Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunni monarchs back YouTube hate preachers: Anti-Shia propaganda threatens a sectarian civil war which will engulf the entire Muslim world

    Tuesday, December 31, 2013   No comments
Anti-Shia hate propaganda spread by Sunni religious figures sponsored by, or based in, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, is creating the ingredients for a sectarian civil war engulfing the entire Muslim world. Iraq and Syria have seen the most violence, with the majority of the 766 civilian fatalities in Iraq this month being Shia pilgrims killed by suicide bombers from the al-Qa'ida umbrella group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis). The anti-Shia hostility of this organisation, now operating from Baghdad to Beirut, is so extreme that last month it had to apologise for beheading one of its own wounded fighters in Aleppo – because he was mistakenly believed to have muttered the name of Shia saints as he lay on a stretcher.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Glenn Greenwald: U.S., British Media Are 'Devoted Servants' To Government

    Monday, December 30, 2013   No comments
Journalist Glenn Greenwald did not hold back Friday in criticizing the media during a speech about his work with Edward Snowden.

Greenwald, who reported on the National Security Agency's secret domestic surveillance programs with the help of documents leaked by the former NSA contractor, spoke to the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany, via satellite from Brazil. According to Russia Today, he denounced journalists in the United States and Britain, accusing them of failing to challenge those in political power and of discrediting anyone who dared to do so.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Al Qaeda-linked Yusuf Al Qadi and Osama Khoutub, who are among suspects in a major graft probe, has reportedly fled Turkey after the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) blocked a police raid on Wednesday as İstanbul police didn't comply with orders of prosecutors to detain several suspects in the second leg of the investigation

    Thursday, December 26, 2013   No comments
Gulen and Erdogan now at odds

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has ordered the detention of 30 suspects, including a number of deputies and businessmen. The İstanbul Police Department, which saw an extensive purge of its top officers over the last week, has not complied with the order, however.

News reports suggest that when the list of 30 suspects leaked to media on Wednesday, some of the suspects took precautionary measures to avoid any allegation in case of a police raid to their houses and offices.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Home Secretary: revoked the British citizenship of 20 people this year to prevent the return of dual-nationals who have gone to fight in Syria

    Monday, December 23, 2013   No comments
Secret use of citizenship-stripping powers has been dramatically stepped up as Theresa May moves to prevent the return of dual-nationals who have gone to fight in Syria.

The Home Secretary has so far revoked the British citizenship of 20 people this year – more than in her previous two- and-a-half years combined.

She has removed the citizenship of 37 people since May 2010, according to figures collated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Critics warned the practice could leave individuals at risk of torture and ill-treatment in their home countries.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

AKP corruption probe: Turkey's recent past is filled with political parties that were swept to power thanks to their promises to root out corruption in the country but which disappeared from the political scene due to claims of corruption and fraud in their own ranks

    Sunday, December 22, 2013   No comments
Corruption, a large and troublesome problem for Turkey, led to the demise of several governments in the past and analysts warn that the same fate might await the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), some of whose members have been targeted as part of a major bribery and fraud operation along with dozens of businessmen and bureaucrats, unless the party proves itself “clean.”
Turkey's recent past is filled with political parties that were swept to power thanks to their promises to root out corruption in the country but which disappeared from the political scene due to claims of corruption and fraud in their own ranks.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Masked Army: Jihadist Group Expands Rapidly in Syria

    Thursday, December 19, 2013   No comments
The sender was unidentified, but the young engineer knew who the email was from as soon as he opened the attachment. Beneath a picture of the brutally mutilated corpse of Muhannad Halaibna, a civil rights activist known throughout the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, was a single sentence: "Are you sad now about your friend?"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Up to 11,000 Foreign Fighters in Syria; Steep Rise Among Western Europeans

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013   No comments
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation offers its latest assessment of how many foreigners are fighting in Syria's civil war, which countries they hail from, and other key data.

Since ICSR published its first estimate in April, the issue of foreign fighters in Syria has become a major concern for Western governments. More reports have emerged since, though few have accurately gauged the full extent and evolution of the phenomenon.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Zarqawi’s Cubs: Extremist Syrian faction touts training camp for boys

    Tuesday, December 17, 2013   No comments
By Joby Warrick
At first glance, the training camp appears no different from the many others shown in propaganda videos posted by al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. Hooded recruits in camouflage shoot at targets or march in formation under the black flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

But look closer and the “fighters” appear quite small. The tallest are barely chest-high to their instructors, and the shorter ones wear ill-fitting uniforms and appear to struggle under the weight of their weapons. A photo of the recruits without their hoods confirms that all of them are young boys.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Turkey admits export of rifles to Syria ‘for sports’; 47 tons of weaponry

    Monday, December 16, 2013   No comments
No weapons intended for war have been exported to Syria in 2013, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said, while acknowledging that weapons “without military uses” for use in sports activities have been exported to Syria, indirectly acknowledging a recent report by daily Hürriyet.
....
47 tons of weaponry

Iraqi Deputy PM Hussain al-Shahristani welcomes recent deals between Turkey and the KRG, but stresses that Baghdad 'shouldn’t be marginalized'

    Monday, December 16, 2013   No comments
Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Hussain al-Shahristani has welcomed recent agreements between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurdish administration on oil and natural gas exports to Turkey, provided that the central government in Baghdad is not marginalized in any such agreements.

