Thursday, December 31, 2015

State Department: US Has Concerns About Jaish al-Islam, but...

    Thursday, December 31, 2015   No comments
ISR: comment: U.S. administration is willing to work with a rebel group that is determined to "purge Syria from Alawites, Shia, Asians..." and impose the Ummayyad system, a genocidal regime from the 8th century, but not Assad's government that is fighting such a group. No comment!
__________
 
The U.S. has “significant concerns” about a Syrian rebel group whose leader was killed in a Christmas Day airstrike but was troubled by the decision to target someone who had committed himself to efforts to negotiate an end to the civil war, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday.

 The U.S. has “significant concerns” about a Syrian rebel group whose leader was killed in a Christmas Day airstrike but was troubled by the decision to target someone who had committed himself to efforts to negotiate an end to the civil war, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday.

Toner told a daily press briefing the death of Zahran Alloush, the leader of the Islamist rebel group Jaish al-Islam, complicates efforts to bring rebel and regime representatives to the negotiating table. Under an initiative of the so-called International Syria Support Group (ISSG), talks are scheduled to begin in Geneva on January 25.


It remains unclear whether the Assad regime or its Russian ally was responsible for the airstrike that killed Alloush in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, but Toner said Secretary of State John Kerry had brought up the matter with his Russian counterpart.

He said Kerry in a phone conversation with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “highlighted our concern that the killing of Jaish al-Islam leader Zahran Alloush – who, as I said, was a leader of a group that supported a political process to end the conflict – complicates our efforts to bring about a meaningful political negotiated settlement as well as a nationwide ceasefire.”

Jaish al-Islam took part in a recent meeting of opposition groups hosted by the Saudi government in Riyadh – an initiative backed by the Obama administration in preparation for the talks in Geneva.



sources: CNSnews & Reuters

Monday, December 28, 2015

Seymour Hersh report on Syria: White House knew US was arming Islamic State

    Monday, December 28, 2015   No comments
 Pulitzer-prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports that the administration of President Barack Obama, in particular the CIA, has knowingly armed militant Islamists in Syria, including the Islamic State.

"Barack Obama's repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office -- and that there are 'moderate' rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him -- has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon's Joint Staff," Hersh writes in the London Review of Books. "Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration's fixation on Assad's primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn't adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington's anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped."

Hersh writes that a highly classified 2013 Defense Intelligence Agency/Joint Chiefs of Staff report on Syria forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to "chaos" and possibly to Islamist extremists taking over Syria.

Hersh reports that Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, told him that his agency sent a "constant stream" of warnings to the "civilian leadership" about the dire consequences of ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Bizarre news: Erdoğan talks man out of suicide on Bosporus bridge

    Friday, December 25, 2015   No comments
[This is just a must see to believe, and the thing is: It was all coincidences: the president on his iPhone being driven to work, knew that the man is going to jump, and with the media and camera people present to take shots from every angle... This guy can do it all!]

 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's convoy coincidentally bumped into a man who was about to attempt suicide on the Bosporus bridge in İstanbul on Friday, and after talking to the man, who wanted to jump off the bridge, the president persuaded him not to kill himself.
Footage from the private Doğan news agency shows the man, whom presidential sources said was from the southeastern province of Siirt and was having problems with his wife, talking to Erdoğan, who remained seated in the back seat of his car.

The man kissed Erdoğan's hand and left the area after talking to himfor a while. The president was seen holding his mobile phone to his ear during the conversation with him.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Rights group: Nigerian soldiers kill hundreds of Shiites

    Thursday, December 24, 2015   No comments
Hundreds of Shiite Muslims were killed by Nigerian soldiers and buried in mass graves in an "unjustified" attack earlier this month, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

Nigerian soldiers killed "at least 300" members of the radical Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) earlier in December when they fired "without any provocation," said the New York-based rights watchdog in a statement.

Witnesses said that the soldiers of Africa's biggest economy disposed of hundreds of bodies by throwing them in mass graves, making it difficult to establish an accurate death toll, according to HRW.

The violence erupted on December 12 when members of the minority Shiite group erected a makeshift road block during a religious procession, blocking the path of a Nigerian army chief.

"It is almost impossible to see how a roadblock by angry young men could justify the killings of hundreds of people," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at HRW.

"At best it was a brutal overreaction and at worst it was a planned attack on the minority Shiite group."

The Nigerian army, which has not released an official death toll, denied HRW's charges.

"The allegations are not true," said Nigerian army spokesman Sani Usman to AFP.

"It is therefore presumptuous and clearly out of context for anyone to make such unsubstantiated allegations or comments," said Usman.

"The incident between the Nigerian army and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria has been reported to the appropriate agencies who are investigating the issue."

Last week, the Nigerian government set up a judicial commission to investigate the deaths.

The Nigerian army had accused the Iran-backed sect of "a deliberate attempt to assassinate" army chief of staff Tukur Buratai, releasing footage of the crowd hurling stones at his military convoy.

- Fears of new threat -

The allegations come amid fears that the violent clashes between the Shiite group and Nigeria's army will unleash a new Islamic threat in a country still battling Boko Haram militants.

IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky, the charismatic founder of the group, was seriously wounded and remains in police custody, while his deputy was killed in the army crack down.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

UN: Saudi-led coalition behind most attacks on civilians in Yemen

    Tuesday, December 22, 2015   No comments

A disproportionate number of attacks on civilians in Yemen's conflict appear to be carried out by the Saudi-led and U.S.-supported coalition, the United Nations human rights chief told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday. The gathering was meant to press all sides to end a war that has shattered the Arab world's poorest country.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein spoke as U.N.-sponsored peace talks on Yemen are scheduled to reconvene Jan. 14 after collapsing Sunday in Switzerland. Fighting continues despite a cease-fire agreement in place until at least Dec. 28.

