Thursday, August 25, 2016

Does Saudi Arabia support extremism and terrorism?

    Thursday, August 25, 2016   No comments
Is the world today a more divided, dangerous and violent place because of the cumulative effect of five decades of oil-financed proselytizing from the historical heart of the Muslim world? Or is Saudi Arabia, which has often supported Western-friendly autocrats over Islamists, merely a convenient scapegoat for extremism and terrorism with many complex causes — the United States’s own actions among them?
...
This NYT's article attempts to answer these questions, now, but where were the NYT and the rest of the Western media before it has become "fashionable" to criticize the Saudis, and when only few had voiced concerns?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Ahead of the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan set down for an interview with TASS

    Thursday, August 11, 2016   No comments
Ahead of the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an interview with TASS commented on Moscow-Ankara relations, the military coup attempt, the Kurdish question, Syrian peace settlement and anti-terrorism efforts.

- Mr. President, thank you for the opportunity to have this meeting. We are talking literally hours before your visit to Russia, to St. Petersburg, where you are scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin’s Press Secretary, Dmitry Peskov, has already said that joint steps to restore relations between our countries, including a wide range of issues from the economy to Syria, will be in focus. There is a great deal for you to discuss. That’s Russia’s vision. What is your agenda? How do you foresee the forthcoming talks?

- Mr. Gusman, thank you very much. It is true that ahead of the visit scheduled for Tuesday I am very grateful for the opportunity this meeting offers to express our own viewpoint, how things look to us in Turkey.

It has been eight months since the tragic downing of the Russian jet. Over this period our cooperation continued along a number of lines. As you know, in the context of Russian-Turkish relations we had planned to build up bilateral trade to $100 billion. There’ve been difficulties with that. A number of our major projects, including the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, have been suspended. I am certain that we will have an opportunity to discuss all these aspects and that a new page in Russian-Turkish relations will be opened. This new leaf to be turned over will include cooperation in the military field, in the economy and in culture. Our countries are key players in the region and they are going to accomplish a great deal together. It is with this conviction that I will arrive in Russia on a visit. I don’t have the slightest doubt that Mr. Putin has been making preparations for the visit in the same fashion, and I would like to say this using the opportunities of your television channel.

I envision this visit as a new landmark in bilateral relations, a clean slate from which to start anew. On behalf of myself and the Turkish nation, I cordially greet Mr. Putin and all Russians.

- Mr. President, of course it is a great pleasure to hear what you’ve just said. You mentioned a tragic page in our relations – the death of our pilot. I know that this episode caused ache in the hearts of all Russians. You surely understand this, Mr. President. So my question to you is who in your opinion is to blame and will the perpetrators be punished?

- I’ve already had a chance to explain our stance in the letter I had sent. I said that this event was a great misfortune to us and it deeply upset us. The culprits in what happened in Syrian territory have been detained and brought to justice already. The investigation is continuing. In fact, I conveyed that in my message. As for the pilots, I ordered a probe into the circumstances that occurred beyond the bounds of our customary rules of response. You also know that the man who caused the Russian pilot’s death, who killed the Russian pilot, is now in custody. He is standing trial. I would like to emphasize that.

- Just recently Turkey, the people of Turkey, and you personally experienced a very dramatic moment, of course. There was an attempted coup against the government. As far as I understand, you managed to suppress the coup by relying on the will of the people, first and foremost. These days we can see rallies in your support. You managed to establish stability in Turkey. Very many people, tens of thousands are under arrest and investigation. In a situation like this how did you manage to quash the rebellion? On the other hand, the large number of those arrested may possibly indicate that “anti-government forces”, let us refer to them as such, could have taken deep root in Turkish society.

- Those who tried to stage this coup against the government and the people, failed to take into account key factors. Although they had penetrated deeply into government agencies, the army, the police and the judiciary, we have police and military servicemen who refused to join the coup plotters. There were also judges and prosecutors who refused to join, too. Yet, the most important thing that we have, is our nation, a people such as ours. The plotters never took into account the will of our people. They never even imagined that our people would not hesitate to stop tanks with their bodies. They failed to take that into account. Not once did the thought enter their minds that these people would stand firm despite bombs being dropped on them from planes, or helicopters opening fire on them. At the moment, 240 are listed dead and about 2,200 others injured. Some of the survivors are still in intensive care. These people’s hearts are filled with a burning love for their country; they were ready to sacrifice themselves. That’s why they took to the streets, women and even elderly people. The young as well, take a look at those killed –15-year-old youths were among them.

