Sunday, June 29, 2014

ISIL changes name and declares its territories a new Islamic state with 'restoration of caliphate' in Middle East

    Sunday, June 29, 2014   No comments
Caliphate according to ISIL & affiliates
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has reportedly declared the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria as a new Islamic state, removing Iraq and the Levant from its name and ushering in “a new era of international jihad”.

The announcement will see the Isis now simply refer to itself as The Islamic State, and the group has called on al-Qa’ida and other related militant Sunni factions operating in the region to immediately pledge their allegiance.

According to Isis’s chief spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the declaration of the “restoration of the caliphate” was made after a meeting of the group’s Shura Council. In recent weeks, Isis has captured large areas of western and northern Iraq and for two years has held parts of Syria, imposing a harsh interpretation of Islamic law and in many cases, killing large numbers of opposition Shia Muslims.

Adnani said all jihadist organisations must now offer up their support to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been declared Caliph of the new state.

Charles Lister, visiting fellow at the Qatar-based Brookings Doha Centre, said that the declaration signalled “massive trouble” regardless of the perceived legitimacy of the Isis group, adding that the next 24 hours will be “key”.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Obama: There is no "moderate" Syrian opposition forces that could topple Assad

    Monday, June 23, 2014   No comments
Obama: Notion that Syrian Opposition Could Overthrow Assad a “Fantasy”

President Barack Obama called the idea that the U.S. could readily arm a moderate Syrian opposition force a “fantasy,” saying his administration is still working to bolster rebel groups.

Obama, in an interview today with CBS News, said the more moderate elements of the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is made of middle-class Syrians who are facing a battle-hardened regime. There is no “ready-made” opposition group for the U.S. to back with arms and military aid, he said.

“The notion that they were in a position to suddenly overturn not only Assad but also ruthless, highly-trained jihadists if we just sent a few arms is a fantasy,” Obama said in an excerpt of the interview broadcast on the network’s evening news program.  Source

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A Country Implodes: ISIS Pushes Iraq to the Brink

    Saturday, June 21, 2014   No comments
 An evening curfew has been in force in Mosul since last Monday, says Ali. He and his family heard gunshots near their apartment on Tuesday, and when Ali looked outside, he saw a dead body lying on the street. Then the rumors began. "They've occupied all government buildings and the airport," said a friend. "The power station and the water works, too," a neighbor added. There were television reports of banks being robbed, the release of thousands of prisoners and the confiscation of oil wells. A day later, Masoud Ali loaded his family into his car and stepped on the gas. As they drove away, they could see police uniforms and abandoned military vehicles in the ditch. Government troops, most of them Sunnis, had surrendered to the Sunni ISIS fighters.

Ali, like most residents of Mosul, is also a Sunni. He had heard the mayor calling for the citizens of Mosul to defend themselves against ISIS. "But why should I have defended myself?" he asks. "For the Shiite government? For Prime Minister Maliki, who oppresses the Sunnis?" He shakes his head. "The conflict has escalated because people in Iraq don't like the government anymore."


Masoud Ali, a tall, friendly man with a beard and green eyes, was a taxi driver in Mosul until a few days ago. He likes the desert, and he loves his wife and his yellow Nissan. He never paid much attention to politics until now. "Inshallah," he says. Whatever happens is God's will. But then fighters with the "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," or ISIS, overran the city of two million.

Friday, June 20, 2014

What do Iraqi Sunni want? ISIL and its allies have different agendas and different plans; but some want Sunni autonomous regions

    Friday, June 20, 2014   No comments
Iraq is a country with competing ethnic and sectarian identities. Iraq is inhabited by Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Azeris, Armenians, and dozens of or other religious and ethnic groups. The divide that is at play today is the Sunni, Shiite, Kurdish one. More than 65 percent of Iraqis are Shi`a. These Shi`as are of Arab, Kurdish, and Turkic ethnicities. 25 percent of Iraqis are Sunnis. These Sunnis are primarily Arab and Kurdish. About 10 percent are Non-Muslim minorities belonging to various ethnic groups as well.