The U.N. says the conflict has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition began.


Yemen's internationally recognized government and the Saudi-led coalition are fighting Iran-supported Houthi rebels and supporters of the country's longtime former president. The conflict is seen as a deadly reflection of the struggle between enemies Saudi Arabia and Iran for influence in the region.

source

Returnee Says IS Recruiting for Terror Attacks in Germany

    Tuesday, December 22, 2015   No comments

By Hubert Gude and Wolf Wiedmann-Schmidt

Islamist extremist Harry S. wasn't in Syria for long. But during his stay there, he claims, Islamic State leaders repeatedly tried to recruit him to commit terror attacks in Germany. Security officials believe he could be telling the truth.

It was an early summer morning in the Syrian desert, with not a cloud in the sky, when Mohamed Mahmoud asked those gathered around him: "Here are some prisoners. Which of you wants to waste them?"

Not long before, Islamic State (IS) had taken the city of Palmyra, and now jihadists from Germany and Austria were to participate in the executions of some of the prisoners taken in the operation. They drove to the site of the executions in Toyota pick-ups, bringing along an IS camera team in order to document the atrocity in the city of antique ruins. Even then, Mohamed Mahmoud was known to German security officials for his repeated propaganda-video calls to join the jihad. On that early summer day in Palmyra, though, he didn't just incite others. He grabbed a Kalashnikov himself and began firing. That day, Mahmoud and his group of executioners are thought to have killed six or seven prisoners.

The story comes from someone who was in Palmyra on that day: Harry S., a 27-year-old from Bremen. "I saw it all," he says.


Harry S. returned to Germany from Syria and is now in investigative custody. He has told security officials everything about the brief time he spent with Islamic State and has also demonstrated his readiness to deliver extensive testimony to German public prosecutors. He stands accused of membership in a terrorist group. His lawyer Udo Würtz declined to offer a detailed response when contacted, but said of his client: "He wants to come clean."

German investigators are extremely interested in the testimony of the apparently repentant returnee, even as they are likely unsettled by what he has to say.

A Vital Witness

Harry S., after all, is more than just a witness to firing squads and decapitations. He also says that on several occasions, IS members tried to recruit volunteers for terrorist attacks in Germany. In the spring, just after he first arrived in Syria, he says that he and another Islamist from Bremen were asked if they could imagine perpetrating attacks in Germany. Later, when he was staying not far from Raqqa, the self-proclaimed Islamic State capital city, masked men drove up in a jeep. They too asked him if he was interested in bringing the jihad to his homeland. Harry S. says he told them that he wasn't prepared to do so.

Harry S. was only in IS controlled territory for three months. Yet he might nevertheless become a vital witness for German security officials. Since the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, fear of terrorism has risen across Europe, including in Germany, and security has been stepped up in train stations and airports. And the testimony from the Bremen returnee would seem to indicate that the fear is justified. Harry S. says that, during his time in the Syrian warzone, he frequently heard people talking about attacks in the West and says that pretty much every European jihadist was approached with the same questions he had been asked. "They want something that happens everywhere at the same time," Harry S. says.

Harry S.'s path from the Bremen quarter of Osterholz-Tenever to the jihadists of Islamic State was not particularly remarkable. His radicalization was similar to many other young, directionless men from European suburbs, from the Molenbeek district of Brussels to Lohberg in Dinslaken. In Tenever, some of the residential towers are up to 20 stories tall.

The son of parents from Ghana, Harry S. grew up in "difficult conditions," according to a court file. His father left the family just as he was entering puberty. Even though Harry S. initially only managed to graduate from a lower tier high school in Germany, he dreamed of returning to his parents' homeland and working as a construction engineer.

There was even a brief moment when it looked as though he was going to get control over his life. But then, in early 2010, he and some friends robbed a supermarket, getting away with €23,500, and flew to the island of Gran Canaria for a vacation. It wasn't long before the authorities were on to them and Harry S. was sentenced to two years behind bars for aggravated theft.


Monday, December 21, 2015

About 60% of fighters in rebel factions in Syria identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of ISIS

    Monday, December 21, 2015   No comments
About 60% of fighters in rebel factions in Syria identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of the terror group, it added.

The thinktank, run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said: “The west risks making a strategic failure by focusing only on IS. Defeating it militarily will not end global jihadism. We cannot bomb an ideology, but our war is ideological.”

The report comes after the United Nations agreed a resolution endorsing the start of “urgent” formal negotiations between Assad’s regime and moderate opposition groups early next month.
The Observer view on possible British military intervention in Libya
David Cameron’s proposed bombing of Isis is panic, not policy
Read more

But the centre warned the radical groups, including al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, could benefit if they went “unchallenged”.

It added: “If Isis is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place.


“The greatest danger to the international community are the groups that share the ideology of Isis, but are being ignored in the battle to defeat the group.

“While military efforts against Isis are necessary, policy makers must recognise that its defeat will not end the threat of Salafi-jihadism unless it is accompanied by an intellectual and theological defeat of the pernicious ideology that drives it.”


