Showing posts with label Religion and Culture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion and Culture. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Soccer, Religion, Culture, and Politics: Qatar may live to Regret hosting the Global Event

    Tuesday, October 25, 2022   No comments

The Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, expressed his regret that his country is being subjected to an "unprecedented campaign" due to its hosting of the 2022 World Cup, whose matches will start in the emirate in less than a month.

In a speech he delivered at the opening of the Shura Council, Tamim said: "Since we won the honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has faced."



He added, "We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism is positive and useful that helps us develop aspects of ours that need to be developed."


Sheikh Tamim also expressed his regret, because “it soon became clear to us that the campaign continues and expands and includes slander and double standards, until it reached such a ferocity that many wondered, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.”


And while the Emir of Qatar considered that “criticism is useful only if it is based on correct information and an understanding of the contexts,” he stressed that “hosting the World Cup combines several elements and challenges, including civilizational and cultural openness.”


Sheikh Tamim stressed that his country’s hosting of the World Cup in football is “an occasion in which we show who we are, not only in terms of the strength of our economy and our institutions, but also in terms of our civilizational identity,” considering that “this is a great test for a country the size of Qatar, which impresses the whole world with its You have done it and you have done it.”


Emphasizing that "Qatar is currently more like a workshop in preparation and preparation for the occasion," Tamim recalled that it is the first time that an Arab country will host such an occasion, saying: "We have accepted this challenge (...) in recognition of the importance of hosting a major event such as the World Cup. in the Arab world".


He added, "This is a tournament for everyone, and its success is everyone's success."


With the approaching date of the most expensive World Cup ever, Qatar finds itself facing a growing torrent of criticism and attacks, due to various issues, ranging from the emirate's hot climate and conservative society, to its record in the field of human rights and freedoms.


The Qatari authorities have made unremitting efforts to refute the accusations leveled against them, noting in particular that they have carried out in recent years reforms to their laws, while the President of the "International Football Association" (FIFA), Gianni Infantino, confirmed that this version of the World Cup would be "the best ever".

  

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Religion and Culture, emerging Chechen Islam': Muslims in Russia bring home an Olive Tree linked to the Prophet Muhammad and produce the first hand-written Quran

    Wednesday, July 27, 2022   No comments

The president of the Republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, visited the Mufti of the Republic, Salah-Khadji Mezhiev. The visit, the president said, "is undertaken when wise guidance is needed. He shares his knowledge with me, gives advice, tells a lot of interesting things about our religion. For me such meetings are very valuable."


He learned that after performing the Hajj, the Mufti visited Jordan for an olive tree sprout, "under which the venerable Prophet Muhammad ﷺ rested." Through the efforts of Sheikh Salah-Khadji, "a piece of this beautiful, centuries-old tree is now in our republic. Without any doubt, his work for the benefit of the Muslims of the Chechen Republic is noble and priceless," said Kadyrov.


The Mufti also shared with the president the result of the painstaking work of the renowned Syrian calligrapher of Chechen origin, Shukri Kharacho, who was tasked by the president to create a handwritten Quran, designed in Chechen styles. Shukri Kharacho managed to realize the unique style of Arabic writing and at the same time maintain simplicity for reading. After authority checks and reviews by an independent commission, this work will go into mass printing, the president explained.



Since the end of the war and the election of the first Kadyrov to the presidency, officials have embarked on two-track strategy: economic development and spiritual growth. Both plans involved support from the federal government of Russia. In order to limit influx of youth joining the Wahhabi-Salafi fighters, the leaders realized that they need to provide economic opportunity while redefining Sunni Islam in a way that does not conflict with local customs and historical legacies.


Ten years ago, Ramzan Kadyrov, during a meeting with religious leaders, he stressed the need to match spiritual development to the pace of economic development:


"The republic's economy is developing, cities and villages have been restored, but without a spiritually developed and highly moral society, the republic cannot have a future. Spiritual and moral education should be a priority for you. Therefore, you need to clearly coordinate your work and involve public organizations in it."


The level of growth in both areas is stunning as these images illustrate.

  






















Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Heads of Caspian Sea states agree to use the sea for peaceful purposes; Putin: Joint exploitation of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea is already underway; Raisi: Cooperation between Caspian countries is of increasing importance due to international developments

    Wednesday, June 29, 2022   No comments

The Caspian Sea heads of state agreed, during their sixth summit, held in the Turkmen capital Ashgabat, today, Wednesday, to use the Caspian Sea for peaceful purposes and to provide security in the region.

