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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 21-Sep-2014
21-Sep-14 World View -- Turkey admits 66,000 refugee Kurds from Syria as Mideast realignment continues

Web Log - September, 2014

21-Sep-14 World View -- Turkey admits 66,000 refugee Kurds from Syria as Mideast realignment continues

India launches 'Project Mausam' to counter China's 'Maritime Silk Road'

This morning's key headlines from

Turkey admits 66,000 refugee Kurds from Syria as Mideast realignment continues

Long queues of Kurdish refugees wait to cross border into Turkey on Saturday (Reuters)
Long queues of Kurdish refugees wait to cross border into Turkey on Saturday (Reuters)

In a new sign of the continuing realignment of the entire Mideast following the Gaza war and the rise of the Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS), Turkey opened the border on Saturday to 66,000 Kurdish refugees fleeing from ISIS. Thousands more are expected to enter Turkey on Sunday.

On the same day, a military operation by Turkey recovered and freed 49 hostages from Turkey's diplomatic corp. The hostages had been captured by ISIS when the latter overran the city of Mosul in June.

Turkey has announced that it will not join the US-led "coalition" to be fighting ISIS, and gave as one of the reasons that it didn't want to risk the lives of its hostages. Now that the hostages have been freed, it's still not expected that Turkey will join the "coalition," since Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a bitter enemy of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad. Turkey will not even permit American warplanes fighting ISIS to take off from its Incirlik air base, although Turkey will allow humanitarian and logistical operations from there.

Opening the border to 66,000 Kurdish refugees reflects the realignments that are going on in the Mideast. Until recently, Turks and Kurds fought a civil war that killed 40,000 people. The fact that Turkey is now accepting tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees is a sign of how allegiances are shifting in this region. Daily Sabah (Istanbul) and Zaman (Ankara) and BBC

India launches 'Project Mausam' to counter China's 'Maritime Silk Road'

When China's president Xi Jinping took office last year, he gave a number of speeches about "China's Dream," in which he called for China to shed its past as a secondary player, and become the world's top military and economic power. He visited Chinese military bases and told the troops to be ready for war at any time. He vowed that China will take every step necessary to gain control of the East China Sea and South China Sea regions, including areas that have been owned by other countries for centuries.

The "Silk Road" was a collection of trade routes that connected Europe and China in the Middle Ages, allowing China's silk to be traded for European goods. As part of that plan to implement "China's Dream," Xi proposed a new "Maritime Silk Road" (MSR) across Southeast Asia, shortly after he took office. The Chinese describe it in economic terms, as an initiative to further deepen China's reciprocal cooperation with neighboring countries, and promote their common development and prosperity, but it's also a military initiative to gain bases and influence from China, across the Indian Ocean, all the way to Africa.

Not to be outdone, India is proposing a competitive vision to the MSR, called "Project Mausam," described as "a transnational program is aimed at restoring India's ancient maritime routes and cultural links with republics in the region." I admit I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding this, so I'll just quote someone else's narrative:

"The project is considered [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi's government’s most significant foreign policy initiative designed to counter China. It is inspired by India’s historical role as the focal point for trade in the Indian Ocean. In pre-modern times, sailors used seasonal monsoons (mausam, means weather or season in many South Asian languages) to swiftly journey across the Indian Ocean. This trip usually involved starting from one of the edges of the ocean, around today’s Indonesia or east Africa, sailing to India, stopping, and allowing another crew to wait for another monsoon to sail to the other edge of the Indian Ocean, as different monsoon winds blew in different directions at different times of the year. Crews would frequently winter for months in India or at one of the edges of the ocean waiting for another season of monsoons. This allowed for significant cultural exchanges as diverse people from different places would often spend months at a time living in foreign countries (Islam is said to have entered Indonesia in this manner).

Project Mausam would allow India to reestablish its ties with its ancient trade partners and re-establish an “Indian Ocean world” along the littoral of the Indian Ocean. This world would stretch from east Africa, along the Arabian Peninsula, past southern Iran to the major countries of South Asia and thence to Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia."

One India and The Diplomat

Russia sends massive new convoy across border into Ukraine

Russia has once again sent a massive convoy of hundreds of large, covered trucks across the border into Ukraine's sovereign territory, without permission and without any inspection. This time, the Russians didn't even announce the convoy in advance, but simply sent the trucks through the border. As in the previous convoys, there's no way to tell whether the trucks contain "humanitarian aid," as the Russians claim, or whether they contain weapons to support the Russian soldiers stationed in Ukraine. Deutsche-Welle and Ria Novosti

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Sep-14 World View -- Turkey admits 66,000 refugee Kurds from Syria as Mideast realignment continues thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Sep-2014) Permanent Link
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