The Centre on Religion and Geopolitic is a think tank that is part of the “Tony Blair Faith Foundation"


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution 2254 (2015), Endorsing Road Map for Peace Process in Syria, Setting Timetable for Talks

    Saturday, December 19, 2015   No comments
The full text of resolution 2254 (2015)
“The Security Council,

“Recalling its resolutions 2042 (2012), 2043 (2012), 2118 (2013), 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2170 (2014), 2175 (2014), 2178 (2014), 2191 (2014), 2199 (2015), 2235 (2015), and 2249 (2015) and Presidential Statements of 3 August 2011 (S/PRST/2011/16), 21 March 2012 (S/PRST/2012/6), 5 April 2012 (S/PRST/2012/10), 2 October 2013 (S/PRST/2013/15), 24 April 2015 (S/PRST/2015/10) and 17 August 2015 (S/PRST/2015/15),

“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

“Expressing its gravest concern at the continued suffering of the Syrian people, the dire and deteriorating humanitarian situation, the ongoing conflict and its persistent and brutal violence, the negative impact of terrorism and violent extremist ideology in support of terrorism, the destabilizing effect of the crisis on the region and beyond, including the resulting increase in terrorists drawn to the fighting in Syria, the physical destruction in the country, and increasing sectarianism, and underscoring that the situation will continue to deteriorate in the absence of a political solution,

“Recalling its demand that all parties take all appropriate steps to protect civilians, including members of ethnic, religious and confessional communities, and stresses that, in this regard, the primary responsibility to protect its population lies with the Syrian authorities,

“Reiterating that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people, with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 as endorsed by resolution 2118 (2013), including through the establishment of an inclusive transitional governing body with full executive powers, which shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent while ensuring continuity of governmental institutions,

“Encouraging, in this regard, the diplomatic efforts of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to help bring an end to the conflict in Syria,


“Commending the commitment of the ISSG, as set forth in the Joint Statement on the outcome of the multilateral talks on Syria in Vienna of 30 October 2015 and the Statement of the ISSG of 14 November 2015 (hereinafter the “Vienna Statements”), to ensure a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition based on the Geneva Communiqué in its entirety, and emphasizing the urgency for all parties in Syria to work diligently and constructively towards this goal,

“Urging all parties to the UN-facilitated political process to adhere to the principles identified by the ISSG, including commitments to Syria’s unity, independence, territorial integrity, and non-sectarian character, to ensuring continuity of governmental institutions, to protecting the rights of all Syrians, regardless of ethnicity or religious denomination, and to ensuring humanitarian access throughout the country,

“Encouraging the meaningful participation of women in the UN-facilitated political process for Syria,

“Bearing in mind the goal to bring together the broadest possible spectrum of the opposition, chosen by Syrians, who will decide their negotiation representatives and define their negotiation positions so as to enable the political process to begin, taking note of the meetings in Moscow and Cairo and other initiatives to this end, and noting in particular the usefulness of the meeting in Riyadh on 9-11 December 2015, whose outcomes contribute to the preparation of negotiations under UN auspices on a political settlement of the conflict, in accordance with the Geneva Communique and the “Vienna Statements”, and looking forward to the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria finalizing efforts to this end,

“1.   Reconfirms its endorsement of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, endorses the “Vienna Statements” in pursuit of the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué, as the basis for a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition in order to end the conflict in Syria, and stresses that the Syrian people will decide the future of Syria;

“2.   Requests the Secretary-General, through his good offices and the efforts of his Special Envoy for Syria, to convene representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition to engage in formal negotiations on a political transition process on an urgent basis, with a target of early January 2016 for the initiation of talks, pursuant to the Geneva Communiqué, consistent with the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement, with a view to a lasting political settlement of the crisis;

“3.   Acknowledges the role of the ISSG as the central platform to facilitate the United Nations’ efforts to achieve a lasting political settlement in Syria;

“4.   Expresses its support, in this regard, for a Syrian-led political process that is facilitated by the United Nations and, within a target of six months, establishes credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance and sets a schedule and process for drafting a new constitution, and further expresses its support for free and fair elections, pursuant to the new constitution, to be held within 18 months and administered under supervision of the United Nations, to the satisfaction of the governance and to the highest international standards of transparency and accountability, with all Syrians, including members of the diaspora, eligible to participate, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement;

“5.   Acknowledges the close linkage between a ceasefire and a parallel political process, pursuant to the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, and that both initiatives should move ahead expeditiously, and in this regard expresses its support for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, which the ISSG has committed to support and assist in implementing, to come into effect as soon as the representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition have begun initial steps towards a political transition under UN auspices, on the basis of the Geneva Communiqué, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement, and to do so on an urgent basis;

“6.   Requests the Secretary-General to lead the effort, through the office of his Special Envoy and in consultation with relevant parties, to determine the modalities and requirements of a ceasefire as well as continue planning for the support of ceasefire implementation, and urges Member States, in particular members of the ISSG, to support and accelerate all efforts to achieve a ceasefire, including through pressing all relevant parties to agree and adhere to such a ceasefire;

“7.   Emphasizes the need for a ceasefire monitoring, verification and reporting mechanism, requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on options for such a mechanism that it can support, as soon as possible and no later than one month after the adoption of this resolution, and encourages Member States, including members of the Security Council, to provide assistance, including through expertise and in-kind contributions, to support such a mechanism;

“8.   Reiterates its call in resolution 2249 (2015) for Member States to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), Al-Nusra Front (ANF), and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al Qaeda or ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the ISSG and determined by the Security Council, pursuant to the Statement of the ISSG of 14 November 2015, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Syria, and notes that the aforementioned ceasefire will not apply to offensive or defensive actions against these individuals, groups, undertakings and entities, as set forth in the 14 November 2015 ISSG Statement;

“9.   Welcomes the effort that was conducted by the government of Jordan to help develop a common understanding within the ISSG of individuals and groups for possible determination as terrorists and will consider expeditiously the recommendation of the ISSG for the purpose of determining terrorist groups;

“10. Emphasizes the need for all parties in Syria to take confidence building measures to contribute to the viability of a political process and a lasting ceasefire, and calls on all states to use their influence with the government of Syria and the Syrian opposition to advance the peace process, confidence building measures and steps towards a ceasefire;

“11. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council, as soon as possible and no later than one month after the adoption of this resolution, on options for further confidence building measures;

