The quest to defeat Erdogan

For the past three years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken his nation on a seemingly endless political roller-coaster ride. Under the auspices of his government, the country has seen two parliamentary elections and a controversial referendum that vested wider powers in Turkey’s presidency. Meanwhile, the purges he commenced after a failed coup attempt in 2016 are still roiling the country.

The next big event comes June 24, when Turks will vote for their next president and parliament. For Erdogan and his opponents, the stakes are as high as ever. If he wins, Erdogan will assume the Turkish presidency’s expanded executive powers, granted by the bitterly fought referendum in 2017.

After a decade and a half in power, Erdogan has become the most consequential Turkish politician since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. But his critics fear the death of Turkey’s enfeebled democracy and the strengthening of an overt authoritarian. A growing body of analysts cast Turkey under Erdogan as a prime example of how democracies can backslide and how ostensibly liberal politics can give way to toxic majoritarianism.

Erdogan is a canny political operator, and he has preserved his rule by mobilizing a divisive yet effective brand of religious nationalism. He has trained his ire on a vast web of supposed enemies abroad, from obstreperous Western governments to a Kurdish separatist terrorist group to a geriatric cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania. But although he once could campaign on a track record of economic prosperity and development, the Turkish economy is teetering dramatically.

Erdogan 3

“Years of irresponsible policies have overheated the Turkish economy. High inflation rates and current account deficits are going to prove sticky,” Atilla Yesilada, an analyst with ­Istanbul-based Global Source Partners, said to The Washington Post. “I think we are at the end of our rope.”

“Opposition leaders have also cited encouraging poll numbers that they say reflect voter fatigue with the president after a tumultuous few years in Turkey marked by growing tensions with some of the country’s NATO allies and intensifying social polarization at home,” wrote The Post’s Istanbul bureau chief, Kareem Fahim. “The results suggest a possible opposition victory — if not in the presidential race, then in the parliament, where they hope to roll back the majority held by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP.”

Erdogan’s challengers are stronger this year, thanks both to the political winds and the emergence of an opposition alliance that includes not only leftists, religious minorities and secularists but also right-wing nationalists and pious Muslims.

Erdogan’s main opponent in the presidential race is Muharrem Ince of the Republican People’s Party, a centrist party once associated with decades of stifling secularism as well as the repression of ethnic minorities carried out by the Turkish state. Ince, a former schoolteacher, has worked assiduously to dispel this image and champion a more inclusive future.

Turkish presidential candidate Muharrem Ince spoke to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters from atop a bus at a rally in Kadikoy, near Istanbul, on June 8.

The challengers say that Erdogan is hobbling the country by sparring with the European Union and NATO, and making moves that tanked the Turkish currency. “The policies that Erdogan or his government are following do not help Turkey stand up on her own feet in almost all aspects and policies, whether economic or foreign policies,” Islamist presidential candidate Temel Karamollaoglu said to the Guardian. “His method of approach, the discourse, causes polarization in Turkey.”

But there are limits to the time-for-change argument. “The opposition’s main message is, enough is enough. You have been in power too long, you represent the past,” Omer Taspinar of the Brookings Institute said to Fahim. “Maybe that would work if he was 80 years old. Erdogan is still a force to reckon with, despite his vulnerabilities. He has done well for the middle class.”

As in elections in 2015, all eyes are on the Kurdish vote. Kurds represent about 20 percent of the country’s population; Erdogan, who moved to liberalize restrictions on Kurdish cultural rights, once drew tremendous backing from religiously-minded Kurdish voters. But the resumption of conflict with Kurdish militant groups in Turkey, Syria and Iraq has weakened that support, as has his government’s persecution of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, a left-wing, pro-Kurdish party that Ankara accuses of collusion with outlawed Kurdish militants.

If the HDP can win more than 10 percent of the national vote required to gain seats in Turkey’s parliament — as it did in June 2015 — Erdogan’s AKP will struggle to win a majority. The HDP’s charismatic leader, Selahattin Demirtas, has been thrown in jail on terrorism-related charges he and his supporters flatly reject. He is running for president behind bars.

“The Kurds are a reality, and in every country in the Middle East, in Iraq, Turkey, Syria, they are on the front lines for the struggle of democracy,” Demirtas told me in an interview in 2016, before he was sent to prison. “There’s a fundamental ideological conflict between the Kurds and Erdogan, who has a Turkish Islamist ideology.”

Turkey elections 2018: everything you need to know

Erdoğan is running for president, of course, but who else is in the running for control?

What is happening in Turkey?

The country will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 June. If no candidate wins an outright majority in the first round of the presidential elections, a second round will be held on 8 July between the top two candidates in the race.

Why are the elections being held now?

The elections were supposed to be in November 2019. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, however, called for early elections back in April. He said that Turkey needed to “overcome uncertainty” at a troubled time in the region, amid its ongoing military operations in Syria and Iraq.

