Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

    Tuesday, December 30, 2014   No comments
NPR's wide-ranging interview with President Obama covers recent executive actions on Cuba and immigration, race relations in the U.S., health care, the midterm elections and extending democracy in the Middle East.

STEVE INSKEEP: Since your party's defeat in the election, you have made two major executive actions — one on immigration, one on Cuba. One of those might have been difficult to do before the election; the other surely would've been difficult to do before the election, which makes me wonder: Is there some way in which that election just passed has liberated you?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Over 60% of Tunisians able to vote voted; 56% of them voted for Beji Caid Essebsi, 44% voted for Mohamed Moncef Marzouki

    Monday, December 22, 2014   No comments
Over 60% of Tunisians able to vote voted; 56% of them voted for Beji Caid Essebsi, 44% voted for Mohammed Mouncef Marzouki. 

Essebsi, 88, appeared before 2,000 supporters who gathered outside his campaign headquarters in the capital Tunis shouting “Long live Tunisia!” and thanked the voters.

“Tunisia needs all its children. We must work hand in hand,” he said as supporters cheered.

Marzouki dismissed the declaration as unfounded and refused to concede defeat. His camp said the result was too close to call and accused the Essebsi of election “violations”.

It is the first time Tunisians have freely elected their president since independence from France in 1956.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The bodies of more than 230 people believed to have been killed by Islamic State (IS) have been found in a mass grave in eastern Syria

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014   No comments
From archives: ISIL committed similar crimes in Iraq in 2014
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were thought to be members of a tribe that fought the jihadist group in Deir al-Zour province in the summer.

The mass grave was discovered after the Sheitat were allowed to return to their homes by IS leaders, it added.

Last month, the UN said it had received reports of a massacre there in August.

Investigators said it appeared to have been perpetrated by IS in a struggle for control of oil resources near the town of Mohassan.

One survivor described seeing "many heads hanging on walls while I and my family escaped", while locals saw several freshly-dug mass graves.

Qatar and Terror Finance

    Wednesday, December 17, 2014   No comments
Qatar’s performance in the fight against terror finance tests the notion that it is a reliable friend and ally. Despite its tiny size, Doha is now being described by some U.S. officials  as the region’s  biggest source of private donations to radical groups in Syria and Iraq.

Qatar’s  historical legacy of negligence against terror finance stretches back over two decades. Doha mishandled al-Qaeda’s  old guard in  the lead-up to 9/11, making those events more rather than less likely. In recent months, there has been considerable focus on Abdulrahman al-Nuaymi, a Qatari national who has been blacklisted by the  United  States, United Nations, and European Union on charges of financing al-Qaeda. Reports indicate that Nuaymi is still a free man in Qatar, presumably because of his extensive ties to Doha’s ruling elite. This report reveals new details about several other major Qatar-based terror finance cases over the past decade in which Doha’s  policies fell considerably short of full enforcement, allowing suspected terror financiers to continue their activities after coming under initial scrutiny. This report also explains why Qatar’s mishandling of these cases cannot be attributed to a lack of institutional capacity or societal opposition but instead must be understood as willful negligence on the part of Qatari authorities.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

ISIL origins roots are in U.S. prisons in Iraq

    Thursday, December 11, 2014   No comments
In the summer of 2004, a young jihadist in shackles and chains was walked by his captors slowly into the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq. He was nervous as two American soldiers led him through three brightly-lit buildings and then a maze of wire corridors, into an open yard, where men with middle-distance stares, wearing brightly-coloured prison uniforms, stood back warily, watching him.

“I knew some of them straight away,” he told me last month. “I had feared Bucca all the way down on the plane. But when I got there, it was much better than I thought. In every way.”

The jihadist, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed, entered Camp Bucca as a young man a decade ago, and is now a senior official within Islamic State (Isis) – having risen through its ranks with many of the men who served time alongside him in prison. Like him, the other detainees had been snatched by US soldiers from Iraq’s towns and cities and flown to a place that had already become infamous: a foreboding desert fortress that would shape the legacy of the US presence in Iraq.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Jordanian King Abdullah II: Muslim Brotherhood hijacked Arab Spring

    Sunday, December 07, 2014   No comments
Jordanian King says Brotherhood hijacked Arab Spring
Jordanian King Abdullah II on Saturday said that the Muslim Brotherhood was an organized entity that had hijacked the series of popular uprisings that swept through the Arab world and came later to be called the "Arab Spring."
In an interview with U.S. interviewer and broadcast journalist Charlie Rose, King Abdullah said the Brotherhood was an official organization in his country.
He said his government had asked the Brotherhood to be part of Jordan's political process at the beginning of the Arab Spring.
He added that the Brotherhood was the first political party he had talked to at the beginning of the spring.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Erdoğan: You cannot bring women and men into an equal position; this is against nature

    Monday, November 24, 2014   No comments
Erdoğan: Gender equality against nature  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday took issue with gender equality, saying that women and men cannot be equal because they have different “natures and bodies.”