“12. Calls on the parties to immediately allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe and unhindered access throughout Syria by most direct routes, allow immediate, humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, in particular in all besieged and hard-to-reach areas, release any arbitrarily detained persons, particularly women and children, calls on ISSG states to use their influence immediately to these ends, and demands the full implementation of resolutions 2139 (2014), 2165 (2014), 2191 (2014) and any other applicable resolutions;

“13. Demands that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects as such, including attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and any indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment, welcomes the commitment by the ISSG to press the parties in this regard, and further demands that all parties immediately comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable;

“14. Underscores the critical need to build conditions for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their home areas and the rehabilitation of affected areas, in accordance with international law, including applicable provisions of the Convention and Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, and taking into account the interests of those countries hosting refugees, urges Member States to provide assistance in this regard, looks forward to the London Conference on Syria in February 2016, hosted by the United Kingdom, Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations, as an important contribution to this endeavour, and further expresses its support to the post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation of Syria;

“15. Requests that the Secretary-General report back to the Security Council on the implementation of this resolution, including on progress of the UN-facilitated political process, within 60 days;

“16. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”

_____________________________

Friday, December 18, 2015

Furor over Arabic assignment leads Virginia school district to close today

    Friday, December 18, 2015   No comments
A Virginia school system closed schools Friday after a high school geography assignment on world religions led to allegations of Islamic indoctrination and a slew of angry emails and phone calls.

Augusta County School District officials said that there had been no specific threat of harm to students. But in a statement posted on the school district’s website, officials said they were concerned about the “tone and content of these communications.”

“We regret having to take this action, but we are doing so based on the recommendations of law enforcement and the Augusta County School Board out of an abundance of caution,” the statement says.




Some parents were outraged at what they saw as an attempt to proselytize Islam in a public school, a concern that has been echoed by parents in districts across the country over lessons about Islam. In Tennessee, there has been an uproar over teaching about Islam and ancient Islamic civilization to middle schoolers, prompting state lawmakers to consider legislation limiting the teaching of world religions to high schoolers, according to the Tennessean. A parent in Fairfax County, Va., also reported what she found to be inappropriate lessons about Islam at a school there last year.



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Saudi anti ISIS coalition is a work of fiction

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015   No comments
 ISR comment:

Since Wikileaks released damaging diplomatic cables showing Saudi Arabia's two faced-diplomacy (a public good cop persona and a private bad cop persona calling for the West to attack its neighbors and overthrew the governments it does not like), the rulers of the kingdom have been acting erratically and dangerously. Most recently, and without actually consulting with its "allies", the kingdom announced that it is forming an "Islamic military coalition to fight terrorism". The next day, some of the 34 countries the Saudi rulers have listed as part of this bizarre coalition denied knowing anything about it. Lebanon, Turkey, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Tunisia all expressed surprise that they were named in this coalition. Most countries expressed willingness to participate in any efforts to combat terrorism but denied agreeing to a "military" coalition. it is likely that by the end of the moth, this coalition will evaporate, leaving Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies alone, once again.


This bizarre behavior by a young prince with a huge arsenal of weapons that he is treating like toys is endangering the region and destabilizing the world. Ibn Salman thinks that all other countries are like his: Ruled by one man. He is ignorant to the fact that other countries actually have governing institutions and procedure that must be followed before entering into a coalition, especially a military one.
 

Saudi Arabia is now feeling the pressure to reform its religious institutions and fight genocidal ideology. This announcement is meant to relieve that pressure. The Saudi rulers want to appear tough on ISIL. They are not. Every Saudi intervention thus far benefited ISIL and al-Qaeda. They bombed Yemen, only to hand over the southern cities in that country to ISIL and al-Qaeda. This is purely propaganda.

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Article:
In a move that seems to have taken everyone by surprise, the young Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, son of the king, announced this morning at a brief press conference – itself an unusual event – the formation of an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism. In reply to a question, he said that the new alliance was directed not only against Islamic State but also against any other terrorist organisation.


The Saudi Press Agency published what was described as a joint statement giving a little more information: 34 states have decided to form a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia to fight terrorism, with a joint operations centre in Riyadh. The 34 include most Arab League states, a number of mainly Muslim states mostly in Africa, and Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh and Malaysia. More than 10 other Islamic countries, including Indonesia, are said to have expressed support. One notable inclusion in the list is Qatar, whose relations with Saudi Arabia have been strained. Notable omissions are Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Algeria, Oman and Eritrea.


source

Why are other Muslim countries like, Indonesia and Algeria, not in the Saudi-led Sunni coalition against terror?

    Wednesday, December 16, 2015   No comments
Saudi Arabia officially beheads more people than any other country in the world
The Saudis love coalitions. The Sunni monarchy had the Americans, the British, the French and sundry other oil importers on their side to drive Saddam’s legions out of Kuwait in 1991. Earlier this year, the Saudi military – for which read the youngest defence minister in the world and the ambitious Deputy Prime Minister, Mohamed bin Salman al-Saud – struck at the Kingdom’s Shia Houthi enemies in Yemen in yet another coalition. This included not only Saudi fighter-bombers but jets from Qatar, the Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan.
...
In all seriousness, he announced that the battle of this latest “coalition” – which includes countries as mythical as “Palestine”, as corrupt as Afghanistan and as powerless as Lebanon, with bankrupt Chad and the Islamic Republic of the Comoros thrown in for good measure – would require “a very strong effort to fight”. Few spotted, however, the curious absence from the 34-strong “coalition” of Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population. 

This is very strange, since the 2002 Bali bombings, which killed 202 mostly foreign civilians, brought al-Qaeda into Indonesia’s own “war against terror”. Surely Indonesia, with a Sunni population of more than 200 million, would have an interest in joining their fellow Sunni Muslims in this unprecedented “coalition”? Or could it be that with more than 30 Indonesian maids on Saudi Arabia’s death row after grotesquely unfair trials, the country wants an end to this injustice before committing its army to the Kingdom?

