ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Iran Gives Lebanon the Weapons It Needs To Defend Its Borders, Not Tailored To Zionist Restrictions, Unlike Saudi and France

BEIRUT: Iran will donate military equipment to the Lebanese Army, a visiting Iranian official said Tuesday after talks with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

“Given the role Lebanon is playing in fighting extremist takfiri terrorism in some border regions, Iran has decided to donate military equipment to the Lebanese Army, as a token of love and appreciation for Lebanon and its brave Army,” said Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran.

He said talks with Salam at the Grand Serail tackled bilateral relations as well political developments in the region and Israel’s attempts to exploit unrest in the Middle East.

“Although geography separates Iran from Lebanon, there are valuable ideas and common principles that link the two peoples and bring them closer together,” Shamkhani said.

“The donation comprises equipment that would help the Army in its heroic confrontations against this evil terrorism,” he explained.

Shamkhani said this was not a long-term promise, adding that the donation would be “officially” delivered to Defense Minister Samir Moqbel during his visit to Iran.

In response to a question, Shamkhani said there were “no red lines that prevent the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two brotherly countries.”

He said Iran was mainly interested in consolidating security and stability in Lebanon.

After meeting with Salam, Shamkhani headed to Ain al-Tineh for talks with Speaker Nabih Berri.

He then flew out of Lebanon to Syria.

The Lebanese Army has been engaged with militants from ISIS and the Nusra Front since clashes erupted in the northeastern town of Arsal last month.

While the Army was able to drive the militants out of the town and into its outskirts by the Syrian border, the militants were able to take at least 30 soldiers and police captive during their retreat.

So far three soldiers have been executed and seven released, the rest are still being held by the militants.

Erdogan Taking Advantage of World’s Anti-ISIS Moment, Asks Parliamentary Permission To Invade Syria

[SEE:  Erdogan Offers Turkish Troops To Create “Free Syrian Enclave” ]

Turkey’s ISIL mandate includes ‘military action abroad, opening bases to foreign troops’

hurriyet

The mandate the Turkish government is seeking from the Parliament to authorize the army to send troops into Iraq and Syria to deal with growing threat of extremist jihadists does also include opening its bases to foreign troops, a senior government official has said, signalling about potential Turkish contribution to the international military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The motion we are about to send the Parliament is going to be comprehensive and to deal today’s and tomorrow’s threats,” deputy Prime Minister and spokesperson of the government, Bülent Arınç told reporters Sept. 30 following weekly cabinet meeting.

Upon a question whether the motion to be sent to Parliament will include sending troops to foreign countries to establish security zones, to allow deployment of foreign troops and to open Turkish military bases to foreign troops, Arınç said “Let me include one more option: All. The motion will refer to all of these points you have asked.”

“We are a determined government. We perfectly know what’s going on inside and outside Turkey. This issue of security zone and other issues all have diplomatic and military reflections,” he added.

After another question, Arınç said that the ISIL militants are advancing on Suleyman Shah Tomb in northern Syria, which Turkish soldiers continue to guard.

Turkey is insisting to establish safe havens in Syria for the protection of Syrian refugees inside the country. Apart from a security zone, it does also ask coalition members led by the United States to establish no-fly zones over Syrian airspace.

The motion is based on Article 92 of Turkey’s Constitution that stipulates parliamentary authorization for sending troops to another country or to allow deployment of foreign troops on Turkish soils.

Arınç said the motion has two parts, its reasoning and demands from the Parliament, and underlined that it will be as comprehensive as possible so that the government will not need a fresh parliamentary mandate.

“We were planning to extend already existing motions on Iraq and Syria that will expiry in October. Their validity could be extended in a routine way but we have thought to work on a text merging these motions that would address all threats and risks Turkey is facing in its region,” Arınç stressed.

The motion is expected to be voted at the Parliament on Oct. 2 following a closed session due to sensitivity of the issue.

US Anti-Russia Sanctions Bite Exxon Hard…Really Hard

Russia Says Arctic Well Drilled With Exxon Strikes Oil

BLOOMBERG
By Ilya Arkhipov, Stephen Bierman and Ryan Chilcote

Exxon PricesSep 27,Oct 1Nov 1Dec 1Jan 1Feb 1Mar 1Apr 1May 1Jun 1Jul 1Aug 1Sep 185.0090.0095.00100.00105.00* Price chart for EXXON MOBIL CORP. Click flags for important stories. XOM:US94.07-0.36 -0.38%  (INTERACTIVE CHART HERE)

Russia, viewed by the Obama administration as hostile to U.S. interests, has discovered what may prove to be a vast pool of oil in one of the world’s most remote places with the help of America’s largest energy company.

Russia’s state-run OAO Rosneft said a well drilled in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean with Exxon Mobil Corp. struck oil, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas.

The announcement was made by Igor Sechin, Rosneft’s chief executive officer, who spent two days sailing on a Russian research ship to the drilling rig where the find was unveiled today. The well found about 1 billion barrels of oil and similar geology nearby means the surrounding area may hold more than the U.S. part of the Gulf or Mexico, he said.

“It exceeded our expectations,” Sechin said in an interview. This discovery is of “exceptional significance in showing the presence of hydrocarbons in the Arctic.”

The discovery sharpens the dispute between Russia and the U.S. over President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. The well was drilled before the Oct. 10 deadline Exxon was granted by the U.S. government under sanctions barring American companies from working in Russia’s Arctic offshore. Rosneft and Exxon won’t be able to do more drilling, putting the exploration and development of the area on hold despite the find announced today.
Source: ONGC Videsh Ltd. via Bloomberg

The oil production platform at the Sakhalin-I field in Russia, partly owned by ONGC… Read More

“We have encountered hydrocarbons but it is premature to speculate on any potential outcome,” Richard Keil, an Exxon spokesman in Irving, Texas, said by telephone. “Our current focus is on completing the well and safely winding down operations consistent with our license with the U.S. government.”
Putin’s Ambition

The development of Arctic oil reserves, an undertaking that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars and take decades, is one of Putin’s grandest ambitions. As Russia’s existing fields in Siberia run dry, the country needs to develop new reserves as it vies with the U.S. to be the world’s largest oil and gas producer.

Output from the Kara Sea field could begin within five to seven years, Sechin said, adding the field discovered today would be named “Victory.”

The Kara Sea well — the most expensive in Russian history — targeted a subsea structure named Universitetskaya and its success has been seen as pivotal to that strategy. The start of drilling, which reached a depth of more than 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), was marked with a ceremony involving Putin and Sechin.

The importance of Arctic drilling was one reason that offshore oil exploration was included in the most recent round of U.S. sanctions. Exxon and Rosneft have a venture to explore millions of acres of the Arctic Ocean.
Oil Strategist

“Once the well is plugged, there will be a lot of work to do in interpreting the results and this is probably something that Rosneft can do,” Julian Lee, an oil strategist at Bloomberg First Word in London, said before today’s announcement. “Both parties are probably hoping that by the time they are ready to start the next well the sanctions will have been lifted.”

The stakes are high for Exxon, whose $408 billion market valuation makes it the world’s largest energy producer. Russia represents the second-biggest exploration prospect worldwide. The Irving, Texas-based company holds drilling rights across 11.4 million acres in Russia, only eclipsed by its 15.1 million U.S. acres.
Escalating Costs

Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson is counting on Russian discoveries to reverse a trend of stalled exploration and escalating costs to pump crude and natural gas from the ground. Production from the company’s wells fell in 2012 and 2013 and is expected to be flat this year.

The U.S. portion of the Gulf produces more than a million barrels a day and holds reserves of almost 6 billion barrels, according to data from the Department of Energy.

To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net; Stephen Bierman in Moscow at sbierman1@bloomberg.net; Ryan Chilcote in London at rchilcote@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net Carlos Caminada

Obama Sends Jordan’s King To Ask for Putin’s Help

30/09/2014, 19:44
[“It is not peculiar that Obama chose the king of the poorest, most subservient Gulf state to intercede with Russia. Bandar blew it last time…Qatar bankrolls terrorists…Bahrain belongs to the Saudis. Russia would join the anti-ISIS coalition in a heartbeat, if they would drop the training of new Syrian terrorists and get Bashar Assad’s permission.”]

Putin to Meet With Jordan’s King Abdullah II October 2: Kremlin

ria novosti

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Jordan’s King Abdullah II will meet on October 2.

 

MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Moscow on October 2, the Kremlin’s press service reported Tuesday.

“During the high-level talks, issues on bilateral cooperation, including the perspectives of joint energy, infrastructural and agricultural projects with Russian companies in the Kingdom [of Jordan] are on the agenda of discussion,” a Kremlin statement said.

According to the Kremlin press service, the two leaders will also exchange opinions on regional problems, including the situation in Syria, Libya and Middle East settlement.

Most recently, Jordan has entered a coalition with the United States to roll back Islamic State (IS) threat in the Middle East amid reports that the violent terrorist group has been making gains in Iraq and Syria. Other countries on the anti-IS list are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates.

The creation of a coalition was followed by intensified air strikes on the Syrian territory, which have been carried out without the consent of President Bashar Assad’s government, prompting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov last week to question the legality of US air campaign.

President Ashraf Ghani Bends Over for Obama–He Wants An Army Just Like Iraq’s

[Obama’s new President of Afghanistan has removed Karzai’s restrictions upon night raids and his given Western troops full immunity for their illegal actions and any war crimes which may be committed after 2014.  US forces will allegedly maintain the same level of training that they have been giving to Afghan troops, despite the recent extremely negative example of the quality of US-imparted training, which had been provided to Iraqi troops, who dropped their weapons and their uniforms and ran away from a few hundred or thousand ISIS mad dogs.  With such a small number of US trainers and with Afghan resentment running so high, future “insider attacks” could easily overwhelm entire units of trainers, given enough coordination among the Afghans.]

Afghanistan, U.S. sign ‘security and stability’ pact

ctv news

https://assets-news.vice.com/images/articles/meta/2014/06/14/iraqi-soldiers-1402782351.jpg?crop=1xw:0.7494199535962877xh;0xw,0.06496519721577726xh&resize=700:*&output-format=image/jpeg&output-quality=90
https://i2.wp.com/rt.com/files/news/28/5d/c0/00/iraq-1.jpg
The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan and the United States signed a security pact on Tuesday to allow U.S. forces to remain in the country past the end of year, ending a year of uncertainty over the fate of foreign troops supporting Afghanis as they take over responsibility for the country’s security.

Afghan, American and NATO leaders welcomed the deal, which will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign it despite U.S. threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. U.S. officials have said that the delay in the deal’s signing does not affect plans for next year.

President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who was sworn into office a day earlier, told a crowd assembled at the presidential palace in the capital Kabul for the signing ceremony that the agreement signalled a fundamental shift for the positive in the country’s relations with the world.

“This agreement is only for Afghan security and stability,” he said in comments broadcast live on state television. “These agreements are in our national interest. The Bilateral Security Agreement will pave the ground for Afghanistan to take control,” he added.

Newly appointed Afghan national security adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham signed the actual document. A second agreement allowing NATO troops to stay in the country was also signed during the same ceremony.

Government Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, who has assumed a post akin to prime minister after signing a power-sharing agreement with Ghani Ahmadzai, also welcomed the security deal.

“It has been signed after very careful considerations,” he said, adding that “the BSA is not a threat to our neighbours. It will help strengthen peace and stability in the region.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the agreement, saying it outlined the group’s new mission to train, advise and assist Afghan forces.

“We remain committed to help finance the Afghan security forces through 2017, to help Afghanistan to further strengthen its institutions, and to further develop our political and practical co-operation with Afghanistan through our Enduring Partnership,” he said in a statement.

In a statement, Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel called the deal an “important step forward.”

“These agreements will enable American and coalition troops to continue to help strengthen Afghan forces, counter terrorist threats, and advance regional security,” he said.

Ukraine Going Through Backflips To Claim Dead Russian-Speaking Ukrainian Civilians Were All “Terrorists”

[SEE:  Russia’s Case Against Genocide of Russian Speakers By Ukraine Causes Kyiv To File Its Own Case ]

Ukrainian prosecutors open criminal proceedings against Russian Investigative Committee officials

interfax

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has opened criminal proceedings against officials of the Russian Investigative Committee due to crimes they committed under Article 258-3 (assistance to a terrorist organization), Article 343 (interference with the activity of a law enforcement officer) and Article 344 (interference with the activity of a statesman) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office has reported.”It was established that in May and June 2014, the central office of the Russian Investigative Committee created a department to investigate crimes related to the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare. The purpose of this department, as can be seen from the official Web site of the institution, is bringing the Ukrainian military to justice for the crimes they allegedly committed against civilians,” reads the statement.The Prosecutor General’s Office said that “in particular, the Russian Investigative Committee opened a criminal case against Ukrainian servicewoman N. V. Savchenko for alleged complicity in the killing of Rossiya television channel journalists I. V. Kornelyuk and A. D. Voloshin.”

In addition, the Russian Investigative Committee is holding criminal proceedings against unidentified members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the National Guard of Ukraine and activists of the Right Sector public organization for alleged shelling of the cities of Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Donetsk, Mariupol, and other areas in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and for the killing of innocent citizens.

“Thus, by organizing unjustified criminal prosecution there is unlawful interference in the work of law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Therefore, it can be stated that the establishment in the structure of the Russian Investigative Committee of a department to investigat e crimes related to the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare, as well as the opening of these and other criminal cases by officials of the Russian Investigative Committee, is aimed at assisting the Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic terrorist organizations in their criminal activity, as well as preventing government representatives and public figures from the fulfillment of their duties,” the prosecutor’s office said.

According to the report, these criminal offenses encroach on the state’s interests, sovereignty and territorial integrity protected by international treaties and laws of Ukraine.

Russia’s Case Against Genocide of Russian Speakers By Ukraine Causes Kyiv To File Its Own Case

[3 HRS AGO– Ukraine prosecutor opens criminal case against Russian officials ]

Russia launches criminal case on genocide of Russian speakers in south-eastern Ukraine

itar tass

Vladimir Markin also said at least 2,500 residents of south-eastern Ukraine have been killed as a result of attacks with use of multiple rocket launchers

Ukrainian servicemen seen during military parade oin Kiev

Ukrainian servicemen seen during military parade in Kiev© EPA/TATYANA ZENKOVICH

MOSCOW, September 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Investigative Committee has initiated a criminal case on genocide of the Russian-speaking population in the embattled southeast of Ukraine, the committee’s spokesman Vladimir Markin said Monday.

“The Main Investigative Directorate of the Russian Investigative Committee has launched criminal proceedings on the genocide of the Russian-speaking population living in the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s republics [Article 357 of Russia’s Criminal Code],” Markin told ITAR-TASS.

Investigators established that “in the period from April 12, 2014 until now, in violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide [CPPCG], as well as other international legal acts condemning genocide, unidentified persons from among the top political and military leadership of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, National Guard and Right Sector [far-right ultranationalist organization] gave orders designed to eliminate Russian-speaking nationals residing on the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics”.

Use of multiple launch rocket systems

Vladimir Markin also said at least 2,500 residents of south-eastern Ukraine have been killed as a result of multiple launch systems attacks.

“Investigators established that killings of Russian-speaking citizens were made with the use of the Grad and Uragan multiple launch rocket systems, aviation unguided rockets with cluster warheads, Tochka-U tactical missiles and other types of heavy offensive armaments of indiscriminate effect,” Markin told ITAR-TASS.

“As a result of these actions, at least 2,500 people died,” he said.

Besides, Markin added, “over 500 residential houses, utilities and life support facilities, hospitals, child, general education institutions were destroyed in the Donetsk and Luhansk [People’s] republics, as a result of which more than 300,000 residents who feared for their life and health were forced to leave their permanent places of residence and seek refuge on the territory of the Russian Federation”.

Is Everyone In Washington Owned By the Saudis or the Jews?

Stop Taking Saudi Money, Washington

new york observer

Petro-dollars from superrich Gulf States infect think tanks, lobbyists, academics—and basic American principles

Former senator Norm Coleman, head of an influential super-PAC, is now lobbying for Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

It’s becoming increasingly apparent some new Koch Brothers are on the loose in Washington, lavishing money on liberals and conservatives alike. Like the Brothers K, they got rich on filthy fossil fuel revenues, and are using their booty to buy up think tanks, lobbyists and the best law firms. For good measure, they’re tossing some of the nation’s top liberal institutions into their shopping carts, too.

I refer here to our nominal allies, the medieval, superrich Gulf States. Thanks to investigative journalists at The New York Times and the Nation, who recently combed through reams of public disclosure documents, we now know that the Saudis, UAE and Qatar have been flooding the nation’s capital with greenbacks.

The Nation’s Lee Fang reported last week that one of the takers is Minnesota’s ex-senator Norm Coleman, who has signed on as a lobbyist for the Saudis. This is ominous because Mr. Coleman chairs two Republican super PACs in D.C., the American Action Network and Congressional Leadership Fund, which funnel millions to Republican candidates. In 2012, Roll Call put him “at the center of GOP fundraising, campaign strategy and policy from the top of the ticket on down” and this year AAN is doling out millions to a new crop of aspiring pols.

The former senator is now taking money from a nation that arguably has done more than any other to foment fundamentalist Islam and whose religious leaders and deep-pocketed sheiks continue to give moral and financial support to jihadis as they drag us into another Middle Eastern war.


It took Wikileaks to reveal the depth of official American concern over the amount of dough the Saudis spend on fomenting terrorists.


Mr. Coleman is not alone. The Times reported that some of the major think tanks are practically partially owned subsidiaries of the petro-states. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a respected policy and security think tank, took more than $1 million to help build new headquarters near the White House. Brookings accepted a four-year, $14.8 million donation from that bastion of liberal thought and tolerance, Qatar. There’s a Brookings affiliate in Doha and a project in the works “on United States relations with the Islamic world.”

Qatar, home to Arab media giant Al Jazeera, was the first Gulf nation to take the giant leap forward in 1999 of allowing women to vote, but it treats hundreds of thousands of migrant workers like forced labor, according to Human Rights Watch. Worse, it is home to some of the big private fund-raisers for Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, and Qatar itself “has provided at least some form of assistance—whether sanctuary, media, money or weapons—to the Taliban of Afghanistan, Hamas of Gaza, rebels from Syria, militias in Libya and allies of the Muslim Brotherhood across the region,” according to the Times.

Three of the Western world’s premier cultural institutions—New York University, the Guggenheim and the Louvre—are in various stages of setting up shop in Abu Dhabi. When I wrote about this last year, hundreds of NYU faculty members had volunteered to work in Abu Dhabi. Why not? What pedagogue could resist the lure of fat bonuses—in some cases the equivalent of two-thirds of a year’s salary—along with first-class airfare for the family and free private school for the kids?

***

These think tanks and liberal establishments have a plausible excuse at the ready. The idea is that a Brookings or a NYU planted in the heart of these regressive societies is a kind of good virus, infecting them with enlightenment and tolerance.

But the influence works both ways. When liberal institutions hook up with regressive rich petro-states, they can start kissing their enlightened ideals good bye. Saleem Ali, a former visiting fellow at Brookings Doha, said he’d been told explicitly during his job interview that he could not take positions critical of the Qatari government in his papers.

“If a member of Congress is using the Brookings reports, they should be aware—they are not getting the full story. They may not be getting a false story, but they are not getting the full story,” Mr. Ali told the Times.

And which of Mr. Coleman’s Republican candidates and PAC beneficiaries, if elected to Congress, will ask questions about Saudi Arabia’s dark side after getting a ride to D.C. on the magic carpet of its petro-dollars?

It’s no secret that Saudi Arabia has in the past seen fit to blow billions exporting the fundamentalist Islam that committed 9-11 and created ISIS and which promises to be the civilized world’s bête noir for decades to come. Staggering amounts have been spent on one of the greatest global PR campaigns in history. Between 1975 and 1987, the Saudis spent $48 billion—$4 billion per year—on “overseas development aid.” By the end of 2002, that number had hit over $70 billion. In comparison, Moscow spent $1 billion per year during the peak of its power in the Cold War.


The sleek D.C. offices where the Saudis buy their influence is a world away from the gore and beheadings. Their often blonde representatives speak with British accents and wear discreet gold jewelry, status bags and bespoke suits.


What they bought with that money was control of Islam. One example should suffice: in Nigeria, in 1999, the Saudis provided the governor of the first state to institute sharia law with hundreds of motorbikes, to be used by men to sexually segregate taxis. The Saudi sheiks were “delighted” at how sharia was spreading in Nigeria. How much of a leap is it to imagine that some of these influencers would give more than extremist moral instruction and financial encouragement to Boko Haram, whose murderous members now roar into towns they plan to burn down—on motorbikes?

Among American progressives, it is more politically acceptable to call out the Koch brothers for spewing their petro-dollars around to buy influence in American politics than it is to analyze how the Gulf petro-powers that finance regressive and even murderous movements around the world, can buy influence in D.C.

It took Wikileaks to reveal the depth of official American concern over the amount of dough the Saudis spend on fomenting terrorists, or to learn that the American consulate in Pakistan reported that the Gulf states had spent $100 million a year on extremist madrassas. In 2010, according to Wikileaked cables, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.”

Such is the power of the ties that bind us to these regressive nations that you didn’t hear Madame Secretary utter those fightin’ words in public. They had to be leaked by Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.

The sleek D.C. offices where the Saudis buy their influence is a world away from the gore and beheadings. Their often blonde representatives speak with British accents and wear discreet gold jewelry, status bags and bespoke suits. But Nation writer Mr. Fang wrote that Mr. Coleman “appears to be the first leader of a significant super PAC to simultaneously lobby for a foreign government.”

By taking on Saudia Arabia, Mr. Coleman, and the other D.C. entities on the petro-payroll exhibit the same short-term-gains mentality that motivates politicians who take Koch money. Mr. Coleman, a leading Jewish Republican, apparently believes Saudi Arabia is a powerful ally against Iran, and perhaps he imagines he is “helping Israel.” In the long-term, he is opening doors in D.C. to the very entity that promotes the most virulent, lethal belief system in the world, one arguably even more dangerous to the interests of the Unites states than Iran ever was.

Are some of us so in love with ease and luxury that we will trade off principles for a first-class ticket on Emirates Air and a high-six or seven figure salary and all that it buys for families in Washington these days? What are we fighting for when our liberal institutions and policy-influencers will overlook medieval traditions regarding women, free speech and human rights for a paycheck?

These are countries in which foreign embassy basements are packed with stateless female domestics—slaves who have escaped their masters and who have no legal rights; where women are legally children their entire lives; where mullahs preach hatred of “infidels” and Jews every Friday and nobody within 1,000 miles dares reject it because if they do they are clapped in jail, without trial, tortured or gruesomely silenced forever by fanatics.

As a nation, we may be strapped for cash, the good times may indeed have come to an end, but some things we believe in should not have a price. To take their money is as wrong as the billions Saudi Arabia spent on “aid” to madrassas—not to educate but to infect generations of poor Muslim boys with an abiding love for dead martyrs.

Nusra’s Golani Claims Still Fighting ISIS, Despite Media Lies Otherwise

[SEE:  ISIS+Al-Nusra Front? Islamists reportedly join forces, new threat against West issued ]

Al-Nusra Leader Warns Syria Rebels Against Siding With West

lseLogo14
Mon, 29th Sep 2014 06:37
Cairo (Alliance News) – The leader of an al-Qaeda affiliate targeted in US airstrikes in Syria Sunday warned other rebel groups not to side with Western countries.

“I advise and warn the sincere fighting groups on the ground: do not allow the West and America to exploit the injustice that the Islamic State has done to you,” Abu Mohammed al-Jaulani, head of the al-Nusra Front, said in an audio message released on jihadist websites.

“Do not let that injustice lead any of you to follow the West or participate in its alliance of evil,” al-Jaulani said, saying that the goal of the US was to enlist Syrian rebels in a “secularist project” or bring about a settlement with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Nusra was hit by US airstrikes Tuesday, the same day the US and allies launched raids against the Islamic State group which split from al-Qaeda last year and has seized swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq.

The US Congress has also authorized the equipping and training of moderate Syrian rebel groups who are to fight Islamic State militants on the ground.

But even some moderate rebel groups have reacted angrily to the strikes against al-Nusra, asking why they are not receiving more military aid and arguing that regime forces should also be targeted.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said al-Jaulani’s group lost 57 fighters in the raids. The US said it was targeting a network of al-Qaeda veterans who were preparing overseas attacks.

Al-Jaulani said al-Nusra’s fight against the Syrian regime would be weakened by the strikes but it would not give up.

But his message gave no hint of any reconciliation with the Islamic State, which has battled other rebels since the beginning of the year as it seeks to impose its sole authority in areas outside government control.

Instead, he described it as having given the West a “justification” for intervention in Syria.

US President Barack Obama acknowledged in an interview with US broadcaster CBS that the US had underestimated the rise of the Islamic State group.

Obama blamed instability in Syria for giving extremists space to thrive. In an interview with the CBS programme 60 Minutes, he said his director of national intelligence already had acknowledged that US intelligence underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

He also said the US had overestimated the ability of the Iraqi military to fend off Islamic State militants.

“During the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you had huge swathes of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos,” Obama said.

The group has been able to attract foreign fighters from Europe, the US, Australia and parts of the Muslim world, converging on Syria, he said.

“And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world,” he said, adding that recruitment efforts have been aided by a “very savvy” social media campaign.

He also blamed remnants of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s military for lending some “traditional military capacity” to the terrorist group.

“That’s why it’s so important for us to recognize part of our solution here is gonna be military,” he said.

The US is assisting Iraq in “a very real battle on their soil,” Obama said.

“This is not America against ISIL,” he said, describing it instead as America “assisting” to make sure that the Iraqis can “take care of their business.”

He again described the Islamic State as a “cancer” in the Muslim world.

“The Iraqis have to be willing to fight,” he said. “Shia, Sunnis and Kurds, alongside each other against this cancer.”

Politically, Iraq, Syria and other countries have to learn tolerance. They must “think about what political accommodation means,” he said, adding it’s “not something that will happen overnight.”

The current effort to fight the Islamic State group is focused on destroying their command and control, weapons and fuel and cutting off their financing the flow of foreign fighters.

But the president said a political solution is necessary for lasting peace.

Copyright dpa
Alliance News

Iran As New Policeman for World Hegemon–Council On Foreign Relations CFR

Security in the Persian Gulf

foreign affairs  COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS , CFR

Who should maintain the future security of the Persian Gulf? This question looms large in the minds of policymakers in the United States, Western Europe, Japan and, of course, the Persian Gulf states. The fact that this question is raised with a deep sense of urgency in numerous capitals of the world indicates the extent to which Iran was perceived as having ensured Gulf security before the outbreak of its recent revolution. Although American rhetoric spoke of pursuing a “twin-pillar policy,” the United States itself actually relied primarily on Iran to perform the role of the “policeman” for the Gulf region.

Prior to the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, the perception of Iran as the main protector of Gulf security was reinforced by the American reluctance to fill the power vacuum left by Britain as a result of its historic decision to withdraw forces in 1971 from the area “east of Suez,” including the Persian Gulf. As the most populous and the strongest military power in the area and as the main country straddling the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which some 57 percent of world oil trade must pass to world markets, Iran was willing to undertake the burden of responsibility for Gulf security-the immediate problem then being the creation of a federation of the Trucial and other small states near the entrance to the Gulf.

When Saudi Arabia emerged as a world financial power after the 1973 war, it seemed for a time to be regarded as the “linchpin” of American policy in the Persian Gulf. The Carter Administration in particular seemed to have some preference for the financial power of Saudi Arabia as contrasted with the military power of Iran. In fact, however, the idea died on the vine. Saudi Arabia lacked the population and military power necessary for playing a major security role in the Gulf region, and in any case Riyadh was unwilling to undertake such a role.

But Saudi Arabia was willing, especially after the assassination of King Faisal in 1975, to use its monetary prowess in support of a more active diplomacy, as a means of neutralizing the influence of such “radical” states as South Yemen and Iraq and bolstering the governments of such “moderate” states as Oman, North Yemen and Egypt. Although Saudi dollar diplomacy was extended to states located outside as well as within the Persian Gulf, it complemented the Iranian security role in the Gulf area. Saudi Arabia’s increasingly active diplomacy, added to Iran’s security policy, poured concrete meaning into the hitherto empty rhetoric of an American “twin-pillar policy.”

