“Islam cannot be either ‘moderate’ or ‘not moderate.’ Islam can only be one thing,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 9. “Recently the concept of ‘moderate Islam’ has received attention. But the patent of this concept originated in the West… They are now trying to pump up this idea again. What they really want to do is weaken Islam…”
Erdogan is working on strengthening Islam in the West, something he does, among other ways, by building Turkish mosques in Western countries. It is hardly surprising that he does not want the West to “weaken Islam”, but at the moment there seems little risk of that happening. The establishment of Turkish mosques in Western countries appears to be proceeding apace with very little opposition. Conversely, building Western churches in Turkey is inconceivable.
Erdogan clearly sees Turks living in the West as a spearhead of Islam. “Yes, integrate yourselves into German society but don’t assimilate yourselves. No one has the right to deprive us of our culture and our identity”, Erdogan told Turks in Germany as early as 2011. This year, he told Turks living in the West:
“Go live in better neighborhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you.”
Through the fist-sized security opening, a mouth appeared, then an eye, surveying. The migrant, his body shaking, stood there, eyes wide, holding his arm, whimpering. “What do you want?” asked the voice behind the metal door. “I … I … Somebody beat me up,” said the migrant, who was maybe 25 and all folded into himself as if being compact could protect him.
The door closed with a click, and the migrant swayed from side to side, then crumpled neatly toward the ground. He kept his body just rigid enough at the last second to sit down, teetering on the cement steps. He held his left arm, which had a visible protrusion below the elbow, and although he took jerky breaths, his eyes remained dry. After several minutes, he got up again and went over to a second door on the side of the building and knocked timidly. Again, he waited, holding his arm, his eyes glassed over, and leaned against the door. He began to hyperventilate, his breath seemingly caught in his birdlike chest and desperately needing to escape. Still the door remained closed. He looked down at his muddy feet, toes spilling over thin flip-flops.
When the door opened a crack, the voice once again dispassionately asked him why he was there. As the door eventually opened wider, the migrant stumbled into an office and fell onto the nearest couch. The man who had been guarding the door disappeared and was replaced by a woman who looked at the migrant and said, “Are you hungry? You can go join the others at breakfast.” She didn’t seem to notice that he was in a state of shock. After a few seconds, a stuttered “Ye— yee— sss” escaped his mouth, and she pointed him in the direction of the dining room at the migrant shelter Jesús el Buen Pastor del Pobre y el Migrante, the only shelter in Mexico for migrants who have been mutilated along the migrant trail.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Because of Russian antagonism, 2018 might see a termination of investigations by an internationally authorized apparatus into chemical weapons (CW) attacks in Syria. There is a tight, if indirect, connection between that termination and the existence of a residual and possibly renewed stockpile of CW in the hands of the Syrian army, which is backed by Russia (and Iran).
In September 2013, Russia, the US, and Syria accepted a “Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons.” Then, in April 2014, the Fact-Finding Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was created with the aim of determining possible use of toxic chemicals in Syria. Ultimately, the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the OPCW and the UN was established as the centerpiece of the Security Council’s efforts to determine responsibility for the use of CW in Syria. It was founded in August 2015, largely as a result of negotiations between the US and Russia.
The need for ongoing chemical monitoring remains essential in Syria, notwithstanding the seeming defeat of ISIS and the considerable weakening of the rebels. The catch is that as long as no further employment of CW by the Syrian regime is formally confirmed, the latter can claim that it no longer possesses CW. Such stasis is desirable for both the Syrian regime and for Moscow, Assad’s patron and supposedly the responsible adult in the scenario.