Cyprus: Two separate states, or a unified state on the horizon?

Cyprus: Two separate states, or a unified state on the horizon?

Turkey has long been considering the possible negative implications of declaring to the world that the search for a peaceful solution on an almost 43-year-old divided Cyprus will not yield any result if a solution cannot be found to the problem.
In other words, I understand that if a solution based on a united Cyprus that will bring the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities under the umbrella of a single state is not reached, Ankara is prepared to bring to the agenda dividing the island into two independent states. The international community and the big powers such as the US and influential members of the European Union, however, are expected to resist such a decision by Turkey.

Turkey has reportedly begun signaling that if a solution to the problem of this tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus is not found later this year or early next year, division of Cyprus into two separate states is inevitable.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, on a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, on July 9, came up with the following idea: “Our target is an agreement [on the ongoing talks on the reunification of the island] on Cyprus that will be followed by a referendum in the first few months of 2012. Therefore, a united Cyprus state can assume the EU term presidency in the second half of 2012.”

Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration as a state despite that is was admitted to the EU in 2004 as the sole representative of Cyprus. The EU decision came despite the fact that Turkish Cypriots approved overwhelmingly a Cyprus peace proposal that was intended to unite Cyprus under a single state where the sovereignty rights of both communities would be respected. Greek Cypriots rejected the peace proposal during the same referendum of 2004. Despite this fact, the EU made a grave mistake by making the Greek Cypriot side a member of the union solely representing the island. Therefore, any leverage that could be used over the Greek Cypriots to agree on a United Nations peace plan over a united Cyprus state disappeared.

It would have had been naive to expect from the Greek Cypriot administration after being accepted to the EU as a full member, to agree on any solution that would have had respected Turkish Cypriots being their equal partners under a federal solution.

Turkey’s full membership negotiations also stalled when Ankara rejected to open its ports and airspace for the Greek Cypriot administration that it did not recognize. However, deadlock on Turkish membership talks stem mostly from the explicit rejection of mainly Germany and France to Turkey having full membership status in the EU. Instead these countries suggest a privileged partnership status to be given to Turkey which it categorically rejects.

The EU’s reluctance to accept Turkey together with Turkey loosing its appetite toward joining the EU due to the union’s negative stance toward Ankara has slowed down Turkish efforts to meet the union’s democratic criteria set forth.

At the end of the day, Turkey has been taken hostage by the Cyprus issue for a long time in its dealings with both Europe and NATO of which it is a member.

Turkey has long based its policy on the unresolved status of the island. This has played into the hands of the big powers within the UN Security Council such as Russia, which has backed Greek Cypriots as a means to corner Turkey on other issues related to bilateral ties such as the power game in the Caucuses and Central Asia.

Going back to Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu’s latest initiative on Cyprus in which he hinted at a deadline for the final solution to the Cyprus dispute by suggesting a referendum for the early months of next year, the minister has also been showing signs of Turkish frustration.

The Greek Cypriot administration will assume its term as EU president in the second half of 2012 for six months. During that period it will be inevitable that Turkish-EU relations will be further strained.

Davutoğlu made clear in his July 9 speech in the KKTC that Turkey wants a unified Cyprus set up by  the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots to assume EU presidency. He did not say what the possible repercussions would be if this does not happen. I guess what may happen, most likely, is that Turkey will declare to the world that the search for a peaceful solution for a united Cyprus has failed if a united Cyprus (both Turkish and the Greek Cypriots) does not take the presidency of the EU.

The current Turkish government initiated a process in 2004 that saw a shift in the paradigm, not only on Cyprus, but also on all the other foreign policy issues that have yielded positive results by Turkey creating good relations with all of its neighbors. When turkey changed its policy on Cyrpus, it encouraged the majority of Turkish Cypriots to approve a peace agreement in 2004. But the Greek Cypriots rejected that proposal.

The possible referendum that will be held on the island in the first few months of next year on a Cyprus peace proposal, if it is reached, will either lead to the creation of a united Cyprus state or to the separation of the two communities forever as two separate states.

All the parties interested should prepare themselves for a permanently divided Cyprus with two separate states, if the Greek Cypriots continue to reject any peaceful solution.

CENTCOM Chief In Islamabad, Pak. Spy Chief In Washington for Unscheduled Talks

Pakistan’s ISI chief heads to U.S. as ties founder

By Zeeshan Haider

ISLAMABAD

(Reuters) – The head of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency headed for Washington on Wednesday for unscheduled talks, the military said, days after the United States suspended a third of military aid over deepening tensions in their relationship.

Few details were available about Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s one-day trip, but it comes at a time when the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military’s intelligence wing, is under intense pressure to sever ties with militant groups including those it has long nurtured as assets in Afghanistan and India.

 

US general in Pakistan in first high-level defense visit following aid cut

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Defense officials say a top U.S. general is in Pakistan for the first high-level military visit since Washington announced it was suspending military aid to the country.

Two officials said Wednesday that Marine Gen. James Mattis, the head of U.S. Central Command, has met with Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of Pakistan’s joint chiefs.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the visit while it is still under way.

