An exclusive report, citing sources on the ground in Syria and Libya, says Syrian teenagers are being sent to Libya to take part in the civil war there.
By Alireza Nader, The National Interest: "The Russian-Iranian alliance, a defining feature of power politics in the Middle East, is experiencing strains that should be exploited by the Trump administration."
Will Vietnam Lease Cam Ranh Bay to the U.S.?
By Carl Thayer, The Diplomat: "Rumors are circulating that Vietnam is considering leasing Cam Ranh Bay or some of its islands in the South China Sea to the United States on a long-term basis as a supply base and/or stop over point as a counter to recent aggressiveness in the South China Sea."
Trump Should Not Fall for Erdogan’s S-400 Gambit
By Aykan Erdemir & Luc Sasseville, War on the Rocks: "On April 20, Turkey made public its decision to postpone the planned April activation of the S-400 air defense system it received from Russia last July, citing delays related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Erdogan’s latest move results from his growing desperation to secure Western financing amid a pandemic-induced economic crisis, and is part of a broader charm offensive to convince Trump to grant Ankara a financial lifeline in the form of a swap deal with the U.S. Federal Reserve."
The more we learn about the origins of the coronavirus, the more compelling the case against China grows. In an op-ed for the Hoover Institution, John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty argue the world must create incentives for China that will force it to improve its behavior. That may well demand harsh measures that will force China to experience the full costs of its recklessness, but without such incentives, China may inflict this kind of tragedy on the world again. Read it here.
A political battle is raging in Iraq over the selection of a new prime minister. In a RealClearWorld op-ed, Kenneth Pollack assesses the appointment of Mustafa al-Kadhimi, an Iraqi nationalist selected with the task of forming a government, and concludes that if there were ever a moment to build a strong independent Iraq, the time is now. Mustafa Kadhimi may be the last, best hope to begin moving Iraq in a better direction. Shouldn’t we help him help us? Read here.
After having lied about Turkey’s immunity to the coronavirus crisis in its initial weeks, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his advisers now seek to deflect blame and attention elsewhere. While some US diplomats have drunk Erdoğan’s Kool-Aid, Erdoğan’s decision to respond to the crisis by furthering his crackdown shows that the problem is the Turkish leader, not us, argues Michael Rubin in a Washington Examiner op-ed. The US government should take no action that endorses, embraces, or enables Erdoğan’s continued leadership in Turkey. Read more here.
The Jerusalem Post
April 30, 2020
Hal Brands | Bloomberg Opinion
Turkey should keep up the pressure on the hard-line Islamist group in control of Syria’s embattled Idlib province, the US special envoy for Syria said today.
Jihadi forces resisting the reopening of the key M4 highway in Idlib are squeezed between Turkey’s amity and military might, but Turkey itself is not without dilemmas.
The Donald Trump administration has doubled down on threats to sanction Turkey should it activate the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
Since the US unilaterally pulled out of the JCPOA in 2018, Iran has violated the deal’s restrictions: increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium, putting it in reach of producing a nuclear weapon; using aid money to finance proxy-terror operations in Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen; and continuing funding for a Revolutionary Guards–dominated economy that fuels corruption and oppression of Iranians. Last week, Iran launched its first military satellite into orbit, marking a military program that foreshadows its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The October deadline will be a fight with great implications, but how much influence is the US able to wield? Can Iran really afford to spend lavishly on weapons while still calling for relief funds to weather the pandemic?