ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Ambassador Denies Saudi Collusion With Plotters of Lebanon’s Dismemberment

[It seems that a little Lebanese news site has reported something that has ruffled Saudi feathers.  The following denial by the Saudis in Lebanon’s biggest news site (Daily Star) led me to the real story in little SLABNEWS in Lebanon (BELOW).  Basically, the news guy in the article got a royal ream-out for reportedly linked the royals to Israel’s plot to dismember Arab states into ethno-religious divisions, a.k.a., the plot for “Greater Middle East.“]

Embassy: Riyadh stands against terror

daily star LEB

Ali Awad Asiri
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri says the two countries are linked with deep historical bonds. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Riyadh stands at the forefront of those facing the global threat of terrorism, the Saudi Embassy in Beirut said Monday, while dismissing recent criticism of the kingdom as “an affront to truth.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia suffers first and foremost from terrorism and has contributed to the field of counter-terrorism,” the statement said, “winning praise and appreciation from the international community, which pays tribute to the approach of moderation and wisdom pursued by the kingdom.”

The statement was widely seen as a reaction to Lebanese journalist Ghassan Jawad, of slabnews.com, who called for visa restrictions against Arab Gulf tourists and accused them of having a “desert” and “Bedouin” mentality during an appearance on OTV’s “Think Twice” over the weekend.

Without naming any specific detractors, the embassy lashed out at accusations that the kingdom was responsible for terrorism, including a bombing at the Deroy Hotel in Beirut where a Saudi national blew himself up during a raid by security forces.

“The embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has become used to ignoring this type of nonsense and those who publish it, knowing that the writer is backed by parties who wish the Arabs and this region ill,” the statement said, without naming Jawad. “In fact, he is throwing himself into something he does not understand, and has allowed himself to wade into internal strife and turn his pen into a tool of [division] among the Islamic nation.”

The statement also attacked Jawad personally, accusing “the writer” of “contradictory loyalties” and implying that no one should believe him.

“The embassy would like to clarify to the entire Lebanese public that the information published by this writer and his ilk is misleading and an affront to truth. He knows the sources of terrorism but he turns a blind eye to them.”

The statement then said the writer speaks only for himself and “certain sides” who would spoil relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, and praised Lebanese mainstream media for its professionalism.

America and Saudi Arabia and their allies to seek a new political geography

SLAB NEWS LEB SLABNEWS

Altsnic: private messages – Source / Author: Farouk Aldhanawi

 

In the meeting between Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz and French President Francois Hollande during the latter’s visit to Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah put two things: first, how to provide military and logistical support to the Syrian opposition. II: How to take advantage of the cluster of human (IDPs) that came out from Syria to Lebanon and Jordan, which is predominantly Great as described by the Sunni community, and how to turn it into a pressure group to be used against the Syrian regime.

French President responded the possibility of the establishment of an international relief, especially those on the pattern of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, but King Abdullah took the initiative to illustrate the idea that what was said by the French president is not the meaning of his words, but required that the process of coordination between these displaced persons to their use in politics. Not matter issue amounts of milk, blankets, rice and canned goods that can Kingdom secured individually and without the United Nations if it wanted, but needed to work on coordination between these Sunni bloc and blocks other Sunni in Anbar Iraq and Deir al-Zour and some tribes in Iraq, Syria and Jordan, to form a Sunni bloc and one stretching from Iraq to Syria, Jordan, in coordination with the displaced people and the rest of the ingredients clan in the three countries, Abizaid said: I do not mind a state of the Shiites in southern Iraq.

The Project for the New Middle East

Here, initiated by the French president asking if this proposal was intended amendments to the Sykes-Picot map and play up to states. In a private meeting that was held between a number of princes and counselors French President, raised the issue of a new but clearly, strong statehood Sunni start of Iraq’s western Anbar, an extension to Syria through to Iraq so that they form this state categorically between Tehran and Damascus, and managed to keep what they called the “Shiite Crescent”, and reshaping the political geography of the region starting from Iraq.

Shocked the French president’s advisers of this proposal and submitting it to the President promised during the return trip. In Plane View advisers what they heard from Saudi princes to the French president, who answered that a project like the U.S. can not afford it, let alone Baloctav heavily French economic and political problems, and others. But reported the incident to say that the idea of ​​dividing Iraq and Syria into small sectarian and sectarian but is the idea inspire Saudi Arabia, working on a long time, equates with the American project of the Zionist for the region, which was considered a center of studies and research the U.S. since he took the neo-conservatives of governance in the United States.

After the defeat awful suffered by Saudi Arabia and the United States and the Allies, led by Qatar and Turkey in Syria after the great successes achieved by the Syrian Arab army on the ground, and the landslide victory of President al-Assad in the presidential election, especially after it was discovered the impossibility of the use of mass human “Sunni” that occur by the King of Saudi Arabia to the French president, and as demonstrated by the election that their allegiance to the Syrian state and the head of the lion is dropped chances to use, remove the Americans and their allies the Saudis Plan B. Judge to destroy Iraq and divide a remedy to their deaths accomplished in Syria, according to the strategy of terrorism agreed with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Allies.

According to the information that the understandings got months ago when there were signs of failure in Syria under the auspices of the United States of Saudi Arabia on the one hand, Qatar and Turkey on the other hand, despite the differences between them on the subject of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been prepared for the aggression that took place on the connector tightly, engaged the Americans Massoud Barzani lures him away control Kirkuk, the dream of Barzani in the Kurdish annexation to Dwylth under incorporation in the Kurdistan region, a region disputed with al-Maliki. The visit of the Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region, Massoud Barzani, the son to Turkey in the framework of this format where regain Turkey if separated the Kurdish region, the opportunity to lay hands on the historic dream of Mosul.

In contrast, the Saudi Arabia in coordination with Daash and Izzat al-Duri, who move between Riyadh and Erbil to coordinate with groups Naqshbandi and “Fedayeen Saddam” and some members of the former Iraqi army, and perhaps the role of American advisers three hundred who arrived in Baghdad is to coordinate the division less expensive than the violence and the blood that can Ihrja America.

The project aims at Saudi American Turkish Qatar to hit the birds several birds with one stone, one hand, it lays the foundation for the disintegration of Iraq and divide it into three states as planned U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, and there is information says the involvement of Benjamin Netanyahu and Bernard Lewis and Douglas Feith, the owner of the theory of creative chaos. US-Saudi project responds to the Turkish national dream Barzani in the completion of the elements of his state, and he expressed that a statement about what happened in Kirkuk, and control of the peshmerga as the application of Article 140 of the Constitution, declaring that he can not back it up if necessary to bring all Kurdish forces, and that the patience of ten years to reach it. It was also considered that what happened is the application of Article 140 of the Constitution, and ended up, Saleh al-Mutlaq also calling for the establishment of a Sunni region whose capital is Mosul.

In addition to the division of Iraq, the victory Daash provided opportunities for the transfer of heavy weapons to Syria, which was done under the auspices and supervision of the U.S. and Turkey to try to breach the balance of power and the threat of a new regime and President Assad. British sources say that Saudi Arabia paid so far since the start of the Syrian crisis to date amount to $ 56 billion, and that Qatar paid a total of $ 32 billion, and contributed to the United States with weapons and equipment with a value of two and a half billion dollars.

For the sake of it, regained the King of Saudi Arabia King terrorism Bandar bin Sultan, and appointed as his adviser for the latter under the auspices of the project terrorist in Iraq after it failed in Syria, as an expert in terrorist organizations and has ties to deep and its own, and as one of the founders and Raiaha ranging from Afghanistan against the Soviets in coordination with the CIA, and access to all its branches in the region, will succeed Bandar bin Sultan in Iraq, including failure in Syria?

Iran, Qatar Vow To Work Together Against ‘Terror’

Iran, Qatar to Cooperate against ‘Terror’

naharnet

W460

The leaders of Shiite Iran and Sunni Qatar vowed Sunday to cooperate to fight “terrorism in the region,” President Hassan Rouhani’s office reported as Iraqi forces counter a militant onslaught.

The pledge to play a “constructive role to establish security and stability” came in a phone call between Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and Rouhani, a statement from the Iranian president’s office said.

Rouhani said that in order to defeat “the hurdle of terrorism and extremism all Muslims should come hand in hand and cooperate,” it said.

Iran is ready, he said, to do just that and “fight security problems and instability in the region” that benefit only “Zionists and the enemies of the Muslim world.”

He did not elaborate.

Predominantly Shiite Iran has vowed to support ally Baghdad against the Sunni insurgency led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), whose fighters have overrun swathes of five Iraqi provinces since launching an offensive in early June.

Iranian leaders insist the Iraq crisis is not sectarian but a fight against terrorism. Iranian media, however, have accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of supporting the jihadist Sunni fighters.

Without naming anyone, Rouhani himself warned on June 22 that Muslim states which funnel petrodollars to “these savage terrorists” of ISIL would become their next target.

Sunday’s statement said the Qatari emir noted “the necessity for cooperation between Muslim nations to prevent the further spread of (the Iraqi) crisis in the region.”

“We should all cooperate together against terrorism in the region because the current crisis is very dangerous,” he said.

Qatar’s emir and Iran’s president spoke as thousands of Iraqi troops counter-attacked against the militant-held city of Tikrit.

Obama Playing Checkers While Putin Plays Chess

2014-02-22-UkraineCrisis

Checkers Versus Chess

international man

For quite some time, we have been predicting that the Russians and Chinese will, at some point, bring an end to the petrodollar system that has virtually guaranteed the US the position of having its currency be the world’s default currency. This position has allowed the US, in recent decades, to go on a borrowing and currency-printing spree, the likes of which the world has never seen.

First, a Little History

It’s important that we back up a bit here to have a look at how this came about in the first instance.

In 1971, the US government, under Richard Nixon, took the US off the gold standard. This meant that, from that point on, the dollar was backed by nothing. However, as long as the dollar was accepted as legitimate currency (even though it was now mere paper), not only could the game continue as before, but the US would then be free to print as much “currency” as it wished. It would also be free to borrow as much as it wished, thereby building as large an economic house of cards as it wished.

Of course, the foolhardiness of this decision would not be immediately clear to all and sundry. It would take some time before the chickens would come home to roost.

Enter the Petrodollar

Back in 1971, it was necessary to assure that the dollar would retain its position in world trade as the world’s premiere currency, in spite of the fact that it was no longer backed by anything. The US reached an agreement with Saudi Arabia that, in trade for arms and protection, the Saudis would denominate all future oil sales, worldwide, in dollars. The other OPEC countries fell into line, and the “petrodollar” was assured.

Returning to the present, we have stated for some time that the methods by which the US, the Russians, and the Chinese have been playing the game have been very different. The Chinese, for over 4000 years, have played the game of wéiqí, and the wéiqí philosophy is a primary part of Chinese philosophy. The idea is to distract your opponent whilst you subtly surround him. Once he is enclosed, with no support from outside, it’s game over.

By contrast, the Russians are perennial chess players. Chess, played correctly, involves the concept of imagining each move that your opponent may possibly make. For each possible move, you imagine each possible move you could make and how your opponent might retaliate. You then select your best move. A good chess player is one who has learned to imagine several moves in advance. Therefore, once your opponent makes his move, you are never taken off-guard. You are prepared for anything he does.

Mister Putin is a consummate chess player, and since he has returned to office, each time the US has made a move, he has been ready. Each of his moves has not only countered the US, but trumped them. At every step that the US gets tough on Russia, Russia immediately says, in effect, “Okay, remember, you brought this on yourselves.” Russia then makes a move that puts the US in a far worse position than it was before.

The amazing fact here is that the US method recognises neither wéiqí nor chess. They appear to be playing checkers. The US has, since World War II, used the approach of “The Yanks are Comin’.” The US has been the biggest boy in the schoolyard and has, through a combination of bluster and bullying, been able to intimidate the world and, as a result, get virtually everything it wanted for a very long time. Conventional diplomacy has taken a back seat with the US, and, particularly since the administration of George Bush, the US has very much ramped up its “biggest boy in the schoolyard” approach, much to the irritation of the rest of world.

Here Come Those Chickens

But now, the US is broke, and its stature as the biggest boy has begun to wane. The other kids in the schoolyard are playing smart, whilst the US is still playing tough…and it’s no longer working.

Claiming that Russia was overstepping its power in the Ukraine (when, in fact, it was the US that was guilty of this move), the US applied economic sanctions to Russia. The US media treated this as a major blow to Russia, from which the Russkies had better back off if they knew what was good for them.

But, in fact, this served as an open invitation for Russia to retaliate. Since the very first thrust by the US, each parry and thrust by the Russians has been both effective and well planned. (It should be borne in mind that the latest announcement that Russia would not accept US dollars in payment for gas could only be enforced if Russia could get its international gas customers to agree. At the time of announcement, nine out of ten customers had, in fact agreed. These decisions were, unquestionably, not reached overnight. This chess move was planned well in advance.)

When Russia announced that Gazprom, the largest gas supplier in the world, would no longer be accepting US dollars from its clients, the West was shaken by the news.

End of the Petrodollar     

So, does this spell the end for the petrodollar? Not just yet. But it does add a nail to the petrodollar coffin, and a rather large nail, at that. It most certainly announces to the world that, if the US continues its schoolyard bully approach, both the Russians and the Chinese are more than ready. They have greater power than the US gave them credit for and, as we are witnessing, are more adept at the game itself.

Time after time, the US announces a flimsy new policy that is half-baked at best, and the US media announce, in effect, “This’ll show ’em!” And yet, at every turn, the Sino-Russian tag-team deals blow after blow to US hegemony in the world.

The US is at war with China and Russia. It’s an undeclared war, and it’s monetary warfare, not military warfare. Yes, there are the military distractions, such as in the Ukraine and the Middle East, but the primary war is being fought monetarily.

If we observe the Asian responses to the US attacks in this war, and assess them objectively, we see that the Asians do not seek to kill off the US. In each battle, they, like skilled bullfighters, deflect the charging bull, then thrust the sword forward, wounding him again and again with every charge.

As this approach is becoming a pattern, it would indicate that the Russians and Chinese, much like a bullfighter, are wearing out the bull and provoking him to lose enough blood that, soon, he will no longer be able to continue the fight.

There will be no H-bomb moment here. No point at which the US, to the entire world’s surprise, suddenly self-destructs. Just as Rome wound down 2000 years ago, we shall observe a similar winding down of the US. (Although there will be many sudden crashes along the way, the entire process will stretch out for years.)

And I believe the US will be kept alive by the victors. It will remain in business as a country and will serve the East, particularly as a consumer of Eastern-produced goods.

But it will cease to be the world’s empire. Much as the British Empire wound down as a result of the world wars, the US will be greatly diminished in power.

More and more, US residents are coming to realise that the “recovery” that is forever being heralded as “just around the corner” will not arrive. No “green shoots,” no “shovel-ready jobs” will materialise. The US are attempting to win a chess game by playing checkers, and they will not succeed. The US’s place in the world will be a casualty of that error, as will be the US economy.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately there’s little any individual can practically do to change the trajectory of this trend in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible, and even profit from the situation.

This is what Doug Casey’s International Man is all about: helping you cut through the smoke and mirrors while making the most of your personal freedom and financial opportunities around the world. The free IM Communiqué is a great place to start.

Reuters Misinforms Public About Alleged Lockheed “Delivery” of First Iraqi F-16s

[(SEE: Russia Delivers First Batch of Su-24 Fighters, Plus Hip and Hind Attack Helicopters To Iraq)  Reuters’ claims that Lockheed “Delivered” the first batch of fighters into Iraqi hands, even though the US WILL NOT “ferry” the planes to Iraq before the end of the year…Russia and Belarus have really embarrassed Obama by their timely delivery of vital military equipment to the Iraqi Government, to repel the ISIL invaders.]

“A group of three or four new jets will be ferried to Iraq before the end of the year.”

Lockheed to deliver first of 36 F-16s to Iraq this week

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 3, 2014 7:54pm EDT

A Lockheed Martin F-16 of the Turkish Air Force performs during an acceptance flight at the upcoming ILA Berlin Air Show in Selchow near Schoenefeld south of Berlin May 19, 2014.. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

A Lockheed Martin F-16 of the Turkish Air Force performs during an acceptance flight at the upcoming ILA Berlin Air Show in Selchow near Schoenefeld south of Berlin May 19, 2014..

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Related Topics

(Reuters) – Lockheed Martin Corp this week will deliver the first of 36 F-16 fighter jets to Iraq, marking what Baghdad’s envoy to the United States called a “new chapter” in his country’s ability to defend its vast borders with Iran and other neighbors.

Iraqi Ambassador Lukman Faily will travel to Lockheed’s Fort Worth, Texas, plant on Thursday for a ceremony at which Lockheed and the U.S. government will formally deliver the first F-16 to Iraq.

A group of three or four new jets will be ferried to Iraq before the end of the year.

“Iraq is a large country with over 3,600 km of borders, and we need to protect them,” Faily told Reuters in a telephone interview. “We as a country didn’t have that capability before.”

Iraq has had no real air force since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 that eventually toppled Saddam Hussein.

Baghdad has also signed military contracts with Russia and the Czech Republic, among others, and has said it will not be able to fully defend its airspace until 2020.

Iraq also plans to buy Boeing Co Apache helicopters and other weapons from the U.S. government as it assumes responsibility for its own defense and counterterrorism efforts.

Faily said the U.S. government appreciated the urgency and scale of the challenge that Iraqi is facing given continued and mounting strife with insurgents.

“They know that the sooner and the wider capabilities they provide us, the more ability we will have to reduce the vicious cycle of killing where the terrorists are attacking our people,” he said.

Faily said Iraq was completing work on the air base in Balad where the new jets will be housed. He said some Iraqi pilots had already been trained to fly the new planes, and more were in training now.

Iraq ordered a first batch of 18 F-16s in 2011 for $3 billion, followed by a second order of 18 jets in October 2012.

Lockheed is building the F-16s for Iraq under a contract from the Pentagon that also includes mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed and other companies.

Lockheed said the Iraqi order would keep the F-16 production line running through late 2017, but it continues to bid for new orders in hopes of continuing production through 2020. The company has built more than 4,540 F-16 aircraft to date.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, editing by G Crosse)

 

Russia Delivers First Batch of Su-24 Fighters, Plus Hip and Hind Attack Helicopters To Iraq

Target ISIS: First batch of Russian Su-24 jets arrives in Iraq

Russia-Today
A Sukhoi Su-24 jet fighter (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)

A Sukhoi Su-24 jet fighter (Reuters / Shamil Zhumatov)

The first ten Russian Sukhoi (Su-24) fighter jets arrived in Iraq on Saturday, the country’s Defense Ministry said. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is hoping the jets will make a key difference in the fight against ISIS.

“The fighter jets landed today in the morning on different military airfields,” MP Abbas al-Bayati told Iraqi media.

The official spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Mohammed al-Askari, also confirmed the information, Al Iraqiya TV channel reported.

The fighter jets will be stationed at an airbase located in the southern part of the country, PressTV reported, citing military sources.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Maliki revealed that Iraq purchased jets from Russia and Belarus in order to help its fight against Sunni militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL).

At the same time, Maliki criticized the US for taking too long to deliver on its own contract after Iraq purchased F-16 jets from America.

On Friday, Iraqi Air Force Commander Hameed al-Maliki confirmed the shipment of MI-35 and MI-28 Russian helicopter fighters to “keep the momentum” in the attacks against ISIS, Ruptly reported.

The commander said that he signed three contracts with the Russians and stressed the importance of the choppers as “excellent anti-terrorism weapons.”

The radical Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL) has taken large parts of the country’s north from the Shia government.

Hundreds of Iraqi soldiers have been killed by insurgents since the Sunni militants began their offensive on June 9, according to Iraqi forces.

The United Nations says more than 1,000 people – mainly civilians – have been killed during the surge thus far.

Jordan Fears the Al-Qaeda Within (ISIS) More Than They Fear It Coming Across the Border

Jordan fears homegrown ISIS more than invasion from Iraq

ammon news

AMMONNEWS – Demonstrators angry with Jordan’s government have unfurled in this desert city the black battle flags of the al-Qaeda-inspired extremists now in control of large swaths of Iraq, stirring fears that support for the group is growing in Jordan.

At two rallies in Maan this week, scores of young men, some in black masks, raised their fists, waved homemade banners bearing the logo and inscriptions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and shouted, “Down, down with Abdullah,” the king of Jordan. Abdullah II, a close U.S. ally, is widely viewed as a moderate in a country considered an oasis of stability in the Middle East.

The demonstrations have been the first public displays of support for ISIS in Jordan.

Abdullah’s government has put the country’s Border Guard on alert, reinforced troops along its 125-mile frontier with Iraq and added tanks and armor to thwart any move into Jordan by the ISIS militants, who along with Sunni insurgents have seized a string of cities from northern Syria to western Iraq.

But more troubling to the Amman government than the possibility of an ISIS invasion are signs that support for the group may be expanding here and that homegrown recruits could take action in Jordan, according to former military officers, security analysts and members of Jordan’s jihadist movement.

“We no longer trust or respect the government and have been searching for an alternative that ensures our basic rights,” said Mohammed Kreishan, one of the marchers. “In the Islamic State, we have found our alternative.”

On Wednesday, anti-government demonstrators gathered at the mosque in central Maan and marched toward the courthouse with gasoline bombs, but they were deterred by the presence of Jordanian riot police in armored personnel carriers.

A symbol of Jordan’s monarchy and central government, the charred and bullet-riddled courthouse has been the scene of near-nightly gunfire in recent weeks. ISIS banners were briefly raised on the mosque’s roof and still fly from flagpoles at traffic circles.

Maan is an impoverished regional center 150 miles south of Amman, the capital, and a world away from the five-star hotels and Western-style coffee shops of that cosmopolitan city. The official unemployment rate in Maan tops 25 percent and is far higher among its youth. One of the largest employers is a state cement factory.

Maan has been a crucible for anti-government activists for a generation and today is home to leading al-Qaeda clerics, who themselves fear that the younger generation may no longer listen to the Salafist old guard but instead run off and join newer, more extreme groups such as ISIS.

Like most observers, Jordan’s leaders appeared to be taken by surprise by the lightning-quick advance and string of conquests this month by ISIS fighters and Sunni rebels who reached the environs of Baghdad.

Originating in al-Qaeda, patched together by splinter groups fighting in Syria and Sunni insurgents in Iraq, ISIS seeks to establish a Muslim caliphate based on an especially strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Security analysts estimate that about 2,000 Jordanians are fighting in Syria and Iraq today, at least half of them with ISIS.

Reports earlier this month suggested that ISIS forces had taken the key Iraqi-Jordanian border crossing at Turaibil, but Jordanian military officials told reporters this week that Sunni tribes control the area after the Iraqi military left following clashes with ISIS. Border traffic is lighter than normal but flowing, according to eyewitnesses.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry met with Jordan’s foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, in Paris on Thursday to discuss a regional response to the ISIS threat.

“I am worried, but I am not scared” of ISIS’s recent success in Iraq spilling over into Jordan, said Mohammad Farghal, director general of the Center for Strategic Studies at the King Abdullah II Defense Academy and a retired major general in Jordan’s armed forces.

“We are quite confident when it comes to securing the border,” Farghal said. What is worrying, he said, “is that poverty and dissatisfaction create fertile ground for extremist organizations in Jordan. This is our greatest security challenge.”

Mohammed Abu Saleh, a political leader in Maan who helped organize the anti-government rallies, said the populace was being “suffocated” by heavy-handed actions by the security forces. “The only state services we get are riot police,” he said. “The city has been forgotten. There are no jobs, no development, no dignity.”

“For us,” he added, “these are larger issues than unfurling an ISIS banner.”

Abu Saleh said that support for ISIS is born of frustration. “Some people use the threat of ISIS to send a message to the regime,” he said. “We’ve reached the point where the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

According to Mohammed Shalabi, popularly known as Abu Sayyaf, a leader of Jordan’s al-Qaeda-aligned Salafist movement based in Maan, the allure of ISIS is growing, especially among young men looking to participate in jihad.

“We warned those who are aligned with the Islamic State not to go out and rally or to take any action in Jordan, as it is outside their religiously sanctioned mission and would hand a gift to Jordanian authorities trying to depict us as terrorists,” Abu Sayyaf said. “Unfortunately, these are kids who know very little about their own religion, about jihad, and are not willing to answer or listen to anybody.”

Organizers of the rallies say that while ISIS has supporters in Mann, it has no formal structure there.

The two rallies drew only about 100 marchers and it was unclear how many of them were simply shouting against the monarchy. Residents here watched the demonstrations from the sidewalks, displaying more curiosity than support.

ISIS supporters here have not called for military action or direct confrontation with the Jordanian government.

Jordan’s intelligence and security services have in the past allowed jihadist groups and al-Qaeda affiliates to operate within the country’s borders — the better to keep an eye on them and infiltrate their ranks.

Yusuf Mansur, an economic analyst in Amman, said ISIS’s victories in Iraq could increase energy costs in Jordan, which could intensify dissatisfaction with the government. About 10 percent of Jordan’s oil comes from Iraq.

Mansur agreed that cities such as Maan have been neglected and noted that the Jordanian government has the money to spend. “You put $100 million into Maan, and the south will pacified,” he said.

For now, there are some angry people in Maan. On Monday night, Jordanian police burst into the compound of the large Abu Darwish family, seeking to arrest one of the older sons on outstanding charges of drug possession and assault (for which he had received a pardon from the king, they say).

When the police entered, the men grabbed their own guns, and multiple shots were fired. Eight family members were wounded, some seriously, and one son, Aref Abu Darwish, was killed.

The sons say they loathe the government and are looking for justice — and payback. “The king called for this security crackdown because of what is happening in Iraq,” said Zain Abu Darwish, whose cousin has been organizing locals to back ISIS.