The Sunni minority has ruled Iraq until the fall of Saddam's regime in 2003. Iraqi Shi`a were marginalized during Sunni rule and after the Iraq-Iran war, the marginalization tuned into discrimination, oppression, and persecution. Now, the once dominant Sunnis, are represented according to their numbers. Some are happy with that. But many do not want to be ruled by a "deviant" sect even if that sect is a majority of the population. ISIL represents that view and that is why they want to take the fight all the way to Karbala and Najaf. Other Sunnis want at least some of the power back even if it is over smaller territories.
Here is one articulation of Sunni demands:
 “Maliki must first be deposed,” said Mr Dabash. “Then we demand the fragmentation of Iraq into three autonomous regions, with Sunnis, Shia and Kurds sharing resources equally. And finally we need compensation for the one and half million Iraqis, most of them Sunnis, who have been killed at the hands of the Americans and the Maliki regime.” Source
The problems with Iraq are also historical, since the Ottoman days, when Sunnis were favored:
Sunnis had been favored during the Ottoman Empire, gaining more administrative experience and thus domination in government and the military. Dictatorships emerged as the only way to hold differing groups together, the last Iraqi dictator being Saddam Hussein. Sourse

Thursday, June 19, 2014

who is supporting ISIS? The Saudi rulers' struggle to remain consistent and the media coverage that shy away from calling them on it

    Thursday, June 19, 2014   No comments

Saudi Arabia’s rulers are trying to block the rays of the sun with a sieve. They claim that they do not support terrorism, yet they are justifying the war crimes committed by ISIL and its affiliates by accusing Maliki of sectarian policies (policies, not violent acts, mind you). The hypocrisy of the Saudi rulers is stunning: they write a law that is supposed to fight terrorism but they selectively apply it to the Muslim Brotherhood, human rights activists, and bloggers; while providing extensions after extensions to Saudi’s still fighting with ISIL who apparently have ignored the call to return home and burned their passports.

The Saudi rulers are accusing Maliki of a “policy of exclusion and marginalization of Sunni minorities” when they sent troops to crush the Shiite majority in Bahrain, which has been oppressed by a Sunni minority for hundreds of years. They also supported Saddam’s regime who also used the Sunni community to suppress Shiite majority and Kurdish minority. It seems that the Saudi rulers see “political exclusion” when it serves their interests. They are calling the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt terrorists but they call ISIL war criminals legitimate “rebels.” They continue to see the world through a sectarian lens and accuse others of being sectarian. A lie repeated in the age of Internet media will never be believed even by other Saudis. The Saudi rulers will fall by the sword they forged and unsheathed in the face of all their victims; unless they fully commit to fighting the ideology of hate they helped produce.

A sample of the coverage and the soft language used to hint at the above realities:

1 awkward?

The battle between Iraq’s government and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which threatens to plunge Iraq back into the chaos of sectarian civil war, puts Saudi Arabia in an increasingly awkward position.

2 Supporting radical Islamist,

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been working overtime arming rebel groups in Syria.  But events of the last month suggest these American allies have been throwing their lots in with radical, hardline Islamists.

3 We are not supporting ISIL, you are sectarian,

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have rejected Iraq’s accusations that the two countries are supporting and funding the ISIL insurgents.
The Saudi kingdom has warned against foreign meddling in Iraq and blamed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for what it describes “pursuing sectarian policies”.

4 who supports ISIL?

When the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) escalated its fight against fellow rebels in Syria late last year, private donors in the region were rattled. For three years, a network of clerics and Sunni politicians had funded anti-regime groups in Syria, including other jihadi factions such as Ahrar Al Sham and Jabhut Al Nusra – groups now at war with Isil.'
 5 Saudis recruit for ISIL in Riadh,

The al-Qaeda breakaway group that has captured Iraq’s biggest northern city is on a recruitment drive in Saudi Arabia. The evidence showed up last month in Riyadh, where drivers woke up to find leaflets stuffed into the handles of their car doors and in their windshields. They were promoting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which has grabbed the world’s attention by seizing parts of northern Iraq.
6 Brotherhood are bad, move them over to make room for ISIL:

Islamist politicians swept elections across the region in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, stepping close to power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Morocco and undermining the thesis of Qaeda-style militants that violence offered the only hope for change. Today, those politicians are in frantic retreat from Riyadh to Rabat, stymied by their political opponents, stalked by generals and plotted against by oil-rich monarchs. Instead, it is the jihadists who are on the march, roving unchecked across broad sections of North Africa and the Middle East.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Saudi Arabia wants to remove Maliki by bullets when it failed to remove him by ballets

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014   No comments
It is no secret that Saudi Arabia and its allies among Sunni Iraqi politicians wanted Maliki out. They have tried since the end of his first term. But he kept winning. Most recently, they expected him to loose the elections that was held on April 30. Instead, he surprised them helping his coalition win about three times more than the Saudi favorites'. He won in a fair and transparent elections. 

It should be noted that Saudi Arabia warned even before the elections that electing Maliki to a third term will mean the splintering of Iraq into three areas: Sunni, Kurdish, and Shiite areas. Saudi Arabia has no respect for the will of the people and for election results. So they used ISIL and its Sunni allies to undo the elections' results. After the fall of Mosul in the hands on ISIL and Baathists, Saudi Arabia issued a statement essentially legitimizing the violence and demanding that Iraq produces a "unity government," again ignoring the fact that elections have consequences. 