All in all, then, a pretty vast “coalition” – most of whom are saddled with massive international debt and face constant economic collapse. So the real figures behind this extraordinary military force is not how many countries plan to participate, but how many millions – or billions – of dollars Saudi Arabia plans to pay them for their fraternal military assistance.


Along with the obvious question: just which strain of the “terror disease” does young Prince Mohamed intend to destroy? The Isis version – albeit spiritually founded on the same Sunni Wahabi purist doctrines which govern the Saudi state? The Nusrah version, which is espoused by the very same Qatar which is now part of this weird “coalition”? The Shia Houthis of Yemen, who are regarded as pro-Iranian terrorists by the Sunni Yemeni President whom the Saudis support? And what kind of relationship do the Saudis envision with the Iranians who are fighting in both Iraq and Syria against the same Isis “terror” which our favourite Saudi prince identifies as part of the “disease”? Neither Shia Iran nor Shia Iraq, needless to say, is part of the new international Muslim army.

So we know there’s a “coalition”. But who will it fight? How much will it be paid? And why is this a largely Sunni Muslim force rather than just a Muslim “coalition”?


source

Monday, December 14, 2015

Russia: person who shot the Russian pilot of Su-24 warplane was Turkish, son of former mayor, not Syrian rebel

    Monday, December 14, 2015   No comments
Speaking about the death of one of the two pilots flying the Russian Su-24 warplane that got downed by Turkish fighter jets on Nov. 24, Karlov claimed the person who shot the Russian pilot after he ejected himself from the plane and was trying to make a safe landing with a parachute was a Turkish citizen named Alparslan Çelik.

“It is Alparslan Çelik who shot at our pilot. He went before the cameras and was making a statement, and then he showed a part of the parachute. He spoke Turkish easily,” claimed Karlov, adding that Çelik’s father was a former mayor.

One of the two pilots of the downed Russian jet died after he ejected himself from the jet, while the other pilot was rescued with the efforts of Syrian government’s special forces unit and brought to a Russian base in Syria.

The body of the dead pilot was handed over to the Russian military staff in Ankara, from where it was taken to Russia. Another pilot, who was looking for the pilots of the downed jet inside Syrian territory, was also killed.

Karlov claimed a group of members of the press, who were “perhaps coincidentally where our [Russian] jet was shot with professional equipment,” had filmed the group who shot at the Russian pilot. He said the group opened fire with long-range weapons first, then filmed it, and then distributed photos of the incident.

“Then it is easy to determine the head of the bandits, who made the announcement, that he is not a Syrian citizen but a Turkish citizen,” Karlov claimed. source

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The most prominent Muslim elected official in America sees a ‘message of hope’ in Trump’s ‘weakness’

    Sunday, December 13, 2015   No comments
Keith Ellison, the most prominent Muslim elected official in America, was having a pretty good day.
Never mind that the Republican front-runner in the presidential contest — Donald Trump — had proposed to temporarily bar all people of the congressman’s faith from entering the United States, roughly a quarter of the world’s population. Never mind that his House colleague — Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson, the only other Muslim in Congress — received another death threat. And never mind that a Republican colleague — Iowa Rep. Steve King — was, at that very moment, questioning his patriotism in the press, saying the Detroit-born progressive Democrat has not sufficiently denounced Sharia law. Ellison had greeted King with a smile several times that day, even shaking his hand.
...

But the congressman’s routine belied the chaos engulfing Muslims around the country. Following the California shooting by a couple who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, anti-Muslim violence appears
to be escalating. A shop owner in New York City was savagely beaten last weekend by a stranger promising to “kill Muslims,” while a Muslim man praying and playing volleyball in a San Francisco Bay area park was struck by a woman saying he was “deceived by Satan.” In Philadelphia, a severed pig’s head was discovered outside a mosque, interrupting morning prayers.

Yet this is not so extraordinary, Carson and Ellison note. They have faced multiple threats on their lives since arriving in Congress. Each has received police protection for periods of time while on the job. They say they trust the Capitol Police, which is investigating the most recent threat against Carson, to sort things out.

Ellison, who called optimism his “weakness,” admitted he might be deluding himself.

“It might be better to see things only as they are, as opposed to seeing the positive spin on stuff,” he mused. “I am optimistic. But I tend to be right! I mean, if you look at history, why not be optimistic? … The only reason to go pessimistic is if we’re not doing nothing about what we’re facing. But we are, we are.”

“You know, you can’t control when you’re coming or going out of this world,” he said of the threats. “So I don’t really worry about it. Never occurs to me.”

Trump’s rise is a painful reminder to U.S. Muslims that some Americans remain uncomfortable with them — more than half have a “somewhat” or “very unfavorable” view of Islam, according to one poll taken earlier this year. Forty-two percent of Republicans and 38 percent of GOP primary voters support Trump’s plan to temporarily prevent Muslims from entering the country (although 57 percent of Americans oppose it).

Ellison, an African-American convert to Islam, has faced this discomfort from colleagues in the House.

After Ellison’s election in 2006, for example, former Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.) called on constituents to embrace strict immigration laws, lest more Muslims get elected to Congress and choose to be sworn in on the Koran. (Ellison did this, sparking controversy on the right.)  source

Friday, December 11, 2015

72 percent of total Twitter content removal requests were made by Turkey

    Friday, December 11, 2015   No comments
Turkey makes by far the highest number of official requests for Twitter to censor tweets. In the first half of 2015, 72 percent of total Twitter content removal requests were made by Turkey, far higher than second-placed Russia, which accounted for 7 percent of removal requests.

Access in Turkey to social media sites, including Twitter and YouTube, has been temporarily blocked by court orders on a number of occasions over allegely illegal content.

