Iraq Army Offensive Begins In Ramadi

Iraqi Army Launches Operation in Ramadi





The Iraqi army launched a major operation Sunday on the crisis-hit city of Ramadi, swathes of which have for weeks been controlled by anti-government fighters, officials said.

Troops were backed by helicopter cover and imposed a ban on movement within the city, military spokesman Mohammed al-Askari told state television.

A police lieutenant colonel in Ramadi city, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the operation had begun.

“The Iraqi army launched a large operation with helicopter cover against Daash, al-Qaida and terrorists in Ramadi,” Askari said, according to Iraqiya TV, referring to terms frequently used by Iraqi security forces to describe militants.

The police officer said those taking part in the operation included policemen, tribal fighters, and SWAT forces. He said helicopters were also firing on targets in the sprawling militant-held Malaab neighborhood in the center of the city.

An Agence France Presse journalist confirmed seeing helicopters firing on targets in Malaab.



American, German and French Presidents Attempt To Embarass Putin For Banning the Teaching of Homosexuality To Children

Putin downplays planned no-show of key Western leaders at Sochi Games

the daily star  Agence France PresseRussian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to Russian and foreign journalists in Sochi on January 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL/ ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI

Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an interview to Russian and foreign journalists in Sochi on January 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RIA-NOVOSTI / POOL/ ALEKSEY NIKOLSKYI

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin downplayed Sunday the planned no-show of key Western leaders at the Sochi winter Olympics and stressed gays were welcome as he prepared to host one of the most controversial Games in modern history.

“The Olympics is not a competition of politicians. It is a competition of athletes,” Putin told foreign reporters in a televised interview, adding that mixing sport and politics was “absolutely inappropriate.”

US President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have said they will not attend the top sports event seen as Putin’s pet project.

Putin also reiterated that Russia will welcome all athletes and visitors at the Games that begin at the Black Sea resort on February 7, regardless of their sexuality, seeking to deflect criticism that his policies were anti-gay.

“People have different sexual orientation. We will welcome all athletes and all guests of the Olympics,” he said.

Gay rights activists have repeatedly criticised the Russian strongman for a law banning the dissemination of so-called “gay propaganda” to minors.

Russia has over the past years spent billions of dollars to build modern sports infrastructure in the Soviet-era resort of Sochi to host the world’s most prestigious sporting event.

But Putin has come under huge criticism abroad for Russia’s dismal rights record and many have called on world leaders to boycott the games.

In an apparent bid to touch up his record, Putin pardoned the Kremlin’s most famous critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky after a decade in prison on humanitarian grounds.

Two jailed members of Pussy Riot punk band were also released two month early under a Kremlin-backed amnesty.

Thirty foreign and Russian Greenpeace activists also won an amnesty following their prosecution after an open-sea protest against Arctic oil drilling by Russian natural giant Gazprom.

Putin said on Sunday the amnesty was not related to the sporting event, denying he was seeking to improve his image in the West.

“It was not me but parliament that made the decision on amnesty,” he said.

Bomber, Allegedly Taliban, Kills 22 Pakistani Army Troops

bannu blast


22 Pakistani soldiers killed in attack on Army convoy

The Hindu

At least 22 security personnel were killed and 38 others injured when the Pakistani Taliban attacked a military convoy in the country’s restive northwest on Sunday.

The convoy, heading to North Waziristan, was attacked by a remote-controlled bomb in the cantonment area near Aamandi Chowk, Razmak Gate on Bannu-Miranshah Road in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa’s Bannu.

The blast is suspected to have occurred in a rented car, part of private vehicles hired to transport the soldiers.

It was not immediately clear if it was a suicide attack. The Taliban have claimed the responsibility for the attack.

Security forces have cordoned off the area while rescue and relief operations continued. Sources said the death toll might increase.

Geo TV, quoting hospital sources, reported that 22 security men were killed while 38 have been injured.

The injured, including Frontier Corps and army personnel, were shifted to the Combined Military Hospital. Ten of the injured are in critical condition.

Bannu, which stands at the gateway to the semi-autonomous Waziristan tribal region, is 150 kilometres southwest of Peshawar.

The town has witnessed a number of attacks and was the scene of a massive jail break in April 2012, during which 384 prisoners escaped from its central prison.