One of its allies, speaker of of the outgoing parliament, Osama al-Nujaifi, said this of Mr. Maliki: “We don’t want this prime minister; we reject him. We tried to take him down on more than one occasion.”

One does not have to like Maliki, but must recognize that elections have consequences. When one does not like the results, they cannot use plan be and try violence to get what they want, especially when these countries do not have elections themselves.

In the news, Iraq now is naming names:

while ISIL continues its work: more killing on sectarian basis:

ISIL claim to kill hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, release 'execution' video (2:19)

and the world is re-aligned:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pentagon, State Dept. at odds over coordinating with Iran on Iraq crisis

    Monday, June 16, 2014   No comments

The Pentagon is pushing back against a State Department assertion that there is the potential for a military coordination with Iran to help Iraq combat violent al Qaeda-inspired Sunni extremists.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters Monday morning that although there is the potential for discussions with Iran about aggressive actions committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq, there is “no plan to consult Iran on military activities inside Iraq.”

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The killing season restarts in Iraq: more war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in regions inhabited by religious minorities

    Sunday, June 15, 2014   No comments
ISIL executing civilians in Iraq
The killing season restarts in Iraq: more war crimes and crimes against humanity taking place in regions inhabited by religious minorities:

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria boasted on Twitter that they had executed 1,700 Iraqi government soldiers, posting gruesome photos to support their claim.

The authenticity of the photographs and the insurgents’ claim could not be verified, and Iraqi government officials initially cast doubt on whether such a mass execution took place. There were also no reports of large numbers of funerals in the Salahuddin Province area, where the executions were said to have been conducted.

If the claim is true, it would be the worst mass atrocity in either Syria or Iraq in recent years, surpassing even the chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian suburbs of Damascus last year, which killed 1,400 people and were attributed to the Syrian government. New York Times

Iraqi security forces found the burned bodies of 12 policemen when they recaptured a town north of Baghdad from militants on Saturday, a police colonel and a doctor said.

Troops backed by tribal militia recaptured Ishaqi in Salaheddin province as they readied a fightback against the offensive that saw Sunni Arab militants overrun a large chunk of northern and north-central Iraq this week.
It was one of the closest points to the capital that the militants had reached in the assault they launched in second city Mosul late on Monday. YME

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Iraq is now in the same struggle as Syria; can U.S., and Saudi Arabia solve the problem of one without the other?

    Thursday, June 12, 2014   No comments
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Can U.S. and Saudi Arabia fight ISIL in Iraq and not in Syria? Or will they wait and see until another country is taken over?
By the time Western governments and their Gulf allies realize their mistake in Syria, ISIL will be in Mecca. The United states spent $25 billion training the Iraqi army. That modern army, whose members were vetted by the U.S. trainers, deserted before the advances of ISIL. The U.S. still insists on building another army of "moderate forces" in Syria to fight both the Syrian government and ISIL; another example of of "keep doing the same thing and expecting different results."

Iraq News Stories:

Iraq borders shift as Kurds take Kirkuk, ISIL surges toward Baghdad

Iraq crisis: al-Qaeda militants push towards Baghdad - live

KCK: Guerrilla forces are ready to defend South Kurdistan

Lavrov: Iraq developments show total failure of American-British 'adventure'

Caught off guard by al Qaeda uprising, Obama considers more aid to Iraq

Iran’s president says the Islamic Republic will not tolerate violence and terror as foreign-backed Takfiri militants wreak havoc in northern Iraq.

What the Saudi Think?  It’s Maliki’s Fault

Mosul emergency: Who is the jihadi leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

Monday, June 09, 2014

Battle to establish Islamic state across Iraq and Syria

    Monday, June 09, 2014   No comments
Islamic fundamentalists have opened new fronts in their battle to establish an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria as they launch attacks in cities which were previously under the control of the Baghdad government.
A multi-pronged assault across central and northern Iraq in the past four days shows that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has taken over from the al-Qa’ida organisation founded by Osama bin Laden as the most powerful and effective extreme jihadi group in the world.

Isis now controls or can operate with impunity in a great stretch of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, making it militarily the most successful jihadi movement ever.