In March 2014, Turkey blocked access to Twitter, hours after then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed to “wipe out” the social media platform. Access was later restored after the Constitutional Court ruled that the ruling to close the site led to a violation of citizens’ rights.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Donald Trump's Muslim ban plan plunges Republican party into chaos ... American Muslims react

    Wednesday, December 09, 2015   No comments
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was disowned by his own party’s top leadership on Tuesday and faced calls to drop his White House bid as the world reacted with outrage to his plan for a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
The billionaire frontrunner’s plan tipped the Republican presidential race into chaos, with party leaders from the chairman of the Republican National Committee to former US vice-president Dick Cheney condemning the idea as “un-American”.
Donald Trump will not be barred from Britain despite Muslims outburst
Read more

Trump toured the US television studios in unrepentant form, unmoved by the gale of criticism that followed his speech aboard an aircraft carrier on Monday evening. Speaking aboard the USS Yorktown, he acknowledged that his proposal was “probably not politically correct”, before whipping up a cheering crowd and adding: “But. I. Don’t. Care.”

“We need a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States while we figure out what the hell is going on,” Trump said. “We are out of control.”

But for perhaps the first time of the election cycle, Trump seemed at risk of being drowned out by voices raised on all sides in protest against him.
source 


Seven inconvenient truths about ISIS, terrorism

American Muslims now live with three interconnected and devastating burdens: disastrous civil wars that are turning Syrians and Iraqis into unwanted refugees, acts of terrorism by fanatical groups that are distorting their faith, and racist attitudes and acts inspired by politicians claiming to represent the citizens of the United States. None of these issues are of American Muslims’ own making. Yet they are called upon to clear their religion of perversions, argue the virtues of admitting refugees, and fight new expressions of persistent racism in America. The real perpetrators of these burdens continue to profit from their trade in the sweat and blood of the vulnerable, and the real causes continue unabated.

Undoubtedly the couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, were inspired by ISIL. There is also no doubt that the order to commit such murders came from ISIL, although law enforcement officials claim that they have no evidence that “ISIS directed or ordered the attack.” The distinction between attacks inspired by ISIL and the ones ordered by ISIL reveals a lack of understanding of the ideology and practices of ISIL and an incoherent response that allows this group to carry out its genocidal agenda. This willful ignorance is present among federal law enforcement officials and politicians, especially those who are supposed to formulate a comprehensive strategy to neutralize and eradicate such threats. Importantly, the occurrence of these brutal attacks in many countries, with both Muslim and non-Muslim majorities, underscore the link between the crises in Syria and Iraq, the spread of terrorism, and increased hateful speech against Muslims. It is now abundantly clear that the longer the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars are allowed to continue, the graver the threat of terrorism around the world. Therefore, properly defining the nature of the terrorist threat facing the world and defeating ISIL in Syria, Libya, and Iraq will protect American citizens — all of them — at home and abroad, and will end the cycle of violence that is killing and displacing people from their homes and countries. 
source 

Monday, December 07, 2015

London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, says allies should join Assad and Russia against Isis

    Monday, December 07, 2015   No comments
London’s mayor says doubts about there being 70,000 ‘moderate’ fighters means allies cannot be picky if they want to defeat jihadis

Britain and its allies should accept that Bashar al-Assad’s forces are best placed to lead a ground assault against Islamic State in Syria because David Cameron’s claims about 70,000 moderate opposition forces are “exaggerated,” Boris Johnson has said.

On Wednesday MPs will vote on whether to extend the UK’s air campaign against Isis to Syria. Here are the issues that should inform their decision
Read more

In remarks that may be seized on by Labour opponents of the airstrikes in Syria, Johnson says that “Assad and his army” may be the allies’ best chance of removing Isis because the 70,000 figure includes groups that are ideologically little different from al-Qaida.


The prime minister faced intense pressure in the House of Commons last week after claiming that 70,000 “moderate” fighters in Syria are prepared to join the UK and its allies in attacking Islamic State. Jeremy Corbyn questioned the figure as he spoke of a lack of “credible ground forces”.

Johnson waded into the row by saying that Britain and its allies, which cannot overthrow Isis without ground forces, cannot be picky about their allies in light of doubts over the 70,000 figure.

London’s mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “We have the estimated 70,000 of the Free Syrian Army (and many other groups and grouplets); but those numbers may be exaggerated, and they may include some jihadists who are not ideologically very different from al-Qaida. Who else is there? The answer is obvious. There is Assad, and his army; and the recent signs are that they are making some progress.”
source

Sunday, December 06, 2015

German vice-chancellor accuses Saudi Arabia of funding Islamic extremism in the West

    Sunday, December 06, 2015   No comments
In a highly unusual moment of a Western politician attacking a critical Arab ally, Sigmar Gabriel says the time has come to make it clear to Riyadh the time of looking away is over

 The German vice-chancellor has publicly accused Saudi Arabia of financing Islamic extremism in the West and warned that it must stop.

Sigmar Gabriel said that the Saudi regime is funding extremist mosques and communities that pose a danger to public security.

“We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over,” Mr Gabriel told Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.

“Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities in Germany.”


The allegation that Saudi Arabia has funded mosques with links to Islamist terrorism in the West is not new. But it is highly unusual for a Western leader to speak out so directly against the West’s key Arab ally.
 Mr Gabriel is Angela Merkel’s deputy and the leader of the German chancellor's main coalition partner.

His intervention comes just days after German intelligence issued a rare public warning that Saudi Arabia is at risk of becoming a major destabilising force in the Arab world.  source


Saturday, December 05, 2015

Turkey shot down Russian jet for allegedly violating its sovereignty for 17 seconds, violates Iraq's sovereignty by sending its troops to establish a permanent base

    Saturday, December 05, 2015   No comments

Several hundred Turkish soldiers have been deployed to provide training for Iraqi troops in an area near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which is under Islamic State control, a Turkish security source told Reuters on Friday.