Critics, however, say the race was brought forward because Turkey’s currency and economy are suffering and the president wanted to preempt the downward trend. He may also be hoping to capitalise on nationalist sentiment after military victory in Syria, where rebels backed by Turkey defeated Kurdish militias near the border in a region called Afrin.

Why are these elections important?

This is arguably the most important election in Turkey’s modern history. The new president will assume an office imbued with sweeping executive powers that voters narrowly approved in a constitutional referendum last year. These include the power to issue decrees with the force of law, appoint the cabinet and vice-presidents as well as senior judges. If he wins, Erdoğan will continue to shape Turkey and its society for years to come.

Who is running for president?

Erdoğan, of course. He remains the most popular political leader in Turkey. But he faces several important opponents who have done unexpectedly well so far in the campaign, and, as a result, a second-round contest is now the most likely outcome.

There is Muharrem İnce, a charismatic physics teacher who is the candidate of the main opposition group, the Republican People’s party (CHP), and Meral Akşener, nicknamed the ‘she-wolf’. She is the leader of the new nationalist Iyi (Good) party and is popular with both youth and working-class Turks.

Temel Karamollaoğlu, the leader of the Islamist Felicity party, is also running, and has emerged as a key critic of Erdoğan even though their parties share ideological roots. Selahattin Demirtaş, a charismatic politician once dubbed the ‘Kurdish Obama’ and who leads the leftist and Kurdish issue-oriented People’s Democratic party (HDP), is running for the presidency from his prison cell in the city of Edirne. He awaits trial on terrorism charges.

What’s happening in parliament?

There are two main coalitions running for parliament.

The first includes the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) of Erdoğan, which are in a coalition with the nationalists.

On the opposite side is an alliance that includes the secularists of the CHP, the breakaway nationalists of the Iyi party, and the Islamists of the Felicity party. They make strange bedfellows in a political system where secularists and Islamists have traditionally been bitter enemies, but such is the importance of these elections that former rivals have banded together to oust the president and his entourage. The HDP is running by itself.

The Turkish constitution requires that parties obtain at least 10% of the national vote to enter parliament, a law that favours larger parties. A new bill recently allowed the formation of election alliances like those described above, which will allow smaller parties like Felicity to win some seats in the legislature if their alliance as a whole crosses the 10% threshold.

If the opposition alliance performs as expected, and the HDP gets over 10% of the popular vote, the ruling AKP could lose its majority in parliament.

So who will win?

Erdoğan was hoping to catch his opponents by surprise when he called for a vote, but attendance at ruling party rallies has been lacklustre, and the Turkish leader does not appear to be at the top of his game. The economy has also caused headaches, with the Turkish lira falling in value against the dollar, concerns mounting over the long-term health of the economy, and fears over the Central Bank’s independence.

Still, Erdoğan is the most popular Turkish politician, and is likely to win the presidential race. Polls are notoriously unreliable in Turkey, but for now it looks like he will easily win the first round, but without an outright majority. A second-round race against Ince or Aksener still favours the president, but is increasingly looking too close to call. It will depend on whether the opposition can draw away conservative and nationalist voters, as well as Kurdish voters angry about Erdogan’s alliance with the nationalists.

Also, there is a very real possibility that Erdoğan will win the presidency but lose parliament to the opposition, which has promised to roll back the constitutional amendments passed last year.

But, under those same amendments, the president can dissolve parliament, and the legislature can call new presidential elections in response. According to some ruling party officials, that’s exactly what Erdoğan might do, which would give his party a chance at a do-over, but plunge Turkey into uncertainty.

Source> the Guardian

Top IDF Spokesperson Tells U.S. Jews: Israel Failed to Minimize Gaza Casualties, Hamas Won PR War by Knockout

By Uri Blau

Israeli military’s international spokesman says some Palestinians ‘that weren’t the target’ were hit, but fiercely defended the military’s response

A senior Israeli army spokesman admitted Tuesday that Israel failed to minimize the number of Palestinian casualties during the recent deadly protests on the Gaza border, and that some were hit by mistake. He added that Hamas won the PR war by a “knockout.”

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the international spokesman and head of social media for the Israel Defense Forces, made the comments during a Jewish community briefing organized by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

The officer fiercely defended the military’s response to the recent protests along the Gaza border, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed and thousands more wounded, most of them by live fire.

skip – IDF spokesman responds to Gaza Strip border scenes

IDF spokesman responds to Gaza Strip border scenes – דלג

Many commentators have said Hamas won a PR victory following the worldwide media coverage given to the bloody scenes, especially following Monday’s juxtaposition of scenes on the Gaza border and the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Conricus said Israel hasn’t been able to explain the situation on the border well enough to the international media.

“We haven’t been able to get that message out of how it is from our side, what we are defending – and the ‘winning picture’ overwhelmingly, by a knockout, unfortunately, have been the graphics from the Palestinian side. The amount of casualties has done us a tremendous disservice, unfortunately, and it has been very difficult to tell our story.”

