Sunday, November 29, 2015

Erdogan's Mistake: Russia May Now Initiate Own 'No-Fly Zone' Over Syria

    Sunday, November 29, 2015   No comments
President Erdogan's mistake in shooting down the Russian Su-24 bomber 'has waived the green light' for Russia to initiate a 'no-fly zone' by deploying additional fighter power and air defense systems in Syria, US columnist Jim W. Dean notes.
The US-led coalition's recent provocation against the Russo-Syrian counter terrorism campaign has "put nothing but torpedoes into its own sinking international credibility," according to US columnist and managing editor for Veterans Today Jim W. Dean.

Dean stresses that the destruction of the ISIL oil tanker fleet, which NATO had been "somehow" unable to detect for over a year, has predictably prompted outrage from those who have long been benefiting from the illicit oil trade.

Turkey's changing explanation for shooting down Russian jet harming its standing, exposing its double standard, and strengthening Syrian government

    Sunday, November 29, 2015   No comments
Iraqi Vice President Nuri al-Maliki on Thursday accused Erdoğan of pushing the world to the brink of a global conflict after it downed the Russian warplane, according to a report by French news agency the AFP. "Erdoğan claims the Russian aircraft entered Turkey's airspace for a few seconds, forgetting that its own planes violate Iraqi and Syrian airspace every day," he said in a statement. Turkish fighter jets have, in recent months, carried out a series of deadly strikes against rebels of the Kurdistan

Saturday, November 28, 2015

UK could be prosecuted for war crimes over missiles sold to Saudi Arabia that were used to kill civilians in Yemen

    Saturday, November 28, 2015   No comments
Advisers to the Foreign Secretary step up legal warnings that the missile sales may breach international humanitarian law

Britain is at risk of being prosecuted for war crimes because of growing evidence that missiles sold to Saudi Arabia have been used against civilian targets in Yemen’s brutal civil war, Foreign Office lawyers and diplomats have warned.

Advisers to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, have stepped up legal warnings that the sale of specialist missiles to the Saudis, deployed throughout nine months of almost daily bombing raids in west Yemen against Houthi rebels, may breach international humanitarian law.

Since March this year, bombing raids and a blockade of ports imposed by the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Gulf states have crippled much of Yemen. Although the political aim is to dislodge Houthi Shia rebels and restore the exiled President, Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi, thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed, with schools, hospitals and non-military infrastructure hit. Fuel and food shortages, according to the United Nations, have brought near famine to many parts of the country.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict

    Thursday, November 26, 2015   No comments
The United Arab Emirates has secretly dispatched hundreds of Colombian mercenaries to Yemen to fight in that country’s raging conflict, adding a volatile new element in a complex proxy war that has drawn in the United States and Iran.

It is the first combat deployment for a foreign army that the Emirates has quietly built in the desert over the past five years, according to several people currently or formerly involved with the project. The program was once managed by a private company connected to Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, but the people involved in the effort said that his role ended several years ago and that it has since been run by the Emirati military.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

"Turkey gave no warning" before shooting down the Russia plane

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015   No comments
Capt Konstantin Murakhtin told Russian television there was "no way" the jet could have violated Turkish airspace, as Turkey said it did.

Russia said Capt Murakhtin was rescued in a 12-hour operation involving special forces.

Turkey insists the pilots were warned 10 times before the plane was shot down.

It is not clear what happened to the body of his co-pilot, who was killed by gunfire as he parachuted from the burning plane.

Capt Murakhtin was speaking from the Hmeymim airbase, where Russia's aircraft have been based in its Syrian campaign, and where he was taken after being rescued.

He said he knew the region he had been flying in "very well" and that the jet had not been in Turkish airspace "even for a second".

Monday, November 23, 2015

Turkish government uses Syrian Turkmens to try again for a buffer zone inside Syria, Turkmen leader says Syrian government is not a threat, Terrorists are

    Monday, November 23, 2015   No comments
Turkey has called for a U.N. Security Council meeting to discuss attacks on Turkmens in neighboring Syria, according to Prime Ministry sources, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu saying his government will “not hesitate” to take the required measures on Syrian soil to protect the Turkmen people.

“We will also take the required measures diplomatically for the protection of our brothers and sisters in the place where they are located and for the protection of their human rights in the face of any threat,” he also stated.
However, prominent Syrian Turkmen figure Ali Türkmani challenged Ankara’s claims that Syria’s Turkmen community was being targeted in attacks.

