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Showing posts from August 20, 2016

Approaching Dangerous Seas

It's not just the chilling rhetoric. In the past five months, warships from both sides have done everything but ram one another.

By Conn Hallinan

A combination of recent events, underpinned by long-running historical strains reaching back more than 60 years, has turned the western Pacific into one of the most hazardous spots on the globe. The tension between China and the United States “is one of the most striking and dangerous themes in international politics,” says The Financial Times’ longtime commentator and China hand, Gideon Rachman.

In just the past five months, warships from both countries—including Washington’s closest ally in the region, Japan—have done everything but ram one another. And, as Beijing continues to build bases on scattered islands in the South China Sea, the United States is deploying long-range nuclear capable strategic bombers in Australia and Guam.

At times the rhetoric from both sides is chilling. When Washington sent two aircraft carrier battle groups int…

Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace

By Gareth Porter

In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Both Yildirim’s speech and the Iranian corroboration were reported Tuesday by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Al-Hayat, Arabic-language newspapers published in London, but the potentially pivotal development has been unreported thus far in Western news media.

The common approach to a Syria settlement outlined by Turkey and Iran represent what appears to be the first significant diplomatic break in a five-year international conflict on Syria that has been immune from any real peace negotiations up to now. International conferences on Syria under UN auspices have generated no real moves towa…

Russia’s Middle East Breakthrough… No Wonder Washington’s Grouchy

By Finian Cunningham

Russia’s air raids in Syria, launched from Iranian territory this week, were received by Washington with a mixture of consternation and disappointment. Understandably, too. It marks a breakthrough in Russia’s standing in the Middle East.

Russia is working closely in a quartet that includes Iran, Iraq and Syria. We can add Lebanon because of the cooperation on the ground in Syria with Hezbollah, which is one of the governing coalition partners in Beirut.

Even Middle East countries, thought of as Washington’s partners, are showing a newfound appreciation of Russia and the leadership provided by President Vladimir Putin. The notably conciliatory relations between Turkey and Russia – in the wake of a failed coup that Ankara implicates a cleric who lives in the US in – speaks of a tectonic shift in regional geopolitics.



VIDEO: Russian Tu-22M3 'Backfire' long-range bombers target ISIS from Iran basehttps://t.co/qBLEAisf8cpic.twitter.com/1NyLygpdG4— RT (@RT_com) Au…