Friday, January 31, 2014

Australia Vs. Indonesia Approaches A Flashpoint

    Friday, January 31, 2014   No comments
Indonesia
It’s not just China and Japan bumping heads over sea borders in Asia, there are signs that a showdown is looming between two countries with a normally friendly relationship: Indonesia and Australia.

For major powers outside the region, such as the U.S., there is nothing to be gained by becoming involved in a situation which has its roots in the cross-border movement of asylum seekers from troubled parts of the Middle East and Africa, or illegal immigrants as they have also been called.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

U.S. spy chiefs: More than 7,000 foreign militants are fighting for the rebels in Syria's civil war and some are being trained to return home and conduct attacks

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014   No comments
More than 7,000 foreign militants are fighting for the rebels in Syria's civil war and some are being trained to return home and conduct attacks, U.S. spy chiefs told lawmakers on Wednesday.

The estimate, given at a Senate intelligence hearing, was much higher than earlier figures of 3,000 to 4,000 foreign fighters in Syria, and came after news emerged this week that Congress had secretly approved more funding to send weapons to "moderate" rebels.

Is Blogging Unscholarly? the International Studies Association unveiled a proposal to bar members affiliated with its scholarly journal from blogging

    Wednesday, January 29, 2014   No comments
By Carl Straumsheim

The political science blogosphere has erupted in protest after the International Studies Association unveiled a proposal to bar members affiliated with its scholarly journal from doing just that -- blogging.
“No editor of any ISA journal or member of any editorial team of an ISA journal can create or actively manage a blog unless it is an official blog of the editor’s journal or the editorial team’s journal,” the proposal reads. “This policy requires that all editors and members of editorial teams to apply this aspect of the Code of Conduct to their ISA journal commitments. All editorial members, both the Editor in Chief(s) and the board of editors/editorial teams, should maintain a complete separation of their journal responsibilities and their blog associations.”

Monday, January 27, 2014

Syria's road to peace is littered with our errors; The Geneva II peace conference has noble aims, but its flaws are obvious with Iran, Hezbollah and Russia absent

    Monday, January 27, 2014   No comments
Editorials from the Observer
The third anniversary of the start of the Egyptian revolution is an appropriate moment to consider the lessons of what was once – too hopefully, perhaps – dubbed the "Arab spring". It was briefly hailed as the region's equivalent of the fall of communism in Europe in 1989; these days the closest historical equivalent seems like 1848 – the so-called Year of Revolutions.

That is certainly most true in Egypt, where the revolution that started three years ago this weekend has been followed in quick order by counter-revolution – as occurred across Europe in 1848 – with the reimposition by the military and its supporters of the same autocratic "deep state" over which Hosni Mubarak once presided.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Egypt: protesters killed on anniversary of anti-Mubarak revolt; at least 54 reported dead in clashes across the country as thousands also rally in support of army-led authorities

    Sunday, January 26, 2014   No comments
At least 54 people have been reported dead in clashes with anti-government protesters in Egypt on the third anniversary of the uprising that culminated in the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak as president.

Thousands of Egyptians also rallied in support of the army-led authorities, underlining the country's deep political divisions.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The two sides in the Syria talks are bringing the process close to collapse even before full sessions have formally started

    Friday, January 24, 2014   No comments
Syria's first peace talks were on the verge of collapsing on Friday before they had properly begun, with the opposition refusing to meet President Bashar al-Assad's delegation and the government threatening to bring its team home.
The opposition said it would not meet Assad's delegation unless it first agreed to sign up to a protocol calling for a transitional administration. The government rejected the demand outright and said its negotiators would return home unless serious talks began within a day.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Syrian Kurds protested Jan. 23 their exclusion from U.N.-brokered peace talks in Switzerland, and vowed to forge ahead with their own freedom drive in territories they control

    Thursday, January 23, 2014   No comments
"Some forces are trying to exclude us from the solutions they are looking for, and they're not representing anybody," said Saleh Muslim, leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

"We will continue our struggle until we get our democratic rights," he told reporters in Geneva, where the Syrian government and opposition were to hold separate meetings with the U.N. mediator on Friday, two days after angry exchanges at the so-called Geneva II international peace conference in the Swiss city of Montreux.