Led since 2010 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Dua, it has proved itself even more violent and sectarian than what US officials call the “core” al-Qa’ida, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is based in Pakistan. Isis is highly fanatical, killing Shia Muslims and Christians whenever possible, as well as militarily efficient and under tight direction by top leaders.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Interview with UN Peace Envoy Brahimi: 'Syria Will Become Another Somalia' ... armed group used chemical weapons ... are using civilians as human shields

    Sunday, June 08, 2014   No comments
For almost two years, Lakhdar Brahimi sought to bring peace to Syria. But in May, the United Nations special envoy stepped down. He speaks with SPIEGEL about the stubbornness of Syrian President Assad, the mistakes of the West and the dangers presented by Islamic radicals.

 SPIEGEL: Mr. Brahimi, in May, you stepped down as the United Nations special envoy to Syria. When you took the position in 2012, many considered the task of achieving peace in Syria to be a mission impossible. What did you hope to achieve?

Brahimi: The idea was, and still is, for Bashar al-Assad to agree to become the kingmaker instead of staying on as president, an orderly transition with his participation to go to the new Syria. This is what I was and still am dreaming of.

SPIEGEL: Can you point to a particular incident that showed you that it was time to give up?

Brahimi: When I ended the second round of discussions at the so-called Geneva II conference at the beginning of this year, I realized that this process was not going to move forward any time soon.

SPIEGEL: What happened?

Brahimi: Neither Russia nor the US could convince their friends to participate in the negotiations with serious intent.

SPIEGEL: To what degree is the dispute about the person of President Bashar al Assad?

Brahimi: The issue of President Assad was a huge hurdle. The Syrian regime only came to Geneva to please the Russians, thinking that they were winning militarily. I told them "I'm sure that your instructions were: 'Go to Geneva. But not only don't make any concessions, don't discuss anything seriously.'"

SPIEGEL: What about on the other side?

Brahimi: The majority among the opposition were against coming to Geneva. They preferred a military solution and they came completely unprepared. But at least they were willing to start talking with President Assad still there as long as it was clear that, somewhere along the line, he would go.

SPIEGEL: So, you didn't have a chance at all?

Brahimi: I told the Americans and the Russians several times while we were preparing for Geneva that they were bringing these two delegations kicking and screaming, against their will.

SPIEGEL: For the sake of his country, why couldn't President Bashar accept a replacement leader that everybody could live with?

Brahimi: It is his regime. He still has an appetite for power. The regime is built around his person and he still has enough authority over people that having him stay in power is a fundamental part of their vision of the future. The way he puts it is, "The people want me there and I cannot say no." He said, "I am a Syrian national. If I have 50 percent plus one vote at the elections, I'll stay. If I have 50 percent less one vote, I will go." Yesterday he was just re-elected for another seven years! You have a situation where one side says there can be no solution unless Assad stays in power. While the other side says there can be no solution unless Assad goes. Do you know how to square a circle?

SPIEGEL: Is Assad aware of the way the war is being conducted by his army?

Brahimi: One-hundred percent.

SPIEGEL: The barrel bombs being thrown from helicopters on civilian populations? The targeted bombing of hospitals? The systematic torture and killing of thousands or tens-of-thousands?

Brahimi: He knows a hell of a lot. Maybe he doesn't know every single detail of what is happening, but I'm sure he is aware that people are being tortured, that people are being killed, that bombs are being thrown, that cities are being destroyed. He cannot ignore the fact that there are 2.5 million refugees. That number is going to be 4 million next year, and there are 6 million people who are internally displaced. He knows that there are 50,000 to 100,000 people in his jails. And that some of them are tortured every day.

SPIEGEL: Did you confront him with those facts?

Brahimi: Sure! I spoke to him of a list of 29,000 people in his prisons and I gave a copy of the list to his office.

SPIEGEL: Is the regime the major culprit or are war crimes also committed by others?

Brahimi: War crimes are being committed every day, by both sides. Starvation is being used as a weapon. When you prevent water and food from reaching 250,000 people, what else can you call that? And at the same time, some of the armed groups are using civilians as human shields. But the regime has a state, has an army with 300,000 men, has airplanes, which the opposition doesn't have.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Iran president to visit Turkey Monday to meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

    Thursday, June 05, 2014   No comments
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to visit Turkey on Monday, for the first time since he was elected last year, a Turkish official said.
The Iranian leader is expected to meet Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara for talks on bilateral ties and the broader Middle East, the official told AFP on Thursday.
"The visit has been in the making for a while, and Rouhani is expected to be flanked by a crowded delegation of ministers," according to the official speaking on condition of anonymity.       

Ankara and Tehran are trying to mend relations strained over the Syria conflict, with Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing the rebels seeking to oust him.
In January, Erdoğan visited Tehran where he said the two neighbouring countries aimed to more than double trade to $30 billion (22 billion euros) next year from $13.5 billion in 2013 despite strained relations.


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