In the statement of the summit, the presidents reaffirmed that the activities of the riparian states of the Caspian Sea will be carried out on the basis of the following principles: "Using the Caspian Sea for peaceful purposes, transforming it into an area of ​​peace, good neighbourliness, friendship and cooperation, and solving all issues related to the Caspian Sea by peaceful means."

An agreement was also reached on respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, independence, sovereign equality of states, non-use of force or threat of force, mutual respect, cooperation and non-interference in each other's internal affairs, as well as on ensuring security and stability in the Caspian Sea region. .

In turn, Russian President Vladimir Putin, during his participation in the sixth summit of the countries bordering the Caspian Sea, referred to his country's call to deepen partnerships between the five Caspian countries, stressing that "the joint exploitation of oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea is already being implemented." ".

Putin explained that "deepening partnerships between the five countries includes the policy and security sectors, and the five Caspian Sea regions should increase cooperation in rapid response to natural and other man-made emergencies," adding: "I propose to invite countries participating in the Tehran Agreement, which aims to to the protection of the Caspian Sea to the Conference".

Among Putin's proposals is the establishment of the Caspian Sea Film Festival.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is visiting Ashgabat to participate in the Sixth Caspian Sea Summit, at the invitation of the President of Turkmenistan, Sardar Berdymukhamedov.

Also participating in the summit are the presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Iran's Ibrahim Raisi, and the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The meeting is held in accordance with the agreement, which was reached in light of the results of the previous summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan in August 2018.

On June 27, the Russian President's Assistant, Yuri Ushakov, announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, during their participation in the Caspian Sea Summit scheduled for June 29.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi welcomed the initiatives presented by the heads of states bordering the Caspian Sea, to develop economic cooperation in the fields of transportation, shipping, investment, tourism, and other economic activities, in particular, the need to strengthen cultural relations and protect the fragile environment of the Caspian Sea.

In his speech at the Sixth Summit of the Caspian Sea Countries, in Ashgabat, today, Wednesday, Raisi stressed that relations between Iran and Turkmenistan have always been expanding, pointing to the availability of opportunities and energies in order to raise the level of bilateral cooperation.

He declared his country's readiness for comprehensive cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit.








Sunday, December 18, 2016

Media coverage: More evidence suggest that Aljazeera and the government of Qatar enabled war crimes in Syria

    Sunday, December 18, 2016   No comments
More evidence suggest that Aljazeera and the government of Qatar, and other states supporting the armed groups in Syria including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, enabled and Qatar promised to continue to enable war crimes in Syria.


With armed groups and their families being evacuated out of Aleppo, the process and aftermath reveal, with undeniable certainty, that these groups have committed war crimes in the city and the areas they control. The process also exposed the supporters of groups like the Idlib-based Fath al-Sham (aka Nusra, al-Qaeda affiliate), like Qatar and its mouthpiece Aljazeera. 


Aljazeera failed to report that Fath al-Sham burned buses that were supposed to evacuate the injured and civilians from Shia towns in Idlib endangering the lives of pro-rebel Sunni civilians still trapped in east Aleppo. This callous act, blocking the evacuation of civilians and injured individuals, prompted armed groups and civilians in Aleppo to appeal to “mujahideen to let civilian leave.”


Images out of east Aleppo also reveal that armed groups used mosques, including the historical one—Umayyad Mosque, as military bases. These acts, using civilians as human shields, preventing the evacuation civilians, the evacuation of the injured and sick, holding civilians as hostage, and the use of religious sites for military purposes, all are war crimes.

 
Armed groups used the mosque as military base.

 







 











   




     Aljazeera not reporting the fact that Nusra burned the buses to block the evacuation of civilians, injured, and sick individuals as part of a deal struck between Turkey and Russia.

     Aljazeera lack of coverage of the burning of the buses in Idlib, Syria.

 BBC coverage of the burning of the buses in Idlib, Syria.

Reuters coverage of the burning of the buses in Idlib, Syria.




Thursday, May 12, 2016

#IslamicSocietiesReview: ISIL's cruelty as catalyst for positive social change in Syria and Iraq

    Thursday, May 12, 2016   No comments

They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq.

The unlikely alliance between an offshoot of a leftist Kurdish organization and an Arab tribal militia in northern Iraq is a measure of the extent to which Islamic State has upended the regional order.