With tensions high between the two nations, Pakistan said earlier Wednesday that the head of its Inter-Services Intelligence agency was headed to Washington for talks as well.

Have Killers of Karzai Handed Kandahar Back Into Taliban Hands?

[How convenient for the plotters, that southern Afghanistan may have just been thrown back into the Taliban’s court, just in time to see the division of Afghanistan into Northern Alliance/Taliban sectors (SEE:  Plan B in Afghanistan).]

Death of Karzai’s warlord brother new barrier to peace

Simon Tisdall

KarzaiBoth sides of the divide … Ahmad Wali Karzai. Photo: Reuters

AHMAD Wali Karzai, who was gunned down in his home in Kandahar, was in many ways the personification of modern-day Afghanistan – corrupt, lawless, paradoxical and charming. Now, with his death, Karzai has also come to symbolise Afghanistan’s enduring tragedy.

”My younger brother was martyred in his house today. This is the life of all Afghan people. I hope these miseries, which every Afghan family faces, will one day end,” his brother, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, said. But the hopes of American military commanders will be focused on a more immediate concern: how to prevent a power vacuum undermining efforts to stabilise Kandahar and Helmand.

Karzai’s was the modern face of warlordism. He batted away repeated allegations of drug trafficking, kleptocracy and money-laundering. His connection to the presidency was one important protection. Hamid Karzai attended his funeral on Wednesday.

Crucially, he was seen as a born survivor who could not be bypassed or sidelined. He once boasted nine suicide bombers had died in attempts to kill him. Early Tuesday morning his luck ran out.

The story could have been different. As US and NATO efforts to pacify the south ran into ever greater Taliban resistance from 2007 to 2009, allied commanders and the Western media began to apply greater scrutiny to the reliability of the West’s Afghan partners. The war’s growing unpopularity meant there was less tolerance for shifty allies like Karzai perceived to have a foot in both camps.

American frustrations burst into the open in October 2009 when serving and retired officials told The New York Times Karzai was a key player in Afghanistan’s illegal opium trade, which helps fund the Taliban insurgency, while also on the CIA payroll. Even as Karzai denied the allegations, new claims surfaced that he was secretly dealing with Taliban leaders; that he lived rent-free in a luxury home owned by a drug dealer; that he masterminded fraud in the 2009 presidential election that saw his brother returned to power.

None of these claims could be definitively proved and Karzai denied all wrongdoing.

All along, people in Kandahar who knew the truth kept their mouths shut for fear of retribution or because they were on the payroll too.

The Americans changed tack in 2010, as General David Petraeus’s surge strategy came into operation. Instead of vilifying him, they co-opted him.

The decision raised hackles in Washington and Afghanistan.

”You can’t ignore him. He’s the proverbial 800lb gorilla and he’s in the middle of a lot of rooms. He’s the mafia don, the family fixer, the troubleshooter,” one coalition official said. And so Karzai survived again.

His departure raises worries that the Taliban may be encouraged to roll back hard-won gains across Kandahar province. The vacuum caused by his death is dangerous in itself, while the implications for US attempts to engage the Taliban in peace talks may be equally unhelpful.

Karzai was a man whose life spanned both sides of the divide. His murder renders that gulf just a little bit wider.

Guardian News & Media

Multiple blasts in Mumbai, several injured

The scene after a blast near Opera House, Mumbai on Wednesday. Photo: Vivek Bendre

The scene after a blast near Opera House, Mumbai on Wednesday. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Multiple blasts in Mumbai, several injured

PTI

Two blasts rocked Mumbai city’s crowded Zaveri Bazar and Dadar areas on Wednesday evening, injuring several people.

Police sources said the nature and intensity of the blasts was not known.

The first explosion took place in south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar, near the famous Mumbadevi temple, in which some people were injured, said Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli. The bustling market also has a number of jewellery shops.

The second explosion was reported in a taxi in Dadar area, he said. A third blast was reported from Opera House in Charni Road.

“We are verifying the nature of explosions. At this moment I cannot say anything more than this,” Mr. Tamboli said.

Teams of Maharashtra ATS have rushed to the blast sites.

The Union Home Ministry, after the serial blasts, said that “it’s a terror strike.”

Security alert in Delhi

A security alert was sounded in the national capital following a series of blasts in Mumbai and police personnel were fanned across the city to carry out intensive searches and checkings.

A senior police official said top officials were reviewing the security situation in the city.

“A tight security apparatus has been put in place.

Senior officials are on the streets monitoring the security scenario. Police personnel have been deployed across the city,” a senior police official said.

The official said police personnel were deployed at public places like malls, cinema halls, parks, popular hangouts, ISBT and railway station. They are conducting checkings.

Three explosions were reported from south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazar, Dadar in Central Mumbai and Opera House in Charni Road following which this action has been taken, the official said.

The national capital last month had a minor scare when a low intensity blast took place outside Delhi High Court. No one was injured in the incident.

“There is nothing to worry. All precautions have been taken. We appeal to the citizens to report to us about any suspicious objects or persons they come across,” the official said.

3 bomb blasts in Mumbai Diamond Industry Area

Vodpod videos no longer available.