“The government is shedding Jordanian blood,” he said. “They are the ones who are creating this situation.”

Obama Now Seeks $2 Billion for Border Control, To Silence His Critics

Official says Obama to seek $2B for border control

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is seeking more than $2 billion to respond to the flood of immigrants illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and asking for new powers to deal with returning immigrant children apprehended while traveling without their parents.

A White House official said Saturday that Obama plans to make the requests of Congress in a letter to be sent Monday.

The official says that details of the emergency appropriation will come after lawmakers return from their holiday recess on July 7.

The president will ask that the Homeland Security Department be granted the authority to apply “fast track” procedures to the screening and deportation of all immigrant children traveling without their parents.

The official was not authorized to speak by name and discussed the requests on condition of anonymity.

 

Proof That Facebook Social Media Massive Experiment In Psychological Control

[Having reports on studies in our hands, such as the following, helps us to warn people of the dangers of even participating on any social media.  The whole world (at least the English-speaking world) has been under constant bombardment by behavioral control experiments, like this one since the advent of the Internet Age.  This is just one tiny experiment on the NET-work.  By voluntarily coming onto the Net, we agree to become part of this massive mind-control experiment.  We must keep this in mind as we spill our guts to social media, mind-control is the primary reason for allowing civilian access to the Web.  Knowing this up-front, before we start to “surf,” we all develop our own methods of self-control in reaction to perceptions of governmental invasion of our most intimate thoughts, whether those perceptions are true or false.  We learn not to leave words in our e-trails which might later come back to haunt us; this is what makes the Internet a massive social engine reactor.  It is powered by the input.  We react to the output.  In reacting (by developing our own methods of Internet self-control), we are being subtly controlled or led by that social reactor.  Being human, we cannot help but to react to the outrageous information we pick-up on the Net.  This study of human reaction and interaction via social media, by tampering with the flow of highly-charged emotional information, measures how much people like you and me reflect what we are exposed to on our own web output. 

We live in the age of A.I. (artificial intelligence).  It has been let loose upon society, in order to control that society.  Big Brother has the keys to your minds, and you handed them to him.]

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

PNAS

  1. Adam D. I. Kramera,1,
  2. Jamie E. Guilloryb, and
  3. Jeffrey T. Hancockc,d
  1. Edited by Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, and approved March 25, 2014 (received for review October 23, 2013)

Significance

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

Abstract

Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.

Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading them to experience the same emotions as those around them. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments (1), in which people transfer positive and negative moods and emotions to others. Similarly, data from a large, real-world social network collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks as well (2, 3).

The interpretation of this network effect as contagion of mood has come under scrutiny due to the study’s correlational nature, including concerns over misspecification of contextual variables or failure to account for shared experiences (4, 5), raising important questions regarding contagion processes in networks. An experimental approach can address this scrutiny directly; however, methods used in controlled experiments have been criticized for examining emotions after social interactions. Interacting with a happy person is pleasant (and an unhappy person, unpleasant). As such, contagion may result from experiencing an interaction rather than exposure to a partner’s emotion. Prior studies have also failed to address whether nonverbal cues are necessary for contagion to occur, or if verbal cues alone suffice. Evidence that positive and negative moods are correlated in networks (2, 3) suggests that this is possible, but the causal question of whether contagion processes occur for emotions in massive social networks remains elusive in the absence of experimental evidence. Further, others have suggested that in online social networks, exposure to the happiness of others may actually be depressing to us, producing an “alone together” social comparison effect (6).

Three studies have laid the groundwork for testing these processes via Facebook, the largest online social network. This research demonstrated that (i) emotional contagion occurs via text-based computer-mediated communication (7); (ii) contagion of psychological and physiological qualities has been suggested based on correlational data for social networks generally (7, 8); and (iii) people’s emotional expressions on Facebook predict friends’ emotional expressions, even days later (7) (although some shared experiences may in fact last several days). To date, however, there is no experimental evidence that emotions or moods are contagious in the absence of direct interaction between experiencer and target.

On Facebook, people frequently express emotions, which are later seen by their friends via Facebook’s “News Feed” product (8). Because people’s friends frequently produce much more content than one person can view, the News Feed filters posts, stories, and activities undertaken by friends. News Feed is the primary manner by which people see content that friends share. Which content is shown or omitted in the News Feed is determined via a ranking algorithm that Facebook continually develops and tests in the interest of showing viewers the content they will find most relevant and engaging. One such test is reported in this study: A test of whether posts with emotional content are more engaging.

The experiment manipulated the extent to which people (N = 689,003) were exposed to emotional expressions in their News Feed. This tested whether exposure to emotions led people to change their own posting behaviors, in particular whether exposure to emotional content led people to post content that was consistent with the exposure—thereby testing whether exposure to verbal affective expressions leads to similar verbal expressions, a form of emotional contagion. People who viewed Facebook in English were qualified for selection into the experiment. Two parallel experiments were conducted for positive and negative emotion: One in which exposure to friends’ positive emotional content in their News Feed was reduced, and one in which exposure to negative emotional content in their News Feed was reduced. In these conditions, when a person loaded their News Feed, posts that contained emotional content of the relevant emotional valence, each emotional post had between a 10% and 90% chance (based on their User ID) of being omitted from their News Feed for that specific viewing. It is important to note that this content was always available by viewing a friend’s content directly by going to that friend’s “wall” or “timeline,” rather than via the News Feed. Further, the omitted content may have appeared on prior or subsequent views of the News Feed. Finally, the experiment did not affect any direct messages sent from one user to another.

Posts were determined to be positive or negative if they contained at least one positive or negative word, as defined by Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count software (LIWC2007) (9) word counting system, which correlates with self-reported and physiological measures of well-being, and has been used in prior research on emotional expression (7, 8, 10). LIWC was adapted to run on the Hadoop Map/Reduce system (11) and in the News Feed filtering system, such that no text was seen by the researchers. As such, it was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, to which all users agree prior to creating an account on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research. Both experiments had a control condition, in which a similar proportion of posts in their News Feed were omitted entirely at random (i.e., without respect to emotional content). Separate control conditions were necessary as 22.4% of posts contained negative words, whereas 46.8% of posts contained positive words. So for a person for whom 10% of posts containing positive content were omitted, an appropriate control would withhold 10% of 46.8% (i.e., 4.68%) of posts at random, compared with omitting only 2.24% of the News Feed in the negativity-reduced control.

The experiments took place for 1 wk (January 11–18, 2012). Participants were randomly selected based on their User ID, resulting in a total of ∼155,000 participants per condition who posted at least one status update during the experimental period.

For each experiment, two dependent variables were examined pertaining to emotionality expressed in people’s own status updates: the percentage of all words produced by a given person that was either positive or negative during the experimental period (as in ref. 7). In total, over 3 million posts were analyzed, containing over 122 million words, 4 million of which were positive (3.6%) and 1.8 million negative (1.6%).

If affective states are contagious via verbal expressions on Facebook (our operationalization of emotional contagion), people in the positivity-reduced condition should be less positive compared with their control, and people in the negativity-reduced condition should be less negative. As a secondary measure, we tested for cross-emotional contagion in which the opposite emotion should be inversely affected: People in the positivity-reduced condition should express increased negativity, whereas people in the negativity-reduced condition should express increased positivity. Emotional expression was modeled, on a per-person basis, as the percentage of words produced by that person during the experimental period that were either positive or negative. Positivity and negativity were evaluated separately given evidence that they are not simply opposite ends of the same spectrum (8, 10). Indeed, negative and positive word use scarcely correlated [r = −0.04, t(620,587) = −38.01, P < 0.001].

We examined these data by comparing each emotion condition to its control. After establishing that our experimental groups did not differ in emotional expression during the week before the experiment (all t < 1.5; all P > 0.13), we examined overall posting rate via a Poisson regression, using the percent of posts omitted as a regression weight. Omitting emotional content reduced the amount of words the person subsequently produced, both when positivity was reduced (z = −4.78, P < 0.001) and when negativity was reduced (z = −7.219, P < 0.001). This effect occurred both when negative words were omitted (99.7% as many words were produced) and when positive words were omitted (96.7%). An interaction was also observed, showing that the effect was stronger when positive words were omitted (z = −77.9, P < 0.001).

As such, direct examination of the frequency of positive and negative words would be inappropriate: It would be confounded with the change in overall words produced. To test our hypothesis regarding emotional contagion, we conducted weighted linear regressions, predicting the percentage of words that were positive or negative from a dummy code for condition (experimental versus control), weighted by the likelihood of that person having an emotional post omitted from their News Feed on a given viewing, such that people who had more content omitted were given higher weight in the regression. When positive posts were reduced in the News Feed, the percentage of positive words in people’s status updates decreased by B = −0.1% compared with control [t(310,044) = −5.63, P < 0.001, Cohen’s d = 0.02], whereas the percentage of words that were negative increased by B = 0.04% (t = 2.71, P = 0.007, d = 0.001). Conversely, when negative posts were reduced, the percent of words that were negative decreased by B = −0.07% [t(310,541) = −5.51, P < 0.001, d = 0.02] and the percentage of words that were positive, conversely, increased by B = 0.06% (t = 2.19, P < 0.003, d = 0.008).

The results show emotional contagion. As Fig. 1 illustrates, for people who had positive content reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks (3, 7, 8), and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network.

These results highlight several features of emotional contagion. First, because News Feed content is not “directed” toward anyone, contagion could not be just the result of some specific interaction with a happy or sad partner. Although prior research examined whether an emotion can be contracted via a direct interaction (1, 7), we show that simply failing to “overhear” a friend’s emotional expression via Facebook is enough to buffer one from its effects. Second, although nonverbal behavior is well established as one medium for contagion, these data suggest that contagion does not require nonverbal behavior (7, 8): Textual content alone appears to be a sufficient channel. This is not a simple case of mimicry, either; the cross-emotional encouragement effect (e.g., reducing negative posts led to an increase in positive posts) cannot be explained by mimicry alone, although mimicry may well have been part of the emotion-consistent effect. Further, we note the similarity of effect sizes when positivity and negativity were reduced. This absence of negativity bias suggests that our results cannot be attributed solely to the content of the post: If a person is sharing good news or bad news (thus explaining his/her emotional state), friends’ response to the news (independent of the sharer’s emotional state) should be stronger when bad news is shown rather than good (or as commonly noted, “if it bleeds, it leads;” ref. 12) if the results were being driven by reactions to news. In contrast, a response to a friend’s emotion expression (rather than news) should be proportional to exposure. A post hoc test comparing effect sizes (comparing correlation coefficients using Fisher’s method) showed no difference despite our large sample size (z = −0.36, P = 0.72).

We also observed a withdrawal effect: People who were exposed to fewer emotional posts (of either valence) in their News Feed were less expressive overall on the following days, addressing the question about how emotional expression affects social engagement online. This observation, and the fact that people were more emotionally positive in response to positive emotion updates from their friends, stands in contrast to theories that suggest viewing positive posts by friends on Facebook may somehow affect us negatively, for example, via social comparison (6, 13). In fact, this is the result when people are exposed to less positive content, rather than more. This effect also showed no negativity bias in post hoc tests (z = −0.09, P = 0.93).

Although these data provide, to our knowledge, some of the first experimental evidence to support the controversial claims that emotions can spread throughout a network, the effect sizes from the manipulations are small (as small as d = 0.001). These effects nonetheless matter given that the manipulation of the independent variable (presence of emotion in the News Feed) was minimal whereas the dependent variable (people’s emotional expressions) is difficult to influence given the range of daily experiences that influence mood (10). More importantly, given the massive scale of social networks such as Facebook, even small effects can have large aggregated consequences (14, 15): For example, the well-documented connection between emotions and physical well-being suggests the importance of these findings for public health. Online messages influence our experience of emotions, which may affect a variety of offline behaviors. And after all, an effect size of d = 0.001 at Facebook’s scale is not negligible: In early 2013, this would have corresponded to hundreds of thousands of emotion expressions in status updates per day.

Acknowledgments

We thank the Facebook News Feed team, especially Daniel Schafer, for encouragement and support; the Facebook Core Data Science team, especially Cameron Marlow, Moira Burke, and Eytan Bakshy; plus Michael Macy and Mathew Aldridge for their feedback. Data processing systems, per-user aggregates, and anonymized results available upon request.

Footnotes

  • 1To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: akramer@fb.com.
  • Author contributions: A.D.I.K., J.E.G., and J.T.H. designed research; A.D.I.K. performed research; A.D.I.K. analyzed data; and A.D.I.K., J.E.G., and J.T.H. wrote the paper.

  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

  • This article is a PNAS Direct Submission.

Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.

References

John Kerry Gives Iraqis Until Tuesday To Overthrow the Maliki Govt

[The stupidity and arrogance of John Kerry never ceases to amaze me.  Not only does he try to enlist the guys that ISIS has been beating the shit out of in Syria to fight for (against?), he has the audacity to publicly arrange a coup d’état against the legally elected government of Iraq.]

Syrian rebels could aid fight against Iraq militants: Kerry

By AFP
Published: June 28, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (R) and Ahmad Jarba (L), leader of Syrian National Coalition, wait prior to a meeting at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah. PHOTO: REUTERS

JEDDAH: Syrian rebels can help weaken militants fighting in Iraq, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday as Washington unveiled plans to boost Syria’s opposition with $500 million in arms and training.

The top US diplomat flew to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for talks with the Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba before meeting for more than three hours with Saudi King Abdullah to discuss the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria.

King Abdullah has consistently called for greater US military support for the moderate Syrian rebels, whom the Gulf kingdom has long backed.

But amid concerns about a spill over from Iraq where militants have seized a swathe of northern territory, the king “did share with the secretary some steps the kingdom is taking to address its concerns about the threat” of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) extremists, a State Department official told reporters.

He refused to go into specifics, but stressed both the US and Saudi Arabia believed Iraq had to form a new government rapidly in order to confront the militant threat.

“The moderate opposition in Syria… has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against ISIL’s presence… not just in Syria, but also in Iraq,” Kerry said.

The White House said Thursday it intends to “ramp up US support to the moderate Syrian opposition” as part of a $1.5 billion initiative to bolster stability in Syria’s neighbours Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

Jarba, leader of the Syrian National Coalition, welcomed the huge US boost to his forces, battling to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

He told Kerry that his rebels were “urging their Iraqi counterparts not to seek common cause with ISIL,” the US official said.

“ISIL is one entity,” the State Department official told reporters flying with Kerry to Ireland after the meetings in Jeddah had ended.

“So weakening ISIL on one side of the border inherently is going to weaken ISIL all over,” he said. But he stressed Kerry was not hinting that the Syrian opposition should have a role in fighting ISIL inside Iraq.

The US assistance would go to what the White House has called “appropriately vetted” members of the Syrian opposition.

Although the United States has provided some $2 billion in humanitarian aid, Obama has so far shied clear of providing heavy weapons, fearful they could fall into the hands of fighters.

Jarba visited Washington in May to plead for arms, especially anti-aircraft missiles, to help the rebels defend themselves from air strikes and barrel bomb attacks by Assad’s regime.

The rebels have found themselves fighting on two fronts, as militants belonging to al Qaeda and the ultra hard line ISIL have flourished in the chaos.

ISIL has now triggered international alarm by capturing parts of five Iraqi provinces, pressing ambitions to set up a wider Islamic state straddling Iraq and Syria.

Washington has been increasingly concerned that the militants’ battlefield role on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border will play into the hands of the Assad regime.

The Saudi king has also been an outspoken critic of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al Maliki, accusing him of excluding Iraq’s Sunni minority.

US officials say Washington is calling on its Sunni allies to use their influence with Iraqi leaders to unite and quickly form a government, with a Tuesday deadline looming for the new parliament to meet and start the process of choosing a speaker, president and prime minister.

The State Department official said “it was not impossible” for the Kurds, Sunnis and Shias to put forward their candidates for the vital positions by Tuesday.

But he also pointed out that numerous deadlines have been missed over the years, amid the tumult of Iraqi politics.

In a de facto agreement, the presidency is usually held by a Kurd, the speaker is Sunni and the prime minister is a Shia.

“Today, ISIS is the star of the box office.”

“ISIS, the al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham. They claimed supporting the oppressed people until they took they stage with their extraordinary global capabilities. The group exploited the anger of millions of Sunni people around the world, from Indonesia to Britain, and made them cheer to its achievements. Today, ISIS is the star of the box office.”–ISIS has reached the border of Saudi Arabia

[Such opinions as this one, by the editor of the Saudi rag al-Arabiya, highlight the typical Saudi version of “reasoning” that is always hypocritical, always duplicitous, always defending the perpetual lies rolling-out from the Saudi throne like a great river of slime, uttering them all as if they were all the truth.  Here we have one of the worst of such official Arab liars, the general manager of .Al-Arabiya, Saudi Arabia’s top international news site, warning us that ISIS is at their door, worrying the King so much that he orders urgent defensive preparations to be taken against any “threat” presented by them. 

This is the same writer who (up until now) accused Maliki, Assad and ISIS of being in cahoots with ISIS in some sort of “false flag” conspiracy.  When Fallujah came under siege by ISIS, this same man was leading the parade of “ISIS WORKS FOR IRAN AND ASSAD.”  Now that the Saudis believe that their pet attack hounds have won the main preliminary battle for Iraq, Saudi apologists now sing the praises of ISIS THE CONQUERING SUNNI AVENGERS.  Some more proof of this particular writer’s biases and determination to spread royal lies are given below.]

 

Iraq… welcome to hell

Do Iranians hate Arabs and Islam?

Maliki makes allies of Sunni extremists

 

 

Massive Taliban Assault On Helmand Coinciding With Pakistan’s North Waziristan Offensive

[SEE:  Pak. Army Finally Kicking the Crap Out North Waziristan Militants–40,000 Troops Involved ; Thousand flee North Waziristan on last day of evacuation]

Afghan troops battle mass Taliban assault in Helmand

BBC

US Marines of 2nd Battalion 2 Marines of 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade take positions in Helmand 25 November 2009 Helmand province has been the scene of fighting involving US and British troops

At least 100 Taliban militants have been killed in fighting around four military checkpoints in southern Afghanistan, local officials say.

Five days of clashes in Sangin district in Helmand province left 35 civilians and at least 21 Afghan troops dead.

Tribal elders in the area say over 2,000 families have been displaced.

Three US soldiers died just last week in an explosion in Helmand. Last month, British troops left their last outpost, withdrawing to the Camp Bastion base.

Sangin district in northern Helmand is regarded as a strategic area as drug dealers and Taliban insurgents have been active in the area, and they often work together, reports the BBC’s Bilal Sarwary in Kabul. The district lies on the border with Pakistan.

There is no independent confirmation of the number of dead. The militants said on Tuesday that only two of their fighters had been killed and that more than 40 soldiers had died.

The Afghan military does not have its own air force and President Karzai has banned it from asking for Nato air power to be used in populated areas, our correspondent notes.

line

Analysis: Bilal Sarwary, BBC News, Kabul

With no air support available, the fighting in Sangin is a litmus test for Afghan forces as Nato pulls out.

Insecurity has spread in Helmand since British and American forces pulled out of many districts and withdrew to small outposts. Many of the roads connecting the capital, Lashkar Gah, to outlying districts have been a no-go area for government officials, and roadside bombs have prevented ground reinforcements.

Afghan intelligence officials in the area say the insurgents launched the attack so that drug dealers could smuggle opium and heroin from the district towards the Iranian border. During my two visits earlier this year, local officials dubbed Helmand Afghanistan’s Falluja, referring to the Iraqi city under Sunni extremist control.

But it is the civilians who continue to bear the brunt of this conflict. More than 2,000 families have been forced to flee their homes and farms in Helmand.

line

The Afghan government has sent additional troops to the area to support the military response, officials say.

“There was a major attack by the Taliban. We are reinforcing Afghan national security forces and have suffered no major loss of territory,” interior ministry spokesman Siddiq Siddiqi told the AFP news agency.

Estimates by local Afghan officials of the total number of Taliban attackers vary from 800 to more than 1,000. Reports said heavily armed militants struck in a co-ordinated attack.

A local official in Helmand told the BBC that at one checkpoint police had fought hard – but with no reinforcements available immediately, the Taliban overran it.

Fighting has now extended from Sangin district into the neighbouring areas of Kajaki, Musa Qala and Nowzad.

Royal Marines from 45 Command stop and search a man while on patrol in the Sangin district of Afghanistan 24 January 2009 Britain’s troop presence in Helmand is due to end within months

“At least 21 Afghan forces have been killed and more than 40 wounded during five days of clashes in four districts,” Said Omar Zwak, the spokesperson for the Helmand governor told the BBC.

Off the record officials say the insurgents have killed 35 Afghan soldiers and nearly twice that number of police.

Some of those civilians who fled the fighting walked long distances to the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.

Displaced people are reported to be sleeping in the open, amidst reports of a shortage of food and water in the city.

A tribal elder in Sangin told the BBC’s Mamoon Durrani in Kandahar that locals faced fuel shortages and that prices had risen tenfold.

“If the government can’t do anything, then they have to give us weapons to defend our villages and families,” Haji Akhtar Mohammad said.

Last week three US soldiers and a military dog were killed in an improvised explosive device attack in the Nad Ali district of Helmand.

In a matter of months UK forces will withdraw from Helmand completely, closing their main base at Camp Bastion.

Free Syrian Army Fires Its Leadership As Obama Tries To Send Them $500 Million

[SEE:  Obama Seeks $500M to Arm Select Syrian Rebels]

Syria opposition sacks rebel command over corruption

daily star LEB


Free Syrian Army fighters react to the camera as they ride in a vehicle mounted with a weapon in the Hama countryside May 22, 2014. (REUTERS/Nour Fourat)

BEIRUT: Syria’s opposition government sacked the military command of the rebel Free Syrian Army late Thursday over corruption allegations, as the White House asked lawmakers for $500 million for moderate insurgents.

A statement by the opposition government said that its chief Ahmad Tohme “decided to disband the Supreme Military Council and refer its members to the government’s financial and administration committee for investigation.”

The decision came amid widespread reports of corruption within the ranks of the FSA, which is backed by Western and Arab governments in its battle to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad.

The government in exile said that it was also sacking FSA chief of staff Brig. Gen. Abdel-Ilah Bashir.

It called on “revolutionary forces on the ground” to set up within a month a new defense council and to fully restructure the rebel army’s command.

The announcement on Facebook came as US President Barack Obama asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and equip “the moderate Syrian opposition.”

The request coincides with growing unrest in Syria’s neighbor Iraq where Sunni militants led by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) are battling the government.

ISIS, which aspires to create an Islamic state that straddles Iraq and Syria, has spearheaded the lightning jihadist offensive that has already captured swathes of territory north and west of Baghdad.

ISIS reportedly bolstered Thursday its presence in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal on the border with Iraq, a day after Al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, Nusra Front, pledged loyalty to the group there giving it control over both sides of the frontier.

ISIS and other Islamists fighters in Syria are better armed and financed than the FSA, which has been pleading for greater support from the international community.

Since the Syria conflict erupted three years ago, the United States has provided “non-lethal” support to the moderate opposition trying to oust Assad.

Earlier this month National Security Advisor Susan Rice acknowledged that the Pentagon was also delivering “lethal” support.

About $287 million in mainly non-lethal support has been cleared for the rebels since March 2011, and the CIA has participated in a covert military training program in neighboring Jordan for the moderate opposition.

Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova Seal Their Fates, Signing-On To EU

EU signs pacts with ex-USSR states

BBC

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and European Council President Herman van Rompuy - 27 June Mr Poroshenko (C) said the pact was a “symbol of faith and unbreakable will”

Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have signed partnership agreements with the European Union, in a move strongly opposed by Russia.

The pact – which would bind the three countries more closely to the West both economically and politically – is at the heart of the crisis in Ukraine.

Russia said that while the signing of the deal was the right of any state there could be grave consequences.

A ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels in east Ukraine is due to end on Friday.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko hailed the signing as Ukraine’s most historic day since independence in 1991, describing it as a “symbol of faith and unbreakable will”.

Mr Poroshenko also said he saw the signing as the start of preparations for joining the bloc.

“Ukraine is underlining its sovereign choice in favour of membership of the EU,” he said.

Meanwhile European Council President Herman van Rompuy described it as a “great day for Europe”.

Ukrainian president signs partnership deal - 27 June Mr Poroshenko used a pen stamped with the date November 2013, when the deal was originally meant to be signed

“The EU stands by your side, today more than ever before,” he told leaders of the three countries, adding that there was nothing in the agreements that might harm Russia in any way.

‘Nazi’ jibe

But Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Interfax news agency that the move was fraught with difficulties.

“The signing of this serious document is, certainly, a sovereign right of each state,” he said.

“[But] the consequences of the signing by Ukraine and Moldova no doubt, will be serious.”

Earlier senior Kremlin adviser Sergei Glazyev described Mr Poroshenko as a “Nazi” and said his presidency was illegitimate because parts of Ukraine did not vote in the May elections.

He also said that Mr Poroshenko had no constitutional right to sign the treaty, which would damage the Ukrainian economy.

However, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian media that Mr Glazyev’s comments did not reflect the official Kremlin position.

Mr Poroshenko’s predecessor Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign the deal under pressure from Russia and protests led to his overthrow.

After this Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region and pro-Russia separatists in eastern regions declared independence, claiming that extremists had taken power in Kiev.

Fighting is said to have continued in some areas of eastern Ukraine despite a temporary ceasefire this week.

Talks on extending the truce in in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are also set to take place on Friday.

In another development, rebels released four international observers captured more than a month ago.

Alexander Borodai, head of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic, said the members of the Vienna-based Organisation for the Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) had been freed as a goodwill gesture.