Plainly, Iran will no longer act in any sense as a pillar of American policy in the Persian Gulf. Even before the short-lived government of Dr. Bakhtiar was formed, he told the United States that a future government in Iran would abandon Iran’s “policeman” role and would confine its security concerns to the defense of the country’s national boundaries. Now, with the Khomeini forces precariously allied with the Bazargan government, this policy seems nailed down. In response, Washington circles appeared to be weighing two possible alternatives. One was to search for a new “second pillar,” on the assumption that Saudi Arabia would now be willing to play some Gulf-wide security role, but could not do so alone even if it were willing, because of its small population and still low levels of military and underlying economic strength. On this view, despite its geographic distance from the Persian Gulf proper, Egypt loomed as a desirable candidate partly because it shares the Saudi concerns with the perceived Soviet and communist threats to the region around the Red Sea.

The other initial idea about Gulf security was a spin-off from a larger conception of American security which called for reliance on “regional influentials,” to borrow the phrase of the National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski. India would presumably qualify as such a regional power center in the Indian Ocean with its twin arms of the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea.

Most recently, however, Secretary of Defense Harold Brown’s visit to the Middle East in February 1979 has suggested a new American security formula in the Middle East that may be broader than either of these. Clearly, it is a formula for a more forward American policy, overturning the previous more distant approach of the Carter as well as Nixon and Ford Administrations toward the Persian Gulf. His pronouncements were intended particularly to assuage Saudi anxieties that had been intensified largely by the perceived American failure to support the Shah’s regime, in the context of a background of perceived Soviet and communist gains in Afghanistan and especially in the Horn of Africa. But they also went further than ever before in warning the Soviet Union that the United States would not tolerate any future threat to vital American interests in the region either as a result of overt Soviet incursions or Soviet-supported communist coups in the Gulf states, and in signaling to Moscow that the United States is committed to a growing military and economic relationship with “pro-Western” governments of the Middle East toward the same end.

Apparently, what is now envisaged would include a sharp increase of American military supplies and economic aid to “pro-Western” governments outside the Gulf as well as within it, including Saudi Arabia, North Yemen, the Sudan, Egypt, Jordan and Israel. Saudi Arabia would be expected under the new formula to play a more prominent military and economic role in the small states of the lower Persian Gulf. Significantly, the new formula would also include the expansion of a “quick-strike force” of American paratroopers and marines (an idea first broached by Secretary Brown a year earlier) to be used in case of a request for help by Saudi Arabia or other oil-producing Gulf states threatened with the turmoil of a Soviet-supported coup. Moreover, it would possibly involve the construction of more port facilities for major American ships in the Indian Ocean naval base of Diego Garcia. However, President Carter stated at the end of February that American bases in the Middle East itself are not envisioned.

II

This new American commitment to the future security of the Persian Gulf has clear advantages and disadvantages. If in fact it clarifies the intention and resolve to defend vital American interests in the Persian Gulf, it may well reduce the chances of Soviet miscalculation and simultaneously assure American friends and allies of the U.S. commitment to their independence.

One need not be a doctrinaire student of geopolitics to realize, in the light of actual Soviet behavior, that ever since the end of World War II Moscow has sought to expand its power and influence-at the expense of the West in general and the United States in particular-in a widening circle of regional states lying south of Soviet borders. The Soviet thrust, first into the Northern Tier, and then into the Eastern Mediterranean, has since 1968 been extended into the Indian Ocean-Persian Gulf area. Its principal instruments have included the encouragement of nationalization of Western oil companies and the acquisition of oil and gas privileges for the Soviet Union, propaganda attacks on the CENTO alliance and American military sales, transfer of Soviet arms, support for national liberation movements, massive infusion of Soviet and Cuban arms supplies and military personnel, encouragement of communist participation in national-front governments and support for communist coups. Now the potential for Soviet and communist pressure on the states located in and around the Persian Gulf has increased substantially as a consequence of the Iranian revolution. Anti-American sentiments have been fomented by Soviet propaganda, and there are emerging signs of Soviet influence on militant leftist elements in Iran.

The other great advantage of the emerging American security posture is the apparent reversal of the decade-old reliance of the United States on one or two local powers to maintain regional security. The indiscriminate sale of billions of dollars worth of arms to the Shah’s regime had been justified as a way to avoid the commitment of American troops to the defense of the strategic Persian Gulf. To be sure, the Shah’s own preoccupation with military strength underpinned his enormous purchases of sophisticated military equipment, but U.S. eagerness to comply with Iranian requests during the Nixon Administration paved the way for the massive transfer of arms once the explosion of oil revenues made this financially possible for Iran and economically profitable for the United States. However one evaluates the diverse causes of the Iranian revolution, there is little doubt that these unrestrained arms transactions contributed to its outbreak. They not only diverted badly needed funds from social and economic projects, but also placed unprecedented burdens on Iranian skilled manpower resources and economic and communication infrastructures.

And the new American commitment to the economic and military strength of half a dozen states (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and secondarily North Yemen and the Sudan) seems a healthy corrective to the previous temptation to treat Saudi Arabia as the “linchpin” of American policy in the whole Gulf area.

There are, however, several disadvantages in the nascent American security posture. One is the potential polarization of the Middle East into camps of “pro-Western” and other nations. Secretary Brown’s new prescription would seem to suffer potentially from all the previous shortcomings of American security policy in the Middle East, especially since the creation of the Baghdad Pact (subsequently the Central Treaty Organization or CENTO). His commitment to the security of the “pro-Western” regimes in the Middle East, like Secretary Dulles’ commitment to the Northern Tier states in the 1950s, may be portrayed as a new American effort for the “enslavement” of Middle Eastern governments. And his planned American “quick-strike force” that would come, on request, to the aid of any government threatened by a Soviet-supported coup smacks of the ill-fated Eisenhower Doctrine that allowed the United States to go to the aid, also on request, of any pro-Western government threatened by “international communism.” That doctrine was invoked by a Middle Eastern government only in one instance, the Lebanese crisis of 1958, and in hindsight the cost of its invocation far exceeded the actual benefit. Neither the Eisenhower Administration nor the Chamoun government gained in the long or even the medium term from American intervention in that earlier Lebanese civil war. It simultaneously increased popular resentment against the United States and deepened ancient communal divisions within Lebanese society.

A second potential disadvantage is the intensification of arms transfers to the Middle East. No aspect of past American security policy in the Middle East has been subjected to greater criticism. Whatever the short-term financial benefits of unrestrained arms sales, on balance indiscriminate arms supplies can contribute more to destabilization than stabilization of the region. This apparent new American commitment to a sharp increase in arms supplies also raises serious questions about President Carter’s often repeated, but still unfulfilled, goal of limiting the sale of arms worldwide.

A third shortcoming of the new American security formula is the possibility that it may hobble efforts to achieve security in the Persian Gulf, by linking them to the extremely difficult Arab-Israeli peacemaking process. These efforts aim at two quite different objectives: to align the “pro-Western” Gulf regimes with the United States; and to break the deadlock on peace negotiations. The increased American security commitment to Israel as well as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia is intended to attain both objectives. However, as a result of this coupling, the more easily attainable objective of future security in the Persian Gulf will almost certainly be obstructed by the intractable Arab-Israeli conflict.

However, the greatest shortcoming of the new American security scheme is that it addresses threats to Gulf security that may be more hypothetical than potential. The United States has made it emphatically clear, and rightly so, that the American commitment is intended for defense against “external threats.” This appears to exclude threats emanating from within the region as well as internal coups-unless either is supported by the Soviet Union. As a consequence, two of the more likely sources of instability and conflict in the Persian Gulf are not covered.

First, let us take domestic crises. If the Iranian revolution has taught us nothing else, it should have made clear that the sources of domestic conflict and upheaval in the Persian Gulf societies are more pressing than hitherto anticipated. Unlike the Dhofari rebellion in Oman that received ample Soviet and communist support both directly and indirectly, the Iranian opposition was transformed into a full-scale and bloody revolution within a year primarily as a result of misguided and disastrously executed economic, social and political decisions of the indigenous elite. As early as 1972, and repeatedly thereafter, I warned that international capability was no true substitute for internal political stability in Iran no matter how actively it tried to project its power abroad in the pursuit of its national objectives.1 Without any significant outside aid, thousands of strikers and millions of street demonstrators finally brought down with their bare hands one of the world’s best-equipped military forces. It is not likely that Saudi Arabia, for example, will face the challenge of internal communism; it hardly has a native proletariat. But there is ample reason to envisage the outbreak of a genuine indigenous internal convulsion to which the present American security scheme would be irrelevant.

Second, this scheme would not bear directly on the containment of regional conflicts. The Persian Gulf region is as rich in potential conflicts as in oil, although, as we shall see, the Gulf states have had a remarkable record of peaceful settlement of their disputes. The spillover of conflicts from the more conflict-prone adjacent areas into the Gulf region proper is also a major problem. The Arab-Israeli war of October 1973, the Arab oil embargo and the explosion of oil prices have been followed by the growth of unprecedented social and economic ties between the Gulf states proper and other Middle East societies on the one hand and South Asian nations on the other. It is difficult to envisage a future Arab-Israeli war that would not quickly spread to the Gulf area as a result of Saudi Arabian arms transfers to the Arab confrontation states, or an Israeli preventive or preemptive attack on Saudi Arabia. It would also seem more likely today than, for example, in 1971, that a conflict in South Asia would swiftly spread to the Gulf area-probably not as a result of another Indo-Pakistani war but of an armed conflict between Afghanistan and Pakistan or Afghanistan and Iran. Again, a political upheaval in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or a separatist movement in Baluchistan or Pushtunistan, would be likely to spill over into the Gulf.

On balance, therefore, the new American security formula could at best aid the objective of security in the Persian Gulf only indirectly, peripherally and partially. The American commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia against “external threat” and internal Soviet-supported coups seems to address, in the last analysis, two hypothetical threats emanating from the Soviet Union, and the increased U.S. security commitment to Egypt, Israel and Jordan can hardly contribute to the solution of the urgent problem of security in the Persian Gulf proper.

The uninterrupted flow of oil supplies to the world is the pivotal problem, and the bulk of the Gulf oil, including Saudi oil, must pass through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, whose security must be our paramount concern. Furthermore, the Iranian revolution has shown for the first time that the disruption of oil supplies can be used as an instrument of domestic political coercion by a noncommunist opposition and that it can have as adverse an effect on oil exports as an oil embargo. Without necessarily implying that oil workers in other Gulf states are susceptible to the same kind of call for strikes as in Iran, the main point is that Secretary Brown’s emerging security formula would be clearly inadequate as a deterrent against potential threats to oil supplies arising from both domestic crises and regional conflicts in the heart of the oilfields and in the main artery of oil transportation.

III

The most effective way to cope with domestically and regionally based threats would be for the Persian Gulf states themselves to continue their own search for indigenous security arrangements. This search is all the more appropriate at this particular time when the sense of a common security concern has heightened to an unprecedented degree in the wake of the Iranian revolution. Any indigenous security arrangements made at the initiative of the Gulf states themselves could have the full support of the United States if the local states should so desire. Such arrangements could prove more effective not only against domestic and regional threats, but also against Soviet threats if the local states should choose to seek American and other Western support.

The problem with Secretary Brown’s security formula for the Persian Gulf is not merely the shortcomings discussed above. Equally important, its existence might cause the United States to overlook the great potential for indigenous regional security arrangements in the area. A wide variety of considerations now seem conducive to the definition of common security problems in the Gulf, the adoption of common security strategies, and ultimately the creation of common procedures and institutions for the collective attainment of common objectives.

First of all, the Persian Gulf is a distinct and compact region. Geographically it is an “arm” of the Indian Ocean and a “finger” of the Middle East. These two larger regions are relatively undefinable, but the Gulf area is physically set apart as a shallow and narrow semi-enclosed sea. It is connected to the high seas only by the strategic Strait of Hormuz, squeezed between the Iranian shore and the Omani tip of the Musandum Peninsula.

Second, all Persian Gulf states have a vital stake in freedom of navigation and the control of pollution. The Gulf’s special geographic features have been acknowledged repeatedly at international conferences on the law of the sea as a justification for the adoption of special regional regulations. Because of its limited access to the Gulf waters, Iraq has been the greatest advocate of the concept of “transit passage” through the Strait of Hormuz, while Iran as one of the straits states has favored a kind of “regulated transit passage,” and Oman as the other straits state has insisted on the application of the traditional concept of “innocent passage” to the strait. Despite such divergencies regarding the details, however, all eight Gulf states share a deep sense of obligation with respect to the maintenance of secure and unimpeded navigation. The Gulf waters constitute not only their main trade artery and the vital route for their oil exports, but also an increasingly important source of their food supplies. Because they share the shallow and narrow waters and navigable channels of the Gulf, the littoral states also share a deep sense of common concern with the problem of pollution.

Third, all the Gulf states have a heightened interest in social and economic development projects. The revolutionary rise in oil revenues has financed ambitious economic development projects particularly in the large oil-producing states of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Iraq. The Iranian revenues increased from $194 million in 1972 to $22 billion in 1974, and their massive infusion into the economy lay at the heart of the social and economic dislocations that in combination with political repression and unprecedented corruption led to revolution. Saudi Arabia has also launched an extremely ambitious economic development plan (1976-1980) that calls for a spectacular $140-billion expenditure. Saudi society is now having to grapple with the side effects of swift modernization. The signs of rapid inflation, corruption and waste are already visible and their adverse political consequences cannot be ruled out. The Gulf states in general have in common the blight as well as the blessing of sudden wealth.

Fourth, all the Gulf states are prone to internal political upheaval, but the larger oil producers, particularly Saudi Arabia, are more susceptible to political convulsion.

It would, however, be a mistake to predict the rise of a religious opposition against the Saudi royal family on the model of that in Iran. The danger of this kind of analogy is increased by talk about the phenomenon of the so-called “resurgence of Islam.” To be sure, the signs of religiously based political opposition are everywhere to be seen in the Muslim world, from Mauritania to Malaysia, but two points should be borne in mind in order to avoid drawing false analogies. First, the relationship of the religious leaders (the ulama) and the wielders of political power has been generally different in the Sunni, as contrasted with the Shi’i, communities. For example, the ulama in Egypt and Saudi Arabia have not been so completely kept out of the political process as they were in Iran. Second, the Iranian revolution probably owes much of its fervor and zeal to the character of Shi’ism as a historically revolutionary, messianic and legitimistic movement. The anti-establishmentarian thrust of Shi’i Islam is also marked by a perpetual drive for social justice and equality hallowed by an ethos of martyrdom that is unparalleled in the larger world of Sunni Islam.

The doctrinal-political differences between Shi’i and Sunni Islam do not of course preclude the rise of religiously based opposition in the Sunni communities, whether secularized as in Turkey or traditional as in Saudi Arabia. What will make the real difference, however, are the basic human conditions, as one learns from the Iranian experience. All Gulf regimes would face potential internal political explosions if their peoples felt dissatisfied, hopeless and resentful of great disparities in wealth and power.

Fifth, the Gulf states share not only a common aspiration for economic modernization, and an uncertain political future, but also an urge for the control of their own destiny in world politics. Political awakening is the hallmark of every Gulf society at a crucial time when the outside world increasingly covets their oil, their most precious and finite natural resource. Many of them have enjoyed the status of independent states for less than a decade, and all of them share the desire to maintain their territorial integrity and political independence in the future. The West in general, they know, is committed to the maintenance of their political independence. For this fundamental reason none of them is likely to become permanently “anti-Western.” Just as the Iranians have risen to challenge their excessive dependence on the West in general and the United States in particular, Iraq has begun to question its heavy dependence on the Soviet Union. On balance, suspicion of the Soviet Union is prevalent in the Gulf societies and the perception of a common threat from Moscow is yet another potential element of commonality among them.

IV

Despite all these factors of commonality, would it be realistically possible for the Gulf rulers and governments to develop a sense of common security responsibility? Since all the peoples of the Gulf are Muslim, would it be possible to develop such a sense out of their common faith? The commonality of faith in general is counterbalanced by the division between the Sunni and the Shi’i communities in the Gulf area. Most Iranians and more than half of the Arab population of Iraq are the followers of Shi’i Islam. Given the fact that these are the two most populous nations of the Gulf, the Shi’i believers numerically predominate in the Gulf.

However, Saudi Arabia, though with a much smaller population, is the site of two of the most holy places in Islam (Mecca and Medina), the birthplace of Islam and the home of a distinctively puritanical branch of Islam (Wahhabism). Furthermore, this sectarian division is compounded by the cultural disparity between Arabs and Iranians. For these reasons, therefore, Islam is unlikely to play a unifying role in the Gulf and might at times exacerbate regional differences.

Yet, as noted in the previous section, there are cohesive factors that do counterbalance these ancient sectarian and cultural divisions. Those elements of cohesion are more “modern,” in the sense that they largely represent the ethos of the “world culture,” one that knows no boundaries of religion, culture and race. It is a culture in the process of worldwide diffusion and is based on “advanced technology, and the spirit of science, on a rational view of life, a secular approach to social relations, a feeling for justice in public affairs, and, above all else, on the acceptance in the political realm of the belief that the prime unit of the polity should be the nation-state.”2 Will these states that are in the process of becoming modern nations in this age of rampant nationalism be able to develop in practice extensive ties translatable over time into an obligation to maintain their security collectively?

This important question should be addressed on the basis of the experience of the Persian Gulf states themselves. Most of these have attained the status of independent and sovereign political entities only recently. Nevertheless, their past interrelationships contain an important clue to their future ability to cooperate with each other.

Fortunately, the Gulf states, as contrasted with the Arab confrontation states and Israel, have not been plagued with the kind of intractable conflict that has plunged those countries into four wars in 30 years. The most remarkable fact about the experience of the Gulf states, on the contrary, is their demonstrated ability to settle peacefully numerous multifaceted, overlapping and interlocking disputes in a short span of time. These include the Bahrain settlement (1970), the historic Iraq-Iran conflict resolution (1975), and a series of other agreements between Iran and every Arab state of the Gulf and between the Arab states themselves, like the important agreement between Iraq and Saudi Arabia over the land boundary in the Neutral Zone, and between Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi over the Buraimi oasis.

Why should there be this predilection for peaceful settlement of disputes in the Persian Gulf? My own examination of the record suggests that the impressive web of agreements that the Gulf states have developed over the years has been rooted in the imperative of practical necessity. Given the universal urge for social and economic development in the area, on the basis of uninterrupted income from oil and in the face of the nightmare of oil depletion, the Gulf states have accorded regional security the highest priority because they are, in the last analysis, hostages of each other.

Armed conflict diverts scarce resources from economic development in any society, but in the Gulf area it would destroy the very foundation of economic betterment and political survival. The dramatic settlement of the conflict between Iraq and Iran is the best illustration of the influence of this all-important mutual vulnerability on the security behavior of the Gulf states. After decades of smoldering hostility, Iran and Iraq decided to resolve their ancient and festering conflict as soon as it became clear that armed skirmishes might finally lead to an all-out war that would result in the mutual destruction of their oil facilities and the disruption of their oil exports.

The experience of the Gulf states also reveals that they have in fact gone beyond the avoidance of armed conflict and the peaceful settlement of disputes in their search for regional security. Ever since the settlement of the Shatt al-Arab dispute between Iraq and Iran in 1975, the Gulf leaders have pressed forward for mutual defense cooperation despite a number of setbacks. In that year their foreign ministers first discussed in Jiddah the possibility of plans for mutual defense against external threats, and also, significantly, mutual aid in case of internal coups. Subsequent developments in the Horn of Africa and the coup in Afghanistan intensified their common concern with the advance of Soviet power and influence around the Persian Gulf. This concern reached a new peak by the middle of 1978 when Iraq began to share the Saudi and Iranian perceptions of the threat to their security. The Shah and the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, even held “security consultations.”

Has the Iranian revolution increased or decreased the chances for further development of a security consensus in the Persian Gulf area? The answer will, of course, partly depend on the outcome of the revolution, but, assuming that an Islamic republic in some form is established, a best-case and a worst-case scenario may be envisaged.

The best case would be an Iran turned inward but still clearly anti-communist, which confined its security perimeter to the defense of Iranian national boundaries, pursued a hands-off policy in the Gulf, and concentrated its energies on badly needed domestic economic reconstruction and political consolidation. Such a regime would presumably pull the remaining Iranian troups out of Oman (if it has not already done so). It would perhaps try to settle the Iranian disputes with the Sheikh of Sharjah over the Gulf island of Abu Musa and with the Sheikh of Ra’s al-Khaymeh over the two Tunbs.

If so, the atmosphere for regional cooperation in the Gulf area would certainly improve. The Shah’s overbearing manner often alienated Iran’s neighbors, and the decline in Iranian assertiveness (as well as military power) could contribute to better relations and a fully shared perception of the external threat. The dramatic change already evident in Iran’s policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict would also ease past tensions between the Arab states of the Gulf and Iran over the Shah’s favorable policy toward Israel. The new regime’s embrace of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), however, would not necessarily endear it to all Arab states, including some in the Gulf area. In fact, if the new regime should push its association with the PLO too far it might indeed alienate several leading Arab states, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as long as they have “moderate” regimes.

At worst, the new regime could turn outward virulently. If the Shah’s Gulf policy was inspired by the glories of ancient Persia, the new regime’s might be influenced by the golden age of Islam. Pan-Shi’ism would embitter Iran’s relations with not only the anti-Shi’i Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, but also the Sunni Baathist minority of Iraq who dominate the Iraqi Shi’i majority. Any outward thrust by a new Iranian regime would surely sour Iran’s relations with its major Gulf neighbors.

In either case the importance of Iran for the future security of the Persian Gulf would continue. Under the best-case scenario, the Gulf states and Iran might finally be able to develop a sense of common obligation to maintain their security against external threats and internal subversion and coups, and Iran’s cooperation would be of critical importance. However, should Iran prefer to stay out of any collective security arrangement, there would be no reason for the Arab states of the Gulf to abandon past efforts toward the adoption of common security arrangements that would stand them in good stead even if Iran’s security concerns were confined to the defense of its own territory and maritime interests.

V

The United States should not only encourage local initiatives toward security arrangements and be prepared to assist the regional states to achieve their own common security goals, but should also try to persuade other advanced industrial countries in OECD to join in common efforts to develop both economic and security ties with a prospective group of Gulf states if they choose to invite Western support. The United States, as contrasted with its NATO allies, is much less dependent on Persian Gulf oil. The Strait of Hormuz is potentially a global chokepoint largely because of the great dependence of Western Europe and Japan on Persian Gulf oil. (The socialist world’s dependence on Gulf oil is relatively minimal at the present time, although it may well increase in the near future.) There is no convincing reason why the United States should try to go it alone in forging economic and security ties with a prospective group of regional states in the Persian Gulf. But there are all sorts of good reasons for doing so in cooperation with some other oil-consuming nations of the Western world.

Existing economic and military ties with the Gulf states, of course, already involve the OECD governments and corporations. This is partly due to the common interest of the Gulf states in diversifying the sources of their technology imports despite a general preference for American know-how. The European Community as a whole is a significant market for the Gulf states because of geographic proximity and the lesser cost of transportation, as well as traditional patterns of trade. As has been revealed in Euro-Arab and European-Iranian dialogues, this market would be of the greatest interest to Iran and Saudi Arabia for the future export of their petrochemicals. Western Europe has also been an important source of military equipment for the Gulf states. This is again the result of their determination to diversify their sources of arms, despite a general preference for American military equipment, especially sophisticated weapons.

Second, although an American near-monopoly of arms supplies to the Gulf states would help our balance-of-payments deficit, the long-term cost is too great. Our excessive military sales to Iran became a major target of religious and political opposition to the Shah’s regime not only because of the perceived economic and social harm involved, but also because they symbolized the military and political commitment of the United States to the survival of an unpopular regime. A prudent future arms sales policy would have a better chance of success if the Gulf states understood that despite their preference for American arms, the United States and its allies were committed to spreading the sale of military equipment among themselves. Such a common Western arms policy might reduce the pressure on Washington from the Gulf states for excessive amounts of American arms.

Third, and finally, increased bilateral partnerships between the United States and individual Gulf states that seem bound to result under Secretary Brown’s new security formula would tend to entail even greater American omnipresence in the Gulf region, whereas the Iranian revolution has shown that this should be all the more avoided. Excessive presence of nationals from any one nation would inevitably become unpalatable to indigenous populations, not only as a perceived infringement on their political independence, but also an imagined affront to their cultural and religious values.

VI

In sum, a comprehensive economic and security partnership between a group of Gulf and OECD countries along the lines suggested in this essay would in the long run better contribute to the processes of regional order as well as peacemaking in the Middle East than would the security formula of Secretary Brown. Since the chances of regional cooperation are far greater in the Persian Gulf sub-area than in the Arab-Israeli zone of the Middle East, the Persian Gulf model of indigenous security arrangements could be expanded subsequently to include the other interested states, including Israel, when the Arab-Israeli conflict is satisfactorily resolved.3

Moreover, comprehensive security cooperation among a group of Gulf and OECD states would place the United States in a better position to pursue the larger long-term goal of establishing “rules of the game” between the superpowers in the Middle East. Without the threat of the Soviet hand on the economic throat of the Western industrial democracies and Japan at the Strait of Hormuz, the United States would eventually be able to enter into negotiations with Moscow from a position of strength. These would be aimed at the threefold objective of mutual reduction of arms supplies to the Middle East, mutual limitations on naval deployment and use of base facilities in areas adjacent to the Gulf, and mutual acceptance of restraints on direct and indirect intervention in local conflicts in and around the Persian Gulf.

In the foreseeable future, however, the vital interests of the industrial democracies and those of the Gulf states, which are basically compatible, must be protected by means of any combination of skillful multilateral and alliance diplomacy that the realities of the situation permit. The challenge to American leadership is unmistakably clear. The courage and resourcefulness with which it is met today will make a significant difference to world peace and prosperity to the end of the century.

Footnotes

3 I argued before the Iranian revolution that American policymakers should not compartmentalize the Middle Eastern problems into those of the Arab-Israeli and Persian Gulf sub-areas as if they are separable, since the problem of order-building is universal in the entire Middle East. See R. K. Ramazani, Beyond the Arab-Israeli Settlement: New Directions for U.S. Policy in the Middle East, Cambridge, Mass: Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, 1977.

State Dept. “Democracy” Dominoes Begin Tipping Over In Hong Kong

hong kong
Hong Kong and tear gas

CY voices opposition to ‘illegal’ pressure tactics

the standard
Eddie Luk and Hilary Wong

The SAR government is opposed to Occupy Central for resorting to illegal acts to pressure Beijing and the administration on political reform, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said.

He said Beijing’s decision on the matter is legally binding and the local government will soon launch the second round of public consultation on reform.

“The SAR government is strongly opposed to Occupy Central organizers and participants for resorting to illegal means to occupy public areas and police will handle it based on the laws,” Leung said.

He also said Occupy aims to paralyze the core districts to pressure Beijing and the SAR government and that is not the way for Hong Kong citizens to express their opinions.

Meanwhile, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who appeared in the government briefing at the Central Government Offices with Leung, said she believes the upcoming chief executive election will still be competitive.

 

She was referring to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee ruling on August 31 that potential candidates must have the support of more than half the nominating committee to run.

Lam said she joined social campaigns as a university student and that it is good for students to have their own views on social issues, but their actions should necessarily be legal, peaceful and rational.

That came as Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said: “Apart from the fact that the protesters are by and large unarmed, it is also important to consider the fact that many others were injured as a result of their actions, including more than 10 security guards and a number of officers as well as a number of protesters themselves.

“I believe trying to tie acts of violence to whether or not one is armed is a rather unwise proposition.”

Executive Council non-official members in a statement appealed to the public to cherish the safety and stability of Hong Kong and not to take part in any illegal activities of Occupy Central.

In Beijing, Vice President Li Yuanchao voiced hope that Hong Kong people can gain a deeper understanding of the ruling on reform.

 

Eyes on ISIS should be on US–Prague Post

[This article disabled the Prague Post website when it came out three days ago.  There was zero way to retrieve the article from anywhere on the Internet until today.  I congratulate Monroe Luther, the operator of the Czech site for his tenacity in retrieving the fine piece.]

Eyes on ISIS should be on US

prague post

Written by Bill Cohn

More fighting the symptoms, not the causes, of terror

CodePink anti-war activists gather at the White House in Washington on September 25, 2014 to protest US-led military intervention in Syria and Iraq against the Islamic State group and call on President Barack Obama to return his Nobel Peace Prize. Activists remembered those affected by war and called for nonviolent solutions to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM

Last Fall, we were told that the United States had to wage war against the Assad regime in Syria. This Fall, we are told the US must wage war against Syrian rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime. How can this be logically explained? Has the world changed so dramatically in one year?

