The two non-Arab Muslim giants of the Near East are, as always in the news again, and what they are up to is, as always, of direct significance for Israel.
The open war between Erdogan and Gulen in Turkey continues with the arrest of two al-Qaeda agents by the Turkish anti-terrorism police and a raid on the offices of the "charity" that was behind the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, accused of ties with terrorist organizations. In response, instead of commending the police and judicial authorities involved, as one would expect, the Erdogan government summarily dismissed them and cancelled the investigation.
It must be assumed that the Gulen organization was behind the actions, as it was behind the earlier arrests and accusations of corruption against high-ranking officials and sons of ministers, which also led to massive dismissal of police chiefs around the country and of prosecutors involved in the investigation. Erdogan's son is involved in the "charity" Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), but even more significantly, the accusation that it is involved with terrorist organizations directly undercuts the Turkish position on the Mavi Marmara incident and justifies the actions of the Israeli special forces which boarded the ship trying to break the Gaza blockade, which led to the deaths of some Turkish citizens who opposed the boarding.
Eventually, President Obama pressured Prime Minister Netanyahu to apologize to Erdogan and promise compensation for the families of the victims. Do not expect the US administration to apologize now for forcing the apology.
In Iran, the interim agreement signed in Geneva on November 22, 2013 took effect only on January 20, 2014, two months later, although it was universally assumed at the time that it would take effect immediately. Thus Iran had two months to furiously continue enriching uranium, install new centrifuges, and continue work on the heavy water facility. Note that all the provisions about numbers of centrifuges, degrading of part of the highly-enriched uranium to 5% and stopping work on the heavy water facility started on January 20, not November 22.
In the interim period, frozen Iranian funds were released to Iran, and corporations around the world jostled each other in their eagerness to start doing business with the Islamic republic again. Russia even made a deal whereby it would import Iranian crude oil and then export it as its own, in exchange for credits to purchase Russian goods. Please note that Russia does not need oil, being a major exporter itself, and as to Russian goods, the only items of value they have to sell are weapons, many of which will undoubtedly end up in the arsenals of the Assad regime in Syria and of Hezbollah, which is already receiving dismantled Russian Yakhont shore to ship missiles from Iran, which can avoid radar detection because of a flat, low trajectory.
No wonder President Rouhani proclaimed "victory". He was simply being factual.
Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft at The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC, and a researcher at the Center for National Security Studies, University of Haifa.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 21, 2014
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