France to vote on Palestine 28th November

There’s a vote on recognising the State of Palestine in the French National Assembly on the 28th

http://www.afp.com/fr/info/resolution-pour-un-etat-palestinien-vers-un-vote-le-28-novembre-lassemblee

After Sweden and Britain vote now we have France

But it seems to be an irreversible trend generally since with the replacement of the hopeless Catherine Ashton (UK) by Federica Mogherini (Italy) as EU foreign affairs chief, there is a confirmation that Europe as a whole is going to try and set up a Palestinian state

http://www.dw.de/eu-foreign-affairs-chief-mogherini-calls-for-palestinian-state/a-18048838

This has something to do with the fact that the US administration is now “hands-off” on any European moves on this score, whereas before, it would push against it

Tareq Ghandour dies after bleeding internally for six hours in Egyptian prison

Dr Tareq Mahmoud El-Ghandour, Professor of Dermatology in Ain Shams University, died after suffering internal bleeding in Abu Zaabal prison, Egypt.

El-Ghandour bled for six hours from his oesophagus, he had had an operation on his liver.

According to private sources, El-Ghandour’s heart stopped due to neither the prison hospital nor the Liver Institute in Shibin being ready to deal with heart failure which led to him slipping into a coma for 24 hours, and eventually dying this morning.

Sources revealed that there had been numerous requests to transfer him to a specialist centre, such as Ain Shams University Hospital, but the authorities refused.

Last April, a judge at the Police Academy Court handed El-Ghandour a prison sentence after he was found guilty of the charge of protesting without obtaining a license in the events of Nozha Street, and joining an outlawed group with other professors Dr Amr Adel Sayed, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine in Ain Shams University, and Dr Zakir Musa from Al-Azhar University Faculty of Engineering, and about 24 students from Al-Azhar University.

El-Ghandour was arrested on December 18, 2013, in his home after armed security forces stormed into his apartment. The officers broke his door down and destroyed the contents of his flat, stealing nearly 20,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,797) and his car. He was held in custody without charge.

The professor was one of the leading medical fellows in dermatology at the Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University. He had supervised over 100 postgraduate students in scientific research and has many publications in the field of dermatology and infertility.

 

Egyptian Navy Ship attacked by insurgent “terrorists”

Back in December 2013 I warned that the unacceptable US and EU backing for the Egyptian coup on the basis of an Orwellian idea called the “roadmap to democracy” was going to make it impossible for the Muslim Brotherhood peaceful revolutionary strategy to hold, especially since the majority of Muslim Brotherhood leaders are behind bars.

I said that this would mean Egypt’s youth, especially in the South and East, would cease to follow the MB’s peaceful strategy and turn to violence

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/18/the-useu-egyptian-roadmap-to-hell/

This has been borne out since there have been 18 fatal attacks against the Egyptian army in Sinai involving over 100 soldiers and some 25 various explosions in Cairo and in provincial cities aimed at the police which involved over 25 policemen.

See some recent such events by opening links:

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/attacks-egypts-sinai-kill-two-police-three-soldiers-officials-1335048226

and

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/cairo-metro-bomb-blast-injures-16-1770201706

Now we have the militants escalating to attack Egyptian Navy ships in the Mediterranean, according to Agence France Presse

http://www.afp.com/en/node/3049133

Libyan justice shines a light on endemic Egyptian corruption

Amira abu l-Fotouh writes:

There is no doubt that the Supreme Constitutional Court ruling to dissolve the Tobruk parliament cobbled together by Haftar and Sisi, and cancelling its associated government, as well as all agreements made during its term, is considered to be a blow to Al-Sisi’s coup regime. This is especially so because his government in Cairo insisted on spearheading the counter-revolution across the border in Libya led by Haftar and remnants of Gaddafi’s regime against the February 14 revolutionaries who overthrew the latter. Coup leader Al-Sisi and his regional supporters want to eliminate the Arab revolutions and eradicate anything associated with the Arab Spring. They fear that the revolutionary winds will reach their own countries, which are on the verge of exploding, and blow away their weak regimes. Hence, they are supporting all the counter revolutions in the region with money and weapons in order to return repressive tyrants to power, in a reflection of how they govern their own people.

