Monday, March 31, 2014

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech in Ankara, starting late March 30 and ending early March 31, on the results of the local elections

    Monday, March 31, 2014   No comments
I wholeheartedly greet our 81 provinces as well as sister and friendly capitals and cities of the world from Ankara, from the AK Party headquarters. I’ve just addressed via teleconference thousands of people who gathered in Skopje Square. They were sharing the joy you have here in freezing weather.  I first want to express my absolute gratitude to my God for such a victory and a meaningful result. 

I thank my friends and brothers all over the world who prayed for our victory. I thank my brothers in Palestine who saw our victory as their victory. I thank my brothers in Egypt who are struggling for democracy and who understand our struggle very well. I thank my brothers in the Balkans, in Bosnia, in Macedonia, in Kosovo and in all cities in Europe who celebrate our victory with the same joy we have here. I thank my suffering brothers in Syria who pray for our victory although in a great pain, facing starvation and under bombs and bullets. I express the gratitude of my people to all our brothers and friends who gave a support to Turkey’s independence struggle just like before the Independence War of Turkey. Of course, this precious people deserve the greatest appreciation.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The US is paying the cost of supporting the House of Saud as cracks begin to appear

    Sunday, March 30, 2014   No comments
PATRICK COCKBURN
President Obama flew to Saudi Arabia to patch up relations with King Abdullah at the end of last week in his first visit in five years. The alliance had been strained by Saudi anger over US negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme and Obama’s refusal to go to war in Syria to overthrow Bashar al-Assad last year. For its part, the US is upset by Saudi Arabia covertly supporting al-Qa’ida-type movements in Syria and elsewhere.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Turkey, Erdogan, denounced as "villainous" the leaking of a recording of top security officials discussing fabricating excuse for military action against Syria, blocks YouTube

    Friday, March 28, 2014   No comments
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday denounced as "villainous" the leaking of a recording of top security officials discussing possible military action in Syria to the video-sharing site YouTube (Watch part of the conversation on youtube).

Turkish authorities ordered the shutdown of the site.
Erdogan's foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the posting a "declaration of war," an apparent reference to an escalating power struggle between Erdogan and rivals.
The anonymous posting was an audio file with photographs of the officials involved.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Hundreds of Armenian families had to flee Kessab in northern Syria after the latest incursion by Turkey-backed rebels

    Thursday, March 27, 2014   No comments
Asbarez.com reports that the Armenian populated villages of Kessab were the target of three days of brutal cross-border attacks from Turkey by al-Qaeda affiliated armed bands, which have cost 80 lives and forced the civilian population of the area to flee to neighboring hills. Some 670 Armenian families, the majority of the population of Kessab, were evacuated by the local Armenian community leadership to safer areas in neighboring Basit and Latakia.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Saudi Arabia’s new terrorism law and a series of related royal decrees create a legal framework that appears to criminalize virtually all dissident thought or expression as terrorism

    Thursday, March 20, 2014   No comments
The sweeping provisions in the measures, all issued since February 2014, threaten to close down altogether Saudi Arabia’s already extremely restricted space for free expression.

“Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “These regulations dash any hope that King Abdullah intends to open a space for peaceful dissent or independent groups.”

President Obama's Nowruz Message to the Iranian People (with Persian)

    Thursday, March 20, 2014   No comments

President Obama's Nowruz Message to the Iranian People (with Persian)

 



President Obama sends best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz. In his video message, the President speaks directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about the possibility for the first time in many years of a new chapter in the history of Iran and its role in the world -- including a better relationship with the United States and the American people.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Edward Snowden: NSA whistleblower's leaks prompt US to make control of internet truly worldwide

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014   No comments
The web may be thought of as being worldwide, but from its inception the internet was created, controlled and overseen largely by a single country: the United States. Now, however, the US Government has said it intends to yield the reins to the global digital community.

RUSSIA WARNS WEST IT MAY CHANGE ITS STANCE ON IRAN

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014   No comments
 Russia may revise its stance in the Iranian nuclear talks amid tensions with the West over Ukraine, a senior diplomat warned Wednesday.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, according to the Interfax news agency, that Russia didn't want to use the Iranian nuclear talks to "raise the stakes," but may have to do so in response to the actions by the United States and the European Union.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Syrian Rebels Offer to ‘Trade’ Golan to Israel for military support

    Monday, March 17, 2014   No comments
Influential Syrian rebel Kamal al-Labwani’s comments today have raised the prospect of even further splintering the rebels, as he offered to “trade” the Golan Heights to Israel in return for cash and military aid for the rebellion.

Israel occupied the Golan Heights during 1967, and the prospect of returning the heights as part of an overall peace deal with Syria has been repeatedly broached, most recently in 2008.

Islamic scholar Gülen calls conditions in Turkey worse than military coup

    Monday, March 17, 2014   No comments
Gülen and Erdoğan
Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who has inspired a worldwide network active in education, charity and outreach, has described large-scale slander, pressure and oppression his Hizmet movement currently faces as worse than that seen during anti-democratic military coup regimes witnessed by Turkey. He also calls on his supporters to remain patient and steadfast and to not despair.