“You cannot bring women and men into an equal position; this is against nature,” Erdoğan said while addressing a meeting of an association promoting women rights in Ankara. “You cannot subject a pregnant woman to the same working conditions as a man. You cannot make a mother who has to breastfeed her child equal to a man. You cannot make women do everything men do like the communist regimes did… This is against her delicate nature.”

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In birthplace of Arab Spring, Tunisia’s Islamists get sobering lesson in governing

    Saturday, November 22, 2014   No comments
TUNIS — On a recent warm evening, hundreds of men and women were mingling outside the offices of Tunisia’s Islamist party. They were singing and cheering. They were waving little red-and-white Tunisian flags. It looked as if they had just won an election.

In fact, they had just lost control of parliament. But in a strife-torn Arab world, this young democracy had pulled off a rare feat: a clean, peaceful election.

“What are we celebrating today?” the Islamists’ leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, a 73-year-old scholar, cried into a microphone as fireworks popped overhead. “We are celebrating freedom! We are celebrating Tunisia! We are celebrating democracy!”

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saudi state and the religious establishment have for decades fueled sectarian animosities across the region

    Thursday, November 20, 2014   No comments
Public beheadings in Saudi Arabia inspire ISILand like-minded groups
Saudi state and the religious establishment have for decades fueled sectarian animosities across the region. Saudi recruits for al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are often motivated by a desire to contain Shiism and stem Iranian influence in the region – strategic objectives that Saudi media perpetuates ad infinitum. Anti-Shiite (and anti-Christian and anti-Jewish) incitement is spread across the region by Saudi-based television channels. It was encouraging that immediately after the attacks the long-standing Saudi Minister of Information Abdel Aziz Khoja announced the closure of perhaps the worst of those TV stations, Wisal. But in a sign that factions within the Saudi regime are divided over how to deal with the Shiites and with Sunni extremism in the kingdom, the minister was dismissed the next day, and Wisal, which retains some popularity in Saudi Arabia and the wider region, is still up and running.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Obama says no change in Syria policy, removing Assad still not priority

    Monday, November 17, 2014   No comments
Despite Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's recent remarks claiming that the US administration is signaling a change of policy over Syria and saying that both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) must go, US President Barack Obama has said his administration hasn't changed its Syria policy and is not actively working on plans to remove Assad from power.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bodyguard of Syrian rebel who defected to Isil reveals secrets of the jihadist leadership

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014   No comments
Saddam Jamal held the mother and father at gunpoint and forced them to watch as his jihadist comrade murdered their children, one by one.

The Isil commander felt no remorse for killing this Syrian family, his bodyguard said, nor did he believe he was fulfilling a God-given creed: for him being a member of the extremist group was a matter of business, not religion.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "White Palace" is more than 1/2 billion US dollars and his jet is $185 million

    Tuesday, November 04, 2014   No comments
Ak Saray (white palace), which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will use as his new presidential building, cost more than TL 1 billion, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has announced.

Responding to questions by opposition lawmakers during budget talks in Parliament late on Monday, Şimşek said the new building cost TL 1.37 billion ($615 million). Stating that TL 964 million has already been spent on Ak Saray, Şimşek said the government allocated TL 300 million for the building from the 2015 budget.

Constructed inside the Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ) on an area of 300,000 square meters in Ankara, Ak Saray has been at the center of strong criticism for being oversized for the presidential post, which is symbolic in Turkey.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Moderate rebels in Syria that the US have armed and trained to fight jihadists have joined al-Qaeda

    Monday, November 03, 2014   No comments
Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the United States to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda.

The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the US-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles.

But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled in northern Idlib province.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

U.S. officials calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "chickenshit"

    Thursday, October 30, 2014   No comments
The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here

The Obama administration's anger is "red-hot" over Israel's settlement policies, and the Netanyahu government openly expresses contempt for Obama's understanding of the Middle East. Profound changes in the relationship may be coming.

The other day I was talking to a senior Obama administration official about the foreign leader who seems to frustrate the White House and the State Department the most. “The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” this official said, referring to the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, by his nickname.

This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it's ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Davutoglu: Turkey will help in Kobane when the anti-ISIL coalition arm FSA to overthrow the Syrian Government

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014   No comments

 In a recent interview on the BBC, Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, again, equated the Syrian government to ISIL. He insisted that Turkey will help save Kobane when the anti-ISIL coalition commits to a strategy that leads to the overthrow of the Syrian government. He contended that ISIL is strong because the West failed to arm the Free Syrian Army.
Davutoglu expressed surprise about Western countries criticism of his government for not doing enough to fight ISIL. To support his government's strategy of fighting both the Syrian government and ISIL at the same time, he argued that the Syrian government killed 300,000 people and that ISIL was able to fill the gap because the West failed to arm the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Both claims are false. 

