Monday, November 24, 2014

Erdoğan: You cannot bring women and men into an equal position; this is against nature

    Monday, November 24, 2014   No comments
Erdoğan: Gender equality against nature  

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday took issue with gender equality, saying that women and men cannot be equal because they have different “natures and bodies.”

“You cannot bring women and men into an equal position; this is against nature,” Erdoğan said while addressing a meeting of an association promoting women rights in Ankara. “You cannot subject a pregnant woman to the same working conditions as a man. You cannot make a mother who has to breastfeed her child equal to a man. You cannot make women do everything men do like the communist regimes did… This is against her delicate nature.”

Erdoğan instead promoted the notion of "equivalence" and equality of women before the justice system.

"They talk about equality between men and women. The correct thing is equality among women and equality among men. But what is particularly essential is women's equality before the justice [system]," he said. "What women need is to be equivalent, rather than equal; that is, justice."

The president then went on to explain that Islam exalts women as “mothers” and said that when he was a child he used to kiss his mother's feet, referring to a hadith of Prophet Muhammad that says “Heaven lies at the foot of your mother.”

“My mother would be shy, but I used to say, ‘Mother, don't pull your feet away, because the scent of heaven is there.' Sometimes, she would cry [when I would say that],” Erdoğan said.

He also slammed feminists, saying they “don't accept the concept of motherhood.”

“But those who do understand are enough for us. We'll continue down this path with them,” he said.

Participant forced out of conference hall

A conference attendee was forcefully taken from the hall when she interrupted a speech by Family and Social Policies Minister Ayşenur İslam and said she wanted to ask a question.

The participant raised her hand while İslam was delivering her speech, but the minister said she would take her question afterward. When the participant insisted, security guards grabbed her, covered her mouth and took her out of the conference hall.

Source:; November 24, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In birthplace of Arab Spring, Tunisia’s Islamists get sobering lesson in governing

    Saturday, November 22, 2014   No comments
TUNIS — On a recent warm evening, hundreds of men and women were mingling outside the offices of Tunisia’s Islamist party. They were singing and cheering. They were waving little red-and-white Tunisian flags. It looked as if they had just won an election.

In fact, they had just lost control of parliament. But in a strife-torn Arab world, this young democracy had pulled off a rare feat: a clean, peaceful election.

“What are we celebrating today?” the Islamists’ leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, a 73-year-old scholar, cried into a microphone as fireworks popped overhead. “We are celebrating freedom! We are celebrating Tunisia! We are celebrating democracy!”

Nearly three years after the Arab Spring, the hopes unleashed by the mass uprisings have largely given way to despair. Egypt suffered a coup; Libya is lurching toward civil war; Syria has experienced a bloodbath. Tunisia is the only country to overthrow a dictator and build a democracy. On Sunday, Tunisians will cast ballots in the second round of national elections, choosing a president after the Oct. 26 parliamentary vote.

Still, the Islamists’ defeat in the first round reflects the clear discontent with what democracy has yielded. Ghannouchi was symbolic of Islamists in the region who surged to power after the uprisings and hoped to transform countries ruled by secular autocrats. But Tunisia’s government has struggled to contain terrorism, revive the economy and win over a deeply secular society.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saudi state and the religious establishment have for decades fueled sectarian animosities across the region

    Thursday, November 20, 2014   No comments
Public beheadings in Saudi Arabia inspire ISILand like-minded groups
Saudi state and the religious establishment have for decades fueled sectarian animosities across the region. Saudi recruits for al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group are often motivated by a desire to contain Shiism and stem Iranian influence in the region – strategic objectives that Saudi media perpetuates ad infinitum. Anti-Shiite (and anti-Christian and anti-Jewish) incitement is spread across the region by Saudi-based television channels. It was encouraging that immediately after the attacks the long-standing Saudi Minister of Information Abdel Aziz Khoja announced the closure of perhaps the worst of those TV stations, Wisal. But in a sign that factions within the Saudi regime are divided over how to deal with the Shiites and with Sunni extremism in the kingdom, the minister was dismissed the next day, and Wisal, which retains some popularity in Saudi Arabia and the wider region, is still up and running.

Nimr’s political role is rooted in a long tradition of Shiite activism, which goes back to the foundation of the Saudi kingdom, and which has led to the establishment of Shiite Islamist movements since the 1970s. He hails from a prominent family from Awamiya, a relatively poor Shiite village surrounded by date farms outside of Qatif, the largest Shiite city in Saudi Arabia. Awamiya has a long history of resistance to the Saudi monarchy. Indeed, Nimr’s grandfather led an armed revolt in 1929-1930 against Saudi tax collectors and Wahhabi missionaries, who were sent to the Eastern Province after the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz bin Saud, conquered it in 1913.