Islamic State militants overran Mosul, a city of more than one million people, in June 2014, but a much anticipated counter-offensive by Iraqi forces has been repeatedly postponed because they are involved in fighting elsewhere.

"Turkish soldiers have reached the Mosul Bashiqa region. They are there as part of routine training exercises. One battalion has crossed into the region," the source said, declining to say exactly how many soldiers had been deployed.

He said troops had already been in Iraqi Kurdistan and had moved to Mosul accompanied by armored vehicles, in a move which coalition countries targeting Islamic State were aware of.

Video released on the website of Turkey's pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper showed flatbed trucks carrying armored vehicles along a road at night, describing them as a convoy accompanying the Turkish troops to Bashiqa.

source

Friday, December 04, 2015

European companies are providing the terrorist organization, ISIL, Internet access by satellite dish

    Friday, December 04, 2015   No comments
No terror organization uses the Internet as successfully when it comes to marketing itself and recruiting supporters as Islamic State (IS) does. But how is it able to do so given that the group operates in a region where telecommunications infrastructure has been largely destroyed?


The answer to this question is an extremely problematic one for Europe, for it is European companies that provide the terrorists with access to the platforms they use to spread their propaganda. It remains unclear whether the companies knowingly do so, but documents obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE show that they may very well know what's going on. And the documents show that the companies could immediately cut off Islamic State's Internet access without much effort.

If you need to get online in Syria or Iraq, the technology needed to do so can be purchased in the Hatay province -- a corner of Turkey located between the Mediterranean Sea and the Syrian border. In the bazaar quarter of the regional capital of Antakya, peddlers hawk everything from brooms and spices to pomegranates, wedding dresses, ovens, beds and all kinds of electronics. Antakya has served as a crossroads for numerous trade routes for thousands of years. Wares continue to flow through the region's relatively porous borders even today.


Thousands of dishes have been installed in the region allowing users to access the Internet by satellite. There has been a huge surge in recent years in the satellite Internet business. Instead of the usual landline cable connection, all one needs is a satellite dish with a transmission and reception antenna and a modem. The result is top-speed Internet access, with downloads at a rate of 22 Megabits per second and uploads of 6 Megabits.

Accessing the Internet by satellite is easy, but it isn't cheap. The equipment needed costs around $500 in Syria right now. On top of that are the fees charged by Internet service providers, which run at about $500 for six months for a small data package and customer service provided by email.

...

 Why Don't Companies Take Action to Stop It?

Given the high investments costs of the required infrastructure, the general business practice of the satellite operators is to gain as many customers as quickly as possible. Although most satellite operators do not publish their internal figures, industry analysts say it costs between €300 million and €400 million to build a satellite and to launch it into orbit. Costs associated with operating a satellite must also be factored in. There's an additional aspect as well: The average operating life of a satellite is only 15 years, meaning that the investment must be recouped as quickly as possible.

Does that explain why satellite operators might be willing to accept the fact that they provide the infrastructure needed by a terrorist group to communicate, disseminate their propaganda and possibly plan attacks? For the satellite operators, it's technically relatively easy to cut access to networks. Using the web portal OSS, it only takes one click to eliminate access. In cases where they harbor suspicions, operators would also have the technical ability to see what kind of data is be transmitted or received by the satellite dishes.

It may be true that the companies simply want to used their technology to increase the reach of television stations -- in the way recently described by Eutelsat CEO Michel de Rosen as he presented an award sponsored by his company to SPIEGEL TV (ironically enough for a documentary film about the Islamic State). Or perhaps the companies simply want to pursue their business goals without checking precisely to see who is profiting from the services they provide.

Or perhaps the companies have full knowledge of who is using their services and are sharing that information with intelligence services. When asked, neither the companies nor intelligence services were willing to comment.

That would mean that intelligence services have been listening in for years, even as IS continued growing in strength. It wouldn't be difficult for intelligence services to tap the connections either, given that the ground stations used to feed the satellite signals into the cable networks are also located in European countries, including Cyprus (Avanti) and Italy (Eutelsat).

Possible connections linking Eutelsat with Syria could be particularly uncomfortable for the French government, which indirectly holds a 26-percent share in the satellite operator through the state-owned Bank Caisse des Dépôts.

source

Bahçeli calls on president Erdoğan to heat palace with dung instead of gas

    Friday, December 04, 2015   No comments
Leader of the minority opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli has criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's stance on speculation that Russia may impose natural gas cuts on Turkey, declaring that the presidential palace should be heated by burning dried cow dung so that the government can share the Turkish people's suffering.

Speaking on the presidential plane on his way to Qatar on Dec. 1 after attending a climate conference in Paris, Erdoğan claimed Turks “are accustomed to suffering,” in response to a question on the effects of a possible gas cut by Russia, the result of a crisis over a Russian fighter jet Turkey recently shot down.

“As you know, we [Turkey] have not lived with natural gas our whole lives. We all know how long it has been since we began using natural gas. … Moreover we will not be doomed if we cannot acquire Russian gas,” Erdoğan said, adding that Turkey buys natural gas from various countries.

Commenting on the issue on his Twitter account late on Thursday, Bahçeli said: “The people of this country have suffered enough. From now on, the presidential palace must be heated by burning dried cow dung in stoves. It's easy to talk, go ahead and share the people's suffering.”

Bahçeli added that Erdoğan's statements about Turks made him sad.


While being interviewed by a local TV station this week, Erzurum residents said they would start burning dried cow dung as they did in the past rather than bow to Russian pressure.