The 210,000 people (not 300,000), were killed by both the government and the various armed groups, including the Free Syrian Army. Human rights organization estimated that 65,000 people are Alawites, the community to which Assad belongs. More than 90,000 are from Sunni, Christian, Druze, and Kurdish communities who did not side with ISIL and other rebel groups.
ISIL is strong and well armed thanks to the weapons and training provided to the FSA during the first 18 months of the war in Syria. Most of ISIL fighters were initially FSA fighters. Even former Iraqi military officers joined ISIL. Arming the so-called "moderate" groups ultimately leads to arming ISIL fighters because FSA fighters voluntarily join ISIL or are defeated by ISIL. 
It appears that the Turkish government is determined to pursue a personal and/or partisan obsession focused on overthrowing the Syrian government no matter what the cost and even if that would mean siding with ISIL.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Nidaa Tounes wins 38% of the seats in the Tunisian parliament

    Monday, October 27, 2014   No comments
Tunisia's Ennahda party, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the 2011 "Arab Spring" revolts, conceded defeat on Monday in elections that are set to make its main secular rival the strongest force in parliament.
Official results from Sunday's elections - the second parliamentary vote since Tunisians set off uprisings across much of the Arab World by overthrowing autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali - were still to be announced.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Diplomacy for Erdoğan is very personal for, his closest friends are very small and embattled: Hamas and Qatar; and of course Massoud Barzani

    Sunday, October 26, 2014   No comments
Even though Turkey tried to win a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this month by presenting itself as a regional power in the Middle East, it lost the contest, and according to this week's guest for Monday Talk, it was a litmus test on how unpopular Turkish foreign policy is in contrast to 2008 when Turkey was able to secure many more than the required two-thirds of the votes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

ISIL Using Banned Chemical Weapons in Kobani

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014   No comments

Redur Khalil, spokesman of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s Kurdistan region, disclosed that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Takfiri terrorists have been using banned weapons in their recent attacks on the town of Kobani.
“The terrorists have used banned weapons in their recent attacks,” Khalil told FNA on Tuesday.

He noted that the scars on the dead bodies of the YPG forces who have been killed in the warfronts with the ISIL militants indicate that the terrorists have used unconventional weapons to break the resistance of Kobani defenders.

Battle for Kobani: Turkey's actions have revealed that it is pursuing its own contradictory political agenda

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014   No comments
Just a few kilometers away from the Turkish border, the war is raging. In the Kurdish city of Kobani, US jets bomb Islamic State positions while the town's last defenders, equipped with more grit than guns, fight the jihadists on the ground .

As the Turkish army impassively watches the deadly battle from its side of the boundary with Syria, it has opened its own mini-front on the outskirts of Suruç, a Turkish border city. A young policeman, his finger on the trigger of his automatic weapon, stands in front of the town's sports club, a second officer next to him holding a grenade launcher for tear-gas cartridges. Behind them are two dozen soldiers and policemen, and armored vehicles bearing mounted machine guns and crates of ammunition.

Since Oct. 6, the jittery unit has been detaining a number of Kurdish civilians who fled across the border from Kobani. In the beginning, they numbered 160 -- most of them were young men, though there were also women and children. The guards in front of the gate are not allowed to say why the civilians are being held and they point their weapons at everyone who approaches.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From al-Qaeda affiliate to ISIL to "The Islamic State"

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014   No comments

The Islamic State, a hardline Sunni jihadist group that formerly had ties to al Qaeda, has conquered large swathes of Iraq and Syria. Previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the group has announced its intention to reestablish the caliphate and has declared its leader, the shadowy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph.

Friday, October 17, 2014

ISIL fighters training to fly Syria warplanes

    Friday, October 17, 2014   No comments
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) jihadists are being trained by Saddam Hussein's former pilots to fly three fighter jets captured from the Syrian military, a monitoring group said Oct. 16.
The planes, which are believed to be MiG-21 and MiG-23 jets, are capable of flying although it is unclear if they are equipped with missiles, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.       

