From the category archives:

Middle East

Coup in Turkey


It appears that there has been a military coup in Turkey. Developments are ongoing.

There are reports of troops being deployed to the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. The prime minister says a group within the military is trying to stage a coup.

Update: Vox tries to explain the situation in Turkey:

I hope that the coup will fail. Assuming that is what happens, it will clear the way for total domination of Turkish politics by Erdogan. It will make it easier for him to make the constitutional changes he wants to make himself essentially the one and only politician deciding everything in the country.

Either way, the chances for democracy have receded even further.

Update #2: The coup does indeed appear to have failed. And, as predicted, Erdogan is using it as an excuse to consolidate power and purge political dissidence. A state of emergency has been declared for 3 months, and so far, over 10,000 people have been rounded up and over 20,000 teachers and university professors have been fired. And there are fears that this is only the tip of the iceberg:

The president did not announce details, but the security measure could facilitate longer detentions for many of the nearly 10,000 people who have been rounded up since loyalist security forces and protesters quashed the rebellion that started Friday night and was over by Saturday.

[ . . . ]

“As the commander in chief, I will also attend to it so that all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed,” Erdogan said.

[ . . . ]

Rights group Amnesty International says the crackdown has extended to censoring media and journalists, including those critical of the government.

People living in democracies rarely believe that their political institutions are so fragile to the whims of an autocratic demagogue. But Erdogan, following in the footsteps of Putin, Chavez and so many others, is proving that democracy is indeed incredibly fragile. Even in Turkey, for a long time considered a stronghold of secular democracy in the middle east and a bridge to Europe. Not so much anymore, it looks like.

This is going to get worse before it gets better.


So much for the Olympic values of peace, understanding and bringing people together: A Syrian boxer has quit the World Boxing Championship rather than be forced to compete against his Israeli opponent:

The first round match between Syrian Ala Ghasoun and the Israeli fighter was scheduled to place at the tournament which is a precondition to qualifying for the upcoming 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I quit the competition because my rival was Israeli, and I cannot shake his hand or compete against him while he represents a Zionist regime that kills the Syrian people,” Ghasoun said according to Arab media, The Jerusalem Post reported. 

“If I fight against him, it would mean that I, as a athlete, and Syria, as a state, recognize the state of Israel,” Ghasoun added. 

“The decision to quit was not mine,” the Syrian boxer said. “It was made by the Syrian Sports Federation and by senior Syrian officials. It was a very difficult decision, because I have worked hard to participate in the championship. But I serve my homeland – my honor and my loyalty belong to Syria.”

For what it’s worth, an estimated 150,000 Syrian civilians have been killed in over five years of civil war. Of those deaths, how many were caused by Israel’s “Zionist regime”? Exactly zero. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of hatred.


4 ways the “war on terror” is like the “war on drugs”


Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the TV show “The Wire”. And also some colourful language, such as you might expect when talking about terrorist bastards. This week has been a bad one for the world. Unless, of course, you happen to be a giant terrorist asshole. Terror attacks in Beirut, Baghdad, and the deadliest […]

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Concordia Netanyahu riot: 10 years later


Ten years ago today, this was the scene at Concordia University: The riot was a culmination of more than five years of tensions at Concordia between the radical left-wing CSU groups, which were dominated by members of the pro-Palestinian group SPHR, and pro-Israel groups like Hillel. Concordia Hillel had invited Benjamin Netanyahu, who at the […]

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Freedom of speech, Palestinian-style


A West Bank resident has been imprisoned for insulting Islam on Facebook: A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down. The case of […]

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If you can’t blame Israel, it doesn’t count


Good guest op-ed in the Gazette by Frida Ghitis: “No one much cares about what they endure, unless it can be blamed on Israel“: Palestinians are indeed victims of mistreatment. But you won’t hear much about what they endure, unless someone can pin the blame directly on Israel. Conditions in Gaza, for example, have made […]

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Israeli-Lebanese border skirmish


So what really happened in the game of “the tree was on my property” that broke out on the Israeli-Lebanese border yesterday, resulting in a lethal exchange of fire? Pajamas Media takes a crack at deciphering the finger-pointing and media spin games. And the Jerusalem Post has more on UNIFIL’s role in this mess.

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‘Ayatollah, leave those kids alone’


The Independent reports how the Pink Floyd classic has gotten a new life as a theme song of the Iranian protest movement: (Via Lisa Goldman).

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Scott Adams solves the Mideast crisis


Plus, a whole bunch of other wars, conflicts, armed skirmishes, and general disputes: The Power of Ridiculous Reasons: I mention these examples because I think the world needs another ridiculous rule to solve some big problems. And it’s no fair saying my new rule is ridiculous because that’s exactly the point. The new rule would […]

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Hamas ain’t too poupular wit da people


The Palestinian people, anyway. This according to a new poll conducted by Ramallah-based Near East Consulting that surveyed 880 Palestinians. Overall support for Fatah is at 48%, while Hamas is down to 11% support: “There is widespread support for Fatah,” Dr. Jamil Rabah, director of Near East Consulting in the PA, told The Media Line. “They […]

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