In fact, despite dramatic changes things remain very much the same. The world today, just as a year ago and a decade ago, is marked by: a growing gap between the haves and have-nots; a reflex for military solutions to political problems; a flagrant disregard for law; and, hypocritical policy which reacts to the symptoms of terror rather than addressing its causes.

Yes, the Islamic States’ actions are barbaric and there is great volatility in the Mid-East, but the policy of the West has enabled these developments. Just as Al-Qaeda was born from US support of the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, ISIS comes from the US war in Iraq. We can also look to the intervention of the West in Libya and Syria, and its overall regional policy, to explain the spread of Islamic extremism.

Speaking to the UN General Assembly on September 25, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani criticized Western nations for sowing extremism in the Middle East, saying, “Certain intelligence agencies have put blades in the hands of mad men who now spare no one. All those who have played a role in founding and supporting these terror groups must now acknowledge their errors.” Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Sadly, the West is again repeating its erroneous ways.

Despite Obama’s bombastic rhetoric at the UN this week, there is no military solution to terrorism. A comprehensive study on How Terrorist Groups End by the Rand Corporation underscores the need for political, not military, solutions. Iraq may need to be a confederation. Iran and other disfavored groups will need to be part of a grand-negotiation. Bombs cannot bring peace in the region.

Robert McNamara set forth guidelines for the wise use of military force in The Fog of War:  “If we can’t persuade nations with comparable values of the merits of our cause, we’d better re-examine our reasoning.” Europe, stung by the Iraq experience, has not yet signed onto the bombing of ISIL in Syria. America’s coalition for that bombing is five brutal Arab autocracies (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Jordan, and Bahrain).

Former Bush legal advisor John Bellinger III recently said, “Many European governments really are sticklers on international law rules on the use of force, particularly after the Iraq war. This may look a lot more justifiable, but they nonetheless feel the obligation to have a legal basis.” Think about that. The Bush lawyer is saying that the US doesn’t need a legal basis to bomb Syria. The legal justification given by the Obama team has mutated from the absurd (Syrian extremists were plotting an imminent attack against the US) to the creative (If Iraq so requests the US can chase its enemies across land borders).

A sane approach to ending terrorism would address its economic as well as its political roots. It would recognize that the rise of the rest will enhance the security of the West, and seek to redress some of the failings of globalization to deliver on its promise. And, it would recognize that democracy must begin at home, not in Baghdad or Damascus.

Policies that extend security must be the aim. Terror sowed will be terror reaped. The bombing campaign against ISIS was announced the day before the UN climate change conference. What could extend security more than the double win of finding clean renewable sources to meet our energy needs and reversing global warming and its catastrophic consequences? Perpetual war can bring neither peace nor security.


The author, a member of the California Bar, lectures on law, ethics and critical thinking at New York University and the University of New York in Prague. He studied international relations at Stanford University and will be participating in a panel discussion on ISIS at the American Center in Prague on November 19.

ISIS Blitzkriegs Accomplished By Few Men With Lots of Money

From Najaf to Tahrir Souri: “ISIS fighters are few, but the tribes are those who are supporting ISIS…”

tahrirSy

A source close to Tahrir Souri from Najaf, nicknamed Ali for the purposes of this article, spoke of the ongoing ISIS offensive, saying: “ISIS fighters are few, but the tribes are those who are supporting ISIS, because as you know, they’re against Nouri Al-Maliki. They’re going off of ‘I’ll work with the devil when it suits me’”.

     Ali’s three friends in the Iraqi military recently returned to Najaf after surrendering in Mosul. He said they had surrendered to ISIS fighters, who after disarming them, let them go.

     Ali added: “ISIS, so far, is treating the families of Mosul generally well. However, in Tal ‘Afar where I have family, they told me ISIS fighters entered homes and took them somewhere unknown. Either to be detained, executed, or outfitted and put into the ranks of ISIS. Could be that they are hostages, that’s my own opinion. I’ll know more tomorrow, and get you the names of the tribes.”

Jarba Calls Mujahideen e-Khalq (a.k.a., “Jundullah”) Brothers

“MKO has been training some militant groups fighting the Syrian government, including the FSA, on bomb manufacturing, planting and detonation methods, assassination and street war.”  [Hillary Clinton recently had the MKO unbranded as “terrorists” on State’s wanted sheet.]

Ahmad Jarba brands Mojahedin Khalq terrorists as Brothers in Syrian Opposition

Nejat

Head of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SCO) Ahmad Jarba called the members of the terrorist Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, also known as MEK, NCRI or PMOI) as brothers of the Syrian opposition.Ahman Jarba brands Mojahedin Khalq terrorists as Brothers in Syrian Opposition

“The MKO and the Syrian Opposition Coalition are brothers,” Jarba said in a meeting with MKO ringleader Maryam Rajavi in Paris a couple of days ago.

During the meeting, Jarba also hailed MKO’s terrorist operations against Iran.

In January, a defected MKO member disclosed that the MKO has been providing military training to the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other militant groups in Syria.

Speaking to Ashraf news website, former MKO member Mohammad Razzaqi said the MKO has been training some militant groups fighting the Syrian government, including the FSA, on bomb manufacturing, planting and detonation methods, assassination and street war.

He noted that some MKO leaders have had a series of meetings with the Syrian opposition leaders in France and Jordan and discussed help and assistance to the FSA and a number of other extremist Salafi groups in Syria.

Following similar reports in the last two years, Iranian officials stated that the collaboration between the ringleaders and members of the MKO and the FSA “displays the real face and goals of insurgents in Syria”.

“The invitation of the deputy commander of the FSA, the armed forces who are opposed to the Damascus government, to the MKO shows that they themselves are terrorists,” member of the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Ebrahim Aqa-Mohammadi said.

He added that the invitation of the Syrian group to the MKO to visit Damascus displays that the terrorist MKO is a role model for the Syrian insurgents.

In late 2012, an FSA commander said the MKO played as a role model for Syrian insurgents.

“Mojahedin-e Khalq is our role model, and we inform them that all doors of our houses are open to them,” Malek al-Kurdi, a deputy commander of the so-called Free Syrian Army, said, addressing a joint meeting of the MKO and the ringleaders of the anti-Assad armed rebel groups.

The last group of MKO terrorists at Camp Ashraf, now called Camp New Iraq, was evicted by the Iraqi government on September 11 to join other members of the terrorist group in the former US-held Camp Liberty, now called Camp Hurriya, near Baghdad International Airport where they are awaiting relocation to other countries.

The MKO, founded in the 1960s, blended elements of Islamism and Stalinism and participated in the overthrow of the US-backed Shah of Iran in 1979. Ahead of the revolution, the MKO conducted attacks and assassinations against both Iranian and western targets.

The group started assassination of the citizens and officials after the revolution in a bid to take control of the newly-established Islamic Republic. It killed several of Iran’s new leaders in the early years after the revolution, including the then President, Mohammad Ali Rajayee, Prime Minister, Mohammad Javad Bahonar and the Judiciary Chief, Mohammad Hossein Beheshti who were killed in bomb attacks by the MKO members in 1981.

The group fled to Iraq in 1986, where it was protected by Saddam Hussein and where it helped the Iraqi dictator suppress Shiite and Kurd uprisings in the country.

The terrorist group joined Saddam’s army during the Iraqi imposed war on Iran (1980-1988) and helped Saddam and killed thousands of Iranian civilians and soldiers during the US-backed Iraqi imposed war on Iran.

Since the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the group, which now adheres to a pro-free-market philosophy, has been strongly backed by neo-conservatives in the United States, who eventually took the MKO off the US terror list.

The US formally removed the MKO from its list of terror organizations in early September 2012, one week after the then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sent the US Congress a classified communication about the move. The decision made by Clinton enabled the group to have its assets under the US jurisdiction unfrozen and do business with the American entities, the State Department said in a statement at the time.

Ahmad al-Jarba–“Let me be honest, some leaders believed they could use terrorists as hired mercenaries”

kerry and Jarba
Secretary of State John Kerry With Syrian Opposition Coalition President Ahmad al-Jarba at Benjamin Franklin Room, Washington, DC, May 8, 2014

President Jarba’s Speech to the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers – June 18 2014

It is far too late to issue any more warnings; disaster has now struck, and the threats of which we’ve repeatedly warned the world are now a nightmarish reality threatening the entire region with implications to world security and peace.

In the past, I warned the world that Syria will become a place from where terrorist acts will be planned and launched against countries around the world. Our cries were heard, however, no serious action was taken to combat these new threats of terrorism.

Let me be frank; the bloodbath that started in Syria is spreading to Iraq and unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Let me be honest; some leaders believed they could use terrorists as hired mercenaries but suddenly found themselves stuck with terrorists who used the opportunity to advance their own interests and agenda.

Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. However, I want to remind you all that trading Syrian blood and playing with fire will torch the whole region. So I ask, what are you waiting for? Are we going to wait until the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham (ISIS) establishes its emirate state in two countries violating their sovereignty and sanctity? Are we going to wait until Hezbollah militias arrive in Iraq to carry on spreading their sectarian hatred? Are we going to wait for a new country to witness a new massacre?

It is time for action. Condemnation is not enough anymore. We have many statements by all countries and international organizations, but have only seen death and destruction in Syria.

This is also a cry of anger at Arab and Islamic states who do not realize the difference between the killer and the victim. In fact, some countries still insolently support the aggressors in the name of resistance and other banal slogans.

Let me be frank and ask the following question: How can hundreds or even thousands of ISIS members capture large areas in Iraq?

ISIS, with atrocities that has taken the world aback, is not a monster from a different world. It is the result of years of political, social, and security depravity. ISIS was formed in the Middle East, and those who created it, knowingly or not, are sitting here today pretending to fight it.

I also ask: did anyone else, other than Iraqi citizens, fight the terrorism that swept Iraq? Despite having the weapons, the money, and the planes, didn’t the Iraqi government fail to control its borders and prevent the transfer of terrorism from Iraq to Syria and vice versa? Didn’t more than 2000 extremists escape Abu Graib and Taji prisons more than a year ago? Didn’t around 3000 prisoners escape the Mosul prison 10 days ago, and most of them went to Syria?

It is a historical first that the Syrian people were forced to fight the Assad regime,

Hezbollah militias, Assaib Ahl al Haq militias from Iraq, and ISIS, all at the same time? All without direct or indirect international intervention,

with exception to the assistance of our sisterly countries; in particular the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and we are grateful to them.

As I stand here before you, the heroes of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Arab tribes in Deir Ezzor are fighting ISIS terrorists. They have fought for 4 months, and it their steadfastness that prevents the establishment of a terrorist state stretching from Mosul in Iraq to Raqqa in Syria.

I would like to remind those who promised us assistance and didn’t follow through is a push for terrorists to win.

And I ask here: Will there be a strike against ISIS in Iraq to push ISIS back into Syria? Will sectarian militias be left to do evil in Iraq and Syria? Will dealing with ISIS be an arbitrary process as per usual, or it will be based on a strategic plan to rid us of this cancer called ISIS?

Finally, let us be realists and face the facts on the ground together. We cannot remain silent about ISIS’s activities in Iraq and Syria. It is shameful to cut off an arm of a sinister octopus and leave the head intact to continue to move the rest of its evil arms.

Helpless Saudi Royals Cry “Wolf” After Losing Yemen

Saudi Arabia warns Yemen violence may threaten global security

DUBAI – Saudi Arabia has said that unprecedented challenges facing Yemen since rebels took over the capital could threaten international security, and called for swift action to deal with instability in its southern neighbour.
The world’s largest oil exporter, which shares a long border with Yemen, welcomed an agreement signed in Sanaa on September 21 to form a new government incorporating the Houthi rebels and some Yemeni southern separatist forces.
But the kingdom fears the accord could benefit its main regional foe Iran, which it sees as an ally of the Houthis, and might also bolster the Islamist militant al Qaeda group.
It is not clear whether the power-sharing deal will satisfy the Houthis’ demands, or whether it will instead embolden them to seek further powers. Under a security annexe to the accord, they had been expected to leave Sanaa in return for their inclusion in the new government. To date they remain in place.
In some of his strongest language about Yemen to date, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the UN General Assembly that hopes for an end to the crisis had been wrecked by what he suggested was the Houthis’ failure to honour the deal.
“The lack of implementation of the security annexe of the agreement and the lack of implementation of the agreement itself in the required manner by the Houthi group has dashed these hopes,” he said in a speech circulated by the Saudi mission at the UN in New York.
“Yemen faces accelerating and extremely dangerous conditions that require us all to look and propose the necessary solutions to confront these unprecedented challenges,” Prince Saud said.
Prince Saud said that Yemen’s violence will no doubt extend to threaten stability and security on the regional and international arena that could prove difficult to put down regardless of the resources and efforts that may be exerted.
Saudi Arabia in 2011 played a key role to push forward a Gulf power transfer deal that saw long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down after months of protests in 2011 in favour of his deputy.
Yemen has since faced multiple challenges, including regular attacks by al- Qaeda and its affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia, as well as protests by southern separatists demanding secession from the country.
The Houthis say that their move into Sanaa was necessitated by them being left out of a government formed after the 2011 protests that they had participated in.

Kuwaiti Emir Wants Noble Prize For Helping Qatar Fund Islamic State and Nusra Front

“The head of the Nobel Prize campaign told the Arab Daily News from Kuwait that the Emir should be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize because of his tireless work to promote peace and understanding not only in the Arab World, but also in the world.”Campaign to nominate Emir of Kuwait for Nobel Peace Prize

[Despite all of the press reports to the contrary, Qatar DID NOT BOMB its Islamist proxies, ISIS or al-Nusra (SEE: Qatar pilots kept watch as U.S. Syrian mission unfolded).  Kuwait did not even participate in the airstrikes in a symbolic show of support.  Qatar’s Air Force took part in bombing Libya (some sources claimed a leading role for the Fat Pig’s Air Force).  Qatar doesn’t bomb Islamists…period.]

How our allies in Kuwait and Qatar funded Islamic State

the telegraph

The Gulf states of Kuwait and Qatar have actively – and openly – helped terrorist money-raising efforts for Isil

In the great jihadi funding bazaar that is the Gulf state of Kuwait, there’s a terror finance option for every pocket, from the private foundations dealing in tens of millions to the more retail end of the market. Give enough for 50 sniper bullets (50 dinars, about £110), promises the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-linked cleric tweeting under the name “jahd bmalk”, and you will earn “silver status”. Donate 100 dinars to buy eight badly needed mortar rounds, and he’ll make you a “gold status donor”.

As the jihadi funders hand out loyalty cards, the West has belatedly realised that some of its supposed friends in the Gulf have been playing the disloyalty card. Had Kuwait not been freed by American, British and allied troops in 1991, it would presumably now still be the “19th province” of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. But the emirate has repaid the Western blood and treasure spent in its liberation by becoming, in the words of David Cohen, the US undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, the “epicentre of funding for terrorist groups in Syria”.

Islamic State (Isil), with its newly conquered territory, oilfields and bank vaults, no longer needs much foreign money. But its extraordinarily swift rise to this point, a place where it threatens the entire region and the West, was substantially paid for by the allies of the West. Isil’s cash was raised in, or channelled through, Kuwait and Qatar, with the tacit approval and sometimes active support of their governments.

Though this has not yet been widely understood in Europe, it is no secret. Throughout 2013 and the earlier part of this year, on TV stations, websites and social media in Kuwait and Qatar, the jihadis openly solicited money for weapons and troops, much as charities in Britain might seek donations for tents and food. One of the main Oxfams of jihad is a group called the Kuwait Scholars’ Union (KSU), which ran a number of major fundraising drives, including the “Great Kuwait Campaign”, raising several million dollars for anti-aircraft missiles, rocket-propelled grenades and fighters. Some of the money went to Isil and some to the al-Qaeda front Jabhat al-Nusra, Isil’s ally until this February.

“By Allah’s grace and his success, the Great Kuwait Campaign announces the preparation of 8,700 Syrian mujahideen,” announced the KSU’s president, Nabil al-Awadi, in June 2013. “The campaign is ongoing until 12,000 are prepared.” The same year, the KSU ran the “Liberate the Coast” fundraising campaign to help pay for a sectarian massacre of hundreds of civilians in the Syrian port of Latakia. One of the KSU’s fundraisers, Shafi al-Ajmi, tweeted that the donations would go “to buy what is needed to expel the Safavids”, an insulting term for Shia. Last month, he was designated a funder of terrorism by the US.

The Kuwaiti government’s response to the KSU and other terror funders has been “permissive,” as Mr Cohen puts it. That is very diplomatic language. In fact, as recently as January, Kuwait appointed as its minister of justice one Nayef al-Ajmi, a man who has actually appeared on fundraising posters for the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Qatar, too, has a serious problem. Its government denied a statement last month by the German development minister, Gerd Mueller, that it bankrolls Isil directly. But Mr Cohen says that “press reports indicate that the Qatari government is supporting extremist groups operating in Syria”. There is no doubt, too, that key institutions and officials of the Qatari government have hosted and supported individuals who back Isil, including Harith al-Dari, a designated terrorist and leader of the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) in Iraq.

This June, as Isil took over Mosul, the AMS praised the “great victories achieved by the revolutionaries”. As they put it: “You have already seen how a great many of the media outlets have colluded, from the first instance of the start of your revolution, and worked on the demonisation of the revolution and distorting its image.” Only a month after Washington designated al-Dari as a sponsor of the group that became Isil, he was allowed to meet the Emir of Qatar. He has made numerous visits there since; the US designation of al-Dari as a terrorist mentions Qatar as an alternative location for him.

At least two other men designated as al-Qaeda funders, Hajjaj al-Ajmi and Hamid al-Ali, have been officially invited by Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs to deliver sermons from government-controlled mosques calling for jihad in Syria, and donations to it. As Isil swept through Iraq this summer, Ali praised the “great cleaning of Iraq” and the “revolution of our ummah [the Muslim people] against the hateful occupier enemy”.

Only in July, both the KSU’s Nabil al-Awadi and a man now banned from Britain as an Isil recruiter, Mohammed al-Arifi, were invited to address a Ramadan festival in Qatar co-organised by the Aspire Zone Foundation, the government-controlled body that played a major part in Qatar’s successful bid for the World Cup.

Qatar and Kuwait, Sunni-majority states, have been helping, or at least not hindering, Isil because they saw it as a proxy counterweight to their Shia rival, Iran, and the Iranian-backed Assad regime. But like many governments before them, including America in Afghanistan, they have now discovered that the would-be puppets tend to cut loose from the puppetmasters. “Some leaders believed they could use terrorists as hired mercenaries, but suddenly found themselves stuck with terrorists who used the opportunity to advance their own interests and agenda,” in the bitter words of Ahmed Jarba, head of the moderate Syrian rebels.

Alarmed by the savagery of Isil, and the growing hostility of the US, Kuwait, in particular, has started to crack down, sacking its jihadi justice minister and removing citizenship from a number of terror funders, including Nabil al-Awadi. But it is plainly too late. Armed with the loot of half the Iraqi military, Isil doesn’t need its Gulf patrons to buy it sniper rounds any more.

And even before Isil started threatening the West, this was already more than a Kuwaiti or Qatari problem. As The Telegraph reported last weekend, Nabil al-Awadi is, or has been, partly resident in the UK. Until last year, he was director of the al-Birr private school in Birmingham and is described as a UK resident on his Companies House entry, with a past address in Brixton Hill, south London. He has close links with the hardline al-Muntada mosque in Parson’s Green, west London, whose imam and director are co-directors of the al-Birr school.

After The Telegraph report, al-Awadi indignantly protested that he had “not travelled to Britain since 2011,” a denial rather undermined by his own tweets which repeatedly describe visits to Britain subsequent to that date. Several of the visits were to al-Muntada, which also raises funds for Syria – exclusively for “humanitarian purposes”, it insists.

Al-Muntada has close links to British mosques accused of radicalising young people into Isil, including al-Manar in Cardiff, attended by Nasser Muthana and Reyaad Khan, the first Britons to appear in an Isil propaganda video. Both mosques have also organised events with Mohammed al-Arifi, the now-banned extremist cleric accused of grooming the two young Cardiff men.

Al-Muntada’s former imam, Haitham al-Haddad, is one of the most active radical preachers in the country, reportedly a principal target of the Government’s new “anti-extremism orders” aimed at those not directly involved in violence but who voice extremist views. Al-Muntada, too, has been closely supported by Qatari money; the UK branch held its annual meeting in the Qatari capital, Doha, on March 31, 2013, and its school has been bankrolled by Qatari finance.

Before we get too censorious about foreign politicians who back extremists, it is worth mentioning, too, that al-Muntada has picked up quite a few British political endorsements. Andy Slaughter, its local Labour MP, praised its “outstanding track record of supporting others” and said he was “very proud to be associated with it”. Stephen Timms, deputy chairman of Labour’s interfaith group, said: “I know how much effort al-Muntada puts into its community relations.”

Richard Barnes, Boris Johnson’s then deputy mayor, praised it as “one of the world’s foremost Muslim charities”. And al-Muntada was sent good wishes, too, by a spokesman acting on behalf of none other than the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.

As Qatar and Kuwait buy up more and more of Britain, maybe it is time to start asking a few more questions about what they really stand for.

Erdogan Offers Turkish Troops To Create “Free Syrian Enclave”

[SEE:  Neocon-Designated “Free Syria Zone” Takes Shape In Syria’s North, As Planned; Free Syrian Army Enclave To Become “No-Fly-Zone”? ; Turkish Bomb Blast Someone’s Attempt To Merge Kurdish Zone With So-Called “Free Syrian Army Enclave”]

Erdogan says Turkish troops could be used in Syria

daily star LEB

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Turkish soldiers chase Kurds from Turkey and Syria after they broke down the barbed wire at the Turkey-Syria border near Suruc, Turkey, Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

ISTANBUL: Turkish troops could be used to help set up a secure zone in Syria, if there was an international agreement to establish such a haven for refugees fleeing ISIS, President Tayyip Erdogan said in comments published on Saturday.

Turkey has so far declined to take a frontline role in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS but officials said earlier this week Erdogan has been negotiating on what Turkey’s role might now be.

“The logic that assumes Turkey would not take a position militarily is wrong,” Erdogan said in an interview with the Hurriyet newspaper on his way back from New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

Erdogan said negotiations are underway to determine how and by which countries the airstrikes and a potential ground operation would be undertaken and that Turkey is ready to take part.

“In the distribution of responsibilities, every country will have a certain duty. Whatever is Turkey’s role, Turkey will play it,” he said, adding that an air operation alone was not sufficient.

“You can’t finish off such a terrorist organisation only with airstrikes. Ground forces are complementary … You have to look at it as a whole. Obviously I’m not a soldier but the air (operations) are logistical. If there’s no ground force, it would not be permanent,” he said.

Turkey would defend its border if necessary, Erdogan said and added that the necessary steps would be taken once a parliamentary mandate that enables Turkish troops to conduct operations outside its borders would be passed next week.

“No one is responsible for protecting your borders,” Erdogan said. “Will other people come and protect? We are the ones who will protect our own borders,” he said.

Asked if Turkey might set up a secure zone for refugees in Syria on its own, Erdogan said: “That (should be done) with those in the region. By speaking to each one of them. Because we need to have a legitimacy within the international community.

“This is not only about Turkey but about 1.5 million people returning to their own land. To help settle these people are among the issues that are being discussed,” he told the paper.

Meanwhile early on Saturday airstrikes, believed to have been carried out by U.S.-led forces, hit ISIS and other Islamist groups in eastern Syria, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

ISIS has maintained its grip on territory on three sides of a strategic Syrian Kurdish town on the border with Turkey, with sporadic clashes continuing on Saturday and heavy weapons fire heard, a Reuters witness said.

Militants still held their positions around 10 kilometres west of Kobani inside Syria, the Reuters witness said, with Kurdish positions the last line of defence between the fighters and the town.

Kobane sits on a road linking north and northwestern Syria and Kurdish control of the town has prevented ISIS fighters from consolidating their gains, although their advance has caused more than 150,000 Kurds to flee to Turkey since last week.

Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution Condemning Foreign Terrorists

24 September 2014

UN SECURITY COUNCIL Security CouncilSC/11580
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

7272nd Meeting (PM)

Security Council Unanimously Adopts Resolution Condemning Violent Extremism,

Underscoring Need to Prevent Travel, Support for Foreign Terrorist Fighters

 

At a summit presided over by United States President Barack Obama, opened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and addressed by scores of national leaders, the Security Council this afternoon called on all States to cooperate urgently on preventing the international flow of terrorist fighters to and from conflict zones.

Through resolution 2178 (2014), adopted unanimously during a meeting that heard from over 50 speakers, the Council condemned violent extremism and decided that Member States shall, consistent with international law, prevent the “recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning of, or participation in terrorist acts”.

Expressing concern over the establishment of international terrorist networks, the Council underscored the “particular and urgent need” to prevent the travel and support for foreign terrorist fighters associated with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Al-Nusra Front (ANL) and other affiliates or splinter groups of Al-Qaida.

In that context, the Council, through the resolution, decided that all States shall ensure that their legal systems provide for the prosecution, as serious criminal offences, of travel for terrorism or related training, as well as the financing or facilitation of such activities.

Member States, it also decided, shall prevent entry or transit through their territories of any individual about whom that State had credible information of their terrorist-related intentions, without prejudice to transit necessary for the furtherance of judicial processes.  It called on States to require airlines to provide passenger lists for that purpose.

Outlining further measures for international cooperation to counter international terrorism and prevent the growth of violent extremism, it expressed readiness to designate additional individuals for sanctions listings, and directed the United Nations counter-terrorism subsidiary bodies to devote special focus to foreign terrorist fighters, assessing the threat they posed and reporting on principal gaps in Member States’ abilities to suppress their travel.

“The world is witnessing a dramatic evolution in the nature of the terrorist threat,” Secretary-General Ban said following the adoption.  He noted that in the past year thousands of civilians — the vast majority of them Muslims — had been killed, maimed, sexually abused and displaced by terrorists, from Afghanistan to Somalia to Nigeria, from Iraq to Libya to Mali.

More than 13,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 80 Member States had joined ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front as a consequence of the conflict in Syria, he said, citing the estimate of the United Nations Al-Qaeda-Taliban Monitoring Team.  Such terrorism must be defeated, but in a way that avoided further radicalization and civilian deaths.  That should be done through a multilateral, multifaceted strategy beyond the immediate security approach.  “Over the long term, the biggest threat to terrorists in not the power of missiles — it is the politics of inclusion,” he said.

Following the Secretary-General’s statement, national leaders took the floor, representing Council members and other Member States to welcome the adoption of the resolution, most pledging to cooperate in a global effort to prevent a flow of fighters to ISIL and other extremist groups.

Mr. Obama welcomed the international, high-level interest and consensus on the issue.  He added that international cooperation had already increased, with foreign fighters arrested, plots disrupted and lives saved but more capacity was needed to tackle the problem and prevent fighters from reaching Syria and slipping back over its borders.  Reformed former fighters should speak out against groups like ISIL that he said betrayed Islam.

The Prime Minister of Iraq expressed gratitude to all those who assisted his country but emphasized that more was needed, as Iraq was the front line against terrorism, with ISIL having slaughtered minorities and other civilians and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.  He stressed that it was not an Iraqi organization, but created through foreign funding, ideologies of hate, oil smuggling networks and foreign recruitment networks, in addition to including former Ba’ath party members.

While most speakers acknowledged that a military and security approach to the international spread of terrorism was necessary in the short term, they stressed the need for a comprehensive approach that addressed marginalization, long-standing conflicts and other factors that helped attract individuals to extremism.

The Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation stressed the need for consistency in fighting all terrorist groups, and said that it was important to avoid empowering them through international interventions.  Syria’s representative, criticizing those who had supported armed groups in his country, stated that there were no good terrorists or bad terrorists.

Advocating a rethinking of international counter-terrorism strategy due to the fact that the problem was getting not better but worse, Argentina’s President said that above all it was critical to ensure adherence to human rights standards in fighting the scourge and not fuel further cycles of violence, in order to avoid “feeding the monster” of terrorism.

Also speaking today were the Heads of State or Government of Nigeria, France, Chad, Lithuania, Rwanda, Jordan, Chile, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Australia, Luxembourg, Turkey, Qatar, Bulgaria, Kenya, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Canada, Netherlands, Morocco, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago and Belgium.

Represented at the ministerial level were China, Serbia, Pakistan, Algeria, Senegal, Latvia, Denmark, Albania, Estonia, Kazakhstan and New Zealand.

