GEORGIA: LOOKING AT POST-ELECTION TWISTS
by Giorgi Lomsadze
After electing a new president in an October 27 vote seen as both clean and exceptionally uneventful, the South Caucasus country of Georgia is now entering a period of uncertainty.
With nearly 100 percent of ballots counted, it appears Giorgi Margvelashvili, the personal pick of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, has secured a convincing victory with 62.12 percent of the vote. Among the nearly two dozen candidates in the election, his closest rival, Davit Bakradze of outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement, trailed far behind at 21.72 percent. Turnout, at 46.6 percent, was the lowest for a national election in the past decade.
But low voter participation did not trouble a jubilant Ivanishvili. At a joint news conference with Margvelashvili on October 28, the prime minister expressed surprise at Bakradze’s returns, but described the presidential election as “very cultured” and thanked voters for showing appreciation for his pick for president, whom he described as a “genius.”
International observers praised the conduct of the vote. Describing the election as “positive and transparent,” João Soares, the special coordinator for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s short-term observer mission, declared that “[t]his clean election following a political cohabitation tells me that Georgia’s democracy is maturing.” 31.10.13 More
TENSION ROUND IRAN
On November 4, 2011 the president of Israel Shimon Peres made a statement that in the solution of the Iranian issue the Jewish state was tending towards the military option.
Over the recent few years, against the background of escalation and easing of international tension round Iran, there have been numerous statements and publications about the military way of solution of the Iranian issue. But the statement of Peres differs from others because it was for the first time when the military way of solution of the Iranian issue was sounded on such a high official level and it is sounded by the president of the country which is well-known for its military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities.
The statement of the president of Israel, of course, comes to prove that in Tel Aviv they tend to enhance pressure on Tehran. But if there was a decision that the head of the state should make that statement, it means that the situation round the Iranian issue is changing, and not only for Israel. Taking into consideration the ties of the Jewish state with the United States and the leading European states on the one hand, and the importance of the issue for the Middle East in general on the other, hardly Peres’ statement was not coordinated with the allies and partners of Israel... Artashes Ter-Harutyunyan, 01.12.11 More
TURKEY AND IRAN: RIVALRY vs. COOPERATION
By Angelina Harutyunyan
Abstract: This article looks into cooperation and differences between Iran and Turkey on the global and regional levels. Turkey being secular Muslim country has tried to maintain balanced policy both towards the Middle Eastern states and the West. Iran, on the other hand tried to conduct unidirectional policy seeking to spread its influence in the region through competition with Turkey. Depending on the ruling regimes in Turkey, relations with Iran were fluctuating developing from cordial into antagonistic approaches. Turkish multi-vector foreign policy did not benefit Iran as the latter in many cases perceived Turkish cooperation with the West as direct threat towards Iran. On the other hand, Turkey used to perceive Iranian military capacities as a threat towards Turkey and substantially has been opposing Iran going nuclear though having neutral approach towards Iranian nuclear program.
Being natural rivalries for domination in the region Turkey and Iran nevertheless had common grounds for cooperation in political, counter- terrorism and economic fields. Shared security threads such as Kurdish issue, organized crime and drug trafficking, shared interests such as energy cooperation boosted mutual cooperation and activities. However, differences both on the regional and international scenes predict not so much smooth relations between Turkey and Iran. Though being Muslims, they experience deep rivalry in a series of issues in the South Caucasus, in cooperation with the West, especially with the United States and NATO-member countries, as well as in ideological values and theories, which in a set make Turkey and Iran natural competitors for domination. 04.07.12 More
TURKISH-ISRAELI CONTRADICTIONS TRANSFORM INTO CONFRONTATION
On September 9 the Israeli mass media reported that a working group headed by Avigdor Libermann, the vice-prime-minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, was established; it will have to elaborate a package of proposals on what measures a Jewish state and Jewish lobbyist organizations in different countries can take against Turkey.
Israeli media also issued some proposals which are circulated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
1) Tel Aviv renders political and, it is not excluded, military and technical assistance to the Kurdish Worker’s Party struggling for the independence of the regions of Turkey inhabited by Kurds1
2) Initiating anti-Turkish campaign in the US Congress, including passing bills of anti-Turkish orientation.
3) Support to the Armenian Issue (including meeting of Leibermann with the Armenian lobbyist organizations in the US).
4) Initiating anti-Turkish campaign by the Israeli ambassadors in different countries.
U.S. NEEDS CONTROLLED CSTO
According to the mass media, one of the talented American officers and functionaries, Mark Grossman, is currently in Uzbekistan, and he is allegedly trying to convince the government of this country to leave the CSTO. Of course, the very formulation of the task is quite ordered, and no doubt it is made public by the wish of the Uzbek authorities but in fact it means that the Americans are preparing the “ground” for the new scheme of their presence, after the statement on the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan.
There is ample evidence that the U.S. is trying to implement a non-expensive scheme of basing and deployment of logistics routes from the Black Sea to the Chinese border. The United States understands, like Russia, that it misplayed in Central Asia which has been absorbed by China quite convincingly. Even if the Americans succeed in building a new and more diversified scheme of deployment of their military objects in the region, Central Asia inexorably becomes China’s raw pantry and the countries of the region have gladly accepted China’s initiatives. 12.10.2011 More