President Mamnoon Hussain strongly condemned the blast that resulted into loss of precious lives.

Such cowardly attacks can never weaken the resolve of law-enforcing authorities and the nation to continue pursuing their struggle against the scourge of militancy and terrorism, the President said in his message.

ISIL militants confess to direct Saudi links

ISIL militants confess to direct Saudi links



Members of the al-Qaeda-linked militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have confessed to having direct links with Saudi Arabia.

Iraqi channel Afaq TV on Friday aired confessions of a number of the ISIL militants admitting to having relations with and taking orders from Riyadh.

In the broadcast, the members of the militant group also confessed to Saudi Arabia’s role in terrorist attacks in a number of Iraqi provinces, along with transporting weapons and booby-trapped cars into Iraqi cities.

One of the captured ISIL leaders said a Saudi military official ordered him to carry out several attacks.

Iraqi Federal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate in Karbala has arrested a large number of terrorists in several operations it has carried out recently.

The revelation comes as the Iraqi army and Sunni tribesmen continue their battle to drive out ISIL militants in the western province of Anbar.

Iraq is experiencing its worst cycle of violence since 2008, with al-Qaeda-linked militants flexing their muscles on Baghdad’s doorstep.

Earlier in January, Iraqi security officials said a senior ISIL commander, identified as Shaker Vahib al-Fahdavi, had met with a top Saudi intelligence official in Anbar, just weeks before he was killed by Iraqi forces.

An unnamed al-Qaeda commander recently arrested by Iraqi forces also said that the ISIL has received USD 150 million and 60 vehicles in aid from Saudi Arabia one day before an anti-government camp was dismantled by Iraqi forces in Ramadi last month.

The removal of the camp, which Baghdad says was being used by terrorists operating in the country, sparked protests from Sunni lawmakers. But the army’s withdrawal from the city paved the way for ISIL militants to overrun the provincial capital and the neighboring city of Fallujah.

Turkish spy agency denies link to Paris Kurd murders

Turkish spy agency denies link to Paris Kurd murders


France 24


© File picture


Text by Charlotte OBERTI


Turkey’s intelligence service has rejected allegations contained in an online audio recording linking it with the murders of three Kurdish activists in Paris in 2013.


One year after the three female members of the separatist Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) were shot dead in central Paris, the new evidence appears to support claims that the assassinations were ordered by Turkish officials.


The audio recording, posted on YouTube on Sunday, January 12, featured an alleged conversation between chief murder suspect Ömer Güney and his purported handlers at the Turkish intelligence agency MIT.


Güney, 30, has been charged by French prosecutors with the murder of Sakine Cansiz, a founding member of the PKK, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Söylemez at a Kurdish centre in the heart of the French capital on January 9, 2013.


The conversation is alleged to have taken place before the attack and revolves around potential targets among Kurdish militant leaders as well as tactics to be used by Güney.


“After hearing this recording, we can affirm with certainty that this is the voice of Ömer Güney,” the Federation of Kurdish Associations in France (FEYKA) said in a January 13 statement.


The PKK had previously identified Güney as Sakine Cansiz’s driver and assistant in Paris. French police arrested him shortly after her murder.


‘Premeditated political murder’


FEYKA has drawn its own conclusions: “The crime was premeditated. The murderer did not act alone, and he had political intent,” the Kurdish organisation said in its statement.


Several Turkish media outlets picked up on the recording, prompting the Turkish intelligence service to deny any involvement.


“The reports are an operation aimed at tarnishing our organisation which has played an active role in the peace process” with Kurdish militants, Turkey’s spy agency said in a rare public statement released on Wednesday, January 15.


“An internal probe concerning the claims has been launched”, MIT added.


Earlier in the day, another report linking Turkish intelligence to the killings appeared in the Turkish press.


The opposition newspaper Sol published a document purporting to be a November 2012 mission order issued by MIT.


It identified Güney as an agent code named “Legionnaire” operating on behalf of the spy agency.


“We have given him instructions to be on his guard when communicating with us, to get the equipment required for the mission and to make the preparations related to the designated persons,” the document said, adding that 6,000 euros had been sent to agent “Legionnaire”.


Pressure on Erdogan


If confirmed, MIT’s involvement in the killings would put considerable pressure on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a close friend of Hakan Fidan, the head of the intelligence service.