Across Iraq and Syria, new groups have emerged where old powers have waned, competing to claim fragments of territory from Islamic State and complicating the outlook when they win.

"Chaos sometimes produces unexpected things," said the head of the Arab tribal force, Abdulkhaleq al-Jarba. "After Daesh (Islamic State), the political map of the region has changed. There is a new reality and we are part of it."

In Nineveh province, this "new reality" was born in 2014 when official security forces failed to defend the Sinjar area against the Sunni Islamic State militants who purged its Yazidi population.

A Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) came to the rescue, which won the gratitude of Yazidis, and another local franchise called the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS) was set up.

The mainly Kurdish secular group, which includes Yazidis, controls a pocket of territory in Sinjar and recently formed an alliance with a Sunni Arab militia drawn from the powerful Shammar tribe.
source

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saudi Arabia threatens U.S. over 9/11 legislation: will sell $750 billion worth of assets held inside U.S.

    Saturday, April 16, 2016   No comments
Saudi Arabia threatens to sell off US assets if Congress passes 9/11 bill
Officials in Saudi Arabia have reportedly told the Obama administration they will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible for any role in the September 11 attacks.

On the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia, the New York Times said the White House had been lobbying Congress to block the bill’s passage and that the threat from Saudi Arabia had been the subject of intense talks.

It said that Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message last month during a trip to Washington, telling legislators that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750bn in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
 source

Monday, April 11, 2016

For a self-declared mere "servant" of holy places, the Saudi king makes his state visit to Turkey in Style: 500 luxury cars, 450-square meter King Suite with bullet proof windows

    Monday, April 11, 2016   No comments
For a self-declared "servant" of holy places, the Saudi king makes his state visit to Turkey in Style: 500 luxury cars, 450-square meter King Suite, with bullet proof windows

A week of intense preparations in Ankara for Saudi King Salman has been completed, with extraordinary security measures marking the king’s two-day visit upon the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The windows of the 450-square meter King Suite in the JW Marriot in Ankara have been covered with bullet-proof glass while the walls of the suite have been covered with bomb-resistant cement.
...
The hotel has been booked for the king for three days, and a team of 300 Saudi officials arrived there a few days ago to coordinate private preparations. It is reported that the total cost of preparations at the hotel was around $10 million.

All personal belongings and other necessities were transferred to Ankara in cargo planes, while around 500 luxury cars have been rented for the king’s meetings in Ankara and Istanbul. To fulfil this demand, vehicles have been rented from provinces across Turkey including Antalya and Adana.
Source

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Saudi Arabia Uncovered

    Thursday, March 31, 2016   No comments
With undercover footage and on-the-ground reporting, FRONTLINE reveals a side of Saudi Arabia that’s rarely seen, and traces the efforts of men and women who are working to bring about change.

Watch on Frontline

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Jordan's king accuses Turkey of sending terrorists to Europe; Turkey is deliberately 'unleashing' Isis terrorists into Europe, says Jordan's King Abdullah

    Sunday, March 27, 2016   No comments
Turkey is exporting Isis-linked terrorists to Europe, according to King Abdullah of Jordan.

The monarch's remarks came in a meeting with members of the US Congress, in which he said that Islamist militants were being "manufactured in Turkey" and "unleashed" into Europe.

He also used the debriefing, held after a cancelled rendezvous with US President Barack Obama, to remind the US politicians of Turkey's alleged complicity in buying Isis oil....

King Abdullah of Jordan accused Turkey of exporting terrorists to Europe at a top level meeting with senior US politicians in January.

The king said Europe’s biggest refugee crisis was not an accident, and neither was the presence of terrorists among them: “The fact that terrorists are going to Europe is part of Turkish policy and Turkey keeps on getting a slap on the hand, but they are let off the hook.”

Asked by one of the congressmen present whether the Islamic State group was exporting oil to Turkey, Abdullah replied: ”Absolutely.”

Abdullah made his remarks during a wide-ranging debriefing to Congress on 11 January, the day a meeting with the US president, Barack Obama, was cancelled.

The White House was forced to deny that Obama snubbed one of America’s closest allies in the Middle East, attributing the cancellation to "scheduling conflicts," although Obama and Abdullah met briefly at Andrews Air Force Base a day later.

Present at the meeting in Congress were the chairmen and members of the Senate Intelligence, Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees, including Senators John McCain and Bob Corker, and Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid, the Senate Majority and Minority leaders respectively.  ...