Amid these events, I received a phone call from Mr. Putin already on the second day. As we talked he said that he was against the coup and would remain on our side. I recall his high-principled position with gratitude and I thank him on behalf of myself and the Turkish people.

All world leaders must resist treason, government coup attempts and attacks on their own people. Mr. Putin acted quickly and practically without delay. Once again, I express my gratitude to him.

- In this connection there is one question I would like to make clear. As you may know some media outlets in and outside of Russia carried reports that Russia and its secret services had conveyed some sort of warning, that they had notified the special services that preparations for a government coup were underway. The question I want to ask you does this scenario conform to reality.

This is the first time that I have heard such a thing. Even if it had really been so, those concerned would have been obliged to inform me first thing. I received no such information, not from intelligence, nor through any other channels. We don’t know who said what and to whom. I believe that this is a groundless rumor.

- As far as I know, Turkey has asked the United States twice or possibly more to extradite Mr. Gulen, who, to my knowledge was one of the failed coup plotters. There’s been no response from the United States so far. If the US refuses to meet Turkey’s request, how do you see future relations with Washington?

- It would be wrong to approach this question from that standpoint. At the moment, the process of negotiations is continuing. Earlier, I addressed Mr. Obama with such a request. Whenever you demanded that we should extradite terrorists, I told them, we satisfied those demands. The head of the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (led by Fethullah Gulen) has been in your country (the United States) since 1999.

Regrettably, at a certain point we had provided full support for him and his team. They were saying that they were involved in some activities in the field of education, and that they worked for the future of our country. Regrettably, they did not proceed along these lines. It was a cover-up. Then we realized that they were moving in a different direction. I had suspected there was something wrong about that from the very start. They were opening private schools. Moreover, the activities at such educational establishments were far from positive. In fact they were working in a very negative way. Their activity was entirely centered on profit-seeking. We failed to pay proper attention to that when I was prime minister.

Starting from 2010 we had begun to crack down on this problem, by closing down such establishments, but much more of them were cropping up. When such schools were shut down, we arranged to compensate people by setting up weekend courses. Our people started going there because they did not have to spend much money. Many of them are poor and we saved them. Also, it was a source of extra income for our teachers.

In reality, even though we have demanded this man’s extradition. They say if you regard this man as a terrorist, then send us the documents. We will study them first and then take measures in accordance with US legislation. True, there are some documents we had sent them before. By now we’ve sent 85 boxfuls of paperwork on this case. In the near future, the Turkish justice minister, foreign minister, special envoy and a number of prosecutors and judges who were in charge of this matter will go to the United States and brief the American authorities in person.

- I know, Mr. President, that you pay much attention to creating Turkey’s new fundamental law, the new Constitution. You are the architect of the new legislation. What fundamentally new features will the new Constitution have? Should the people adopt it at your initiative? And how will this Constitution reconcile the traditions of a secular Turkish state with the Muslim religion?


...read the rest of the interview at the source

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Native Deen Uses Rap to Combat Stereotypes About Islam

    Tuesday, August 09, 2016   No comments
Summer camp may seem like an unlikely place to create a successful, internationally-acclaimed rap group.
But in the early 90s, during an era when the mix of rap and musical activism was at its prime, three amateur, Muslim-American artists saw an opportunity to blend the Islamic faith and hip-hop culture.

Roughly a decade later — the same year as the Sept. 11 attacks — the trio formed Native Deen, a Washington, D.C., based rap group,which celebrates the Islamic-American experience using a fusion of hip-hop and R&B flavor.
Native Deen meet with students during a trip with members of the U.S. State Department to a school in the Palestinian territories in 2006.