Conricus acknowledged that the IDF had failed to minimize the number of casualties. However, he noted that “Hamas wanted the casualties. Hamas wanted people to die. Hamas wanted the pictures of the wounded and the overflowing hospitals … and they had no problems sending the human shields forward. That is the sad reality of what we have been facing,” he said.

While blaming Hamas for sending “rioters” to the border area and using civilians as human shields, Conricus also conceded that the army snipers didn’t always hit their intended targets.

Palestinian protesters carrying a wounded woman during a protest on the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, May 15, 2018.
Palestinian protesters carrying a wounded woman during a protest on the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, May 15, 2018.Khalil Hamra/AP

On the border, he said, the army deploys “combat soldiers, devoted, [who] understand what they are defending,” and are not “trigger-happy, undisciplined.” The soldiers “take orders from their superior officers” and are “executing their missions with discipline, with professionalism and using their weapons proportionately and as they are intented according to the rules of engagement,” Conricus said.

“Now, have there been mistakes? Have there been bullets that missed their target and hit people that weren’t the target?” he continued. “Of course they have. But I can tell you that it is a chaotic environment on the border. There is tear gas. There is smoke from the tires. There is screaming. There is loudspeakers, there’s the sirens from the ambulances and, most importantly, there’s masses of rioters trying to tear down the fence, throwing rocks, throwing molotov cocktails, throwing grenades.”

Conricus said Israel could not afford to let the risk of letting the protesters break through the fence, for fear they might attack kibbutzim and communities that are mere hundreds of meters from the border.

“When the dilemma came to, on one hand, defending the Israeli border and Israeli communities immediately behind the border, or allowing the rioters through and having a lower amount of Palestinian casualties, there’s no dilemma,” Conricus said.

“There is no dilemma for soldiers and commanders in the IDF,” he added. “On the other hand, we have tried to be as accurate, as deliberate and as specific as possible, using only sniper rifles … with standard NATO ammunition … so we have done a lot to try and minimize casualties. Have we been successful at it? Unfortunately, no. ”

Conricus also said a number of IDF investigations into events on the Gaza border were opened in the past few weeks.

“We have a fact-finding mission … with full authority to investigate and question and to flag events that the commander of that team thinks are problematic. And they also have the authority to recommend criminal investigations against Israeli officers and soldiers,” he explained. “That mechanism has been in place for more than four weeks. It has investigated a few events,” he added.

skip – IDF international spokesman’s full briefing to Jewish Federations of North America

In response to this article, the IDF spokesperson’s unit sent a clarification paragraph saying:

“The things partially quoted were taken out of context , distort the broader context in which they were said and do not reflect the spirit of discourse nor the stance of the IDF. This was a conversation with leaders of Jewish organizations in the U.S., a part of the call to action conducted by IDF spokesperson with different elements around the world.”

Israel Said 32 Countries Confirmed They’d Attend U.S. Embassy Gala. Here’s Who Really Came

By Noa Landau

After an initial attendance list was published in Haaretz, several countries – including Serbia, Vietnam, Peru, El Salvador and the Ivory Coast – denied they had confirmed their attendance and said they weren’t planning to come.

Twenty-two foreign envoys attended the Foreign Ministry receptionon Sunday in honor of the U.S. Embassy’s move to Jerusalem the following day, according to the final list of participants submitted to Haaretz at its request. Before the event, the ministry had said 32 foreign representatives had confirmed they would attend, of the 86 who were invited.

Besides the four representatives from Austria, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic, which bucked the European Union’s stanceagainst the U.S. Embassy move, ambassadors or other representatives attended from the following countries: Guatemala, Paraguay, Honduras, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia , Myanmar, Angola, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zambia and Tanzania. The other EU nations boycotted the reception.

Also Wednesday, the Palestinian Authority announced it was recalling its ambassadors from Austria, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic because their representatives attended the reception. On Tuesday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recalled the Palestinian Authority representative in Washington.

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The earlier list of the countries confirming attendance at the Foreign Ministry reception had included Albania, Ivory Coast, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Serbia, South Sudan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam. After the earlier list was published in Haaretz, several of these countries – Serbia, Vietnam, Peru, El Salvador and the Ivory Coast – denied they had confirmed their attendance and said they weren’t planning to come. Bulgaria was also first mentioned as a European planning to attend, but its local representatives denied this. Bosnia had not appeared in the previous list.

Particularly striking was the absence of representatives from Russia, India and Japan, whose leaders recently held widely publicized meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and had made speeches about upgrading relations with Israel. The Foreign Ministry believes the countries that had confirmed attendance but later denied it had been pressured not to participate.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Palestinian leadership would not stand for having Palestinian rights become bargaining chips with the U.S. administration or Israel.

“We have recalled for consultation the ambassadors in Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria, all of them European Union countries,” said Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Amal Jadou. “We are taking this step after the ambassadors of these countries in Tel Aviv attended the Israeli celebrations for the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.”

