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  • TURKEY’S allies in the West have felt increasingly queasy about its wayward president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At home he has become authoritarian and wants to change the constitution to give himself more power. Abroad he has been indulgent towards militants passing through his country to fight in Syria. In the year since the jihadists of Islamic State (IS) declared their caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, and America gathered a coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” them, Mr Erdogan has refused to let NATO allies use Turkish bases.

    Perhaps he feared that the jihadists would target Turkey. Or perhaps he thought they were useful pawns in the violent geopolitics of the Middle East. Such illusions should have been blown away on July 20th, when a suicide-bomber killed 32 people in Suruc, a Turkish town on the border with Syria. Within days Turkey said it would allow America to use its base at Incirlik, and its own jets bombed IS. There is now talk of creating a buffer zone in Syria to cut off IS’s last supply lines.

    Many hope Mr Erdogan has at last had a moment of clarity about the IS menace. So far, though, he has only added to the murk of the region’s wars. His air force has mostly bombed the Kurds who, in various guises, have proved to be the most resolute fighters against IS. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting an on-off insurgency against Turkey for decades, invited retribution by breaking a two-year ceasefire and killing several policemen and soldiers, in reprisal for Turkey’s supposed collusion in the Suruc bombing, which hit a Kurdish cultural centre. But Mr Erdogan is being reckless, too. By deliberately stirring nationalist, anti-Kurdish sentiment, he is endangering the chance of a lasting settlement of the Kurdish question and weakening the fight against IS.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to ABC News on the Iran nuclear deal, July 19, 2015 (screenshot: ABC)

    In the latest of a series of attempts to persuade US voters to push their legislators to reject the Iran nuclear deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will deliver an address to the North American Jewish community next week to discuss the agreement, which he staunchly opposes.

    The announcement, issued by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, comes a day after President Barack Obama held a mass conference call with supporters of the deal, to rally them behind the controversial agreement.

    According to Conference of Presidents, Netanyahu will address US and Canadian Jewish communities through a live webcast on Tuesday afternoon. In addition to delivering remarks, the prime minister will also take questions from participants.

    “The prime minister will deliver remarks directly from his office in Jerusalem, which will be transmitted to computers, cell phones and flat screens set up in synagogues, organizations and Jewish community centers large and small throughout the continent,” the Conference of Presidents said in an announcement Friday afternoon.

  • Workers from Select Energy Services at a Hess fracking site near Williston, N.D. - Photo: Andrew Cullen | Reuters

    Oil prices weakened heading into U.S. crude's settlement Thursday after a larger-than-expected drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles was balanced by a stronger dollar and position squaring ahead of the expiry of the front-month contracts in gasoline and diesel.

    U.S. crude settled down 27 cents, or 0.55 percent, at $48.52 a barrel. 

    Benchmark Brent crude oil was down 15 cents a barrel at $53.20, after settling 8 cents higher in the previous session. 

    Oil has lost more than $10 a barrel over the past month, with global benchmark Brent nearing a six-month trough earlier this week and U.S. futures near four-month lows, amid a global glut, resurgent dollar and recent stock market tumble in China.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin at Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem on June 25, 2012. (Photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL/FLASH90)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that the deal on Iran's nuclear program would improve security in the Middle East and guaranteed that Tehran would not acquire nuclear arms.

    Israel plans to lobby the US Congress not to approve the agreement clinched between Iran and world powers in Vienna earlier this month after more than a decade of negotiations.

    Under the deal, the United States, European Union and United Nations will lift sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran agreeing to long-term curbs on its nuclear program that the West and Israel have feared was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

  • Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem, June 1, 2015. (AFP/THOMAS COEX)

    The director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, called the Middle East’s Sunni Arab nations “Israel’s allies.”

    Gold used the term twice in a presentation Wednesday in New York focused on the shortcomings of the Iran nuclear deal.

    “What we have is a regime on a roll that is trying to conquer the Middle East,” Gold said of Iran, “and it’s not Israel talking, that is our Sunni Arab neighbors — and you know what? I’ll use another expression – that is our Sunni Arab allies talking.”

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Provocative Commentary

“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds