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Beyond the Coast

What the World Needs Now…


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun After a self-imposed exile of nearly three months from Coastal Breeze News, I am back. If you are as interested as I am in the affairs of the world in general and the Middle East in particular, you would also have been as angry as I was to the point where I could no longer write and put intelligent, logical and sensible sentences and thought on paper. I am hoping 2014 will be a much better year for the world than 2013; although presently, I am not very optimistic. Towards the end of last year, ... Read More »

Stormy Seas Ahead


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun A very smart and successful businessman from Turkey who was my classmate at Robert College of Istanbul recently sent me the following paragraph: “A short guide to the Middle East” “Iran is backing Assad. Gulf States are against Assad! Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi of Egypt. But Gulf States are pro General Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood! Iran is pro Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood! Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the USA. Gulf States are pro USA. But ... Read More »

The Chong Chon Gang


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun The Chong Chon Gang is a 450 foot, non-descript aging tramp steamer carrying the Democratic Republic of North Korea flag. When it was stopped by Panamanian authorities on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal last week, it was quite obvious that the cargo manifest she was carrying was as phony as the word “Democratic” in the name of her country of origin. The “Gang” was officially carrying 10,000 tons of Cuban sugar packed in 200,000 white sacks from Cuba to North Korea. She was stopped by swift Panamanian patrol boats who were responding to ... Read More »

Revolution… Coup… What’s next?


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun After reading as many news articles as possible and watching most news channels for updates about the events in Egypt, I asked myself if anyone was surprised about the most recent events in Egypt. Readers may recall my article about Egypt during the Arab Spring; I was cautiously optimistic about democracy’s arrival in Egypt yet more than a little pessimistic about the identity of the revolutionaries. Having seen members of the Muslim Brotherhood amongst the demonstrators waving their Korans in the air was enough to give me that “fly in the soup” feeling. I ... Read More »

What is going on in Turkey…


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun It is common knowledge among my readers and my friends that I was born and raised in Turkey and lived the first twenty years of my life in Istanbul. So it is natural that I have been getting many phone calls, emails and text messages asking me this very question. Being away from the day to day events that shape life in Turkey for many years, I have to rely on the news I get from relatives, friends and contacts in Turkey as well as watching daily news on various Turkish TV stations, reading ... Read More »

The Frog and the Scorpion


BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun The story may be an old one; but it is effective and meaningful today as it ever was. And it goes like this: The scorpion approaches the frog that was resting on the banks of the river. “Please take me to the other side” he begs. “I will not” responds the frog, “you will probably sting me along the way and we will both sink and drown.” The scorpion pleads with the frog “I promise I will not sting you; please, please take me across.” The frog decides to give the scorpion the benefit ... Read More »

Situational awareness…

James Holmes in court.

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun People, young and old, are packed on both sides of the road at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. It is a public holiday in Boston and the perfect day for a marathon. Two young men carrying black backpacks walk amongst the crowd stop and drop off their deadly loads on the curb, in plain sight. They walk away and disappear into the back streets. No one notices the black bags placed right in front of them. No one thinks twice about asking the person sitting or standing next to them if the ... Read More »



It is getting increasingly difficult to focus on events taking place around the world. It seems like a new story pops up every day in a different part of our troubled globe. Today things are much different from the “good old days” when the world was neatly divided up by the two super powers: USA and the Soviet Union. Whenever trouble started anywhere around the world, one of the two super powers reacted depending on whose sphere of influence covered the country where trouble had started. Things were neatly patched up after harsh words were exchanged, threats were made and ... Read More »

Third Bridge to the “Other Side”


Growing up in Istanbul in the 50’s and the 60’s the “other side” meant either the Asian side or the European side of the City depending on which side you lived on. The Bosphorus Straits, a waterway which divides the city into two distinct parts and carries the cold waters of the Black Sea in Northern Turkey towards the warmer Sea of Marmara and from there through the Dardanelle straits into the Aegean Sea and eventually into the Mediterranean. It is 20 miles long from end to end. Its width varies from 1640 feet up to 2 miles with an ... Read More »

Senkaku/Diaoyu Crisis…


The Wall Street Journal reported from the Yokota Air Base in Japan that the highest ranking U.S. Military commander in Japan, Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, expressed his concern about Tokyo’s intensifying territorial dispute with China, calling it a “very bad situation” and blamed the Chinese navy for what he termed “a provocative act that can become dangerous.” “The Senkaku/Diaoyu Island territorial dispute is the greatest crisis in Japan-China relations in 60 years,” reported Stephen Harner in Forbes magazine. The readers may already know that in the last few issues of the Coastal Breeze, I have been focused on troublesome regions ... Read More »

Mali! Again!


When I wrote about what was going on in Mali a few issues ago as a follow-up to my earlier story about what happened in Benghazi; many readers emailed me wondering the importance (or lack thereof) and the timing of the story. The events of last week in Algeria and in Mali brought this important area of Africa back into the headlines again. Whether the general public in our country will pay attention to these events or not is unknown at this moment. The continent of Africa is still too far away for most; the names of countries are very ... Read More »



BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun 2012 has certainly been a very interesting, confusing and, in many ways, a terrible year. My only wish is that 2013 will not be a repeat performance. Friday, December the 14, 2012, was and will remain as the worst day of my life. It doesn’t matter how many times I try to get the events of the day out of my mind; I can’t. I dream about them, I think about them constantly and I lose it. I routinely cry when I think about the whole event more than once a day. Talking about it ... Read More »

Middle East – A powder keg…


Beyond the Coast Events in the Middle East are heating up rapidly and will most probably be coming to a conclusion; one way or the other very soon. In order for the readers to connect the dots and make their own conclusions, I will list my interpretation of the latest events and the countries involved. SYRIA By far the most dangerous situation of all is playing out in Syria. Dictator Bashar Al-Assad is taking advantage of the rudderless and leaderless West and has been indiscriminately killing his own people for the last year or so. The latest news as of ... Read More »

A most memorable Thanksgiving…

Turkey merchant in Istanbul.

  BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Thanksgiving 1975, will remain as one of the most memorable and strange Thanksgiving holidays for my wife and me. We were living in Istanbul, Turkey while I completed my compulsory military service in the Turkish Armed Forces. My wife and our one year old son lived in the first floor of my childhood home while I was stationed in the small western town of Bornova. Since I could not communicate directly with her from our base, we had to wait until weekends when I could call her from nearby hotels where I spent short ... Read More »

On Heroes and Cowards

Sean Smith.

          A hero is defined as someone who deliberately and courageously overcomes obstacles for the benefit of others without regard to personal consequences. A coward is defined as a person who shows disgraceful fear and shameful lack of courage or fortitude under difficult conditions at the expense of others. This week, as we learn more and more details of what happened in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012; we as Americans must get to know more about and celebrate the lives of our American heroes and condemn those cowards who let them be murdered by a ... Read More »

A real and growing danger…

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun When the last US troops left Iraq, Al-Qaida terrorists were believed to have around 1,000 fighters remaining in the area. The last intelligence estimates clearly indicate that there are now more than 2,500 fighters; and various new terrorist training camps have opened all around the desert areas of Iraq and the numbers of these terrorists are growing daily. In Afghanistan, the Taliban is re-organizing and getting ready to take over as soon as our combat troops leave sometime during 2014. We will be leaving approximately 30,000 Special Forces and other military personnel behind, however it ... Read More »

What Is Going On In Mali?

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Most readers may not be familiar with Mali, a landlocked country in interior Western Africa, twice the size of Texas, divided into three natural zones; the Southern, cultivated Sudanese area; the Central semiarid Sahelian; and the Northern, arid Saharan. It is located to the southwest of Algeria, north of Guinea, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, east of Mauretania and west of Niger. It is important to note the history of Mali in order to grasp the importance of what is going on and what it means to future problems in the region caused by the ... Read More »

Primitive Savages… Sept. 11, 2012

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun Exactly eleven years to the day, primitive savages in Libya attacked the American Consulate in Benghazi and assassinated our Ambassador Christopher Stevens along with three others; two of whom happened to be former SEALS. Earlier in the same day more primitive savages in Cairo, Egypt attacked the American embassy, climbed over the walls, entered the embassy grounds, shredded our flag and burned it. Further attacks followed on September 12 and 13, in Yemen and Tunis as well as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Morocco. Official reason given was the showing of an obscure movie; a 15 minute ... Read More »

No Better Friend… No Worse Enemy…

BEYOND THE COAST Tarik Ayasun I am visiting my family in Northern Virginia. Sitting by a small spring-fed lake in this very peaceful neighborhood on the outskirts of our Nation’s Capital, I am reading the local papers, following international news on the internet and talking to some of my old friends on the phone as I catch up on world news. Hearing and reading the almost daily news stories about Afghan soldiers killing our troops who are there to train them for a better future; hearing the fascist leader Ahmedinejad of Iran hatefully declaring “The Zionist regime and the Zionists ... Read More »

United Nations out… United Democratic Nations in…

BEYOND THE COAST  Tarik Ayasun After two issues where I did not have my column, I am back. There are so many things to write about, one needs to be choosy, not by choice but by circumstance. One of the most important events of the past two weeks was the Syrian Government’s shooting down of a Turkish F-4 reconnaissance jet. Syria claimed that the jet was violating their territory and Turkey claimed it was not. Nevertheless, the plane was shot down and two young Turkish pilots were killed. Their bodies were retrieved by an American company (Nautilus) and their nationally ... Read More »