Image for post
Image for post

On July 12, 2019, Turkey began receiving the first batch of the S-400 deliveries from Russia. Ankara’s aspirant procurement can fundamentally transform the Turkish military strategic posture.

Above all, acquiring a game-changing Russian surface-to-air missile (SAM) system will lead to drastic changes in the Turkish Air Force’s concept of operations (CONOPS). Inevitably, a novel operational art revolving around anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) will gradually dominate Turkey’s defense planning.

Nowadays, the frenzy of colored maps illustrating projected S-400 kill zones has already caught on with the Turkish press, which has little, if any, knowledge about engagement envelopes and radar coverage in different topographies. Secondly, the S-400 introduces not only new capabilities but an alien strategic culture to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), noting that contemporary Russian air defense understanding is rooted in the Soviet legacy of the late 1970s. Thirdly, at some point, the TAF will have to alter its doctrinal order of battle to digest a strategic SAM capacity efficiently. Finally, amidst possible sanctions, which would unavoidably hit the Turkish defense sector’s ties — not only with American entities but also with Europe — Russia may well become an indispensable arms supplier for Turkey. …


Image for post
Image for post

On July 4, British Royal Marines seized near Gibraltar the supertanker Grace 1 suspected of carrying Iranian oil to Syria. This was the first such detention of a ship under the European sanctions targeting supplies to Syria. The tanker is registered in Panama and owned by a Singapore-based company.

Coming on the Independence Day, the detention more than delighted the hawks in the Trump administration as Simon Tisdall wrote in the Guardian. (*)

Following Grace 1’s detention the Washington Post reported that according to Gibraltar authorities, “… the oil was destined for Syria’s Baniyas refinery on the Mediterranean coast. As a government-owned entity, it was added to the E.U. sanctions list in 2014. Some European diplomats questioned, however, whether the sanctions could be legally applied to third countries and not just E.U. …


Image for post
Image for post

In a couple of years, the world could well be speaking of a decade of conflict in Syria in which regional and external powers were involved either directly or through proxies.

The Islamic State remains a threat. Thousands and thousands of jihadist fighters not only from those directly involved but also from distant countries traveled to Syria to take part in the fighting. Their return home has now become a security challenge. Specialist monitors at the UN have warned that a recent pause in international terrorist violence may soon end, with the possibility of a new wave of attacks before the end of the year. …


Image for post
Image for post

In early August, American and Turkish military delegations met in Ankara to discuss plans to coordinate the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said they agreed on the rapid implementation of initial measures to address Turkey’s security concerns; to stand-up a joint operations center in Turkey as soon as possible in order to coordinate and manage the establishment of the safe zone together; and, that the safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country.

Since the statement does not represent a breakthrough and leaves many questions unanswered observers are understandably trying to predict what might follow. Favorite topics are the breadth of the so-called security zone, who will do the monitoring and what this would mean for Syria’s territorial integrity. …


Image for post
Image for post

Last Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made an unexpected visit to Biarritz during the G7 summit. There he met with President Macron and had extensive talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. He later shared a picture taken during the meeting with the French President saying “Iran’s active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying.” The picture reflected the very cordial atmosphere of his meeting with the French President.

It thus became clear that the French presidency’s top priority in Biarritz was the relaunching of dialogue between Washington and Tehran through a diplomatic initiative which would take France to the center stage of international diplomacy. …


Image for post
Image for post

A year ago, if one were patient enough to draw up a list of the problems on the Turkish-American agenda this would have reflected a relationship not between NATO allies or family members as some seem to remember in times of distress but adversaries. It is the overall bilateral chemistry, Syria, PYD/YPG, FETO, Iran sanctions, Turkey’s purchase of S-400s, US threat not to deliver F-35 aircraft, obstacles to trade, not to mention the Brunson case.

Any progress after a whole year? None at all, except Pastor Brunson leaving Turkey on October 12, 2018 under dubious judicial procedures.

A development which has much more than symbolic value is the delivery of the S-400 air and missile defense system to Turkey. Consequently, and as threatened by the US, Turkey is going to be excluded from the F-35 program costing the Turkish economy dearly. Ankara and Washington still seem unable to find common ground in their respective operations in Syria. The current situation almost begs the question whether they are seriously searching for that. …


Image for post
Image for post

It has been exactly a year since I left my position of Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), at the end of my second term of four years. I was elected to this position ten years ago. I always felt accountable to the whole membership during my tenure and I acted impartially, while enjoying an independence guaranteed by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). I strove to ensure that the Secretariat staff respected the same professional code of conduct.

I made clear on several occasions, however, that the Director General and the Secretariat could not remain indifferent when the credibility and integrity of the CWC regime were at stake. …


Image for post
Image for post

Ursula Von Der Leyen has the opportunity to reset badly strained relations between the EU and Turkey.At her confirmation hearing at the European Parliament last week, Ursula von der Leyen, outlined a set of political guidelines for the new Commission that she will soon be chairing. The presentation included a separate section entitled, “A stronger Europe in the world,” summarizing her aspirations for the European Union’s external action. Conspicuously absent from her brief was any reference to Turkey, an important neighbor and a candidate country.

This omission is testimony to the current dilemma facing EU policy makers. The relationship with Turkey has been allowed to degrade to such an extent that even top policy makers prefer to steer away from this difficult topic. …


Image for post
Image for post

On July 12, 2019, Turkey began receiving the first batch of the S-400 deliveries from Russia. Ankara’s aspirant procurement can fundamentally transform the Turkish military strategic posture.

Above all, acquiring a game-changing Russian surface-to-air missile (SAM) system will lead to drastic changes in the Turkish Air Force’s concept of operations (CONOPS). Inevitably, a novel operational art revolving around anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) will gradually dominate Turkey’s defense planning.

Nowadays, the frenzy of colored maps illustrating projected S-400 kill zones has already caught on with the Turkish press, which has little, if any, knowledge about engagement envelopes and radar coverage in different topographies. Secondly, the S-400 introduces not only new capabilities but an alien strategic culture to the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), noting that contemporary Russian air defense understanding is rooted in the Soviet legacy of the late 1970s. Thirdly, at some point, the TAF will have to alter its doctrinal order of battle to digest a strategic SAM capacity efficiently. Finally, amidst possible sanctions, which would unavoidably hit the Turkish defense sector’s ties — not only with American entities but also with Europe — Russia may well become an indispensable arms supplier for Turkey. …


Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to machines that perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making. There is lively debate around the business and societal opportunities and risks that AI brings to humanity. While massive efficiencies and fantastic new innovations become feasible, the transformative impact of AI on job markets — leaving a massive number of white-collar employees redundant — is a widely discussed risk, especially for advanced economies.

However, from an international affairs point of view, this article argues that the most critical risk stems from the fundamentally centralizing and monopolizing characteristics of AI, considering its requirements of scale both for companies and countries. This in turn is likely to create winner-takes-all economics — the principal beneficiaries of which would be data giants like the United States and
China — and bring the risk of a new “data colonialism.” …

About

EDAM

The Centre for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store