On Monday, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag publicly complained about a “smear campaign” designed to further damage the government at a time of political crisis.


In recent months, Erdogan’s government has carried out a vast purge of the security services aimed at routing out the Gülen Brotherhood, a powerful Islamic organisation.


The Brotherhood is thought to have widely infiltrated the police and the judiciary, but to have so far failed to gain a foothold in Turkey’s spy agency.


“The control of the intelligence service is at stake,” wrote Guillaume Perrier, Le Monde’s Istanbul correspondent, in the French daily on January 16th.


According to the French reporter, Erdogan may not be the only one concerned by the latest allegations regarding the murder of the Kurdish activists.


The audio recording also points the finger at French security services by suggesting that the suspected killer may have murdered the activists while under heavy surveillance in Paris.


“French intelligence officers are following me every second,” the man presented as Ömer Güney told his alleged MIT handlers in the recording.


While the audio recording has gone largely unnoticed in France, it may yet sour the mood for French President François Hollande’s official visit to Turkey, scheduled for January 27 and 28.

Libya declares state of emergency

[Libya is splitting down the middle, with one side prepared to declare statehood.  This is just one of the inevitable stages in the regime-change strategy.  The psy-warriors who are in charge of dismembering Libya have relied upon a psychological defect in human nature that is common to all human beings–our reaction to stress, trauma-induced psychological breakdown.

The mega-manipulators have the knowledge and capability to manipulate the psychology of entire Nations.  They have replicated the bizarre psychological process of traumatic stress induced personality splitting (a.k.a., schizophrenia) on a grand scale. 

They have learned to replicate revolutionary ideologies, using them as the second phase in their regime-change behavioral science/strategy.  After the ground is “softened-up” in the first phase, where the national audience is driven by fear to a point where many people experience a psychological breakdown of beliefs.  With the right incentives are identified, they are used to introduce the new idea of Western-style democratic-revolution into the national psyche, using apprentices who have been trained by the US Govt.  These American agents agitate in the direction of division, seeking to entice the locals into splitting their own nations apart.

We see the process at work in the ongoing national crisis in Libya, where American doctors prescribed a good dose of “democracy,” as the cure to every complaint about Gaddafi. 

Behavioral science has become a weapon in the hands of the right people, the people who have their own armies and media networks.  Using those tools, the ultra-powerful have taken over the paths of Nations.  They have convinced themselves that they know what is happening next, even though they have so far been wrong about every war that they have created, unless it was their original intention to unleash out-of-control bloodshed in all of those wars all along.  Whatever it takes, the oil and gas must keep flowing into our veins.  We suffer a collective addiction like nothing the world has ever seen.]

Libya declares state of emergency


The move came after gunmen stormed an air force base near southern city of Sabha, which has experienced days of clashes.

Libya has declared a state of emergency as the air force attacked gunmen in the remote south to end unrest between rival armed groups that have been clashing for days.

The General National Congress, Libya’s highest political authority, took the decision on Saturday during an “extraordinary session” after the parliament put the army on alert as gunmen stormed the air force base, Tamenhant, near the southern city of Sabha, an official said.

“A force was readied, then aircraft moved and took off and dealt with the targets,” Abdul-Raziq al-Shabahi, defence ministry spokesman, told reporters in Tripoli.

He said the army was tracking the attackers after they fled into the desert.

Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said a small group of gunmen had entered the air force base outside Sabha, 770km south of the capital Tripoli, but the government was in control of the town and its civilian airport.

“This confrontation (at the air base) is continuing but in a few hours it will be solved,” the prime minister told a televised address, without elaborating.

Zeidan said he had sent his defence minister to Misrata to instruct troops based there to move to the south.

“The troops from Misrata have been commissioned by the government to conduct a national task … to spread security and stability in the region,” he said in the address.

Tribal clashes

Local sources said the clashes that started last week were sparked by the death of a rebel chief linked to the Awled Sleiman, adding that the tribe accused the Toubou of murdering him.

The Toubou are black oasis farmers by tradition who also live in southern Libya, northern Chad and Niger, who have repeatedly said they were being marginalised.

Western powers fear the OPEC producer will slide into instability as the government struggles to contain heavily-armed groups and tribesmen who helped topped Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but refuse to disarm.