The jets were seized from Syrian military airports now under ISıL control in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Raqa, according to the Britain-based group, which has a wide network of sources inside the war-torn country.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ISIL, through its new flagship magazine called Dabiq, calls Erdogan Apostate and explains its slaughter of Kurds

    Wednesday, October 15, 2014   No comments
ISIL released the second issue of its flagship magazine, Dabiq. In it, it tried to provide its own narrative to set itself apart from all other Islamist groups, encourage Muslims to migrate to the "Islamic State", and providing some behind the scenes reporting about its military and security operations in Syrian and Iraq. It also tried to explain why the group's forces are attacking Kurdish towns and, in a warning to Turkish leaders, calls Erdogan apostate.The following is a sample of the articles appearing in the magazine of the genocidal group.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Turkey accused of denying Kurds medical help after preventing Syrian Kurds from returning to Kobane to fight ISIL

    Tuesday, October 14, 2014   No comments
Kurdish mother mourns her son killed by ISIL October 10
With medical supplies depleted in the war-ravaged north Syrian town of Kobane, Kurdish activist Blesa Omar rushed three comrades wounded in battle against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) straight to the border to dispatch them to a Turkish hospital.

He spent the next four hours watching them die, one by one, from what he believes were treatable shrapnel wounds, while Turkish border guards refused to let them through the frontier.

"To me it is clear they died because they waited so long. If they had received help, even up to one hour before their deaths, they could have lived," said Omar, 34, an ethnic Kurd originally from Iraq who holds Swedish nationality.

Friday, October 10, 2014

UN's Staffan de Mistura urged Turkey to allow in volunteers to Syria to defend the town from Islamic State militants

    Friday, October 10, 2014   No comments
There are reports that IS has taken control of the Kurdish headquarters in the town, but this has been denied by a Syrian Kurdish official there.

Kobane has been a major battleground for IS and the Kurds for three weeks.

The fighting has forced hundreds of thousands of Syrians, mainly Kurds, to flee into neighbouring Turkey, which has so far ruled out any ground operation on its own against IS.

Kurdish forces, who are being helped by US-led coalition strikes against IS, say they urgently need more weapons and ammunition to push back the militants' advance in the town.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Isil hostage Peter Kassig: The point is that Isil is killing Muslims every day. Most of the victims of Isil are Muslims

    Thursday, October 09, 2014   No comments
Isil hostage Peter Kassig 'is now devout Muslim who prays five times a day', says ex-captive
Nicolas Henin, a former cellmate of Peter Kassig and John Cantlie, reveals intimate details of their lives as hostages of Islamic State

 The jihadists however, murdered him regardless.

"For other captors, I had the feeling that [the conversions] made no difference, and even it was explained to us, that since you converted after capture, it was up to God to judge the sincerity of your faith, but we cannot take it into account.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Turkey's Erdogan blackmails anti-ISIL coalition and kills 19 Turkish citizens

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014   No comments
Turkey's Erdogan is blackmailing anti-ISIL coalition. His security forces just killed 19 Turkish citizens protesting his role in facilitating ISIL takeover of Kobane. Erdogan is a callous politician who is pursuing the overthrow of Assad by allowing the flow of fighters and weapons to ISIL. He wishes that Kobane falls quickly and that civilians are slaughtered on the hands of ISIL so that he gets his buffer zone inside Syria to facilitate the training and transfer of more weapons to anti-Assad forces, including ISIL. He has no respect for institutions, international law, and human life because he personalizes his politics. He is playing with fire: it is only a a matter of time before ISIL

Pro-ISIS radicals with machetes, knives attack Kurds in Germany

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014   No comments
Peaceful protests against IS in Syria and Iraq organized by Kurdish nationals in several German cities ended with serious clashes with pro-jihadist Muslims in Hamburg and Celle. Police had to request reinforcements to restore order. 

AKP prefers ISIL over PKK and Assad government

    Wednesday, October 08, 2014   No comments
Following an avalanche of criticism on social media, a prominent member of Parliament from Turkey’s ruling party has deleted a controversial tweet that favored jihadists over the supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ben Affleck angered over the negative, "incomplete" image that Maher and fellow guest, author Sam Harris, were painting of Muslims

    Sunday, October 05, 2014   No comments
The Gone Girl star, 42, appeared as a guest on Real Time With Bill Maher last week, but became angered over the negative, "incomplete" image that Maher and fellow guest, author Sam Harris, were painting of Muslims.

"We have been sold this meme of Islamophobia, where criticism of the religion gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people," Harris said. "It's intellectually ridiculous."

Mayer supporting him, describing Islam as "the only religion that acts like the mafia" and will "f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture or write the wrong book".

Cue much anger from Affleck, who called Harris' picture of Islam as "the motherhood of bad ideas" over-generalised and "ugly".

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Qataris who financed 9/11 mastermind now funding terrorists in Syria and Iraq

    Saturday, October 04, 2014   No comments
An al-Qaeda financier jailed for his role in funding the mastermind behind 9/11 is once again raising money for Islamist terrorists after being freed by the Qatari authorities, The Telegraph can disclose.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy - a Qatari citizen who was said to have provided 'financial support' for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - was jailed for terrorist offences in 2008 but released after only six months.