Also speaking were representatives of Singapore, United Arab Emirates, India, Spain, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

The President of the European Council also spoke, as did the Secretary of State of the Holy See.

The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 7:20 p.m.

Resolution

The full text of resolution 2178 (2014) reads as follows:

The Security Council,

Reaffirming that terrorism in all forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed, and remaining determined to contribute further to enhancing the effectiveness of the overall effort to fight this scourge on a global level,

Noting with concern that the terrorism threat has become more diffuse, with an increase, in various regions of the world, of terrorist acts including those motivated by intolerance or extremism, and expressing its determination to combat this threat,

Bearing in mind the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, and affirming Member States’ determination to continue to do all they can to resolve conflict and to deny terrorist groups the ability to put down roots and establish safe havens to address better the growing threat posed by terrorism,

Emphasizing that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality or civilization,

Recognizing that international cooperation and any measures taken by Member States to prevent and combat terrorism must comply fully with the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all States in accordance with the Charter,

Reaffirming that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, underscoring that respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law are complementary and mutually reinforcing with effective counter-terrorism measures, and are an essential part of a successful counter-terrorism effort and notes the importance of respect for the rule of law so as to effectively prevent and combat terrorism, and noting that failure to comply with these and other international obligations, including under the Charter of the United Nations, is one of the factors contributing to increased radicalization and fosters a sense of impunity,

Expressing grave concern over the acute and growing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, namely individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, including in connection with armed conflict, and resolving to address this threat,

Expressing grave concern about those who attempt to travel to become foreign terrorist fighters,

Concerned that foreign terrorist fighters increase the intensity, duration and intractability of conflicts, and also may pose a serious threat to their States of origin, the States they transit and the States to which they travel, as well as States neighbouring zones of armed conflict in which foreign terrorist fighters are active and that are affected by serious security burdens, and noting that the threat of foreign terrorist fighters may affect all regions and Member States, even those far from conflict zones, and expressing grave concern that foreign terrorist fighters are using their extremist ideology to promote terrorism,

Expressing concern that international networks have been established by terrorists and terrorist entities among States of origin, transit and destination through which foreign terrorist fighters and the resources to support them have been channelled back and forth,

Expressing particular concern that foreign terrorist fighters are being recruited by and are joining entities such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and other cells, affiliates, splinter groups or derivatives of Al-Qaida, as designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011), recognizing that the foreign terrorist fighter threat includes, among others, individuals supporting acts or activities of Al-Qaida and its cells, affiliates, splinter groups, and derivative entities, including by recruiting for or otherwise supporting acts or activities of such entities, and stressing the urgent need to address this particular threat,

Recognizing that addressing the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters requires comprehensively addressing underlying factors, including by preventing radicalization to terrorism, stemming recruitment, inhibiting foreign terrorist fighter travel, disrupting financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, countering violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, countering incitement to terrorist acts motivated by extremism or intolerance, promoting political and religious tolerance, economic development and social cohesion and inclusiveness, ending and resolving armed conflicts, and facilitating reintegration and rehabilitation,

Recognizing also that terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures, and intelligence operations alone, and underlining the need to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism, as outlined in Pillar I of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (A/RES/60/288),

Expressing concern over the increased use by terrorists and their supporters of communications technology for the purpose of radicalizing to terrorism, recruiting and inciting others to commit terrorist acts, including through the internet, and financing and facilitating the travel and subsequent activities of foreign terrorist fighters, and underlining the need for Member States to act cooperatively to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law,

Noting with appreciation the activities undertaken in the area of capacity building by United Nations entities, in particular entities of the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF), including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Centre for Counter-Terrorism (UNCCT), and also the efforts of the Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) to facilitate technical assistance, specifically by promoting engagement between providers of capacity-building assistance and recipients, in coordination with other relevant international, regional and subregional organizations, to assist Member States, upon their request, in implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy,

Noting recent developments and initiatives at the international, regional and subregional levels to prevent and suppress international terrorism, and noting the work of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), in particular its recent adoption of a comprehensive set of good practices to address the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon, and its publication of several other framework documents and good practices, including in the areas of countering violent extremism, criminal justice, prisons, kidnapping for ransom, providing support to victims of terrorism, and community-oriented policing, to assist interested States with the practical implementation of the United Nations counter-terrorism legal and policy framework and to complement the work of the relevant United Nations counter-terrorism entities in these areas,

Noting with appreciation the efforts of INTERPOL to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, including through global law enforcement information sharing enabled by the use of its secure communications network, databases, and system of advisory notices, procedures to track stolen, forged identity papers and travel documents, and INTERPOL’s counter-terrorism fora and foreign terrorist fighter programme,

Having regard to and highlighting the situation of individuals of more than one nationality who travel to their states of nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, and urging States to take action, as appropriate, in compliance with their obligations under their domestic law and international law, including international human rights law,

Calling upon States to ensure, in conformity with international law, in particular international human rights law and international refugee law, that refugee status is not abused by the perpetrators, organizers or facilitators of terrorist acts, including by foreign terrorist fighters,

Reaffirming its call upon all States to become party to the international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols as soon as possible, whether or not they are a party to regional conventions on the matter, and to fully implement their obligations under those to which they are a party,

Noting the continued threat to international peace and security posed by terrorism, and affirming the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, including those perpetrated by foreign terrorist fighters,

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1.   Condemns the violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, sectarian violence, and the commission of terrorist acts by foreign terrorist fighters, and demands that all foreign terrorist fighters disarm and cease all terrorist acts and participation in armed conflict;

“2.   Reaffirms that all States shall prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents, and through measures for preventing counterfeiting, forgery or fraudulent use of identity papers and travel documents, underscores, in this regard, the importance of addressing, in accordance with their relevant international obligations, the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and encourages Member States to employ evidence-based traveller risk assessment and screening procedures including collection and analysis of travel data, without resorting to profiling based on stereotypes founded on grounds of discrimination prohibited by international law;

“3.   Urges Member States, in accordance with domestic and international law, to intensify and accelerate the exchange of operational information regarding actions or movements of terrorists or terrorist networks, including foreign terrorist fighters, especially with their States of residence or nationality, through bilateral or multilateral mechanisms, in particular the United Nations;

“4.   Calls upon all Member States, in accordance with their obligations under international law, to cooperate in efforts to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, including by preventing the radicalization to terrorism and recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters, including children, preventing foreign terrorist fighters from crossing their borders, disrupting and preventing financial support to foreign terrorist fighters, and developing and implementing prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration strategies for returning foreign terrorist fighters;

“5.   Decides that Member States shall, consistent with international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law, prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training, and the financing of their travel and of their activities;

“6.   Recalls its decision, in resolution 1373 (2001), that all Member States shall ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetration of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice, and decides that all States shall ensure that their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses sufficient to provide the ability to prosecute and to penalize in a manner duly reflecting the seriousness of the offense:

(a)   their nationals who travel or attempt to travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality, and other individuals who travel or attempt to travel from their territories to a State other than their States of residence or nationality, for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts, or the providing or receiving of terrorist training;

(b)   the wilful provision or collection, by any means, directly or indirectly, of funds by their nationals or in their territories with the intention that the funds should be used, or in the knowledge that they are to be used, in order to finance the travel of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training; and,

(c)   the wilful organization, or other facilitation, including acts of recruitment, by their nationals or in their territories, of the travel of individuals who travel to a State other than their States of residence or nationality for the purpose of the perpetration, planning, or preparation of, or participation in, terrorist acts or the providing or receiving of terrorist training;

“7.   Expresses its strong determination to consider listing pursuant to resolution 2161 (2014) individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida who are financing, arming, planning, or recruiting for them, or otherwise supporting their acts or activities, including through information and communications technologies, such as the internet, social media, or any other means;

“8.   Decides that, without prejudice to entry or transit necessary in the furtherance of a judicial process, including in furtherance of such a process related to arrest or detention of a foreign terrorist fighter, Member States shall prevent the entry into or transit through their territories of any individual about whom that State has credible information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that he or she is seeking entry into or transit through their territory for the purpose of participating in the acts described in paragraph 6, including any acts or activities indicating that an individual, group, undertaking or entity is associated with Al-Qaida, as set out in paragraph 2 of resolution 2161 (2014), provided that nothing in this paragraph shall oblige any State to deny entry or require the departure from its territories of its own nationals or permanent residents;

“9.   Calls upon Member States to require that airlines operating in their territories provide advance passenger information to the appropriate national authorities in order to detect the departure from their territories, or attempted entry into or transit through their territories, by means of civil aircraft, of individuals designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) (“the Committee”), and further calls upon Member States to report any such departure from their territories, or such attempted entry into or transit through their territories, of such individuals to the Committee, as well as sharing this information with the State of residence or nationality, as appropriate and in accordance with domestic law and international obligations;

“10.  Stresses the urgent need to implement fully and immediately this resolution with respect to foreign terrorist fighters, underscores the particular and urgent need to implement this resolution with respect to those foreign terrorist fighters who are associated with ISIL, ANF and other cells, affiliates, splinter groups or derivatives of Al-Qaida, as designated by the Committee, and expresses its readiness to consider designating, under resolution 2161 (2014), individuals associated with Al-Qaida who commit the acts specified in paragraph 6 above;

International Cooperation

“11.  Calls upon Member States to improve international, regional, and sub‑regional cooperation, if appropriate through bilateral agreements, to prevent the travel of foreign terrorist fighters from or through their territories, including through increased sharing of information for the purpose of identifying foreign terrorist fighters, the sharing and adoption of best practices, and improved understanding of the patterns of travel by foreign terrorist fighters, and for Member States to act cooperatively when taking national measures to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law;

“12.  Recalls its decision in resolution 1373 (2001) that Member States shall afford one another the greatest measure of assistance in connection with criminal investigations or proceedings relating to the financing or support of terrorist acts, including assistance in obtaining evidence in their possession necessary for the proceedings, and underlines the importance of fulfilling this obligation with respect to such investigations or proceedings involving foreign terrorist fighters;

“13.  Encourages Interpol to intensify its efforts with respect to the foreign terrorist fighter threat and to recommend or put in place additional resources to support and encourage national, regional and international measures to monitor and prevent the transit of foreign terrorist fighters, such as expanding the use of INTERPOL Special Notices to include foreign terrorist fighters;

“14.  Calls upon States to help build the capacity of States to address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters, including to prevent and interdict foreign terrorist fighter travel across land and maritime borders, in particular the States neighbouring zones of armed conflict where there are foreign terrorist fighters, and welcomes and encourages bilateral assistance by Member States to help build such national capacity;

Countering Violent Extremism in Order to Prevent Terrorism

“15.  Underscores that countering violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, including preventing radicalization, recruitment, and mobilization of individuals into terrorist groups and becoming foreign terrorist fighters is an essential element of addressing the threat to international peace and security posed by foreign terrorist fighters, and calls upon Member States to enhance efforts to counter this kind of violent extremism;

“16.  Encourages Member States to engage relevant local communities and non-governmental actors in developing strategies to counter the violent extremist narrative that can incite terrorist acts, address the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, including by empowering youth, families, women, religious, cultural and education leaders, and all other concerned groups of civil society and adopt tailored approaches to countering recruitment to this kind of violent extremism and promoting social inclusion and cohesion;

“17.  Recalls its decision in paragraph 14 of resolution 2161 (2014) with respect to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and urges Member States, in this context, to act cooperatively when taking national measures to prevent terrorists from exploiting technology, communications and resources, including audio and video, to incite support for terrorist acts, while respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms and in compliance with other obligations under international law;

“18.  Calls upon Member States to cooperate and consistently support each other’s efforts to counter violent extremism, which can be conducive to terrorism, including through capacity building, coordination of plans and efforts, and sharing lessons learned;

“19.  Emphasizes in this regard the importance of Member States’ efforts to develop non-violent alternative avenues for conflict prevention and resolution by affected individuals and local communities to decrease the risk of radicalization to terrorism, and of efforts to promote peaceful alternatives to violent narratives espoused by foreign terrorist fighters, and underscores the role education can play in countering terrorist narratives;

United Nations Engagement on the Foreign Terrorist Fighter Threat

“20.  Notes that foreign terrorist fighters and those who finance or otherwise facilitate their travel and subsequent activities may be eligible for inclusion on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List maintained by the Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) where they participate in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of, Al-Qaida, supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to, or recruiting for, or otherwise supporting acts or activities of Al-Qaida or any cell, affiliate, splinter group or derivative thereof, and calls upon States to propose such foreign terrorist fighters and those who facilitate or finance their travel and subsequent activities for possible designation;

“21.  Directs the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) and the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, in close cooperation with all relevant United Nations counter-terrorism bodies, in particular CTED, to devote special focus to the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters recruited by or joining ISIL, ANF and all groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida;

“22.  Encourages the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team to coordinate its efforts to monitor and respond to the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters with other United Nations counter-terrorism bodies, in particular the CTITF;

“23.  Requests the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team, in close cooperation with other United Nations counter-terrorism bodies, to report to the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) within 180 days, and provide a preliminary oral update to the Committee within 60 days, on the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters recruited by or joining ISIL, ANF and all groups, undertakings and entities associated with Al-Qaida, including:

(a)   a comprehensive assessment of the threat posed by these foreign terrorist fighters, including their facilitators, the most affected regions and trends in radicalization to terrorism, facilitation, recruitment, demographics, and financing; and

(b)   recommendations for actions that can be taken to enhance the response to the threat posed by these foreign terrorist fighters;

“24.  Requests the Counter-Terrorism Committee, within its existing mandate and with the support of CTED, to identify principal gaps in Member States’ capacities to implement Security Council resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005) that may hinder States’ abilities to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, as well as to identify good practices to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters in the implementation of resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), and to facilitate technical assistance, specifically by promoting engagement between providers of capacity-building assistance and recipients, especially those in the most affected regions, including through the development, upon their request, of comprehensive counter-terrorism strategies that encompass countering violent radicalization and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, recalling the roles of other relevant actors, for example the Global Counterterrorism Forum;

“25.  Underlines that the increasing threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters is part of the emerging issues, trends and developments related to resolutions 1373 (2001) and 1624 (2005), that, in paragraph 5 of resolution 2129 (2013), the Security Council directed CTED to identify, and therefore merits close attention by the Counter-Terrorism Committee, consistent with its mandate;

“26.  Requests the Committee established pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee to update the Security Council on their respective efforts pursuant to this resolution;

“27.  Decides to remain seized of the matter.”

Opening Remarks

BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General of the United Nations, said, “The world is witnessing a dramatic evolution in the nature of the terrorist threat.”  In the past year thousands of civilians had been killed, maimed and displaced — the vast majority of them Muslims — from Afghanistan to Somalia to Nigeria, from Iraq to Libya to Mali.  The groups ruthlessly hijacked religion to control territory and resources, brutalize women and girls and slaughter minorities.

The United Nations Al-Qaeda-Taliban Monitoring Team, he said, estimated that more than 13,000 foreign terrorist fighters from more than 80 Member States had joined the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Al Nusra Front as a consequence of the conflict in Syria.  A creative and comprehensive political strategy was needed there to stem that flow.  Terrorism must be defeated in a way that avoids further radicalization and civilian deaths.

Immediate security issues must be addressed, he said, but added that eliminating terrorism required a multilateral, multifaceted approach that also tackled the underlying conditions that provided fertile soil for extremism.  Inclusive, just societies that engender education, jobs and opportunity are not conducive to such extremism.  “Over the long term, the biggest threat to terrorists in not the power of missiles — it is the politics of inclusion.”

He welcomed the Council resolution and its call for strengthening the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  Through the Counter-Terrorism Centre, the Organization was already working with Member States to develop and implement strategies to combat the flow of foreign terrorist fighters.  He cautioned that all such strategies must be consistent with international law and the values and principles of the United Nations.

Statements

BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States, said it was only the sixth time in 70 years that the Security Council had met at such a level and it did so to address the most urgent threats to peace and security.  The international community was brought together to address the unprecedented flow of foreign fighters to conflicts in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and, more recently, to Iraq and Syria.  Around 15,000 people had joined terrorist groups in the region, mainly Al-Nusra Front and ISIL.  Terrorists exacerbated conflicts, posed immediate threats and foreign fighters were likely to return to their home countries to carry out attacks.  International cooperation had increased, with foreign fighters arrested, plots disrupted and lives saved but more capacity was needed to tackle the issue and prevent fighters from reaching Syria and slipping back over its borders.

Pointing out that the resolution was legally binding, he described many of its provisions, notably its clarity on respecting human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, which was “not optional”.  Calling on reformed former fighters to speak out against groups like ISIL that betrayed Islam by killing men, women and children — most of whom were Muslims — he added a call to redouble efforts to counter the conditions that made some individuals more susceptible to recruitment.  That included continued attempts to resolve the situation in Syria peacefully.  Resolutions were not enough, he said, stressing that “words spoken today must be matched and translated into action, into deeds.”

GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, President of Nigeria, described his horror at the murders committed by the Islamic State and the murder of French tourist Hervé Gourdel which “typified the new face of global terrorism”.  The Islamic State was not alone in its “despicable campaign against humanity”, with several other groups, including Boko Haram in Nigeria, also promoting instability.  Foreign fighters added a dangerous dimension to the problem.  Nigeria had been confronting threats to stability over the past five years.  The most prominent incident was the recent kidnapping of girls from their school.  He had mobilized resources to root out terrorism from his nation and was engaged in efforts to improve the situation of the population in Nigeria’s north-east.  That included fast-tracking infrastructure redevelopment, a victim support fund and a safe school initiative.  He said that the Security Governance Initiative that stemmed from the US-Africa Summit would enhance security on the continent.  The Security Council needed to capitalize on the determination it was showing to seek more innovative responses to terror, especially “the growing menace of foreign fighters”.

FRANÇOIS HOLLANDE, President of France, expressed thanks for the sympathy expressed over the beheading of one of his fellow citizens earlier in the day, and said that all terrorism was deeply disturbing.  No country was safe from the recruiting activities of groups like ISIL.  In response, all countries must take swift national action.  His country had been developing legislation that addressed the individual fighters, the networks that got them to conflict areas and the Internet communications that contacted them.  A military, economic and political response was also needed — against the travel of fighters, as well as all trafficking and terrorist funding.  The root causes of extremism must be addressed.  France would play a full role in all those areas.

IDRISS DÉBY ITNO, President of Chad, said that the Council resolution would enable a more effective fight against foreign terrorist fighters within the principals of the Charter.  Terrorism had proliferated in Africa, fed in part by such fighters.  A recent summit of the African Union Peace and Security Council had requested African inter-country police cooperation to stem terrorist flows and financing, with international technical support.  There were already inter-country initiatives on the continent.  Chad was strengthening its own efforts and had contributed peacekeepers to Mali.  In addressing root causes, it was particularly important to address the problems of African youth to give them opportunities which would keep them from being attracted to extremism.

DALIA GRYBAUSKAITĖ, President of Lithuania, welcomed the adoption of the resolution and said that stopping the troubling global trend meant addressing similar cross-border movement of fighters in Europe.  She pledged her country’s full support to efforts to fight terrorist movements around the world.

CRISTINA FERNÁNDEZ DE KIRCHNER, President of Argentina, recalled two terrorist attacks her country had been subjected to in the 1990s and noted there had not been much international cooperation in apprehending those responsible.  In the current atmosphere, she hoped there would be better collaboration.  ISIL was indeed an international threat, but she had many questions about the international response to terrorism, since it did not seem to be working.  More and more groups seemed to have more and more power every day.  Terrorists tried to provoke international reactions that fuelled further violence, and it was now discovered that many of the freedom fighters who had been armed externally in Syria were terrorists.  A longer-term, consistent strategy against terrorism, with strong respect for human rights, must be developed in which the international community guaranteed that “this monster” of terrorism was not continually fed.

PAUL KAGAME, President of Rwanda, recalling the 2013 attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, said that today’s resolution was an unfortunate necessity.  Rwanda was committed to building an inclusive society through demobilization and integration programmes that aimed to reduce extremism.  He pledged to work with the rest of the international community in fighting the international terrorist threat.

ABDULLAH II IBN AL HUSSEIN, King of Jordan, said that an effective strategy against terrorism must be consistent and worldwide.  “It is the fight of our times,” requiring a united struggle backed up by resources.  Marginalization, poverty and exclusion must be fought at the same time.  Immediate action was needed, as ISIL and other groups were consolidating their gains and their Internet presence.  There also had to be a zero tolerance policy for support, financing and arming of terrorist groups.  In addition, he stressed that countries must act consistently in speaking out against extremism and intolerance, saying that he had been instrumental in differentiating ISIL from Islam.  In the same context, the Israeli/Palestinian crisis needed to be resolved.  Calling his country a bulwark of stability in an unstable region, he called for greater international support to its efforts in that regard, including its reception of refugees.

MICHELLE BACHELET, President of Chile, emphasized that international cooperation was decisive, as without it any national effort would be in vain.  Likewise, preventing the financing of terrorism and engaging international judicial cooperation towards ending impunity were vital and she appealed to Member States to strengthen ways and means of cooperation.  Any measures adopted to counter terrorism must respect “rigorously” the rule of law and comply with international humanitarian law.  Furthermore, as terrorism could not be defeated solely by coercive measures, she urged that the most “effective” tools be engaged, including education, eliminating inequalities and working with disadvantaged groups of society.

PARK GEUN-HYE, President of the Republic of Korea, said that the resolution highlighted the need for greater cooperation between Member States, including information sharing, law enforcement, border control, and tackling violent extremism.  Her country would be implementing the resolution immediately.  It was also essential to address the root causes conducive to terrorism, including eliminating poverty and making development sustainable.  Towards that end, the Republic of Korea would be increasing its official development assistance (ODA) to least developed countries and continue its humanitarian aid to countries threatened by ISIL and foreign fighters.

DAVID CAMERON, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, described barbaric murders recently committed in the Middle East, which were “medieval” in character.  Most shocking was how citizens of other countries had been sucked into the conflict, with around 500 fanatics from the United Kingdom in Syria and Iraq.  The shocking murders committed by a fighter with a British accent underlined the sinister and direct nature of the threat.  People in his country were sickened that one of their citizens could have killed a fellow Briton who had gone to help.  The effects of the threat of terrorism would be around for years because groups like Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Al-Qaida and others were involved elsewhere in the world.  He noted new powers granted in the United Kingdom to tackle the movement of foreign fighters.  The root causes of terrorism had to be addressed and “firm decisive action” was needed to uphold the “values of our free and democratic societies”.  Furthermore, sanctions were needed but so was aid to help the afflicted and strengthen democracy.  The strategy had to be pursued alongside Arab States, supporting locals and aligning with legal obligations and military aims.

TONY ABBOTT, Prime Minister of Australia, pointed out that citizens from 80 countries were now fighting with ISIL, thus making every country a potential target.  There were at least 60 Australians now involved with terrorist organizations in the Middle East and 100 Australians supporting them.  Twenty had returned home, “disposed to wreak havoc”.  Recently, instructed by an operative in Syria, an Australian terrorist had savagely attacked two policemen.  The Government was now enacting laws that would ensure foreign fighters returning home could be arrested, prosecuted and gaoled.  More than 60 citizens had their passports suspended as well.  “We aren’t just dealing with potential terrorists at home; we’re tackling their inspiration abroad,” he stated, emphasizing that the goal was not to change people but protect them and not to change Governments, but to combat terrorism.

XAVIER BETTEL, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, underlined the danger of fighters returning to their home countries and engaging in terrorist acts there, as well as participating in violence abroad.  He said that, as part of the comprehensive strategy called for by the resolution, it was important to ask why and how young people decide to join terrorist groups.  He described the legal measures adopted by his country to suppress terrorist financing and other support, and emphasized the need to respect all international law in the fight against terrorism lest more resentment be provoked, fomenting more extremism.

SERGEI LAVROV, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, said that his country had long advocated consistent combat against all forms of terrorism, and for that reason had opposed interventions that armed terrorists.  Foreign terrorist fighters had increased since the intervention in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East.  Pointing to a need to comprehensively combat all terrorists, he proposed an international forum that took a holistic view of the problem and addressed long-standing problems such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that helped create a climate conducive to extremism.

WANG YI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, described recent terrorist attacks in his country and said that Middle East conflicts drew fighters like magnets.  Those individuals then spread violence around the world.  The Internet was a particularly troubling conduit for extremist ideas and there was a battle for the minds of young people around the world.  The United Nations must take the lead in a multisectoral approach to counter the scourge.  Military actions must comply with the United Nations Charter.  Double standards must be avoided and terrorism must not be connected with any religious or ethnic group.  In addition, information sharing must be increased, terrorist use of the Internet must be obstructed, terrorist financing must be ended and the counter-terrorism activities of Middle East countries must be supported.  He pledged his country’s support for the global combat against terrorism.

HAIDER AL-ABADI, Prime Minister of Iraq, said that his country represented the first line against terrorism, with ISIL having slaughtered minorities and other civilians and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.  It was not an Iraqi organization, but created through foreign funding, ideologies of hate, oil smuggling networks and foreign recruitment networks, in addition to including former Ba’ath party members.  He expressed gratitude to all the States that had stood beside Iraq in the current fight, and requested enough support be provided to conclusively defeat the terrorists.  He also called for an end to purchases of oil from ISIL, blocking their travel and recruitment, ending their use of the Internet and assistance in rebuilding cities destroyed by ISIL.  His country would continue to combat the terrorists, he pledged, and he looked forward to closer cooperation with countries that had common interests.

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOĞAN, President of Turkey, said the region had become a magnet for attracting foreign fighters due to a collapse of State structures.  He had warned the international community repeatedly about the threat but had been greeted by “inertia”.  That prepared the ground for Al-Qaida to re-emerge and grow stronger under the name ISIL.  Turkey was leading on developing an approach that would stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, but stressed that the fight had to begin as soon as they left source countries, preventing their entry into Turkey.  Cooperation had been insufficient but recently more information was being shared.  As a result, 3,600 people were included on a no-entry list, with many since deported.  Turkey had suffered from terrorism for years so was well placed to understand the pain that it entailed.  In 2011 the Global Counter-Terror Forum was established in Turkey and all legal measures had been taken against ISIL.  There was huge pressure on Turkey’s border caused by refugees, including more than 140,000 Syrian Kurds and 70,000 Yezidis from Iraq.  He had not received the international support expected and had been the target of unjust criticism.

SHEIKH TAMIM BIN HAMMAD AL-THANI, Emir of Qatar, said every civilization had to deal with terrorism, and that without international solidarity there could be no effective response.  He was committed to international efforts to deal with it, stressing that military action was currently the only option.  The situation should not make the international community forget the origins of the crisis, which had stemmed from the political vacuum and the breakdown of the State which had removed the space for dialogue and political solutions.  Regimes of terror were killing their own people and once that violence was dealt with, it would be necessary to return to the job of restoring the State.  Military action was not the only solution to the problem at hand; there needed to be political solutions aimed at creating a better future.  The political aspect needed to be credible and have popular support, avoiding double standards and protecting civilians.  It was also vital to avoid carte blanche in responses.  The rule of law had to be to the fore at all times.

ROSEN PLEVNELIEV, President of Bulgaria, said that although there was no evidence of foreign fighters being present in his country, it was possible that those persons coming from the region were in possession of forged or fake Bulgarian identity documents.  Thus, international cooperation and exchange of operative information, as prescribed in the resolution, was “more than necessary”.  The terrorist attack in 2012 in Sarafovo was yet more proof of the spreading recruitment of foreign fighters.  The Bulgarian religious community had taken a firm stand, with the adoption of a declaration condemning the activities of ISIL by the Bulgarian General Mufti and supported by the National Council of the Religious Communities in Bulgaria.

UHURU KENYATTA, President of Kenya, noted that last week, his country had commemorated the attack on the Westgate mall that had left 67 people from 13 nationalities dead.  Half the terrorists in that attack had been foreigners who had come to fight alongside Al-Shabaab.  The fragile security environment in Somalia required regional cooperation.  In that regard, he underscored that sufficient support to those ongoing operations was integral to securing stability in Somalia and the region and denying such fighters any operational space, and he urged expanded support for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) towards that end.

GJORGE IVANOV, President of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, stressed the threat posed to the Balkans by the so-called Islamic Caliphate.  His region was already a base for recruitment and radicalization for global terrorists.  The number of Balkan fighters in Syria was growing rapidly and so large that it could not be counted.  Interacting with foreign fighters of other nationalities, they built a multinational structure that increased the danger of attacks against the West and its interests.  Currently, the Balkans was not an operational base for international terror networks but terror was a permanent threat, with a genuine aim to create a Balkan Caliphate.  The region was not prepared.  The illegal blockade against his country’s membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had to end.  It was also necessary to integrate his country and others in the Balkans into the European Union.  Delaying that created a political vacuum in a historically porous area.  He also called for a regional counter-terrorism centre in the countries of the Western Balkans.