Friday, March 18, 2016

UN: Most civilian casualties in Yemen were caused by Saudi Arabia's attacks

    Friday, March 18, 2016   No comments
The UN human rights chief has accused the Saudi-led coalition of causing twice as many civilian casualties as all the other forces fighting in Yemen.
Zeid Raad Al Hussein condemned "the repeated failure" of the coalition to prevent deadly incidents.

He said air strikes had caused almost all the coalition's civilian casualties.

More than 6,000 people, about half of them civilians, have been killed since Saudi Arabia launched a multi-national campaign against rebels in March 2015.

Saudi Arabia has denied causing large-scale civilian deaths, saying it is making every effort to avoid hitting civilian targets.


Mr Hussein's comments come three days after some 106 civilians were killed in what medics and witnesses said was an air strike on a market in Mastaba, north-west Yemen, in one of the deadliest incidents of the war.

source: BBC

Monday, March 07, 2016

Early Medieval Muslim Graves in France: First Archaeological, Anthropological and Palaeogenomic Evidence

    Monday, March 07, 2016   No comments
On the outskirts of the ancient Roman city of Nimes in southern France, archaeologists have discovered the graves of three Muslim men that date back to the 8th century.

The finding, reported Wednesday in PLOS One, suggests the early medieval presence of Muslims north of the Pyrenees was more complicated, and perhaps more welcome, than previously thought.

The medieval history of Muslims in Spain and Portugal is well established, but information about the experience of Muslims in France during the same time period has been more difficult to find.

According to historical documents, around the year 719, Muslim troops from the Umayyad army crossed the eastern Pyrenees and occupied the region around Narbonne 530 miles south of modern-day Paris. But the occupation was short-lived. By 760, the Franks, who came from the north, took over the region known as Septimania.
Very little known is about these early invaders. Historians cannot say for sure whether they lived in garrisons or created more long-term establishments, or what cities they could be found in. They don't even know if the occupiers were Arabs, Berbers or converts.

And that's why the three Muslim graves that date back to this time period are so valuable.

"They could start to answer these questions," said Yves Gleize, who studies archaeo-anthropology at the University of Bordeaux and was the lead author on the study.


Abstract

The rapid Arab-Islamic conquest during the early Middle Ages led to major political and cultural changes in the Mediterranean world. Although the early medieval Muslim presence in the Iberian
Peninsula is now well documented, based in the evaluation of archeological and historical sources, the Muslim expansion in the area north of the Pyrenees has only been documented so far through textual sources or rare archaeological data. Our study provides the first archaeo-anthropological testimony of the Muslim establishment in South of France through the multidisciplinary analysis of three graves excavated at Nimes. First, we argue in favor of burials that followed Islamic rites and then note the presence of a community practicing Muslim traditions in Nimes. Second, the radiometric dates obtained from all three human skeletons (between the 7th and the 9th centuries AD) echo historical sources documenting an early Muslim presence in southern Gaul (i.e., the first half of 8th century AD). Finally, palaeogenomic analyses conducted on the human remains provide arguments in favor of a North African ancestry of the three individuals, at least considering the paternal lineages. Given all of these data, we propose that the skeletons from the Nimes burials belonged to Berbers integrated into the Umayyad army during the Arab expansion in North Africa. Our discovery not only discusses the first anthropological and genetic data concerning the Muslim occupation of the Visigothic territory of Septimania but also highlights the complexity of the relationship between the two communities during this period.

Source

Monday, February 22, 2016

#IslamicSocietiesReview : BBC report, al-Qaeda in Yemen on the same front as the Saudi Coalition

    Monday, February 22, 2016   No comments
BBC reported that it now has evidence that al-Qaeda in Yemen is fighting on the same front as the Saudi coalition.

The Saudi rulers launched a brutal war that killed tens of thousands of civilians in Yemen, has also created a foothold for al-Qaeda and ISIL in that country. For instance, when the Saudi coalition pushed the Yemeni army and their Houthi allies out of Aden, al-Qaeda and ISIL moved in and they are now in control of many neighborhoods  of that city.

Despite the Saudi rhetoric that they are committed to fighting terrorism, the kingdom's military did not attack, in any significant way, al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen or anywhere else. That makes their offer to send troops to fight ISIL in Syria highly suspicious. 


Saudi Arabian rulers are interested in staying in power, not fight terrorists who espouse Wahhabi-Salafism, which is deeply rooted in Saudi society.