Speaking on behalf of the Syrian Kurdish Supreme Council -- made up of a range of groups from the country's Kurdish minority -- Muslim said its efforts to join the talks had failed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Syria Talks Are Doomed Without Iran: Excluding Bashar al-Assad's most important ally won't halt a widening proxy war

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014   No comments
The United States won a short-term diplomatic victory over Iran this week. Under intense pressure from American officials, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon withdrew an invitation for Iranian officials to attend the Syria peace conference.

Disinviting Tehran is the latest example of the Obama administration’s continual search for easy, risk-free solutions in Syria. As the conflict destabilizes the region, however, Washington must finally face the hard choice: Either compromise with Iran, or decisively support and arm the rebels.

New Report: 59% of Campuses Maintain Severe Speech Restrictions--But That's Actually an Improvement

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014   No comments
PHILADELPHIA, January 17, 2014—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2014 report on campus speech codes today, finding that 59% of the 427 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that seriously infringe upon students’ speech rights. For the sixth consecutive year, however, this percentage has dropped. Despite this progress, confusing signals from the federal government have created an unacceptable tension between universities’ twin obligations to protect free speech and to prevent discriminatory harassment.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Uruguay's president José Mujica: no palace, no motorcade, no frills; In the week that Uruguay legalises cannabis, the 78-year-old explains why he rejects the 'world's poorest president' label

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014   No comments
Uruguay's president presiding!

If anyone could claim to be leading by example in an age of austerity, it is José Mujica, Uruguay's president, who has forsworn a state palace in favour of a farmhouse, donates the vast bulk of his salary to social projects, flies economy class and drives an old Volkswagen Beetle.

But the former guerrilla fighter is clearly disgruntled by those who tag him "the world's poorest president" and – much as he would like others to adopt a more sober lifestyle – the 78-year-old has been in politics long enough to recognise the folly of claiming to be a model for anyone.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Al-Qaeda training British and European 'jihadists' in Syria to set up terror cells at home

    Monday, January 20, 2014   No comments
Al-Qaeda training hundreds of British and European jihadis in Syria - and telling them to return home to set up terror cells
British people fighting in Syria are being trained as “jihadists” and then encouraged to return to the UK to launch attacks on home soil, an al-Qaeda defector and western security sources have told the Telegraph.
In a rare interview on Turkey’s border with Syria, the defector from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) said that recruits from Britain, Europe and the US were being indoctrinated in extremist anti-Western ideology, trained in how to make and detonate car bombs and suicide vests and sent home to start new terror cells.
He has provided the first confirmation from Syrian rebels that young British men are being indoctrinated in extremist anti-Western ideology.

Systematic killing evidence in Syria

    Monday, January 20, 2014   No comments
The three, former prosecutors at the criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, examined thousands of Syrian government photographs and files recording deaths in the custody of regime security forces from March 2011 to last August.
...
Most of the victims were young men and many corpses were emaciated, bloodstained and bore signs of torture. Some had no eyes; others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A new MIT report is challenging the US claim that Assad forces used chemical weapons in an attack last August

    Saturday, January 18, 2014   No comments
A new MIT report is challenging the US claim that Assad forces used chemical weapons in an attack last August, highlighting that the range of the improvised rocket was way too short to have been launched from govt controlled areas.

In the report titled “Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former UN weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), examined the delivery rocket’s design and calculated possible trajectories based on the payload of the cargo.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

In pics: Islam celebrates Prophet Muhammad's birthday

    Thursday, January 16, 2014   No comments

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ya'alon: "Secretary of state John Kerry – who arrived here determined, and who operates from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianism – can't teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians"

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014   No comments
Israel's defence minister has been forced to apologise for "offensive and inappropriate" remarks, in which he described John Kerry as obsessive and messianic, after the ensuing diplomatic row engulfed the secretary of state's mission to broker a peace deal in the Middle East.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thierry Meyssan: discovery of links connecting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Al- Qaeda

    Tuesday, January 14, 2014   No comments
Al-Qaeda, NATO’s Timeless Tool
by Thierry Meyssan

The discovery of links connecting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Al- Qaeda is upsetting Turkish politics. Ankara not only actively supported terrorism in Syria, but did so as part of a NATO strategy. For Thierry Meyssan, the case also shows the artificiality of armed groups fighting against the government and the Syrian people.

sSo far, the authorities of the Member States of NATO affirm that the international jihadist movement, whose training they supported during the Afghan war against the Soviets (1979), would have turned against them upon the liberation of Kuwait (1991). They accuse Al-Qaeda of having attacked embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (1998) and of plotting the attacks of September 11, 2001 but admitted that, after the official death of Osama Bin Laden (2011), some jihadist elements again collaborated with them in Libya and Syria. However, Washington would have ended this tactical rapprochement in December 2012.