STEPHEN HARPER, Prime Minister of Canada, said foreign fighters aggravated a dangerous regional security situation but there was also a risk that they would return to their home countries to motivate and recruit others to potentially carry out terrorist acts.  To counter that, the Combating Terrorism Act had been passed, targeting people leaving or attempting to leave for terrorist purposes.  Measures allowed the Government to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals, as well as provided other tools for cracking down on terrorism.  Security measures were not the only approach, however, and Canada’s security and intelligence agencies were working on identifying threats, tracking and squeezing off terrorist financing wherever possible.

MARK RUTTE, Prime Minister of the Netherlands, said that as a country of origin for foreign fighters, the Government, over a year ago, had raised its terrorist threat level to the second highest.  In the framework of the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, the Netherlands and Morocco had launched a joint initiative to formulate good practices tackling the problem of foreign terrorist fighters.  That plan presented a comprehensive set of guidelines focused on every aspect of that threat, covering investigation and prosecution and prevention of radicalization, to name a few.  Sanctions, an important instrument for depriving terrorist organizations of financial resources, could also be tightened further.  To ensure proper implementation and monitoring of sanctions, he said that, on a United Nations level, technical assistance should be examined in order to see if support to Member States should be enhanced.

ABDELILAH BENKIRANE, Prime Minister of Morocco, said the issue of foreign fighters was not new, though the phenomenon had taken on a new dimension in the context of the Syrian and Iraqi crises.  Originally, the threat was contained but today had become a danger to countries of origin, transit, destination and return.  A unified, decisive response to the threat was needed from the international community in the form of a strategy that accounted for the various phases of extremism.  It was important to disseminate the principles of tolerance and openness and King Mohammed VI was working with others on that front.  Morocco would share its own best practices in the context of its counter-terrorism strategy which had yielded clear results.  Recruitment cells had been dismantled as a direct result of the efforts of Moroccan authorities.  A new bill recently adopted would ratchet up efforts against foreign fighters and work was ongoing with the Netherlands on an initiative that resulted in the Hague-Marrakesh Memorandum on more effective practices, which was particularly effective on legal and security areas.  He looked forward to the first meeting of the working group.

ERNA SOLBERG, Prime Minister of Norway, said that her Government had drawn up a strategy for de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration for foreign fighters returning home.  Terrorism and “related acts” were already criminalized under Norwegian law, and a bill had been submitted in July with national measures aimed at stemming the flow of foreign fighters to areas in conflict.  In Norway, she said that large crowds had marched against extremism.

KAMLA PERSAD-BISSESSAR, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, said that the resolution, though imperfect, provided a useful platform to fight international terrorism in view of the capacity of each State.  Violent extremism was particularly important to that fight in her country.  She would encourage international support to assist the country to implement the resolution.  Trinidad and Tobago already had a legal regime in place due to previous terrorist incidents.

HERMAN VAN ROMPUY, President of the European Council, said that the grave threat posed by ISIL must be countered by undertaking direct actions to destroy that group’s military and economic capability, by increasing support to affected countries and by stopping foreign fighters from joining the armed force.  ISIL would portray that as “a fight against Islam”, but it was “a common fight against cruelty and barbarism”.  That’s why public statements by Islamic leaders were so important.  The European Council in August backed decisions by individual member States to provide military material to Iraq.  European States would also block ISIL’s financial and weapon flows, and cut off illegal oil revenue.  A crackdown must take place in “our own communities”.  Citizens from Europe, Africa or Asia should not feed ISIL’s ranks.

ELIO DI RUPO, Prime Minister of Belgium, said that the deadly attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels further energized his country’s cooperation with international efforts to stop the proliferation of terrorism.  It was important to protect every country’s population, but also those who could be susceptible to recruitment.  The root causes of terrorism must be addressed and lessons must be learned from previous interventions.  Military action should always be followed up by development help.

IVICA DAČIĆ, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Serbia, believed the resolution would strengthen cooperation between States in the fight against terrorism and extremism.  Terror threats had grown in the last decade and extremist activities found “fertile soil in unstable political situations and the lack of socioeconomic perspective”.  The root causes of terrorism were manifold and widespread, among them were religious fanaticism, social exclusion and uneven access to education.  Military measures alone were not enough to fight terror and a multidimensional approach was needed.  Banning recruitment and transport of potential foreign fighters through national laws, controlling money and arms flows and engaging local communities in addressing extremism were some methods.  Serbia had faced foreign fighters during the conflict in Kosovo and Metohija and radical preachers were currently active there and in south-west Serbia, potentially recruiting young people to fight in alleged religious wars.

SARTAJ AZIZ, Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Pakistan, said his country had “paid a heavy price in blood and resources in the war against terrorism”.  To oppose the “hydra-headed monster”, quick, commensurate responses were needed that complied with international law.  Foreign terror fighters had no stake in the peace and security of regions where they were active.  Instead, they were the core around which radical extremism often flourished.  It was essential to resolve the conflicts that bred those fighters.  While military action against terrorists was necessary, it was also important to focus on a political approach to stem the growth of terror groups.  All States needed to take stringent countermeasures and help build capacities of other affected States.

RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Algeria, said the issue of foreign terrorist fighters was not new to his country.  It had confronted it steadfastly in the 1990s and had initiated the call for an international comprehensive approach to tackle it.  His country had recently welcomed the safe return of two of its diplomats who had been held for almost three years after having been kidnapped in Gao, Mali.  Committed to fighting the scourge of terrorism, Algeria had co-sponsored the related draft resolution that sets the political, legal and operational aspects of the appropriate international response.  Addressing terrorism meant bearing in mind “all other tentacles of that behemoth phenomenon”, he said, while cautioning that the Middle East conflict would remain a persistent disruption to world peace if the international community did not address the question of illegal occupation, continuous and violent injustice and the denial of the right to self-determination and freedom.

MANKEUR NDIAYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad, Senegal, offering condolences to France and the family of the French citizen just killed by terrorists, said that international cooperation was essential in combating terrorism and the trend of foreign fighters.  Noting how political changes and new technologies and multidimensional conflicts created conditions that bred terrorism, he stressed that financing of such groups needed to be given particular concern, especially in the matter of kidnapping.  He reiterated his country’s determination and commitment to joining the United Nations in combating the terrorist threat.

EDGARS RINKĒVIČS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, expressed his country’s commitment to joining in the fight against terrorism, noting the increasing challenge as fighters moved from one State to another, becoming professional fighters in the process.  Member States should take action as urged by the newly adopted resolution.  On a national platform, Latvia was working to make sure all necessary measures, as noted in the text, were being taken.

PIETRO CARDINAL PAROLIN, Secretary of State for the Holy See, said that people of faith had a grave responsibility to condemn those who sought to detach faith from reason and instrumentalize it as a justification for violence.  To counter the phenomenon of terrorism, achieving cultural understanding among peoples and countries, and social justice for all, was indispensable.  He urged Governments to engage with civil society to address the problems of communities most at risk of radicalization and recruitment, and to achieve their satisfactory social integration.

MOGENS JENSEN, Minister for Trade and Development of Denmark, said that the threat of foreign fighters was not an abstract concept, but, in fact constituted a serious concern, as many of them came from his small country.  The matter must be addressed through a multifaceted approach, including protecting the citizens who were suffering and stemming the flow of financial means to terrorist organizations, to name a few.  Because of terrorist organizations’ transnational character, a response needed to be built on international cooperation and lessons learned.  Denmark had sent military support and humanitarian aid, as well as diplomatic support, to the international coalition to combat ISIL.  On a national platform, the Government had launched an action plan with interlinked response mechanisms that strengthened local authorities ability to respond to radicalization and supported civil society organizations, among others.

DITMIR BUSHATI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Albania, said ISIL was actively trying to recruit citizens everywhere to join its terrorist cause, meaning the phenomenon of foreign fighters was now of particular concern.  Such fighters threatened countries of transit and destination, as well of States of origin when they returned.  Countries with insufficient security structures, fragile political stability, low social cohesion, and complex ethnic and religious fabric were particularly at risk.  That included countries of the Balkans.  Albania was proud to be part of the international response but long-term engagement was necessary and it was important to recall the social, economic and humanitarian dimensions of the crises in Syria and Iraq.  He outlined his country’s anti-terror measures and underlined the need to think in terms of what could be offered to marginalized groups within societies.

URMAS PAET, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Estonia, called for agreement on further means and ways to cooperate in the fight against the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters.  Foreigners supported ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front and the threat they posed extended to their countries of origin, to which many returned.  The repercussions of the same problem were apparent also in the Sahel region.  There were many ways to fight terrorism but the response had to be global, including direct action against terrorists’ safe havens, prevention of their travel, and blocking of their finances.  The conditions conducive to terrorism also had to be tackled, meaning poverty needed to be addressed.  He was satisfied by the manner in which the United Nations and European Union counter-terrorism strategies were taking that approach forward.  Resources and mechanisms had to be provided to support the commitment made in the resolution and he underlined his commitment in that regard.

YERZHAN ASHIKBAEV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, said that cooperation between neighbouring States and regional organizations played a key role in preventing terrorism.  The growing phenomenon of young people travelling to join “terrorist-driven conflicts” around the world was of particular concern.  Kazakhstan was a country of more than 130 ethnic groups with 17 religious denominations, he said, and the country was committed to promoting ideals and values of inter-ethnic and interfaith dialogue for peace and security.

ALBERT CHUA ( Singapore) said his country was not immune to the threat of terrorism and radical ideologies, noting that there were foreign fighters in Syria who had travelled from South-East Asia.  His Government knew of a handful of Singaporeans who had gone to Syria to take part in the conflict.  Also, there were other citizens from his country who had expressed interest in joining the fighting in Syria but who had been stopped before they could travel.  Noting that Al-Qaida’s key regional affiliate in South-East Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah, had been responsible for several large-scale terrorist attacks, he said that his Government in 2001 had foiled a plot by Jemaah Islamiyah members to attack targets in Singapore, which included a number of diplomatic missions.  Fortunately, they had been stopped before they could do harm.  To counter radical ideology, his Government had worked with its Muslim religious leaders, community groups and individuals to rehabilitate terrorist detainees and to delegitimize radical ideologies.  The resolution on foreign terrorist fighters contained in S/2014/688, which had just been adopted by the Council and which his country had co-sponsored, was an important step in the global effort to combat terrorism.

VAN BOHEMAN, Secretary for Foreign Affairs of New Zealand, said that while national and regional circumstances varied, no country was immune to the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.  A small number of New Zealand nationals were known to have travelled to Syria to fight with extremist groups.  His country was conscious of the threat that those fighters posed to many of its neighbours in the Asia Pacific.  Recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach in tackling that threat, he said that his country’s domestic strategy included efforts to confront the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism by engaging communities to help build their resilience; as well as preventative security and law enforcement measures, such as cancelling passports.  New Zealand was also working with its partners in South-East Asia and the Pacific to build their capacity to counter terrorism and violent extremism, and to help them ensure that they became neither a target nor a source of international terrorism.

MANUEL GÓMEZ-ACEBO ( Spain) said his country was suffering the problem of terrorist foreign fighters first hand as it had identified at least 50 individuals who had exited its borders to join terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.  To that end, his country was preparing a change in its laws so that it might be punishable as a crime for individuals to exit Spain seeking to join a third country’s terrorist group.

AHMED AL JARMAN, Assistant Minister for Political Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said that addressing the threat of terrorism could not be done through security and military measures only, but also required the international community to pursue a unified comprehensive strategy that prevented recruitment of terrorist elements.  That included tightening control over social networks, which were used in attracting a larger number of disillusioned youth to achieve the vicious goals under religious slogans, which had no connection with any divine faith.  His country was currently conducting a study on the mechanisms of preventing terrorist organizations from using social networks for recruitment purposes.

BASHAR JA’AFARI ( Syria) said his country had been the first to denounce groups, such as ISIL, and communicate the dangers they posed.  His country was also the first to confront ISIL on the ground.  “Those terrorists have run riot in Syria”, he said, but they couldn’t have done so without the support from Member States which gave them financial, technical and diplomatic support.  Furthermore, the presence of Israel in the coalition undermined efforts to fight terrorism, pointing to that country’s shooting down of a Syrian plane that was only doing its national duty.  The United Nations was the main forum for bolstering efforts to combat terrorism, but success meant that there had to be a distancing from politicization and finding pretext for combating terrorism.  There could be no “moderate” terrorism as compared to “extreme” terrorism or “good” terrorist and “bad” terrorism.  “Terrorism is terrorism”, he stated, pointing to Member States such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia being included as part of the effort to combat those groups when they were supporting them.

VINOD KUMAR ( India) noted that while the current focus on foreign terrorist fighters was recent, the threat had existed for some time and was part of the broader challenge of international terrorism.  Commending the Security Council for establishing a framework to tackle the phenomenon, he stressed that the supply chain of terror was global.  The economic and operational infrastructure of terrorist networks needed to be dismantled.  Endless debate was not a luxury afforded to the international community in responding to the issue and the price paid for procrastination was human lives.  Calling for an international convention on the matter, he stressed the importance of cooperation, particularly on information sharing, financing, recruitment and travel.  States also needed to ensure that their territories were not used to recruit and train terrorists.

HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) said that his country had grappled with terrorism on its own soil, and that it had dealt with the threat by winning the population’s “hearts and minds”.  That was achieved by reassuring them that they and their children would have a decent, secure life and a promising future.  His Government believed that terrorism needed to be addressed in a comprehensive, multifaceted manner, and not exclusively through the use of force.  He called for a “Global Movement of Moderates” to “drown out” the voices of the extremists.

PALITHA T.B. KOHONA ( Sri Lanka) reminded the Council that his country had suffered for three decades at the hands of a terrorist group that was described by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation as the world’s most ruthless.  That group had a devastating impact on Sri Lanka.  His Government had stressed time and time again that non-State actors had no respect for international law.  ISIL was taking a transnational form which posed a threat to the region.  Therefore, it was in the best interest of the international community that no space be afforded to any terrorist group or their sympathizers.  Expressing solidarity to those impacted by terrorist groups, he said that Sri Lanka stood ready to help the victims on the ground.

AMR ABDELLATIF ABOULATTA ( Egypt) underlined the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters to their countries of origin.  He said the revolutions in his region had taken on a religious dimension, and Egypt had often called for a general strategy to deal with the issue.  Appeals were made to young people, calling for them to fight, encouraging them to take action in the name of religion.  Young people were being told lies and Egypt was taking measures to combat that issue.  His country’s Criminal Code defined terrorism and contained provisions for its penalization.  In talking about combating terrorism in the Middle East, it was important that the approach was comprehensive.  The issue went beyond the Islamic State as terror had to be dealt with wherever it was found, Syria or elsewhere.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record

US Officials Proclaim Iraqi PM Full of Shit Over Alleged ISIS Subway Threat

Officials Reject Iraqi Report of ISIS Terrorist Plot Against US Subway Systems

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio emerged from the depths of the nation’s largest transit system Thursday to assure commuters that trains are safe in the wake of reports of an ISIS terrorist plot against U.S. subway systems.

A photograph inside the Lexington Avenue / 59th Street station in New York City. (Credit: Steve Kastenbaum)

“I have a simple message for all New Yorkers: There is no immediate credible threat to our subway system,” de Blasio told reporters after taking a short subway ride from City Hall to Union Square in Manhattan. “I say that with confidence. People should go about their business as they normally would.”

Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have no indications of an ISIS terror plot against U.S. transit systems, two U.S. law enforcement officials told CNN earlier.

Later on Thursday, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran and Iraq Brett McGurk told CNN’s Brianna Keilar that there “is no specific credible threat whatsoever that they have uncovered to the United States.” He spoke to Keilar having just come from a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Vice President Joe Biden.

From Washington to New York, a flurry of denials followed media reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters at the United Nations that his country’s intelligence agency had uncovered an imminent ISIS plot against United States and Paris subways.

“We don’t have anything to back it up at this point,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told CNN. “We’ll keep looking at it.”

A senior administration official told CNN that “no one in the U.S. government is aware of such a plot and it was not raised with us in our meetings with Iraqi officials” at the United Nations, including a meeting between al-Abadi, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

FBI Director James Comey told reporters that he hadn’t heard of the plot.

U.S. agencies are reaching out to Iraq to determine what information it may have, the two officials told CNN.

“We know that our transit and aviation systems are always a target. We know New York is always a target,” one U.S. law enforcement official told CNN.

“Do we know what the Iraqi Prime Minister is talking about? No,” the official said.

‘We are monitoring these reports’

De Blasio stood with Police Commissioner William Bratton and FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos outside the Union Square subway hub for a news conference.

“We are convinced that New Yorkers are safe,” he said. “We are convinced that people should go about their normal routine. Terrorists want us to live in fear.”

As a precaution, the mayor said, New York will increase security measures throughout its vast transit network.

“You may be asked to open your bag,” he said. “You may find there are some spot checkpoints set up. Don’t be alarmed.”

Bratton said New York was already on a high state of alert because of the world leaders in town for the U.N. General Assembly, including President Barack Obama.

In Connecticut, Governor Dannel Malloy ordered increased state police presence along Metro North and Amtrak rail lines, as well as at Bradley Airport.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state officials were treating the report with “utmost precaution” and “coordinating at a high level with local, state and federal partners.”

“I want to assure the people of New York that we are monitoring these reports closely and are in close communication with officials in Washington,” Cuomo said in a statement.

He said that New York and New Jersey authorities had in recent weeks increased security at mass transit sites and areas as part of a joint security enhancement.

John Miller, the New York Police Department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said in the statement that police were in “close contact” with the FBI and other federal agencies.

“New York City normally operates at a heightened level of security and we adjust that posture daily based on our evaluation of information as we receive it,” he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the city’s buses and trains, declined to comment. A spokesman for Transport Workers Union Local 100, which represents subway workers, said the MTA, as of Thursday afternoon, had not issued any security bulletins.

Earlier plots

European and New York transit systems have been targeted in the past.

On March 11, 2004, terrorists in Madrid, Spain, carried out coordinated bomb explosions on four rush-hour trains, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,800.

The Madrid train bombings were the deadliest terror attack in Western Europe since the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988, which killed 270 people.

The terrorists in Madrid, the authorities later determined, carried bombs in sports bags and backpacks onto four commuter trains serving the east of the Spanish capital. They got off and left behind their deadly devices.

Spanish courts later convicted 14 Islamist militants for their roles in the bombings, along with four Spaniards for trafficking in explosives used in the attacks.

On July 7, 2005, 52 people were killed and 700 injured when four bombers planted explosives on three underground trains and a bus in London.

The bombers, from the north of England, used cheap explosives and techniques found on the Internet to carry out the country’s worst terror attack.

British intelligence came under criticism after reports that the country had received reliable warnings about such an attack.

Two weeks after the London transit bombings, an attempted second wave of bombings struck other trains and a bus, but the devices failed to explode properly. More than a dozen people were arrested afterward.

Four homemade bombs stuffed into backpacks did not fully explode in the attempt. One person was injured.

In 2012, a Bosnian immigrant accused of plotting to bomb New York’s subway system as an “al Qaeda terrorist” was found guilty of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiracy to commit murder, supporting a foreign terrorist organization and other charges.

Prosecutors said Adis Medunjanin traveled to Pakistan’s tribal region with two high school friends, Pakistani-born Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay, an immigrant from Afghanistan. His friends pleaded guilty to planning the attack with with Medunjanin and testified against him.

Medunjanin sought to join the Taliban, but ended up being recruited by al Qaeda to perform a suicide mission in the United States. On their return, Medunjanin and his two friends hatched a plan to rig backpacks with explosives and blow them up, prosecutors said.

At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger said Medunjanin was willing “to strap a suicide bomb to himself, walk into a New York City subway and blow it up.”

ExxonMobil/Rosneft Strike Oil For Russia In Arctic, Despite Obama’s Economic Warfare

ExxonMobil reportedly finds oil in the Russian Arctic

QUARTZ

rosneft

 

ExxonMobil and its Russian partner reportedly have found oil in an Arctic well where drilling was to have stopped today but for a US extension granted to prevent a possible environmental accident

The oil was found at Universitetskaya, a 7,700-foot well in the Kara Sea that ExxonMobil’s partner, Rosneft, believes holds about 9 billion barrels of oil. The find seems certain to create tension with the US government, which two weeks ago slapped new sanctions on Russia that forbid US companies from participating in Russian Arctic drilling. Lobbied by Exxon, the Obama administration granted the company an extension through Oct. 10 in order to allow the safe cementing and abandonment of the well.

The company proceeded with the drilling, as Quartz noted late yesterday, and it struck oil, the Financial Times wrote today. If true, the find does not necessarily mean the field contains commercial volumes of oil. That will have to be determined in further drilling, in which ExxonMobil will be able to participate only if tension between the West and Russian president Vladimir Putin subsides, and the sanctions are eased.

ExxonMobil declined to comment on the report of the oil find.

It has been clear that ExxonMobil would have time to finish drilling

Since the new sanctions were announced, ExxonMobil has said little more publicly than that Washington had extended a Sept. 26 deadline, allowing for safe withdrawal from the well. Given the sanctions, analysts cast doubt on whether the company had time to produce the well logs necessary for an initial determination as to whether Universitetskaya contained oil. If the company fell short, this drilling season would have been all but wasted, since it would not meet the objective of discovering what lay below the surface.

But on Sept. 24, Kirill Molodtsov, Russia’s deputy energy minister, said drilling will come to a halt on Oct. 10. Since ExxonMobil spudded the well Aug. 9, and drilling was to take 70 days, that meant that drilling, cementing, plugging, and abandoning the well was to finish by Oct. 18. Unless the company experienced unusual difficulty, there was little chance that eight days would prevent completion. That made it appear likely that ExxonMobil would meet its aims for the well despite the sanctions, which are directed at hobbling Russia’s next-generation oil production.

Universitetskaya is an important field not only for Russia, but for ExxonMobil. Like all of the major oil producers, the company has had a difficult time finding new reserves to replace what it drills every year. The Russian Arctic, if successful, could be a source of a large part of its production in the 2020s and beyond. As for Russia, it hopes that its Arctic underpins production for the next several decades, since oil revenue funds more than 40% of the state budget..

The sanctions are intended to threaten Russian hopes and pressure Putin into concessions on Ukraine.

In a statement yesterday, ExxonMobil told Quartz:

Given the complexity of the University-1 well and the sensitive arctic environment in the Kara Sea, ExxonMobil sought, and was granted, limited relief from the recently issued Treasury Department sanctions to enable a safe and orderly wind down of operations related to this exploration well.

The Kara Sea project and the University-1 well was the subject of our application for a slightly extended compliance period because operations were at a critical stage and additional time was required to safely wind down activity, especially given the sensitive arctic environment.

Iranian President Rouhani Proves Himself Much Smarter Than CNN’s Ultra-Devious Amanpour

Iran’s President calls airstrikes on ISIS ‘theater,’ says broader campaign needed

cnn

Watch this video

By Mick Krever, CNN

(CNN) — Airstrikes against ISIS militants are a “psychological operation,” not a military one, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Friday.

“It is a common threat for all of us,” he said. “And this requires a unison effort from all of us.”

“We need a vast campaign of operations … the aerial bombardment campaign is mostly, I would say, a form of theater, rather than a serious battle against terrorism.”

Iran and the United States have found their foreign policies surprisingly aligned in the past several months, as both try to beat back the advance of the Sunni extremists that have gained a foothold in Iraq and war-torn Syria.

While the United States has limited itself thus far to airstrikes in those two countries, Iran has sent Revolutionary Guard units into Iraq; the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, Qassem Suleimani, has even been photographed on the ground in Iraq.

Five Gulf countries, traditional adversaries of Shiite Iran, joined with the United States in a rare coalition to strike ISIS in Syria.

However, Rouhani said he’d like to distance himself “from the word ‘coalition’ because some countries haven’t come together under the umbrella of this coalition.”

The question of Syria

Many of the countries participating in the coalition have long pushed for the ouster of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad, as the Emir of Qatar told Amanpour on Thursday in his first-ever interview. Iran, on the other hand, is al-Assad’s most fervent backer; most military analysts agree that the regime would have fallen long ago were it not for Iran’s 2012 intervention in the conflict.

“How do you feel,” Amanpour asked Rouhani, “as the president of Iran, as the main military backer of a regime, the Assad regime, that the United Nations has said has killed 200,000 of its own people — tortured people, executed people. Why does Iran want to be associated with that kind of genocidal barbarism?”

“The army of that country was carrying out a battle against the terrorists,” Rouhani replied. “They kept saying that these are opposition members and we will keep asking who are these opposition members who have preferred to take up arms so swiftly and so savagely and violent, reasons rather than resorting to talks and negotiations?”

Amanpour countered that “it all started when (the Syrian people) wanted a little bit of reform and the government of that nation responded in a way that the United Nations now says has caused the death of 200,000 civilians.”

“If the army of the Syrian people, the Syrian government, had not stood up and fought against terrorism,” Rouhani said, “who do you think would have been the victor today? Let’s assume no one would have rendered assistance. The victor would have been the same people that everyone is recognizing as terrorists today.”

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi .. Salafi Jihadi

al-Maqdisi, whose real name Issam Taher Al-Otaibi

10/7/2005

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi .. Salafi Jihadi

aljazeera
– Al-Maqdisi and al-Zarqawi and his view of the relationship between them
– The discovery of the organization and its members arrested
– Zarqawi migration to Afghanistan and its relationship to bin Laden
– Jerusalem and its relationship Salafi in Saudi Arabia
– Opinion Conclave operations in al-Zarqawi in Iraq
– Operations in Muslim countries is not occupied

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– Al-Maqdisi and al-Zarqawi and his view of the relationship between them
– The discovery of the organization and its members arrested
– Zarqawi migration to Afghanistan and its relationship to bin Laden
– Jerusalem and its relationship Salafi in Saudi Arabia
– Opinion Conclave operations in al-Zarqawi in Iraq
– Operations in Muslim countries is not occupied

Yasser Abu Hilala: Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi off the rails, the release was delayed half a year after it decided the State Security Court acquitted in a case in which he accused thirteen of Jihadist Salafist movement plotting to attack U.S. troops, but the charge did not prove to a convicted them on charges of possession of a firearm and acquitted Conclave It is not the first time that healed the view of the Jihadist Salafist movement, was acquitted by the case known bombings Millennium and between indictment and acquittal would spend most of his days in prison, investigation, and the only time in which the rule was in the case of allegiance Imam with a group of Salafi jihadist notably required First in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In the State Security Court was al-Maqdisi, whose real name Issam Taher Al-Otaibi says reporters not getting caught me explosives, but see my thoughts explosives and that the man was outside the prison bars still eyes Mfathh him as he tries not to lose the confidence of his supporters and cast leads stretched out with them at the same time does not provoke the devices is attributable As was often behind bars, in his first appearance on the screen was the first question for the first required in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Maqdisi and Zarqawi and his view of the relationship between them

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi – the most prominent theorists of Jihadist Salafist movement: our brother Sheikh Mr. Mujahid Abu Musab al-Zarqawi option brothers who met with them in Peshawar and in Jordan and met with them on this line and this current lawsuit blessed and the fact that mean this character wronged by the media so much and mean tarnished and must be given right of redress. This brother first met him I met him in Peshawar in the house of our brother Abu al-Walid al-Ansari decoding of God was captured, I expect that is now in Guantanamo, we met at that time I was coming from Kuwait, was the brother of Abu Musab al-participant in the Afghan jihad and was distinguished in the arena there Valtqana when Brother Abu al-Walid and we got, introduced me to it on the grounds that young man wants to return to Jordan and starts to call to God and the hope that we meet in Jordan and cooperate in this field. When I returned from Kuwait to Jordan already he had returned from Afghanistan Fsharana together in this direction, the direction of the call for unification and the call to this line, which is now called the Salafist jihadist and means followed by what followed from prison and Aptlaouat was this prison means blessings and benefits to the lawsuit, both of classification of works which met around youth or youth education and mentoring. This means the fact that I’ve seen in the brother Abu Musab means Example brother, who is keen on this debt, loving to this call, the Savior her, faithful brothers, compassionate them despite the fact that his image now means appear on that person means does not care about blood, a man perhaps unthinkable news agencies that Assassin for blood and so they do not know the dimensions of this personal compassionate to her brothers, who is keen on them and there I mean the fact that I know the man was love of his clothes, love of his possessions, love of his times from as well as the efforts of his brothers, do not accept or ground floor to take advantage of what I have some reservations on the means or Almanasahat not satisfied to take advantage of this distortion in these personal advocacy blessed combatant.