The speculation of a Russian natural gas cut arose after Turkish troops shot down a Russian Su-24 jet on Nov. 24 after it violated Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. The incident was the first downing of a Russian jet by a NATO member country in over half a century.
source

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

German intelligence warns: Saudi Arabia "destabilizing Arab world", funding jihadist groups fighting in Syria, including Daesh

    Wednesday, December 02, 2015   No comments
It is unusual for the BND spy agency to publicly release such a blunt assessment on a country that is considered an ally of the West. Germany has long-standing political and economic ties with Saudi Arabia

 Saudi Arabia is at risk of becoming a major destabilizing influence in the Arab world, German intelligence has warned.

Internal power struggles and the desire to emerge as the leading Arab power threaten to make the key Western ally a source of instability, according to the BND intelligence service.

“The current cautious diplomatic stance of senior members of the Saudi royal family will be replaced by an impulsive intervention policy,” a BND memo widely distributed to the German press reads.


The memo focuses particularly on the role of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 30-year-old son of King Salman who was recently appointed deputy crown prince and defence minister.

The concentration of so much power in Prince Mohammed’s hands “harbours a latent risk that in seeking to establish himself in the line of succession in his father’s lifetime, he may overreach,” the memo notes.

“Relations with friendly and above all allied countries in the region could be overstretched.”

Prince Mohammed is believed to have played a key role in Saudi Arabia’s decision to intervene in the civil war in Yemen earlier this year.

...
 The overthrow of Syria’s President Bashar Assad remains a priority for the kingdom, the BND says.

Saudi Arabia has previously been accused of supplying arms and funding to jihadist groups fighting in Syria, including Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil)

source

Worried that Russia may cut export of natural gas, 55% of Turkey's need, Erdoğan says Turks can do without gas, but rushes to ask Qatari Emir for help, just in case

    Wednesday, December 02, 2015   No comments
Erdoğan told reporters on his plane: “As you know, we [Turkey] have not lived with natural gas our whole lives. We all know how long it has been since we began using natural gas.”

“Moreover we will not be doomed if we cannot acquire Russian gas,” he said, adding Turkey buys natural gas from various countries.
Turkey imports 95 percent of its energy from abroad and meets 55 percent -- or 27 billion cubic meters (bcm) -- of its natural gas consumption and 30 percent of its oil needs from Russia. Additionally, the contractors of Turkey's first nuclear energy plant in Mersin's Akkuyu district -- whose reactor is due to be built in 2016 -- are two subsidiaries of Russia's state-owned Rosatom.

Turkey was hit with a wide range of sanctions by Russia after it shot down a Russian Su-24 jet on Nov. 24 after it violated Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. The incident was recorded as the first downing of a Russian jet by a NATO member country in over half a century.

...

The state-owned Turkish Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) has announced a memorandum of understanding with the Qatari national petrol company regarding the long-term supply of Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) to Turkey amid speculation that Russia may cut its supply of gas to Turkey.

Turkey already imports LNG from Qatar on the basis of temporary deals. A planned agreement between the two countries will set the framework for long-term and regular LNG exports from Qatar, media reports said.

Erdoğan also announced on Wednesday that the two countries have abolished visa requirements.

Thanking Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani for his hospitality, Erdoğan announced the developments surrounding the abolishment of visa requirements between the two countries. “The visa restrictions between Turkey and Qatar have been lifted. Now Turkish citizens and Qatari citizens will be able to travel to these countries without a visa,” he said.

The two countries signed a total of 15 agreements to boost cooperation in a number of fields, Erdoğan said.




Russian military provides evidence for Putin's claim that Syrian and Iraqi oil under ISIL's control is sold in Turkey

    Wednesday, December 02, 2015   No comments

Russia accuses Erdogan of trading oil with IS

Moscow has grounds to suspect that Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 on November 24 to secure illegal oil deliveries from Syria to Turkey, Putin said on the sidelines of the climate change summit in Paris on Monday.

“At the moment we have received additional information confirming that that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale,” he said.

“We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers,” Putin said.

Speaking in Paris on Monday, President Recep Erdogan said that he will leave office if there is proof of Turkey’s cooperation with IS.

 “We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll consider [it],” he said, as quoted by TASS.




The countries from which Turkey buys oil are “well known,” said Erdogan.

He called on Russia to comment on the US’ recent black-listing of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the World Chess Federation President, accusing him of “materially assisting and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria.” Erdogan alleged Ilyumzhinov had been dealing with Islamic State oil. source


US administration reacted to the evidence produced by the Russians saying,

The State Department's Toner said U.S. information was that Islamic State was selling oil at the wellheads to middlemen who were involved in smuggling it across the frontier into Turkey. Source

ISR comment: Whether these middlemen are ISIL fighters or ISIL enablers, the problem remains, Iraqi and Syrian oil that is under the control of Daesh (ISIL) illegally enters Turkey and is illegally sold in Turkey.


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Obama confirms Russia's claim that ISIL moves fighters and oil through Turkey

    Tuesday, December 01, 2015   No comments
President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that there is some progress in sealing the border between Turkey and Syria but there are still some "gaps" exploited by Islamic State militants to bring in foreign fighters and sell oil.

The 60-mile-long border stretch Obama wants Turkey to close
Obama said he has had repeated conversations with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan about the issue, including on Tuesday. Source

The US move follows increasing international criticism of Turkey for what is seen as its long-term tolerance of, and possible complicity with, Isis and other extreme jihadi groups such as al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham. Not only have thousands of foreign fighters passed through Turkey on their way to join Isis, but crude oil from oilfields seized by Isis in north-east Syria has been transported to Turkey for sale, providing much of revenue of the self-declared Islamic State.

Last week a Turkish court jailed two prominent journalists for publishing pictures of a Turkish truck delivering ammunition to opposition fighters in Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that the weapons were destined for Turkmen paramilitaries allied to Turkey fighting in Syria, but this was denied by Turkish political leaders close to the Turkmen.Source


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