“There is a perception operation that is being waged over the Turkmens,” Türkmani told daily BirGün on Nov. 22. “The regime will of course attempt to maintain its territorial integrity. As such, threats from al-Nusra and the Free Syrian Army are being targeted [by Russian air strikes]. It’s not correct to say the Turkmens are being targeted,” he added.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

ISIL assembling chemical weapons team, preparing for attacks with chemical weapons

    Sunday, November 22, 2015   No comments
The Islamic State is putting together a team of scientists to produce chemical weapons, raising concerns that they could be used against the West like last week's deadly attacks in Paris, according to a published report.

The new branch of the terrorist group will consist of scientists from the region, including Iraq and Syria, and will conduct research and experiments to develop chemical weapons, U.S. and Iraqi intelligence officials said. Some of those working on the team once worked for Saddam Hussein's former Military Industrialization Authority.

The team also includes foreign experts from Chechnya and southeast Asia, according to the Associated Press.

Friday, November 20, 2015

‘Rabid’ dogs and closing mosques: Anti-Islam rhetoric grows in GOP

    Friday, November 20, 2015   No comments
Carson:  Not all Muslims are like rabid dogs, just one might be.
One of the front-runners in the Republican presidential race said Thursday he would “absolutely” want a database of Muslims in the country and wouldn’t rule out giving them special ID cards that noted their religion.

Another top candidate likened Syrian refugees — who are largely Muslim — to dogs. Some of them might be rabid, he said, which was reason to keep them all out.

And a third stood up in the Senate on Thursday and called for banning refugees from five Middle Eastern countries. He was explicit that the point was to keep Muslim refugees out while letting Christians from the same places in.

Ivy League universities and the legacy of racism

    Friday, November 20, 2015   No comments
A 32-hour protest about the racial climate at Princeton ended Thursday night when the president and students reached an agreement that included consideration of the idea of renaming the university’s storied Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Soon afterward, the university announced an anonymous threat of violence that referenced the protest.

The debate came in the midst of a national escalation of the topic of race on campus, with students at dozens of colleges confronting administrators and other students and presenting demands — and anonymous threats surfacing, as well.

The Black Justice League at Princeton had demanded that the president acknowledge the racist legacy of Woodrow Wilson and remove his name from buildings on campus, mandate “cultural competency” courses for all faculty and staff, and provide cultural space for black students on campus.

President Christopher Eisgruber immediately agreed to the idea of a cultural space Wednesday night, but declined to sign the demands and promised to continue talking with students about the other ideas.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

US Republican Senator for the State of Virginia Richard Black sent letter to Syrian president praising his 'dramatic strides against terrorists'

    Thursday, November 19, 2015   No comments

US Republican Senator for the State of Virginia Richard Black sent a letter Tuesday to President Bashar al-Assad praising the Syrian leader and his army, while criticizing the US.

“I was pleased by the Russians’ intervention against the armies invading Syria," Black wrote. "With their support, the Syrian Army has made dramatic strides against the terrorists.”

Blacks letter came as Russian and French raids struck arms depots, barracks and other areas in Raqa city, the bastion of the Islamic State terrorist group in northern Syria.

Moscow began an air war in Syria, in coordination with embattled President Bashar al-Assad, on September 30. On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed his military to work with France "as allies," and agreed in a phone call with French President Francois Hollande on "closer contact and coordination" of operations in Syria.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What about Beirut? Is there a double standard in Western media?

    Wednesday, November 18, 2015   No comments
Terrorists attack Beirut
The terrorist attacks in Paris have incited global support. But that has left some Lebanese, who suffered their own terror attack last week, asking: What about us?
The deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night happened one day after similar terrorist attacks in Beirut, prompting some to see a double standard in the media's coverage of the two events.

Forty-three people died and dozens were injured in the Beirut attack on Thursday. In Paris, at least 129 people died and more than 350 were injured.

Lebanon's capital is no stranger to terror. While Thursday’s twin bomb blasts were the deadliest in Beirut since 1990, the country has long been a terror target, with 14 bombings between July 2013 and June 2014 that killed almost 100.