This conspiratorial alliance, which Al-Sisi is spearheading in its battle with the Arab Spring, was dealt a harsh blow by Libya’s Constitutional Court, which proved that the judiciary is sound and untainted by politics, unlike its neighbour. In Egypt, the judiciary has slipped into a swamp of disgrace, making it a laughing stock around the world. I salute the Libyan judiciary and shower shame on the Egyptian judiciary that has become so corrupt.

Al-Sisi’s regime concluded several military and security agreements with the Tobruk government by which it will help and train the Libyan army. These agreements also give Egypt the right to intervene in Libya militarily to protect it from any danger, and consider the Dawn of Libya forces a threat that must be fought. The regime was not in need of such agreements because Egypt is already providing military and logistical aid by allowing the UAE air force to use its airfields from which they fly sorties to bomb the Libyan people in Tripoli, Benghazi and other areas controlled by the revolutionaries. The coup-controlled media refuses to refer to them as such, saying instead that they are “gunmen” and “terrorists”.

Al-Sisi’s regime has sided with the minority of Libyans who only control 10 per cent of their country’s territory. He has opted not to follow Algeria’s lead, which chose the political route in order to resolve the Libya crisis; indeed, Al-Sisi is trying to widen and expand the crisis by means of his blatant one-sided support. It is as if he is seeking actively to increase the division within Libya, just as he did in Egypt on the way to dividing the country. He wants to have a “loyal” country on Egypt’s western border even though his dream of Libya being completely overthrown and handed over to Haftar and his supporters has been crushed.

Originally on Middle East Monitor

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/15168-constitutional-rule-is-a-new-blow-for-libya

But see also al-Jazeera’s programme on the subject, which highlights the declaration of support by the leadership of the Libyan army for the Constitutional Court’s decision to dissolve the Tobruk parliament, and the rejection of the decision by those elements affected, by opening link

http://www.aljazeera.net/programs/revolutionrhetoric/2014/11/8/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%B7%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D9%81%D9%8A-%D9%84%D9%8A%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AF-%D9%82%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%83%D9%85%D8%A9-%D8%A8%D8%B4%D8%A3%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%84%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86

 

 

 

Kuroda, Abe’s shaman taking Japan helter-skelter into oblivion

I have been writing consistently about the fact that in the QE world, the combined monetary policy of the Western Central Banks is crushing the real economy.

Nowhere, I have argued, is this felt more than in Japan where the ageing and diminishing population is becoming more and more introverted, incapable of comprehending their alienation from the system as it has been run for the past 25 years.

Japan’s elites are staring rigidly into the oncoming headlights of economic and societal collapse.

Here is more news about the exponentially growing madness at the BoJ

Leika Kihara writes on Reuters Oct 22 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/21/japan-economy-boj-idUSL3N0SG7IO20141021)

Izuru Kato is a soft-spoken and bookish economist, but his dismissal of the Bank of Japan’s stimulus policy as “monetary shamanism” is ringing loud in the ears of bank Governor Haruhiko Kuroda.

Kuroda’s policy of quantitative and qualitative easing (QQE) increases the money the bank supplies to the financial system by buying high-quality assets. It is aimed at lowering real interest rates, pushing up inflation and stimulating private demand to revive an economy that has stagnated for two decades.

Kato says it relies too much on psychology, and academics and former policymakers are increasingly agreeing with him.

His weekly research notes – with witty insights stretching from monetary policy to how the poor lime crop in Mexico is inflating margarita prices – have become a must-read for investors and central bankers.

Years of experience as a money market broker at the receiving end of the BOJ’s market operations has made Kato, now economist and president of the Totan Research think-tank, a dab hand at interpreting the messages of BOJ policymakers.

He remembers, and was critical of, the bank’s previous failed effort in quantitative easing (QE) in the five years to 2006.

The 49-year-old took an even dimmer view of QQE, though few were listening as sentiment picked up and Tokyo shares rose.

Now, as markets lose faith that QQE will achieve the BOJ’s central policy plank that inflation will rise to 2 percent from early next year, he has the ear of many more.

The policy is flawed, he argues, because it fails to explain why inflation should rise when economic growth is subdued, and relies instead on people’s belief that the stimulus will cause prices to rise enough to encourage them to spend now.