Jadou added, “We cherish our relations with all the countries of the European Union. These relationships are based on a commitment to international law, UN resolutions and human rights. We believe that attending this event contradicts those values. The transfer of the American Embassy to Jerusalem was not only a hostile step against the Palestinian people mourning the 70 years of the Nakba [when more than 700,000 Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes during the War of Independence], but also a violation of international law.”

At the reception held at the Foreign Ministry headquarters in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said to the foreign envoys: “Do you know how to identify real leadership? It’s when people follow you, and people follow [U.S.] President [Donald] Trump. I call upon all countries to join the United States and transfer their embassies to Jerusalem, which is the right thing to do because it promotes peace.”

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan said at the event, “Everyone gathered here understands that opening the embassy is a recognition of reality that should have already happened.”

The event was attended by Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband and Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, along with a delegation of senators and congressmen.

The Israelis in attendance included government ministers, MKs (mostly from the coalition), Foreign Service officials, the Mossad chief, as well as associates of Netanyahu, including Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Netanyahu’s former adviser Natan Eshel and even Sara Netanyahu’s personal stylist, Sandra Ringler.

 

Gaza clashes: Dozens killed as US opens Jerusalem embassy

At least 43 Palestinians have been killed and 2,200 wounded by Israeli troops, Palestinian officials say, on the deadliest day of violence since the 2014 Gaza war.

The violence came as the US opened its embassy in Jerusalem, a move that has infuriated Palestinians.

They see it as clear US backing for Israeli rule over the whole city, whose eastern part Palestinians lay claim to.

But US President Donald Trump hailed the move in a video message.

He said it had been a “long time coming”, adding: “Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine its own capital but for many years we failed to recognise the obvious.”

The US, he added, remained “committed to facilitating a lasting peace agreement”.

What happened at the border?

Palestinians hurled stones and incendiary devices while the Israeli military used snipers, as black smoke poured from burning tyres.

The health ministry, run by Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas, said children were among those killed on Monday.

The Hamas-led demonstrations are part of a six-week protest dubbed the “Great March of Return”.

Emergency services and Palestinians carry a wounded protestor during clashes with Israeli security forces near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, east of Jabalia on May 14, 2018Image copyrightAFP
Image captionHundreds of people have been injured, according to Palestinian officials

Israel says the protests are aimed at breaching the border and attacking Israeli communities nearby.

The Israeli military said 40,000 Palestinians had taken part in “violent riots” at 13 locations along the Gaza Strip security fence.

It said the Israeli military had killed three people trying to plant explosives near the security fence in Rafah. Aircraft and tanks had also targeted military positions belonging to Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, it said.

There have also been violent clashes between Israeli police and protesters who raised Palestinian flags outside the new embassy. Several protesters were detained.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has called for “utmost restraint”.

What led to the Gaza protests?

Palestinians have held weekly protests in the run-up to their annual commemoration of what they call the Nakba or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of their people fled their homes or were displaced following the foundation of the Israeli state on 14 May 1948.

Scores of Palestinians have been killed since the protests began. Thousands more have been wounded.

Hamas, which is in a state of conflict with Israel, had said it would step up protests in the lead-up to Tuesday, the official Nakba commemoration.

Map

It says it wants to draw attention to what Palestinians insist is their right to return to ancestral homes in what became Israel.

“Today is the big day when we will cross the fence and tell Israel and the world we will not accept being occupied forever,” a science teacher in Gaza, Ali, told Reuters news agency.

What was opened and who attended?

A small interim embassy will start operating from Monday inside the existing US consulate building in Jerusalem. A larger site will be found later when the rest of the embassy moves from Tel Aviv.

Ivanka Trump at the embassy openingImage copyrightEPA
Image captionIvanka Trump spoke briefly at the embassy’s opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was brought forward to coincide with the state of Israel’s 70th anniversary.

Mr Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her husband Jared Kushner, who are both senior White House advisers, joined US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan for the ceremony.

After Ivanka Trump had unveiled the seal of the embassy, Mr Kushner said in his address: “When President Trump makes a promise he keeps it… We have shown the world that the US can be trusted. We stand with our friends and allies.”

Mr Kushner also referred to Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the “dangerous, flawed and one-sided Iran deal”, drawing applause from the guests.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognising history, you have made history. All of us are deeply grateful.”

US Jerusalem embassy map

A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday: “With this step, the US administration has cancelled its role in the peace process and has insulted the world, the Palestinian people and the Arab and the Islamic nation and it has created incitement and instability.”

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said it was “shameful to see countries participating with the US and Israel in celebrating the former’s embassy move to occupied Jerusalem in a clear and grave violation of international law”.

Why is the embassy move so controversial?

The status of Jerusalem goes to the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is not recognised internationally and, according to the 1993 Israel-Palestinian peace accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks.

Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war. It effectively annexed the sector, though this was not recognised by any countries until Mr Trump’s declaration in December 2017.