More than 420 people have been killed in fighting between pro-Russia rebels and government forces in eastern Ukraine since mid-April, the UN estimates.

Divergent visions could split Iraq’s revolt

Divergent visions could split Iraq’s revolt

daily star LEB

BAGHDAD/DUBAI: The militants dismantling Iraq’s borders and threatening regional war are far from united – theirs is a marriage of convenience between extreme religious zealots and more pragmatic Sunni armed groups.

For now, they share a common enemy in Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whom Iraq’s Sunni minority accuses of marginalizing and harassing them.

The question looms over who will triumph: The Al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which aims to carve out a modern-day caliphate, or myriad Iraqi Sunni armed factions, who fight based on a nexus of tribal, family, military and religious ties, and nostalgia for the past before the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Many experts and Western officials believe ISIS, due to its internal cohesion and access to high-powered weapons and stolen cash, will overpower its Sunni rivals.

They point to the lessons of Syria’s 3-year-old civil war, where a unified ISIS leadership entrenched itself as the force to be reckoned with in eastern Syria. They warn that even the Sunni revolt against Al-Qaeda during the last decade in Iraq would not have succeeded without the decisive punch of American firepower.

Cracks are already showing in the loose alliance in Iraq, suggesting the natural frictions will inevitably grow.

In the town of Hawija, ISIS and members of the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, which includes former Iraqi army officers and is rooted in the ousted Baath Party, fought turf battles from Friday to Sunday when ISIS demanded a pledge of loyalty from its rivals, according to locals. At least 15 people were killed before the clashes ended in stalemate.

Such confrontations could become the new reality without a swift political resolution to the crisis that began two weeks ago when ISIS stormed Mosul, seizing it in hours and then dashed across northern Iraq grabbing large swaths of land.

According to a high-level Iraqi security official, ISIS has about 2,300 fighters, including foreigners, who have led the speedy assault from Mosul through other northern towns, including Hawija, west of oil-rich Kirkuk; Baiji, home of Iraq’s biggest refinery; and Saddam Hussein’s birthplace Tikrit.

The high-level official said that as ISIS has raced on from Mosul, other Iraqi Sunni groups have seized much of the newly gained rural territory because ISIS is short on manpower.

The different groups appear to be following ISIS’ lead in the bigger communities it has captured such as Tikrit and Baiji. But as the new order settles, the security officer predicted: “They will soon be fighting each other.”

Mustafa Alani, an Iraqi security expert with good contacts in Gulf Arab governments, also expects friction to grow. “How long can this honeymoon last?” he asked. “ISIS is not acceptable among the people, either socially or politically.”

If the alliance does fracture, battles could drag Sunni regions of Iraq into a state of permanent internecine war.

A Sunni politician sketched out the future.

“[ISIS] will take a stand in favor of [its] Islamic law, and the people of the region will refuse because they will want to protect their rights,” said Dr. Muhannad Hussam, a politician with the nationalist Arabiya list. “I am afraid for the Sunni areas. They will be burned. No one will win.”

He said that other insurgent groups, even if unable to defeat ISIS, would eventually adopt guerrilla tactics and still be able to hurt ISIS, regardless of the jihadists’ superior arms. “They can fight as gangs, not as a military.”

“They are tied to the land, and ISIS is not. ISIS can’t fight an enemy from all sides.”

For now, the front rests on two strong pillars: the groups’ common membership of the Sunni minority and a conviction that Sunnis have been marginalized and persecuted by Maliki.

Both factors have helped ISIS win the cooperation if not the hearts of war-weary Sunni communities. Many of ISIS’ current partners initially collaborated with its parent organization Al-Qaeda before revolting between 2006 and 2008, disgusted by its extremists’ agenda.

Then, when they rebelled against Al-Qaeda, they were bolstered by U.S. firepower, winning promises of reconciliation with Maliki, who then failed to deliver on those pledges and oversaw a crackdown in the face of militant threats.

As violence has exploded in the last two years, ISIS has seized on such communal grievances.

ISIS has multiple internal strengths – ruthlessness, self-funded wealth estimated in the tens of millions of dollars from sophisticated extortion rackets, kidnap ransoms, smuggling of oil and other goods, diplomats and counterterrorism experts say, and eye-catching social media skills.

It also has open lines of communication to support bases in Syria. Its bastion in the town of Raqqa gives it proximity to Turkey, a conduit for foreign recruits, as well as access to oil reserves, which it sells. They have tapped similar markets in Iraq.

Its achievement in dismantling much of the border drawn by European colonialists nearly a century ago is a source of prestige in the transnational community of Islamist sympathizers that provides a steady flow of foreign recruits.

And yet, although seemingly self-sufficient in material terms, ISIS recently has consciously teamed with other Iraqi factions – by partnering with them, or by choosing not to hunt them down over past grudges or eliminate alternative voices.

These militias include the Islamic Army, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, the Mujahedeen Army, the Rashidin Army and Ansar al-Sunna, and bring together Islamists, military veterans, tribal figures and professionals, marginalized after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Another leading group is the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order, a Baathist offshoot created by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former lieutenant of Saddam’s.

ISIS coexisted with such factions first in the vast desert areas west of Baghdad, where tribes rose up in late December, and then in the sudden advance this month in the north.

The Sunni revolt against Maliki in the desert cities of Fallujah and Ramadi since early this year allowed ISIS to enter urban areas and seize ground.

In Mosul, ISIS has mostly tolerated the different factions. Its members brag they are converting their fellow fighters. “Other groups are pledging loyalty,” one pro-ISIS fighter claimed.

An Islamic Army member said the equation was simple: “The people of Mosul are fed up with the oppression of Maliki’s forces.”

In Tikrit and Baiji, where militants are laying siege to Iraq’s biggest refinery, a similar dynamic is in play. ISIS has the best arms, while tribal fighters, including members of the Islamic Army and Mujahedeen Army, are bolstering ISIS’ numbers in the offensive on the Baiji refinery, a second Iraqi security official said.

Anna Boyd, an expert on Al-Qaeda at IHS risk consultancy, said that ISIS’ decision to partner with other groups over the past year suggests its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is conscious of the pitfalls of factionalism.

Aware of its fractious reputation, ISIS in Syria has attempted “soft power” initiatives – aid provision and community activities – to present a more acceptable face, but its brutality has largely left a legacy of violent clashes with Islamist and mainstream Syrian rebel groups.

Now, in Iraq, Baghdadi’s solution may be to keep raising the levels of violence against Shiites to goad Iran to intervene and compel other Sunni factions to cling with him.

Such a development would attract more recruits from Gulf states, where ISIS’ gory video messages are believed to have an attentive audience on Twitter. “The risk is that, despite its tendency to feud with other Sunni groups, its military gains … are such that they will inspire support for [ISIS] beyond Iraq and Syria,” Boyd said.

ISIS is careful to keep an upper hand with its Sunni peers.

Upon the capture Sunday of the town Al-Alam, just outside Tikrit, an ISIS leader touring the area was asked why the group had bothered to seize the Sunni community.

He explained the town fell in a broader strategic region, where other armed factions also held sway, and ISIS needed to impose some cohesion.

Pak. Army Finally Kicking the Crap Out North Waziristan Militants–40,000 Troops Involved

PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan army for the first time announced that the Haqqani network in North Waziristan is also a target of the current military operation.

“For the military, there will be no discrimination among Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) groups or Haqqani network, all terror groups are going to be eliminated,” DG ISPR Major General Asim Bajwa told a briefing at GHQ.

He said so far 327 terrorists and 10 security personnel have been killed.

The DG ISPR confirmed the presence of a large number of Uzbeks and other foreign militants in North Waziristan, saying that they will all be wiped out.

“The Pakistan Army has requested the Afghan military to take action against terrorist hideouts in Kunar and Nooristan, but so far there has been no action taken,” General Bajwa said.

The chief military spokesman said it is solely a Pakistan Army operation and not a joint Pak-US military offensive, adding that Pakistani security forces are capable of doing such an operation.

“North Waziristan has become a hub of terror and suicide attacks in the country because planning of such attacks was taking place here,” Bajwa remarked.

He dispelled the impression that the operation was launched without political approval and said, “The operation was launched after a decision was made at the political level.”

On Wednesday Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said security forces were conducting the operation against militants without discrimination.


Also read: Thousands flee North Waziristan region on last day of evacuation



North Waziristan ground operation kicks off


Ground troops were moved in to Miramshah Bazaar on Thursday as tanks and artillery continued to pound militant hideouts in and around the bazaar.

Sources said that after weakening the targets with air assaults, security forces were now moving into the built area and clearing hideouts. The officials said that security forces were also consolidating the positions in and around Miramshah Bazaar.

The official sources also said that the ground offensive in Miramshah has started at 6 am and would continue.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) is yet to issue an official confirmation of casualties in the operation.

The military operation named ‘Zarb-i-Azb’ was initiated in the North Waziristan region in June. At least 430,000 people have fled the region into nearby areas of Pakistan as well as neighbouring Afghanistan, the biggest movement of refugees in Pakistan in years.


Examine: All-out military operation launched in North Waziristan


Security officials had claimed that over 200 local and foreign militants had been killed in the aerial bombings.

Earlier a ground assault was delayed due to the issues that cropped up during evacuation of internally displaced people (IDPs).


Operation Zarb-i-Azb: Interactive map


Latest: Ground offensive kicks off as troops move into Miramshah.


Miram Shah3

Interactive map produced by: Sana Malik | Mahnoor Bari | Gulzar Nayani

Data gathered from ISPR and Dawn

Jordan Releases Mentor To Abu Musab Zarqawi, Hoping To Reel ISIS In

Jordan releases anti-ISIL Salafi leader

aljazeera

Salafi leader Maqdesi released amid growing concerns about the worsening security situation in Iraq.


Maqdesi was found guilty of ‘plotting terrorism’ and recruiting fighters to join the Taliban in Afghanistan [AP]

Amman, Jordan – Jordanian authorities have released Salafi leader Assem Barqawi, better known as Abu Mohammad al-Maqdesi, after having served a five-year prison sentence on allegations of jeopardising state security and recruiting jihadists to fight in Afghanistan. 

His release came as a surprise to some after the escalating war in Syria has presented big security challenges to neighbouring Jordan, especially amid an increasing number of Jordanians joining jihadist groups inside the war-torn country.

“We did not expect his release. We thought he would be interrogated and held further,” Mohammad Shalabi, better known as Abu Sayyaf, head of the Jordanian Jihadi Salafist Movement told Al Jazeera in a phone interview.

Maqdesi is a supporter of al-Nusra front which, unlike ISIL, does not have any ambitions to take over the region.

-Hasan Abu Hanya, expert on jihadist movements

Experts and Salafists, however, say that releasing Maqdesi, who has been very critical of violence committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), serves Jordan’s interest as the movement has achieved gains in neighbouring Iraq recently and added to Jordan’s security woes. 

“Maqdesi is a supporter of al-Nusra front, one of the fighting groups in Syria, which unlike ISIL, does not have any ambitions to take over the region,” said Hasan Abu Hanya, an expert on jihadist movements. 

“He is the mentor and father of our curriculum,” Abu Sayyaf told Al Jazeera. 

“There is a pressing need for a mentor like him at this time of bloodshed. He is very concerned about the blood of Muslims being shed and their souls and honour,” Abu Sayyaf added.

In a recent statement published to his website, Tawheed, the leader condemned ISIL and called it “deviant” and called on jihadists to follow “the right [path] and stop the bloodshed”.

According to Abu Hanyah, there are more than 2,000 supporters of ISIL in Jordan – an alarming number for the Jordanian authorities. 

“If some 4,000 ISIL members turned Mosul upside down, it is very dangerous for Jordan to have such numbers of supporters, given how violent and experienced the movement is,” he said.

Jordanian officials’ concern has been exacerbated after Iraq reportedly pulled out its forces from the Jordanian border on Sunday.

During a meeting with parliamentarians dedicated to discussing the challenges following the situation in Iraq, Jordanian Interior Minister Hussein Majali said that Jordan had built-up its military presence near the Iraq border by sending gendarmerie forces and additional security forces. 

Maqdesi arrived at his house in Rusaifa town in northern Jordan, which is home to the Salfist movement, yesterday. He refused to give media interviews, but will soon issue a statement, according to Abu Sayyaf.

His lawyer, Majid Liftawi, believes his client is not guilty of any terror charges.

“It was all because of his political beliefs and writings,” he said.

 

 

 

ISIS sets its sights on Jordan

ISIS sets its sights on Jordan

alakhbar

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on June 12, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants taking part in a military parade in the northern city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP/Youtube)

The ramifications of ISIS’ recent victories [in Iraq] did not take long to reach Jordan, in particular the southern Maan region, a hotbed of tension where a few days ago dozens of Salafi jihadis held a pro-ISIS march. They called for the removal of the borders established by the Sykes-Picot agreement and backed “the ISIS conquest of Iraq.”

Amman: As ISIS redraws the map in Syria and Iraq, Jordan is only a stone’s throw away from its fighters. They took control of the Turaibil border crossing for several hours, before the Iraqi army announced they had managed to recapture the crossing and expelled the gunmen. Sources are indicating that Jordan participated in a raid on ISIS convoys, although security officials in the kingdom refused to comment on the situation.

The initial hit-and-run attacks along the 181 kilometer-long border are raising concerns in Amman about ISIS expanding into Jordanian territory. Jordan is already witnessing a tense security situation due to the presence of many Syrian refugees, as well as the participation of around two thousand Jordanians in armed Islamist groups, who have expressed that Jordan might be their next goal. This was made clear in several clips posted on YouTube, the main media platform for the armed groups.

 

Ibrahim S., an Iraqi working as a technical director in a Jordanian factory, explained that he has been hesitant to go back to Iraq in his private car for the past week. He told Al-Akhbar that he received calls from family and friends warning him about travel via land since “ISIS gunmen have set up checkpoints on the Amman-Baghdad international highway.” 

Hazem Qashou, head of the foreign committee in the Jordanian parliament, officially expressed indignation concerning the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from border zones, “which caused a real problem at the borders.” As for the expansion of ISIS into Jordan, along with the already growing salafi tide in the country, Qashou indicated to Al-Akhbar that the region is going through a period of hardship.

“Thus, the opposition and loyalists have to stand by the army and the armed forces,” he said. Qashou also revealed a prospective visit by Jordanian MPs to the borders with Iraq. “There are contacts between [Jordanian] MPs and Iraqi officials to discuss the impending threat.”

Despite the news about the recapture of Turaibil, some video clips show the crossing abandoned with the Iraqi army nowhere insight. However, Jordanian military sources announced that dozens of troops have been put on alert close to the location, which is the main entry point to Iraq. Eyewitnesses explained to Al-Akhbar that several convoys of tanks, armoured carriers, and rocket launchers have been deployed in the region.

Jordanian government spokesperson, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications Mohammed al-Momani, denied rumors that Jordan decided to close its borders with Iraq. However, he indicated in press statement that movement at the border is very limited.

Al-Akhbar examined the situation from the military perspective, which was described by retired Major General Mohammed Khreisat, a former director of military operations, who is currently working in the Royal Defense Academy. He warned about an expected scenario, in which “Nouri al-Maliki’s government, with the support of Iran and the US, would push for a counterattack against ISIS-controlled regions. This will cause a wave of displacement that Amman cannot handle nor deal with.”

“For ISIS to expand in this manner, there must be a popular base to support it,” he added. “It is no secret it has a vanguard in the kingdom, who are part of the ideological framework of the state.” However, Khreisat insisted that “internal immunity and the readiness of the Jordanian army will not give them the opportunity.”

On the longer term, Islamist movement researcher Ibrahim al-Fayoumi concluded that the real danger is not in the immediate ramifications. “The problem lies in an intellectual approach whose dangers must be considered by everyone,” he explained. “That Jordanian jihadis are being sent to Syria and Iraq is an established fact. Around three months ago, Syrian television broadcast the pictures of people from ISIS and al-Nusra Front. It was later discovered that some lived in Azmi al-Mufti camp near Irbid (in the north) and others were from Maan (in the south), as well as al-Zarqa and other cities.”

 

In his interview with Al-Akhbar, Fayoumi warned of an incubator and sleeper cells for this organization in Jordan. “The appointment of a large number of Salafis as mosque imams and preachers contributed to the situation. They were able to lure simple people to their ideology.” He evoked the condolences expressed by several Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood leaders after the death of [al-Qaeda’s] Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, “which means they adopted his approach in thought and armed action.” 

However, there is no link between that event and the Muslim Brotherhood’s current position. Hamza Mansour, secretary general of the Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, explained that ISIS originated from al-Qaeda. It is expected to expand if the situation remains the same in the Arab world. Mansour was speaking last week after his party was unable to find any official or private venue to hold its fourth general conference. It is believed the decision came from the government. But they were able to hold the meeting in a public square.

In a press conference following the event, Mansour added that “no place will remain safe from al-Qaeda. We warn the Arab regimes about their war against moderation and moderate Islam, since this will give fuel to jihadi organizations.”

The Muslim Brotherhood official called on the Jordanian government to implement reforms and be more representative of the people’s will, “to avoid a breach in the security wall, since the existence of ISIS came as a response to internal violence and the US occupation.”

Leaders of the jihadi Salafi movement in Jordan, however, joined Ayman al-Zawahiri in criticizing the brutality of ISIS. This included preacher Iyad al-Qunaibi, who spoke to Al-Akhbar last week and was later assaulted and his car smashed by six suspected ISIS supporters in Jordan.

Green light given to “suicide-bombing fest” in Lebanon

Green light given to “suicide-bombing fest” in Lebanon

alakhbar

Lebanese security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack which targeted an army checkpoint on June 20, 2014, on the main highway from Beirut to Damascus in the Dahr al-Baidar area. (Photo: AFP-Joseph Eid)

For 20 years, Hezbollah has been obliged to pay the price twice. The first being the price required to achieve its successes, and the second being the price that its enemies and opponents want to force it to pay for having achieved these successes.

After what happened in Syria over the past four months, many governments, intelligence services, and terrorist cells alike realized that the confrontation with Hezbollah is difficult and complex.

Hezbollah succeeded in not only discovering and tracking down a large number of terrorists involved in attacks against its base, and in Lebanon and Syria, but the party also showed unprecedented perseverance in hunting down those terrorists wherever they may be, in Lebanon or Syria, in the areas under its influence and those of its allies, and beyond. This was no laughing matter for Hezbollah, though its intelligence abilities may only be verified by way of the results they have achieved.

Practically speaking, Hezbollah was able to destroy the main logistical bases of the suicide bombers in Syria and along the border with Lebanon. Hezbollah dealt direct and fatal blows to the majority of individuals involved in terror attacks, both in the planning and execution thereof. In collaboration with security services in Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere, Hezbollah was able to dismantle many cells that could have done a lot more damage.

True, the terrorists have been greatly weakened as a result. But Hezbollah, neither on the battlefield nor in its strongholds, has taken any practical action to suggest it is reassured by the results. Hezbollah judged that it has weakened the “lunatics” to a large extent, but the party knows their true makeup well, and it has information indicating these groups remain active and are attempting to regroup, and to gather enough support to resume their terrorist activities.

 

It is not logical to say that there is a full complementarity between al-Qaeda offshoots and the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. But there is a great deal of overlap, centering on the fact that these countries, in addition to the Western powers and Israel, believe that only al-Qaeda and its offshoots can stand their ground in the battlefield, especially following the series of unprecedented scandals surrounding all other armed gangs that have been described as “moderate.” In other words, the bid to weaken the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah axis is now obligated to go through al-Qaeda and its offshoots. 

Everyone is acting on the basis that the terrorism that swept through Iraq recently, which has wrested entire areas out of the control of the Iraqi state, can restore equilibrium following the series of defeats in Syria and then Lebanon.

While the state of euphoria that has possessed the governments involved in supporting this brand of terrorism remains confined to the political gains they seek in Iraq and Syria, the euphoria that emerged among the supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has far exceeded these governments’ calculations. Indeed, the novel situation has prompted a considerable number of terrorist groups to restart their engines, either to emulate or complement ISIS’ feats, or appear as though they have the ability to match ISIS – something that is mostly visible among the groups affiliated to al-Nusra Front and the Abdullah Azzam Brigades.

These groups are interlinked, and have a central “prime mover” in our region. Meanwhile, there have been major political developments following the recent election in Syria, which granted President Bashar al-Assad a large popular base; the parliamentary election in Iraq, which reinforced Nouri al-Maliki’s position in power, and the failure of the bid to extend Michel Suleiman’s term in Lebanon. All this was expected to lead to a readjustment in the strategy of the rival camp.

It is in this context that the recent events in Iraq played out, and also the attempts to heat things up in the Syrian front to achieve a major coup in Aleppo or the south. Similarly, a decision was made to re-ignite the Lebanese arena, to put pressure on Hezbollah toward making political concessions – as related to the presidency and the government – in exchange for security, and push its back to the wall to prevent it from playing any role in Iraq similar to the role is has been playing in Syria.

 

It is in this climate that all alarm bells went off at once in the corridors of the security services in Lebanon. First, the Intelligence Directorate of the Lebanese army received cryptic tips from the United States about groups having arrived in Lebanon to carry out attacks against healthcare facilities. It was the view of some analysts that this meant attacks on hospitals in Beirut’s southern suburbs where wounded Hezbollah fighters are being treated. 

Then there were tips from European capitals, relayed to the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces, about the arrival of cells comprising Saudi nationals into Lebanon to carry out attacks on Shias in particular. There was also information about a sudden surge in the activity of groups affiliated to the armed Syrian opposition in the Bekaa Valley, including in the town of Arsal, where al-Nusra Front has reportedly regrouped despite the security measures taken by the Lebanese government.

All these warnings indicate that a green light has been given to reignite the Lebanese arena. The goal: to undo the achievements of the Resistance in Syria though a “suicide-bombing fest” in Beirut and its suburbs, as one well-placed source puts it.

It will take time to fully understand what happened on Friday. There is no evidence that attacks were about to be carried out in Beirut nor is there overwhelming evidence that Abbas Ibrahim was the target of the suicide attack in Dahr al-Baidar, and the same goes for the rumors about a Mossad document and a journalist from a Lebanese origin who warned about Ibrahim’s assassination. Similar theories have been circulating on social media, and it seems that some have a very vivid imagination regarding events that never materialized.

But what is certain is that there are some parties trying to push Lebanon toward a return to the tension that prevailed before the battles in Qalamoun were settled. There are worrying signs from the northern regions, where those who were hurt by the government’s security plan might be seeking to bring back chaos. There is also an attempt to blackmail Hezbollah and its allies on many political and security-related issues, and all that this camp can do in the meantime is be more patient.

Ibrahim al-Amin is the editor-in-chief of Al-Akhbar.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Two More Saudi Suicide-Bombers Relieve Themselves of Life In Beirut

[The sheer numbers (and their frequency of occurrence) of Saudi suicide-bombers and Saudis leading Bomber cells killed or captured in Lebanon (which have been reported on this website at this LINK and on countless other alternative sites) would be enough to indict or to convict the entire Saudi royal family in any court in the world as primary sponsors of terrorism. 

To describe Lebanese terrorism, one must tell a series of stories about plots, plots within plots….This is the nature of Lebanese terrorism.  The plotters are myriad, all of them billionaires, trying to get even richer, by breaking-off a chunk of the Lebanese economy, or even better, by taking control of the state itself.  This is the aim of the latest episode of the Western/Saudi/Israeli plot to own Lebanon, the bombers are just a diabolical means to a brutal end of the Lebanese state.  By killing Rafik Hariri, this insane plot was set into motion.] 

Lebanese officials say Beirut suicide bomber, his accomplice are Saudi citizens

USNEWS

The Associated PressFire engines work on extinguishing a fire after a suicide bomber blew himself up in his room at a Beirut hotel, Lebanon, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, as Lebanese security forces raided the premises. The bombing is the latest in a string of attacks and security sweeps in Lebanon over the past week that have sparked fears of renewed violence in a country that has been deeply affected by the civil war in neighboring Syria. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

 

By BARBARA SURK, Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — A suicide bomber, who blew himself up at a Beirut hotel and his accomplice who survived the blast, are citizens of Saudi Arabia, Lebanese officials said Thursday.

The bomber detonated his explosives at Beirut’s Duroy Hotel during a security raid on Wednesday evening, and died in the blast. Another man was wounded and was being questioned by security agents at a Beirut hospital.

A security and a judicial official told The Associated Press that a preliminary probe shows the two attackers entered Lebanon with Saudi passports on June 11. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to talk to the media during an ongoing investigation.

The blast toward the end of Wednesday evening rush-hour took place inside the Duroy Hotel in Raouche district, a posh neighborhood of apartment towers and upscale hotels perched on cliffs of Beirut overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

The Lebanese Red Cross said 11 other people were also wounded in the hotel explosion.

It was the third suicide bombing in Lebanon in less than a week and sparked fears of renewed violence in a country that has been deeply affected by the civil war in neighboring Syria.

On Monday, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a checkpoint outside a cafe just after midnight in a primarily Shiite neighborhood where the militant Hezbollah group has a strong presence. The bombing killed one person and wounded 20.

An al-Qaida-linked group, the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, has warned that such attacks will continue as long as Hezbollah takes part in Syria’s civil war alongside President Bashar Assad’s military.

Syria’s civil war has spilled into neighboring Lebanon on numerous occasions and inflamed sectarian tensions. A series of car bombs have struck Shiite areas across Lebanon, killing dozens of people. The operation also came amid mounting regional tensions over the events unfolding in Iraq.

A string of security incidents over the past week has rattled Lebanon, and Beirut in particular, after what had been a calm and stable stretch of several months.