“What we are seeing today is 10 times worse than what we saw during the military coups,” he said, adding to that “we face similar treatment [as seen during the military coups] but at the hands of civilians who we think follow the same faith as us.”

Algeria on Sunday sent more anti- riot troops to the province of Ghardaia, vowing not to withdraw any units until calm has been restored

    Monday, March 17, 2014   No comments
Interior Minister Tayeb Belaiz told reporters in downtown Ghardaia, 600 km south of Algiers, that local authorities and interim Prime Minister Youcef Yousfi agreed to open an investigation to determine the causes behind sectarian clashes between the Arab Chaamba community and the Mozabite Berbers of the Muslim Ibadi sect.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Syrian government forces and Hezbollah seize border town of Yabroud

    Sunday, March 16, 2014   No comments
Syrian Armed Froces
Syria on Sunday said its army took control of a key town on the Lebanese border, the alleged source of several car bombs that have struck Beirut, racking up another strategic gain for the government as the conflict enters its fourth year.

However, some rebels denied that the Syrian government forces, backed in battle by fighters from the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah, were in full control of Yabroud.

The Syrian state news agency, SANA, said the Syrian army seized Yabroud a little more than 24 hours after troops first stormed its eastern limits on Friday night. Government forces have been closing in on the town for months as they attempt to cut supply lines across Lebanon’s porous border.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saudi Arabia bans 50 baby names

    Saturday, March 15, 2014   No comments
Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry has banned 50 given names including “foreign” names, names related to royalty and those it considers to be blasphemous.
Saudis will no longer be able to give their children names such as Amir (prince), Linda or Abdul Nabi (Slave of the Prophet) after the civil affairs department at the ministry issued the list, according to Saudi news sites.
It justified the ban by saying that the names either contradicted the culture or religion of the kingdom, or were foreign, or “inappropriate”.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

UN criticizes US for human rights failings on NSA, guns and drones

    Thursday, March 13, 2014   No comments
The US came under sharp criticism at the UN human rights committee in Geneva on Thursday for a long list of human rights abuses that included everything from detention without charge at Guantánamo, drone strikes and NSA surveillance, to the death penalty, rampant gun violence and endemic racial inequality.

At the start of a two-day grilling of the US delegation, the committee’s 18 experts made clear their deep concerns about the US record across a raft of human rights issues. Many related to faultlines as old as America itself, such as guns and race.

Thousands bid farewell to Gezi victim Berkin with anti-Erdoğan slogans

    Thursday, March 13, 2014   No comments
Tens of thousands marched through Şişli, İstanbul.
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the country to protest the death of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who died on Tuesday after being in a coma for nine months after being hit on the head by a tear gas canister during last summer's Gezi Park protests, as Turkey bid a heartbreaking farewell to its youngest Gezi victim.

A huge crowd began to gather around the Okmeydanı cemevi in İstanbul where a funeral ceremony was held for the young boy. The crowd chanted slogans such as “Berkin Elvan, the child of hope,” “The murderer state will be called to account” and “Tayyip! Killer!” They called on Prime Minister Erdoğan to resign. Berkin's father, Sami Elvan, greeted the crowd and received their messages of condolence.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Iran: Violence against Muslims in CAR is ‘genocide’

    Monday, March 10, 2014   No comments
The horrific violent behavior against Muslims in the Central African Republic is a “kind of genocide”, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said in a meeting on Wednesday with his South African counterpart Max Sisulu in Cape Town.

This issue poses a threat to the Central African Republic and actions must be taken to stop it, Larijani noted.

Tutu explaining his support for Israeli Apartheid Week: Israel's humiliation of Palestinians 'familiar to black South Africans'

    Monday, March 10, 2014   No comments
The Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation has voiced its support for Israeli Apartheid Week, saying the successful boycotting of apartheid South Africa was indispensable in bringing about its downfall.

“People who are denied their dignity and rights deserve the solidarity of their fellow human beings,” Anglican Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said on Sunday night.

Kofi Annan: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have supplied the “Syrian opposition” with money and arms

    Monday, March 10, 2014   No comments
Who armed the Syrian Rebels?
Former UN Secretary General and former international envoy to Syria Kofi Annan said Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have supplied the “Syrian opposition” with money and arms.