Media captionWhy the ancient city of Jerusalem is so important

Since 1967, Israel has built a dozen settlements, home to about 200,000 Jews, in East Jerusalem. These are considered illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

Various countries once had embassies based in Jerusalem but many moved after Israel passed a law in 1980 formally making Jerusalem its capital.


A boost for Netanyahu

By Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor, Jerusalem

The embassy move is the culmination of one of the best weeks in the political life of Mr Netanyahu.

First President Trump kept his promise to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Now the US embassy is moving.

Placards in Jerusalem praise Mr Trump. The local football club, Beitar, infamous for fans who chant “death to Arabs”, has included “Trump” in its name.

The embassy move has been rejected by the main allies of Israel and the US. Palestinians are protesting in their thousands in Gaza.

It is much more low-key in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.

The embassy move is good for the Netanyahu government, good for President Trump’s base and makes most Israelis pleased but there is no evidence to back Mr Netanyahu’s claim that it is good for peace.

التجنيد الإلزامي في الدول الخليجية الجديدة

  • إليونورا أردماني
  • في الأنظمة الملكية الخليجية، تقف العلاقات المدنية-العسكرية عند منعطف. فخلافاً للمنظومة

    كانت قطر الدولة الخليجية الأولى التي طبّقت التجنيد الإلزامي للذكور في العام 2013، ففرضت على الشباب الذين تتراوح أعمارهم من 18 إلى 35 عاماً التسجّل لأداء الخدمة العسكرية لمدة تتراوح من 3 إلى 4 أشهر – ومدّدتها إلى عام كامل في آذار/مارس 2018. وحذت الإمارات العربية المتحدة حذوها في العام 2014، ففرضت على الشباب الذين تتراوح أعمارهم من 18 إلى 30 عاماً الخدمة العسكرية لمدّة تتراوح من 9 أشهر إلى عامَين، بحسب مستواهم العلمي، وفي العام 2017، أعادت الكويت أيضاً العمل بالتجنيد الإلزامي لمدة عام واحد للذكور في الفئة العمرية 18-35 عاماً، بعدما كانت قد ألغته في العام 2001. وفي قطر، يمكن استدعاء الأشخاص الذين أتمّوا خدمتهم العسكرية، إلى الخدمة الفعلية بحسب الاقتضاء، في غضون الأعوام العشرة اللاحقة حتى سن الأربعين، وفي حالة الحرب، أو فرض القانون العسكري، يمكن الاحتفاظ بالمجنّدين الإلزاميين حتى بعد انتهاء مدّة خدمتهم. كذلك باستطاعة الكويت استدعاء المجنّدين السابقين لمدّة 30 يوماً في السنة حتى بلوغهم سن الـ45، وتفرض الإمارات خضوع المجنّدين السابقين لتدريبات سنوية تمتد لأسبوعَين إلى أربعة أسابيع حتى بلوغهم سن الـ58 (أو الـ60 في حالة الضباط).

    لا يُستدعى جميع الرجال المسجّلين في هذه البلدان، إلى الخدمة، وتُجيز القوانين التأجيل والإعفاء – مثلاً في الكويت والإمارات وقطر، وإلى جانب الأسباب الصحية، يمكن إعفاء الشخص من التجنيد الإلزامي إذا كان “نجل شهيد” ويؤدّي أيضاً دور المعيل الأساسي لأسرته. إنما تُفرَض عقوبات ماليةوجزائية على المتهرّبين من التجنيد الإلزامي أو مَن يمتنعون عن التسجّل.

    علاوةً على ذلك، أطلقت الإمارات التجنيد الطوعي للإناث لفترة تسعة أشهر في حزيران/يونيو 2014، ثم مدّدتها إلى اثنَي عشر شهراً في العام 2016. وفعلت قطر الأمر عينه في آذار/مارس 2018؛ وفي 26 شباط/فبراير 2018، أعلنت السعودية أيضاً بدء الخدمة العسكرية الطوعية للإناث. كذلك اقترح وزير الدفاع الكويتي، ناصر صباح الأحمد الصباح، فرض التجنيد الإلزامي للإناث.

    على النقيض، في شباط/فبراير 2018، استبعد نائب رئيس اللجنة الأمنية في مجلس الشورى السعودي، اللواء عبد الهادي العمري، إمكانية فرض التجنيد الإلزامي للذكور السعوديين، معلِّلاً ذلك بأن التجنيد الطوعي لا يزال يلبّي احتياجات القوات المسلحة السعودية على صعيد العديد البشري. بيد أن عدداً كبيراً من الأصوات السعودية أبدى في العلن دعمه لفرض الخدمة العسكرية الإلزامية، ومنهم مفتي المملكة الشيخ عبد العزيز آل الشيخ، الذي شدّد على ضرورة التدريب العسكري للذكور في أزمنة التهديدات الجيوسياسية المتصاعدة، وعضو مجلس الشورى إقبال درندري التي دعت إلىتطبيق التجنيد الإلزامي للذكور والإناث معتبرةً أنه واجب وطني.