Another bombing in eastern Lebanon last week killed a police officer and wounded several others.

The bombings, coupled with the detention last Friday in Beirut of people accused of being part of alleged Sunni extremist militant sleeper cells, has given rise to concerns that Lebanon could see a new wave of violence linked to the Syrian conflict.

Syria hit Isis in Iraq with air strikes – Nouri Maliki

[SEE: Syrian and Iraqi Air Forces Pound ISIS Positions On Both Sides of Border]

Map showing areas controlled by ISIS-led militants in Iraq

Syria hit Isis in Iraq with air strikes – Nouri Maliki

BBC

 SAF.php source

The prime minister of Iraq has confirmed to BBC Arabic that Syria carried out air strikes on militants inside Iraqi territory this week.

Nouri Maliki said Syrian fighter jets had bombed militant positions around the border town of Qaim on Tuesday.

While Iraq did not ask for the raid, he added, it “welcomed” any such strike against the Islamist group Isis.

Isis and its Sunni Muslim allies have seized large parts of Iraq this month including the second city, Mosul….

Russian jets

Speaking to the BBC in his first interview for an international broadcaster since the crisis started, Mr Maliki said Iraq had bought a number of used Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia and Belarus.

He said the aircraft could be flying missions in Iraq “within a few days”.

The US, he added, kept delaying the sale of F-16 jets.

Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the crisis with Mr Maliki by phone last Friday, the Kremlin reported on its website at the time.

Mr Putin confirmed his “full support” for the government’s efforts to rid Iraqi territory of “terrorists”, it said, without giving details.

Mr Maliki said on Wednesday that forming a broad emergency government would go against the results of April’s parliamentary elections, which were won by his alliance of Shia parties.

His political rival, Ayad Allawi, had proposed forming a national salvation government.

Reports say a unit of al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front, pledged allegiance to Isis in the Syrian town of Albu Kamal, near the Iraqi border.

The Nusra Front, along with other rebel groups, has been fighting in Syria against Isis, which it sees as harming its cause with its brutality and extremism.

Al-Nusra Pledges Allegiance To ISIS, Despite Zawahiri’s Orders

Al-Qaeda Joins Forces with Isis in Battle for Iraq

international bus. times

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) holds an Isis flag and a weapon on a street in the city of MosulReuters

Al-Qaeda’s official offshoot in Syria has pledged allegiance to Isis at a flashpoint town on the Iraqi border, according to a monitoring group.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims the merger between the two rival groups will allow Isis – an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – to control both sides of the border: Albu Kamal in Syria and Al-Qaim in Iraq.

Al-Nusra Front, the official Syrian franchise for the global terror network, has “pledged loyalty to Isis”, according to the Observatory.

“The pledge comes amid advances by Isis in Deir Ezzor province,” in eastern Syria, the group told AFP.

A jihadist twitter account confirmed the reports and posted a picture showing an Egyptian al-Nusra commander shaking hands with Omar al-Shishani, the Isis leader of Chechen origin.

The two jihadist groups both have al-Qaeda links but have been fighting each other for months, since Isis became involved in the civil war.

An activist explained that the merger took place days after local rebel brigades, who had been working with the al-Nusra front, signed a declaration excluding the al-Qaeda branch from the Islamic court.

Al-Qaeda cut ties with Isis in 2013 in what was believed to be a bid to reassert influence among rival Islamic groups in Syria.

The jihadist group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly disobeyed orders from network leader Ayman al-Zawahri not to operate independently from al-Nusra in the country. Baghdadi reportedly dismissed Zawahri’s orders and attempted to merge the two branches.

Isis and al-Nusra emerged as the two main militant Islamic groups in Syria. Over time, Isis eclipsed al-Nusra in many areas in the north of the country.

As opposed to fighters from Al-Qaeda’s official offshoot in Syria, the al-Nusra front, members of Isis have been described by Syrian refugees as “foreign ‘occupiers'” whose only goal is creating a caliphate, a proto-state that straddles Syria and Iraq.

Syrian and Iraqi Air Forces Pound ISIS Positions On Both Sides of Border

Syrian regime forces retake Kasab, pound ISIS bases

daily star LEB

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian troops celebrating in the town of Kasab, on June 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA
A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian troops celebrating in the town of Kasab, on June 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO/HO/SANA

BEIRUT: Government forces flushed opposition fighters from their last strongholds in northwestern Syria near the Turkish frontier Sunday, seizing the Armenian town of Kasab and restoring government control over a nearby border crossing, activists and state media said.

The developments came as regime airstrikes pounded bases in eastern Syria belonging to the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS in coordination with the Baghdad government, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The military’s advances fully reversed the gains rebels had made during their three-month campaign in Latakia province, the rugged coastal region that is the ancestral heartland of President Bashar Assad.

The counteroffensive’s success is the latest blow to the rebels, who have suffered a string of recent setbacks.

Islamist rebel factions along with the jihadist Al-Qaeda affiliate the Nusra Front launched their surprise assault in Latakia in March, pushing south from the Turkish border to seize a string of villages in the mountainous terrain. The military, nervous about an incursion in a bastion of government support, dispatched reinforcements to blunt the rebel advance and eventually turn the tide.

After months of bloody clashes, army troops backed by fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah Sunday seized the seaside hamlet of Samra before also taking the town of Kasab and its adjacent border crossing, said Rami Abdel-Rahman, the director of the Observatory, an anti-regime group.

He said there were minor clashes still taking place west of Kasab, a predominantly Armenian Christian resort town whose residents fled after the rebels seized control.

The Syrian army command issued a statement saying that it “restored security and stability to Kasab.” It also said the operation “smashes the illusions” of the rebels securing a sea port in Samra or a buffer zone along the border to use as “a base for launching terrorist acts against the Syrian people.”

Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV, which has a reporter embedded with Syrian troops, broadcast live footage from Kasab that showed a blown-out stone building with a smoldering wooden staircase. Soldiers in camouflage uniforms milled in the streets, and the rocky hills typical of the area could be seen in the background.

Engineering units were clearing mines and dismantling booby traps in Kasab, Syria’s pro-government Al-Ikhbariya TV said.

The regime made dislodging rebels from Latakia a priority for strategic as well as symbolic areas. The province is a stronghold of Assad’s minority Alawite sect and losing control of even a portion of it was an embarrassment to the government.

Pro-opposition media outlets said the rebels blamed the loss of territory in Latakia on inadequate ammunition supplies, while pro-regime media countered this claim by showing significant quantities of rockets and other materiel that were seized when the positions in Kasab were overrun.In eastern Syria, the airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which has spearheaded a weeklong jihadist offensive in Iraq, have been more intense than ever, the Observatory said. “The regime air force has been pounding ISIS’ bases, including those in the northern province of Raqqa and Hassakeh in the northeast,” which borders Iraq.

The regime was responding to the fact that ISIS “brought into Syria heavy weapons including tanks” captured from the Iraqi army.

In Raqqa, the air force bombed the area surrounding ISIS’ main headquarters in Syria, as well as the group’s religious courts, said the Observatory, adding there were no reported casualties.

Photographs sent by activists in Raqqa that could not be independently verified showed craters in the ground and rubble in front of the main gates of the headquarters, a former town hall.

The Syrian regime Saturday also bombarded ISIS’ headquarters at Shaddadi in Hassakeh, home to a frontier crossing from Iraq that is under the jihadists’ control.

Abdel-Rahman said the strikes were the regime’s most “intense” against ISIS and they were being carried out “in coordination with the Iraqi authorities.”

The government in Baghdad has been gearing up for a counteroffensive against ISIS in areas where it and other Islamist militants have advanced in northern Iraq in the past week. ISIS espouses a radical interpretation of Islam, and aims to set up a state stretching across the Syria- Iraq border. It has been accused of committing widespread human rights abuses in Syria.

Once welcomed in Syria by rebels seeking Assad’s overthrow, the well-armed and well-organized ISIS soon gained the opposition’s wrath because of its quest for hegemony and systematic abuses, against both rebels and civilian populations under its control.

A war pitting Syrian rebels against ISIS has killed more than 6,000 people, mostly fighters, since it broke out in January.

Pro-opposition media also reported a series of gains by rebels in recent days. In Deraa’s Tal Jammou, a coalition of rebel groups overran a military post and killed or captured dozens of regime troops Friday, according to statements and video footage posted on the Internet. The Observatory said 10 rebels were killed in the attack.

Also, insurgents claimed they killed 40 regime troops Saturday when they detonated a building in the east Damascus neighborhood of Jobar. Pro-opposition groups released a video purporting to show Zahran Alloush, the head of a leading Islamist militia, exhorting rebels to press ahead with their offensive against government forces there.

Alloush heads the Islam Army, one of seven members of the Islamic Front alliance. The “break the walls” campaign is meant to put pressure on regime forces in the eastern part of the capital.

In the nearby Qalamoun region, rebels also claimed the takeover of the village of Aasal al-Ward while fierce clashes raged Sunday around the village of Rankous, the Observatory said.

ISIS Terrorists Besiege Joint Air Base Balad (Camp Anaconda) After Govt Admits Airstrikes In

[Yesterday unidentified aircraft bombed the crap out of a gang of ISIS terrorists at al-Qa’im, Iraq, approximately 433km from Balad Base (formerly known as Camp Anaconda).  Today ISIS militants allegedly have the place surrounded on three sides (one side is criss-crossed with irrigation canals), even though the place is huge, has hundreds of helicopters on site and dozens of underground bunkers for attack aircraft.  If anybody is even paying attention a little bit, this seem like an excellent opportunity to wipe-out a bunch of these assholes.]

Militants attack Iraq air base

daily star LEB

Members of a newly formed brigade of Iraqi Shiite fighters parade in military fatigues with their weapons on June 24, 2014 in the southern city of Basra. (AFP PHOTO/HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI)
Members of a newly formed brigade of Iraqi Shiite fighters parade in military fatigues with their weapons on June 24, 2014 in the southern city of Basra. (AFP PHOTO/HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI)

BAGHDAD: Militants attacked one of Iraq’s largest air bases Wednesday as the first U.S. teams arrived to assess the Iraqi security forces and decide how to help counter a mounting Sunni insurgency.

Two weeks of advances by militants spearheaded by Al-Qaeda offshoot the Islamic State in Iraq and the Greater Syria (ISIS) has threatened to rupture the country two and a half years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged leaders of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region Tuesday to stand with Baghdad in the face of the onslaught.

Militants including ISIS and allied Sunni tribes battled Iraqi forces in the town of Yathrib, 90 km north of Baghdad, into the early hours of Wednesday, witnesses and the deputy head of the municipality said. Four militants were killed, they said.

Insurgents have surrounded a massive air base nearby, which was known as “Camp Anaconda” under U.S. occupation, and struck it with mortars. Eyewitnesses said that the air base had been surrounded on three sides.

More than 1,000 people, mainly civilians, have been killed in less than three weeks, the United Nations has said, calling the figure “very much a minimum.”

The figure includes unarmed government troops machine gunned in mass graves by insurgents, as well as several reported incidents of prisoners killed in their cells by retreating government forces.

U.S. President Barack Obama has offered up to 300 American advisers to Iraq but held off granting a request by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government for air strikes.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said late Tuesday that 130 of the advisers had now been deployed, with the initial group sent to establish the operations centre included intelligence analysts, logistics experts and special operations forces.

Kirby said that about 40 special operations personnel already in the country and assigned to the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Security Cooperation had been deployed as part of the first two assessment teams.

About 90 additional troops arrived in Iraq to begin helping establish a Joint Operations Center in Baghdad with Iraqi forces. Another 50 U.S. military personnel working in the region are expected to arrive within the next few days to create four additional assessment teams, Kirby said.

U.S. military personnel also are flying regular manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Iraq – about 30 to 35 per day – to give better insight about the situation on the ground and help the assessment teams, he said.

Baghdad is racing against time as the insurgents consolidate their grip on Sunni provinces.

The Baiji refinery, a strategic industrial complex 200 km north of Baghdad, remained a frontline early Wednesday. State TV showed troop reinforcements flying into the compound by helicopter to fend off the assault.

Local tribal leaders said that they were negotiating with both the Shiite-led government and Sunni fighters to allow the tribes to run the plant if Iraqi forces withdraw. One government official said that Baghdad wanted the tribes to break with ISIS and other Sunni armed factions, and help defend the compound.

The plant has been fought over since last Wednesday, with sudden reversals for both sides and no clear winner so far.

In recent days, Baghdad’s grip on the Western frontier with Syria and Jordan has also been challenged.

One post on the Syrian border has fallen to Sunni militants and another has been taken over by the Kurds. A third crossing with Syria and the only crossing with Jordan are contested, with anti-government fighters and Baghdad both claiming control.

For ISIS, capturing the frontier is a step towards the goal of erasing the modern border altogether and building a caliphate across swathes of Iraq and Syria.

An Iraqi military spokesman said Tuesday that the government had carried out air strikes on a militant gathering in the town of Al-Qaim near the Syrian border, which is under the control of the coalition of Sunni armed groups, including ISIS.

Washington has placed its hopes in forming a new, more inclusive government in Baghdad that would undermine the insurgency. Kerry aims to convince Kurdish leaders to join it.

In Baghdad Monday Kerry said that Maliki assured him the new parliament, elected two months ago, would sit by a July 1 deadline to start forming a new government. Maliki is fighting to stay in power, under criticism for the ISIS-led advance.

Thanks To ISIS, Obama Gets the Immunity In Iraq He Couldn’t Get By Negotiating

 

 

 

Department of Defense Press Briefing by Rear Adm. Kirby, June 24, 2014–(excerpt)

Q: On the immunity — legal protections deal that was announced yesterday, I think you indicated that what you have now in the diplomatic note is just going to cover these 300 that the president talked about last week. Is there any further discussion about either seeking some approval from the Iraqi parliament or providing further protections for either these 300 or additional troops? Was there any further talk about these legal protections? Or is this done for now?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: We believe that the protections that we secured through this exchange of notes is adequate to provide the protections we need for our troops for this short-term limited-duration mission. So in essence, we’re satisfied with the arrangement and we believe the arrangement provides, again, the necessary protections that our troops will need for this mission.

Q: Follow on that, please? On that subject, while we’re on it?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Sure.

Q: Back in 2011, President Obama insisted strongly that whatever troops remained in Iraq after the withdrawal would have a blanket immunity. And your statement yesterday avoided using the word immunity. Am I reading too much into it? Or did they — did the troops — these up to 300 troops, are they getting the full blanket immunity that was sought in 2011 by the Obama administration? Or is it something short of that?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: They’re getting — as I said yesterday, they’re getting the same level of assurances and protections that diplomatic personnel in Iraq currently enjoy. So the same level of what we would consider privileges and immunities are offered to these additional troops as were offered and as are offered to the diplomatic community in Baghdad. It’s the same.

Q: But just a quick follow-up. Diplomatic personnel don’t usually do the sorts of things that sometimes get viewed in a bad light, accused of being potential war crimes, those sorts of things? I mean, they do — they don’t usually get down and dirty with people as occasionally happens with armed troops. Is there a reason you’re not using the word “immunity”?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I just did in my answer. They’re getting the same privileges and immunity…

Q: (OFF-MIC)

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Yeah, I said — the same privileges and immunities that are offered to the diplomatic core there in Baghdad. And then, you know, look, this mission is not about getting down and dirty, to use your phrase. These are assessors and eventually they will be advisers, and they will assess and advise at a higher headquarters level down to about the brigade level, so — so, again, back to Andrew’s question, we are comfortable that the protections that they — that we have secured for them are going to be adequate to the limited and short-term duration of this mission.

Q: Can I follow up on that?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Sure.

Q: When you say short-term limited duration of this mission, what is this mission?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Initially to provide assessments and then eventually to advise and assist.

Q: Okay. Now, Secretary Kerry said today in Iraq that the U.S. effort would be…

Q: Sustained and intense.

Q: … sustained and intense. Is there a disconnect between DOD and State? Or are you talking about two different missions?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: No, I mean, I won’t speak for Secretary Kerry. My impression of his remarks were talking about the sense of urgency and the level of effort, not necessarily the duration of time. This is a limited, short-term duration mission. I’ve — we’ve been saying that since the beginning. That has not changed.

No, I don’t have a fixed date for you as a deadline or an end date, but it’s very clear. The commander-in-chief couldn’t have been more clear that this will be a limited, short-term mission.

Q: So what elements, then, would bring the mission to an end? What’s the end goal here? What does the DOD see as a time when this mission will end?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I can’t give you — I can’t give you a date certain. And I — and I don’t — I understand, Mik. I don’t have a list of criteria here for you.

(CROSSTALK)

REAR ADM. KIRBY: But — but we’ve been ordered very clearly to go in and assess the situation on the ground and then eventually to move to an advisory role to help Iraqi security forces deal with this threat internal to their country. And then and then we’ll — we’ll go from there, but it’s not meant to be a long-term permanent mission of any kind, which is why — back to the question about protections — we’re comfortable with the arrangement that we — that we have, because you don’t need a status-of-forces agreement unless you’re going to be permanently based somewhere. And there’s no intention to stay in Iraq in this capacity for a long period of time.

French Govt Confirms Arrested ISIS Terrorist Is French

alakhbar

France confirmed Tuesday one of its nationals had been arrested in Lebanon on suspicion of planning an attack.

Lebanese security forces on Friday detained 17 people in two hotels in Beirut following a tip-off that attacks by a “terrorist group” were being planned in the capital and other parts of the country.

A judicial source told AFP Monday that all had been released except a Frenchman originally from the Comoros islands in the Indian Ocean.

French foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal confirmed Tuesday that “a French national was arrested in Beirut.”

Al-Akhbar on Monday reported that the suspect was part of a group of four would-be suicide bombers who had come to Lebanon.

The suspect had admitted coming to the country with a view of committing a suicide attack under the influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has overran major areas of five provinces in Iraq and is currently pressing onto Baghdad.

Another of the four may have been behind a suicide attack that actually took place in east Lebanon on Friday, killing one person and wounding at least 30 others.

The French government is concerned about the radicalization of its nationals after several citizens have gone to fight with jihadists in Syria, where ISIS is very powerful.

It unveiled an anti-terrorism plan in April to prevent radicalization, thwart online recruitment and make it more difficult for aspiring jihadists to leave the country.

Since then, authorities have arrested a French suspect called Medhi Nemmouche suspected of carrying out the Brussels Jewish Museum killings last month after spending a year fighting in Syria.

They have also deported a Tunisian accused of recruiting young jihadists to fight in Syria.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

US Drones Bomb ISIS Gathering At Al-Qaim, Iraq–(despite Pentagon denials)

American drones hit targets on Iraq-Syria border

daily star LEB

“American drones hit targets in the Al-Qaim region on the Iraq-Syria border: BBC Arabic”

Unknown planes bomb ISIS positions in N. Iraq, Pentagon denies it’s US

Russia-Today

“Unidentified bombers have reportedly launched an air strike on ISIS positions in the northern Iraqi city of al-Qaim.”

 

Rear Adm. John Kirby         @PentagonPresSec

No truth to rumors in media today that US drones struck ISIL targets in Iraq.  10:49 AM – 24 Jun 2014

Pentagon tweet

“Tribal sources told Al Arabiya News that Syrian fighter planes carried out the raids.”–Al Arabiya

“…the state-run Iraqiya television reported that U.S. drones bombed insurgent posts in al-Qaim.”Xinhua

“An Iraqi military spokesman said the government had carried out air strikes on a militant gathering in the town of al-Qaim near the Syrian border.”-Reuters

Putin Says US Trying to Derail Gas Pipeline Plan As He Signs South Stream Documents With Austria

Putin Says US Trying to Derail Gas Pipeline Plan

 

The U.S. is trying to derail a project to build a gas pipeline that bypasses Ukraine to supply Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday after Russian and Austrian energy firms agreed to build the pipeline’s western end.

Austria’s OMV and Russia’s Gazprom signed a contract for the construction of the pipeline’s Austrian section hours before Putin arrived on his second trip to the West since tensions spiraled over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, a crisis that has prompted calls for Europe to lessen its reliance on Russian gas.

OMV general director Gerhard Roiss said the South Stream pipeline will “ensure energy security for Europe, particularly for Austria.” Austrian President Heinz Fischer, who met with Putin, noted that large sections of the pipeline will cross NATO and European Union members Bulgaria and Hungary.

“No one can tell me why … a gas pipeline that crosses NATO and EU states can’t touch 50 kilometers (31 miles) of Austrian territory,” he said.

Asked about American criticism of the pipeline, which is expected to start running in late 2016, Putin said that “our American friends … want to supply Europe with gas themselves.”

“They do everything to derail this contract. There is nothing unusual about it. It’s competition, and political means are used in this competition,” he said.

Bulgaria this month froze work on its section of the pipeline on orders from the EU Commission, which said Bulgaria hadn’t respected rules on awarding public contracts. The Commission has also delayed some political talks on the pipeline amid the crisis in Ukraine.

Austria is a member of the EU, which along with the U.S. has imposed visa bans and asset freezes on a number of Russian officials.

The U.S. Embassy in Vienna said earlier Tuesday that trans-Atlantic unity has been essential to “discouraging further Russian aggression” and that the Austrians “should consider carefully whether today’s events contribute to that effort.”

Did Izzat al-Douri Accept Saudi Money To Facilitate the ISIS Takeover of Mosul?

 

Izzat al-Douri: Long Live the Kingdom

almanarAl Manar

Israa al-Fass

.

The Iraqis are no longer talking alone about a Gulf-Turkish financing of terrorism. After the events of Mosul and the subsequent security developments in Iraq, terrorism, has identified itself, just as its financers did.

The events of Mosul were led by the groups of the so-called the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) organization, allying with elites and high-ranking officers belonging to the Baathist – Iraqi man Izzat al-Douri; the second man in the era of Saddam Hussein, who is wanted in Iraq for his involvement in committing genocide in the era of decadence.

What is being propagated by some people regarding that the looting practices by the armed terrorist groups are only what funded their activities seems to be not convincing. The (ISIL) organization, which looted 429 million dollars from the Central Bank in Mosul (an equivalent of half a billion dollars) to become the richest terrorist organization surpassing al-Qaeda itself, is known for its multiple sources of funding. Its groups that consist predominantly of foreign fighters are infiltrated by several intelligence services, and the same goes for Izzat al-Douri’s militants, who are under the command of the so-called the “Men of the Naqshbandi Order”*. The man, who is chased in Iraq, was able to form an armed organization that has a doctrinal basis, too. “BBC” supposed probably that al-Douri played a key role in financing the “Sunni insurgents in an attempt to undermine the Iraqi government”. The sources of funding al-Douri’s militants have never been mentioned in media before, but the movements and positions of the Baathist official are enough to imply that.

Iraq: Terrorism is funded by Saudi Arabia

In an explicit position, the Iraqi government – in a statement – considered that Saudi Arabia is responsible for supporting the terrorist groups financially and morally, “including the resulting crimes that amount to genocide”, arguing that the position of Riyadh on Iraq “is not only an interference in the internal affairs, but rather indicates a type of appeasement of terrorism”.

In fact, this was consistent with the accusations by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, in previous positions, when he accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of “declaring war on Iraq”, held them responsible for the security crisis in this country, and considered that they have political and sectarian backgrounds”. According to him, they both recruit the fighters and radical groups to send them to Iraq.

In an interview with Al-Manar TV, the MP for the State of Law Coalition, Zainab Waheed Salman, said that the destructive role played by Saudi Arabia in Syria is being repeated in Iraq. The Iraqi media, quoting from the security committee in the province, reported that a Saudi officer was killed at the hands of the Peninsula Shield forces on the Iraqi territory a few days ago, and that other Saudis were arrested in the southern province of Dhi Qar, and this demonstrates the involvement of the Kingdom.

Most of the fighters who have been arrested are Saudis or have pointed during investigations being conducted with them that the Kingdom facilitated their crossing into Iraq. The Iraqi parliament’s MP was not the only one who said this, but the Political activist Fuad Ibrahim mentioned in the Lebanese “Al-Akhbar Newspaper” videos on “YouTube” showing Saudi fighters in Iraq being disclosed by their “Saudi Najdi Arabic and Jenubi Arabic (southern) dialects”. He added: “Narratives about the presence of Saudi fighters in Mosul, Salahuddin, Diyala, and others are overflowing the social networking websites. Yet, the coming days will unfold the number and the roles of the Saudis in the organizational and military structure of the (ISIL)”.

MP Salman, after giving information, wondered what Saudi Arabia would want in Iraq. “Does it want to control the entire region at the expense of the peoples of the region? Saudi Arabia never felt satisfied with its interference in the affairs of Bahrain and Syrian, so that is why it is today leading a fierce war using the terrorist groups against the political process and the democratic project in Iraq”.

Izzat al-Douri: the Kingdom’s man in IraqIzzat al-Douri

In late 2012, one of the leaders of the State of Law Coalition, Sami al-Askari, revealed that al-Douri left to Saudi Arabia through the airport in Irbil, criticizing that the airport is not subject to the central authority.

Few months before the Iraqi elections, in an interview with “al-Ahram Al-Arabi” magazine, Izzat al-Douri’s positions were identical in full with the statements of the officials of the Kingdom.

“Saudi Arabia represents the base of steadfastness and of repelling all the conspiracies and attempts targeting the nation’s identity and presence. The Safavid Iran would have dominated the Gulf absolutely and would have striven to make mischief in this vital region of our country and our nation, if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had not been on the alert”.

Al-Douri said: “Long live the Kingdom, and long live its respectable role and its thoroughbred Arabian faithful positions on the revolution of the Syrian people, on Bahrain, and on the Gulf in general, as well as on the people of Iraq and their revolution, on the people of Egypt and their army and revolution, on Yemen, Palestine, Lebanon, Somalia, and on any country where there is a real threat to the nation and its core interests”.