Yasser Abu Hilala: in jail for what I choose to waive his emirate?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: it is a personal best present suitable for the Emirate in prison, strength of character in the hands of mean administration, the prison administration, know this prison and needs a strong personality to deal with it, is almost a consensus by the brothers was in that especially the people of the blue, the second they were what they know his character was They have the kind of fear in the beginning I convinced everyone in this matter but the young Zarqawi have been almost unanimous on this character, also add to all this, I’ve chosen too .. and put it in my calculations Jordanian side and the look of some of the people who do not understand the fact that the call Islamic and that these differences melt we have some people, especially management and other have these differences may mean some of them had to say that, we are God and not from the people of the country Hakadin the country Hakadin on the system, I wanted to deal with them I’m the same country and be the first in line to deal with them and this has had a means interest at one stage and was the brother of Abu Musab be efficient for the job and the emirate already at that time were not as portrayed by many journalists are were not Emirate state nor the Principality of regulation but were Emirate prison deficient limited number of countable prisoners governing these prisoners and their cooperation with the administration, because sometimes it was perhaps one exception for grade Fejer the whole assembly of the battle with the administration and Saddam had to be adjusted for the presence of these prisoners in jail.
The discovery of the organization and its members arrested

Yasser Abu Hilala: I want to ask about the case, which Aatqltm specifically, the Imam of allegiance, there is considerable confusion in the name of this organization and its goals and ideas, the fact that this organization now that the amnesty did you go out of it?

“We did not Nnzb allegiance to the Imam did not crystallize our organization and the process was the process of lessons in various areas and some of the writings that Tabanaha The brothers publish and distribute”

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: we did not have this name and we did not Nnzb to indefinite allegiance Imam did not even had not crystallized our organization, the process is the process of lessons in various areas, some in Oauajjan, some in blue, some of them in Amman and we had some writings that Tabanaha The brothers In the diffusion distribution.

Yasser Abu Hilala: There was no (technical failure).

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: He was in some young people their orientation and their priorities in the sense Sorry means thinking earlier to go to carry out operations in the West Bank and freed them, Sheikh Allah’s mercy brother Abdul Hadi Douglas, Abu Ubaidah, may Allah have mercy on him who was killed in northern Iraq was the most enthusiastic to carry out in West Bank and tried before and was arrested he and some other brothers, he came to me and Astftana that he wants to come down process in the West Bank following the accident provocative got him is the massacre of the Ibrahimi Mosque cited by the impact of these occurred in September and was the brother came to me immediately was followed, it was not in our calculations to do this time in this process, but when the massacre occurred brother came to me and very influenced by saying I want now revealed to process timing in response to the massacre, it revealed that the bombs that were at our disposal because the brother was arrested ..

Yasser Abu meniscus [interrupting]: given to him ..

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi [following up]: There is no doubt that this is permissible and that this is a legitimate right for a person to grant victory to his brothers in Palestine, and that is to fight the Jews and the occupier .. Brother and this was also known this from the standpoint of the system was different because it was before the peace agreement as it was this Speech Pal 1993.

Yasser Abu Hilala: Hokmtm in the case of Imam allegiance and Oamadeetm time in prison to be issued a general amnesty in 1999, I want to ask for pardon Are there conditions to release you?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: No there was not any conditions, amnesty was not special for us when we were visited by the Minister of Interior has his Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and said to him, and I quote We are not asking for a pardon from one, do not ask only relief from God and then beware and then beware that move on our tongues, we ask pardon of one, this was when we were visited by the Minister of Interior in Jafr and income to our room on the inside to Mhdjana and spoke with the brother of Abu Musab spoke I’m also with him and I reached this point our call was the brother of Abu Musab may Allah protect him keen to convey to him this message.
Zarqawi migration to Afghanistan and its relationship to bin Laden

Yasser Abu Hilala: did you go out general amnesty, Abu Musab chose to go to Pakistan and then to Afghanistan, and you choose to stay in the country, you A_i_ark Abu Musab Are you approved on leaving the country and going to Pakistan and then to the Emirate of the Taliban?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: Abu Musab did not decide this after a general amnesty, but was this idea existed with him while we were in prison, since he emerged as the Taliban regime and brother Abu Musab incites young brothers inside the prison that if we got out of jail we go to Afghanistan, this was his idea within prison until we inside the prison I was trying to convince him not to do this and to keep young people within the country and Astglua in the call and that we are Snfrg arena this act of friendship unification, not Abu Musab is the only one who did this was our brother God’s mercy Abu Abdul Rahman, a leading Khuraisat also has the same approach he took a range of youth Asalt and went to Afghanistan and then to Kurdistan and the two Altgmaan of our choice in the country and the fact that I was not satisfied with the exit of young blue nor too young Asalt and Tfrighm for the yard and out to those arenas, even if the issue was progress and train and then return, for example, it will be possible in the opinion of another case she was taking the character of immigration, they took their wives and their wives and their children, the issue was to take the character of the Immigration and saddened that this.

Yasser Abu Hilala: Ptkadirk While in Afghanistan, why did not pay allegiance to Osama bin Laden, although they on the same line of thought, a line Salafist jihadi?

“Abu Musab did not pay allegiance to Osama bin Laden, but they were on good terms, and suggested that Abu Musab al-Sheikh Osama that makes his writing curriculum for the youth of Al-Qaeda”

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: at that time is the limits of my knowledge he did not Ibayah but they were on good terms and brother Abu Musab contact in over more than once call in from Afghanistan and Pakistan at that stage and it was informing me Salamat Sheikh Osama and it delivers you and that he has reviewed some of the poems that I write you poems and who you write it existed on the site, brother Abu Musab was suggested as means after the sale of some of the brothers that he suggested to Sheikh Osama to make some more of his writings or his writing curriculum for the youth of the base. And Sheikh Osama had a mean opinion in this matter that I am a human being despised Ali when the Saudi regime and distorted Picture of the Saudi regime that I hand scientists enemy, the enemy of the elders there and that this would hurt or alienated from the rule if they took my writing as a way to publicly rule. The mean sale that Sheikh Osama mentioned fine and said that our brother and this means but to take his writing approach, declaring it means that would negatively affect the base, as though Abu Musab was this condition has even subsumed under it, so the sale I’m from some of the brothers and reminded me that this means they Astaznoa Abu Musab to tell me where or briefed Abu Musab means documented, though the Abu Musab I would love to continue this trend, which is convinced it intellectually and means he wants to study and so I was informing me also for some of the brothers that the books, which was taught in camps in Herat was mostly my books, I mean, the idea of Business consultancy called jihad or Vetoaa studied this issue in this camp or optional specifically where he studied, he told me some of the brothers who returned studied many issues printed my letters, Abu Musab insistence on this could be factors that .. I want to make it the only factor is the factor of Factors that bilingual means that he made him work in the line alone at the time.
Salafi al-Maqdisi and his relationship in Saudi Arabia

Yasser Abu Hilala: Maybe it was the first time your name appears in the media when she appeared on Saudi television confessions and announced some young people who blew up the upper and they Qabluk Astvetok. The I asked about it in 1996, has told me that you met with these young people, what the nature of your relationship with the Saudi youth and how it describes?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: I met the brother and the only one of the brothers who were accused of the four who is Abu Assem Abdel Aziz Almosm, God’s mercy, visited me yes more than once in the country and take my writing and was asking me about some of the issues of legitimacy and even after the prisons and I drive in the stage means before the stage started Zrtina shortly before the bombing of the Supreme came to me, Jordan and I am in prison and reassure my children and lose them and asked them if you are in need something before the bombing of the Supreme months numbered and asked many questions and took our writings, but no Asfn directly to do this kind of work specifically or even work within the island did not Asfn such means in such things, was Istftina General, he would take my writing was achy of the reality of the elders, scientists, and they walk in the passenger governments, was achy to published Altakvel, achy of the conditions of the Islamic nation, a man feel him loyalty, love the religion of God, loves victories the religion of God, but I did not feel for one moment that it is possible that the work within the island.

Yasser Abu Hilala: I mean, look at how the Salafist reform in Saudi Arabia?

“Jihadist Salafist movement was launched to avenge the blessed of the nation and to restore its glory and is the fruit of many Salafi sheikhs”

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: Salafi reformism had a role in the stage in guiding this current in repayment or in criticism of irregularities governments on the island, had a role in educating young people on the one hand America’s hand diagrams Americans because the Salafist traditional rigid These means were taken of young people means Elly Asmohm chieftains Awakening transferred young or Rfohm degrees of direction, a means toward upgrade their thoughts toward them aware of the machinations that are almost of the nation there is no doubt that he had a role and I am the truth from the people who always say that this Jihadist Salafist movement Adha, which began now to avenge the nation and to restore its glory means The fruit is not only for the chieftains of this trend, it is not the fruit of all the chieftains of this trend, but many of the elders Salafis even Salafist traditional means such as Sheikh Bin Baz and Sheikh bin Uthaymeen are elders who Nkhafahm in their attitudes toward governments say they do not Nboukshm right, have had a role in enriching this power because the ones who worked on breaking the deadlock confessional, to educate young people to divert them from our audit, keep them away from superstition, removed from the well, this aspect of the gap of the bull who stood by, everyone contributed to enriching this trend, including those who mean I asked them power Awakening, no doubt they contributed or raised young degree though not the degree to which we aspire to it, but the degree for young people of the island, at one stage contributed chieftains Awakening transferred degree the quality and sensitized to a certain stage and then young people what God means after the Gulf War and the means the descent of the base to field a strong and theses groups Jihad and Jihadist Salafist movement, young people become conscious and God willing, this trend began to avenge the nation and needs to be direct and to pay and care.

Yasser Abu Hilala: But there are such reviews Review Islamic group in Egypt, the number of audits of Saudi sheikhs, how do you evaluate these revisions? You Have you checked your thoughts?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: I mean, heh revisions is not a defect, revisions and restores human calculations and evaluates his experience and studying and trying to pay it off nearly as mean .. direction that pleases God Almighty and the direction in which the benefit of the nation and draw young people to the more useful this is not a defect, I am surprised at those who defy the human or lends some people like this. But, unfortunately, means that the conduct of such revisions within the prisons within the constraint and within the harm and under duress this calls into question the credibility of these reviews, I mean, what was issued by the elders Khudayr and brotherhood others detained with him this calls into question the whole question which is not acceptable to young people originally, the same system already knows that this loss credibility because it comes from a man in prison and put it in front of the camera and talk to a good, if this is true and these elders have spoken of their own volition why not release them, and you become now helped wherever means ..

Yasser Abu meniscus [interrupting]: Now you’re talking voluntarily.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi [following up]: I speak freely my will, not forced one on this speech yes they are .. I mean why if this fact and spoke when these elders of declines, why not release them and make them speak in the nation and warn young people than his Takfirism and thought the outside and other Titles Titles deviant group which speaks the government? Released, if, if fact gone back to what for now are still present in the cellars of the prisons are still voices heat does not come out except under the camera and in front of those who call them investigators and broadcasters who have assumed the task of investigating them, not TV interviews, the fact that if they are honest and these retreats real Vlatalegoa release sheikhs and speak their own volition outside the prison, but as long as these retreats inside prisons lose credibility, for the Islamic Group took place Yes some of those declines have been released and we heard this and I really mean I’m still not out of New briefed them and heard about them ..

Yasser Abu Hilala: You mean as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi His compositions and works of the many you checked your thoughts and your practices and think you made a mistake in some situations, where these errors down about?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: I do not I set declines or revisions but as I said not a defect review is not a defect, but the truth is what I wrote in the last writings which is the messages that were down as the stops with the fruits of jihad jihad evil and jihad in fact, these messages mean or what included in these messages and these stances is what I tell him all my life, thanks to God Almighty, I mean, what we want to exaggerate to say from a young age because this young man is going through stages and thinking matures and perhaps improve and evolve, but I’d say at least much of what he called some Btrajat is not Btrajat is present we have, exists In a letter thirties, although the book was great not to share it with, for example, those who call it declines, is contained within what I wrote in these big books, exists within our conversations with our brothers and our lessons everyone knows me this, I did not say the succession of one day even the so-called revisions, but we had Now speak it specifically or emerged to speak it precisely because of what is happening now in fact, what is happening in Iraq, what is happening in many countries around the back of this talk has emerged and showed the media and the God that he, for example, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi not support the bombing of Shiite mosques ..

Yasser Abu Hilala: I want to ask specifically about your review of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in your message advocacy and advise where to agree with him and where do they differ?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: Starting I mean Abyan circumstances that landed where this counseling, I mean, when I wrote this counseling was Aslna news of the arrest, not the killing of Sheikh Abu Anas, may Allah have mercy on him and this is something I said that Abu Musab when they need now to Munasaha especially as it has such a Brother , Dear Brother science student who I rejoiced great joy too when I knew that Abu Musab al-proximity and taken charge of legitimate because I know his knowledge and trust which rejoiced perhaps I mean, God willing, have a deep impact on the care of this power in Iraq, and directed and paid, and when he heard that he was arrested came to me news that he was initially arrested this from motives which I was invited to the initiative to write and advise brother Abu Musab, and then also from motives that brother Abu Musab was maker at the time the name of my site, as you mentioned in the introduction to the meeting, took the name of my name for the organization and his group, I guess God knows that every of means briefed on this see that I have the right as long as the name the name of my site has taken the name of this organization shall be my right to have reservations or mention reservations on some of the choices and interpretations, which was carried by the brother Abu Musab which I me interpretations different from them, I have the right that would keep them was to be directed by this letter, which is as its name, God willing, advocate and advise, I am Nusrat Brother, I think that I should Onzareth it and made reservations on the things that I do I receive in prison through the media Ltd. in my newspaper means local and local television also through These were things means I receive news and found that we have to have reservations to such choices I have to say the succession or say b ..

Yasser Abu meniscus [interrupting]: specifically what these choices?
Opinion in the Conclave of al-Zarqawi in Iraq

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi [following up]: I meant what I want to bring brother Abu Musab things may not say it now, especially because I was in isolation in prison and came out a new but speak the things which may be the means if the fact that these media credibility in the transfer, and we’ve heard say may be chosen by Abu Musab al-something who kept it in a expansion of operations who call it a jihad, or some call it suicide or martyrdom, the expansion of this section we oppose necessary, Abu Musab studied at the camp in Herat studied this issue in my mind as I knew from the brothers returning from that camp and I see that these processes do not close the door and do not open it wide, I Otost in this also mediate our scientists on the issue of the killing of the gear Muslim who Atters by infidels captive Muslims who Atersoa them, Coconut scientists killed this gear out of necessity if not to kill him harm greatest Islam and Muslims and be mean .. is slain inevitably, scientists have their terms in this section Vshibna this view has this to say to the scientists on the processes that indulge in. Mujahid in a row infidels and blow himself will kill occurs in them the greatest Spite and kills it within that, he killed the gear or killed self one thing because it is the same Ma’soumeh gear and you also deprive yourself infallible you have to kill them, Valkies means holds in this matter. After all, we are we see that these processes Prize for necessity and this opinion when it came out were not for Iraq originally was the fatwa of Palestine and what is happening in Palestine and I am in prison, drive out, although this should not be expanded and have broken from violating the in it and they tells it the way a traditional weapon of Kalklashenkov or Kalmsds or as anything else we say is not a way it is a traditional way of exceptional necessity. This means we were able to tell them if the struggling of killing the enemy gun Kalashnikovs or not permissible for him to blow if he can not permissible for him to resort to this method. It means a way of necessity or are exceptional and not authentic way, the expansion of this section means I would keep it.

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Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: that the abundance and that every day we hear in the news I speak six months ago I was in solitary confinement and cut off from the world, but six months ago, we daily read the news in the newspapers and see on television dozens of deaths of Iraqi civilians, women, children and almost injures or kills one or two people from the American occupiers, this is to be in custody and must be reconsidered and not ashamed, never I am embarrassed and do not say I will not issue fatwas in kind nor I support not approved, not ashamed never to say this because God Almighty means is His Prophet, peace be upon him who is good to me and the good of the people and said to him {lower your wing for those who follow thee of the believers, the Asok tell I am innocent of what you do} Messenger did not find any qualms to say to Khalid bin Waleed Saifullah Maslool when killing some of the sit prostrate and said Sbona did not improve to say Oslmana he wants to say Oslmana they said Sbona hurried including murder he killed them, although they showed Islam, showed a word that means Islam they are and when Khaled does not mean Islam Sbona said Sbona .. Sbona means Oslmana and worshiped, he sped up suspects in the murder when he reached the Prophet him said, “Oh God, I healed you than making Khaled” and Khaled Saifullah Maslool, not al-Zarqawi, nor anyone else, Saifullah Maslool said, Oh God, I healed you than making Khalid because the Prophet peace be upon him is a bright side to this jihad, and must be kept meaning of jihad, which calls for him peace be upon him and urges the faithful upon jihad pure net is not scratched or turbidity know how errors if the choice companions, the matter must broaden our brothers chests us in such a thing because this jihad and this invitation and this current jihadist holy is not exclusive to me, nor is Zarqawi, nor is any of the organizations working in the arena and the combatant Iraqi or non-Iraqi, the secretariat Astraana them and God will come and how much we are now left to us from the ages? This will leave time and will come after us people running around in the same direction, and they will learn from our experiences, we must believe God and believe with those people who Siktdoa us and be our care and guidance of this trend and paid for the best choices.

Yasser Abu Hilala: in your message also talked about targeting Shiites pan?

“I’m on the doctrine of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah not atone pan Shiites and the consequences of this, as in his opinion it is not permissible equality of Jews and Christians in the fighting, and the like.”

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: I am the truth of this matter means I view it, I mean the doctrine of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah not atone ordinary Shiites, although Shiites grievance Sheikh Ibn Taymiyyah and let it atone peek and that .. so tell him and Happy and Wahab came after him did not before call it the Happy, I’m on the doctrine of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah in this not to atone pan Shiites and the consequences of this, as in his fatwa portion fight prostitute that he may not be equality of Jews and Christians in the fighting and the like, may not be equality may not be equal to the Shiite Commoner in fighting U.S. though when our brothers in Iraq, our Sunni brothers have justifications stated justifications for many after what came my reservations stated justifications that God Shiites kidnapped from the Sunnis and the people many, but said most of what they said kidnapped girls and their reasoning contrary, I say in this area say we are in the field to see what can not see is a man imprisoned and even if it were not imprisoned in the field and we know. They said it was wise for what is being supported from the persecution of the year and that he went to a delegation of the year complaining about the rape of many Shiite mosques in the year after the fall of Saddam’s regime was Jaoppe you the year you have many mosques ish affects you, take them twenty Shia Mosque of Msagdkm?

Yasser Abu Hilala: Whether true or not valid justifications for this ..

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: is the justification for the brothers.

Yasser Abu Hilala: for example, a person targeted Husseiniya.

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: I am who I want to Ostdrickh now However, now I say this that I mentioned in the hands of my words is the justification for our brothers in the field and say you do not know what is going on in the field and this excuse in not taking Bmanasahatna, this excuse we say even if these excuses means exist That does not justify bombing as reported by the mosques, because the mosques means enters colloquial and ordinary Shiites they Kaawam year, do not say 100%, but there are those of common folk who is not known, however, prayer and fasting does not know details of the doctrine which speaks the brothers say in distortion Koran and other Almkfrat of which atone where some Sunni scholars atone where Shiites, the Shiite, in the year of the ordinary to say this and say that therefore means that the legalization of the blood of ordinary Shiites this mistake should be compromised by the Mujahideen. I kept him especially if the bombings take place in mosques because these are the sectarian strife that he wishes the occupier, you flare Mosque Shiites comes Shiites blowing a Sunni mosque and the dispersion of the conflict and move from fighting the enemy warrior occupier who came spoiling the bounties of the nation and plunder resources of the Iraqi people to become sectarian fighting between two means are supposed to be in the same trench towards the occupier at least, means the fact I mean, I do not support these bombings taking place specifically in the mosques, but this does not mean that I accuse Abu Musab which means the bombings that took place in Karbala during Ashura, I think a year ago and a half or two years I do not remember when specifically we were in prison at the time did not espoused by Abu Musab, I know it was not adopted and therefore we should not say that because I’m saying specifically that this advice is directed to all not to Zarqawi, so as not to Nthmh haphazardly say that targeting Shiite mosques, both in Iraq and also in Pakistan , in Pakistan more than Iraq war raging between Sunnis and Shiites every day you hear the mosque bombing Shiite mosque bombing Year This is a must on the wise and the wise year and chieftains of this current jihadist holy warn their brothers and warn their youth to avoid this bitter, not to be involved in it and to refrain from pushing the mosques in this matter and even churches I even warned of the bombing of churches and I have no interest of Islam and Muslims in this matter there was a place of worship ish interest of the bombing of the Church of Islam? Ish church enters the boy’s interest and rights of the child and peaceful? Esch want to blow up the church? Why Islam benefit from the bombing of churches? We say must wise Shiites also wise Year warn their brothers and caution in this area also wise Shiites to warn youth from slipping assault on the Sunnis and the bombing of mosques and the kidnapping of their sheikhs or so, which says it little or brothers justifications to fight Shiites and their associates. I do not say or did not I take one day I meant to say, and God knows it is the case of the Shiites and the expansion in the killing of Shiites and the legalization of blood is all of a fatwa came during the Iran-Iraq war from under the hands of some of the chieftains of power justification and justification and to give legitimacy to the war at that time systems means systems Gulf all of which were parked with Saddam at the time, was the fatwas graduated stamped Shiites at the time and he quotes him and elders officials and chieftains governments they publish these releases in the hands of young people, who are helped, I say they mean guilt of what is going on now they are shareholders in this and we have not denied stamped Shiites peek.
Operations in Muslim countries is not occupied

Yasser Abu Hilala: Now physical works in non-Muslim countries occupied the position you mean you systems aloud known but not occupied countries such as Egypt, Jordan, doing physical target states in these communities how to look at it?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: These ten or fifteen twenty years began awakening Islamic blessed by the call to God and then flipped the awakening of intellectual or advocacy to the awakening of jihad, we have this current blessed on the impact of Afghanistan and the jihad in Bosnia and Jihad in Chechnya, we have this AC Elly Bismoh Salafi jihadist who set out to avenge this nation and restore its glory, young Muslims see this fire burning in Iraq, the smoldering fire in Afghanistan, the smoldering fire in Palestine, he sees he can not stand, he can not remain sitting idly and blood pride Islamic conduct in the arteries, what can I stand idly, if opted for these systems to stand in the face of these young people to champion their nation and who want to bring it back to its glory there is no doubt that the Muslim youth if it finds that the dam barrier to supporting the nation Vsiuge orientation which reported but the fact that the man who is seen to this trend and seen it the fruit of the efforts of the sheikhs and scholars have spent a long time in sponsorship in his upbringing in the upbringing means pain of what is happening in our day than accelerate some youths clash with these systems, suffer from Tjlha in conflict with these regulations, especially if this clash means no fruit it can only be a normal reprisals pay to torture and abuse.

Yasser Abu Hilala: Who is responsible for these bloody acts witnessed by the non-Arab and Islamic country? Is it the responsibility of thought embraced by these young people responsibility practices or systems?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: God, I was responsible because the systems are Btst a youth that led the young, means rights for some countries that are exposed to the young Muslim to display, to his family, the arrest of women, the threat of indecent assault, how the young bear? This young man when he is under arrest and threatens to such threats affecting religion and affect the display and affecting his family this is not thinking of him, and he inside the cell and in the yard of torture, but at the moment that will come out of them to take revenge, do not think if he was sane and knew and had the project and had the means broad lines walking program evolves, and he has all these programs be delivered behind his back and becomes the thinking of revenge from what happened to him. And we are seen prisons and others saw the jails, systems are not counted account .. I mean not interested deviation sons of this trend is not interested in paid or integrity Therefore I say mean it this should be as the Prophet peace be upon him to talk in which he described the Victorious Sect, and described them as very important “They do not harm them from pious not to let them down,” I wrote in vulnerability violators reported that offenders in addition to violating the means may be in conflict with the owners put up an intellectual, but also violators warriors for this power of his enemies and opponents, of systems, of arrogance American and Zionist and others, pressures exerted systems and other young people should not skew young people about their programs, I project .. I have a project draft is not bombing tavern, the draft is not the bombing of a cinema, the draft is not the killing of an officer in March with me and God, torture, tortured me and hurt me, draft re nation to glory and statehood Islamic housing the every Muslim and this big project and huge does not come work Nkaúah small needs to be breeding a generation Muslim, needs to set up a long-term, needs to post the nation its scholars and its sons, all As long as I do not have the potential for this project will not ort brothers the stage of stages that precede these capabilities in a small physical work he wishes to shove the nation’s enemies youth behind the prison, now many brothers were killed and imprisoned illusion of balance this trend I am keen that the governor kept the balance of this trend in the right direction.

Yasser Abu Hilala: I mean, now you have Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan, I mean, have you considered that these countries occupied different from other Islamic countries?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: No doubt it is a different arenas to support Muslims, Muslim means Muslims are all in agreement on the fight against the enemy coming from abroad, the occupying enemy, in agreement on this matter either ..

Yasser Abu meniscus [interrupting]: Why vary with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in this statement?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi [following up]: do not disagree with Abu Musab nor with others in fighting the occupying enemy who occupies the country of Muslims in Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq, do not disagree with them but I have priorities, I have priorities .. I’m in the priorities of each stage, at this stage I do not want to be mean Iraq or Iraq holocaust for the people of this trend, do not be a holocaust because the means we have a balance of young Muslims mean when they reach young adulthood means Abu Anas al-Shami, for example, our brother, who was killed in the incident .. was said to have gone to edit Iraqi women prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison, if I was in charge of the brother Abu Anas al-Shami what his mission in such a task because it is up to the stage of the brother of Abu Anas al-Shami of maturity and understanding of this man is revealed by a process such as this, regardless of the rationale, regardless of the necessities, we are We have brothers few mature students aware of this level must kinds of kids we must be mentors, yes Abu Anas, may Allah have mercy on him and ask God to inhabit the highest paradise for him to choose, wants the certificate, he wants what he wants, but I as an administrator does not send it such a task means that I want to reach result.

Yasser Abu Hilala: I want to ask you a question more specifically, I mean, your son is doomed in the case of Ansar al-Islam and is believed to be in Iraq is not known ..

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: My son is not such as Abu Anas al-Shami, my son, a young man 17 years old happened out of here, he still needs to breeding needs to learn, my son came out of here the structure of going to Afghanistan during the bombing of Afghanistan and before the fall of the Taliban regime, came wants to go to Afghanistan to fight there, his uncle was there my brother Salah arrested in Iran wants to go when his uncle, wants to participate in the Afghan jihad and found that the road is closed arrived in Iran found the road closed Fshaorne that now closed the road and that he wants to go with the brothers to the Kurdistan rehearse If you opened the way to Afghanistan, we went with them to Afghanistan and that this happened, he went to Kurdistan and trained and waited until the open road and go to Afghanistan, Afghanistan fell and people began to get out of them it became like returned from Afghanistan.

Yasser Abu Hilala: does not know the fate of your son, there are those who say that he spent and there are those who say that he is still alive addresses what your son is in Iraq?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: God, I killed that sale sometimes and sometimes it is imprisoned in Abu Ghraib prison, but Nkhadoba speak to him, including my address to our brothers the Mujahideen in Iraq, and I think what is going on in Iraq is to address what it means my son.

Yasser Abu Hilala: One last question there are those who believe that it was you out a deal within your intervention equations official Arab regimes, how do you respond to that and address of your supporters who are still undecided on the issue of release you?

Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi: We ask God steadiness and good conclusion, I meant my brothers know my writings inside the prison and outside of prison and let them know my positions behind bars, liberty abroad and thanks to God Almighty we passed the dark days in prison and inside the dock in the courts over and over again and we repeat the same thing has not changed and did not changed and thanks to God Almighty, and God will not say one character contrary to what we believe and we owe God will not speak of that, God willing, however, to the satisfaction of Allah the Almighty and what dictates it to be legitimate towards this trend, towards this Jihad, the direction of our nation, and if some people see or might think he theses and speech that we mentioned in stances or declines in other calls or revisions Felicmonh call it what he wants, we speak this is nothing new when we say we have other than this? When we say the killing of women and children? When we say the killing of Shiites pan? When we say things like that? But this issue may have emerged and floated on the surface and in which he wrote in order to to events that we see in the arena and only this exists in our writings detailed writings large, references large that do not read it, but the brothers the sons of this trend, I mean, who is from the people of this movement knows that my word is not the new no one from the chieftains of this trend said .. claimed days to kill children or the killing of women, even the advisory opinion of our brother Abu Astragalus famous who means has now made a barrier in my face and lend them now have justifications and her circumstances and her means he has justified if we were Nkhafah in This is but they are not absolute fatwa. He did not say one of the sons of this trend never in one day and I speak specifically about myself to kill women and children did not say to kill Pan Shiites did not say things that are attributed sometimes never passport burglary funds Christians or the bombing of churches that did not say which one of the sheikhs of the Salafist movement Jihadist holy though he attributes to us by our adversaries or governments that Thakmana through some of the press paid or media hack who attributed us something falsely We Minh Brouae thanks to God Almighty, did not remind him, did not speak of it or denied it and did not call on him never means are If bribes call it reviews Felicmoha what they want, the truth is a report of what had already been written in it and let him which is highlighting him in the light of what is happening now in the arena and we mean I want to recommend my brothers at the conclusion of this meeting, that means the rally about referents and not go to writings .. writings referents and the writings of their sheikhs chieftains of this current blessed and that means Atbesroa by their nation, jihad means is the law and ordinance of the ordinances of this religion that were not according to what he loves God and is pleased it will not bear the desired fruit and ambitions that aspire to the nation, rally around the elders and care including Aketboh them tips It directions, ask God Almighty to let loose and reconcile our brothers in all over the world to support this debt and to restore the nation to glory and May Allah reward the good.

Yasser Abu Hilala: All that remains for us only to thank you for giving us this opportunity and did not expect us to thank our viewers but also to follow us in this dialogue, in the hope that we meet in the other meetings.

About this episode

Episode hosts Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi most prominent theorists Jihadist Salafist movement to talk about his vision for Zarqawi and the relationship between them, also talks about his relationship with Salafi in Saudi Arabia.

Hekmatyar and “Islamic State of Afghanistan” (Taliban) Allegedly Dealing With ISIL for Post-2014

Islamic State expanding activities in Ghazni province

Khaama

Taliban-in-Ghazni

Local officials in southeastern Ghanzi province of Afghanistan have warned that militants linked with Islamic State are expanding their activities in parts of this province.

Deputy provincial governor, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi has said that the Taliban militants linked with the Islamic State have raised the flags of the group in various districts.

He said the militants are campaigning in favour of the Islamic State and have closed numerous routes to Ghazni province since they are busy with planning their activities.

This comes as a female Afghan lawmaker Huma Sultani from Ghazni province has said she supports the Taliban ideology and endorses an Islamic State in Afghanistan, similar as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Reports earlier this month also suggested that the Islamic State has started distribution of pamphlets in bordering regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, in a bid to increase it’s influence in South Asian region.

According to the reports, the booklets titled Fata (victory) have also been distributed in Peshawar city as well as in Afghan refugee camps on the outskirts of the city.

In the meantime, a faction of the Hezb-e-Islami led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said late in August that they consider to join the Islamic State militants and continue to their insurgency attacks against the Afghan government, event after the NATO forces leave Afghanistan by the end of this year.

Hezb-e-Islami fighters confirmed their links with the Islamic State and insist that they would keep fighting until Sharia Law was established not just in Afghanistan, but throughout the world.

Pentagon Strikes Al-NUSRA Front In Syria, Lying Generals Call It “ISIS” (THERE IS NO KHORASAN)

(the quotes in BLUE are FROM:Syria rebels, experts say US airstrikes hit Al-Nusra Front not “Khorasan”)

“In Syria, no one had ever heard talk of Khorasan until the US media brought it up,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Rebels, activists and the whole world knows that these positions (hit Tuesday) were al-Nusra positions, and the fighters killed were al-Nusra fighters.”

“giving so-called Islamic State targets a wide berth”

“In Syria, he presided over a group of about 50 fighters, most of who had come from Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

US remains vague on Khorasan terrorist group

Sydney_Morning_Herald-logo-

Paul McGeough

Chief foreign correspondent

US Army Lieutenant General William Mayville jnr speaks about operations in Syria at the Pentagon.US Army Lieutenant General William Mayville jnr speaks about operations in Syria at the Pentagon. Photo: AP

 

Washington: The terrorism narrative was not meant to be like that – an al-Qaeda-affiliated cell plotting “shock ‘n awe” terror strikes on targets in Europe and the US might have been crippled before most of us had even heard of it.

US officials are “still assessing” the impact of strikes by US aircraft that entered Syrian air space on Tuesday, but giving so-called Islamic State targets a wide berth, they dropped their loads on the little known Khorasan group – and while they refuse to be categoric, US officials are surmising that group leader Muhsin al-Fadhli was among the dead.

“We believe he’s dead,” an unnamed administration official was quoted. “[But] we just don’t have a confirmation to make at this point,” added Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren.

Intriguingly, the US mirrored Khorasan tactics in mounting the surprise attack – just as the group is in Syria to take advantage of the civil war chaos and to recruit fighters who carry Western passports, American counter-terrorism forces used the opening assault on IS in Syria as cover to go after Khorasan.

In backgrounding reporters, US officials have sketched only the vague outlines of a group led by one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted comrades – at age 19, Fadhli reportedly was privy to plotting for the 9/11 attacks on the US and 13 years on had been dispatched to Syria by bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to recruit foreign fighters whose travel documents would let them travel easily in Europe and the US.

In what is thought to be the first public mention of the group by a US official, just last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said that “in terms of threat to the [US] homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger ” as IS.

The threat was that Khorasan was in Syria, but looking beyond – scouting for jihadis with the right travel papers and at the same time, working with al-Qaeda’s bomb-making specialists in Yemen.

The Kuwaiti-born Fadhli won a mention in a George W. Bush speech in 2005; and in 2012, the State Department described him as a “senior facilitator and financier” as it put a US$7 million price on his head.

On Tuesday, US President Barack Obama made an oblique reference to “seasoned al-Qaeda operatives” in Syria – but in his September 10 “degrade and destroy” speech,  the president made no mention of this other threat that he planned to eliminate.

And just as there was no clarity on the death of Fadhli, which was being mentioned in jihadi social media posts; neither was there any news on the extent to which the attacks might have degraded or destroyed Fadhli’s entire operation.

Reports by the United Nations, among others, say Fadhli fought in Afghanistan and Chechnya and for a time had operated from Iran. In Syria, he presided over a group of about 50 fighters, most of who had come from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby described Tuesday’s strikes as “very successful”, as he ticked off the Khorasan targets near the northern city of Aleppo – “training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility (SEE BELOW), a communications building and control facilities”.

khorasan underwear bomb labKHORASAN UNDERWEAR BOMB LAB

Concern about the group’s intentions was the reason for a tightening of security around flights to the US a few months earlier but, in describing why the group had to be attacked, accounts  by various officials don’t quite gel.

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes on Tuesday said Khorasan was engaged in actual plotting that was going on from Syria, but it was unclear whether it was the planning or the attack that was “imminent”.

A day later, another official briefing told reporters said that the group was “nearing the execution phase” for an attack “in Europe or in the [US] homeland”. But as the Guardian pointed out, hours before the air strikes, another senior US official had said there was no indication of an imminent domestic threat from Khorasan.

Come Thursday, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman insisted the group was “nearing the end stage of planning an attack on a western target”.

And again, other unnamed officials quoted by The New York Times and The Washington Post were more cautious – it was unclear if Khorasan had actually selected targets, dispatched operatives or had even given the “go” command for a plot.

“Aspirational” was how one of the officials described Khorasan’s planning.

The Pentagon’s Rear Admiral Kirby was quoted: “I can’t say with extreme confidence the we know we have in fact disrupted a specific attack, but we definitely know we have hit targets  that belong to them, were of use to them.”

The Planned Plunder of Iraq and the Need To Create ISIS

 

Iraq: Why Can’t We Learn From Our Mistakes?

reason

Obama wants to arm “moderate” Syrian fighters. But moderates can become fanatics with changes to the political and military moment.

 napolitano

What if the American invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction? What if whatever weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein once had were sold to him in the 1980s by American arms dealers with the express permission of the U.S. government? What if he no longer had them when the U.S. invaded? What if the principal reason for invading Iraq was to depose Hussein because he tried to kill President George H.W. Bush, whose son ordered the invasion?

What if another reason for the invasion of Iraq was to enable western-allied governments to control or receive oil from Iraq? What if the Bush administration lied to the American people, Congress, the U.N., and governments of other nations in order to persuade them to support the invasion? What if the Bush administration knew all along that Hussein posed no threat to the stability of the Middle East or the freedom or security of the U.S.? What if Hussein was, in fact, a stabilizing force in the Middle East?

What if the American invasion violated the moral precepts of the Just War, precepts accepted in Judeo-Christian teaching and culture for more than 500 years, and that have underpinned international law for more than 100 years?

What if the invasion killed 4,500 Americans and 650,000 Iraqis, injured 40,000 Americans, displaced 2 million Iraqis, and destroyed more than $100 billion in Iraqi property? What if that invasion, which cost more than one trillion borrowed U.S. dollars, degraded the Iraqi military?

What if the American invasion sent many members of the Iraqi military underground or into the arms of anti-government resistance fighters? What if the American invasion also produced a fierce resistance and determined will to expel the American invaders?

What if the Middle East has been the scene of a 1,000-year-old religious dispute between two branches of Islam: the Sunni and the Shia? What if under Hussein the Sunni persecuted the Shia and also persecuted a third group in that region, the Kurds? What if Hussein used the weapons of mass destruction that American arms dealers sold him to gas thousands of Kurds? What if the Shia now persecute the Sunni?

What if Iraq is not a country of people with common cultures and interests and generally accepted borders, but rather an amalgam of warring groups cobbled together by British and American diplomats? What if only a strongman like Hussein—however evil and ill suited for government by Western standards—can keep peace and stability in an artificial country like Iraq?

What if al-Qaida was not present in Iraq before America invaded? What if the American invasion drew al-Qaida fighters to Iraq from Africa and other parts of the Middle East? What if the American invasion produced a violent stew of resistance to and resentment of American-induced violence in Iraq?

What if that stew—which has been known by different names, but is now called ISIS—included not only fighters from all over the Middle East and Africa, but also from the current Iraqi military and from Hussein’s military, which U.S. forces thought they had defeated or dispersed? What if many of those former Iraqi military forces brought their American-made and American-paid-for military equipment and their American military training with them into ISIS?

What if, in the 11 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq and in the 13 years since the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, American troops have been training new Iraqi and Afghan armies? What if during that time of training many of those U.S.-trained troops joined the ISIS resistance? What if the U.S.-trained troops that stayed in the Iraqi military are really a rag-tag band of second-rate soldiers who are unable to defend the Iraqi government against ISIS? What if President Obama’s military advisers have told him this?

What if some of the training has taken place in the United States? What if some of those trainees left their instructors, fled a U.S. Army base, and were at large in the U.S. with their weapons?

What if under the watch of the U.S.-trained Iraqi soldiers one-third to one-half of the landmass of Iraq has fallen to ISIS? What if ISIS—though barbaric and ruthless and decidedly undemocratic—has established governments in the lands it conquered? What if those governments—though terrifying to those who would resist them, as Hussein was—have financed schools and hospitals and operated as the only government in the land, as Hussein did? What if those governments are selling oil to finance themselves, as Hussein did?

What if the forces in the U.S. who believe the military is best when it is fighting are again beating the drums for war in Iraq? What if Obama’s present plans are to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels and induce them to fight ISIS on the ground while the U.S. provides air cover? What if the U.S. really cannot tell the moderate Syrian fighters from the fanatical Syrian fighters? What if they are one and the same fighters, whose moderation or fanaticism changes with the politics and military needs of the moment?

What if American empire building and military adventurism and going about the world looking for monsters to slay have caused this mess? What if the American government refuses to recognize that? What if the United States is about to embark on the same thing all over again? What if all this has not made a single American freer or safer? What if all this has made the American government paranoid and the American people less free and poorer and more vulnerable?

What if the government here cannot recognize its failures? What if a people who cannot understand the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them? What do we do about it?

Denver Students Plus Faculty Stage Mass Walk-Out Over Whitewashing of American History Texts

[Textbooks were devoid of American racial history, genocide, and the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, offering politically correct brainwashing, intended to produce harmless, useful automatons (SEE: The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America).  These kids and their teachers represent the True Spirit of America more than any half-assed politicians or bureaucrats.]

Denver students stage mass walk-out over US history ‘censorship’

Russia-Today

Still from YouTube video/Kent Micho

Still from YouTube video/Kent Micho

Hundreds of Denver-area high school students walked out their classrooms in a mass protest against what they call an attempt to censor their history curriculum by refocusing it on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism and obedience.

Students at six Denver-area highs schools walked out their classrooms en masse, protesting a plan by the conservative-majority Jefferson County school board to push for curriculum changes to Advanced Placement history courses to promote patriotism and deference to authority. The proposed changes would include the removal of topics that could ‘encourage’ civil disobedience from textbooks and materials.

The protest was organized through social media, encouraging students to stand outside the Jefferson County School Administrative Building with placards which read “People didn’t die so we erase them,” “Educate free thinkers,” “There is nothing more patriotic than protest,” and “History is History.”

The student protest comes after teachers at two schools caused a shutdown the week before when they staged a sick-out over the curriculum changes, which the school board says provides a balanced view of American history.

“I understand that they want to take out our very important history of slavery and dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because it portrays the US in a negative light,” a high school senior, Casey McAndrew, told CNN.

The proposal calls for establishing a committee that would regularly review texts and course plans, starting with Advanced Placement history to make sure materials“promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free market system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights,” and don’t “encourage or condone civil disorder, social strike or disregard of the law.”

READ MORE: ‘History is a human right’: UK govt. Wikipedia edits obscure high profile killings

“The nation’s foundation was built on civil protests,” Tyrone G. Parks, a senior student told the Associated Press. “And everything that we’ve done is what allowed us to be at this point today. And if you take that from us, you take away everything that America was built of.”

READ MORE: Journalism groups blast Obama admin for ‘politically driven suppression of news’

Those students participating in the protest will not be punished but will receive unexcused absences unless their parents request permissions for missed classes, according to school district spokeswoman Lynn Setzer said.

Meanwhile, Jefferson County Superintendent Dan McMinimee tried to calm the tensions saying that no changes in the curriculum have been finalized and renewing his offer to continue discussions on the issue.

The Lying “Legitimate Press” and the “Terrorists” It Invents

Lies the media repeats about Iraq: Phony patriotism, fake Syrian “moderates” and the very real end of empire

SALON

We have made a shocking mess in the Middle East. This new adventure sets America up for incredible decline

Lies the media repeats about Iraq:  Phony patriotism, fake Syrian "moderates" and the very real end of empireBarack Obama applauds George W. Bush at the dedication ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, April 25, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed)

In history there are the Punic Wars and the Opium Wars, each a turning point, and now we must talk of our Iraq Wars. As of this week they count three since George Bush the Elder cynically drew Saddam Hussein into invading Kuwait 23 years ago.

Some of us may struggle with speechlessness, but there are many things to say about President Obama’s decision to widen his Iraq War with his new bombing campaign in Syria. The most important extends far beyond the shocking mess Washington has done so much to make in the Middle East, and it is this: Our wars deliver us to our turning point. In the blindness of our leaders, we Americans are being set up for an era of tragic, unnecessary decline.

It starts to look angelic, to put this point another way, to suggest that America still has a chance to correct some of its costliest and most destructive errors in the 20th century as it proceeds into the 21st. One guards optimism as a precious gift, but I confess mine now flags.

There is so much wrong with Iraq War III it is hard to know where to begin. The purported strategy, the what of it, will get us going.

There is next to no chance that Washington will “degrade and ultimately destroy” the Islamic State, to take Obama’s noted words for the mission. There is next to every chance that, as in Afghanistan and during Iraq Wars I and II, the military presence will win ISIS support because they speak for the perfectly well-grounded anti-Western resentment that spreads wide and deep across the Middle East.

The thought that the American presence in the Islamic world produces diametrically the opposite of the announced intent — the greater the military success, the greater the long-term failure — is not new. Neither is the observation that the “moderate rebels” the White House and Congress will now fund in Syria simply do not exist.

Neither am I alone in noting that the “coalition” Obama claims to draw near is no different from the scanty cover Bush the Younger cited during Iraq War II except in one respect: It is more heavily dependent for its head count on the repressive monarchies that make brutality a Middle Eastern commonplace.

These things cannot be lost on Washington. It therefore becomes more difficult to accept the mission as stated and easier to understand why many Iranians, not all of them far-right Islamists, think the U.S. may have invented ISIS: Is the mission, after all, to reestablish a long-term presence in the region now that Iraq War II is over and the Afghanistan campaign is all but?

I cannot buy the implication of so sophisticated a design. But without question Washington sees an opportunity in ISIS, a sort of daisy-chain effect: Having provoked ISIS militias into existence during Iraq War II, their barbarism is a perfect casus belli for getting III going. Preserving the long-term presence, it seems to me, is the what of this new adventure.

After the what, consider the how, the way this is getting done.

“We will not allow geography or borders to prevent us from taking action,” Secretary of State Kerry remarked a few hours after the bombing in Syria began late Monday. It is hard to find anything sensible in this position.

It is exceptionalist to the core, this approach. Open and shut, it announces yet again the American preference for anarchy and violence over international law, the latter being the very thing most nations view as urgently needed in world affairs. There is in it a complete disregard for what anyone else may think and indifference to leadership by example as against force and coercion.

Behind Iraq War III lies a century during which American policy has grown ever more militarized, to the point now that alternatives — “The solution must be political” — get lip service at best. I have read or heard no thought given to a comprehensive response to the Middle East’s unending crises that would address underlying social, economic and political deprivations as the Marshall Plan did in postwar Europe. (I advanced this view in this space some weeks ago.)

At home, the presidential candidate who ran in part on his past as a constitutional scholar now aggrandizes the imperial presidency beyond its worst during the Cold War decades. White House attorneys and the odious Samantha Power can advance flimsy legal arguments for Iraq War III, but taking Americans into war without declaring one, without calling it one, without congressional approval and without public consent is illegal by any constitutional interpretation not intended to obfuscate. For Americans, this is as significant as the violence that is now to be inflicted in their names on innocent civilians in the Middle East.

A lot of commentators have weighed in well on these questions. I see in all of them something of greater historical significance. What we do now, Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week, “will be remembered for a very long time.” I could not agree more heartily. Eventually, what we do now will be remembered with enormous bitterness.

A year ago, in the book noted in the italic biography at the foot of these columns, I made the argument that America has a choice in the post-2001, post-“American century” era: It could face forward with grace and imagination and renovate its idea of itself and its place in the world to great benefit, or it could resist the passing of its brief interim of primacy and turn opportunity into loss, decline and a series of calamities. In effect, I argued for the optimism within the apparent pessimism.

At the time I gave this country 25 years to make its choice, counting from the Sept. 11 attacks. Americans still have this choice, but the optimism starts to look more theoretical than practical. Halfway through the period I postulated, it seems to me we are now consolidating the wrong choice. We do not seem able to break the mold. We are probably going to prove unable to self-correct.

Iraq War III occasions this tentative conclusion because the decisions Obama faces are so plainly drawn. The event has magnitude, to put it another way, as Vietnam eventually did. There are constructive and destructive strategies available to this administration, and the former go entirely unmentioned. The president who promised change is making every one of the mistakes that led Americans into this predicament.

The biggest of these is to insist on primacy instead of world order, to borrow the mid-1970s frame Stanley Hoffmann, the Harvard professor of political history, proposed. There is an unwillingness to recognize that the world turns and does not stop. There is no acknowledgment that America’s claim to eternal world leadership rests on a mythology the rest of the planet finds ever less acceptable, ever more intrusive.

On the reverse side of this, there is no resort to history — a dangerous, fated-to-fail approach to more or less anything. In the Middle East case, we find in the vacuum of all that is unsaid a complete rejection of responsibility for the unfolding crises enveloping the region. There is no desire to cultivate a sophisticated understanding of cause and effect as a guide to what to do: There is, indeed, a fear of any such “contextualization.”

I do not put this critical moment down to Obama’s weaknesses. I have nearly lost interest in this president’s betrayals and inadequacies — his or any previous administration’s, for that matter. This is a question concerning American society, as in all of us. Too few of us are able to look intelligently and with any kind of fulsome humanity — squarely, in a word — at what we are doing. Heavily invested in false narratives and flinching, too many throw what good money we have left after all the bad.

I see two possible explanations. One, we are simply frightened of a world in which we are any other than peerless by way of power and limitless by way of prerogative. Or a world in which the great Other in the Western consciousness — the whole of the non-Western world — must finally be given recognition.

Two, we have to go deeper. Certain paranoias as to the world’s dangers date to America’s very founding. We also find in our past an unconscious faith, well documented, in the regenerative powers of violence. It must seem as if I am suggesting a form of destructive pathology collectively shared, and perhaps I am. I am sure only that we have to look beyond the rational to explain the primitive aspect of this country’s behavior as it grows ever more pronounced.

Some readers will know Freud’s remark to Ernest Jones, the British psychoanalyst, Freud confidant, and Freud biographer: “America is a mistake, admittedly a gigantic mistake, but a mistake nevertheless.” I have never taken this to be more than a curiosity piece, the remark of an unknowing European. But if we cannot do better than we are doing now, do we lie on the couch and reconsider just how outlandish the thought is?

I will add this with some certainty. A social pathology is very plain among us now. The president withholds the word “war” from the national conversation, coalition allies doing nothing are engaged in “kinetic activities” — it is hard to match Kerry at his best — and so on. We find honor and patriotism where there is neither: Training deprived people to do our fighting is nothing more than cowardice dressed up as commitment. In all of this the media, more supine than ever in my lifetime, create a parallel reality the elaboration of which I have never seen.

Since we can no longer speak plainly of what we are doing, we export it from the language to the land — vast now — of the unsayable. To me this is an unmistakable expression of the burden of silent shame and a vaguely focused depression many, many Americans feel in the face of what is done in their names, even as they cannot articulate it.

This comes over as a sour rendition of our predicament, surely. It is the sound of wilting optimism. It comes, too, of being one of many millions of people with no political means of expressing preferences. At this point, constructive thinking on the Middle East crisis, more or less absent in our media, bears a subversive taint.

My answer to this is appropriately plain. Those able to see through the spectacle our public exchanges on Syria and other foreign policy questions bear a large responsibility now. They have to speak the language that cannot be spoken. The obligation is to recognize that with it they no longer speak as an “alternative” to anything. In it the truth of our national conduct can be preserved from corruption — for the sake of good history if nothing else.

A certain faith is required — a faith that something will follow this time, something one can assist in bringing forth. Ray McGovern, the honorable veteran of the CIA now an active opponent of our corrupted political culture, put it this way in a speech Alternative Radio recorded last autumn: We shift attention from the flooding rains to the building of arks. As this column may make clear, I think such a time is upon us.

 

Patrick Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter, @thefloutist.

Imaginary Terrorist Group “Khorasan” Threatens US Genocide With Underwear and Toothpaste

teeth [If this guy carries toothpaste anywhere, he is up to something.] 

shoe dud [If you see this guy, arrest him, before he blows-off his foot or his penis.]

Syria plotted attack against U.S. with explosive clothes

q13 fox

 

(CNN) — Among the targets of U.S. strikes across Syria early Tuesday was the Khorasan Group — a collection of senior al Qaeda members who have moved into Syria.

President Obama called them “seasoned al Qaeda operatives.”

“Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people,” Obama said.

The strikes targeted “training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities,” the military said in a statement.

The group was actively plotting against a U.S. homeland target and Western targets, a senior U.S. official told CNN on Tuesday. The United States hoped to surprise the group by mixing strikes against it with strikes against ISIS targets.

The official said the group posed an “imminent” threat. Another U.S. official later said the threat was not imminent in the sense that there were no known targets or attacks expected in the next few weeks.

The plots were believed to be in an advanced stage, the second U.S. official said. There were indications that the militants had obtained materials and were working on new improvised explosive devices that would be hard to detect, including common hand-held electronic devices and airplane carry-on items such as toiletries.

The intelligence community discovered Khorasan plots against the United States within the past week, an intelligence source with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The intelligence source did not give an intended target but said the plots involved a bomb made of a nonmetallic device, toothpaste container, and clothes dipped in explosive material.

A plot involving concealed bombs on airplanes “was just one option they were looking at” a U.S. official briefed on the matter told CNN’s Pamela Brown.

Social media video posted Tuesday purported to show the aftermath of strikes in the small town of Kafr Deryan, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Aleppo, in an area controlled by Jabhat al Nusra, the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

‘Yet another threat to the homeland’

Khorasan’s existence was publicly acknowledged only last week, when U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said it was operating in Iraq and Syria, with a focus on exporting terror to the West.

“There is potentially yet another threat to the homeland, yes,” he told an intelligence conference in Washington.

CENTCOM’s statement spoke of “action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests” by al Qaeda veterans in Khorasan, who had “established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations.”

One of those veterans is believed to be Muhsin al Fadhli, a short and slight Kuwaiti who is 33 years old. A security source in the Middle East tells CNN that al Fadhli arrived in Syria in April 2013 and began working with Jabhat al Nusra. Nine months later, Clapper sounded the first warning about al Nusra’s goals beyond Syria, saying it “does have aspirations for attacks on the homeland.”

At some point, al Fadhli appears to have parted company with al Nusra — perhaps, according to the source, because it saw him as in league with Iran, where he had been based as al Qaeda’s senior representative. The source says al Fadhli’s new focus on “external operations” was revealed by one of his bodyguards, named as Abu Rama, who was recently arrested by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Train abroad, take the terror back home

The source says al Fadhli is trying to emulate the success of ISIS in using social media to recruit Westerners — people who could be trained and then sent home to launch terror attacks. To this end, al Fadhli has been able to recruit a member of ISIS’ media team to help with recruitment for Khorasan.

Another key figure in Khorasan appears to be a Saudi national: Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad al Juhni.

Soon after al Fadhli arrived in Syria, so did al Juhni — “accompanied by several individuals to participate in the fighting there,” according to a U.S. Treasury Department designation. He was described as “part of a group of senior al Qaeda members in Syria formed to conduct external operations against Western targets.”

Al Juhni is also experienced at moving funds and had a senior position in al Qaeda in Pakistan, running its communications courier network. According to his U.S. designation, al Juhni later became al Qaeda’s chief of security responsible for counterintelligence.

Now on Saudi Arabia’s list of its 47 most wanted terror suspects, al Juhni’s skill set would be well-suited to Khorasan’s purported goals.

U.S. intelligence officials are concerned that the Khorasan cell may include operatives who have learned from Ibrahim al Asiri, the master bombmaker of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who has twice come close to bringing down Western airliners with ingeniously devised bombs. Counterterrorism sources have frequently told CNN in recent years of their fears that al Asiri has passed on his skills to apprentice bombmakers.

Troubling ties on the Arabian Peninsula

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has also described Khorasan as “forward-deployed al Qaeda operatives who were engaging with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to develop a terror plot to bring down airplanes.”

AQAP is based in Yemen, where al Fadhli has had contacts in the past. When he was scarcely 20, according to U.S. officials, he was involved in financing a suicide attack in October 2002 against on an oil tanker, the MV Limburg, in the Red Sea, an attack carried out by Yemenis from the city of Taiz. He also plotted an attack on a hotel in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, where American officials were known to stay.

Before that, he had fought as a teenager with the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan and was also “reported to have been among the few trusted al Qaeda operatives who received advance notification” of the 9/11 attacks, according to his designation by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Al Fadhli was designated as a terrorist by the United States in 2005 as “a major facilitator” for al Qaeda and Abu Musab al Zarqawi, then terrorizing Iraq. He had access to plenty of money from private donors in Kuwait. According to court testimony, he had been involved in a group called the Peninsula Lions in Kuwait and had experimented with explosives while planning an attack on U.S. troops at the Arifjan Camp in Kuwait.

Al Fadhli escaped. Wanted in Saudi Arabia and convicted in absentia in Kuwait, he vanished for a while before resurfacing in Iran as al Qaeda’s most senior representative there.

In 2012, the U.S. State Department said al Fadhli was moving fighters and money through Turkey to Syria, leveraging his extensive network of Kuwaiti jihadist donors.

He also gained what may prove to be invaluable experience “moving multiple operatives from Pakistan via Iran and Turkey to destinations in Europe, North Africa, and Syria,” the State Department said.