“We support and seek to increase our oil and future natural gas exports to Turkey,” al-Shahristani told Anadolu Agency in an interview. “This is something that we seek to achieve.”

However, al-Shahristani stressed that the quantities of Iraqi oil exported to Turkey must be known to the central government, oil must be sold at international market prices, and revenues from oil sales must be channeled to the account of the Iraq Development Fund in New York, in line with previous U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Pope Francis says trickle-down economics do not help the poor, says he is not a Marxist, but defends criticism of capitalism

    Monday, December 16, 2013   No comments
"Never be afraid of tenderness"
In this exclusive interview, Pope Francis speaks about Christmas, hunger in the world, the suffering of children, the reform of the Roman Curia, women cardinals, the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), and the upcoming visit to the Holy Land
 ...

"The ideology of Marxism is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended," Francis was quoted as saying. Defending his criticism of the "trickle-down" theory of economics, he added: "There was the promise that once the glass had become full it would overflow and the poor would benefit. But what happens is that when it's full to the brim, the glass magically grows, and thus nothing ever comes out for the poor ... I repeat: I did not talk as a specialist but according to the social doctrine of the church. And this does not mean being a Marxist."
...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Radical Islamists embedded among the rebels in Syria are reportedly targeting foreign journalists for abduction

    Sunday, December 15, 2013   No comments
Radical Islamists embedded among the rebels in Syria are reportedly targeting foreign journalists for abduction. Instead of holding them for ransom, however, they use them as trump cards in their power struggles with more moderate rebel groups.

It was Sept. 16. The two Spaniards had almost made it to safety. Journalists Javiar Espinosa and Ricardo García, as well as their escorts, fighters with the Free Syrian Army, were hardly 15 minutes by car from the Turkish border when they were stopped at the last checkpoint within Syrian territory and abducted.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris fled to Qatar through Turkey, U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal

    Thursday, December 12, 2013   No comments

Salim Idris
The top Western-backed Syrian rebel commander fled the country after Islamist militant fighters ran him out of his headquarters, U.S. officials said.
Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris flew to the Qatari capital of Doha Sunday after fleeing to Turkey, the officials told the Wall Street Journal.

"He fled as a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters," a senior U.S. official said.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

U.S., Britain suspend aid to north Syria after Islamists seize weapons store

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013   No comments
Nusra fighters transporting weapons and munitions
The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in the wrong hands and the general chaos engulfing the nation.

The rebel Free Syrian Army fighting President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. and British moves were rushed and mistaken. "We hope our friends will rethink and wait for a few days when things will be clearer," FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad said.

Saudi Arabia migrant expulsions: 'They beat us. I want to warn others not to go'

    Wednesday, December 11, 2013   No comments
Abdulla Shahmola trudges up the road leading from Addis Ababa airport to the outskirts of the city, his battered black suitcase balanced precariously on his head. Weariness and relief are etched into his delicate features as he heaves his heavy bag to the floor. "I have so many possessions that I had to leave behind in Saudi Arabia – a television, a bed, a fridge," he laments, adding that he is thankful to be back in Ethiopia.

Abdulla is one of hundreds of men, women and children steadily streaming from the airport cargo terminal, where up to 20 flights have been arriving daily from Jeddah and Riyadh since 13 November. A kilometre's walk from the hastily erected transit centre, which has been processing some 7,000 returning migrants each day, a small crowd, held back by federal police officers in blue military fatigues, waits anxiously for a glimpse of a loved one.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Whose sarin: The Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin

    Monday, December 09, 2013   No comments
Seymour M. Hersh
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

With Iran, Obama can end America’s long war for the Middle East

    Sunday, December 08, 2013   No comments

President Obama calling President Rouhani

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Boston University

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University and the author of “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.”
What Jimmy Carter began, Barack Obama is ending. Washington is bringing down the curtain on its 30-plus-year military effort to pull the Islamic world into conformity with American interests and expectations. It’s about time.
Back in 1980, when his promulgation of the Carter Doctrine launched that effort, Carter acted with only a vague understanding of what might follow. Yet circumstance — the overthrow of the shah in Iran, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan — compelled him to act. Or more accurately, the domestic political uproar triggered by those events compelled the president, facing a tough reelection campaign, to make a show of doing something. What ensued was the long-term militarization of U.S. policy throughout the region.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis

    Saturday, December 07, 2013   No comments
Shi`a victims of suicide attacks
World View: Everyone knows where al-Qa'ida gets its money, but while the violence is sectarian, the West does nothing
Donors in Saudi Arabia have notoriously played a pivotal role in creating and maintaining Sunni jihadist groups over the past 30 years. But, for all the supposed determination of the United States and its allies since 9/11 to fight "the war on terror", they have showed astonishing restraint when it comes to pressuring Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies to turn off the financial tap that keeps the jihadists in business.
Compare two US pronouncements stressing the significance of these donations and basing their conclusions on the best intelligence available to the US government. The first is in the 9/11 Commission Report which found that Osama bin Laden did not fund al-Qa'ida because from 1994 he had little money of his own but relied on his ties to wealthy Saudi individuals established during the Afghan war in the 1980s. Quoting, among other sources, a CIA analytic report dated 14 November 2002, the commission concluded that "al-Qa'ida appears to have relied on a core group of financial facilitators who raised money from a variety of donors and other fund-raisers primarily in the Gulf countries and particularly in Saudi Arabia".

Seven years pass after the CIA report was written during which the US invades Iraq fighting, among others, the newly established Iraq franchise of al-Qa'ida, and becomes engaged in a bloody war in Afghanistan with the resurgent Taliban. American drones are fired at supposed al-Qa'ida-linked targets located everywhere from Waziristan in north-west Pakistan to the hill villages of Yemen. But during this time Washington can manage no more than a few gentle reproofs to Saudi Arabia on its promotion of fanatical and sectarian Sunni militancy outside its own borders.


read more >>

Friday, December 6, 2013

Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then: If we turn the late South African leader into a nonthreatening moral icon, we’ll forget a key lesson from his life: America isn’t always a force for freedom

    Friday, December 06, 2013   No comments
Now that he’s dead, and can cause no more trouble, Nelson Mandela is being mourned across the ideological spectrum as a saint. But not long ago, in Washington’s highest circles, he was considered an enemy of the United States. Unless we remember why, we won’t truly honor his legacy.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Syrian rebels consider joining forces with regime troops to fight al-Qa’ida

    Thursday, December 05, 2013   No comments

The spectre is looming of a second Syrian civil war with the head of the opposition’s official forces declaring that he is prepared to join regime troops in the future to drive out al-Qa’ida-linked extremists who have taken over swathes of rebel-held territories.

General Salim Idris, the commander of the Free Syrian Army warned that in particular Isis (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), with thousands of foreign fighters in its ranks, was “very dangerous for the future of Syria” and needs to be confronted before it becomes even more powerful.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Study: Muslim job candidates may face discrimination in Republican states

    Tuesday, December 03, 2013   No comments
A new study by Carnegie Mellon University found that in the most Republican states in the country, employers may be less likely to interview job candidates whose social networking profiles indicate that the applicants are Muslim.

As part of a social experiment, the researchers created four fictitious job candidates – each with a unique name that most likely points to someone who is male, U.S. born and Caucasian. The candidates had identical resumes. The researchers also created social network profiles for each of the candidates that revealed either his sexual orientation or whether he was a Muslim or Christian. All other information, including the profile photograph used for each candidate, was the same. The resumes, which did not mention the candidates’ online profile, were then sent out to more than 4,000 employers nationwide with job openings.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Algerian daily al-Shorouq: “The Algerian security services have conducted a careful investigation into the networks which recruit Salafis to fight against Houthis in Yemen”

    Monday, December 02, 2013   No comments
The investigations have been carried out after three people were killed in Wadi al-Souf region in Yemen, it reported.

“There is information showing that certain sides in an Arab country recruit forces in Algeria and pay them huge sums of money up to $8,000 to use them in different conflicts,” the newspaper said.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Free Syrian Army began as a simple group of fighters battling Assad. But Ruth Sherlock, in Antakya, finds their mission is now making millions from bribery and extortion

    Sunday, December 01, 2013   No comments
The Free Syrian Army commander leant against the door of his four-wheel drive BMW X5 with tinted windows and watched as his men waded through the river on the Syrian border moving the barrels of smuggled petroleum to Turkey.
Feeling the smooth wedge of American bank notes he had just been given in exchange, he was suddenly proud of everything he had become.
In three short years he had risen from peasant to war lord: from a seller of cigarettes on the street of a provincial village to the ruler of a province, with a rebel group to man his checkpoints and control these lucrative smuggling routes.

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