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Entries in NATO (53)


EA Audio Feature: War in 2013 --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

Al Jazeera English's report from the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2 December

I spoke with Monocle 24's The Daily on Tuesday about the prospects of "War in 2013". We spoke about the likely locations --- Syria, of course, and also Mali --- and the wars already underway but escaping notice, such as the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Perhaps just as significantly, we talked about the change in how wars are fought, as the US pursues a strategy of "low-cost" intervention through drone attacks, supported by special forces and the attempted use of local armies. And there's a question: in the world of 2013, what place is there for an older institution such as NATO?

The discussion begins at the 1:04.15 mark.


The Latest from Israel-Palestine (9 October): Watching Syria, Downing a Drone, and Skirmishing with Gaza

1935 GMT: With no reference to his earlier demand on a halt to settlement freeze as a condition of returning to peace talks, Palestinian Authority's leader Mahmoud Abbas said that he could resume talks following the UN vote on a Palestinian request for "nonmember state" status.

1900 GMT: PM Netanyahu announces early elections.

1730 GMT: Israel's daily YNET claims that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will announce his early elections decision tonight.

1720 GMT: A Kassam rocket fired from Gaza exploded in an open area in the Sha'ar HaNegev Regional Council. No injuries reported.

1530 GMT: In a letter sent to the U.S. Congress by the leaders of the Lutheran, Methodist, UCC churches, and the National Council of Churches; the military aid to Israel was asked to be reevaluated.

Click to read more ...


Syria-Turkey Snap Analysis: Has President Assad Started a Military Conflict with Ankara?

Mortar fire from Assad troops lands in Alcakale, Turkey, killing 5

See also Wednesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A Double Bombing in Aleppo "Kills Dozens"


Syrian forces, moving to retake a border crossing in Tal Abyad, north of Al Raqqah, fired mortar rounds on Wednesday into the heart of Alcakale, Turkey, landing in the center of the town. Five people were killed, including at least one child.

The outrage was immediate. By the end of the day, Turkey had invoked Article 4 of the NATO alliance, and NATO had released a statement condemning the Syrian regime's actions. Perhaps more importantly, Turkey scheduled an emergency meeting of Parliament where it is possible that, later this morning, President Erdogan will be granted permission to engage Turkish armed forces in the defence of the border.

Is Turkey bluffing?

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Syria Special: 16 Months Later, A History of the Insurgency --- And What It Foreshadows for the Regime

Free Syrian Army fighters celebrate their overrunning of regime soldiers and destruction of armoured vehicles

Nothing in Syria is certain but Death and Protests. The debate about whether the Free Syrian Army is good for Syria, or whether they can be trusted, or whether they will harbor extremists, will likely continue. However, as the conflict drags on, this debate is becoming increasingly academic, as are the efforts by Kofi Annan and others to negotiate a peace. No fighters, and no commanders, in the Free Syrian Army are in a position to agree this: why should they, as they ride a series of military victories?

Peace is not in Syria's immediate future, nor is the dissolution of its insurgency. The only questions that remain are how long the Assad regime can last, who will fill the void when he is gone, and what will be left of Syria when all that transpires.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: NATO Meets Over Downing of Turkish Jet

Stuart Ramsay of Britain's Sky News meets members of Syrian security forces held by the Free Syrian Army

See also Syria Audio Feature: "How Significant Are Sanctions?" --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
Bahrain Analysis: Are the Sunni Movements Still Awake?
Monday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Away from the Headlines, "Only" 126 Dead on Sunday
Monday's Egypt Live Coverage: A President is Elected --- Now What?

2024 GMT: Syria. Assad's military may have suffered many losses today, but they inflicted incredible damage in the process, mostly to civilian areas. This video, for instance, shows shells falling around an important mosque in Talbiseh, north of Homs (map):

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: So It's Now a "Civil War"

LiveStream of Wednesday's shelling of Homs in Syria

See also Syria Document: UN Report on Regime's Abuses of Children
Iraq Latest: At Least 44 Killed as Bombs Target Pilgrims and Police
Tuesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 109 Killed Amid Reports of "Children as Human Shields" and a "Plainclothes Army"

2105 GMT: Bahrain. Not only was a 5-year-old boy shot by police tonight, but his father was also injured, according to activists:

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Afghanistan: Has NATO Airstrike Killed 17 Civilians? (Al Jazeera English)

UPDATE 0815 GMT: Two suicide bombers have killed at least 22 people and wounded about 50 civilians at a bazaar near Kandahar, according to local police.