    يعكس هذا الاعتماد على التجنيد الإلزامي الجهود التي تبذلها الأنظمة الملكية في الخليج للتعامل مع التغييرات الإقليمية المترابطة. على وجه الخصوص، أدّى الهبوط في أسعار النفط العالمية إلى تراجع قدرة تلك الأنظمة على تأمين الرعاية الاجتماعية والمنافع للرعايا الأجانب، بما في ذل أولئك الذين خدموا في جيوشها. كما أن عدم الاستقرار الإقليمي والحضور المتنامي للأفرقاء المتشددين غير الدولتيين ولّدا رغبة في توطيد الرابط الوطني. على الرغم من المخاطر السياسية المحتملة التي ينطوي عليها التجنيد الإلزامي، إنه تكتيك فاعل لتعزيز الولاء والحس الوطني، وفق ما ظهر في مراحل التوريث الملكي. فعلى سبيل المثال، أُقِرّ قانون الخدمة الوطنية في قطر في تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2013، بعد أشهر قليلة من تسلّم الشيخ تميم بن حمد آل ثاني سدّة العرش في حزيران/يونيو. ويتزامن القرار الذي اتخذته السعودية بإفساح المجال أمام النساء للالتحاق بالخدمة العسكرية، مع عمليات عسكرية غير مسبوقة في اليمن، وإعادة تنظيم كاملة للقطاع الأمني، و”السعودة” التدريجية لليد العاملة التي يطبّقها ولي العهد وزير الدفاع محمد بن سلمان.

    يسلّط الخطاب العام مزيداً من الضوء على الهدف الذي تسعى إليه دول الخليج. فالخدمة العسكرية الإلزامية سوف تساعد القطريين ليصبحوا “مواطنين مثاليين“، وفق ما جاء على لسان وزير الدولة القطري لشؤون الدفاع، اللواء الركن حمد بن علي العطية، قبل إطلاق البرنامج، مسلِّطاً الضوء على الغرض الذي تتوخّاه المبادرة في مجال التربية المدنية: تشكّل المحاضرات عن التاريخ الوطني والأمن والمواطَنة جزءاً من برنامج الخدمة الوطنية القطري، وهو نموذج اقتدت به الإمارات والكويت لدى إطلاقهما التجنيد الإلزامي. وقد تعمد قطر أيضاً إلى استثمار مزيد من الموارد المالية والبشرية في الخدمة العسكرية: تساهم المقاطعة التي تفرضها السعودية والإمارات والبحرين راهناً على قطر، في تعزيز المشاعر القومية لدى القطريين الذين يميلون أكثر من أي وقت مضى، إلى الأخذ بالرأي القائل بأنه من واجبهم أن يقدّموا خدمة عسكرية إلى بلادهم.

    كذلك صيغت الخدمة العسكرية في الإمارات في شكل برنامج تعليمي وطني يُكمّل مقرر التدريب العسكري الأساسي والمتخصص. حتى إن الإمارات أقدمت، في آذار/مارس 2016، على افتتاح مدرسة الخدمة الوطنية لحرس الرئاسة من أجل تأمين مزيد من التدريب التطبيقي، وتسعى إلى أن يستقر عدد المسجّلين في المدرسة عند صفَّين من 5000 مجنّد لكل صف في السنة. في العام 2016، أطلقت الإمارات نسخة مختصرة إضافية من الخدمة الوطنية للمتطوعين الذكور في الفئة العمرية 30-40 عاماً الذين يرغبون في الالتحاق بالخدمة العسكرية، فضلاً عن “خدمة بديلة” قائمة على العمل الإداري أو التقني ومخصّصة للمتطوعين الذين لا يستوفون الشروط الأساسية.

    يمزج التجنيد الإلزامي، مقروناً بالسياسات الخارجية ذات الدوافع العسكرية، بين التعبئة الوطنية وبثّ القوة في الخارج. يَظهر هذا الرابط بوضوح في الحداد الجماعي للجيوش الخليجية على جنودها – معظمهم من الإماراتيين – الذين لقوا مصرعهم في الحرب في اليمن. فبالإضافة إلى جنود حرس الرئاسة، أُرسِل بعض المجنّدين الإلزاميين الإماراتيين إلى اليمن، على الرغم من غياب الخبرة القتالية لديهم، مع العلم بأن الإمارات توقّفت عن إرسال هؤلاء المجنّدين بعد الهجوم الذي شنّه الحوثيون في مأرب وأسفر عن مقتل 45 إماراتياً في الرابع من أيلول/سبتمبر 2015. تُكرّم وسائل الإعلام المحلية والحكّام هؤلاء الجنود الذين يعتبرونهم شهداء الأمة، وفي تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2016، بادر مكتب شؤون أسر الشهداء إلى إنشاء واحة الكرامة في أبو ظبي، وهي عبارة عن نصب تذكاري دائم تكريماً للجنود الإماراتيين الذين قضوا نحبهم في خدمة الأمة.