Flirting with the Saudi affection, the wanted man attacked the Islamic Republic of Iran, describing what is happening in Iraq as a “valiant resistance” to the project of the “hegemony of Iran”. Al-Douri did not mention the terrorist groups in Iraq, but spoke about the “rebels”, and these terminologies are used by the Saudi media.

Asking al-Douri whether he expects any change in the Iraqi situation after the elections, he stressed that the situation “will get worse”. He offered the people of Iraq one single advice “to be unified, to embrace their valiant resistance, and to hold their national, nationalist, and Islamic forces so as to sweep this political process”.

These words explain the mechanism of implementing what the head of the Saudi intelligence Turki al-Faisal has previously promised during the Plenary Session of the Security Conference, which was organized by the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies on April 22 this year, when he warned: “If Nouri al-Maliki, the current Prime Minister who finished his term, won the elections, which are being prepared in the current period, Iraq will be divided”.

Saudi Arabia’s war on Iran

“The Battle for Iraq is a Saudi War on Iran”, under this title the director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Simon Henderson, tried to interpret the events witnessed in the Iraqi arena. He wrote about the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz: “He has no doubt realized that- with his policy of delivering a strategic setback to Iran by orchestrating the overthrow of al-Assad in Damascus showing little sign of any imminent success- events in Iraq offer a new opportunity”.
Henderson added that what happened in Iraq “represents the dream of Saudi’s monarch King Abdullah for years”. He assumed that the activity of the terrorist organization “ISIL”, which he described as “a killing machine that shows no mercy”, is considered in Iraq “a response to al-Maliki’s support for al-Assad”.
He pointed out that there is a substantial dimension in the Saudi policy represented by its “willingness to support radical Sunnis abroad while containing their activities at home”. He continued: “Hence, Riyadh’s arms-length support for Osama bin Laden when he was leading jihadists in Soviet-controlled Afghanistan, and tolerance for jihadists in Chechnya, Bosnia and Syria”.

In Syria, according to Henderson, “Saudi intelligence reopened its playbook and started supporting the Sunni opposition, particularly its more radical elements”. Despite the resignation of the head of its intelligence Bandar bin Sultan, “the Saudi support for jihadi fighters appears to be continuing”.

Henderson explains the Kingdom’s support for the terrorist groups and its fear of the extension of these groups as witnessed in the twenties of the last century. “The religious fanatic (Ikhwan) fighters were helping Ibn Saud to conquer the Arabian Peninsula and were also threatening the British protectorates of Iraq and Transjordan. Ibn Saud, the father of the current Saudi King, gave carte blanche to the British to massacre the (Ikhwan) with machine-gun equipped biplanes, personally leading his own forces to finish the job, when the (Ikhwan) threatened him at the battle of “Sabilla” in 1929”.
*The Naqshbandi Order: is the largest Sufi order and is spread in Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Kurdistan, and the rest of the countries of northern Iraq. Although Sufism focused on the spiritual relationship, but the “Men of the Naqshbandi Order” were differentiated in Mosul after the fall of Saddam Hussein and after Izzat al-Douri resorted to logic, so they carried the weapon and later adopted many of the armed operations.

Translated by: Mayssa Hazimeh

The Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation is made up of 23 resistance groups. The coalition is led by a Sufi Muslim group – “The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order.” Ad-Douri is said to have ascribed to Sufism, a mystical form of Islam, in his later years.[5]

The 23 named groups include:[3]

  • 1. The Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order
  • 2. The Army of the Prophet’s Companions (Jaish al-Sahaba)
  • 3. The Army of the Murabiteen (Jaish al-Murabiteen)
  • 4. The Army of al-Hamzah (Jaish al-Hamzah)
  • 5. The Army of the Message (Jaish al-Risala)
  • 6. The Army of Ibn al-Walid (Jaish Ibn al-Walid)
  • 7. The United Command of the Mujahideen in Iraq
  • 8. The Liberation Brigades (Kataeb al-Tahrir)
  • 9. The Army of al-Mustafa (Jaish al-Mustafa)
  • 10. The Army of the Liberation of Iraq (Jaish Tahrir Iraq)
  • 11. Squadrons of the Martyrs (Saraya al-Shuhada)
  • 12. The Army of the Sabireen (Jaish al-Sabireen)
  • 13. The Brigades of the Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers
  • 14. The Army of the Knight for the Liberation of the Self-Rule Area
  • 15. Squadrons of the Jihad in Basra (Saraya al-Jihad al-Basrah)
  • 16. Jihadist Squadrons of Fallujah (Saraya al-Falluja al-Jihadiya)
  • 17. The Patriotic Popular Front for the Liberation of Iraq
  • 18. The Squadrons of the Husayni Revolution of at-Taff (Saraya Altaf al-Husayni)
  • 19. Squadrons of the Liberation of the South (Saraya Tahrir al-Junoob)
  • 20. Army of Haneen (Jaish al-Haneen)
  • 21. Squadrons of Diyala for Jihad and Liberation
  • 22. The Squadrons of Glory for the Liberation of Iraq

 

 

The Very Real Conspiracy Between Al Douri’s Baathists and ISIS In Mosul

Izzat al-Douri

[This report (and the one which follows) get into the details of the conspiracy to hand Mosul over to ISIS(SEE: Iraq Report: Al Douri flips on al Qaeda ; Al Douri forms nationalist Sunni coalition; 1920s Revolution Brigades denounces al Qaeda ; Renewed clashes between Daash and led by the Naqshbandi “Izzat al-Douri,” after the abduction of leaders ).  Evidently Saddam Hussein’s old war-dog al-Douri is still trying to find a way to return Baathists to power.  A deal between Saudi instrument al-Douri and his Naqshbandi Fighters (The Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation is composed of 23 resistance groups), and the Saudi/US-created ISIS terrorist organization makes perfect sense, with al-Douri’s minions fleeing their posts as ISIS rolls in.]

Iraq: Understanding the coup in Mosul and its consequences

alakhbar

Iraqi men take part in a demonstration to show their support for the call to arms by Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the city of Najaf on June 13, 2014. (Photo: AFP – Haider Hamdani)

By: Alaa al-Lami

Published Saturday, June 14, 2014

There is a huge difference between the conspiratorial interpretation of events and the interpretation of an actual conspiracy, which many tend to overlook, namely, that the former is a subjective view that holds everything is a plot by the enemies – where even sand storms that hit Iraq could be a conspiracy – while explaining an actual conspiracy, entails a realistic analysis of causes, effects, and evidence thereof, with the intention of understanding a real conspiracy that has been planned and executed by one side against another. Major conspiracies are not rare throughout history, and some historians have even stated that history is nothing but a long series of plots.

In a recent speech, hours after Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to radical Islamic insurgents, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said that the collapse of the government forces in the city was a conspiracy. Some on social media, including myself, saw this as a continuation of the old tradition adopted by the defeated, though I had reservations about this view in the end.

Indeed, when Maliki used the terms “deception” and “coordinated rumors” to describe what had happened, I recalled immediately what the late Baathist leader Hani al-Fekaiki once revealed. Fekaiki was one of the masterminds of the military coup of February 8, 1963. In his book, the “Dens of Defeat,” he wrote, “We have toppled the regime of Abdul Karim Kassem with the weapon of rumors.” In truth, the Baath regime used psychological warfare very skillfully, as many experts assert.

The facts are starting to unfold. What happened in Mosul was a “special kind of military coup” that the faction led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri had been working on silently, patiently, and cunningly for a long time, until it finally managed to plant a complex and formidable network of former officers who had been excluded during the de-Baathification from the military in favor of more favored officers according to the sectarian quota system, especially in the provinces of Nineveh and Salah al-Din. ISIS was used as a “husk” in which their move was embedded, in order to terrorize their opponents, as part of a cynical nihilistic alliance.

Nihilistic because the time when the Baath can plan, execute, and triumph then rule the country for decades is behind us for good. The facts on the ground in Mosul and Tikrit will no doubt dispel the dreams of Douri and his militias in a matter of months, if not weeks, though this unfortunately will be very bitter and painful for the Iraqis in those regions.

 

The first nightmare that Douri will have to deal with is the inevitable clash between his men and the jihadis from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other groups. In effect, clashes as such almost erupted very recently when portraits of Douri were put up for display in the areas seized by the insurgents. Ultimately, however, what is certain is that this coup has moved to implement the plan for the partition of Iraq in earnest, and opened the door wide to direct intervention by regional powers Iran and Turkey, as well as Western and other world powers. 

Maliki’s speech was inconsistent, superficial, and betrayed his confusion. It seems that his primary goal was to increase the morale of his allies and partners in government, with no signs that he has any regrets, or that he could ever tire of the misinformation and lies of his military leaders and advisers, even when he is facing a dangerous and earthshaking military defeat.

Maliki said there was a conspiracy behind the fall of Mosul, claiming that he knew the names and details of those who launched rumors and ordered troops to withdraw, even though they were more than capable to repel the attack on the city. Yet hours later, Tikrit – no less – fell to the insurgents as well. So did Maliki know the details there too, but did not have enough time to avoid the second strike? It is not clear.

Maliki’s remarks suggest there was a security breach in the army command in Mosul, engineered by ISIS and Douri’s faction in the Baath Party. This is very plausible if not very likely, but the problem and the cause of the defeat in Nineveh at the hands of ISIS and the Baath insurgency does not lie there, but with the prime minister and his partners in the sectarian political process. For one thing, Maliki and his partners have failed to end this process or at least make it viable, because it was created by the U.S. occupation as an antithesis to the pluralism and diversity of Iraqi society.

Maliki failed to achieve real national and communal reconciliation. He failed on services, he failed on security, and he became an enabler of corruption and a protector of the corrupt in his government. His government exacerbated sectarian and ethnic polarization in the country, and as a result of all of this, the political process continued to rot and decay. Patriotic and democratic Iraqis opposed to the occupation and sectarianism had warned against the consequences of this for Iraq’s unity and existence so many times that their voices went hoarse.

 

ISIS and its allies’ takeover of the capital of northern Iraq and other cities, and the events of the past few days, is an official death certificate for the sectarian political process. Maliki has only two options now: Drown Iraq in a devastating and protracted civil war that no side will win; or – and this is the second option that I believe Maliki does not have the courage to pursue – end the sectarian political process and call a constitutional convention with the participation of all political forces and community leaders to amend the constitution and launch a national political process that would criminalize political sectarianism, and declare a secular and civil state based on the principles of citizenship rather than on confessional foundations, as the occupiers and their allies wanted. 

Otherwise, in a month or two, Maliki will still be peddling the same claims, except that thousands more Iraqis will have been killed, injured, or driven out from their homes, and many more cities will have been razed to the ground, while the unity of Iraq and its people will be up in the air.

But, how was the Mosul coup executed?

According to events on the ground, and an analysis of testimonials and news reports, we believe that two main factions took part in the attack: Douri’s Baath faction, which was in charge of planning and planting Baathist officers in the government troops leadership and preparing hundreds of fighters as part of the Naqshbandi militias, to replace the Baath’s defunct militias, and Takfiri groups like ISIS, Ansar al-Sunna, and others, who provided well-trained fighters. This is in addition to tribal-sectarian forces led by people like Harith al-Dhari, who gave his blessings to the coup from Amman, Ali Hatem, and clerics like Rafi Rifai and Abdul Malik al-Saadi, who have always claimed that the Iraqi army is an “occupation army” in the Western regions. Meanwhile, according to eyewitnesses who spoke to the news website Al-Badil Al-Iraqi, the gunmen who first stormed Mosul were mostly non-Iraqis. Later on, those gunmen were replaced by Iraqi militants spotted protecting banks and public installations, while the foreign fighters moved on to other battlefronts.

 

The plot was carried out smoothly and easily at the predetermined zero hour, which the coup leadership had relayed to its “moles” inside the Iraqi army in the provinces of Nineveh and Salah al-Din. Thus, senior army commanders such as the Deputy Chief of Staff Abboud Qanbar and Land Forces Commander Ali Ghaidan found themselves without an army or middle-ranking officers, and their only option was to request to be evacuated by Kurdish militias to the nearby city of Erbil. 

The commander of Nineveh Operations Mahdi Gharrawi was able to escape a similar fate, as he had at the time been at the headquarters of one of his brigades on the outskirts of Mosul, in al-Khazer region. Kurdish parties have attempted to smear the man and forged a picture showing him with the Peshmerga militia behind him, but he succeeded in proving that he had not left his position and that he was in the process of regrouping his forces.

It is worth noting that the Peshmerga have played a suspicious role in the events in Mosul, with reports that the Kurdish militia was forcing retreating Iraqi soldiers to undress and put on civilian clothes, before photographing them in a manner that suggested they were fleeing from the battle.

Consequences of the Mosul coup

Of the major consequences on the medium and long terms for the Mosul coup orchestrated by Douri and his allies in the suicidal Salafi groups, we highlight the following:

Iraq is on the path to being partitioned into sectarian mini-states, or at least, the provinces of Nineveh, Tikrit, and parts of Diyala could be carved out of Iraq by force of arms. However, Anbar’s special tribal circumstances make it difficult to implement a similar plan there. Indeed, in Anbar, an Iraqi national identity remains strongly rooted, and a plan to turn the province into an autonomous region was thwarted despite all the clamoring by strong parties to this end. Hostility to Takfiri groups is strong throughout the province as well, with the exception of Fallujah perhaps, though there are local frictions that were not visible in the recent past, and which now mar relations between communities and clans in Anbar and Nineveh.

The door is now wide open to regional intervention, especially by Iran, with its sectarian calculations and concerns regarding Western belligerence, and Turkey, which has similar calculations in addition to its old ambitions in the “Province of Mosul” of the Ottoman Empire. The door is also open to Western intervention, which could take the form of a direct albeit gradual comeback by U.S. occupation forces into Iraq, or at least, the form of substantial backing for the sectarian system in a way that would ensure further dependency on the United States.

The Mosul coup has put an end to the idea of stopping or even tapering de-Baathification in the context of the Accountability and Justice law. Instead, the current government might launch a violent and comprehensive campaign against Baathists, and it will no longer be easy for democratic and left-wing voices demanding an end to or a tapering of de-Baathification – or to have it deemed a criminal rather than a political process – to restate these demands. For one thing, it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Baath’s chronic obsession with plots and coups is incurable, which will mean that thousands of innocents are set to pay the price for Douri’s folly and power hunger […].

The coup will be the final nail in the coffin of “Saddamism” and militia-minded forces in Iraq, and will strengthen the flames of sectarian polarization and open the door to sectarian fighting among Iraq’s Arabs. In the process, a new disgraceful episode has been added to the record of Saddam’s Baath Party, while its enemies will note that the Baath had cooperated with Western intelligence in the past to carry out its coups, the Baath under Douri is collaborating with extremist groups who have killed scores of his people, and suicide bombers who blew up Iraqi civilians in the streets and houses […]. This may push some Iraqi Baathists loyal to their ideas and experience to oppose what happened, although we are not very optimistic about this.

The coup will cause the loss of the oil-rich and ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk to the Kurdistan Regional Government. The province has been practically under occupation by the Kurdish Peshmerga since June 12. Not many Sunni Arabs will rush to defend it after what happened in Mosul and Tikrit. However, the Anbar province may reach out to the provinces of the center and the south to form the nucleus of a different Iraq that would end the sectarian militia-led mini-states in Mosul and elsewhere, if the sectarian system in Baghdad falls.

On the flip side of this gloomy picture, the coup could also spell the end for the era of sectarian power-sharing and the constitution drafted by the occupation, having proven its threat to the unity of Iraq, its territorial integrity, and the wellbeing of its people. The question now is this: How can this era be practically ended, to launch the process to build an Iraq based on citizenship and equality, atop the ruins of the Iraq of sects and quotas?

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

 

 

Saudi Ambassador Overlooks Continuing Saudi-Led Terrorism To Claim Deep Affection For Lebanon

[Was the Saudi ambassador referring to the deep bonds made by Saudi-run terrorist outfits, like Abdullah Azzam Brigades?  All three Sunni-terrorist outfits in Lebanon, ISIS, al-Nusra and AbAzzam, are led by Saudis.  AbAzzam was founded by Saudi Saleh Al-Qaraawi. Majid al-Majid, another Saudi, who was also affiliated with Fateh Al Islam and Al-Qaeda, led the group next, until his capture and demise.]

Lebanon and Saudi have deep bonds: Asiri

daily star LEB

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri says the two countries are linked with deep historical bonds, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri says the two countries are linked with deep historical bonds, Wednesday, June 4, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: The Saudi Arabian ambassador to Lebanon said Monday that the two countries have profound bonds, condemning the exaggeration of recent events in Lebanon, the National News Agency reported.

“The Lebanese-Saudi links are deep and historical, and what links the kingdom to Lebanon is a human relationship more than a political one,” said Ambassador Ali Awad Asiri, receiving a tourist media delegation of Saudi women at his embassy in Beirut.

He said that recent events must not be exaggerated, according to NNA’s report.

Asiri praised the delegation’s role and efforts, saying that “it reflects the role of Saudi women and their status in Saudi society, as well as their success in education, commerce and media.”

He also urged the delegation to make the most of its trip to Lebanon. “We hope this visit will enhance cultural communication and commercial trade.”

Separately, the delegation visited Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk, who said “the situation in Lebanon is stable and security forces are watchful about maintaining this security.”

Machnouk hailed the Saudi delegation’s decision to stay in Lebanon despite the recent events. “They will project the real image of the stable Lebanese situation,” he said.

The delegation also stopped at the Tourism Ministry, where they met Minister Michel Pharaon. The latter said that the Saudi women “will return to the kingdom as Lebanese ambassadors to tell what they will have seen, especially after an internal consensus was achieved to preserve security in Lebanon.”

Pharaon said that individual terrorism exists all over the world, and that “no tourist has ever been threatened [in Lebanon] for the past 20 years.”

“We miss Saudi citizens and we hope to welcome them this summer,” he added.

 

 

Lebanon’s Salafi Terrorists Intimidated By Effective Security Operations–Encouraged By Jihadi Gains In Iraq

A Sunni Muslim gunman fires his weapon expressing his support with a Salafist leader in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, June 23, 2013.  (photo by REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim)

Lebanon’s online Salafists monitor Iraq events

al monitor

[Lebanon’s] Salafists are closely following events in Iraq. Some Salafists are waiting to see how the wars between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the Iraqi army will turn out before deciding what to do.

Social media posts indicate that many jihadist Salafists are pleased with ISIS’s progress in some Iraqi cities. They are careful not to openly express their feelings in public or make moves on the ground, lest they be thrown back into the spotlight. Those moves have stopped since the start of the security plan throughout Lebanon. Salafist social media posts suggest they have recovered their spirit and that ISIS’s actions have restored their momentum.

Some said, “The era of defeats is gone forever. The Islamic army, in its various factions, has started liberating the different areas that are not subject to Sunni rule in Iraq. The victories taking place will be reflected as a great strength on all the jihadist Salafist situation in all the Arab countries.”

Some went further and said ISIS actions in Iraq are “a genuine prelude to the declaration of the caliphate state on the land of the Levant, and this will not be too far away.”

There were many sectarian comments. Some said the recent Iraq events are “a natural result of the developments in Iraq,” accusing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki of “acting in an abhorrent sectarian manner with all Sunni components there.”

It could be said there is a war between Salafist groups on social media. Active on social media are not only the jihadist Salafists, but also those who follow “scholarly Salafism.” The latter are against ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, and consider recent events to be a new plot against the Sunnis in the Arab world. The plot involves portraying them as the source of terrorism in the region, with all other political and religious parties acting as representatives of moderation against all terrorist acts. But those acts are are also being committed by those who have been harmed by the rule of Maliki, including Baathists, army officers and clans. However, all those acts are being attributed to ISIS to serve the objectives of the new conspiracy. They believe ISIS’s victories won’t last, and that ISIS will be eliminated once major countries complete their scheme.

Despite the core disagreement between the two Salafist sides, both accuse another category of Salafists of refraining from taking a position on Iraq. The two sides accuse that category of waiting for things to clear up. They want this category to declare its support for an Islamic state.

The Salafist commotion, albeit via social media this time, takes place after the full retreat of Salafist clerics and armed groups since the start of the security plan in Tripoli. Salafists have kept quiet and made no media appearances. They have been advised to make no wrong security moves because their political and religious cover has been removed.

In addition, the utility of the northern Lebanese-Syrian border has faded after the Krak des Chevaliers crusader fortress [Qalaat al-Hosn] and the surrounding villages were captured by the Syrian army. The power balance within Syria has changed in the regime’s favor, and opposition Islamist groups are liquidating each other. Lines of funding from the Gulf states, particularly those related to security work, have stopped. The Future Movement has entered as a key partner with Hezbollah in the government of “national interest” headed by Tammam Salam. The Future Movement’s hawks received prominent ministries in the government, and former Prime Minister Saad Hariri declared a war on terrorism and extremism. Moreover, there is growing talk that Saudi-Iranian negotiations are making progress and that a comprehensive settlement is near.

These developments have convinced the Salafists that the trajectory of current events is not compatible with their former popular surge. So, they decided to retreat and coexist with the developments taking place. Some groups that orbited the Salafists, or benefited from them, have left. Salafist figures stopped appearing on TV. The Salafists returned to their normal size, as it was during days of peace.

Other Salafist currents resorted to Plan B, abandoning the street and returning to the mosques to take care of their institutes and schools, or returning to the trading business thanks to recent financial gains made by some.

The Salafist retreat in Tripoli and in the north extended to all of Lebanon. The development was apparent with the appointment of moderate cleric Sheikh Malek al-Jadida as president of the Association of Muslim Scholars, and when the arrest of Sheikh Omar Bakri didn’t trigger protests. Many clerics consider Bakri the primary instigator of the youth against the state, its institutions and the recent security plans.

But will Iraqi events return Lebanese Salafists to the Lebanese arena, as happened at the beginning of the Syrian crisis with the growing presence of Jabhat al-Nusra? Will Salafist sheikhs stick to Plan B? Or have some returned to Plan A by preparing for a Salafist revival thanks to the advance of ISIS in Iraq? Or will the movements remain confined to social media? How will the security services deal with these movements if they happen? And how can these challenges be met in light of the political divide and the presidential vacuum?

One Salafist told As-Safir, “The Salafists must abandon political and security work as well as street actions, return to the mosques and the institutes, and take their role in the call to God. [They should] also give up the artificial roles given to them, which some political currents tried to use in the face of their opponents before abandoning them, as happened in earlier stages, especially since everyone today supports fighting terrorism, a charge that is falsely pinned on Salafists during political or security battles.”

He asserted that Salafists have come close to paying the price for their media-generated exaggeration of their role. He called on Salafists to learn from their bitter experience, avoid a new one and strive to prevent any Iraqi repercussions on Lebanon.

Putin Reversing Resolution On Use of Russian Forces In Ukraine

Putin asks Federation Council to cancel resolution on use of Russian forces in Ukraine

itar tass

The president’s decision is connected to the start of three-party talks on the settlement of the situation in south-eastern Ukraine
Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin

© ITAR-TASS/Mikhail Metsel

 

 

MOSCOW, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) to cancel its resolution that allows to use Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.

“Over the start of three-party talks on this issue (settlement of the situation in east Ukraine), the president asked the Federation Council to cancel its resolution of March 1, 2014 on use of Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine,” Peskov said.

(overlooked post)–Another Dead Saudi Trouble-Maker—SITE Intelligence Claimed He Headed Abdullah Azzam Brigades

[This man was never the head of a terrorist outfit called the “Abdullah Azzam Brigades,” nor was he connected to any of the various “one-shot wonder” who have sullied the name of former American agent.

He was in no way connected to the outfit’s original incarnation in 2004, which was supposedly run by Azzam’s Jordanian brother, Hussein Azzam, after his release from Guantanamo Bay.  A Palestinian militant, (who was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) living in Beirut took credit for the bombing of Rafik Hariri in Feb. 2005, calling his group “Victory and Jihad in the Levant” (“al Nusra wal Jihad fi Bilad al Sham”).  He was recently cleared from the damning video that he sent to al-Jazeera, immediately after the bombing, by investigations on his claim contained in the UN report on the assassination.   A group calling itself Abdullah Azzam Brigades was one of several terror outfits that claimed to have carried out the July 2005 bombings in Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt.

Majed Mohammed Abdullah al-Majed was not associated with the alleged Ab/Azzam offshoot of the practically flat-lining, Al-Qaeda In Iraq, which was itself alleged to have been created by Jordanian terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, even though he was reportedly martyred in Chechnya, according to fellow Jordanian/Saudi terrorist legend Ibn Khattab.
.  This Arab group was blamed for the 2009 Pearl Continental hotel bombing, but it took credit for the big fizzle suicide-attack upon Japanese supertanker M Star in the Persian Gulf.

None of those groups was associated with this particular Saudi.  We have only the report by Mossad source, SITE Intel which linked him to the group.  By naming this extremely ill Saudi (allegedly a former Fatah al-Islam player, according to Saudi intel, i.e., Bandar) as figurehead leader, SITE made it possible for someone to continue to claim credit for Saudi/Israeli attacks.  Bandar’s boys have merely co-opted the name Abdullah Azzam, since he is considered to be the “Father of Global Jihad.”

The original Abdullah Azzam was murdered by a suicide-bomber when he argued with Ayman al-Zawahiri over the central philosophy of the “mujahedeen” alliance.   Azzam insisted that they liberate Palestine first (the “near enemy” Zionists), while Zawahiri wanted to fight the West everywhere, all at once, the so-called “far enemy,” i.e., ANYONE BUT ISRAEL.  This should have caused any real “holy warriors,” who were loyal to Azzam’s teachings, to turn against Zawahiri’s EIJ (Egyptian Islamic Jihad).  The fact that all of the Arab-Afghans were nearly all mercenaries enabled bin Laden’s money to hold the murderer’s conspiracy together.