The explosion occurred near the city's airport, which houses a large NATO airbase, in an area used by vehicles carrying supplies for the international force. The police said an attacker drove a motorcycle packed with explosives into the area, while another attacker detonated bombs after approaching on foot.

Al Jazeera English reports:

A local Afghan official has said that 17 civilians have been killed in a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan.

In a statement, NATO said it knew of only two light injuries to civilians during the pre-dawn incident on Wednesday.

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Syria Opinion: Empty Talk --- The US and Its Allies Have No Strategy to End This Crisis

Protesters in Kafranbel in Idlib Province send a message to President Obama, 16 December 2011

What is left as a strategy? Hope. The EU hopes that sanctions will topple the regime. Kofi Annan hopes the observers will end the violence. Obama hopes that Kofi Annan is right. NATO hopes that if then does not work, then Obama will do all the work himself. Saudi Arabia hopes that getting the Syrian insurgents some AK-47s or high-powered sniper rifles will topple the regime. Turkey hopes that refugees will stop flocking across its borders. The whole world hopes that, as the crisis draws on, jihadis, who are loving every minute of this, will not get involved.

The problem? There is absolutely no evidence that any of those hopes will succeed.

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Turkey Live Coverage (21 May): Regional and Global Dimensions of "Terrorism"

1630 GMT: After the Kurdistan Regional Government had announced a deal with Ankara that would allow them to export oil through Turkey and on to the international market, bypassing Baghdad; the central Iraqi government warned Arbil and said that the deals must abide by the constitution and laws that govern relations between Baghdad and the Kurdish north. 

1525 GMT: Turkish police detained three suspects for their suspected involvement in a plot to abduct a defected Syrian colonel who fled to Turkey.

1440 GMT: A special ops team officer was killed and five other security personnel were wounded in a clash with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Kulp, a district of Diyarbakır province.

As known, PKK members had kidnapped the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Kulp branch head Veysel Çelik earlier.

1120 GMT: The Turkish daily Radikal claims that President Obama, during the Chicago Summit, has ordered the handover of operational control of the early warning radar system to NATO.

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Turkey Live Coverage (12 April): Erdogan "If the UN Does Not Follow on Syria, What Will It Follow Through?"

1820: Speaking at the joint press briefing with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Erdogan said that they see no implemantation of the Annan Plan and no improvement of the situation in Syria. Erdogan said:

The Annan Plan is a six-point plan; not an extended broad plan [to solve the crisis]. In my opinion, it is not being implemented.

However, we are saying from the very beginning that we want an outcome. And for this outcome, the tanks must be withdrawn from cities first and foremost. They say 'we have withdrawn from cities and placed them in rural areas. No, where they belong is crystal clear. They belong to barracks. The administration must give confidence to the people by this action which is not the case now.

From the beginning, what we want is conforming to the people's demands. This can be done by bringing ballot boxes in front of the people. Whoever wins at the elections, the international community will respect that. We, as Turkey, are against any totalitarian, authoritarian and autocratic regimes.

No one can ask why Turkey is talking a lot. Our borders are violated and we have 25,000 refugees along with a 877 km of border with Syria. 

1700 GMT: According to Turkey's Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan, exportation to Syria has been decreased by 77 percent in March and it is also 56.1 percent less compared to last year's January-March period. It is reported that the number of transportation trucks has been diminished from around 250 to 10-15 a day.

1620 GMT: Minister of Finance Mehmet Simsek said that the southerneastern and eastern parts will become Turkey's China, thanks to the economic stimulus package announced last week. Simsek continued:

Wherever you invest across Turkey, there are strong supports you will have. Tax rates are already set to zero in the sixth region [two regions mentioned above] 

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