He is now accused of funding Islamist terrorists fighting in Syria and Iraq.

New documents released by the US Treasury disclose links between Al-Subaiy and a terror financier accused of bankrolling an al-Qaeda offshoot that plotted to blow up airliners using toothpaste tube bombs.

The American military thwarted the plot in an air strike on the group’s headquarters in Syria just over a week ago.
 The case highlights growing concern over the apparent failure of Qatar, one of the richest nations in the world, to crack down on financial terrorist networks in the country.

Qatar has developed a close relationship with Britain in recent years, investing billions of pounds in the UK, including buying Harrods and building the Shard, the tallest building in Europe. The Gulf State has also secured in controversial circumstances the World Cup in 2022.

But prominent critics are now calling for greater scrutiny of Qatar’s connections to global terrorism with the threat of sanctions if it fails to tackle the problem.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the chair of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, has warned that Qatar “must choose their friends or live with the consequences” while Professor Anthony Glees, director of the University of Buckingham’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: “The time has come to draw the line under funding by the Gulf States coming into the UK. It is well known that to find the terrorists you have to follow the money and at the moment it seems to be coming from Qatar.”

Friday, October 3, 2014

U.S. VP Joe Biden: Our biggest problem is our allies. Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria

    Friday, October 03, 2014   No comments
U.S. VP Joe Biden has said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitted mistakes that paved the way for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"President Erdoğan told me, he is an old friend, said you were right, we let too many people through, now we are trying to seal the border," Biden said during a speech on foreign policy at Harvard Kennedy School on Oct. 2.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Qatar has pumped tens of millions of dollars through obscure funding networks to hard-line Syrian rebels and extremist Salafists

    Thursday, October 02, 2014   No comments
The Case Against Qatar

The tiny, gas-rich emirate has pumped tens of millions of dollars through obscure funding networks to hard-line Syrian rebels and extremist Salafists, building a foreign policy that punches above its weight. After years of acquiescing -- even taking advantage of its ally's meddling -- Washington may finally be punching back. 
Behind a glittering mall near Doha's city center sits the quiet restaurant where Hossam used to run his Syrian rebel brigade. At the battalion's peak in 2012 and 2013, he had 13,000 men under his control near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. "Part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), they are loyal to me," he said over sweet tea and sugary pastries this spring. "I had a good team to fight."

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


    Tuesday, September 30, 2014   No comments

Summary CRISTINA FERNÁNDEZ, President of Argentina, said
most of the problems facing the world today resulted from a lack of democratic multilateralism. In that context, she welcomed the vote by the Assembly on resolution 68/304, to restructure the foreign debts of all countries. That had long been before the Assembly, which had called for reform of the international financial system and the Security Council. Argentina had previously experienced the kind of economic and financial crisis that had spread throughout the world in 2008, when, in 2001, it had been forced to default on its sovereign debt. Contributing to that collapse were the creditors’ terms that had been forced upon the country. As a result, there had not only been economic collapse, but a social and political implosion as well. Argentina owed 162 per cent of its GDP. Its creditors, having contributed to that, were obligated to shoulder some of the burden.

U.S. senior official: The Syria policy people are so focused on taking down Assad, they were blind to this [ISIL] problem

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014   No comments
U.S. senior official. “The Syria policy people are so focused on taking down Assad, they were blind to this problem.”

By late last year, classified American intelligence reports painted an increasingly ominous picture of a growing threat from Sunni extremists in Syria, according to senior intelligence and military officials. Just as worrisome, they said, were reports of deteriorating readiness and morale among troops next door in Iraq.
But the reports, they said, generated little attention in a White House consumed with multiple brush fires and reluctant to be drawn back into Iraq. “Some of us were pushing the reporting, but the White House just didn’t pay attention to it,” said a senior American intelligence official. “They were preoccupied with other crises,” the official added. “This just wasn’t a big priority.”

The United States use of drones strikes under President Obama

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014   No comments

The United States has launched a huge number of drone strikes under President Obama. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Obama says US 'underestimated' rise of ISIS, admits 'contradictory' Syria policy

    Monday, September 29, 2014   No comments
The following is a script of "President Obama" which aired on Sept. 28, 2014. Steve Kroft is the correspondent. L. Franklin Devine, Maria Gavrilovic and Michael Radutzky, producers.

Last week was a long and momentous one in the presidency of Barack Obama. On Monday, he began a bombing campaign with members of an international coalition against ISIS and other terrorist targets in Syria, while continuing airstrikes in northern Iraq. On Wednesday, he addressed the United Nations and laid out his case in the strongest terms for international action against Muslim extremists. By Thursday, his anti-ISIS coalition had grown to more than 60 members, ranging from the Saudis, Jordanians, Emiratis and Europeans who flew missions, to the Irish and Swedes who wrote checks, to the Bulgarians and Egyptians who wished us well.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

69th regular session of the General Assembly

    Saturday, September 27, 2014   No comments
GENERAL DEBATE (24-30 September 2014)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"funding different groups... frankly, a [was] sloppy process" of ousting Assad and led to ISIL’s rise, Kerry says

    Thursday, September 25, 2014   No comments
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/images/news/201409/n_72151_1.jpgU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has placed the blame for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on those who resorted to any means to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, creating what he called a “sloppy process.”

