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US ‘a highly unreliable’ partner to Ankara: Turkish official

The United States has been “a highly unreliable partner” to Ankara as a result of inconsistencies in Washington’s Syria policy, as well as its approach to Turkey and “terrorist” groups, a senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera. “The problems and misunderstandings between the US and Turkey are results of the confusion and cacophony between the…

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US ‘a highly unreliable’ partner to Ankara: Turkish official

The United States has been “a highly unreliable partner” to Ankara as a result of inconsistencies in Washington’s Syria policy, as well as its approach to Turkey and “terrorist” groups, a senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera.

“The problems and misunderstandings between the US and Turkey are results of the confusion and cacophony between the actors at different levels of the US administration and institutions,” Yasin Aktay, who advises President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his AK Party, said on Monday in an interview.

Turkish and US officials have been trading barbs over Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and what will happen to the areas held by them in the north of the country after the planned US troop withdrawal.

Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions. Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 13, 2019

Erdogan said last week the US administration is “seriously mistaken” in cooperating with Syrian Kurdish fighters, while President Donald Trump threatened on Sunday to “economically devastate” Turkey if it carries out a military offensive against the militia.

“We have said repeatedly we are not scared of and will not be intimidated by any threats,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.

“Economic threats against Turkey will get nowhere.”

Trump announced the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria last month, shocking many politicians in Washington as well as Western allies and Syrian Kurdish fighters who fought against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) alongside American troops.

Washington in ‘confusion’

According to Aktay, the US administration has been incoherent about the withdrawal process since Trump’s announcement as well as in its approach to different “terrorist groups”.

“Trump is stuck between US public opinion that widely questions the US presence in Syria and the wider Middle East, and politicians from his party and allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia who are against the withdrawal,” he said, adding Trump has shifted positions over the withdrawal various times over the last few weeks.

Trump’s decision to withdraw troops was initially expected to be carried out swiftly, but the timetable has become vague and some conditions were set in the weeks following his announcement, including the safety of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-ISIL force led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“Washington fights one terrorist group, Daesh, while backing another one, the YPG. Such inconsistencies in US policies decrease the country’s reputation as a global power,” Aktay said, using an alternative name for ISIL.

US-backed SDF’s assaults were part of multiple operations that have removed ISIL fighters from most parts of Syria and Iraq they had captured in 2014.

Ankara considers the YPG and its political wing, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be “terrorist groups” with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged war in Turkey since the 1980s.

Turkey has long condemned Washington for its military relationship with the YPG, and it seeks to take over militia-controlled areas east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

Ankara has launched two military operations in northern Syria over the last three years that targeted YPG and ISIL.

Warning from allies

After Trump’s withdrawal announcement, France, Britain and local armed groups warned ISIL had not totally been defeated yet in Syria. The decision also prompted the resignation of US defence chief James Mattis.

Subsequently, US officials made clear the withdrawal would not happen quickly and would take place in an orderly manner, as the White House faced a backlash from members of Congress.

Turkish forces conduct military exercises on Syria border (2:21)

Aktay said the US ignores the threat the YPG poses to Turkey and keeps making the mistake of identifying the group with Syrian Kurds.

“The US officials keep talking to PYD and YPG as if these groups represent the Syrian Kurds. This is scandalous. There are other ethnicities in these groups and they are engaged in the terrorist activity regardless of their ethnicities,” he told Al Jazeera.

“As a NATO ally, the US supports and prefers to cooperate with a threat to another NATO ally, emerging as a highly unreliable partner,” he added.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter: @Um_Uras

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Two Israeli doctors infected with omicron, hospital says

BEIRUT: Demonstrators blocked roads across parts of Lebanon on Monday in protest at the country’s economic meltdown, days after its currency sank to new lows. There has been little progress since Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government was appointed in September after more than a year of political deadlock. Roads were blocked by piles of burning…

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Two Israeli doctors infected with omicron, hospital says

BEIRUT: Demonstrators blocked roads across parts of Lebanon on Monday in protest at the country’s economic meltdown, days after its currency sank to new lows.

There has been little progress since Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government was appointed in September after more than a year of political deadlock.

Roads were blocked by piles of burning tires in central Beirut, Tripoli in northern Lebanon and the southern city of Sidon.

Schools were forced to close in Beirut after the protests made them inaccessible to students. Protesters in the city’s southern suburbs, meanwhile, blocked the road to the airport in front of Al-Aytam station.

Less than 24 hours before the Beirut protests, residents of Ali Al-Nahri, in the Bekaa Valley, launched their own protests, shouting “we are cold and hungry.”

A spokesperson for the protesters said: “We will take to the streets more frequently in the coming days unless the governing authority put a stop to the deteriorating living conditions the Lebanese are facing.”

He added: “The people of Beirut are noble. They are fighting extremely hard for their city and their livelihood.

“They are not thieves, and today’s move does not have any political, electoral, parliamentary or ministerial dimension. Its sole purpose is the livelihood of citizens after a large number of students now go to school without any food.”

In a UNICEF report published last week, the agency said: “More than 30 percent of families have at least one child in Lebanon who skipped a meal, while 77 percent of families say they lack sufficient food and 60 percent of them buy food by accumulating unpaid bills or borrowing money.”

The protests coincided with President Michel Aoun’s visit to Qatar to attend the opening of the FIFA Arab Cup and inaugurate the new Olympic Stadium.

The president discussed Lebanon’s economic meltdown and unprecedented diplomatic crisis with Gulf states during his talks with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Al-Thani reiterated Qatar’s readiness to help in all areas needed for the rise of Lebanon from the “difficult circumstances it is going through.”

