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Why is the largest lake in the Middle East drying up?

Lake Urmia, which is situated in Iran and is one of the largest lakes in the Middle East, is consistently monitored by a number of environmentalists and activists from various countries.

Unfortunately, the lake has drawn the attention due to its desiccation and disastrous consequences of this process.

The lake is situated in north-west Iran, at the interface of administrative boundaries of two provinces – Western and Eastern Azerbaijan. This territory is also known as Southern Azerbaijan.

The lake is a unique natural phenomenon, which is, unfortunately, on the verge of extinction. It is important that the lake is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.

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March  17, 2018, “Al Arabiya”

Iran’s selective approach to hybrid war

During the cold war, the world witnessed various proxy wars, involving USSR and the USA, and their official and unofficial allies. Moscow and Washington managed to wage proxy wars in Vietnam, Angola, Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

Now there is no Warsaw block, and proxy wars could seemingly become history. However, it did not happen. In today’s world, certain regional players have adopted the Soviet method of waging proxy wars. Speaking of the Middle East, we should emphasize Iran’s activity.

Strategists from Tehran are to be lauded; they improved the Soviet methods and transformed them into a system of a comprehensive hybrid war, including the application of modern technologies. Today, Iran’s permanent hybrid war is mainly directed against three countries – USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, Tehran is selective about the approach to each of these countries.

Iran has a separate strategy for each of these countries. However, in each case Iran tries to avoid a straightforward confrontation. For example, the situation with US is much more nuanced than with Israel or Saudi Arabia.

For instance, Iranian authorities declare vicious slogans against “Great Satan”, but at the same time, they spend great financial resources and energy to create, expand and support Iranian Lobby in US. These efforts continued even when Iran, not directly, but through Shiite armed militias was involved in a military conflict with the US army in Iraq. Iranians have been contacting with representatives of the Iraqi opposition since Saddam Hussein’s years in power.

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February  23, 2018, “Al Arabiya”

ANALYSIS: Unveiling Iranian pro-government trolls and cyber-warriors

Lately, many media outlets write about “Kremlin Troll factory”. But, we should remember that these methods are used not only by the Russian authorities.

Many different countries with regimes of varying degrees of oppressiveness use internet-trolls and many other methods related to internet-trolling, manipulation of public opinion and spreading disinformation. One of those countries, which use the advantage of internet-trolls, is Iran.

It is noteworthy that the Iranian army of trolls differs from the Russian by its specificity, working methods and its scope of activity. In scope, funding and effectiveness Iranians are far behind their Russian counterparts. But, they don’t stand still and we can see the increase in the activity of Iranian pro-government trolls from year to year.

In this regard, it would be useful to consider the issue of internet-freedom in the country, I guess. According to Freedom House Report 2016, the number of Iranians who have access to the internet is 44 percent of the country’s population. Of course, this number has changed a little during the year. Anyway, it is a large number of people, tens of millions!

Such social networks as Facebook & Twitter, Youtube video-service, Viber messenger and many other services and websites are blocked in Iran. In spite of the fact that Facebook and Twitter are blocked in the country, the country’s leaders feel free to enjoy these services, using it as a tool for propaganda of their regime. Other Iranians need to use VPN to access blocked websites and services.

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January 17, 2018, “Al Arabiya”

Hybrid war against Turkey, who is fighting and why

It is worth noting that in general, “hybrid warfare” is not something new for the modern world. However, as technology advances, the possibility of conducting such wars is increasing as well. A hybrid war has several fronts, which include informational, diplomatic, economic, cyber front and direct military actions. However, military operations are often conducted not directly by the armies of warring parties, but by proxy groups, often mercenaries. Often, parts of the regular army, Special Forces of reconnaissance from one or both sides are involved. An illustrative example is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. All the elements of a modern hybrid war can be traced in this conflict, there are other similar examples, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and so on. There is an element of a hybrid war in all of these hot spots as well.

I want to emphasize that hybrid warfare does not necessarily imply maintenance of active hostilities; the parties may be limited to terrorist attacks and guerrilla and semi-guerrilla operations in the territory of each other.

Active hybrid warfare with variable intensity is conducted against Turkey since the 1980s. This war continues to this day, but the motives for the war run deep into history. Hatred and envy of certain circles in Europe against Turks originates already since 1453, after the capture of Constantinople (although Christian Crusaders captured and plundered Constantinople long before Mehmed II). With the growth of the territory and power of the Ottoman Empire, hatred and fear of European ruling circles against the Turks only increased.

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June 01, 2016, “Turkiye Newspaper”

Political and historical consequences of the humanitarian crisis in Syria

During the time of Ottoman rule all the nations inhabiting these lands were considered Ottoman subjects and there was no irresistible hatred or enmity between the nations. However, in the early twentieth century, it was clear that the Ottoman Empire’s days were numbered. Some historians and experts believe that the Ottoman Empire could disappear already in the nineteenth century, however, Sultan Abdulhamid’s masterful play on the contradictions of the Western powers, concerning the question of the division of “the Ottoman legacy”, gave additional 30-40 years of life to the Empire.

XIX century and early XX century was marked by the rise of nationalist ideas throughout the Middle East. For multinational decrepit empire, “nationalism”, whether Turkish, Arabic or Kurdish, is an infection, from which there is no cure. Everything was decided during the First World War, in which the Ottoman Empire entered as an ally of Germany and Austria-Hungary. In this situation, the Western powers and the Russian Empire certainly took advantage of the fifth columns within the Ottoman Empire; in particular, Russians organized Armenian uprisings and the British organized Arab revolts.

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May. 21,2016, “Turkiye Newspaper”

Ermenistan, PKK’lılara Karabağ’da eğitim veriyor

Azerbaycan merkezli haber ağı Büyük Orta Doğu’nun Genel Yayın Yönetmeni Hacızade, kritik açıklamalarda bulundu.
Ermenistan işgali altındaki Azerbaycan toprağı Karabağ’daki terör örgütü PKK varlığına dikkat çeken Hacızade, Ermenistan ordusunun işgal bölgelerindeki askerî kamplarda terör örgütü PKK militanlarına eğitim verdiğini söyledi. Hacızade ayrıca, Ermenistan-PKK ilişkisinin her alanda sürdüğünü belirterek, Ermenistan’ın teröristlere barınma, tedavi ve istihbarat sağladığını belirtti.

February 2, 2018, “Türkiye Gazetesi”

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‘Ermenistan, PKK’lılara Karabağ’da eğitim veriyor’

Azerbaycan merkezli haber ağı Büyük Orta Doğu’nun Genel Yayın Yönetmeni Hacızade, bölgedeki son gelişmelere dair değerlendirmelerde bulundu.

Rusya’nın Soçi şehrinde düzenlenen ve Suriye’de siyasi çözümü hedefleyen Suriye Ulusal Kongresi’ne, Suriyeli muhalif temsilcilerin kararı ve terörist Mihraç Ural’ın katılımı damga vurdu. Dışişleri Bakanı Mevlût Çavuşoğlu, toplantının sonuçlarının olumlu olduğunu vurguladı. Çavuşoğlu ayrıca, Hatay’ın Reyhanlı ilçesindeki bombalı katliamın sorumlularından terörist Mihraç Ural ile ilgili de Rusya’dan izahat istendiğini, bu teröristin Türkiye’ye iade edilmesi gerektiğini bildirdi.

February 2, 2018, “İHA”

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