Majed Mohammed Abdullah al-Majed, released very few messages to his loyal fans.  The following statement was one of his last…Sure doesn’t sound like a guy who would have detonated car-bombs in Beirut:

“Avoid detonating booby-trapped vehicles, explosive belts and so forth inside the cities, even if the targets are important, because preserving the popularity of the revolution is more important and constant for the work,”

The current incarnation of Ab/Azzam, which has allegedly been led by Majed al-Majed, is a product of the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian encampment.  The remnants of Azzam’s previously decimated predecessors, Fatah al-Islam, merged with the Al-Nusra Front, to produce today’s Ab/Azzam, the one credited with striking near the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.  http://www.shoah.org.uk/2013/03/01/coming-soon-al-nusra-front-in-lebanon/
the Army of the Mujahideen=Islamist front

Al-Qaeda detainee dies in Lebanon hospital

Majid al-Majid Saudi Min. Inter. 85 Most Wanted

BEIRUT: Majid al-Majid, the head of an Al-Qaeda offshoot which claimed responsibility for the double suicide bombing outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut, died Saturday in Lebanon’s military hospital, a security source told The Daily Star.

Wanted by Riyadh, Washington and Beirut, the Lebanese Army arrested Majid on Dec. 26 in the Mount Lebanon area of Hazmieh. He had arrived to Lebanon to undergo kidney dialysis.

Majid was receiving treatment at the military hospital in Badaro when he passed away, the source said, adding that his health had been in sharp deterioration.

Military Prosecutor Judge tasked a coroner to carry out an autopsy on Majid’s body.

A security source said Thursday that Majid’s arrest came as a result of intercepting information both inside and outside the country and that interrogation had been delayed due to Majid’s bad health.

The detainee was on Riyadh’s list of its 85 most-wanted for links to Al-Qaeda whilst officials and private experts in Washington said Majid raised funds in the Gulf for militants fighting to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Majid was the head of the Abdallah Azzam Brigades, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, which claimed responsibility for the Nov. 19 double suicide bombing outside the Iranian Embassy in Beirut. The attack killed 30 people including an Iranian diplomat.

In its claim, the group warned of further attacks in Lebanon unless Hezbollah withdraws its fighters from Syria.

A security source told The Daily Star Thursday that the Army will take unprecedented, strict security measures, fearing reprisals by the Abdallah Azzam Brigades over the reported arrest of Majid.

Majid was charged in absentia in Lebanon over involvement in the Nahr al-Bared battle when the Army launched an offensive to root out Islamists in the north Lebanon Palestinian refugee camp in 2007. Over 100 soldiers and 220 militants were killed in the clashes.

The Abdallah Azzam Brigades have also been accused of carrying out bombings in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen and several Western countries, including the U.S., and have claimed responsibility for rockets launched from Lebanon into Israel.

Today’s German Military Air Incident Highlights European Radar Invisibility Zone Pointed At Ukraine

[Does this have anything to do with the radar invisibility zone which popped-up in this part of Europe twice in the past 2 weeks?  Would it be considered suspicious if the pins on a Google map, marking the aircraft collision and the states where ,more than 50 jets and planes disappeared from all radars, formed a nearly straight line?  Would it make any difference if that straight line pointed like an arrow into the heartland of Ukraine?  It seems to me that Western forces have been practicing bombing runs into Ukraine and today’s German military incident points to something far more sinister than a simple air collision.]

Military jet collides with private jet in Germany

Russia-Today
Eurofighter jet (Image from wikipedia.org)

Eurofighter jet (Image from wikipedia.org)

A small light aircraft has crashed with a German military plane in the skies over the town of Olsberg, northwest Germany, a police spokeswoman reported. There were two people on board the small Learjet aircraft.

The Air Force jet was able to successfully land at its base in Nörvenich near Cologne. The Learjet crashed in an uninhabited area. Details about its passengers are as of yet unknown.

“I had heard the jets. We live here in a low-fly zone. Suddenly, there was silence. It was quite funny. Then we saw the vast field of debris – only 20 meters from residential buildings. That was really close,” 26-year-old eyewitness Alexander Volke told German newspaper BILD.

A spokesman for the Air Force in Berlin confirmed an incident between a Euro Fighter and a civil machine. German military spokesman Joerg Langer confirmed to AP that two Eurofighter jets had been operating in the area. Langer told the agency that there had been “contact” with the Learjet and the fighter planes landed safely.

Revealing The Truth About Obama’s Illegal Actions Would Force the American People To Take Him Down

Steven Seagal: If The Truth Came Out, Obama Would Be Removed from Office

Senator Admits ISIS Using US/Saudi-Supplied Weapons Against Iraq

[SEE:  The Unholy Alliance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the CIA and Their Bastard Offspring–ISIS ;There Is No “Al-Qaeda In Iraq,” Only An Official Cover Story for US Army Covert Actions ;  NATO’S ISIS–Creating Justification for WWIII ]

Paul: US has been arming ISIS in Syria

the hill

By Rebecca Shabad

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the Sunni militants taking over Iraq have quickly gained power because the United States has armed their group in Syria.

“I think we have to understand first how we got here,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We have been arming [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS in Syria.”

ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, has been collaborating with the Syrian rebels whom the Obama administration has been arming in their efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Paul explained.

The administration has reportedly assisted the moderate opposition in Syria, but details about the dissemination of those resources are unclear.

“That is the real contradiction to this whole policy,” Paul said. “If we were to get rid of Assad,” it would become a “jihadist wonderland in Syria.”

Asked what he would do as president on Iraq, Paul deflected and did not give a straight answer. Instead, he pointed to the Reagan doctrine, and said Congress must ultimately determine the U.S. plan after engaging in a “full-throated debate.”

“The president doesn’t have unilateral authority to begin war,” said Paul, who couldn’t say whether he would support U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

He said he’s not ruling U.S. assistance out, but said first Shiites must show they will fight for their country.

Paul downplayed the idea that ISIS is an immediate threat to the U.S., but said it could be “at some point.”

“I don’t think ISIS in in the middle of the battle right now thinking ‘hmm, I think we’re going to send inter-continental ballistic missiles to America,’” Paul said.

President Obama said in an interview airing Sunday that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria poses a “medium and long-term threat” to the U.S., adding that it’s just one of a number of organizations to monitor.

“There are a lot of groups out there that probably have more advanced immediate plans directed against the United States that we have to be on constant guard for,” he told Norah O’Donnell in an interview broadcast on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Obama also said that the notion that a moderate rebel force backed by the U.S. could have stopped Assad and ISIS is a “fantasy.”

–Kyle Balluck contributed to this report.

Russian Foreign Minister arrives in Saudi Arabia, to discuss Syria, Iraq

[How Susceptible Is Russia To Saudi Economic Terrorism?  (SEE: 

Russia’s Lukoil to drill for tight gas in Saudi desert)]

Russian Foreign Minister arrives in Saudi Arabia, to discuss Syria, Iraq

itar tass

JEDDAH, June 20./ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has arrived in Saudi Arabia.

The itinerary of his visit is fully devoted to meeting with high-rank members of Saudi political leadership.

Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier the range of issues he is going to discuss in Jeddah includes the situation in Syria and Iraq.

“Situation in Syria and around it and the developments in Iraq will come into focus in the course of discussions,” the ministry spokesman said. “Other issues include security in the Gulf area and the pressing aspects of the Russian-Saudi dialogue in the political sphere and in trade relations.”

Russia and Saudi Arabia are conducting active dialogue in various spheres. June 3, Saudi Foreign Minister Prine Saud al-Faysal Al Saud visited Sochi where he held a meeting with President Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov.

June 9, Lavrov and Saud al-Faysal had a telephone conversation at the initiative from the Saudi side. Their attention was centered on the ways of settling the crisis in Syria and conflicts in the region.

Economic cooperation is developing, too, especially in the energy sector. The two countries have rounded up coordination of an intergovernmental framework agreement on the utilization of peaceful atomic energy and have agreed on further steps to prepare the document for signing.

Saudis and Qatar Holding Terrorist “Job Fair” In Pakistan’s FATA Region

 [Even though this article from a Pak Urdu site was sourced from MEMRI, home of Mossad, it has a high degree of relevancy to the new direction taken by the Saudi sectarian warfare, with recent reports citing retired Pak military being recruited by all of the gulf states, most notably, this one, from Lebanon’s Daily Star (SEE: ISIS Terrorists Arrested At Napoleon Hotel, Among Them, Pakistanis).]

Urdu Daily: Saudi Security Agencies Begin Recruitment Of Youth From Pakistani Jihadi Belt Of FATA; Qatar To Recruit Soldiers From Pakistan

MEMRI

According to an Urdu-language daily, recruitment has begun for Saudi Arabian security agencies in different areas of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATAs), which are the stronghold of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

The daily also notes that Saudi Arabia is likely to set up some kind of a base in the Maldives with likely assistance from Pakistan, while Qatar is about recruit soldiers from Pakistan. It should be noted that South and North Waziristan, the main bases of the Taliban, are part of the seven districts of FATA, which is situated along the Afghan border.

The Roznama Ummat daily published a report titled “Recruitment Begins in FATA For Saudi Arabia’s security agencies”; it features the following subtitles: “Youths skilled in firearms are given preferences; first lot of 75 personnel selected; monthly salary 75,000 rupees; medical and other facilities will also be given; 100,000 [rupees] will be paid after confirmation; will be deployed on borders with Yemen and oil installations – sources”.

The First Batch Of 75 Persons Skilled In Firearms Has Been Selected”; “These Recruitments Are Mainly Being Done From Kurram Agency, Waziristan, Mohmand And Bajaur [Districts Of FATA]”

According to the report, “the first batch of 75 persons skilled in firearms has been selected. [Unidentified] sources told [RoznamaUmmat that these recruitments are being done by various private companies. In this regard, such persons are being given preferences who have ordinary education but are skilled in using AK-47, opening it and relocking it. As tribal people are trained in using arms from early childhood, the recruiting companies are focusing on the people of FATA.”

“The sources say that those who are being recruited are between 20-30 years old. The experts of the [recruitment] companies are giving jobs after testing their physical fitness and arms skills. Afterwards they will be given visas to Saudi Arabia, where security agencies will train them further. Contracts are being given to the selected candidates with a 2,500 Saudi Riyal (around 65,000 Pakistani rupees) salary per month for the first year, as well as medical and other facilities. After the one-year probation period they will be given permanent job with 4,000 Saudi Riyal per month, which is over a hundred thousand Pakistani rupees,” according to the report.

“According to the sources, these recruitments are mainly being done from Kurram Agency, Waziristan, Mohmand and Bajaur [district of FATA],” the report noted, adding: “They will be given leave to visit their homes after two years. Further enhancement in their job would depend on their performance. Those who show the best performance and prove reliability would be allowed to bring their family members to Saudi Arabia as well. The sources further said that they would be deployed at the border with Yemen, as well as in five other locations with oil installations…”

“After the arrest of the head of a bank in Turkey, it came to fore that the U.S. and other European countries have funnelled of money to people in Saudi Arabia in the name of democracy, and that this money was distributed in the Shi’ite-majority areas as well as in the areas of the oil installations [to cause anti-Saudi unrest]. Protests would be organized in the name of democracy, after which the Western world plans to increase pressure on Saudi Arabia,” the report added.

According to the Roznama Ummat report, “after being given all the details from the Turkish authorities, Saudi Arabia has not only taken steps in this regard but it has also decided to increase its manpower [in the security services]. That is why Prince Muqrin has been nominated as the Saudi Intelligence Chief… Prince Muqrin has exemplary relations with Pakistan… It was Prince Muqrin who played an important role in releasing Nawaz Sharif from prison and bringing him to Saudi Arabia [following the 1999 coup in Pakistan]. Beside that he resolved many issues between Pakistan and other countries.”

“[Saudi Arabia] Is Also Thinking Of Building A Base Consisting Of Three Islands In The Maldives And [Will Be Helped By] Pakistani Workers And High Officials”

The Urdu daily notes that Saudi Arabia “is also thinking of building a base consisting of three islands in the Maldives and [will be helped by] Pakistani workers and high officials. Earlier, India had announced [its intention] to give 1.5 billion dollars to establish a big base on these islands. However, differences emerged between India and the Maldives on this agreement and later Saudi Arabia announced it was giving five billion dollars after the agreement. It not only gave support to the Maldivian economy but scholarships have also been granted to 50 students there, both girls and boys, who will go to Saudi Arabia for higher studies.

“Besides, ten big masajid and madaris [mosques and religious schools] would also be set up in the Maldives and all their expenses would be paid by the Saudi government. The Saudi government would get manpower for these projects from Pakistan. According to the sources, after the peace agreement between [the Pakistani] government and the Taliban there is much possibility of recruitments on large scale from among the tribal people. The sources said that Pakistan would greatly benefit from these FATA recruitments. On one hand tribal people would get jobs; and on the other there is the possibility of 20 billion dollars of foreign exchange coming in annually to Pakistan.

“The sources also said that the Qatari government has already recruited many Pakistani tribal people to its police forces and now it is thinking of recruiting them into their army. Those who were recruited to the Qatari police were required to have a tenth grade education as qualification. Sources say that those who have been serving for more than five years in the Qatari police they now have been allowed to move their families to Qatar.”

Source: Roznama Ummat (Pakistan), April 3, 2014.

 

Arab Men Cannot Be Trusted To Resist Their Urges To Rape and Commit Violent Terror

The Saudi response to accusations of sponsoring ISIS is that it is all the Maliki govt’s fault for boxing-in and repressing the Sunni population (SEE:  Maliki blames Saudi Arabia for own political failure).  Saudi writers,like this editor of al-Arabiya, must be nimble, able to jump back and forth across any imaginary line, in order to quickly support whatever is dribbling out of Riyadh today.  Writers like him form a sort of Saudi “journalistic rapid deployment force.”  As recently as April 14, this same writer was charging that Maliki makes allies of Sunni extremists.  Now he doesn’t bother clarifying whether ISIS works for Assad, Maliki, Iran, or some other mysterious unnamed entity…all that matters now is the official clarification that Maliki forced these guys into becoming terrorists, so that he deserves whatever they dish-out.  Implicit in all of this is the hardened Saudi Wahhabi belief that all men (at least all Arab men) harbor a barely controllable urge to resort to violence to get their way in this world.  This mirrors the warped, hardcore Wahhabi belief that men are beasts, who cannot be trusted around women, especially if they are attractive or promiscuous enough to provide a glimpse of ankle, a fallen veil, or the inadvertent touch of a woman’s gentle hand.  Women must be closely guarded and segregated from barely-civilized males, lest the inner beasts of the hot-blooded males spring forth to devour the delectable feminine flesh.  Wahhabis are warped.  How can the Saudi devils rectify their positions  This is the same line of reasoning behind the intention to blame the victims for the crimes committed against them.  Wahhabi teaching imparts the idea that men are ravenous would-be killers and rapists on the inside,who cannot be held responsible for their actions in the face of provocations supplied by irresponsible custodial governments who fail to appease the violent Sunni terrorist community.

In speaking of Saudi apologists, it is necessary to touch upon the work of non-Saudi apologists like the London School of Economics, which features a particularly idiotic piece by a Mr. Marcus Hunt (SEE:The promise of ISIS).  According to this guy, the terrorist actions of ISIS in Iraq amount to no more than reasonable self-defensive measures against an oppressive regime.  He plays-down the ISIS threat (pooh-poohing the idea), which every other media outlet in the world is eagerly hyping . ISIS is not really a danger to anybody, it is all just a big misunderstanding.  The writer goes so far as to claim that the Iraqi Sunnis could somehow easily reverse any ISIS victory.  In the Saudi narrative, had Maliki been following a program of “reconciliation” with the local Sunnis all along, instead of the divisive American-dictated policies, then none of this would have happened.  In other words, “It is his own fault.”  To the Saudi apologists, terrorism, like that dispensed by ISIS, is not considered to be war crimes and crimes against humanity on a scale not seen since 1945.  Head-chopping, torture and other brutal violence against civilians is o.k., as long as you are in Iraq, or Syria.  Islamist terrorism is NEVER denounced by the Saudi mouthpieces; it is only rationalized or attempted to justify.

 

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

ISIS Terrorists Arrested At Napoleon Hotel, Among Them, Pakistanis

[SEE: Leb. Security Forces Disrupt Bombing Plot, Arresting 15, One Hour Later, Security Chief Ibrahim Nearly Killed By Suicide-Bomber]

Police raid Beirut hotel in search for suspects, 17 arrested

daily star LEB

By Hashem Osseiran


Police arrest a man at Napoleon Hotel in Hamra, Friday, June 20, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)

BEIRUT: Security forces Friday arrested at least 17 men after raiding a hotel in Beirut following a tip-off that terror suspects linked to a plot to kill Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri had sought refuge there, security sources told The Daily Star.

The sources said 200 police officers from the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch and General Security blocked all roads leading to the Napoleon Hotel on Hamra Street around 10 a.m.

Shortly afterward, the security forces stormed the hotel, searching rooms for suspects possibly connected to an attack plot that led to the cancellation of a conference in Beirut planned for Berri’s Amal Movement.

The conference planned for 10 a.m. Friday was canceled for “security reasons” relating to Berri, who was to attend the meeting, said NBN TV, a mouthpiece for the Amal Movement.

A senior judicial source told The Daily Star that State Prosecutor Samir Hammoud issued an order to raid the Napoleon Hotel immediately after the ISF informed him about “the presence of terrorists there.”

The source said the suspects being pursued belong to Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) “which was preparing a big terrorist operation.”

He would not say whether the raid was linked to the cancellation of the Amal conference, but pointed to “the high risk” that has surrounded the meeting.

Two hours later, six police jeeps were still blocking the entrances to Napoleon hotel with about 20 police officers preventing passers-by and journalists from approaching the facility.

The security sources told The Daily Star that 12 suspects of differing nationalities had been arrested in the Napoleon hotel, with another five people arrested around the area. The detainees include Lebanese, Palestinian and Pakistani nationals.

Security sources and witnesses said a police force also stormed the nearby Casa D’or Hotel shortly before raiding Napoleon, arresting one suspect.

The Daily Star saw at least a dozen young-looking detainees, hands tied behind their backs, being shoved into police jeeps along with their luggage.

At least two guests were seen leaving the hotel around 12:30 p.m. They told The Daily Star that security forces had only now allowed them to exit.

They said the security forces had seized the passports of all the guests, ordering them to stay in their rooms. However, the police only searched suspected rooms, not all of them, they said.

A senior security source told The Daily Star that the security forces were “working on thwarting a big security plot.” The source would not elaborate.

Meanwhile, a high-ranking ministerial source told The Daily Star that the heightened security measures recently taken in Beirut’s southern suburbs and along the border as well as Friday’s reported threat against Berri were all tied to the violence in Iraq.

Security forces have also blocked several roads in and around the capital – including those leading to Berri’s residence in Ain al-Tineh, the Kuwaiti Embassy, UNESCO and the military hospital in Badaro – following the hotel raid and a car bombing attack about an hour later in east Lebanon.

The suicide attack that targeted a police checkpoint at the Dahr al-Baidar highway that links Beirut with Damascus left one person dead and 32 wounded.

Leb. Security Forces Disrupt Bombing Plot, Arresting 15, One Hour Later, Security Chief Ibrahim Nearly Killed By Suicide-Bomber

[SEE:  Lebanese Authorities Busy Interrogating Key To Entire Sunni Islamist Terrorist Suicide-Bomber Network; The Latest Confessions of ISIS/al-Nusra Agent, Naim AbbasAtrash Investigation–Two Saudi Suicide Bombers on the Loose ]


Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim

Security chief escapes east Lebanon bombing

daily star LEB

Witnesses said it appeared that the vehicle was headed from Beirut toward the Bekaa Valley when it was stopped at the police checkpoint. (The Daily Star/Nidal Solh)

Witnesses said it appeared that the vehicle was headed from Beirut toward the Bekaa Valley when it was stopped at the police checkpoint. (The Daily Star/Nidal Solh)

BEIRUT: Security chief Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim said he narrowly escaped a suicide bombing that killed two people and wounded 34 others at a Lebanese police checkpoint on the Beirut-Damascus highway Friday morning.

“The explosion in Dahr al-Baidar occurred moments after the convoy I was in passed through the checkpoint,” Ibrahim told a local television station.

Security sources told The Daily Star that the blast in the Bekaa Valley targeted an Internal Security Forces checkpoint in Dahr al-Baidar between Beirut and the eastern region.

The Interior Ministry said six security personnel were among the wounded in the explosion, which occurred around 11:30 a.m.

The sources said that most casualties were from a civilian van that was caught in the blast, while one of those killed was from the ISF.

According to reports, the bomb went off as police were searching the bomber’s vehicle. Witnesses said it appeared that the vehicle was headed from Beirut toward the Bekaa Valley when it was stopped at the police checkpoint.

The attack came an hour after the ISF Information Branch raided a hotel in Beirut looking for terror suspects, with a senior security source saying that police were “working on thwarting a big security plot.”

Earlier in the day, a conference for Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement was canceled over unspecified security threats and U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale called off his scheduled meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Gebran Bassil for similar reasons.

Friday’s bombing shattered a nearly three-month calm after a Lebanese Army-led security plan curbed a series of bombings that hit the country over the past year.

ISF Arrests 15 Suspects in Beirut Planning for Terror Attacks

Al Manaralmanar

Lebanon: ISF

Intelligence Bureau of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces raided Napoleon Hotel on Friday in Makdessi Street in Beirut’s Hamra neighborhood in search of wanted suspects, state-run National News Agency reported.

The operation was carried out in light of information obtained by the Intelligence Bureau on the presence of terrorist sleeper agents at the hotel planning for possible terrorist acts on Lebanese territories.

ISF cordoned the area and arrested a terror group inside the hotel, media reports said.

It is estimated that about 20 suspects are being targeted in the ISF raid.

General Director of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim refused to talk on Hamra raids to media outlets.

“There is a war against terrorist cells. Confrontation is continuous and we are ready for it,” he said.

However, he noted that more than a Lebanese figure is in the crosshairs of terrorist organizations as their sleeper cells return to act.

US Imperialist Wars of Aggression Have Created More Refugees Than Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan Combined

[The top two producers of refugees and displaced persons clearly indicate America’s responsibility for creating all of this outrage.  By my count, the US is responsible for all ten insurgencies listed below.  The list of top refugee-producers includes 6 out of the 7 (except Iran) Mideastern countries originally targeted by the CIA/Pentagon after “Enduring Freedom,” as revealed nearly a decade ago by Gen. Wesley Clark (Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan).  His testimony alone should be enough to indict
American and European leaders for their premeditated aggression.
If Western leaders successfully continue to hide from their responsibility in creating this tragic humanitarian nightmare, then they will still be indicted in world opinion for being too stupid to follow, because of their pathological short-sightedness in failing to foresee the obvious results of their intended actions. 
Since America is responsible for making so many innocent people homeless, it is also responsible for providing humanitarian relief to all of these poor people, which includes the responsibility to rebuild that which we have destroyed in our aggression.]
refugee countries
© UNHCR
Major source of refugees, end 2013

World Refugee Day: Global forced displacement tops 50 million for first time in post-World War II era

UNHCR

© UNHCR 
global forced displacement
Global forced displacement 1993-2013 (end-year)

GENEVA, June 20 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency reported today on World Refugee Day that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, exceeded 50 million people.

UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, which is based on data compiled by governments and non-governmental partner organizations, and from the organization’s own records, shows 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced at the end of 2013, fully 6 million more than the 45.2 million reported in 2012.

This massive increase was driven mainly by the war in Syria, which at the end of last year had forced 2.5 million people into becoming refugees and made 6.5 million internally displaced. Major new displacement was also seen in Africa notably in Central African Republic and South Sudan.

“We are seeing here the immense costs of not ending wars, of failing to resolve or prevent conflict,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. “Peace is today dangerously in deficit. Humanitarians can help as a palliative, but political solutions are vitally needed. Without this, the alarming levels of conflict and the mass suffering that is reflected in these figures will continue.”

The worldwide total of 51.2 million forcibly displaced represents a huge number of people in need of help, with implications both for foreign aid budgets in the world’s donor nations and the absorption and hosting capacities of countries on the front lines of refugee crises.

“The international community has to overcome its differences and find solutions to the conflicts of today in South Sudan, Syria, Central African Republic and elsewhere. Non-traditional donors need to step up alongside traditional donors. As many people are forcibly displaced today as the entire populations of medium-to-Iarge countries such as Colombia or Spain, South Africa or South Korea,” said Guterres.

Displacement data in the annual report covers refugees, asylum-seekers and the internally displaced. Among these, refugee numbers amounted to 16.7 million people worldwide, 11.7 million of whom are under UNHCR’s care and the remainder registered with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine. These totals alone are the highest UNHCR has seen since 2001. In addition, more than half of the refugees under UNHCR’s care (6.3 million) had at end 2013 been in exile for more than five years.

Overall, the biggest refugee populations under UNHCR care and by source country are Afghans, Syrians and Somalis together accounting for more than half of the global refugee total. Pakistan, Iran and Lebanon, meanwhile, hosted more refugees than other countries.

By region, Asia and the Pacific had the largest refugee population overall at 3.5 million people. Sub-Saharan Africa had 2.9 million people, while the Middle East and North Africa had 2.6 million.

In addition to refugees, 2013 saw 1.1 million people submitting applications for asylum, the majority of these in developed countries (Germany became the largest single recipient of new asylum claims). A record 25,300 asylum applications were from children who were separated from or unaccompanied by parents. Syrians lodged 64,300 claims, more than any other nationality, followed by asylum seekers from Democratic Republic of the Congo (60,400) and Myanmar (57,400).

