World View: Turkey PM Holds Surprise Meeting with Hamas Leader

World View: Turkey PM Holds Surprise Meeting with Hamas Leader

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Learning life’s lessons
  • Turkey’s Erdogan meets with Hamas leader in surprise visit
  • Syria’s chemical weapons threat causes world condemnation
  • New virus has Iran’s nuclear plants playing AC/DC rock music
  • China blames the U.S. for Philippines / Vietnam claims in South China Sea

Learning life’s lessons

I’ve had two major traffic accidents in my life. The first was in1985. The second was two hours ago. The circumstances of both wereroughly the same: I was traveling in the right-hand lane of Route 128(an 8-lane highway outside Boston) on cruise control at 55 mph, thespeed limit. Someone traveling 80-85 mph came up behind me, tried toswerve around me and failed. Surprisingly no one was injured ineither accident, though the cars didn’t do so well. 

So, what is the correct “life’s lesson” that I should be learning fromthese two similar experiences? That’s it’s a bad idea to travel atthe speed limit? That it’s better to travel at 80-85 mph myself, sothat no one can catch up to me and swerve around me? I have no idea.

Turkey’s Erdogan meets with Hamas leader in surprise visit

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal made a surprise visit to Ankara on Monday,meeting with Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Theprincipal subject of the meeting was the safety of the 500,000 or soPalestinians, mostly refugees, living in Syria. Hamas used to haveits international headquarters in Damascus, and Mashaal and Erdoganboth had a close relationship with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. However,al-Assad’s brutal treatment of Sunni Arab civilians has caused both ofthem to split with al-Assad. Now, with dozens of Palestinians inSyria joining the opposition Free Syrian Army, the fear is thatal-Assad will turn his army’s mortars, missiles and machine guns onall Palestinians in Syria. Zaman (Istanbul) 

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the Mideast is headedfor a major regional sectarian war pitting Sunnis versus Shias.Hamas’s alignment with Iran, Hizbollah and Syria’s al-Assad never madeany sense, because those are all Shias and Hamas is a Sunniorganization. So Mashaal’s split with al-Assad was going to comesooner or later anyway, but the meeting with Erdogan is consistentwith Erdogan’s desire to unite the Sunni Arabs under the influence ofTurkey again, restoring some of the glory of the good old days underthe old Ottoman empire. In the end, it’s expected that Turkey, SaudiArabia and the Arab states will be allied with Pakistan and Chinaagainst India, Russia, Iran, Israel and the West. 

Syria’s chemical weapons threat causes world condemnation

The Syrian regime’s confirmation on Monday that it has chemicalweapons, and its threat to use them against “foreign adversaries,” hasbrought strong reactions around the world. Syria’s ally Russia hasclearly told the Syrian government that it must abide by a 1925international protocol barring the use of poison gases in warfare.Russia says that Syria signed the protocol in 1925. Saudi Arabia,which has supported the Syrian opposition, will lead a new Arabinitiative to get the United Nations General Assembly to condemnSyria. Israel, which along with Saudi Arabia is considered by manyanalysts to have been the implied “foreign adversaries,” is having arun on gas masks. The fear is that the chemical weapons will betransferred to the terrorist group Hizbollah, who will use them toattack Israel. Reuters and AFP and AFP

New virus has Iran’s nuclear plants playing AC/DC rock music

The web site of the F-Secure Security Labs says that they’ve receivede-mail messages from scientists at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organizationsaying that its computers have been infected by a new virus thatcauses several computers on the site to play the song “Thunderstruck”by AC/DC at full volume in the middle of the night. F-Secure saysthat it believes the e-mail correspondence is real, but concedes thatit might be a hoax. Bloomberg 

China blames the U.S. for Philippines / Vietnam claims in South China Sea

China is adopting an increasingly belligerent and warlike stance toits claims to complete sovereignty over the entire South China Sea,including regions that historically belonged to other countries.China’s neighbors, especially Vietnam and the Philippines, arechallenging China’s claims, and China is blaming the United States,and its strategic Asia “pivot,” for emboldening these countries tochallenge China. According to one Chinese military official: 

China now faces a whole pack of aggressive neighborsheaded by Vietnam and the Philippines and also a set of menacingchallengers headed by the United States, forming theirencirclement from outside the region. And, such a band of eagerlackeys is exactly what the U.S. needs for its strategic return toAsia.

The fact that these countries are even daring to challenge China isan embarrassment to China’s military, according to one Washingtonanalyst:

The South China Sea situation is certainly highlyfrustrating for Chinese military officers. If [China’s People’sLiberation Army] cannot even defend China’s own territory at itsdoorstep, what capacity or legitimacy does it have to cruisearound the world?


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