Turkey retaliates after Syrian mortar attack that killed five civilians; Philippines orders arrest of former president, Gloria Arroyo; China defers visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un; Russia and Pakistan renew diplomatic ties; Luxembourg seeks seat on UN Security Council -- up against Australia and Finland; and more

Top of the Agenda: Turkey Strikes Back at Syria After Mortar Attacks

The Turkish military shelled targets inside Syria on Thursday near the border town of Tel Abyad, killing several Syrian soldiers in retaliation for a mortar attack yesterday that killed five civilians in Turkey (Reuters). The violence, the most serious case of cross-border escalation in the eighteen-month Syrian uprising, came as the parliament in Ankara debated authorizing further military action that could escalate the situation to a regional conflict and draw international involvement. İbrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said on his Twitter account that Turkey had no interest (Hurriyet) in a war with Syria but would protect its borders, saying political and diplomatic initiatives would continue.

Analysis

"American leadership on Syria could improve relations with key allies like Turkey and Qatar. Both the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his Qatari counterpart have criticized the United States for offering only nonlethal support to the rebellion. Both favor establishing a no-fly zone and 'safe zones' for civilians in Syrian territory," write Michael Doran and Max Boot for the New York Times.

"Turkey's sovereignty has been threatened and its relations with Syria have been poor since the uprising against the Assad regime in Damascus began 15 months ago. The crisis has seen several thousand refugees fleeing Syria across the Turkish border to escape the violence. In tense cross border violence, shells fired by the Syrian Army have landed on the Turkish side of the border. These too are factors that may have influenced Turkey following this latest incident, to call upon NATO to begin discussing the situation with its neighbour, and decide the course of action, or diplomacy, Turkey should take with regard to that neighbour over the next few weeks and months," writes Paul Iddon for the Digital Journal.

"The West might have forgotten its own bloody record in the Middle East dating back to the beginning of the 19th century but Syrians have not. They know how disastrously Western intervention always ends in the Middle East. Heads of governments who have been fuelling the armed opposition have been lining up at the UN General Assembly to call for an end to the violence. If they mean what they say, they would be throwing their weight behind the attempts of the non-violent domestic opposition to bring a mediated end to this conflict. But they don't and therefore must be seen for what they are--hypocrites who are pushing their own agenda at massive cost to Syria and its people," writes Jeremy Salt for The Palestine Chronicle.

 

PACIFIC RIM

Philippines Orders Arrest of Former President Arroyo

A court in the Philippines has issued an arrest warrant for former president Gloria Arroyo on plunder charges (ANN), making it likely she will return to jail after posting bail in July following seven months of confinement on charges of attempting to rig the 2007 senate election.

NORTH KOREA: China quietly deferred an intended visit (Reuters) by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last month to focus on its once-in-a-decade leadership change.

 

ELSEWHERE:

Russia and Pakistan renew ties

Luxembourg seeks seat on UN Security Council; up against Australia and Finland

 

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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