Internal displacement people forced to flee to other parts of their country amounted to a record 33.3 million people, accounting for the largest increase of any group in the Global Trends report. For UNHCR and other humanitarian actors, helping these people represents a special challenge as many are in conflict zones.

Part of UNHCR’s work is finding long-term solutions for people who become forcibly displaced. Where possible this is through voluntary return, but other possibilities include local integration or resettlement in third countries. The year 2013 saw the fourth lowest level of refugee returns in almost a quarter century 414,600 people. Some 98,400 refugees were resettled in 21 countries. Full worldwide data on local integration and returns of internally displaced people (IDP) was not available although 1.4 million of them returned home in countries where UNHCR is operational with IDPs.

The worldwide population of stateless people is not included in the figure of 51.2 million forcibly displaced people (since being stateless doesn’t necessarily correlate to being displaced). Statelessness remains hard to quantify with precision, but for 2013, UNHCR’s offices worldwide reported a figure of almost 3.5 million stateless people. This is about a third of the number of people estimated to be stateless globally.

Read the Global Trends 2013 report

Saudi Arabia Is ISIS’s Sponsor…Why Is It “Offensive” To Admit This?

QUESTION: Prime Minister Maliki was clear today in holding Saudi Arabia responsible for supporting ISIL financially and morally. What do you think about this?

 

MS. PSAKI: It’s inaccurate and, frankly, offensive.”
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/06/227708.htm#IRAQ

 

If it is the official US GOV position that charging Saudi Arabia with supporting the ISIL/ISIS terrorists is “OFFENSIVE,” then it is only done to avoid self-incrimination.  The whole world knows that whatever the Saudis or other Gulf royals do in Syria, it is done on the orders of the USGOV.  If USGOV can order the hiring and firing of the Saudi chief of intelligence (Bandar), then it also controls the Saudi Iraqi policies, meaning that the Saudi Islamic Army which is currently running amok in Iraq is doing Obama’s will.  The CIA has run this “intelligence-driven” conflict since the start.  Taking advantage of the blundering image of George Bush, the USGOV established its official cover story for the CIA’s well-planned global war of aggression, hiding this truly evil revelation behind the excuse that we are in our quagmire because of our perceived ineptitude.  Our war plans have all gone awry because of this “comedy of errors.”—TOTAL LIE

We are where we are in the terror war because we have followed the CIA plan for global domination through selective national destabilization operations.  For USGOV to admit this or to allow another govt to admit this truth, or anything which suggests this, would be an admission that all of the “Islamist” terrorists who have been destabilizing the world have been ours.  If it is the official position of the IRAQIGOV that Saudi Arabia is sponsoring a well-trained army of terrorists, who are attempting to overthrow the IRAQIGOV, then USGOV must refute the state charges, or else prepare to help the Saudis defend their actions in Iraq before the US Security Council.

ISIS/ISIL has always been associated with various intelligence agencies.  Under Bandar’s plan for Syria, ISIS was given the best training and equipment in Syria.  Upon Bandar’s forced retirement, ISIS and all of its shiny new equipment were transferred to Fallujah.  More money, men and equipment have continued to flow to these Sunni terrorists as they waged war against the Shia govt of Iraq.  Much of ISIS’s equipment was previously transferred to them in Syria from Libya, even from as far away as Bosnia.  All of this shuffling of men and equipment across Europe, across the Mediterranean, across the Middle East, even from the tumultuous conflicts in Russia, all of this, could not have happened without US logistical support.

NO, MS. PSAKI, it is neither inaccurate nor offensive to embrace the idea that Saudi machinery drives the terrorist armies of the world.  Eliminating this machinery of evil is the only action which will stabilize the world now that the CIA has worked so meticulously to destabilize all nations.  The Saudi royal family should be either be sent to Guantanamo or placed at the top of Washington’s drone
“hit list.”

…no other terrorists really matter.

 

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

 

Iraqi Oil Ministry Threatens To Sue Reuters and AFP for False Reports On Terrorists Controlling Baiji refinery

Oil Ministry threatens to sue my agency “Reuters” and the “French”

dinar vets

21918.jpg?width=400&crop=auto

BAGHDAD / obelisk: threatened and the Iraqi Oil Ministry, on Thursday to resort to the judiciary after the establishment of the Kalta News Almuten Reuters (Reuters), French (AFP) broadcast inaccurate information on the Baiji refinery, stressing that the security forces to take control of the refinery.

The ministry said in a statement obtained by “obelisk”, “The Oil Ministry deplores the agency is Almuten News, Reuters (Reuters), French (AFP) broadcast inaccurate information on terrorist gangs control parts of the Baiji refinery.”

The ministry confirmed that “the security forces in control of the refinery and vicinity and do not allow the terrorists approached him, and all the claims made otherwise is incorrect.”

The ministry noted that “the information reported by the two agencies in news reports for the past days is incorrect and contrary to truth and reality, and can be interpreted as mislead and confuse the security situation and give the implications and repercussions of the negative,” indicating that “it was incumbent upon Bolokulten information from official sources to be neutral in the transfer of information, especially since the Iraq faces a terrorist attack calls for everyone to deal with it professionally devoid of fancies and affiliations. “

The ministry stressed the need to “commitment and media professional standards and credibility in dealing with the information provided to them,” pointing out that it “reserves its legal right to deal with anyone who tries to falsify the facts and manipulate public opinion of the Iraqi and global and mislead in order to serve the interests of the enemy of the people and the homeland.”

http://almasalah.com…

Understanding Iraq Is Understanding That “Kurds Are True Friends of Israel”


I am from the Middle East, but I do not celebrate the recent uprisings and regime changes. It is good to see Arabs topple their dictators, but I worry that their revolution today may harm an existing democracy that is Israel tomorrow. If Arab demonstrations can add new democracies to the region I will welcome it, but I feel that some of them want to overthrow their regimes in order to get a free hand to wage a war against Israel at some point.
 

People may wonder why I care about Israel, and my reply is because we have a lot in common with the people of that country. I am a Kurd from Iraqi Kurdistan, and as far back as I can remember, we have been repressed, tortured, killed, bombed and gassed by the same countries that vow to destroy Israel. In just one day, Saddam Hussein’s army killed five thousand innocent men, women and children in my town, Halabja, with chemical bombs in 1988. The Syrian regime denies the existence of hundreds of thousands of Kurds in Syria, and for the past three decades there hasn’t been a day in which the Islamic regime in Iran hasn’t executed a Kurdish man or woman.
Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and for us, the Kurds, who do not have our own state, Israel is a source of inspiration.
We genuinely believe the Jewish people deserve a state of their own, and I would want our state, if we one day have one, modeled after Israel than any of our neighbors.
Our neighbors are police states where citizens are detained, tortured and killed with impunity. Their dictators can give and take away life as they wish, and any voice of dissent is mercilessly silenced. But when I look at Israel and see a country where politicians, no matter how high-ranking are brought to court for any wrongdoing, where people can criticize their government without fear, where the press is free, I can’t help worrying about its future.
I cannot celebrate the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak or Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali when I see protesters hailing resentful remarks at Israel as if it was Israel that repressed and jailed them. It may skip the attention of many westerners, but if you know Arabic and see the protesters’ banners, you will be surprised to find out how much of these demonstrations are about Israel.
I believe that Israel’s friendly relations with some of its neighbors, such as Egypt and Jordan, has always been fragile. Most people in those two countries dream about the demise of the Jewish state. Every Arab state, not only Egypt or Jordan — could have peace treaty with Israel, but as long as their peoples are hostile towards the Jewish entity, it would be nothing but fragile peace.
Turkey is another example. The alliance between Israel and Turkey has unfortunately, and rightly so, estranged millions of Kurds in Turkey. Turkey is a deeply religious country, and its good relations with the Jewish state for so many years only came about because secular military generals used to run that country. Now with an Islamic party in charge, no other country in the region has shown more animosity towards Israel in the past few years than Turkey.
The Kurds, on the other hand, are extremely friendly towards Israel. Unlike Arab countries whose leaders sign treaties with Israel while their people seethe with anger, in Kurdistan,www.ekurd.net people and government alike have deep respect for the Jewish people and their faith. In Kurdistan, people speak nostalgically, with tearful eyes and sorrowful hearts, about their old Jewish neighbors. In Europe or America it may be the law that stops the expression of anti-Jewish sentiment, but in Kurdistan, it is genuine sympathy that makes almost everyone friendly towards Israel.
In any Muslim country, you would find people who would happily volunteer to an army that may one day invade Israel, but in Kurdistan, you would find many people who wouldn’t hesitate to join the Israeli army to repel any such attack. Kurds are victims of genocide, centuries of persecution and displacement. That’s why we understand and relate to the Jewish cause better than anybody else.
I was walking one day in a market in Kurdistan with a Palestinian colleague who lives in Europe. At one point, we stopped to buy some dried figs and nuts, and when the shopkeeper learned that my colleague was a Palestinian, he turned to her and said, “Please leave Israel alone. Stop firing rockets at them.”
Once I was traveling from Baghdad to Kurdistan and the passenger next to me in the taxi was an old Kurdish man. He had been enlisted in the Iraqi army in 1956 and sent to the Israeli front in Jordan. He said his fellow Arab soldiers used to castigate him for not wanting to shoot at the Israelis. He would say to them, “It is not my war. I have nothing against the Jews.”
This kinship between the Kurds and the Jews is not new. Only recently did I see in the Dead Sea Scrolls the story of Tobit, who advises his sons to pack up and go to Media because they would be safe there. And guess what? The third line of the Kurdish national anthem says, “We are the children of the Media.”
The Middle East is an island on which the Jews and Kurds are stranded. In order to survive, we have to stay together. The direction our region is heading draws us closer to each other. No matter how bleak the future of the region may look, Kurdistan and the Jewish state will survive by holding on to each other.

*This article also appeared in the Canadian Jewish News.

Obama Looking To Bomb Both Iraq and Syria

The ISIS Crisis: Road to Syria or Left Cover for the Salvador Option II?

by Scott Creighton

salvador option

All about Syria? No. It’s cover for the new phase of death squads in Iraq. “Stability” as the Masters of the Universe would call it.

What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called “the Salvador option”–and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. “What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are,” one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. “We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing.” Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking “the back” of the insurgency–as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time–than in spreading it out. Newsweek 2005

To hear the MSM tell it, the latest news (if you want to call it that) out of Iraq (our precious 52nd state) is that “the turrurrurrurrists” are rebelling and threatening to upset the Green Zone.

A call to arms has been put out and the Shite’s who have been blessed with power and access to globalist money, are signing up, shouting religious dogma and hoping on the back of trucks with AK-47′s to go wipe out “the terrorists” while basically, over here, we applaud (or we are supposed to lest we get called “conspiracy theorists” or something.

“Dozens climbed into the back of army trucks, chanting Shiite slogans and hoisting assault rifles, pledging to battle the Sunni group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has launched a lightning advance across the country.

By God’s will, we will be victorious.” said one volunteer, Ali Saleh Aziz. “We will not be stopped by the ISIL or any other terrorists.” AP

Oh, there are scaaaaary pictures of guys with rags on their heads holding weapons, videos of guys pretending like they’re cutting off people’s heads, bodies in nifty set-pieces laying around pretending to have been shot.. all sorts of stage managed stunts designed to get the world population on board whatever decision is made to deal with this stuff.

But what is it really all about? Syria? Iran? Or something else entirely?

 

And to that end you have pretty much the same story coming from both the MSM as well as the controlled opposition sites like Di$info Jone$ and Zero Hedge.

“As The Daily Mail reports, blood-thirsty jihadists are carrying out summary executions on civilians, Iraqi soldiers and police officers – including 17 in one street alone – on their warpath to Baghdad, the UN said today. Zero Hedge via Prison Planet

“The Salafist horde currently making its way to Baghdad from northern Iraq is a secret and specialized army of terrorists funded, armed and supported by Saudi Arabia, the Sunni caliphate of Iraq and the Levant, and NATO.” Prison Planet

Now, let’s be clear: this group that supposedly is tearing up our precious Iraq is run by the CIA and our allies in Saudi Arabia. The ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ) was created in 2007 as a Wahhabist offshoot of the CIA’s al Qaeda. They are Sunni extremists but not “extremists” in terms of their religious determinations, they are far-far right Sunnis, basically worshiping whomever pays them to inflict destabilizing terror campaigns across the world.

They helped the administration regime change Libya and Egypt after we determined that the Egyptian people voted the wrong way. They’ve been in Syria fighting on the same side as ObamaGod but somehow everyone in the MSM seems to forget those facts today.

Yeah, Prison Planet and folks like “Tony Cartalucci” (whatever they call themselves theses days) are wise to that aspect of this particular destabilization campaign. And by telling you that, they will gain your trust.

However, they’re not telling you what’s really going on.

They say these guys are in Iraq in order to create a pretext to re-invade Iraq and eventually drive into Syria. After all, the ISIL is alternatively called the ISIS ( Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ) and they do claim a territory that bleeds north into Syria and Turkey as their own.

So, here we have a situation where these mercenaries who have been on our payroll in the past are now running through Iraq (with good intel mind you and military tactical training) causing all kinds of mayhem while making sure to post the most offensive and frightening videos they can on YouTube, all the while, the thrust of the story in both the alternative and controlled press is that they are “terrorists” that must be stopped.

Syria the big prize?

I don’t think so.

The key here is looking at how the Iraqis, under our control, are mobilizing the profiting Shites; rounding them up in trucks with police and military escorts and rushing them out to deal with “the terrorists”

This has been done SO MANY TIMES when we install neoliberal regimes in the past. It was done in Indonesia. It was done in Chile. It was done most recently in India. “Boko Haram”? al Qaeda in Yemen? South Sudan? “KONY 2012″? Take your pick. When our “interests” are at stake in our client states, the “turrurrurists” always seem to show up right on time to justify U.S. involvement or a good old fashioned death squad cleansing of the dissidents. Remember those bombs that went off in Egypt just as al Sisi needed justification to start rounding up the opposition before the election?

It’s such a tired little trick, it’s almost a cliche when you think about it and God knows I’ve written about it time and time again.

Hell, the same thing was done in Iraq in 2005 and 2006 under the Bush administration. That program was instigated by the Sunni Awakening; an organized revolution that was taking place in direct opposition to our “national interests” that had been profiting from the Iraq invasion.

They sent in John Negroponte first, making him our ambassador to the country. He brought in an old Salvador Option partner of his named James Steele. These guys have been creating death squads on behalf of big business for quite sometime.

“Yesterday, the Guardian published an article detailing how the US turned to the use of death squads in Iraq to quell the rise of Sunni militias.  The article provides convincing evidence that this was an intentional policy and was in fact a central tenet of David Petraeus’ often-praised counterinsurgency, or COIN, strategy. The key person in the Guardian’s reporting is James Steele, who was a veteran in organizing Central American death squads on behalf of the US during the Reagan years.”  Empty Wheel

Yes, these guys posing for “scary photos” and “jihad videos” are our assets. But they aren’t the targets of what is to come.

With our forces practically out of the country and neoliberal economics causing disastrous living conditions for the unwashed masses, the opposition to our corrupt puppet regime is growing exponentially.

The threat is that we will lose the control the Bush administration imposed on Iraq with Shock and Awe and death squads and torture and extreme renditions and a whole bunch of lies.

President Barack Obama should authorize air strikes “as quickly as possible” to thwart radical Islamist forces advancing toward Baghdad, said former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte.

Given the momentum shown by the Sunni insurgents, it is “entirely appropriate” for the U.S. to help Iraq’s government as it marshals its own defense forces, he said. Bloomberg

This threat translates to a lack of “stability” to our government’s corporate masters (i.e. the “Masters of the Universe”) and that can’t be allowed to happen on Barack’s watch.

However, President Peace Prize can’t be seen as the next Dick Cheney, going in there with guns blazing and death squads rounding up dissidents and political opposition / union leaders. So…

On Friday, President Barack Obama ruled out sending American troops “back into combat”. However, the administration is weighing whether to launch airstrikes inside Iraq to target terrorists.” Press TV

Enter the boogeyman… our favorite Wahhabist mercenaries.

Now everyone is calling for drone strikes and Special Forces teams, all in the name of “humanitarian intervention” and such.

That’s over here. In the meantime, trucks are being loaded up with Iraqi Brownshirts who are dedicated to preserving the new order of Iraq and willing to make a name for themselves in “the Party” by kicking in doors at 3 am and killing those pesky malcontents who are upsetting the neoliberal apple cart.

This isn’t about Syria. It’s a replay of an old tactic. We’ve seen it before. We will see it again.

War Hawk Graham Would Rather Bomb Iraq With Iran Than To Ask the CIA To Call-Off Their ISIS Dogs

Sen. Lindsey Graham says Iran’s help needed to avoid collapse in Iraq

bdn maine

WASHINGTON — The United States needs Iran’s involvement to prevent a collapse of the government in Iraq and should open talks toward that end, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday, a step he described as unattractive but perhaps unavoidable.

“We are probably going to need their help to hold Baghdad,” from takeover by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the Sunni Muslim militant group that has seized control over northern Iraqi cities and is approaching the nation’s capital, said Graham, R-South Carolina, on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

“The Iranians have an interest. They have Shia populations to protect. We need a dialogue of some kind,” to help stabilize Iraq but also set limits to be sure Iran does not use the situation to seize territory, he said.

The advance of ISIL fighters on Baghdad slowed on Sunday as the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki tried to rally its forces and stave off a civil war.

Still, a suicide bombing in Baghdad and fierce fighting in the northern town of Tal Afar highlighted the country’s slip into sectarian violence between a Sunni minority and the Shiite-dominated government.

Graham’s comments were part of a flurry of Republican criticism on Sunday of the Obama administration’s response to the fast-developing crisis.

Obama has ruled out the use of U.S. ground troops, and said any air support or other assistance was conditional on Maliki trying to overcome divisions between Sunnis and Shiites that have widened under his rule.

“It is too late to have long political reconciliation meetings that will last weeks or months,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You have an al-Qaida army on the move.”

The United States ordered an aircraft carrier moved into the gulf on Saturday, readying it in case Washington decides to pursue a military option after insurgents overran towns and territories in the north and advanced on Baghdad.

Rogers said the administration should organize neighboring Arab states in a joint response, and support that with U.S. intelligence, air power, and other assistance. He said the threat was not just regional, but of ISIL establishing a safe haven for itself, and using that to plan attacks against targets in the United States or Europe.

The last U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011 after the failure of talks between Maliki and Obama over a longer-term U.S. military presence.

Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, last week said American air strikes in Iraq will be needed to halt the advance of militants.

His comments about Iran broach an even more sensitive topic — putting the United States in potential collaboration with a country it suspects of developing nuclear weapons and supporting its own militant groups in places like Lebanon.

Iranian officials, closely allied with Maliki and watchful over the Shiite population centered in southern Iraq, have also been alarmed at the sudden seizure of territory by the ISIL.

US Diplomat Offended Because Maliki Failed To Credit US As Primary Sponsor of ISIS Terrorist Army

QUESTION: Prime Minister Maliki was clear today in holding Saudi Arabia responsible for supporting ISIL financially and morally. What do you think about this?

MS. PSAKI: It’s inaccurate and, frankly, offensive.”
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2014/06/227708.htm#IRAQ

America rejects Maliki’s position from Saudi Arabia: your statements are inaccurate

shafaq news iraq

Shafaq News / The U.S. administration, rejected the statements of the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki in which he accused Saudi Arabia of “sponsorship for terrorism”

, describing them as “inaccurate and unprofessional “.

The spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, Jennifer Bsaki said at a news conference, in Washington, DC, seen by “Shafaq News”, that “This is the opposite of what Iraqi people needed now, which is what we continue to prove to Prime Minister al-Maliki.”

She described the situation in Iraq as “complicated,” pointing to “the existence of some tribes and local politicians of Sunnis who joined the Iraqi government and others with (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant organization) Daash through violence to destabilize the government.”

She added that “those who have joined Daash are supporting terrorists, who follow an extremist doctrine that believes in killing Shia sect, to which they belong.”

She expressed the need to ” political leaders in Iraq take into account the legitimate grievances for all people as a way to rule,” without further details.

Iraqi Council of Ministers condemned at a meeting on Tuesday, the position of Saudi Arabia from the current events in Iraq after Sunni militants controlled large parts of the country.

The Saudi Council of Ministers has considered what is happening in Iraq, as inevitable result of the marginalization and exclusion policies pursued by the Shiite-led government against the Sunni component.

The Iraqi Prime Minister , Nuri al-Maliki had accused ahead of the parliamentary elections last April directly charges to Saudi Arabia and Qatar of waging a war on Iraq by Islamic militants which was denied by the two countries, saying that al-Maliki is trying to shed his internal failure on others

 

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Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki renewed on Wednesday, what he described as the control of “Daash” organization and its allies on Mosul city in Nineveh province as a “conspiracy” by “unnamed ” internal and regional parties vowing to dismiss more military commanders who failed to perform their duty in the battlefields against armed groups.

Does ISIS Take its Orders from Saudi Arabia and the CIA?

saudiprince

What a tangled web we weave

No doubt that today’s biggest news story in the mainstream media is ISIS/ISIL and the chaos they have create in Iraq, but to completely understand what is going on there you must follow the webs of evidence that have led to a prior prisoner of war leading a militia capable of toppling a new U.S. backed government.

Reports in a Reuters article dated July 18, 2007:

A senior operative for al Qaeda in Iraq who was caught this month has told his U.S. military interrogators a prominent al Qaeda-led group is just a front and its leader (al-Baghdadi) is fictitious, a military spokesman said.

Today the statement above would look preposterous. We all know that al-Baghdadi is the leader of ISIS/ISIL, according to all of our media outlets, and of course they would never lie to the American people.

The name Baghdadi means person of Baghdad, and direct from Dr. Christof Lehmann, an independent political consultant on conflict and conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues in region, The Islamic State of Iraq was established to try to put an Iraqi face on what is a foreign-driven network. But the question remains, what foreign network?

 

Abu-bakr-al-Baghdadi

Moving forward to 2012:

ISIS/ISIL had been relatively dormant in Iraq while some of its brigades became involved in the admittedly Saudi Arabia, U.S. and Qatar and Turkey sponsored war on Syria. Weapons, other logistic supplies and mercenaries for ISIS were predominantly transported from Saudi Arabia via smuggling routes in the Al-Anbar province. But, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, was soon caught in a dilemma, although early in his reign as the as leader of Iraq he had the support of U.S. government, He and his Shia run government gained an alliance with Iran, and a regional ally was something very important to an new government.

Al-Maliki decided to appease Damascus and Tehran by confronting the ISIS/ISIL militants in Al-Anbar, he must have believed that Iraq would be next once Damascus would have fallen. When the Iraqi military was ordered to secure the smuggling routes in Al-Anbar (a pipeline to Syria) they confronted Saudi’s, U.S. mercenaries, and ISIS/ISIL, again, this is according to the Iraqi government.

Two fronts, but who is in charge?

After this move by the Iraqi government, the ISIS/ISIL has shifted its focus, and has taken on two battlefronts, one in Syria, and one in Iraq, and again, this is supposedly at the command of a Sunni from Iraq named al-Baghdadi. Could Baghdadi really be a figure head and not the real commander of such a fierce group of fighters?

January 2014

Al-Arabiya published an article and video, featuring the interrogation of an ISIS/ISIL fighter who had been captured in Syria. I cannot find the link with an accurate translation online, but, when questioned why ISIS is “shadowing the moves of the Free Syrian Army” and who had given the orders, the captured ISIS fighter states that he didn’t know why, but that the orders were given by Abu Faisal, also known as Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal, the brother of Prince Saud al-Faisal and Prince Turki al-Faisal. These are Saudi princes. Surprised yet?

So, according to an ISIS/ISIL member, al-Baghdadi did not give them order, the “supreme commander” of ISIS/ISIL is Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal, of the royal Saudi family, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry and its intelligence service. Further proof to this theory is, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel claimed Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal is the ruler of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL).

Prince Abdul Rahman al-Faisal is the brother of Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi Ambassador to the United-States and the United-Kingdom.

Al-Qaeda no more

ISIS/ISIL was the Al-Qaeda branch in Iraq and Syria. It figures on the UN list of terrorist organizations. According to Voltaire Network, in an article posted Feb.4th 2014, it is now funded by the United States, by virtue of a law adopted for fiscal year 2014 during a Congressional session behind closed doors. Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of Al-Qaeda, reacted to this revelation by saying that he would peel off the Al-Qaeda label from the ISIS.

I leave the rest up to you. Are the American people being lied to by our media? Is the CIA and the Saudi government running ISIS/ISIL, or is a little known Al-Qaeda operative from Iraq running the show? If he is, why did he directly disobey orders from his Al-Qaeda commanders and break off to fight them as well? Tell me what you think.

The Unholy Alliance of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the CIA and Their Bastard Offspring–ISIS

Demonstrators shout slogans in support of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in Mosul (16 June 2014) Demonstrators shout slogans in support of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in Mosul

Regardless of whether the Iraqi government in Baghdad rolls back the recent military advances by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), the central authority has suffered a mortal blow.

ISIS’s takeover of most of the so-called Sunni Triangle, as well as Mosul, the second largest city with almost two million people, hammers a deadly nail in the coffin of the post-Saddam Hussein nation-building project.

Fragile Iraqi institutions now lie in tatters.

It is doubtful if Baghdad could ever establish a monopoly on the use of force in the country, or exercise authority and centralised control over rebellious Sunni Arabs and semi-independent Kurdistan.

