Views on the News – 2 Dec 2015


  • Bashar weighs in on ISIS
  • Rhetoric in the Russia-Turkey Incident
  • Army Loyalists Back in Power in Egypt


Bashar weighs in on ISIS

Bashar al Assad in an interview with a Czech television station alleged that there are terrorists currently amongst the European refugees. This statement is currently among a number of statements made by western nations in order to add evidence to the case of not accepting refugees and also for the intensification of airstrikes against ISIS.  His evidence for this claim seems to be the coincidental discovery of Syrian passports near the attackers in Paris, which turned out to be fake.

Further scrutiny of this statement makes clear his intent of persuading western nations to increase their airstrikes on ISIS which in reality are aimed at the rebel groups fighting and bleeding al-Assad. Most of these airstrikes have hit rebel held areas and have massacred civilians in areas such as Idlib which has seen the death of 44 people. As talks concerning a possible transitional government gain traction, al-Assad is trying all he can to influence the actions of other countries to strengthen the regime and his own position as head of state.


Rhetoric in the Russia-Turkey Incident

On the 24th of November 2015, Turkish F16 jets shot down a Russian Su-24 jet for allegedly violating Turkish airspace. By that afternoon Putin had called it a “stab in the back” and initiated the blame game. Moscow accused Ankara of turning a blind eye to oil smuggling by ISIS, with Putin even stating that oil was directly smuggled in to Turkey. Erdogan responded by stating “Daesh sells the oil they drill to al-Assad. As the week progressed, protests outside the Turkish embassy in Russia turned violent, trade from Turkey was restricted and accusations were also made that Moscow had retaliated by purposely bombing a Turkish aid convoy near the Syrian-Turkey border. Erdogan, who initially stood by the decision announced his regret and sorrow over the incident, Putin responded on the 27th of November 2015, by stating sanctions would be imposed upon Turkey. The decree includes a ban on some goods and forbids extensions of labor contracts for Turks working in Russia as of January, it doesn’t specify what goods are to be banned, but it calls for ending chartered flights from Russia to Turkey and for Russian tourism companies to stop selling vacation packages that would include a stay in Turkey. Putin also wants to ensure that visa free travel between the two nations is halted, whilst also calling for control over Turkish aircraft travelling through Russian airspace to be tightened. This incident highlights once again how attention is being defected from the real issue of the Syrian people who are being massacred, but Turkey only uses its military against Russia when it is more than capable in using this  capability against the regime in Damascus.


Army Loyalists Back in Power in Egypt

“For the Love of Egypt,” a loyalist electoral alliance led by a former intelligence officer, has now swept both rounds of the elections and will enter parliament with all 120 seats allocated to winner-takes-all lists. The alliance who is loyal to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has picked up all 60 list seats up for grabs in the second and final round of a parliamentary election. The new parliament will contain 568 elected members – 448 elected on an individual basis and 120 through the winner-take-all lists that have all gone to loyalists. Sisi has now completely reversed the Arab Spring in Egypt, he has imprisoned and killed the Muslim Brotherhood and all other opposition. Sisi’s only opposition is the national economy which is on the verge of collapse, due to his incompetency. It remains to be seen how he will overcome this issue.