“While other central bank governors use similar tactics, Kuroda is among the most extreme ‘shaman’ of them all,” Kato said in a recent interview. “But there are limits to how long you can keep affecting expectations. The transmission channel of QQE just isn’t clear.”

NO WAY OUT

Advocates of QQE say Kuroda’s massive stimulus is reducing already low interest yields, which should lower expectations of future real borrowing costs and lift inflation expectations.

But Kato’s criticisms are resonating with those BOJ policymakers who always had some reservations about QQE.

“He’s spot on about a lot of things,” said one central banker and a friend of Kato. “He’s very knowledgeable about the technicalities of monetary policy, perhaps more than even some of us at the BOJ.”

A majority on the board has already expressed doubts on the feasibility of setting a two-year timeframe for hitting the inflation goal or on the BOJ’s optimistic economic outlook.

What sets Kato apart from many QQE sceptics is his warnings on the dangers even if Kuroda hits the inflation target.

Three years into the introduction of QQE last April, consumer prices could rise more than 9 percent, which households would find hard to manage with wage growth still slow, he argues.

And higher inflation would push up long-term interest rates and raise the cost of financing Japan’s huge public debt, he says, putting at risk premier Shinzo Abe’s efforts to lift the economy out of stagnation.

Moreover, the BOJ’s bloated balance sheet will exceed the size of Japan’s economy in 2018 if the current pace of asset buying continues, which will make an exit from QQE extremely difficult, potentially triggering a bond market sell-off, he says in his recent book, titled “No way out for the BOJ”.

“What’s worrying is that the current BOJ board does not seem to have the readiness to be well prepared for when they have to exit QQE,” he said in the book.

In such circumstances, says Miyako Suda, an academic who served as a BOJ board member for a decade until 2011, the central bank might need to call on Kato’s services.

“When you think about the time the BOJ were to end QQE, it would be nice to have someone well versed in market functions like him.”

 

Rothbart on Perpetual War

But if the Cold War died in the Communist collapse of 1989, what can the ruling conservative-liberal Establishment come up with to justify the policy of massive intervention by the U.S. everywhere on the globe? In short, what cloak can the Establishment now find to mask and vindicate the continuance of U.S. imperialism? With their perks and their power at stake, the Court apologists for imperialism have been quick to offer excuses and alternatives, even if they don’t always hang together. Perhaps the feeling is that one of them may stick.

The argument for imperialism has always been two-edged, what the great Old Rightist Garet Garrett called (in his classic The People’s Pottage) “a complex of fear and vaunting.” Fear means alleged threats to American interests and the American people. To replace the Soviet-international Communist threat, three candidates have been offered by various Establishment pundits. (…) [Rothbard here offers international narco-terrorism and reunified Germany as the first two potential bogeymen.]

A third threat has been raised in the Wall Street Journal by that old fox, the godfather of the neocons, Irving Kristol. Kristol, in a rambling account of the post-Cold War world, leaps on the “Islamic fundamentalist” threat, and even suggests that the U.S. and the Soviet Union should discreetly cooperate in putting down this looming world period. Here we see a hint of a new conservative-liberal concept: a benign rule of the world by the United States, joined by the Soviet Union as a sort of condominium-junior partner, along with Western Europe and Japan. In short, an expanded Trilateral concept. Of course, pinpointing Islamic fundamentalism comes as no surprise from the neocons, to whom defense of the State of Israel is always the overriding goal.

But in addition to the negative there is the positive. The vaunting along with the fear. The positive carrot is the old Wilsonian dream of the U.S. as global imposer of “democracy.” Since very few countries can pass the “democracy” test, or have ever done so, this poses an objective that suits the Establishment interventionists fine: for here is a goal that can never possibly be achieved.

A goal that can never be reached but can always be kept shimmering on the distant horizon is perfectly tooled for an endless policy of massive expenditure of money, arms, blood, and manpower in one foreign adventure after another: what the great Charles A. Beard brilliantly termed “perpetual war for perpetual peace.”

from “The Irrepressible Rothbart”

http://library.mises.org/books/Murray%20N%20Rothbard/The%20Irrepressible%20Rothbard.pdf

pp: 164-65

Turkey surprises everyone by acting against the Kurds

Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK leader languishing in a Turkish jail, declared war on Erdogan (open link to the last post on the subject: http://different-traditions.com/?p=1978), after the latter’s refusal to intervene on the Syrian Kurdish side against ISIS in Kobani (apart from welcoming all refugees and supplying truckloads of bottled water and milk cartons to those trapped in the town, that is).

