Report

Bombing Kills 28 in Ankara, Turkey Retaliates against Kurds

A suicide car bomb detonated alongside buses carrying Turkish soldiers in Ankara yesterday, killing at least 28 people. The Turkish government accused Kurdish groups of orchestrating the bombing and has responded with military force. Within hours of the attack, Turkish warplanes carried out airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq. “Yesterday’s attack ...

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A suicide car bomb detonated alongside buses carrying Turkish soldiers in Ankara yesterday, killing at least 28 people. The Turkish government accused Kurdish groups of orchestrating the bombing and has responded with military force. Within hours of the attack, Turkish warplanes carried out airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq. “Yesterday’s attack was directly targeting Turkey and the perpetrator is the YPG and the divisive terrorist organization PKK. All necessary measures will be taken against them,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said today in a speech. The government has reported that 12 people have been arrested in connection to the bombing and identified the bomber as Salih Necar, a Syrian refugee.

Both the PKK and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militias, which are affiliated with the PKK, have denied involvement in the attack. PKK officials said they do not know who is responsible, and a YPG leader told Reuters that they have no involvement in Turkey and that the government’s accusations will be used as a justification for escalation against Syrian Kurdish forces. “We are completely refuting that…Davutoglu is preparing for something else because they are shelling us as you know for the past week,” one told Reuters. “I can assure you not even one bullet is fired by the YPG into Turkey.”

European Leaders Meet to Discuss Refugee Crisis

European leaders will meet in Brussels tonight to discuss the European Union’s policy on the continent’s crisis of refugees flooding the continent from Syria and other unstable nations. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was scheduled to hold a meeting to discuss ways to reinvigorate an agreement to provide aid to Turkey in exchange for the Turkish government stemming the flow of refugees, but that meeting was cancelled after the bombing in Ankara yesterday. Some Eastern European states are pushing for a “Plan B,” discussed earlier this week, that would effectively seal Greece’s European borders.

Headlines

  • The Turkish government is facilitating the transit of approximately 2,000 Syrian rebel forces across the Turkey-Syrian border to provide reinforcements to Syrian Arab rebels resisting the expansion of Syrian Kurdish militias near Azaz, rebel sources told Reuters.

 

  • The Islamic State’s Yemeni affiliate has claimed responsibility for a bombing that targeted a military facility near Aden, Yemen, killing 13 people.

 

  • Egyptian authorities have ordered the closure of the Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation for Victims of Violence and Torture, a non-governmental organization that the Ministry of Health has accused of “unspecified violations.”

 

  • A U.S. court has ruled that the U.S. State Department illegally revoked a Yemeni-American man’s passport and made him sign a false confession for immigration fraud in 2013.

 

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the idea of a phased international peace conference proposed by France, noting that the promise of recognition if talks fail provides no incentive for the Palestinians to compromise.

Arguments and Analysis

Start Preparing for the Collapse of the Saudi Kingdom” (Sarah Chayes and Alex de Waal, Defense One)

“For half a century, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been the linchpin of U.S. Mideast policy. A guaranteed supply of oil has bought a guaranteed supply of security. Ignoring autocratic practices and the export of Wahhabi extremism, Washington stubbornly dubs its ally ‘moderate.’ So tight is the trust that U.S. special operators dip into Saudi petrodollars as a counterterrorism slush fund without a second thought. In a sea of chaos, goes the refrain, the kingdom is one state that’s stable. But is it? In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or so corrupt as to resemble in its functioning a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization. Either way, it can’t last. It’s past time U.S. decision-makers began planning for the collapse of the Saudi kingdom.”

 

The Russian Quagmire in Syria and Other Washington Fairy Tales” (Michael Kofman, War on the Rocks)

“Yet those who dream of seeing Assad out should not despair. Assad is not necessarily winning in Syria. The Russian-led coalition, together with Iran, Hezbollah, and what’s left of the Syrian army, is winning. That is a distinction with an important political difference for Assad to play out at the end of this conflict. While Saudi Arabia and Iran have intractable positions on Assad’s fate, Russia seems much more open-minded on alternative futures, though it will not condone regime change by discussing his removal publicly. It is difficult to see how Russian leaders could count on Syria being stable in the long term under his leadership. They’ve made a much larger political and military stake in the country, and Assad does not look like the man to keep it secure in the long term. Some are certain that Russia will never give up Assad, but who has a good track record in predicting events in the Middle East?”

-J. Dana Stuster

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