Awamiya was also one of the centers of the Shiite uprising in 1979 that was inspired by the Iranian Revolution. Nimr became politicized during these events and joined the Shirazi movement, which had started the uprising. The Shirazi movement was a transnational Shiite political organization led by the Iraqi-Iranian cleric Muhammad Mahdi al-Shirazi, but the bulk of its supporters were Shiite Muslims from the Persian Gulf states (mainly Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia). Nimr enrolled in the movement’s religious school (hawza) in Iran and then became a teacher in the movement’s hawza in Sayyida Zeinab, the suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus that became a key transnational hub for Shiite pilgrims, students and activists.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Obama says no change in Syria policy, removing Assad still not priority

    Monday, November 17, 2014   No comments
Despite Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's recent remarks claiming that the US administration is signaling a change of policy over Syria and saying that both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) must go, US President Barack Obama has said his administration hasn't changed its Syria policy and is not actively working on plans to remove Assad from power.

During a press conference in Brisbane, where the G-20 Leaders' Summit is being held, Obama on Sunday was asked whether the US is recalibrating its Syria policy and making the removal of Assad part of its strategy, even though the removal of Assad initially had not been a priority.

“Certainly, no changes have taken place with respect to our attitude towards Bashar al-Assad,” said Obama.

Stressing once again that Assad has lost legitimacy in the eyes of his own people, Obama explained further why removing Assad from power is not a priority at this point:

“For us to then make common cause with him against ISIL would only turn more Sunnis in Syria in the direction of supporting ISIL, and would weaken our coalition that sends a message around the region this is not a fight against Sunni Islam, this is a fight against extremists of any stripe who are willing to behead innocent people or kill children, or mow down political prisoners with the kind of wanton cruelty that I think we've very rarely seen in the modern age.”


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bodyguard of Syrian rebel who defected to Isil reveals secrets of the jihadist leadership

    Tuesday, November 11, 2014   No comments
Saddam Jamal held the mother and father at gunpoint and forced them to watch as his jihadist comrade murdered their children, one by one.

The Isil commander felt no remorse for killing this Syrian family, his bodyguard said, nor did he believe he was fulfilling a God-given creed: for him being a member of the extremist group was a matter of business, not religion.

"Starting with a thirteen-year-old boy, they lined up the sons according to their height and beheaded them in that order," said the bodyguard, who called himself Abu Abdullah and who has now defected.

"Afterwards, they hung the boys' heads on the door of the school the family had been hiding in."

Before joining Isil, Jamal had been a drug dealer, then a commander in the western-backed Free Syrian Army, claiming contacts in the CIA.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "White Palace" is more than 1/2 billion US dollars and his jet is $185 million

    Tuesday, November 04, 2014   No comments
Ak Saray (white palace), which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will use as his new presidential building, cost more than TL 1 billion, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek has announced.

Responding to questions by opposition lawmakers during budget talks in Parliament late on Monday, Şimşek said the new building cost TL 1.37 billion ($615 million). Stating that TL 964 million has already been spent on Ak Saray, Şimşek said the government allocated TL 300 million for the building from the 2015 budget.

Constructed inside the Atatürk Forest Farm (AOÇ) on an area of 300,000 square meters in Ankara, Ak Saray has been at the center of strong criticism for being oversized for the presidential post, which is symbolic in Turkey.

Ak Saray may even be touted as the world's largest residential palace. The Guinness World Records currently lists the Istana Nurul Iman palace of the sultan of Brunei, in Bandar Seri Begawan, as the world's largest residential palace with 200,000 square meters of floor space. Completed in 1984, the Brunei sultan's palace cost 300 million pounds, which was equivalent to $422 million at the time, or $970 million today.

The word “Ak” in the name Ak Saray also refers to the name of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Şimşek also announced the cost of the new presidential jet, an Airbus A330-200 Prestige, during the budget talks, saying the jet cost $185 million. Noting that the government has not yet paid for the jet, which was purchased by Turkish Airlines (THY), Şimşek said the Prime Ministry will pay THY this year.
Erdoğan's discretionary fund 20.5 times higher than last 3 PMs'


Monday, November 03, 2014

Moderate rebels in Syria that the US have armed and trained to fight jihadists have joined al-Qaeda

    Monday, November 03, 2014   No comments
Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the United States to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda.

The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the US-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles.

But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled in northern Idlib province.

The development came a day after Jabhat al-Nusra dealt a final blow to the SRF, storming and capturing Deir Sinbal, home town of the group's leader Jamal Marouf.

 The attack caused the group, which had already lost its territory in Hama to al-Qaeda, to surrender.

"As a movement, the SRF is effectively finished," said Aymen al-Tammimi, a Syria analyst. "Nusra has driven them out of their strongholds of Idlib and Hama."

The collapse of the SRF and attacks on Harakat Hazm have dramatically weakened the presence of moderate rebel fighting groups in Syria, which, after almost four years of conflict is increasingly becoming a battle ground between the Syrian regime and jihadist organisations.

For the United States, the weapons they supplied falling into the hands of al-Qaeda is a realisation of a nightmare.



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