Photo Credit: Asharq Al-Awsat
Recep Tayyip Erdogan was sworn in today as President of Turkey, “cementing his position as its most powerful leader of recent times in a step opponents fear heralds more authoritarian rule and widening religious influence in public life.” During the ceremony, he officially tapped Ahmet Davutoglu to replace him as prime minister. On Friday, Davutoglu is expected to announce the formation of a new government. Behlul Ozkan called Davutoglu, who previously served as minister of foreign affairs, in the New York Times a “pan-Islamist [who] believes that Turkey should look to the past and embrace Islamic values and institutions.”
As Erdogan and Davutoglu were welcomed by their supporters, members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) stormed out of the inauguration. CHP lawmaker Engin Altay ”threw a copy of the parliament’s constitution at the Parliament Speaker’s face” in protest, before walking out. Additionally, the leader of the CHP, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who was not present, said during a speech in Istanbul, “I will not witness [his] lies,” and accused him of violating the Constitution. The Nationalist Movement Party and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) stayed throughout the ceremony.
The U.S. only sent the charge d’affaires at …
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Long-time Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has dismissed his long-time confidant and Special Advisor Abdelaziz Belkhadem. He did so by issuing a decree that ended his functions as minister and all his activities related to the state. Further, Said Bouhadja, the spokesperson for the National Liberation Front (FNL) political party said [Fr] that the President instructed the party’s secretary general to take necessary measures to ensure that Belkhadem can no longer take part in any activity inside the party.
No official statement has been released [Fr] regarding the reasons behind this decision; however, there is much speculation. In addition to being Special Adviser to the Presidency, Belkhadem was Prime Minister from 2006 to 2008 and leader of the FNL until February 2013, when he was replaced as leader, a move he did not ”appreciate.” He then reportedly attempted to use his nomination as Special Adviser to the President to attempt to regain influence in the party and pursue his presidential ambitions. Members of the current leadership of the FNL say this is one of the main reasons he was fired. Spokesman Bouhadja added that Belkhadem also ”spoke in the name of the President” too often and …
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Following failed negotiations between the Yemini Government and the Houthi rebels, President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi wrote a letter to Shiite rebel leader Abdelmalek al-Houthi on Tuesday with the following requests. He urged him to withdraw his militant followers from Sanaa – where they have been camping for the past week – and called on the rebels to “complete their exit from the Amran province,” which they have been in control of since July. Additionally, the President demanded a ceasefire in the neighboring Al-Jawf province between the army and the rebel forces. In exchange, the President offered to resume talks with the rebels who are demanding that the government resign, a decrease in fuel prices, and broader political representation. In his letter, Hadi emphasized the need to ”remove the causes of tension” in order to be in a position to negotiate, referring to aforementioned requests. In addition, he warned the rebels that the U.S. and other world powers oppose the demonstrations.
Meanwhile, the Houthis faced additional pressure as their biggest political rival, Sunni Islamist party Islah, organized a counter-protest in the capital. Al-Jazeera reported that “although the Islah march on August 24 was ostensibly aimed at …
Photo Credit: Middle East Eye
Tensions and violence in Libya have escalated over the weekend as Islamist-aligned militias seized the international Tripoli airport on Saturday. This followed a month of heavy fighting between aforementioned militias and militias aligned with the city of Zintan, who had previously controlled the airport. Meanwhile, the newly elected House of Representatives was challenged by the outgoing General National Congress (GNC), who refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new legislature. On Monday, the GNC voted to replace the current interim government with an Islamist-backed candidate.
Through the fighting, Islamist-aligned forces were hit by airstrikes on key posts near the airport, though the aggressors had not been identified. Islamist leader Salah Badi accused Egypt and Saudi Arabia of backing the strikes. Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi denied Egyptian military involvement in Libya during a press conference with major Egyptian newspapers. The New York Times reports that the UAE and Egypt were behind the airstrikes.
The Tripoli airport crisis is rooted in the regional rivalries that increased following the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Increasingly however, it appears that the dynamics in Libya are changing. The different factions, tribes and their militias are now increasingly …
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Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi revolutionaries have rejected negotiations posed last week by envoys to President Abd Rabbuh Hadi offering to resign within six months. Pro- and anti-government protesters took to the streets of Sana’a this weekend after the Houthi leader, Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, called for the Yemeni government to reinstate fuel subsidies and resign. In addition to these two demands, the Houthi rebel group has called for more representation in new state structures.
The recent military conquests against Sunni tribesmen by the Houthis have sparked concerns by Western leaders that Yemen’s steps toward a democratic political transition are in jeopardy. Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi publicly condemned foreign intervention in Yemen, stating that “America and the West seek nothing but serve their own interests not the interest of Yemen.” In response to this statement, the Gulf Cooperation Council said it “rejected any attempts ‘aimed at undermining the political process in Yemen’ and condemned the ‘unfortunate events taking place in Sanaa and the threat of using escalating measures.’”
In addition to instability produced by the Houthi revolutionaries, Yemen is also facing an insurgency by militants of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). In past months the AQAP has used Yemen to launch …