The Middle East Channel

Turkish Warplanes Strike PKK Targets as Tensions Over Kobani Increase

Turkish warplanes have conducted airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in southeast Turkey in the first major strikes against the militant group since a peace process began nearly two years ago. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported the strikes caused "major damage" and were reportedly on targets that had been involved in "assassination, armed incidents and ...

ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images

Turkish warplanes have conducted airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in southeast Turkey in the first major strikes against the militant group since a peace process began nearly two years ago. Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported the strikes caused "major damage" and were reportedly on targets that had been involved in "assassination, armed incidents and attacks on security bases." Members of Turkey’s Kurdish minority have become increasingly frustrated with the Turkish government’s refusal to intervene to protect the predominantly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani (Ayn al-Arab), sparking protests in several cities in southeastern Turkey over the past week. On Monday, the Turkish government sent a peace plan to Kurdish deputies in parliament, in efforts to end the 30-year conflict with the PKK, which as claimed more than 40,000 lives.

Syria-Iraq

U.S. President Barack Obama will meet with military leaders from around 20 countries outside Washington on Tuesday to discuss plans to counter Islamic State militants. Spokesman for the White House National Security Council Alistair Baskey said the meeting is part of efforts "to build the coalition and integrate the capabilities of each country into the broader strategy." Islamic State militants overtook an army base near Iraq’s Anbar province town of Hit Monday, the third base to fall in three weeks. Iraqi forces withdrew from the base, which was the last presence of security forces in the town, in what Iraqi officials called a strategic retreat. The United Nations reported fighting in around Hit has displaced up to 180,000 people.

Headlines

  • British lawmakers voted in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state, in a symbolic step to push for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • Yemen’s president has appointed Khaled Bahah as the new prime minister, in a move welcomed by Houthi leaders, meanwhile, the rebel group has reportedly seized the Red Sea city of Hudeida.
  • Iranian, U.S., and EU negotiators are set to meet Tuesday to hold talks on Iran’s nuclear program as President Rouhani expressed hope for an extension if an agreement is not reached by the November 24 deadline.

Arguments and Analysis

Rise of IS elicits soul searching in Arab Gulf, a sources of funds and fighters‘ (Elizabeth Dickinson, The Christian Science Monitor)

"Across the Arab monarchies of the Gulf, the rise of the self-declared Islamic State has kicked off a wave of finger pointing and soul searching to try to divine how a group so brutal could emerge so close by.

Op-eds and dinner conversations revolve around potential culprits, from President Bashar al-Assad in Syria to President Barack Obama in Washington to local Kuwaiti sheikhs raising funds for the Sunni jihadist group."

Bahrain’s New Electoral Districts: No Help for the Opposition; Bad for Troublesome Sunnis‘ (Justin Gengler, Religion and Politics in Bahrain)

"The claimed purpose, again, was to ‘equalize’ the constituencies in line with opposition demands, and in accordance with the crown prince’s latest dialogue framework announced Sept. 18, one element of which is ‘[a] commitment to re-defining electoral districts to ensure greater representation and measures to further enhance electoral oversight.’

So, then, what is the opposition so upset about?

As with many things, the problem here is the imprecise use of language, or perhaps more accurately the (deliberate) use of imprecise language.  While it is true that the new changes do address differences in size among districts — the Justice Minister has claimed that now ‘90% of the districts are approximately equal in size,’ whatever that means — it is obvious that this was never the question of primary concern to the opposition.  Rather, the question revolves around the communal representativeness of the districts, which, even in their new iteration, are drawn along sectarian geographical boundaries and thus are almost certain to produce a parliament that is not reflective of Bahrain’s national-level demographic and thus political landscape."

— Mary Casey

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