The result was PKK activity within Turkey and a decisive aerial bombing campaign against them by the Turks on Monday the 13th October (open link: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/10/turkish-jets-bomb-pkk-targets-southeast-2014101492853176434.html). So Erdogan didn’t bomb ISIS, but he bombed the PKK. So what is Erdogan actually doing?

Western media is full of heart-rending stories about ISIS’s atrocities, but the US has supported the beheading, hand-cutting, women-hating, church and synagogue-banning regressive Saudi regime for decades, totally contrary to any possible policy of support for human rights and democracy. The Saudi regime we all know was behind the Afghan jihadis, 9/11, funding the Taliban, threatening Tony Blair with a terrorist attack in London over the Serious Fraud Office investigation of the Yamama arms deal (on this open link: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/feb/15/bae.armstrade), and most recently the funding of daily terrorist attacks against the Shia in Iraq, as well as funding of the Syria rebels.

If the US is now trying to consolidate a distinctly odd alliance against what is essentially a group of heavily-armed madmen in Toyota pick-up trucks, if they are so armed, this is also thanks to Saudi Arabia, therefore ultimately to US nods and winks of acceptance. But ISIS has got out of control, and this is to a large extent due to the machinations of Assad and Iran, who have given this extremist group room to manoeuvre for their own ends. So effectively the US is doing a mopping-up operation of its own mess and that of Saudi Arabia’s, with its new coalition of the unwilling.

Or rather, it is trying to make Turkey do the mopping up operation – i.e. to do its dirty work – because pulling in the odd aeroplane from the UAE, and Qatar, and the odd couple of aeroplanes from the UK, is meaningless, just as bombing people in the desert in Toyota pick-up trucks, who are able to vanish into thin air as quickly as they appear, means nothing and is pointless. The whole thing was in fact supposed to embarrass Turkey into putting troops on the ground, and merely a show of smoke and mirrors.

Why should Turkey help at all?

(1) Turkey supported the democratically elected government of Egypt which the US helped to overthrow, putting in its place a bloodthirsty regime, which only yesterday killed students demonstrating at Alexandria University – the killing of students now becoming a daily event in the morass that Egypt has become (on this open link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/16/egypts-u-s-backed-military-regime-brutalizing-student-protestors/).

(2) The US is stonewalling against Palestinian President Abbas’ demand at the UN, backed by Turkey, that a resolution be passed at the UNSC in regarding to Israel withdrawing to 1967 borders as per UNSC resolution 242. Furthermore, Turkey was not elected in the recent round of elections for non-permanent members of the UNSC, as a result of US pressure. This was to ensure that Turkey couldn’t filibuster on other matters at the UNSC if the Palestinians didn’t get their way (no matter that Abbas expects a US veto, and is planning to follow the veto with a signing of the ICC Rome charter

On this open link : http://different-traditions.com/?p=1941

Also see latest news on the Palestinian approach to the UNSC on: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14716-abbas-we-reject-kerrys-requested-delay-for-un-security-council-plan)

(3) The Syrian Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) in Kobani and elsewhere is clearly a resource, as well as a source of fighters, for the PKK. Furthermore, the PKK is also still, according to NATO, a terrorist organisation, and bombing their formations in South-East Turkey must be in line with NATO official policy. Öcalan’s declaration of war against Turkey must be based on an idea that Turkey must be under pressure from its NATO allies, given the apparent media uproar over ISIS and the grand announcements surrounding the coalition of the essentially unwilling. Don’t forget on this matter that the PKK’s demand is for Turkey to actually cede land to a new Kurdish state, despite the fact that Erdogan since coming to power has recognised the Turkish Kurds as a separate community within Turkey, with equal rights and the right to use their own language within their community. Honestly, how realistic do you think the PKK demand is? Turkey will never give up land.

(4) Öcalan, however, is not only unrealistic, he is also behind the times, for NATO needs Turkey right now more than Turkey needs NATO. In Obama’s long 40 minute UN “crossroads between war and peace” speech, Russia took up some 15% of the total time of the speech.