The best-case scenario for Iraq is devolution of power from the centre in Baghdad to local Shia, Sunni Arabs and Sunni Kurdish communities; the worst is splintering of the country to three separate entities.

ISIS’s swift advance has exposed the state’s structural and institutional weaknesses, as well as a deep ideological and sectarian rift in society.

After eight years in office and monopolising power, Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has delivered neither security nor reconciliation and prosperity.

map

Iraqi security forces, which number hundreds of thousands of men, almost disintegrated under a stunning sweep of only a few thousand, lightly armed al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

More than a decade after the Americans removed Saddam Hussein from power and dissolved his army, the reconstituted military lacks a unifying identity and professionalism, and is riddled with corruption.

For example, in Mosul, ISIS militants had a joy-ride through the city because senior and junior officers had already deserted their positions and weapons, and ordered soldiers to flee home.

A security force in Mosul made up of tens of thousands melted away.

Iraqi men who volunteered to join the fight against ISIS's offensive run on board army lorries outside a recruitment centre in Baghdad (13 June 2014) Shia volunteers have rallied to defend the state and holy sites

Coming to the rescue of a sinking ship, a representative of the highest Shia authority in the land, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, said the “defence of Iraq and its people and holy sites is a duty on every citizen who can carry arms and fight terrorists”.

A parallel army of an estimated 100,000 volunteers, mainly Shia, has joined the fray, increasing the risks of sectarian strife.

Concerned about misinterpretation of his call to arms, Ayatollah Sistani’s office subsequently qualified his statement by warning his supporters against “any behaviour that has a sectarian or a nationalist character that may harm the cohesion of the Iraqi people”.

Broken system

It is misleading to exaggerate ISIS military prowess and exploits as many reports in the Western media do.

Its strength stems not only from the weakness of the Iraqi state, but also from the communal and social cleavages that are tearing society apart; it is a manifestation of a bigger revolt by (tribal) Sunni Arabs against what they view as Mr Maliki’s sectarian authoritarianism.

Checkpoint set up ISIS on a main road into Mosul (17 June 2014) Soldiers and police retreated en masse as the militants swept into Mosul last week

At the very heart of the fierce struggle raging in Iraq is a broken political system, one based on “muhasasa”, or distribution of the spoils of power along communal, ethnic and tribal lines, and put in place after the US invaded and occupied the country in 2003.

Sunnis Arabs, particularly in the last four years, have felt excluded and disfranchised by what they view as Mr Maliki’s sectarian-based policies.

When the US left Iraq in 2011, the al-Qaeda brand was in decline, unpopular among Sunnis.

Three years later, ISIS has revived by finding a “hadana shaabiya”, or social base, among dissatisfied and alienated Sunni Arabs.

Devolution

Seizing the opportunity afforded by the Syrian armed uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi expanded his activities to the neighbouring country and established a powerful base which has yielded new recruits and precious financial and operational assets.

ISIS has aligned itself with insurgent Sunni groups, such as officers of Saddam’s dissolved army, and co-opted hundreds of these skilled fighters to its ranks, a turning point in its ability to plan and execute complex operations in both Iraq and Syria.

In Falluja, Mosul, Tikrit and other towns, Sunnis welcomed al-Qaeda militants as liberators and armed men joined the advancing units.

Women and children queue to register at temporary camps set up to house Iraqis who have been displaced by the fighting in Nineveh province (17 June 2014) The offensive has displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Nineveh province

More alarming, Sunni officers who deserted their bases are reported to have said that they would not fight for Mr Maliki’s government, a development that shows the gravity of the sectarian-political rift in Iraq today.

This helps explain the shattering collapse of Iraqi security forces.

Sunni tribes and disgruntled former army officers sealed the fate of the Sunni Triangle.

ISIS is only a powerful vehicle for Sunni Arab grievances, though a vehicle that could ultimately crush both Sunnis’ aspirations and the Iraqi state. The writing is already on the wall.

In Mosul, ISIS has already laid out its iron law which caused disquiet and alarm among its religious-nationalist and tribal allies who advised caution and prior consultation.

Even if the Iraqi state recaptures the cities seized by ISIS, it would be unable to pacify the population without decentralisation of the decision-making and devolution of power to the local level.

Old order dead

Various communities should be empowered to govern themselves and feel invested in the national project, a vital task to rescue the fragile Iraqi state and rid the country of ISIS and other insurgent groups.

The old order is dead. There is an urgent need to reconstruct the broken political and social system along new lines of citizenship and the rule of law.

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter at a camp set up for those fleeing the violence in Nineveh province (13 June 2014) The ISIS assault has allowed Kurdish Peshmerga forces to seize control of Kirkuk and its oil reserves

Neither reconciliation nor institution-building would occur without a new social contract based on the decentralisation of power and an equitable sharing of resources.

There is no assurance of success given the widening fault-lines among Iraqis and the lack of trust.

Emerging as the biggest winner, the Kurds might be reluctant to surrender the gains recently made with their occupation of the strategically important, oil-producing city of Kirkuk and the consolidation of their Kurdistan borders.

In a similar vein, the Sunni Arab leadership has not come to terms with the new realities of post-Saddam Iraq and still entertains illusions about ruling the country.

Tribal chieftains have acted as cheerleaders for ISIS and seem intoxicated by a Pyrrhic victory.

Shia monopoly

Mr Maliki, along with the Shia leadership, bears a greater responsibility for Iraq’s failure.

Iraqi cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki (centre), in Baghdad (17 June 2014) Western countries have urged Mr Maliki to reach out to Sunnis to rebuild national unity

Having taken ownership of the country after the US occupation and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the Shia leadership has treated Sunni Arabs like second-class citizens and has equated its numerical majority with a licence to monopolise power.

Iraq’s future depends on the willingness of the dominant social classes to rise up to the historical challenge and prioritise the national interest over the parochial.

If history is a guide, the ruling elite might once again fail the Iraq people with catastrophic repercussions for the war-torn country and the regional and international system.

America Intentionally Sacrificed Thousands of US Troops, To Start A War We NEVER INTENDED To Win

[Kucinich is always first in line to denounce the latest administration outrage, usually in some feckless, meaningless gesture, intended to portray Denis in a positive manner.  Did he ever once take an absolute, unbending stance on any hard issue?  Kucinich never misses an opportunity to put on the peacemaker’s mantle, but I can’t recall him ever becoming a Tianamen Square type Congressman, one who would willingly throw himself under the wheels of the police state tanks.  The Iraq War WAS a huge mistake for everybody involved, but especially for the American electorate who were manipulated into supporting Bush and Obama’s “war of aggression” upon everybody. 
Today we are faced with a new, even more complex scenario in Iraq,but no one will have the temerity to ask: Who supplied and armed the ISIS army?  Who is the great benefactor that gave Isis the large fleet of  yellow Mazda pickup trucks?]

HuffingtonPost

Dennis J. Kucinich Headshot

Dennis J. Kucinich Become a fan

Fmr. 16-year Member of US Congress; Two-time US Presidential Candidate

As Iraq descends into chaos again, more than a decade after “Mission Accomplished,” media commentators and politicians have mostly agreed upon calling the war a “mistake.” But the “mistake” rhetoric is the language of denial, not contrition: it minimizes the Iraq War’s disastrous consequences, removes blame, and deprives Americans of any chance to learn from our generation’s foreign policy disaster. The Iraq War was not a “mistake” — it resulted from calculated deception. The painful, unvarnished fact is that we were lied to. Now is the time to have the willingness to say that.

In fact, the truth about Iraq was widely available, but it was ignored. There were no WMD. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The war wasn’t about liberating the Iraqi people. I said this in Congress in 2002. Millions of people who marched in America in protest of the war knew the truth, but were maligned by members of both parties for opposing the president in a time of war — and even leveled with the spurious charge of “not supporting the troops.”

I’ve written and spoken widely about this topic, so today I offer two ways we can begin to address our role:

1) President Obama must tell us the truth about Iraq and the false scenario that caused us to go to war.
When Obama took office in 2008, he announced that his administration would not investigate or prosecute the architects of the Iraq War. Essentially, he suspended public debate about the war. That may have felt good in the short term for those who wanted to move on, but when you’re talking about a war initiated through lies, bygones can’t be bygones.

The unwillingness to confront the truth about the Iraq War has induced a form of amnesia which is hazardous to our nation’s health. Willful forgetting doesn’t heal, it opens the door to more lying. As today’s debate ensues about new potential military “solutions” to stem violence in Iraq, let’s remember how and why we intervened in Iraq in 2003.

2) Journalists and media commentators should stop giving inordinate air and print time to people who were either utterly wrong in their support of the war or willful in their calculations to make war.
By and large, our Fourth Estate accepted uncritically the imperative for war described by top administration officials and congressional leaders. The media fanned the flames of war by not giving adequate coverage to the arguments against military intervention.

President Obama didn’t start the Iraq War, but he has the opportunity now to tell the truth. That we were wrong to go in. That the cause of war was unjust. That more problems were created by military intervention than solved. That the present violence and chaos in Iraq derives from the decision which took America to war in 2003. More than a decade later, it should not take courage to point out the Iraq war was based on lies.

Evidently, the Long Avoided N. Waziristan “Offensive” Has Actually Begun

Taliban will burn your palaces in Islamabad, Lahore: spokesman

daily times pak

*Nawaz govt responsible for loss of life, property *Militant group warns foreign firms to leave Pakistan

 

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – The Taliban on Monday warned foreign firms to leave Pakistan and vowed retaliatory strikes against the government after the Pakistan Army launched a long-awaited offensive in a tribal area.
The statement came as Pakistan’s major cities braced for a backlash by deploying thousands of soldiers and paramilitaries while placing hospitals on high alert for incoming casualties. The offensive on North Waziristan was launched a week after a brazen insurgent attack on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
“We warn all foreign investors, airlines and multinational corporations that they should immediately suspend their ongoing matters with Pakistan and prepare to leave Pakistan, otherwise they will be responsible for their own loss,” spokesman Shahidullah Shahid said in a statement. “This thing is clear to all that the capital gained (by Pakistan) through your activities and trade falls on innocent tribal women and children like fire and iron,” he added.
The group also vowed to take revenge on the government. “We hold Nawaz Sharif’s government and the Punjabi establishment responsible for the loss of tribal Muslims’ life and property as a result of this operation,” the statement said. “The retaliatory actions of the mujahedeen (militants) will make you a cautionary tale in history.”
Shahid added the Taliban would ‘burn your palaces in Islamabad and Lahore’ referring to the capital city and the prime minister’s hometown from where he derives his support base. “Remember that you will once again crave for negotiations and peace, but then it would be too late,” he added.
The warning came as major cities beefed up their security, as troops were seen patrolling the streets of Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. “The security of the capital was already on alert, but a new alert had been issued,” an Islamabad police spokesman told AFP.
“Some 3,000 policemen have been deployed in Islamabad on security duties and patrolling has been increased,” he said, adding that troops and paramilitary rangers had also joined them, without giving any figure. Police in Karachi have declared a red alert and cancelled leave for all 27,000 personnel, spokesman Atiq Shaikh told AFP.
In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which borders the tribal zone, the government has declared a state of emergency in all hospitals and asked them to prepare for incoming casualties, provincial health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai said in a statement.

Syria Warns That ISIS is “an elite army” with advanced weapons

Don’t underestimate the ISIS jihadis, Syrian commanders tell Iraq

cbc news

 

The al-Qaeda affiliated ISIS is “an elite army” with advanced weapons

 

By Nelofer Pazira, CBC News

 

An Iraqi family, who fled from the violence in Mosul when ISIS fighters showed up last week, take refuge in a tent camp on the outskirts of Arbil in Iraq's Kurdistan region. The Islamist group known as ISIS is about an hour's drive from Baghdad.

An Iraqi family, who fled from the violence in Mosul when ISIS fighters showed up last week, take refuge in a tent camp on the outskirts of Arbil in Iraq’s Kurdistan region. The Islamist group known as ISIS is about an hour’s drive from Baghdad. (Reuters)

You only have to look at the ruined towns northeast of the Syrian city of Aleppo to understand what happened in Iraq’s Mosul.

The names of “martyred” fighters line the walls, alongside invocations to obey Sharia law, through miles of crumpled buildings, rubble and unexploded ammunition.

“These people use different names, so if one is defeated the other can claim victory,” says Col. Mohamed Saleh of the Syrian army as he surveys the wreckage of a factory in which 27 of his soldiers were killed. “They call themselves ISIL, al-Nusrah Front, Deach, but they are all the same.”

These very same jihadis— which the Syrian forces have been defeating — are now surging towards Baghdad, some of them, perhaps, the very same men who fought Basharal-Assad’s regime in northern Syria.

Here in Aleppo, the rebels trying to hold on to this massive industrial zone — turned into a fortress with underground tunnels built by al-Qaeda insurgents — killed themselves with suicide belts when Col. Saleh’s men attacked. This is the kind of intense dedication to the cause that Iraq is now facing.

IRAQ-SECURITY/

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, sometimes known as ISIL) celebrate after confiscating left-behind vehicles from Iraqi security forces in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, last week. (Reuters)

The Islamic fighters trumpeting their march south to Baghdad this weekend cut their teeth in the Syrian war.

For the past two years, they have fought their way into the suburbs of Damascus — capturing Idlib and Raqqa, and laying siege to the cities of Homs and Aleppo — just as they have now captured Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul.

Their aim: to establish an Islamic state across both Iraq and Syria, hence the name ISIS (though some call them ISIL for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, one of the initial translations). In their wake you find religious slogans on the walls of the captured cities in both countries where they have tried to enforce an extreme version of Sharia law.

Joining the fight against Assad’s regime, alongside other opponents of the Baathist leader, gave them access to battlefields — “training grounds” — as well as weapons and communication equipment, some of it provided by the Western governments that support some of the rebels in Syria.

Captured weapons include Turkish radios, Belgian and Russian rifles, and Swedish explosives.

‘An elite army’

In contrast to the defeats afflicting the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, the Syrian regime has been pushing back the jihadis in recent weeks. In May, it forced the last of the rebel defenders to surrender the city of Homs in central Syria.

“We’re not fighting one battle, but many battles,” says Col. Suheil Hassan of the Syrian Army. His forces ended the rebel siege of Aleppo earlier this year, taking back more than 250 kilometres of enemy-held territory. But his speech is punctuated by the continuous sound of mortar fire — a reminder that the battle for Aleppo is far from over.

SYRIA-CRISIS

A woman with her children flee a site hit by what activists said was a vacuum bomb dropped by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, in the Tariq al-Bab neighbourhood of Aleppo in June 2014. Much of the city is now in rubble after almost three years of fighting. (Mahmoud Hebbo / Reuters)

“They’ve been trying to take back these areas, so they attack our position everyday,” he says.

“Earlier in the war, we underestimated their sophistication in fighting, their manpower, their military capability and weapons,” says another officer, who shows me around the industrial town, now a wasteland.

Discarded anti-aircraft shell cases, cartridges and missile parts lie in the rubble and surrounding fields.

“We’re fighting an organized army, an elite army, with advanced weapons.”

The shifting frontline

The jihadi plan was to take over all of northern Syria — including Latakia, Hama, Idlib and Raqqa — and turn it into an Islamic state. Now, forced to flee parts of Syria, the frontline has shifted inexorably to Iraq, with some predictable consequences.

In Syria, these al-Qaeda-affiliated groups outbid each other in acts of cruel violence, from mass killing to symbolic acts of beheading and — literally — eating the heart of a government officer on camera.

They deliberately wished the world to see their ability to be brutal and uncompromising.

Syrian soldier

A Syrian soldier descends a set of stairs in June 2014 to inspect the al-Qaeda-constructed tunnels beneath an industrial park in Aleppo, which the group known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, were using as a base. (Nelofer Pazira / CBC)

So it should come as no surprise that the disintegrating and dysfunctional Iraqi army are fleeing in the thousands, ceding hundreds of square miles of Iraqi territory to ISIS.

In Syria, though, the group learned at least one valuable public relations lesson. In some of the areas it lost to the Syrian army, the local population had revolted against ISIS and the al-Nusra Front. Even though Syrian civilians had suffered under Assad’s rule, they appeared to prefer the ruthless Syrian government over the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.

That is why the ISIS leadership is now calling on the people of Mosul not to flee their homes, promising they won’t be harmed by Islamist fighters. Though this promise seems to be falling on deaf ears.

ISIS’s Syria strategy also shows how the militia turns populated residential areas into military bases where its fighters can move between buildings and alleyways smashed through walls. They dig tunnels and operate from what is in effect an underground city.

Outside Aleppo, they packed explosives into a captured Syrian army tank and drove it to break through the wall of a massive prison. Even discarded metal is turned into an assortment of homemade weapons.

Ultimately, the battle strategy is not to surrender. So the militias who perfected these tactics — improving their fighting capability in the war against Assad’s regime — have now turned them against the American-installed Iraqi government, and America-trained Iraqi army.

From the outskirts of Syria’s Aleppo and Raqqa all the way to Mosul, ISIS controls territory with a force made up of many Muslim nationalities but fighting along sectarian, in its case Sunni, religious lines.

Ironically, it is America’s Arab Gulf allies — all Sunni states — which have been bankrolling these rebels who are now proving themselves to be so great a threat to the entire region.

NATO’S ISIS–Creating Justification for WWIII

[SEE:  There Is No “Al-Qaeda In Iraq,” Only An Official Cover Story for US Army Covert Actions]

NATO’s Terror Hordes in Iraq a Pretext for Syria Invasion

land destroyer

Tony Cartalucci

 

June 12, 2014 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – All roads lead to Baghdad and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is following them all, north from Syria and Turkey to south. Reading Western headlines, two fact-deficient narratives have begun gaining traction. The first is that this constitutes a “failure” of US policy in the Middle East, an alibi as to how the US and its NATO partners should in no way be seen as complicit in the current coordinated, massive, immensely funded and heavily armed terror blitzkrieg toward Baghdad. The second is how ISIS appears to have “sprung” from the sand dunes and date trees as a nearly professional military traveling in convoys of matching Toyota trucks without explanation.In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran’s arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey’s (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover.  The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latikia province in northwest Syria.

In March, ISIS withdrew its terror battalions from Latikia and Idlib provinces and repositioned them in the east of Syria, now clearly in preparations for invading northern Iraq. The Daily Star reported in a March 2014 article titled, “Al-Qaeda splinter group in Syria leaves two provinces: activists,” that:

On Friday, ISIS – which alienated many rebels by seizing territory and killing rival commanders – finished withdrawing from the Idlib and Latakia provinces and moved its forces toward the eastern Raqqa province and the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.  

The alleged territorial holdings of ISIS cross over both Syrian and Iraqi borders meaning that any campaign to eradicate them from Iraqi territory can easily spill over into Syria’s borders. And that is exactly the point. With ISIS having ravaged Mosul, Iraq near the Turkish border and moving south in a terror blitzkrieg now threatening the Iraqi capital of Baghdad itself, the Iraqi government is allegedly considering calling for US and/or NATO assistance to break the terror wave. Adding to the pretext, ISIS, defying any sound tactical or strategic thinking, has seized a Turkish consulate in Mosul, taking over 80 Turkish hostages – serendipitous giving Turkey not only a new pretext to invade northern Iraq as it has done many times in pursuit of alleged Kurdish militants, but to invade Syrian territory where ISIS is also based.

Turkey Has Already Attempted to Use Al Qaeda False Flag Attacks to Justify Invading Syria 

It had been revealed that NATO has been planning a false flag attack against Turkey to justify the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, the International Business Times reported in its article, “Turkey YouTube Ban: Full Transcript of Leaked Syria ‘War’ Conversation Between Erdogan Officials.” It released the full transcript of a leaked conversation between the head of Turkish intelligence Hakan Fidan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. The Times reported

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ban of YouTube occurred after a leaked conversation between Head of Turkish Intelligence Hakan Fidan and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that he wanted removed from the video-sharing website.

The leaked call details Erdogan’s thoughts that an attack on Syria “must be seen as an opportunity for us [Turkey]”.

In the conversation, intelligence chief Fidan says that he will send four men from Syria to attack Turkey to “make up a cause of war”.

The report would also state:

In the leaked video, Fidan is discussing with Davutoğlu, Güler and other officials a possible operation within Syria to secure the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman empire.

Instead of four men carrying out a false flag to secure a tomb, it appears now that an entire mercenary army will be used as a pretext to secure all of northern Iraq and eastern Syria.

Banks Robbed After Invasion Funded the Invasion? Western Media Puts Cart Before the Horse 

Tales of ISIS looting armories, vehicle depots, and banks are being carefully planted throughout the Western media in an attempt to portray the invasion as a terrorist uprising, sustaining itself on plundered supplies, weapons, and cash. In reality, ISIS already possessed all that it needed before beginning its campaign from Syrian and Turkish territory.

The International Business Times in its article, “Mosul Seized: Jihadis Loot $429m from City’s Central Bank to Make Isis World’s Richest Terror Force,” claims:

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars – the equivalent of $429m (£256m) – from Mosul’s central bank, according to the regional governor.

Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi confirmed Kurdish televison reports that Isis militants had stolen millions from numerous banks across Mosul. A large quantity of gold bullion is also believed to have been stolen.

Following the siege of the country’s second city, the bounty collected by the group has left it richer than al-Qaeda itself and as wealthy as small nations such as Tonga, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Falkland Islands.

This cover story is the latest in a long propaganda campaign designed to cover up the extensively documented state sponsorship of ISIS and other Al Qaeda franchises by the United States, NATO, and the Persian Gulf monarchies. Previous attempts to explain why alleged “moderates” being funded billions by the West were being displaced by Al Qaeda in Syria have included claims that “Twitter donations” were eclipsing the combined aid provided by the US, EU, NATO, and Persian Gulf states.

The US, NATO, and Persian Gulf States are Behind ISIS 

 
Published in 2007 – a full 4 years before the 2011 “Arab Spring” would begin – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker article titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” stated specifically (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Throughout the Syrian conflict, which began in 2011, the West and its regional partners have sent billions in cash, weapons, and equipment. In the March 2013 Telegraph article titled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’,” it is reported: 

It claimed 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November
The story confirmed the origins of ex-Yugoslav weapons seen in growing numbers in rebel hands in online videos, as described last month by The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, but suggests far bigger quantities than previously suspected.
The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours. But the report added that as well as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.
British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers. The Americans are also believed to be providing training on securing chemical weapons sites inside Syria.

Additionally, The New York Times in its article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” admits that:

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

The US State Department had also announced it was sending hundreds of millions of dollars more in aid, equipment and even armored vehicles to militants operating in Syria, along with demands of its allies to “match” the funding to reach a goal of over a billion dollars. The NYT would report in their article, “Kerry Says U.S. Will Double Aid to Rebels in Syria,” that:

With the pledge of fresh aid, the total amount of nonlethal assistance from the United States to the coalition and civic groups inside the country is $250 million. During the meeting here, Mr. Kerry urged other nations to step up their assistance, with the objective of providing $1 billion in international aid. 

The US has also admitted that it is now officially arming and equipping terrorists inside of Syria. The Washington Post’s article, “U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels,” reported: 

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

The Western media and the governments providing them their talking points now expect the general public to believe that somehow “Twitter donations” and “bank robberies” have managed to outpace this unprecedented multinational logistical feat and give Al Qaeda the edge over the West’s nonexistent “moderate” forces in Syria and give rise to phantom terrorist legions capable of seizing entire provinces across multiple national borders. The evidence simply doesn’t add up. 

 
 
 
Combined with reports from the US Army’s West Point Countering Terrorism Center, “Bombers, Bank Accounts and Bleedout: al-Qa’ida’s Road In and Out of Iraq,” and “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” it is clear that Iraq’s Al Qaeda/ISIS legions were created, funded, and armed by Persian Gulf states and are augmented with foreign fighters drawn from Libya’s terror epicenter of Benghazi, and Saudi Arabia in particular. These legions have been in operation in one form or another since they were first created by the US CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistani intelligence during the 1980’s to combat Soviet forces in Afghanistan.A Pretext for NATO Invasion 

The alleged territory of ISIS overlaps the Iraqi-Syrian border constituting a region nearly the size of Syria itself. With Baghdad asking for foreign intervention, and ISIS giving NATO the perfect pretext to do so by seizing a Turkish consulate in Mosul, making the case for (re)invading Iraq may be feasible. With the Western media capitalizing on ISIS’ notorious brutality, including mass beheadings and hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing before them, a demonstrable campaign to sway public opinion toward intervention is clearly under way.
Invading northern Iraq will allow NATO to then justify cross-border operations into eastern Syria. In reality what NATO will be doing is establishing their long desired “buffer zone” where terrorists can launch attacks deeper and more effectively into Syrian territory. With western Syria returning to peace and order after a series of victories for the Syrian government, the last front NATO’s proxy forces have is Al Qaeda’s arch of terror running along Turkey’s border and now, across eastern Syria and northern Iraq. NATO’s presence in northern Iraq would also provide an obstacle for Iranian-Syrian trade and logistics. 

The idea of such a buffer zone has been in the works since at least March 2012, where the idea was proposed by the US corporate-financier funded Brookings Institution in their “Middle East Memo #21” “Assessing Options for Regime Change” where it stated specifically (emphasis added):

“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadershipThis may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.” 

Through Iraq, NATO has used its terrorist proxies to create a pretext to put this “buffer zone” strategy back into motion. The prospect of the US, NATO, or the Persian Gulf states delivering Iraq from ISIS is an ironic tragedy – as definitive evidence reveals ISIS’ brutal incursion was of this collective coalition’s own doing to begin with, and for its own insidious ends. Instead, a joint Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian anti-terror campaign should be conducted to corner and crush NATO’s terrorist mercenary expeditionary force once and for all.Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.