He announced that Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani will visit Beirut in the coming period, to follow up on the developments and provide the country with necessary assistance.

He hoped for “a resolution for the crisis between Lebanon and a number of Gulf states in the near future, especially as Lebanon has always stood by all the Arab and Gulf states.”

Aoun welcomed any “investment from Qatar to implement developmental projects in Lebanon in the area of energy, electricity and banking, where there are many opportunities.”

Qatar will continue to stand by the Lebanese people and to do anything in its power to alleviate their suffering, said the president.

“There was a consensus that this phase needs the brotherly Arab states, especially the Gulf states, to stand by Lebanon,” said Aoun.

He pointed out that the Lebanese-Gulf relations “always were, and must remain, based on mutual fraternity.”

Aoun stressed the need to overcome any defects in these ties, notably because Lebanon desires to the best relations with brotherly states.

“My presence in Doha today only confirms our commitment to those relations and our genuine desire to cooperate on keeping them serene and restoring them to a normal state, thus serving Lebanon and the brotherly Gulf states,” he said.

Aoun’s remarks came as Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi took a firm position against “attempts to change Lebanon in order to impose a new governing formula by force or persuasion.”

In a televised speech broadcast on Monday, Al-Rahi touched on the secretary-general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, reprimanding judicial authorities, asking: “Is he above the judicial authority?”

Al-Rahi said the country “is highly influenced by Hezbollah.”

He asked: “In contrast, where is the state and where is the president of the republic? Why are they submissive if someone is intimidating us?”

He noted that “the one disrupting the government is practically disrupting the life of the homeland and causing the hunger of citizens.”

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Iran makes maximalist demands as Vienna nuclear talks open

BEIRUT: Demonstrators blocked roads across parts of Lebanon on Monday in protest at the country’s economic meltdown, days after its currency sank to new lows. There has been little progress since Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government was appointed in September after more than a year of political deadlock. Roads were blocked by piles of burning…

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Iran makes maximalist demands as Vienna nuclear talks open

BEIRUT: Demonstrators blocked roads across parts of Lebanon on Monday in protest at the country’s economic meltdown, days after its currency sank to new lows.

There has been little progress since Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s government was appointed in September after more than a year of political deadlock.

Roads were blocked by piles of burning tires in central Beirut, Tripoli in northern Lebanon and the southern city of Sidon.

Schools were forced to close in Beirut after the protests made them inaccessible to students. Protesters in the city’s southern suburbs, meanwhile, blocked the road to the airport in front of Al-Aytam station.

Less than 24 hours before the Beirut protests, residents of Ali Al-Nahri, in the Bekaa Valley, launched their own protests, shouting “we are cold and hungry.”

A spokesperson for the protesters said: “We will take to the streets more frequently in the coming days unless the governing authority put a stop to the deteriorating living conditions the Lebanese are facing.”

He added: “The people of Beirut are noble. They are fighting extremely hard for their city and their livelihood.

“They are not thieves, and today’s move does not have any political, electoral, parliamentary or ministerial dimension. Its sole purpose is the livelihood of citizens after a large number of students now go to school without any food.”

In a UNICEF report published last week, the agency said: “More than 30 percent of families have at least one child in Lebanon who skipped a meal, while 77 percent of families say they lack sufficient food and 60 percent of them buy food by accumulating unpaid bills or borrowing money.”

The protests coincided with President Michel Aoun’s visit to Qatar to attend the opening of the FIFA Arab Cup and inaugurate the new Olympic Stadium.

The president discussed Lebanon’s economic meltdown and unprecedented diplomatic crisis with Gulf states during his talks with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.

Al-Thani reiterated Qatar’s readiness to help in all areas needed for the rise of Lebanon from the “difficult circumstances it is going through.”

He announced that Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani will visit Beirut in the coming period, to follow up on the developments and provide the country with necessary assistance.

He hoped for “a resolution for the crisis between Lebanon and a number of Gulf states in the near future, especially as Lebanon has always stood by all the Arab and Gulf states.”

Aoun welcomed any “investment from Qatar to implement developmental projects in Lebanon in the area of energy, electricity and banking, where there are many opportunities.”

Qatar will continue to stand by the Lebanese people and to do anything in its power to alleviate their suffering, said the president.

“There was a consensus that this phase needs the brotherly Arab states, especially the Gulf states, to stand by Lebanon,” said Aoun.

He pointed out that the Lebanese-Gulf relations “always were, and must remain, based on mutual fraternity.”

Aoun stressed the need to overcome any defects in these ties, notably because Lebanon desires to the best relations with brotherly states.

“My presence in Doha today only confirms our commitment to those relations and our genuine desire to cooperate on keeping them serene and restoring them to a normal state, thus serving Lebanon and the brotherly Gulf states,” he said.

Aoun’s remarks came as Maronite Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi took a firm position against “attempts to change Lebanon in order to impose a new governing formula by force or persuasion.”

In a televised speech broadcast on Monday, Al-Rahi touched on the secretary-general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, reprimanding judicial authorities, asking: “Is he above the judicial authority?”

Al-Rahi said the country “is highly influenced by Hezbollah.”

He asked: “In contrast, where is the state and where is the president of the republic? Why are they submissive if someone is intimidating us?”

He noted that “the one disrupting the government is practically disrupting the life of the homeland and causing the hunger of citizens.”

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Kuwait Times Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Daily E- Paper – Kuwait Times   Click above icon to download full news paper   The post Kuwait Times Tuesday, November 30, 2021 appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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Kuwait Times Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Daily E- Paper – Kuwait Times

 

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The post Kuwait Times Tuesday, November 30, 2021 appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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