a vote of 14-nil, with the US abstaining, he held out a warning: "As to the UN, things will be different after January 20."

Currently, the US is the biggest single contributor accounting for 22% of the UN's regular biennium budget, followed by Japan (9.7%), China (7.9%), Germany (6.7%) and France (4.8%) - all based on a country's 'capacity to pay'. The UN's 2016-2017 regular biennium budget amounts to about $5.4 billion, excluding its peacekeeping budget and voluntary contributions to UN Funds and Programmes.

While the US withheld its veto and abstained on the vote, the other four veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council, namely, the UK, France, China and Russia, voted for the resolution, along with the 10 non-permanent members, namely, Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela.

A defiant Israel was livid, and in retaliation, threatened to build another 5,600 settlements in occupied Jerusalem thereby isolating itself further from the international community. Jim Paul, former executive director of the New York-based Global Policy Forum, and who closely monitored the politics of the world body for over 19 years, told IPS the US threat of withholding its dues to the UN has been around for a long time - since the 1980s when it was first proposed by the Washington-based Heritage Foundation. "This threat is effective only if it is believed and acted on by frightened UN officials or member states, who rush to adopt the latest requirements by the bully-state," he noted.

"It actually might be healthy if the US dues were reduced and the UN were not so dependent on US financing," he added.

Paul pointed out that Swedish prime minister, the late Olaf Palme once suggested that the UN's dues structure should be changed so that no single country would pay more than 10% of the total budget(s).

Over the years, successive US administrations have manipulated the UN to its own advantage as an extension of US foreign policy.

Every once in a while, he said, a head of state or other high official will be denied entry and thus an opportunity to speak at the UN.

In Washington, they like to call this behaviour "leadership" but "bully" might be the most appropriate term, said Paul, who frequently served as chair or vice chair of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council.

Despite the 1947 Headquarters Agreement between the US and the UN, which calls on Washington to facilitate the functioning of the UN, the US has denied visas to several heads of governments planning to visit the UN to address the general assembly or accredited as diplomats.

Palitha Kohona, a former chief of the UN treaty section said the US was a key player in the creation of the UN and the organisation has served US interests well over the years. "One might even say that the US has manipulated the UN to serve its global interests," he argued.

The 15,890 individuals directly employed by the UN community took home household earnings of approximately $1.64 billion. These household earnings and the operating expenses of the UN community helped create and sustain 7,940 jobs for New Yorkers.

Titled 'The United Nations Impact Report 2016', it was released by the commissioner of the mayor's office for international affairs Penny Abeywardena. In 1946, New York City competed with cities from London to San Francisco to host the official headquarters of the UN.

Unlike past mayors, the current mayor of New York city, Bill de Blasio has been a strong supporter of the UN. "The impact of the United Nations stretches far beyond New York City and this study reflects the city's enduring commitment to supporting this critical institution," he added.

The current secretary-general, whose interventions, have generally been on the side of the US, also tends to be influenced by the US and the New York media. His home being in New York is a factor in this outcome. Perhaps the secretary-general should rotate his residence around the capitals of the P-5, including in the UK, France, China and Russia.

Source: khaleejtimes.com/editorials-columns/rocky-road-ahead-for-americas-ties-with-un


The Coming Turbulence Of 2017

By Maria Dubovikova

28 December 2016

We have been through another bloody year that was marked by several significant shifts and quakes in international relations that seem to have left the remains of the political system established after World War II in ashes. In the current circumstances, the forecast for 2017 is rather gloomy.

The main player shaking up the international system is the new president of the US. Too much in 2017 will depend on Mr. Trump and on how the Senate and Congress will limit his adventurism. But what is clear is that Donald Trump will step into power in January of 2017 and will hardly stabilize the international situation. His administration, if we are to judge by its composition, is dangerously hawkish with a dominance of representatives from military circles. His policy is not clear. His agenda is not clear as well. He is a businessman and apparently will treat politics and international relations as a business to be done with the most benefit to the United States. Such an approach, on the one hand, can ease tensions on the Russia-US track. In terms of leading the country, his personal attitude toward other nations influence his political approaches. But easing the tensions on one front he will raise tensions to new extremes on the other tracks.

His policy toward China has all chances of raising tensions between the two countries and any hostility and strain where at least one superpower involved is dangerous for global stability. His anti-migration stance will boost xenophobia and racial disputes within the country on the one hand and deepen the already severe gap between Trump supporters and his opponents on the other.

In foreign politics, his blind support of Israel has all chances of upsetting US relations with the Arab world, especially taking into account his seemingly xenophobic attitude toward the Middle East and Muslim world. The prospects of the hard-reached Iranian deal seem negative. The cancelation of the Iranian deal will most likely fuel regional strain and increase the nuclear threat.

An aggravation of ties with Iran will lead to the domino effect, boosting sectarian conflicts and strengthening sectarian components in already existing ones. Syria, Iraq and Yemen are on the list. The intensifying clash between Sunnis and the Shiites predicates the rise of terrorist attacks and the spread of tension between Muslims. Iran’s intensifying interference in regional affairs will toughen the Saudi Arabian response - the Kingdom will probably raise its voice higher demanding the international community constrain Iran. What is clear is that under the rug sectarian battles will become more violent claiming more and more lives and weakening already extremely weakened regional balances.

A big question mark hangs over Syria, the only hope is that Idlib will not be drowned in blood. ISIS is not faring badly. Palmyra is once again in its hands. The offensive on Raqqa continues to occupy minds. The operation in Mosul that will leave thousands of civilians dead is still going, with the end nowhere in sight. Palestinians will most likely have to forget about any justice for another couple of years.

The spread of extremism and deadly terrorism will continue as long as the international community is staying impotent. So, 2017 will be marked by other attacks that will make the world shudder again.

2017 will be more nasty that 2016. Turbulence will grow. The first steps taken by the new US president will determine the future scene we are doomed to face.

Maria Dubovikova is a President of IMESClub and CEO of MEPFoundation. Alumni of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relations [University] of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia), now she is a PhD Candidate there. Her research fields are in Russian foreign policy in the Middle East, Euro-Arab dialogue, policy in France and the U.S. towards the Mediterranean, France-Russia bilateral relations, humanitarian cooperation and open diplomacy. She can be followed on Twitter: @politblogme

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/world/2016/12/28/The-coming-turbulence-of-2017.html

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/aleppo--a-journey-of-blood,-silence-and-tears--new-age-islam-s-selection,-29-december-2016/d/109524


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