Tuesday, November 27, 2012
In the course of the eight-day Gaza war, dozens of analyses appeared in mainstream newspapers and blogs, suggesting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was garnering political capital to boost his electoral votes in upcoming elections in January.
Arab and Turkish leaders were quick to accuse the Israeli leader of making electoral calculations at the expense of blood of Gazan children. In the words of Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Netanyahu was making “a bloody electoral investment.”
Differential analyses resurfaced in some media outlets, including the New York Times, citing US and Israeli officials as saying that the Gaza operation was a mini model of a possible Iran operation in the future and constituted war games to observe how the nation was prepared to long-range, much more dangerous Iranian rockets no doubt would start showering on Tel-Aviv in case of an armed confrontation.
The claim that Netanyahu was bidding for reelection with its Gaza operation is plain wrong. No leader would take the risk of starting a war with unknown consequences unless he knows that it is a matter of political survival and that he has nothing to lose not going down the path. Netanyahu and co. are well aware that the prime minister will easily win in the January poll.
In addition, Netanyahu is not ruling the country alone. The Gaza operation was planned and implemented by the coalition government. Coalition partners – Netanyahu’s rivals -- would not pave the way for the prime minister to get one step ahead of them in the election in two months.
There was also very little, if any, criticism from inside Israel, that would put pressure on the government to halt the Gaza operation. A recent survey published by the Haaretz revealed that striking 84 percent of Israelis were backing the Gaza operation. This is a clear evidence that few in Israel believe that Gaza operation was Netanyahu's electoral calculation.
Claims that Gaza operation was about a future attack on Iran’s nuclear sites also have many fallacies. Israel doesn’t need hundreds of rockets to be fired into its territory to see how its rocket interceptors are working. There is a thing called “military drill.”
Many analysts slammed Israel’s Gaza operation for being a futile attempt to stem rocket attacks from Gaza and argued that the military offensive doesn’t add to Israel’s security. They are right. But it was not Israel’s goal to launch a wide offensive to stop few harmless rockets.
All these speculations helped Israel cover behind its primary goal, not secret to anyone anymore, which is to bury two-state solution and making realities on the ground even more incompatible for an independent Palestinian state. An important part of this plan is to tear Gaza and West Bank apart, make two peoples living there feel alienated and more importantly to make Gazans consider themselves a part of Egypt rather than Palestine.
Giving Gaza back to Egypt will help Israel get rid of nearly 2 million Palestinians, a huge favor for a bi-national Israeli state threatened by a growing number of Palestinians.
The plan seems to be working: The U.S. praised Egypt for its role in mediation. Israel okayed Egypt’s staunch backing of Gaza and agreed to see Egypt a guarantor of the Gaza truce.
“We don’t trust on Israel but we trust on our Egyptian brothers,” Hamas spokesman told a TV channel after the ceasefire was agreed. This was the sentence Israel wanted Hamas to say.
Monday, November 5, 2012
It came in Berlin, where Erdoğan said Turkey will not join the eurozone once it is the member of the European Union, in first such a public proclamation by a high-level Turkish official. He proposed Turkish “lira zone” to emphasize confidence of neighboring countries in Turkish economy and an implicit comparison between Turkish economy and the eurozone economies.
No doubt Erdoğan’s statement is a clear expression of his nationalistic views rather than a thought-provoking economic idea that could help find a solution to Turkey’s deepening crisis in closing gaps in current account deficit, growing cleavage of export-import imbalance and high energy costs that in turn makes virtually everything in the country more expensive and thus drives up already soaring inflation.
Erdoğan attacked the euro as the chief culprit of the economic crisis in the southern belt of the eurozone and overlooked the significance of “zone” that shares most of the eurozone’s woes. His proposal to create another zone is a clear evidence that he sees the euro as a currency being sick not the eurozone.
Euro remains one of the strongest and most stable currency in the world. Although it is not as much used in financial transactions across the globe as the U.S. dollar, many countries still view it reliable to hold large reserves of euro as foreign currency as a way of stabilizing their economy.
The primary problem at the heart of the eurozone crisis is that the area has one currency with many fiscal policies and countries that are in deep recession like Spain and Greece have hard times in digesting top-bottom austerity policies imposed by heavyweights like Germany and France upon them.
Erdoğan’s proposal to create a Turkish lira zone has little if any benefit to Turkey’s economic woes. Turkey could create strong Turkish lira only by abandoning protectionist measures that will also set away its current account deficit problem. It could hence create strong Turkish lira that might be used in neighboring countries as the third currency. It could export more Turkish lira from its economy to neighboring countries if need be but avoid imposing on countries to adopt Turkish lira as their national currency. That would be the mistake the EU made a decade ago.
Except Iraq and Azerbaijan, most countries in Turkey’s vicinity that could be likely candidates to adopt the Turkish lira import more than their export. It means they will constantly keep exporting their foreign currency reserves. This is another reason why Turkish lira would be in worse crisis once neighboring countries keep using it.
There is a reason why American dollars remain the king of currencies. It is because it is being used only in one country, which is democratic and has very vibrant, liberal economy.