New Delhi: Three bomb blasts rocked Mumbai on Wednesday evening in the crowded Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar areas, police said.

The blasts went off within minutes of each other injuring 15 people.

Police, ambulance, home guards and fire brigade have been rushed to the spot. The first blast took place at 7:10 pm in south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar, near the famous Mumbadevi temple, in which some people were injured, said Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli.

The second explosion was reported in a taxi in Dadar area, he said. “We are verifying the nature of explosions. At this moment I cannot say anything more than this,” Tamboli said.

Home Secretary has spoken to Maharashtra DGP and the National Security Guards (NSG) have been put on standby.

Union Home Secretary RK Singh told CNN-IBN, “I have spoken to the DGP and Chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary will get back to us with details. There is no confirmation about the intensity of blasts.”

According to an eyewitness a fire that broke out in Zaveri Bazar following the blasts has been brought under control.

Security alerts have been issued in Delhi after the blasts in Mumbai.

No NIA team is going to Mumbai as of now.

Saga of the Monchegorsk

On July 11, a massive explosion ripped through an ammunition dump at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Cyprus.  The explosion and ensuing fire have killed a dozen people, including the commander of the Cypriot Navy. The main power station for the island was also destroyed, creating a dire situation for the island’s residents.

The explosion was caused by 98 canisters of Iranian munitions, containing more than 2,000 tons of explosives, that Cyprus seized en route to Syria in January 2009. They remained sitting at the Naval Base where they were stored, until a wildfile engulfed them. Or so the papers say.

Obviously, the human tragedy is paramount.   But there is also a significant public policy issue related to the enforcement of sanctions against Iran, North Korea and the like.

Cyprus had been reluctant to accept the cargo, ostensibly because it did not have the facilities to store the munitions.

Although Cyprus had more complicated reasons for wanting rid of the munitions, as we will see, the explosion points to a missing element in efforts to interdict illicit cargoes: Clear guidance from the United Nations Security Council on the disposition of seized contraband.

 

The case of the M/V Monchegorsk, a Russian-owned, Cypriot flagged ship, is an interesting one.

The saga of the Monchegorsk was covered extensively in the press, especially in Cyprus where, for a time, it was a major political issue.  It is also detailed in more than a dozen cables that have been released by  Wikileaks.  (It is amazing how, for any new story lately, I now check the cable traffic first.)

The story begins with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, an Iranian entity subject to sanctions. IRISL chartered the Monchegorsk to carry a shipment of small arms to Syria in violation of UNSCR 1747. (As it turns out, the practice of sing charters to evade sanctions is a relatively recent Iranian innovation for sanctions busting. See: IRANIAN SHIPPING IN A POST-UNSCR 1803 ENVIRONMENT, October 2, 2009)

The United States received “reliable information” that the Monchegorsk was carrying contraband.  The United States and Cyprus have a bilateral shipboarding agreementThe USS SAN ANTONIO interdicted the shipment and, with the permission of the ship’s master, boarded the Monchegorsk on 19 and 20 January 2009. And what to their wondering eyes did appear, but several containers of illicit gear:

The inspection revealed containers carrying 120 mm, 122 mm, 125 mm, and 160 mm high explosives that originated in Iran and are destined for Syria. Inspection also revealed 7.62 mm shell casings, compressed gunpowder, silver dollar-sized slugs, primer, and magnesium primers.

The United States did not have the legal authority to seize the cargo, but began to press Cyprus to divert the ship back to a Cypriot port. (SHIPMENT OF MILITARY-RELATED ITEMS FROM IRAN TO SYRIA, January 22, 2009)

Initially, the Cypriots wanted no part of any interdiction, fearing Syrian retaliation. In 2006, Cyprus interdicted a ship carrying missile radar equipment from North Korea to Syria — and Syria retaliated by opening regular ferry service to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the breakaway Northern portion of Cyprus. (CYPRUS WASHING HANDS OF M/V MONCHEGORSK? January 27, 2009)   (READ HERE)

Cyprus Division Map

Cyprus Division Map

[Country map of Cyprus]

Unresolved Turkey-Cyprus issue could harm relations with EU

Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if the Cyprus issue is not settled by July 2012

Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if the Cyprus issue is not settled by July 2012

© RIA Novosti. Eduard Pesov

ANKARA, July 13 (RIA Novosti)

Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if the Cyprus issue is not settled by July 2012, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

“If the Greek Cypriot side stalls negotiations and takes over the presidency of the European Union in July 2012, this means not only a deadlock on the island, but also a blockage, a freezing point in Turkish-European Union relations,” Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said Turkey would not recognize Cyprus’ EU presidency in mid-2012 unless a deal reunifying the island is reached.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island backed by Athens. Turkey is the only state that has recognized the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state. Reunification with its richer neighbor is seen as a solution to economic problems of northern Cyprus, which has an annual budget deficit of nearly $1 billion, covered by Turkey.

The reunification issue is crucial for Turkey. The country started EU entry talks almost five years ago, but Cyprus has repeatedly used its EU membership to hamper Turkey’s accession efforts.