“In the very beginning … when the efforts to oust al-Assad took place, there were people who made calculations that the important thing is to remove al-Assad. Yes, there are some bad apples there, but we want to get him out. And that, unfortunately, resulted in funding different groups, and it was, frankly, a sloppy process,” Kerry told CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour during an interview aired on Sept. 24.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

US ties itself in legal knots to cover shifting rationale for Syria strikes

    Wednesday, September 24, 2014   No comments
US government lawyers have invoked Iraq’s right to self-defence and the weakness of the Assad regime as twin justifications for US bombing in Syria, in a feat of legal acrobatics that may reopen questions over its right to intervene in the bitter civil war.

In a letter to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, released near 24 hours after attacks began, US ambassador Samantha Power argued that the threat to Iraq from Islamic State, known as Isis or Isil, gave the US and its allies in the region an automatic right to attack on its behalf.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Domestic and international legal authority for attacks on ISIL in Syria

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014   No comments
Senior Obama administration officials said on Tuesday that the airstrikes against the Islamic State — carried out in Syria without seeking the permission of the Syrian government or the United Nations Security Council — were legal because they were done in defense of Iraq.

International law generally prohibits using force on the sovereign territory of another country without its permission or authorization from the United Nations, except as a matter of self-defense. American intelligence agencies have concluded that the Islamic State poses no immediate threat to the United States, though they believe that another militant group targeted in the strikes, Khorasan, does pose a threat.

But the senior administration officials said on Tuesday that Iraq had a valid right of self-defense against the Islamic State — also known as ISIS or ISIL — because the militant group was attacking Iraq from its havens in Syria, and the Syrian government had proved unable or unwilling to suppress that threat. Iraq asked the United States for assistance in defending itself, making the strikes legal, the officials said.


Monday, September 22, 2014

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group called on "Muslims" to kill citizens of countries taking part in the US-led anti-ISIL coalition by any means

    Monday, September 22, 2014   No comments
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group called on "Muslims" to kill citizens of countries taking part in the US-led anti-ISIL coalition by any means, in a statement posted online on Monday.
"If you can kill a disbelieving American or European -- especially the spiteful and filthy French -- or an Australian, or a Canadian... including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), then rely upon Allah, and kill him," said Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the group's spokesman, in a message released in multiple languages.
"Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military," he said.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hezbollah Drones Target Al-Nusra Front's Positions at Syrian Border

    Sunday, September 21, 2014   No comments

During the operations Hezbollah pounded positions of the radical Syrian rebels on the outskirts of the Northeastern town of Arsal using drones, heavy fire and cannons.
At least 23 terrorists were killed and tens of others were injured, while ground troops arrested several terrorists in another part of the operations.
Also the Hezbollah forces repelled an attack by the terrorists in Ra's al-Ma'rah region and Nahlah heights.
This was the first time ever that the Hezbollah resistance group used drone to bomb the terrorists. The resistance group formerly used drones for reconnaissance missions.
The attacks also killed Abu Laith al-Shami, a Lebanese national and ringleader of one of the terrorist groups.

How Qatar is funding the rise of Islamist extremists

    Sunday, September 21, 2014   No comments
Qaradawi, Qatar asset
The fabulously wealthy Gulf state, which owns an array of London landmarks and claims to be one of our best friends in the Middle East, is a prime sponsor of violent Islamists

Few outsiders have noticed, but radical Islamists now control Libya's capital. These militias stormed Tripoli last month, forcing the official government to flee and hastening the country's collapse into a failed state.

Moreover, the new overlords of Tripoli are allies of Ansar al-Sharia, a brutal jihadist movement suspected of killing America's then ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and of trying to murder his British counterpart, Sir Dominic Asquith.

Barely three years after Britain helped to free Libya from Col Gaddafi's tyranny, anti-Western radicals hold sway. How could Britain's goal of a stable and friendly Libya have been thwarted so completely?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Turkish President and Prime Minister offer different explanations for the release of the 49 Turkish hostages held by ISIL near Modul

    Saturday, September 20, 2014   No comments
Turkish President and Prime Minister offer different explanations for the release of the 49 Turkish hostages held by ISIL near Mosul. While Erdoğan claimed that the hostages were "freed", his prime minister released a statement earlier suggesting that they were handed over.
When ISIL is killing hostages from U.S., U.K., and Lebanon, it stands to reason why only Turkey and Qatar are managing to have hostages "handed over". 
The role of Turkey in at least shielding ISIL and Nusra in Syria and Iraq, if not providing them with support, become more credible. Minimally, Turkey's intelligence must have infiltrated the two groups for them to be able to "free" or "secure the "release" of hostages without paying any price.