Obama here considers that “Russian aggression aggression in Europe recalled the days when large nations trampled small nations in pursuit of territorial ambition”, and while the threat of actual military action is downplayed, the fact is that the US now considers that it is in confrontation with Russia on all other levels, up to the quasi-military level. Troops and missile batteries are newly being stationed in the Baltic States and Poland. If advances such as these are being made on Russia’s eastern flank, then Turkey’s position on the south-eastern flank, with the largest army in NATO other than that of the US, is surely crucial.

Turkey is furthermore a vital trading post between Europe and Asia, and the US is seriously concerned about its close relations with China, as can be seen by the current flap over Turkey’s potential contract with China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. (CPMIEC) to construct the country’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system.

So it is clear that Erdogan feels he is on solid ground and that he intends to negotiate a high price for anything that Turkey may concede to its NATO allies. Look at what the Turks did when the US objected to the potential CPMIEC contract: they simply asked the Western competitors bidding against it (US Raytheon and the Eurosam Consortium) to improve their offers if they wanted the deal (on this open link: http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/newsturkey-again-extends-bidding-deadline-for-loramids-tender-4354754).

Finally, we have the regional political picture to consider. Above all, the Turks know that Baghdad doesn’t care about the loss of Anbar province to ISIS. The Shia government there honestly doesn’t want the trouble of incorporating what are the poorest provinces of Iraq into an Iraqi state, since 90% of the oil reserves of the country lie in Basra (100bb). Whatever you think of such a policy – and in fact Abadi, the new PM, is no different on this matter than Maliki was – they are only playing to the gallery when they chant that they want a ‘united Iraq’. The Iraqi army isn’t that bad, that it couldn’t, if it really tried, retake Mosul (Iraq’s second largest city). But all they really want is to hang on to Baghdad, and the Shia militias that have long terrorised the Sunnis in Baghdad (created under the aegis of the US during its occupation) are capable of doing that even without the Iraqi army.

So if the Iraqi army doesn’t really want to fight ISIS, why should the Turks take the brunt? In fact, it is counter-productive for them to do so, because the Sunnis in Anbar support ISIS – which is why they rule there – both from personal interest when it comes to Baathist leaders, or from fear when it comes to the general population. However, bear in mind that the general population Sunnis fear the Baghdad government of Abadi actually more than they do ISIS, given what has happened in the past seven years of its rule.

So If the Turks bombed ISIS, then they would be bombing the Sunnis, who, in the long-term will become a separate statelet in one form or another within Iraq and Syria, whether under ISIS or not, and ultimately therefore clients of the Turkish state and its fast-growing economy.

Iraq is a broken humpty-dumpty – broken in 2003 when the largest military machine in the world attacked it with overwhelming force, killed anywhere between 400,000 and 1 million Iraqis (open link for the third and final Lancet report: http://web.mit.edu/CIS/pdf/Human_Cost_of_War.pdf). In fact, we can say that the entire Iraqi population has post-traumatic stress, and psychologically can no longer trust “grand ideas” of an “inclusive” Iraqi state. The situation is now “every man for himself”.

If Turkey and Iran will benefit by having new client statelets gravitating towards their areas of influence, breaking away from from Syria and Iraq, we can say that those two latter countries are finished as cohesive wholes. Meanwhile Turkey and Iran gain power. Whilst Erdogan is asking the impossible (no fly zone, and a policy of removing the Assad regime in Syria etc..) for Turkey’s co-operation with its NATO allies in the fight against ISIS, it seems he is asking this in the knowledge that he won’t get his way. Israel now prefers Assad in Damascus to any other potential Islamic government, which anyway is unlikely to be democratic (not that that matters to Israel), and the US is thus now balking at Erdogan’s new demands irrespective of its previous forceful declarations on the removal of Assad, because of Israel’s attitude.

This suits Erdogan, who now prefers to do nothing. If he were to go for Assad’s jugular, he will have to contend with Iran’s current commitment to Assad. Iran and Assad can support the YPG and the PKK and easily foment trouble in Turkey, just as Turkey is on good terms with the Iraqi Kurds and can foment trouble through them in Iran, within Iranian Kurdish communities. So the two main powers in the region are simply playing a waiting game, which Iran is clearly expert at doing, if their negotiations over the nuclear problem are anything to go by. While the US/UK/France dominant foreign power in the region continue to try to shape Iraq and Syria’s future, there is no clear plan, and both Turkey and Iran knowing that advantage can simply fall into their respective laps if they just do as little as possible.