But the Lebanese may have reason to feel slighted. #PrayforParis was mentioned about 6.6 million times on Twitter, compared to 273,000 mentions of #Beirut and #PrayforBeirut combined. Facebook activated Safety Check after a terrorist attack for the first time after the Paris attacks, with no similar feature activated the day before for Beirut, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin: 40 countries, including those among the G-20, finance ISIL

    Monday, November 16, 2015   No comments
Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed some 40 countries, including those among the Group of 20 nations, for financing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, Russia Today reported Nov. 16.

“I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State [ISIL] units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries, and there are some of the G-20 members among them,” Putin told the journalists during a briefing on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Turkey’s Mediterranean city of Antalya.

“I’ve shown our colleagues photos taken from space and from aircraft which clearly demonstrate the scale of the illegal trade in oil and petroleum products,” the Russian leader was quoted as saying.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Saudi King Salman makes extravagant entrance to Antalya, Turkey, to attend G-20 Summit: Some 400 luxury cars and 546 rooms

    Friday, November 13, 2015   No comments
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud was welcomed by a convoy of luxury cars on Nov. 12 to attend the G-20 Summit on Nov. 15-16 in Antalya, where 546 rooms have been booked for him.

Saudi Prince El Velid Bin Telal, Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, and Antalya’s leading civil authorities, were waiting to welcome the king to Turkey’s Mediterranean resort city, where he will stay at the exclusive Mardan Palace Hotel.

During his trip to the hotel, special security forces and local police forces took intense security measures to guard his convoy.

Some 400 luxury cars have also been reserved for King Salman, who is expected to stay in Antalya for over two weeks after the G-20 Summit.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Saudi execution toll highest in two decades, according to Amnesty International report

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015   No comments
Saudi Arabia has executed at least 151 people so far this year, the highest number since 1995. Rights group Amnesty International says it ranks after China and Iran for the number of executions carried out. 

 According to an Amnesty International report released on Monday Saudi Arabia is one of the top five countries for executing people. It ranked third in the world in 2014, after China and Iran and ahead of Iraq and the United States, according to Amnesty International figures.

"So far in 2015, on average, one person has been executed every other day," the Amnesty report stated. The recent annual figure rarely exceeded 90 executions.

The latest execution to take place in the Gulf state was on Monday. It involved a Saudi national convicted of killing a policeman who had tried to arrest him for smuggling drugs, according to the interior ministry.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Contrary to Erdogan wishes, 57% of Turkish citizens prefer parliamentary system

    Thursday, November 05, 2015   No comments
More than half of all Turkish citizens prefer Turkey’s current parliamentarian system instead of imposing a presidential system on the country, according to a survey conducted a day after the Nov. 1 snap elections by the Ipsos surveying company.

Some 57 percent of respondents said “Turkey should continue to have the current parliamentarian system,” while only 31 percent said “Turkey should introduce a presidential system.”

Twelve percent, however, said they had no idea or response to the question over the country’s administrative system. The survey was conducted among 1,614 respondents from 81 provinces who were eligible to cast votes in the Nov. 1 elections between Nov. 2 and 3.

The survey, which was conducted immediately after the elections, also revealed that a majority of respondents believe that the constitution should change.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's priorities: make me king

    Wednesday, November 04, 2015   No comments
ISR comment: Revealing the real reason for calling for snap elections after his party had failed to win the June 7 one, the Turkish president asked leaders of his party to start work immediately on amending the constitution. Simply put, he wants to be a president with sultan powers and he will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has overtly presented the creation of a new constitution that would pave the way for a transition to a presidential system as the number-one item on the agenda of the newly elected legislature.

“Turkey’s need to solve the issue of a new constitution was one of the most important messages of Nov. 1. The nation is waiting for this,” Erdoğan said Nov. 4, during a group of neighborhood and village heads (muhtars) at the first of such regular meetings held at his presidential palace since the Nov. 1 snap elections.

Although Erdoğan this time did not directly referred to his long-held, naked ambition to create an executive presidential system, earlier in the same day, his presidential spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın, said Turkey was considering holding a referendum on changing from a parliamentary to a presidential system.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Kuwait Court Jails Five over ISIL Fundraising

    Monday, November 02, 2015   No comments
A lower court in Kuwait on Monday sentenced five men to 10 years in jail each for raising funds for the ISIL group.

Three of those convicted were Kuwaiti citizens, according to the court ruling.

The court ordered that the remaining two, who were foreigners, be deported after serving the jail term. Their nationalities were not immediately clear.

It also acquitted two others, AFP reported on Monday.

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