News reports:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Airstrike Uncertainties: Obama's Dangerously Vague New War

    Friday, September 19, 2014   No comments
The City of Rabbits. That is the bucolic alias once attached to the Syrian town of Marea. But it is no longer in use. Now, one of the most important frontlines in the war in northern Syria runs through the town. Some 5,000 rebels have established themselves in the potato fields surrounding Marea in an effort to stop Islamic State jihadists from continuing their advance on Aleppo.

Thus far, they have been successful -- thanks largely to assistance from the US. In Marea, an American-supported rebel command center coordinates the rebels' defense. The entire front is divided into sectors, which are each under the control of a single group. They have names like "Defenders of the Faith," "Islamic Front" and "Nureddin Senki Brigade" and are fairly obscure. Even so, they now have satellite images, ammunition for Kalashnikovs and larger caliber weapons, night-vision devices and provisions. A few anti-tank rockets also arrived a few months ago.

Transcript: Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's Full NPR Interview: the net income of the United States from these sanctions

    Friday, September 19, 2014   No comments
NPR's Steve Inskeep interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday about negotiations over Iran's nuclear weapons program, the U.S. approach to combating extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, and Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter currently in custody in Iran. A full transcript of the interview follows:

STEVE INSKEEP: Let me begin with the nuclear negotiations. Obviously there are many tactical details to work out, but I'd like to get your sense of the attitude. Do you believe, after all the years that you've worked on this issue, that you've arrived in a moment when both countries — the United States and Iran — are ready to make a deal?

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another "Islamic bank" is declared bankrupt; Erdoğan declares Bank Asya 'bankrupt' amid stock exchange chaos

    Thursday, September 18, 2014   No comments
“They say there are efforts being made to sink a bank. There is no work being done to sink a bank. This bank is already bankrupt. But they are trying to keep it afloat with a few buckets of water,” Erdoğan told a meeting of Turkey's largest business group, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD), in İstanbul.

Bank Asya's shares were suspended twice on Thursday afternoon after shares rose as much as 11 percent in the morning. Trading on Bank Asya shares resumed on Monday -- following a five-week suspension -- and has decreased by more than 40 percent since then. The shares rose for the first time since the trading resumed this week, increasing by 7.8 percent to TL 0.69.

Monday, September 15, 2014

'No good terrorists': Lavrov urges anti-ISIS coalition not to put political interests first

    Monday, September 15, 2014   No comments
There is no such thing as a ‘good’ terrorist, and we call on other nations not to show their political ambitions while fighting with terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during a Paris conference on Iraq.

The participants have agreed to offer Iraq “appropriate military aid,” according to the final conference statement.

Participants have agreed to offer Iraq “appropriate military aid,” according to the final conference statement. It wasn’t immediately clear what kind of military aid was meant.

The statement added that dealing with the IS is “a matter of urgency."

Around 30 countries took part in the event.

Lavrov has criticized the move not to invite Syria and Iran to the meeting.

Iran rejected US request for cooperation against ISIL

    Monday, September 15, 2014   No comments
Iran rejected a U.S. request for cooperation against the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group early in its advance in Iraq and Syria, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Sept. 15.
"Right from the start, the United States asked through its ambassador in Iraq whether we could cooperate against Daesh (Arabic acronym for ISIL)," Khamenei said in a statement on his official website.

"I said no, because they have dirty hands," said Khamenei, who has the final say on all matters of state in Iran.

Crisis meeting in Paris comes as France begins reconnaissance flights over Iraq and UK edges closer to military action

    Monday, September 15, 2014   No comments
A senior western source told the Guardian that Saudi Arabia felt so threatened by Isis that it was prepared to act in a frontline role. "There is a very real possibility that we could have the Saudi air force bombing targets inside Syria. That is a remarkable development, and something the US would be very pleased to see."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIL, not Assad regime, is beheading people--Muslims and non-Muslims--Turkey's misleading moral equivalencies justify ISIL crimes

    Sunday, September 14, 2014   No comments
ISR: Turkey tells U.S. to attack both ISIL and Assad at the same time because "there is no benefit in fighting ISIL if Assad remains." Turkey has asked the West to attack Syria in the past. But linking the two now is troubling because it shows that Turkey is willing to choose ISIL over Assad government. But it is ISIL, not Assad regime, that is beheading people--Muslims and non-Muslims--Turkey needs to stop making misleading moral equivalencies and accept responsibility for its failed and short-sighted policy towards Syria and Iraq.