 

Recognising Palestine: the changing dynamic

After Sweden announced its intention to recognise the State of Palestine (on this open link: http://different-traditions.com/?p=1975), France announced that it is considering doing the same (open link: http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/europe/47081-141013-israeli-official-uk-parliament-bid-on-recognizing-the-state-of-palestine-likely-to-pass).

Then suddenly the British Parliament voted 274 in favour vs. 12 against to recognise the State of Palestine on October 13th:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/13/mps-vote-to-recognise-palestinian-state

None of this is exciting in the global context because actually, after the 2012 UN vote, 130 countries have already come to recognise Palestine as a state. The whole matter thus relates purely to European countries slowly and belatedly breaking out of their long time pro-Zionist positions.

The Commons motion in the UK Parliament was tabled by the Labour MP Grahame Morris, and backed by Ed Miliband. Note that Ed and David Miliband’s mother, Marion Kozak, is a signatory to (and apparently a leading force in) Jews for Justice for Palestine (see this on their website at: http://jfjfp.com/?page_id=9).

But a large number of Labour MPs were given permission to stay away from Westminster for the vote, making it impossible for Miliband to enforce a party whip on the vote. Chief among the Labour rebels on this issue was Ed Balls, who is big within the Labour Friends of Israel. The vote has, in the context of the large number of absentees from the vote, been called by David Cameron a “symbolic vote”, once which will not necessarily change Foreign Office policy.

Nevertheless, the vote has happened. So what drove it – essentially – given that people like Richard Ottaway, Conservative chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee, voted in favour of the motion? First there was Baroness Warsi’s devastating attack on Conservative/Coalition policy towards Gaza (on this open link: http://different-traditions.com/?p=1771). But secondly – according to Ottoway- there was, equally importantly, the general revulsion at Israel’s latest and brazen land grab of 950 acres of West Bank Palestinian farmland to build new settlements, something that not only the UK, France, Italy, and New Zealand all forcefully complained officially about to the Israeli government, but also the US!

Recognising the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel has always been the political centrepiece of the “two-state solution”, but the Israeli incursions with their illegal settlements outside 1967 borders, has made this solution almost irrelevant. European countries had so far held off recognising Palestinian rights on the basis that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine must be reached first, but they have stubbornly refused to concede that Israel has never negotiated peace in good faith. Now that they are beginning to do what they should have done years ago, it is too late.

It is also too late for those Israeli politicians who want to see a “pure Jewish” state in the long-term, and who are spending the vast majority of their country’s resources on subsidising  Zionist extremists to settle on Palestinian land. The only conceivable long term outcome is now a “one-state” solution which, if to avoid the ultimate status of international pariah as an apartheid state, will have to become fully democratic: democratic here meaning recognising the full Palestinian right of return. So Israeli obduracy will have ultimately undermined their stupidly blinkered goals.

Turkey’s stance over Ayn el-Arab/Kobani

While riots by Kurds erupt in Turkey and all over Europe, in regard to apparent Turkish indifference to the plight of Kobani, the Turkish government is unmoved.

The Iraqi Kurds had created a “crisis that wasn’t”, from of the Yazidi situation, and managed to swing Western public opinion enough to create an unlikely alliance against ISIS, albeit restricted to a (potentially ineffective) air war. The US/Israeli/UK ties with the Kurds irritates the Turkish government. Should such ties be so important to the US, then according to the Turks, it is for the US to put armed forces on the ground to supplement air strikes and deal with ISIS.

There is also the question that the Syrian Kurdish rebel group, the PKK, is still listed as a terrorist organisation by NATO which is why Abdullah Öcalan, the PKK’s leader still languishes in a Turkish jail.

More generally, the Turkish government feels let down over the US volte-face over the question of the removal of Assad, as well as in regard to US backing for the coup in Egypt, which latter set of events Erdogan feels particularly aggrieved about. In fact, Turkey’s support for the Arab Spring across the board, has been almost totally upended by the Obama administration. Is it surprising then that Turkey is both insisting on dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s before agreeing to move in any direction, as well as extracting a large price for any prospective involvement on its part, given everything that has happened?