In an interview with the Austrian Die Presse newspaper, Annan noted that some regional and Western countries rejected the six-point plan which he presented for solving the crisis in Syria because they had differences with the Syrian leadership or with Iran, Russia and China, adding that those countries then formed the so-called “Friends of Syria” group.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Saudis, UAE, Bahrain withdraw envoys from Qatar in security dispute: the move will further undermine the coherence of the support that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are providing rebels groups in Syria

    Thursday, March 06, 2014   No comments
A long-simmering row between Qatar and other Gulf states over its links with the Muslim Brotherhood and the role of its television station, Al-Jazeera, has exploded into the open with an angry shouting match and the withdrawal of ambassadors.
A joint statement by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain said they were withdrawing ambassadors from the Qatari capital Doha because it had failed to stick to an agreement by the six Gulf states not to interfere in each others’ affairs.
The statement was released after a meeting in Riyadh of foreign ministers of the six Gulf countries - the other two are Kuwait and Oman - broke up in acrimony on Tuesday night, according to reports in the local media.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar

    Wednesday, March 05, 2014   No comments
GCC states
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday in an unprecedented public split between Gulf Arab allies who have fallen out over the role of Islamists in a region in turmoil.

Qatar's cabinet voiced "regret and surprise" at the decision by the fellow-members of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, but said Doha would not pull out its own envoys and that it remained committed to GCC security and stability.

The Saudi-led trio said they had acted because Qatar failed to honor a GCC agreement signed on November 23 not to back "anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals - via direct security work or through political influence, and not to support hostile media".

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union: Islamist alliances have emerged to overshadow the rest

    Tuesday, March 04, 2014   No comments
Like everywhere else in Syria, the rebel groups fighting in the Damascus region are badly divided on the ground.

A year ago, one could identify at least a handful of rival alliances among the many dozens of factions in and around the Syrian capital. All these factions seemed to be just as busy splitting from each other as they were fighting the regime. But in the past few months, as new money has started to flood in from abroad, a haphazard process of unification has begun to yield results. Today, although many smaller groups continue to fight on separately alongside them, two Islamist alliances have emerged to overshadow the rest.

Monday, March 3, 2014

President Barack Obama talks about Iran, the Middle East, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and U.S. foreign policy in general

    Monday, March 03, 2014   No comments
President Obama sitting down for an extensive interview
Obama to Israel -- Time Is Running Out

By Jeffrey Goldberg

When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the White House tomorrow, President Barack Obama will tell him that his country could face a bleak future -- one of international isolation and demographic disaster -- if he refuses to endorse a U.S.-drafted framework agreement for peace with the Palestinians. Obama will warn Netanyahu that time is running out for Israel as a Jewish-majority democracy. And the president will make the case that Netanyahu, alone among Israelis, has the strength and political credibility to lead his people away from the precipice.

In an hour long interview Thursday in the Oval Office, Obama, borrowing from the Jewish sage Rabbi Hillel, told me that his message to Netanyahu will be this: “If not now, when? And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?” He then took a sharper tone, saying that if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach." He added, "It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

Bomb attacks by Sunni extremists in Lebanon have seen an increase in volunteers for the Shia militia that supports President Assad

    Monday, March 03, 2014   No comments
Hizbollah Supporters
Hizbollah, the militant Lebanese Shia group, is seeing a surge in recruitment as sectarian conflict spreads from the Syrian civil war, members of the group have told the Telegraph.
A spate of car bomb attacks against Shia towns and villages in Lebanon has caused a spike in the number of young men volunteering to fight for the group in Syria as the minority sect increasingly sees its own survival as tied to that of President Bashar al-Assad.
"All the men from this area are getting guns and asking to fight in Syria, whether they are already members of Hizbollah or not," said one supporter of the militia, who asked not to be named. "We are in a critical situation and we have to fight for the sake of the Shia."
He spoke sitting in a cafe in Hermel, a town of mainly Shia inhabitants in Lebanon's eastern Bekaa valley, that has long been a bastion for the secretive paramilitary group.
Once a sleepy country haunt, Hermal today has the feel of a town at war.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Report: Obama pushes Israel to stop assassinations of Iran nuclear scientists

    Sunday, March 02, 2014   No comments
President Barack Obama is pressuring Israel to stop carrying out assassinations of top nuclear scientists in Iran as the Islamic Republic continues its negotiations with world powers over its uranium enrichment program, according to a new book.

Apart from pressure from Washington that Israel give up the assassination program, sources close to Israel's intelligence agencies told CBS News’s Dan Raviv that Mossad itself viewed the campaign as too dangerous to continue. Raviv, who was updating a book he co-wrote about the history of Israel's intelligence agencies, said the pressure form the Obama administration was “more than a hint.”

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jeff Bezos and the Imperial Paper; Washington Post’s prestige based on proximity to power

    Saturday, March 01, 2014   No comments
If the United States derived its might primarily from its economic power, the Washington Post would enjoy the same degree of international influence as, say, the Xinhua newspaper of Beijing. The two countries have roughly comparable outputs, with China’s GDP being about 80 percent the size of the US economy when adjusted for purchasing power, according to the IMF.
But a large part of what makes the United States a unique superpower is its role as the world’s military hegemon, reflected in part by its roughly 1,000 overseas bases. (China has none.)
It is this added power emanating from the Pentagon that helps confer an outsize authority to the opinion pages of the capital’s major paper. The Post’s status as a weathervane for the political winds of official Washington makes its views—unlike those of any other paper serving a city of a mere 630,000—virtually required reading for much of the world.

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