Turkey seeks behind-scene role in NATO coalition
Turkey's position is complicated by its eagerness to uproot the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, which led to its tolerance of anti-Assad Islamist fighters taking refuge on its side of the Syrian border. The same action may have given ISIL some breathing room in Turkey. More recently, it has been forced to confront the threat the group is posing.

Western concerns that Turkey was tacitly tolerating ISIL have been allayed by Turkey's strong statements of condemnation of the group and steps to rein it in, including kicking out suspected ISIL sympathizers.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

David Cameron needs a new approach in Syria if he wants to destroy ISIL

    Saturday, September 13, 2014   No comments
 RC: A year ago, Mr.
David Cameron was prepared to bomb Syria to enable the armed oppositions to overthrow Assad. Lawmakers refused to give him that authority. They were right and he was wrong. Had he bombed the Syrian army and weakened it further, the self-proclaimed caliph, al-Baghdadi would be seating in Damascus, the seat of the Umayyad caliphate, and ordering the beheading of more people. Today, the so-called "Friends of Syria" are paying the price of supporting murderers and genocidal groups who committed war crimes for three years. Yet, these governments are yet to acknowledge their shortsighted policies of siding with the devil to overthrow one authoritarian leader, in a region full of them. It is time that they do this right this time around.
David Cameron to seek UN approval for air strikes against Isil as another aid volunteer is threatened with death
The Prime Minister described Isil as an “evil” and “callous” organisation and added: “They are not Muslims, they are monsters. They are killing and slaughtering thousands of people – Muslims, Christians, minorities – across Iraq and Syria,” he said. “They boast of their brutality; they claim to do this in the name of Islam. That is nonsense. Islam is a religion of peace.”

Thursday, September 11, 2014

President Obama Addresses the Nation on the ISIL Threat

    Thursday, September 11, 2014   No comments

 Transcript: President Obama's Speech on Combating ISIL and news and analysis follow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Professor fired for Israel criticism urges University of Illinois to reinstate him

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014   No comments
Steven Salaita, a university professor whose appointment at the University of Illinois was withdrawn last month after he was critical of Israel on Twitter, spoke publicly for the first time on Tuesday, saying he should be reinstated on the grounds of academic freedom.
“I am a passionate advocate for equality, a fair and open-minded instructor, and highly collegial. No legitimate evidence exists for any claims or insinuations to the contrary, which have severely damaged any reputation and my prospects for future employment,” he said.
Salaita, a former tenured professor of English at Virginia Tech, accepted a faculty appointment at the University of Illinois in October 2013 to teach in the American Indian Studies program starting January 2014. But his appointment was revoked in early August, after Salaita posted to Twitter several messages criticising Israel.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Qatar and political power is leveraged by media and Islamism

    Monday, September 08, 2014   No comments
Qatar and political power is leveraged by media and Islamism
CAIRO — Standing at the front of a conference hall in Doha, the visiting sheikh told his audience of wealthy Qataris that to help the battered residents of Syria, they should not bother with donations to humanitarian programs or the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

“Give your money to the ones who will spend it on jihad, not aid,” implored the sheikh, Hajaj al-Ajmi, recently identified by the United States government as a fund-raiser for Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

Qatar is a tiny, petroleum-rich Persian Gulf monarchy where the United States has its largest military base in the Middle East. But for years it has tacitly consented to open fund-raising by Sheikh Ajmi and others like him. After his pitch, which he recorded in 2012 and which still circulates on the Internet, a sportscaster from the government-owned network, Al Jazeera, lauded him. “Sheikh Ajmi knows best” about helping Syrians, the sportscaster, Mohamed Sadoun El-Kawary, declared from the same stage.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

    Sunday, September 07, 2014   No comments
The dramatic arrival of Da'ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed -- and horrified -- by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia's ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, "Don't the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?"

It appears -- even now -- that Saudi Arabia's ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite "fire" with Sunni "fire"; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da'ish's strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan -- please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da'ish (ISIS) -- and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia's direction and discourse.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Eleven Planes Missing From Tripoli Airport After It Was Taken by Islamic Rebels

    Thursday, September 04, 2014   No comments
ISR; Libya: Here is what happened when NATO and Qatar used their resources to overthrow the Libyan dictator without a plan for the day after.

Not that Syria is much better, but this could be Syria too if Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the so-called "Friends of Syria" had their way and bombed the Syrian regime last September; the caliph of ISIL would have reclaimed the seat of the caliphate of the Umayyads and he would have an air force that extends his reach to first seat of the caliphate: Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

 Libyan Islamist rebels pose with planes seized from Tripoli airport as U.S. officials warn they could be used to carry out terrorist attack on 9/11 anniversary

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