    كذلك تستخدم دول الخليج التجنيد الإلزامي لدعم السياسات المتعلقة بالشؤون الوطنية. فعلى سبيل المثال، تسعى الإمارات إلى خفض أعداد الرعايا الأجانب في الجيش، والذين كانوا يشكّلون نحو أربعين في المئة من القوات المسلحة في التسعينيات. وقد أعطت الإمارات العربية المتحدة، منذ ذلك الوقت، الأولوية للتجنيد من الإمارات الشمالية مثل رأس الخيمة، التي تضم مجتمعةً 61 في المئة من السكان، وذلك بهدف تعزيز روابطها مع أبو ظبي وزيادة الدعم الذي تقدّمه قبائل الإمارات الشمالية للجيش – وهي علاقة من شأن التجنيد الإلزامي أن يساهم في توطيدها. في خطوة مهمة، أعلنتالإمارات، في آب/أغسطس 2015، أن الأشخاص المولودين من أمهات إماراتيات وآباء أجانب (والممنوعين راهناً من الحصول على الجنسية) يصبحون مؤهّلين لنيل الجنسية في حال انضموا طوعاً إلى الخدمة الوطنية.

    بالمثل، صوّت مجلس الأمة الكويتي مجدداً، في آذار/مارس 2018، على السماح للـ”بدون” الذين لا جنسية لهم، بالانضمام إلى الجيش، بعدما كانت هذه الممارسة قد توقّفت في العام 2004، وعلى البدء بقبول المتطوعين غير الكويتيين بصفة ضباط متعاقدين وضباط صف. على الرغم من أن أحد الأسباب وراء هذه الإجراءات هو معالجة التراجع في أعداد المتطوعين العسكريين في الكويت خلال الأعوام العشرة الماضية، إلا أن خيار فرض إلزامية الخدمة الوطنية – بدلاً من الاعتماد على المرتزقة – يسلّط الضوء على سعي الحكومة إلى ترسيخ الهوية الجماعية عن طريق الجيش.

    في الكويت، يدعم التجنيد الإلزامي أيضاً الأهداف الاقتصادية الوطنية. فعلى الرغم من أن البلاد تضم نحو 6500 رجل ينتمون إلى الفئة العمرية المشمولة بالتجنيد الإلزامي بموجب القانون، إلا أن 140 منهم فقط التحقوا بالدفعة الأولى من مجنّدي الخدمة الوطنية. فبالإضافة إلى الشباب الذين لم يتسجّلوا ضمن المهلة المحددة، حصل 2233 شاباً من المؤهّلين للتجنيد الإلزامي، على إعفاء لدواعي التحصيل العلمي. علاوةً على ذلك، أبدى مجتمع الأعمال خشيته من أن إعادة العمل بالتجنيد الإلزامي قد تؤدّي إلى تعطيل الحياة المهنية للأشخاص، فوافق مجلس الأمة على إعفاء موظّفي القطاع الخاص من التجنيد الإلزامي. يشجّع هذا القرار المواطنين الكويتيين على اختيار العمل في القطاع الخاص، نظراً إلى أن القطاع العام يعاني من التخمة.

    في الوقت نفسه، تسعى هذه السياسات إلى التعويض عن الإجراءات غير الشعبية الأخيرة، ومنها خفض الدعم الحكومي وزيادة الضرائب – لا سيما بدء العمل بالضرائب على القيمة المضافة في السعودية والإمارات في كانون الثاني/يناير 2018، واتّجاه دول الخليج الأخرى إلى اعتماد هذه الضرائب في العام 2019. في هذا السياق، يأتي الجنود في موقع الصدارة الرمزية على صعيد التضحيات التي تُطلَب راهناً من جميع المواطنين. فهذا لا يؤدّي فقط إلى الحد من المعارضة للخفض التدريجي للرعاية الاجتماعية، إنما يتيح أيضاً للحكّام أو أولياء العهد الجدد اعتماد السياسات الخارجية ذات الدوافع العسكرية التي يعوّلون عليها لإظهار أنفسهم في صورة القادة الأقوياء.

    إذاً، الدافع الأساسي وراء الإجراءات الهرمية من الأعلى إلى الأسفل لزيادة مشاركة المواطنين في الأنشطة العسكرية، هو الأهداف الاجتماعية والثقافية، مثل تعزيز الشعور القومي، بدلاً من الأغراض محض العسكرية، مثل إنشاء قوة احتياطية، وهو ليس بالمهمة السهلة نظراً إلى النسبة المتدنّية للمواطنين في الدول الخليجية الصغيرة – مثلاً، يشكّل المواطنون نحو 12 في المئة فقط من سكّان قطر، و11 في المئة من سكان الإمارات.