*****
"We grew up during the golden ages of hip-hop. This was the music and the language of young people," group member Naeem Muhammad told NBC News. Their mission? "To spread an uplifting message of Islam" to combat the misunderstanding of Muslims and non-Muslims alike, said group member Abdul-Malik Ahmad. The group now boasts sold out performances internationally and in 2006 won an Al-Mahabba Award, which celebrates Muslim achievements in the arts, in Dubai. "Our music came at a time where a lot of young Muslims were having issues with identity," Muhammad said, adding that Muslim youth often struggle with merging "their Muslim identity with all of their American identity" while growing up in a country that misunderstands their faith. Source

 

  


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Who supplied the Syrian rebels with weapons and munitions?

    Sunday, August 07, 2016   No comments
... an investigative journalism report concludes that it was CIA, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, and UAE...
 Eastern European countries have approved the discreet sale of more than €1bn of weapons in the past four years to Middle Eastern countries that are known to ship arms to Syria, an investigation has found.

Thousands of assault rifles such as AK-47s, mortar shells, rocket launchers, anti-tank weapons and heavy machine guns are being routed through a new arms pipeline from the Balkans to the Arabian peninsula and countries bordering Syria.

The suspicion is that much of the weaponry is being sent into Syria, fuelling the five-year civil war, according to a team of reporters from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).

Arms export data, UN reports, plane tracking, and weapons contracts examined during a year-long investigation reveal how the munitions were sent east from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Montenegro, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania.


End-user certificates – official documents drawn up when receiving an export licence – issued by the Saudi defence ministry to a Serbian arms dealer, as well as a cache of contracts obtained by BIRN and OCCRP, revealed the scope of the buy-up for Syrian beneficiaries.

It ranged from hundreds of ageing T-55 and T-72 tanks to millions of rounds of ammunition, multi-launch missile systems and rocket launchers, although it is not clear what was delivered. Weapons and ammunition listed include materiel from the former Yugoslavia, Belarus, Ukraine and Czech Republic, much of which is present in large quantities in Syria. source


Friday, August 5, 2016

Will Jaysh al-Fath merge with other Salafi armed groups to create a "sunni" army?

    Friday, August 05, 2016   No comments
Rebels suspected of downing the Russian helicopter in Idlib, want the release of prisoners in exchange for the corpses

Mr. al-Mohaisany using the title, Dr.

A week since the Russia helicopter was shot down in Idlib killing all crew members, and no group claimed responsibility for the downing of the airplane or possession of the corpses. Russian officials’ initial statement was cryptic but directed at the U.S. and Turkey:
“The helicopter was hit from the ground in an area under control of the armed units of Al-Nusra Front terrorist group and the troops of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ who joined them.” ~ General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the main operations department of the Russian General Staff.
The lack of comments out of Russia might indicate that they have an idea who shot the plane and they know that they can rely on Turkey to play a role in securing the return of the corpses.

The lack of comments from the Opposition side indicates that its leaders are nervous over the reaction of both, Russia and their supporters, given the indefensible abuse of the bodies, a violation of all laws and norms.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Erdogan: West supporting terrorism, coups

    Tuesday, August 02, 2016   No comments
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused the West of backing terrorism and coups.

Erdogan, who has hinted at suspicions of foreign involvement in the July 15 coup attempt previously, also criticized “some Western countries” for urging people against visiting Turkey.

“The West is supporting terrorism and taking side with coups [since] they are not hurt as badly as we are,” he told a meeting of international investors at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.

He added: “The failed coup was not masterminded and planned inside Turkey but orchestrated abroad.”

Body of Russian pilot is dragged through the dirt and stamped on after helicopter is shot down by Syrian rebels

    Tuesday, August 02, 2016   No comments

    WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

    Russian Mi-8 helicopter carrying three crew and two officers was shot down by Syrian rebels in the Idlib region
    Gruesome pictures show what is believed to be body of a Russian pilot being dragged through dirt and onto truck
    Russian officials say aircraft was returning from delivering aid to war-torn Aleppo when it was gunned down

A Russian military helicopter has been shot down by rebels in Syria killing all five people on board, it has been revealed.

The aircraft, carrying three crew and two officers, crashed down in the Idlib province in north western Syria on its way home to a Russian airbase.

Gruesome pictures have since emerged showing what is believed to be the body of a Russian pilot being dragged through the dirt and loaded on to a truck.  Source
 

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