Persian Gulf States At War in Yemen; Syria Update. Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs.

Mar 11, 2016, 07:08 AM

3/10/16 (Photo: Yemen civil war: Yemeni gunmen loyal to the Shiite Houthi Group riding a car.) Persian Gulf States At War in Yemen; Syria Update. Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs. Yemen “Yemeni Shi’a officials — led by Mohammed Abdel-Salam, the Houthis’ main spokesman and a senior adviser to Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi — were in Saudi Arabia on March 8, 2016, to begin exploratory talks with the Kingdom aimed at bringing the war in Yemen to a close. The fact that the talks were underway was significant and pointed to the perception in Riyadh that the war needed to be brought to an end before irreparable damage was done to the Saudi economy and to the political viability of the leadership group around Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense & Aviation, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But both Saudi Arabia and its key strategic opponent, Iran, made it clear that they were still able to raise the stakes in the conflict. Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, Iran’s Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces, said that Iran could support the Houthis as it has similarly backed Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad, noting that “The Islamic Republic ... feels its duty to help the people of Yemen in any way it can and to any level necessary.”…” Turkey. “Turkey’s Pres. Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan was, by the first week of March 2016, redoubling efforts to survive politically by continuing to oppose Syria, Israel, Russia, Iran, and Turkey’s own Kurdish population and domestic opposition. The war against the Kurds had escalated dramatically, despite the partial ceasefire brokered in Syria by the Russian and US governments.
And Ankara had alienated all its remaining allies except Saudi Arabia and Qatar by a range of its actions.
These actions included the draconian step of closing, by force on March 5, 2016, the main opposition newspaper, Zaman, the largest-circulation daily in Turkey, thereby compounding the now near-total suppression of independent journalism in the country, along with the imprisonment of key critics in the judiciary, military, and other sectors. Turkey was in as near a lockdown as Germany had become shortly after Adolf Hitler came to power.
Erdoðan’s actions, culminating with the press latest crackdown, have a sound basis in his fear that he and his Government are now at a tipping point of either collapse or success, depending on how he plays his hand. Criticism of his latest actions by the European Union (EU), noting that his suppression of the media jeopardized Turkey’s accession to the EU, were, by early March 2016, of such low concern because his first priority was the survival of his Government and the survival of the territorial integrity of the State….”