    تعمد الأنظمة الملكية الخليجية تدريجاً إلى إعادة صياغة نموذجها التقليدي للعلاقات المدنية-العسكرية، الذي استند حصراً في السابق إلى أمن النظام والاستراتيجيات المانِعة للانقلابات، في حين أنه كان هناك فصل واضح بين الجنود والمدنيين. وهكذا يؤدّي الجنود الآن، عبر تحريك الهويات الوطنية، دور “المحدِّثين” الذين يبنون علاقات وطيدة بين المجتمع والقوات المسلحة. في هذا الإطار، تعمد دول الخليج بصورة مطردة إلى استخدام التجنيد الإلزامي والتعامل معه كمشروع للهندسة الوطنية من أجل الحصول على الدعم الشعبي الذي تحتاج إليه هذه الدول لتحقيق الانتقال إلى نماذج ما بعد المنظومة الريعية، في خضم أجواء إقليمية متشنّجة.

    * تُرجم هذا المقال من اللغة الإنكليزية.
    إليونورا أردماغني زميلة بحوث معاوِنة في المعهد الإيطالي للدراسات السياسية الدولية، ومحلّلة في مؤسسة الكلية الدفاعية التابعة للناتو، وفي معهد أسبن-إيطاليا.

Macron – „Wir dürfen nicht warten, wir müssen jetzt etwas tun“

Frankreichs Staatschef Macron und Kanzlerin Merkel haben zur Deeskalation im Nahen Osten aufgerufen.
  • Bei der Zeremonie zur Verleihung des Karlspreises sagte Merkel, dass es wahrlich um Krieg und Frieden gehe.
  • Macron rief die Europäer zu Einigkeit und Stärke auf.

Die Lage im Nahen Osten spitzt sich immer weiter zu. Vor dem Hintergrund der Eskalation hat Frankreichs Staatschef Emmanuel Macron die Europäer zu Stärke und Einigkeit aufgerufen. „Wir dürfen nicht warten, wir müssen jetzt etwas tun.“

„Seien wir nicht schwach“, sagte der 40-Jährige am Donnerstag in Aachen. Er bekam dort den Karlspreis für sein europäisches Engagement verliehen.

Europa müsse eine eigene Souveränität aufbauen und dürfe seinen Kurs nicht von anderen Mächten bestimmen lassen. Mit Blick auf die Reaktion großer europäischer Länder auf den Ausstieg der USA aus dem Atomabkommen mit den Iran sagte Macron: „Wir haben uns entschieden, Frieden und Stabilität im Nahen und Mittleren Osten zu schaffen.“

Es geht „wahrlich um Krieg und Frieden“

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) sieht in der neuen Gewalt im Nahen Osteneine Frage von Krieg und Frieden. „Die Eskalationen der vergangenen Stunden zeigen uns, dass es wahrlich um Krieg und Frieden geht“, sagte Merkel in Aachen.

Merkel bezeichnete die gemeinsame europäische Außenpolitik als „existenziell notwendig“ für die EU. „Es ist nicht mehr so, dass die Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika uns einfach schützen werden“, sagte Merkel. Europa müsse sein Schicksal selbst in die Hand nehmen. „Das ist die Aufgabe der Zukunft“, fügte die Kanzlerin hinzu, nachdem sie sich erneut zu dem Atomabkommen mit dem Iran bekannte, aus dem US-Präsident Donald Trump jüngst ausstieg. Merkel hatte bereits im vergangenen Jahr angedeutet, dass man sich auf die USA als Partner nicht mehr voll verlassen könne.

Europas Stabilität hänge bei der Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik von der Fähigkeit ab, „gemeinsam zu handeln und mit einer Stimme zu sprechen“, sagte Merkel. Es gebe diesbezüglich zwar Fortschritte. „Aber seien wir ehrlich: Bezüglich der gemeinsamen Außenpolitik steckt Europa noch in den Kinderschuhen.“ Eine gemeinsame Haltung sei wichtig, weil die Art der Konflikte sich seit Ende des Kalten Krieges vollständig geändert habe. Viele fänden vor der Haustür Europas statt.

Sie bezog sich auf die nächtlichen Angriffe der israelischen Armee auf iranische Stellungen in Syrien, die diese nach eigenen Angaben als Reaktion auf iranische Angriffe auf den Golan gestartet hatte.

Erstmals seit Beginn des Krieges in Syrien griffen in der Nacht zu Donnerstag iranische Revolutionsgarden nach israelischen Angaben Armeeposten auf den Golanhöhen an.

Die israelische Luftwaffe reagierte mit massiven Vergeltungsangriffen auf syrische Militäreinrichtungen und iranische Stellungen in dem Nachbarland.

Nach israelischen Armeeangaben feuerten Einheiten der iranischen Revolutionsgarden insgesamt rund 20 Raketen auf israelische Armeeposten entlang der Grenze ab.

Angesichts der zugespitzten Lage riefen Macron und Merkel zur Deeskalation auf. Sie hätten in Aachen miteinander gesprochen und sich besorgt gezeigt, verlautete aus Kreisen des Élyséepalastes mit Blick auf die Militärschläge in Syrien. Ein deutscher Regierungssprecher betonte, beide hätten zu Besonnenheit und Deeskalation in der Region aufgerufen.