By BENNY AVNI, Second Edition | August 30, 2020
The recent operation of the reactor at the United Arab Emirates’ Barakah power plant is an important development for both the UAE and the Middle East region, as it marks a new step to break out from the deep and harmful reliance on fossil fuels for power generation.
The government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is faced with a potential new foe, India, a close ally of Israel, that is loudly signaling it that may join swelling axis of anti-Turkey nations led by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Greece.
The acrimony is being channeled through a spate of nasty articles in the Indian media casting Turkey as a malign meddler that is seeking to recruit and radicalize India’s estimated 182 million Muslims in cahoots with Pakistan. Read Full Article
U.S. sanctions Chinese firms and executives active in contested South China Sea
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said in an August 24, 2020 interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran) that Iran has 230 tons of heavy water, which he said is used for research. […]Kamalvandi said that Iran has over 1,000 tons of yellowcake and over 3 tons of uranium enriched to 4-4.1%, and he explained that this uranium stockpile is ten times larger than the amount agreed upon in the JCPOA. He also said that Iran can enrich uranium further if the need arises. – Middle East Media Research Institute
Michael Rubin writes: A broader concern, however, is not only Iran’s provision of UAVs to proxy groups in Iraq and Lebanon but also its transfer of the capability to manufacture drones to them. This buys both Iran and its proxies plausible deniability as, when drones are utilized against US interests or those of US allies, there will be a question mark about who ordered their attack […]. Simply put, Iranian drones are here to stay. The threat they pose cannot be underestimated, and they will remain part of the operational environment across the Middle East for decades to come. – American Enterprise Institute
Seth J. Frantzman writes: The whole situation in eastern Syria continues to limp along as it has over the last two and half years, lacking clarity. Overall though the role of the US diplomats who have been intensely pro-Ankara, to the extent that Ankara’s interests seem to come before the US role in Syria, have left confusion, instability and lack of faith in Washington’s commitment. – Jerusalem Post
Michael Rubin writes: After all, Erdogan is a cynic, not a partisan. He reprised the Svengali-role he exerted on Obama after Trump took office, and he clearly seeks to buy his way into any future administration. Just as Trump and his advisers should be held to account for their relationship with Erdogan and his businessman-proxies, it is time Biden recognize his campaign is also very much under an assault by those seeking to promote Erdogan at the expense of democracy and law. – Washington Examiner
Areig Elhag writes: Therefore, Israel must actively seek friendship and a real relationship with all stakeholders in Sudan to guarantee that the Sudanese populace will not reject such a relationship in the future. Ignoring the civilian side of relations will not be in Israel’s future interests, especially as the Forces of Freedom and Change and the Assembly of Professionals, the primary incubator for Prime Minister Hamdok, have a large influence on the Sudanese populace. – Washington Institute
Bayly Winder writes: It is in America’s strategic interest for Oman to maintain its foreign policy independence. Oman does not host a U.S. military base or buy huge amounts of American weapons like some other GCC states, but it is a valuable regional player with an outsized impact. The sultanate has also been an important U.S. military partner of long standing, including hosting U.S. military facilities at Thumrait and Masirah Island and providing the U.S. Navy access to the ports of Duqm and Salalah. – Middle East Institute
Bruce Klingner writes: North Korea is concurrently suffering from severe economic calamities due to international sanctions, self-imposed trade restrictions to stave off the coronavirus, and devastating monsoon rains damaging the agricultural heartland[…]. There has long been debate over the degree to which humanitarian disaster response assistance should be distinguished from large-scale food aid and economic development programs. The U.S. and other nations should be willing to provide immediate aid to ameliorate natural disasters that impact the populace while concurrently refraining from large-scale assistance that benefits the regime’s prioritization of the military over the needs of its citizens. – Heritage Foundation
A new Middle Eastern order is falling into position
(Washington Examiner) When the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed their historic agreement to normalize relations, they were formalizing a shift in Middle Eastern geopolitics that has been in motion for years.
Revolutionary Guards Poised to Take Over Iran
By Ali Reza Eshraghi & Amir Hossein Mahdavi, Foreign Affairs: “A new saying is making the rounds in Iran: power is being sucked away from heads to toes, which is to say, from men who wear turbans to men who wear boots. Iran’s new parliament furnishes the most recent evidence."
By Walker D. Mills, CIMSEC: “The world is increasingly urban and littoral. This convergence between urbanization and the littoral, or littoralization, can lead to “the worst of both worlds” and may remake the littorals into hotspots of instability and conflict."
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently converted Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, a decision that apparently involved no consultation and was executed swiftly after a surprise announcement. What were Erdoğan’s true motivations in taking this provocative step?
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