Sources: BBC
 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

#IslamicSocietiesReview : Turkey blames Kurdish militants for Ankara bombing

    Thursday, February 18, 2016   No comments
As it has done in the past, whenever terrorists attack civilians inside Turkey, the Turkish government used the Ankara bombing to launch fresh strikes against Kurds. It has done so in the past even after instances when ISIL (Daesh) has carried out (and took credit for) the attacks. This time, too, AKP leaders were quick to blame the Kurds of Syria. Even before the investigation concluded, the Turkish government accused "Syrians" to justify its campaign against Kurds in Iraq and Syria. This practice could undercut support for their cause since the Turkish government could be perceived as leveraging terrorism for geopolitical aims. Turkey's reluctance to fight ISIL and shut down the flow of fighters and weapons into Syria adds to the volatility of the region and will add risks to Turkey's security.
...
Turkey blames Kurdish militants for Ankara bomb, vows response in Syria and Iraq

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed a Syrian Kurdish militia fighter working with Kurdish militants inside Turkey for a suicide car bombing that killed 28 people in the capital Ankara, and he vowed retaliation in both Syria and Iraq.

A car laden with explosives detonated next to military buses as they waited at traffic lights near Turkey's armed forces' headquarters, parliament and government buildings in the administrative heart of Ankara late on Wednesday.

Davutoglu said the attack was clear evidence that the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia that has been supported by the United States in the fight against Islamic State in northern Syria, was a terrorist organization and that Turkey, a NATO member, expected cooperation from its allies in combating the group. 
Source

#IslamicSocietiesReview : Turkey sends 2000 rebels with heavy weapons into Syria

    Thursday, February 18, 2016   No comments
At least 2,000 Syrian rebel fighters have re-entered the country from Turkey over the last week to reinforce insurgents fending off an assault by Syrian Kurdish militias, rebel sources said on Thursday.


The rebel fighters, with weapons and vehicles, have been covertly escorted across the border by Turkish forces over several nights before heading into the embattled rebel stronghold of Azaz, the sources said.

"We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment mortars and missiles and our tanks," Abu Issa, a commander in the Levant Front, the rebel group that runs the border crossing of Bab al-Salam, told Reuters, giving his alias and talking on condition of anonymity.

"There is tight security on the four-hour drive from one border crossing to the other," he added, saying rebels being transported excluded the hardline Jabhat al-Nusra Front fighters and other jihadist groups.

A Turkish security source confirmed fighters had crossed the border but put the numbers at 400-500 and the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence across the war torn-country, also said hundreds had crossed.

On Sunday, the Syrian government had said Turkish forces were among 100 gunmen who had entered Syria accompanied by 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns in an ongoing supply operation to insurgents. The route across Turkey has become the only path for rebels to their north Aleppo enclave after recent Syrian army advances closed the main route into rebel territory. source

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

#ISR: Weaponry delivered to Syria's FSA by the U.S.-led coalition have fallen into the hands of Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra

    Wednesday, February 17, 2016   No comments
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), the recognized armed opposition group against the Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has ceased its resistance in Aleppo, Syria’s second biggest city, withdrawing its 14,000 militia from the city, a ranking Turkish security source told the Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 17.

“Its leader Jamal Marouf has fled to Turkey,” confirmed the source, who asked not to be named. “He is currently being hosted and protected by the Turkish state.”

The source did not give an exact date of the escape but said it was within the last two weeks, that is, the first half of November. The source declined to give Marouf’s whereabouts in Turkey.


As a result, the FSA has lost control over the Bab al-Hawa border gate (opposite from Turkey’s Cilvegözü in Reyhanlı), which is now being held by a weak coalition of smaller groups led by Ahrar al-Sham.

The source said some of the weaponry delivered to the FSA by the U.S.-led coalition in its fight against both Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria might have fallen into the hands of Ahrar al-Sham and al-Nusra, the Syria branch of al-Qaeda.

....
The news about the FSA evacuation came as claims in the Western media intensified about a rapprochement between al-Nusra and ISIL, which is denied by Turkish government sources.

One source talking on the condition of anonymity gave details about talks between al-Nusra and ISIL last week – information that was not possible to corroborate based on another source. According to field reports in Ankara, Abu Mohammad al-Gulani of al-Nusra has asked the leader of another Jihadist group (Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar - Army of Emigrants and Supporters) in Syria, Salahaddin al-Shishani (The Chechen), to intermediate for a cease-fire between his organization and ISIL. source

Monday, February 15, 2016

#ISR: Chemical weapons had been used by ISIL (#daesh) fighters

    Monday, February 15, 2016   No comments
Islamic State militants attacked Kurdish forces in Iraq with mustard gas last year, the first known use of chemical weapons in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, a diplomat said, based on tests by the global chemical weapons watchdog.