Monday, January 13, 2014

German foreign minister: Geneva II 'useless' without Iran

    Monday, January 13, 2014   No comments
Germany’s voice is once more echoing on the level of international foreign policy. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a veteran German politician, has become once again the leading figure in Berlin’s diplomacy after the formation of a coalition between the Social Democratic Party (SPD) to which he belongs and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Brother's Vengeance: The Preacher Who Could Topple Erdogan; The greatest threat yet to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan comes from a former ally. Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen and his influential followers seem determined to accomplish what the recent protest movement could not: overthrowing the current regime

    Thursday, January 09, 2014   No comments
Turgut Keles loved his premier. He maintained his support of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan through early summer, when demonstrators in Istanbul were protesting the redevelopment of Gezi Park. When Erdogan held a rally for tens of thousands of supporters, Keles was in the first row.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A former Guantanamo detainee who was transferred to his home country of Bahrain in 2005 has reportedly joined the jihad in Syria

    Tuesday, January 07, 2014   No comments
Ex-Guantanamo detainee and member of Bahrain's royal family joins Syrian jihad

According to an article in the Bahrain Mirror on Dec. 28, Sheikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifah has "return[ed] to jihad" by joining the Syrian mujahideen.

Citing undisclosed sources, the Bahrain Mirror reported that Sheikh Salman was not appropriately rehabilitated following his release from Guantanamo and was "alienated" from his family. This purportedly explains his trip to Syria, where he has "joined the fight."

Turkish PM Erdogan hit by allegations of son’s meeting with ‘Al Qaeda financier’

    Tuesday, January 07, 2014   No comments
Erdogan and his son, Bilal
An alleged meeting between the son of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a Saudi businessman accused by the United States of being an Al Qaeda financier has intensified the scent of scandal and corruption enveloping the Turkish government.

According to findings by investigators leaked to Turkish media, Yasin Al Qadi is suspected of involvement in a scandal over the sale of land in an upmarket neighbourhood in Istanbul. His alleged meeting last year with Bilal Erdogan could implicate the prime minister’s family in the affair.
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U.S. and Iran Face Common Enemies in Mideast Strife: they find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues surrounding an insurgency raging across the Middle East

    Tuesday, January 07, 2014   No comments
By THOMAS ERDBRINK
TEHRAN — Even as the United States and Iran pursue negotiations on Tehran’s nuclear program, they find themselves on the same side of a range of regional issues surrounding an insurgency raging across the Middle East.

While the two governments quietly continue to pursue their often conflicting interests, they are being drawn together by their mutual opposition to an international movement of young Sunni fighters, who with their pickup trucks and Kalashnikovs are raising the black flag of Al Qaeda along sectarian fault lines in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Moral Case for Ending America's Cold War with Iran: The stakes are higher than restraining Tehran's nuclear program; Improved relations may be our last best hope of ending the Syrian civil war

    Monday, January 06, 2014   No comments
The debate over a final nuclear deal with Iran can be mind-numbingly technical. To what percentage will Tehran be allowed to enrich uranium? What rules will govern inspections of its nuclear sites? Which sanctions will be lifted and how?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

'Chance of a Century': International Investors Flock to Tehran

    Saturday, January 04, 2014   No comments
By Susanne Koelbl
Since the West reached a landmark deal with Iran on its controversial nuclear program late last year, many Iranians are hoping for an end to sanctions. Western companies are also gearing up do big business.

Daniel Bernbeck has learned that in Tehran there's no point getting worked up about things like the gridlock between Gholhak, his neighborhood in the northern part of the city, and downtown, where his office is located. Here he is again, stuck in traffic, with everyone honking their horns. Tehran is a murderous city, says Bernbeck, even without international sanctions and threats of attack from Israel.

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