Turkey-U.S. travel meltdown
International | Plus news from Niger, Iraq, North Korea, and Egypt
by Mindy Belz
Posted 10/09/17, 04:28 pm
TURKEY: Turkish officials have suspended issuing visas to U.S. citizens traveling to Turkey. The drastic action occurred after the United States suspended consular services at its embassy in Ankara following the arrest of a U.S. Consulate employee, who is charged with aiding terrorists—the same charges leveled at American Pastor Andrew Brunson and thousands of others under emergency law in effect since last year. The action could affect not only travel to Turkey and tourism, but also refugee resettlement and relief work in all parts of the Middle East since Istanbul is a major air transit hub. With so significant a rupture between NATO members, and Turkey last month signing an arms deal with Russia, the silence from the NATO alliance is deafening.
NIGER: The White House has had a lot to say about the National Football League but not a word of condolence on the now four decorated Green Berets killed in Niger last week. The Special Forces troops are the first American troops to be killed in combat in the country. U.S. Africa Command acknowledged recovering the fourth soldier from the attack area last week, all adding to confusion over what happened and what the U.S. role is in the area. Some sources suggest the attackers may have been ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria, rather than al-Qaeda-linked militants from Mali.
IRAQ: Christians and Yazidis see a bleak future in the proposed Kurdish state. U.S. Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., told me he sees his resolution in support of Kurdish independence as key to helping Christians in Iraq establish their own safe zones, saying, “It was the Kurds who kept the Christians from being wiped out” by ISIS in 2014.
Kurds stirred controversy Friday in laying to rest former Kurdish leader and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, whose coffin was draped in a Kurdish flag, not the Iraq flag. Lukman Faily, former Iraqi ambassador to the United States and a Kurd, said, “Reducing everything we face to ‘independence’ or ‘separation’ is not useful to any party, let alone while we face many common challenges.”
NORTH KOREA: U.S. Pacific Command won’t change flight paths, even with the Kim Jong Un regime threatening to shoot down U.S. military jets.
COLUMBUS DAY: The backlash against Christopher Columbus’ “greedy” discovery of the New World actually has its roots in Marxism. Related, an essay defending colonialism has been withdrawn from the Third World Quarterly due to “serious and credible threats of personal violence” to the journal’s editor.
EGYPT: A 16-year-old Coptic Christian girl has been rescued and returned to her family 92 days after Islamic militants kidnapped her.
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