A source at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that laboratory tests had come back positive for the sulfur mustard, after around 35 Kurdish troops were sickened on the battlefield last August.


The OPCW will not identify who used the chemical agent. But the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the findings have not yet been released, said the result confirmed that chemical weapons had been used by Islamic State fighters.

The samples were taken after the soldiers became ill during fighting against Islamic State militants southwest of Erbil, capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

The OPCW already concluded in October that mustard gas was used last year in neighboring Syria. Islamic State has declared a "caliphate" in territory it controls in both Iraq and Syria and does not recognize the frontier.

Experts believe that the sulfur mustard either originated from an undeclared Syrian chemical stockpile, or that militants have gained the basic know how to develop and conduct a crude chemical attack with rockets or mortars. source

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is furious over a senior U.S. official’s visit to northern Syria

    Sunday, February 07, 2016   No comments
Erdoğan protested in Ecuador: Erdoğan loves ISIS
ISR comment: The Turkish president, who has resisted pressure to take actual actions against ISIL, is now furious that the U.S. has made contact with a Syrian group that has fought and defeated ISIL. Erdoğan, instead, insists that Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party is a terrorist organization, but his government still refuses to legally classify ISIL (also known as ISIS, Daesh) as a terrorist organization. His insistence on denying the Syrian Kurdish people any level of autonomy within their country is unrealistic and is a direct interference in the affairs of other countries. 
It is likely that the new Syria will be decentralized and that the Kurdish people will have autonomy there with or without the consent of the post-civil war Syrian government. The only thing Erdoğan can do to stop that from happening is to invade northern Syria. He may do that with the help of his sectarian backers like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and local allies such as Daesh, al-Nusra, Jaysh al-Fath, and Jaysh al-Islam. If the U.S. allows that to happen, the Middle East will be further destabilized and more states will fail, creating the perfect environment for ISIL and al-Qaeda.


Erdoğan has said Turkey would not “make the same mistake it did in Iraq in 2003 vis-à-vis the creation of a de facto situation” in neighboring Syria, voicing his country’s readiness in order to protect its national interests in case of all kinds of developing scenarios in Syria.

Meanwhile, he also reiterated Turkey’s stance on the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Defense Units (YPG). Turkey considers the party and its affiliates in the same category as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We will take this issue to all international organizations. Each moment that we haven’t taken it there is a loss for us. If steps are not taken for their [classification] as a terrorist organization, we would be delayed. Look, [U.S. Vice President Joe] Biden arrived with an assistant. He is a national security official whose name has earlier ben cited with Mr. Obama too. Just during the meetings in Geneva, he travels to Kobane. He receives a plaque from a so-called general in Kobane. How will we trust? Am I your partner or are the terrorists in Kobane?” Erdoğan asked, while speaking with reporters en route from Dakar to Istanbul as he wrapped up a Latin America tour that covered Chile, Peru and Ecuador.

The U.S. envoy to the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Brett McGurk, confirmed on Feb. 1 that he visited Kurdish-controlled northern Syria the previous weekend. McGurk said his trip aimed to review the fight against the jihadist group that controls swathes of Syria and Iraq.

He also said that it was long-planned and not “in any way” related to Syria peace talks in Geneva.
source

Monday, January 04, 2016

Riyadh 'In Serious Trouble': Saudi Aggression Stems From Global Isolation

    Monday, January 04, 2016   No comments
Saudi Arabia’s decision to execute a prominent Shiite cleric over the weekend caused a firestorm. While the move seemed reckless to many, a new analysis by the Eurasia Group shows that Riyadh’s actions may be the inevitable result of its waning influence.

2015 was a bloody year for Saudi Arabia. Continuing a violent pattern, Riyadh executed over 150 people last year. On the second day of the New Year, the Kingdom killed nearly a third of that annual total in a single day, executing 47 people. One those killed was prominent Shiite Cleric Sheikh al-Nimr.

In response to protests in Iran, the Saudi government has severed diplomatic ties with Tehran, making the first weekend of 2016 unpredictably eventful in terms of Middle Eastern politics.

But according to a new analysis by Eurasia Group of the world’s top risks of the coming year, Riyadh’s aggression is the result of its own internal strife and shaky political future.
Source



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.

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