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World View: Turkey Blames Syrian Regime for Terrorist Bombings in Border Town

World View: Turkey Blames Syrian Regime for Terrorist Bombings in Border Town

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This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Turkey blames Syrian regime for terrorist bombings in border town
  • Nawaz Sharif appears to be the winner in Pakistan’s elections

Turkey blames Syrian regime for terrorist bombings in border town

Aftermath of the explosions in Reyhanli (Zaman)
Aftermath of the explosions in Reyhanli (Zaman)

At least 45 people were killed and hundreds injured by two massive carbombs that exploded on Saturday in the Turkish town of Reyhanli.Reyhanli is on the border with Syria, and has an Arabic-speaking SunniMuslim population, which has been a draw for both anti-regime Syrianrefugees and also as headquarters for NGOs and aid groups operating inSyria. According to Turkey’s deputy prime minister, the assailantswere linked to Syria’s intelligence service, al-Mukhabarat:

“We have to a great extent completed our work towardidentifying the assailants. We have established that theorganization and assailants have links to the pro-regimeal-Mukhabarat (Syrian intelligence) organization.”

There are now some 400,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, and many of themhave been flooding into Reyhanli, resulting in friction betweencitizens and refugees. One possibility is that the intended effect ofthe bombings was to worsen relationships between the two groups, andindeed many refugees are fleeing from Reyhanli, fearing attacks bycitizens who blame the refugees for bringing the bombings.

Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed that Turkey would act:

“Those who for whatever reason attempt to bring theexternal chaos into our country will get a response.”

However, these kinds of statements are similar to those we hear allthe time from politicians in Turkey, in Washington, and in Europe.Repeatedly making one “red line” ultimatum after another, but thendoing nothing after the red line is crossed except to announce a newred line only destroys the credibility of the West, and causes theal-Assad regime, as well as Russia and Iran, to treat any suchstatements with contempt. Zaman (Istanbul) and BBC

Nawaz Sharif appears to be the winner in Pakistan’s elections

Nawaz Sharif waves to supporters (AFP)
Nawaz Sharif waves to supporters (AFP)

Attempts by Pakistan’s Taliban to use terrorist violence across thecountry to disrupt Pakistan’s elections on Saturday killed 15 people,but did not prevent millions of people from voting in the firstelection in Pakistan’s history that would lead to a peacefultransition from one civilian government to another, resulting in thehighest election turnout in decades.

Official results will be announced on Sunday, but former two-timeprime minister Nawaz Sharif declared victory on Saturday evening,based on a partial vote count. This is considered a remarkablecomeback for Sharif, who was overthrown and forced into exile in amilitary coup when Gen. Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999. Sharifvowed to deliver on all the promises he made during the campaign — toend the electric power cuts, sometimes lasting 18 hours per day; toturn around the devastated economy; and to end the corruption of thecurrent government.

The second place candidate was former world cricket champion andinternational playboy Imran Khan, who was the “hope and change”candidate. Khan beat Sharif in some regions, and won the vote amongyounger voters, but lost to Sharif because he had almost no governmentexperience.

From America’s point of view, the major question is whether Pakistan’spolicies towards America’s “war on terror” and drone strikes willchange. Khan was very vehement in promising to end all Pakistaniparticipation in America’s involvement in Afghanistan. Nawaz has saidsimilar things, but not nearly as vehemently. AFP and CNN

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