Just why he left Iran last year is unclear, but about the same time, other al Qaeda figures, including Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, also began leaving Iran — perhaps not entirely willingly.

A good way for al Qaeda to counter ISIS

For al Qaeda, locked in a battle with ISIS for the crown of leading global jihad, the creation of Khorasan makes perfect sense.

Just last week, a spokesman for al Qaeda confronted the group’s critics in an audio message. “So how then can al Qaeda have shrunken greatly and lost many of its senior leaders at a time when it is expanding horizontally and opening new fronts dependent on it?” asked spokesman Hossam Abdul Raouf.

He also quoted a U.S. terror analyst, Katherine Zimmerman: “Al Qaeda affiliates have evolved and now threaten the United States as much as (if not more than) the core group; they can no longer be dismissed as mere local al Qaeda franchises.”

Now — with extensive contacts throughout the region and experience in raising funds and moving people — al Fadhli and al Juhni have embarked on the next phase of their careers in terrorism, one that may be the most dangerous to the West.

CNN’s Barbara Starr and Josh Levs contributed to this report.

Pentagon Claims Strike On Imaginary Group Killed Another Imaginary Leader

[Syrian Rebels Never Heard of “Khorasan,” Only Al-Nusra Hit In Airstrikes.]

Syria rebels, experts say US airstrikes hit Al-Nusra Front not “Khorasan”

alakhbar

Published Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The US says it has hit a group called “Khorasan” in Syria, but experts and Syria’s so called “moderate” opposition argue it actually struck al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, al-Nusra Front, which fights alongside the Syria rebels.

In announcing its raids in the northern province of Aleppo on Tuesday, Washington described the group it targeted as Khorasan, a cell of al-Qaeda veterans planning attacks against the West. But many cast doubt on the distinction between Khorasan and al-Nusra Front.

“In Syria, no one had ever heard talk of Khorasan until the US media brought it up,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Rebels, activists and the whole world knows that these positions (hit Tuesday) were al-Nusra positions, and the fighters killed were al-Nusra fighters,” added Abdel Rahman, who has tracked the Syrian conflict since it erupted in 2011.

Aron Lund, editor of the Syria in Crisis website run by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, raised similar doubts.

“The fact that news about this al-Qaeda-run, anti-Western cell linked to al-Nusra emerged just over a week ago, through US intelligence leaks — well, it’s certainly an interesting coincidence,” he told AFP.

“And it certainly helped make the case for attacking them, for why this mattered to US national security, and for why this was not about attacking a rebel group in Syria but about attacking a group hostile to the US.”

Even though al-Nusra officially pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and was named the group’s official Syrian branch, amost all Syria “rebel groups” have been willing to cooperate with the extremist group against the Syrian army.

That history of cooperation has left some so-called “moderate” Syria rebels on the ground suspicious and even angry about the strikes on al-Qaeda.

Ibrahim al-Idlibi, an activist in Idlib province, said the opposition backed strikes against ISIS, but not against al-Nusra, or the so-called Khorasan.

“Some of these strikes only serve Western interests,” he said.

Al-Nusra “has stood with the rebels against both Daesh and the regime,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Syria’s rebels have often rejected the world community’s designation of al-Nusra as a “terrorist” group and has criticized Washington for adding the group to the list of “terrorist” organizations.

Many are also angry that the strikes are targeting jihadists, like al-Nusra, but not the Syrian army.

In a statement, the rebel Supreme Military Command affiliated with the opposition National Coalition emphasised “the need to avoid targeting moderate national and Islamic forces”.

“We demand that the attacks focus on the forces of tyranny… represented by the Assad regime and its supporters.”

And targeting al-Nusra could even prove controversial within Washington’s anti-jihadist alliance.

Some key members are believed to maintain channels of communication with al-Nusra, including Qatar, which has helped negotiate the release of prisoners held by the group.

Al-Nusra’s terrorism in Lebanon

In August, the Lebanese army clashed with the al-Nusra and ISIS jihadists in the northeastern town of Ersal, on the Syrian borders, leaving 10 Lebanese soldiers dead.

The extremist group recently executed Lebanese soldier, Mohammad Hammieh, and is now threatening to execute second Lebanese soldier, Ali Bzal.

Hamieh was one of 18 soldiers and police being held hostage by the group in the outskirts of Ersal.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

China Gets Zionist Contract To Build Giant Port At Ashdod and Land-Bridge Across Palestine To Med.

as safir lebanon AS-SAFIR

Netanyahu, during an inspection of a new Israeli submarine received yesterday from Germany in the port of Haifa (August a)
Hilmi Moussa

Declared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the signing of a contract with a Chinese company to build a new port of Ashdod «we are beginning to achieve strategic gains from our place».
The signing of the contract is one of a number of major projects which Israel agreed with Chinese companies to be completed in the framework of a major development plan for the transportation sector.
The cost of the project to establish a new port in Ashdod, about a billion dollars.
The agreement signed yesterday in Tel Aviv between the Ministry of Transport and the Israeli company «China Harbor» Ports in the presence of Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Transport Minister Israel Katz, as well as Chinese Ambassador to Israel Zhao Yan Feng.
The Chinese company won the bid create a new port, which will be held close to the port of Ashdod current.
Netanyahu stressed in a speech at the signing ceremony of the contract that «the system of relations between Israel and China latent ability, only now begun to materialize itself. It’s not just about the high-tech sector, but also in China itself, where there is a latent capabilities in the areas of agriculture and water. We have a strategic place in the world, we did not win it. So we decided to create a land bridge, rail iron, between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Will not compete with the Suez Canal, but we will be a complement to it. We understand that most of the trade will continue to pass through the Suez Canal ».
The words of these Netanyahu in an attempt to allay fears among Egyptians of a comprehensive Israeli plan to create alternatives to the Suez Canal.
It should be noted that the new port in Ashdod is part of a larger project to modernize the ports, including the Israeli port of Haifa and Eilat and the establishment of a network of modern rail lines between Eilat and all of Ashdod and Haifa to facilitate the conversion of Palestine into a land bridge between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
It is known that when the Suez Canal was closed, Israel has established a partnership with the Shah’s Iran to build an oil pipeline between Eilat and Ashkelon for the marketing of Iranian oil.
Netanyahu added, turning to the Chinese: «Here lies an enormous capacity. We Sdo busiest port in international transport. We want to be your partners. This is also important for Israeli reasons, where there is a big change here. We develop a port in the city passed a new experience and connect the city with the veins of international transport. When we open the Ashdod global trade, we give priority economic and reduce prices, product prices will fall. Body and thanked all of the care of the matter and I am waiting for the next reform ».
He said Transport Minister Israel Katz said the project is part of a plan to reform the transport sector in Israel and this opens new business opportunities and it is just phase within several stages. He hoped the declaration until the end of the month for a company that will stabilize the tender for the construction of the new port of Haifa, adding that there is a plan to create other new ports in Israel. He explained that the cost of new projects ranging between 12 and 15 billion shekels (about 4 billion dollars).
The ambassador said the Chinese air Ping said that «this day of celebration for me where she participated in the signing ceremony. This is an important project. Prime Minister met with the Chinese President and the chemistry between them grew. These projects can provide opportunities and pursuant to the two peoples. China is the largest market in the world, and we have a huge manpower and qualified. If the two countries have worked together, we will have a better future for the two peoples. China is the second largest economy in the world, which is not to exceed America after a very long time ».
And continued negotiations with the Chinese company to create a new port of Ashdod for several months at a cost of about one billion dollars, where the business will begin before the end of this year on the basis of the opening of the port to work before 2021.
The government has published tenders for the construction of the port in the year 2013 and published bidding to run the port for 25 years. The company introduced a cheaper Chinese tender to build the port of Ashdod, which will contain the quays along the 1050 meters north of the harbor breakwater and the current length of 2800 meters.
Previously, Israel should have negotiated with the company to build a huge CCCC railway line between Eilat and the Mediterranean Sea. And most likely will arrive in this line to the port of Ashdod. It is important to know that the company «China Harbor» is a subsidiary of CCCC infrastructure. Israel has been rumored at the time, and contrary to the statements of Netanyahu, that the land bridge between the Mediterranean and Red will be to compete with the Suez Canal.

A MODEST PROPOSAL–RUSSIA SHOULD HIT ISIS IN SYRIA!

A MODEST PROPOSAL: RUSSIA SHOULD HIT ISIS IN SYRIA!

syrian perspective

Read more at http://www.syrianperspective.com/2014/09/a-modest-proposal-russia-should-hit-isis-in-syria.html#IFh3AkMmkzhoR4FM.99

Syria Claims Prior Notification of US Airstrikes

Foreign Affairs confirms that the teacher received a letter from Kerry

informing him that America will target Daash terrorist organization in Syria

Sana

09/23/2014

1

Damascus, (SANA)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants

.. “after confirmation Syria repeatedly on several occasions its willingness to cooperate in the fight against terrorism within the framework of full respect for national sovereignty and after that stood with Syria, several countries emphasize the need to respect the United Nations Charter, which emphasizes respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity was yesterday Syria’s Permanent Delegate to inform the United Nations that the United States and some of its allies will target the organization / Daash / terrorist presence in areas in Syria and that the raids hours before the start.

The ministry said in a statement today received SANA copy of it .. then yesterday also received the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Walid al-Moallem message from his American counterpart John Kerry across Iraq’s Foreign Minister, informing him that “America will target regulation / Daash / terrorist and some exist in Syria.”

She ministry statement saying .. “The Syrian Arab Republic, as it asserts that it was and is still fighting this regulation in Raqqa and Deir al-Zour and other areas, they have not and will not stop fighting it and in cooperation with the States affected him directly on top of brotherly Iraq and stresses in this context the that the continuous coordination between the two countries at the highest levels to the fact that the two countries struck terror in the same trench in the face of this organization to implement the UN resolution 2170, which passed unanimously by the Security Council. “

In conclusion, the ministry statement saying .. “The Syrian Arab Republic Declaring again it with any international effort was hurt in the fight and the fight against terrorism, whatever the Msmyate of / Daash / and / Front victory / and other stresses that this must be done with complete preservation of the lives of civilians innocent and under national sovereignty and in accordance with international conventions. “

Jaafari: America’s Ambassador to the International Organization informed me in air strikes against al Daash

Meanwhile, the permanent representative of Syria to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar Jaafari, told Reuters that “the United States ambassador to the International Organization Samantha Power told me personally American air strikes, Arab and goals against imminent terrorist organization Daash in Syria.”

Georgia Taunts Putin By Offering To Train Syrian Anti-Islamist Terrorists

Georgia Could Host Training Camp for Syrian Rebels Amid Islamic State Threat: Reports

ria novosti

Free Syrian Army fighters hold up their weapons as they cheer after seizing Aleppo's town of Khanasir August 26, 2013.

 

MOSCOW, September 23 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia has offered to host a training facility for Syrian rebels as part of the US-led campaign against the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the Foreign Policy magazine reported Tuesday.

“[The training center] was something we offered, but is still under consideration,” Georgian Ambassador to the United States, Archil Gegeshidze, told Foreign Policy.

Gegeshidze noted that the training facility could host anti-IS fighters from multiple countries, not just Syria.

“It’s a counterterrorism training center for any nationality,” Gegeshidze said.

According to Foreign Policy, the offer to host a training camp was made by Georgian officials during a closed-door meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on his visit to Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi in early September.

The potential scale of the Georgia-based training program remains unclear, but, if accepted, the offer could supplement Washington’s existing plan to train 5,000 Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia in the next year to fight against IS militants in Iraq and Syria, Foreign Policy reports.

US President Barack Obama unveiled a strategy for defeating the IS on September 10. The plan includes forming an international coalition to fight the radical organization and authorizing US airstrikes against IS positions in Syria, while simultaneously continuing airstrikes in Iraq, which the United States authorized in August.

Washington has also said it will provide support, equipment and training to Kurdish forces, Iraqi forces and Syria’s opposition as part of its efforts to eliminate the IS threat.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, it launched an offensive in Iraq and seized vast areas in both countries, proclaiming an Islamic caliphate on the territories under its control.

Jordanian/Hariri Arab Bank Found Guilty of Dispersing Saudi Money for Hamas Suicide-Bomber Families

[Here we have a case of an American court finding a Jordanian bank (partially owned by the Hariri family) guilty of accepting Saudi money into an “Intifada” account, to be dispersed to families of Hamas suicide-bombers.  The Saudi royal family is found guilty of rewarding terrorism, the Jordanian family of Abdel Hamid Shoman is implicated in that activity, for dispersing that intifada money for terrorist acts, and the family of Rafik Hariri is likewise complicit in the whole affair.  These are the people in charge of the Arab side of the anti-terror equation.]

“the bank, which is owned by a prominent Jordanian family, the Shomans, and includes former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri among its shareholders” 

*   *   *   *   *   *

“It has assets of more than $23 billion and 380 branches worldwide. A year ago, the Saudi Oger Ltd, a company owned by former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, acquired 11 percent of the Arab Bank for about $375 million, in a deal that was considered “substantial” for Hariri.” dec. 2004  

Arab Bank Found Liable for Hamas Terrorist Attacks

BLOOMBERG
By Erik Larson and Christie Smythe

 

Arab Bank Plc, Jordan’s biggest lender, helped Hamas militants carry out a wave of violence in Israel that killed and wounded hundreds of Americans, a New York jury decided in the first trial of its kind in the U.S.

The Amman-based lender was found liable for doing business with more than 150 Hamas leaders and operatives in the early 2000s, helping finance about two dozen deadly suicide bombings, including attacks on crowded restaurants and buses in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, jurors decided yesterday in federal court in Brooklyn, New York. Shares dropped as much as 6.8 percent, the biggest decline in more than a month, before closing at 7.60 dinars, down 1.9 percent in Amman trading.

“The verdict is an incredible message that should be understood and heard by the entire financial community — if you do business with terrorists, you can be held liable” in the U.S., Michael Elsner, one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, said in a phone interview. (READ HERE)

US, Jordan and Israel Bomb Alleged ISIS/Iran Nexus In Syria Overnight

 [Amidst all of the smoke and noise which has been generated over Obama bombing Syria without Assad’s permission, we see a laughably obvious attempt by Obama and the fat Saudi king to use the ISIS-crisis to flip the entire narrative concerning the aggression against Syria.  News on the airstrikes is really a major story hidden within the hoopla over the permission issue.  The major story is NOT concerning the Army, or the news that al-Nusra was hit as well…News that US rockets also struck an imaginary new group called “Khorasan,” which is allegedly run by  al-Qaeda’s operative based in Iran, Muhsin al Fadhli, creates a false narrative, seeming to support the new Saudi/US LIE-OP that Iran and Syria are the parents of ISIS.  If Obama can construct an effective lawyer’s lie on this, establishing some apparent circumstantial evidence which seems to support his Saudi-crafted case, then he would have established enough “probable cause” to warrant another “humanitarian war,” this one on Syria.

First and only mention on the Internet of an al-Q entity by that name was Lashkar-e-Khorasan, in N. Waziristan, in March 28, 2011. They split from the Pakistani Taliban, claiming that they were thereafter hunting for US SPIES.  Never heard from again, until now.  Jan 25, 2011 Col Imam executed by another imaginary group, called “Asian Tigers.”  They were never heard from again.  Col. Imam was confronting Hakeemullah Mehsud with a list of US/Indian/Israeli spies.

Khorasan” refers to the intersection of Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.   the alleged ringleader of this new terror outfit, Kuwaiti Muhsin al Fadhli has allegedly settled in Iran,  his associate Yasin al Suri and Iran In a rewards for justice flyer in Dec. 2011, the US GOV

15 February 2012   http://news.sky.com/story/926567/fears-iran-is-helping-al-qaeda-plot-atrocity

On April 27, 2012, just south of Tripoli, the Lebanese Navy intercepted a ship carrying weapons from Libya To Syrian terrorists

On Jul 12, 2013, it was reported that some element of the TTP had been established in Syria for six months.      https://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/pakistani-taliban-fighting-for-obama-against-bashar-assad-would-prove-that-hakeemullahs-master-is-cia/

Yemeni Shia rebels sweep into Sanaa, 340 dead

US, Arab allies launch first strikes on fighters in Syria

daily star LEB

BEIRUT: The United States and Arab allies hit ISIS targets including training camps, headquarters and weapon supplies in northern and eastern Syria in dozens of air and missile strikes on Tuesday, the U.S. military and an activist group said.

U.S. strikes also hit a separate group of Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants in northern Syria.

The U.S. military said in a statement it had “destroyed or damaged multiple (ISIS) targets” around the cities of Raqqa, Deir al-Zor, Hasakah and the border town of Albu Kamal.”

The targets included “(ISIS) fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance centre, supply trucks and armed vehicles,” it said.

The U.S. military said it launched 47 Tomahawk missiles from warships in the Red Sea and North Arabian Gulf, and used remotely piloted and bomber aircraft.

Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had “also participated in or supported the airstrikes against (ISIS) targets,” it said. “All aircraft safely exited the strike areas.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war through a network of sources, said dozens of ISIS fighters had been wounded or killed in the air strikes.

The group said about 20 air and missile strikes hit ISIS positions in the city of Raqqa, its western and northern environs, and in and around the towns of Tel Abyad, Tabqa and Ain Issa. It said the governorate building in Raqqa, which ISIS had been using as its headquarters, was hit.

Another 22 strikes hit ISIS positions in and around the town of Albu Kamal on the border with Iraq and another eight hit training camps, headquarters, and other positions in the western outskirts of Deir al-Zor city, it said.

The statement from U.S. Central Command said it had also conducted eight strikes against “seasoned Al-Qaeda veterans” known as “the Khorasan Group” in order to disrupt “imminent attack” by the group who had established safe haven in Syria.

The strikes occurred west of the northern city of Aleppo. Unlike the strikes against ISIS which were carried out with allies, those that struck the Khorasan group were “undertaken only by U.S. assets,” it said.

The Observatory said three positions of the Nusra Front – Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria – had been hit on the border between Aleppo and Idlib provinces and that at least seven Nusra fighters and eight civilians had been killed.

A Syrian activist confirmed the strikes, saying a house used by Nusra fighters and one of the group’s bases had been hit.

In its statement, the U.S. military said it would continue to conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq – where it said it had conducted 194 air strikes against ISIS – “as local forces go on the offensive.”

Qatar’s Free Syrian Mercenaries

Mystery Sponsor Of Weapons And Money To Syrian Mercenary “Rebels” Revealed

 zero hedge
Tyler Durden's picture

Previously, when looking at the real underlying national interests responsible for the deteriorating situation in Syria, which eventually may and/or will devolve into all out war with hundreds of thousands killed, we made it very clear that it was always and only about the gas, or gas pipelines to be exact, and specifically those involving the tiny but uber-wealthy state of Qatar.

Needless to say, the official spin on events has no mention of this ulterior motive, and the popular, propaganda machine, especially from those powers supporting the Syrian “rebels” which include Israel, the US and the Arabian states tries to generate public and democratic support by portraying Assad as a brutal, chemical weapons-using dictator, in line with the tried and true script used once already in Iraq.

On the other hand, there is Russia (and to a lesser extent China: for China’s strategic interests in mid-east pipelines, read here), which has been portrayed as the main supporter of the “evil” Assad regime, and thus eager to preserve the status quo without a military intervention. Such attempts may be for naught especially with the earlier noted arrival of US marines in Israel, and the imminent arrival of the Russian Pacific fleet in Cyprus (which is a stone throw away from Syria) which may catalyze a military outcome sooner than we had expected.

However, one question that has so far remained unanswered, and a very sensitive one now that the US is on the verge of voting to arm the Syrian rebels, is who was arming said group of Al-Qaeda supported militants up until now. Now, finally, courtesy of the FT we have the (less than surprising) answer, which goes back to our original thesis, and proves that, as so often happens in the middle east, it is once again all about the natural resources.

From the FT:

The tiny gas-rich state of Qatar has spent as much as $3bn over the past two years supporting the rebellion in Syria, far exceeding any other government, but is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of arms to rebels.

 

The cost of Qatar’s intervention, its latest push to back an Arab revolt, amounts to a fraction of its international investment portfolio. But its financial support for the revolution that has turned into a vicious civil war dramatically overshadows western backing for the opposition.

 

In dozens of interviews with the FT conducted in recent weeks, rebel leaders both abroad and within Syria as well as regional and western officials detailed Qatar’s role in the Syrian conflict, a source of mounting controversy.

Just as Egypt and Libya had their CIA Western-funded mercenaries fighting the regime, so Qatar is paying for its own mercenary force.

The small state with a gargantuan appetite is the biggest donor to the political opposition, providing generous refugee packages to defectors (one estimate puts it at $50,000 a year for a defector and his family) and has provided vast amounts of humanitarian support.

 

In September, many rebels in Syria’s Aleppo province received a one off monthly salary of $150 courtesy of Qatar. Sources close to the Qatari government say total spending has reached as much as $3bn, while rebel and diplomatic sources put the figure at $1bn at most.

 

For Qatar, owner of the world’s third-largest gas reserves, its intervention in Syria is part of an aggressive quest for global recognition and is merely the latest chapter in its attempt to establish itself as a major player in the region, following its backing of Libya’s rebels who overthrew Muammer Gaddafi in 2011.

That, sadly, is not even close to half the story. Recall from Qatar: Oil Rich and Dangerous, posted nearly a year ago, which predicted all of this:

Why would Qatar want to become involved in Syria where they have little invested?  A map reveals that the kingdom is a geographic prisoner in a small enclave on the Persian Gulf coast.

 

It relies upon the export of LNG, because it is restricted by Saudi Arabia from building pipelines to distant markets.  In 2009, the proposal of a pipeline to Europe through Saudi Arabia and Turkey to the Nabucco pipeline was considered, but Saudi Arabia that is angered by its smaller and much louder brother has blocked any overland expansion.

 

Already the largest LNG producer, Qatar will not increase the production of LNG.  The market is becoming glutted with eight new facilities in Australia coming online between 2014 and 2020.

 

A saturated North American gas market and a far more competitive Asian market leaves only Europe.  The discovery in 2009 of a new gas field near Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria opened new possibilities to bypass the Saudi Barrier and to secure a new source of income.  Pipelines are in place already in Turkey to receive the gas.  Only Al-Assad is in the way.

 

Qatar along with the Turks would like to remove Al-Assad and install the Syrian chapter of the Moslem Brotherhood.  It is the best organized political movement in the chaotic society and can block Saudi Arabia’s efforts to install a more fanatical Wahhabi based regime.  Once the Brotherhood is in power, the Emir’s broad connections with Brotherhood groups throughout the region should make it easy for him to find a friendly ear and an open hand in Damascus.

 

A control centre has been established in the Turkish city of Adana near the Syrian border to direct the rebels against Al-Assad.  Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud asked to have the Turks establish a joint Turkish, Saudi, Qatari operations center.  “The Turks liked the idea of having the base in Adana so that they could supervise its operations” a source in the Gulf told Reuters.

 

The fighting is likely to continue for many more months, but Qatar is in for the long term.  At the end, there will be contracts for the massive reconstruction and there will be the development of the gas fields.  In any case, Al-Assad must go.  There is nothing personal; it is strictly business to preserve the future tranquility and well-being of Qatar.

Some more on the strategic importance of this key feeder component to the Nabucco pipeline, and why Syria is so problematic to so many powers. From 2009:

Qatar has proposed a gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey in a sign the emirate is considering a further expansion of exports from the world’s biggest gasfield after it finishes an ambitious programme to more than double its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).

 

“We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, said last week, following talks with the Turkish president Abdullah Gul and the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Turkish resort town of Bodrum. “We discussed this matter in the framework of co-operation in the field of energy. In this regard, a working group will be set up that will come up with concrete results in the shortest possible time,” he said, according to Turkey’s Anatolia news agency.

 

Other reports in the Turkish press said the two states were exploring the possibility of Qatar supplying gas to the strategic Nabucco pipeline project, which would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. A Qatar-to-Turkey pipeline might hook up with Nabucco at its proposed starting point in eastern Turkey. Last month, Mr Erdogan and the prime ministers of four European countries signed a transit agreement for Nabucco, clearing the way for a final investment decision next year on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

 

“For this aim, I think a gas pipeline between Turkey and Qatar would solve the issue once and for all,” Mr Erdogan added, according to reports in several newspapers. The reports said two different routes for such a pipeline were possible. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. It was not clear whether the second option would be connected to the Pan-Arab pipeline, carrying Egyptian gas through Jordan to Syria. That pipeline, which is due to be extended to Turkey, has also been proposed as a source of gas for Nabucco.

Based on production from the massive North Field in the Gulf, Qatar has established a commanding position as the world’s leading LNG exporter. It is consolidating that through a construction programme aimed at increasing its annual LNG production capacity to 77 million tonnes by the end of next year, from 31 million tonnes last year. However, in 2005, the emirate placed a moratorium on plans for further development of the North Field in order to conduct a reservoir study. It recently extended the ban for two years to 2013.

Specifically, the issue at hand is the green part of the proposed pipeline: as explained above, it simply can’t happen as long as Russia is alligned with Assad.

So there you have it: Qatar doing everything it can to promote bloodshed, death and destruction by using not Syrian rebels, but mercenaries: professional citizens who are paid handsomely to fight and kill members of the elected regime (unpopular as it may be), for what? So that the unimaginably rich emirs of Qatar can get even richer. Although it is not as if Russia is blameless: all it wants is to preserve its own strategic leverage over Europe by being the biggest external provider of natgas to the continent through its own pipelines. Should Nabucco come into existence, Gazpromia would be very, very angry and make far less money!

As for the Syrian “rebels”, who else is helping them? Why the US and Israel of course. And with the Muslim Brotherhood “takeover” paradigm already tested out in Egypt, it is only a matter of time.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers, Qatar has sent the most weapons deliveries to Syria, with more than 70 military cargo flights into neighbouring Turkey between April 2012 and March this year.

Perhaps it is Putin’s turn to tell John Kerry he prefer if Qatar was not “supplying assistance to Syrian mercenaries”?

What is worse, and what is already known is that implicitly the US – that ever-vigilant crusader against Al Qaeda – is effectively also supporting the terrorist organization:

The relegation of Qatar to second place in providing weapons follows increasing concern in the West and among other Arab states that weapons it supplies could fall into the hands of an al-Qaeda-linked group, Jabhat al-Nusrah.

Yet Qatar may have bitten off more than it can chew, even with the explicit military Israeli support, and implicit from the US. Because the closer Qatar gets to establishing its own puppet state in Syria, the closer Saudi Arabia is to getting marginalized:

But though its approach is driven more by pragmatism and opportunism, than ideology, Qatar has become entangled in the polarised politics of the region, setting off a wave of scathing criticism. “You can’t buy a revolution,” says an opposition businessman.

 

Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Arab world, which puts it at odds with its peers in the Gulf states, has fuelled rivalry with Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s ruling emir, Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, “wants to be the Arab world’s Islamist (Gamal) Abdelnasser,” said an Arab politician, referring to Egypt’s fiery late president and devoted pan-Arab leader.

 

Qatar’s intervention is coming under mounting scrutiny. Regional rivals contend it is using its financial firepower simply to buy future influence and that it has ended up splintering Syria’s opposition. Against this backdrop Saudi Arabia, which until now has been a more deliberate backer of Syria’s rebels, has stepped up its involvement.

 

Recent tensions over the opposition’s election of an interim prime minister who won the support of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood has also driven Saudi Arabia to tighten its relationship to the political opposition, a job it had largely left in the hands of Qatar.

What Saudi Arabia wants is not to leave the Syrian people alone, but to install its own puppet regime so it has full liberty to dictate LNG terms to Qatar, and subsequently to Europe.

Khalid al-Attiyah, Qatar’s state minister for foreign affairs, who handles its Syrian policy, dismissed talk of rivalry with the Saudis and denied allegations that Qatar’s support for the rebels has splintered Syria’s opposition and weakened nascent institutions.

 

In an interview with the Financial Times, he said every move Qatar has made, has been in conjunction with the Friends of Syria group of Arab and western nations, not alone. “Our problem in Qatar is that we don’t have a hidden agenda so people start fixing you one,” he says.

Sadly, when it comes to the US (and of course Israel), it does have a very hidden agenda: one that involves lying to its people about what any future intervention is all about, and the fabrication of narrative about chemical weapons and a bloody regime hell bent on massacring every man, woman and child from the “brave resistance.” What they all fail to mention is that all such “rebels” are merely paid for mercenaries of the Qatari emir, whose sole interest is to accrue even more wealth even if it means the deaths of thousands of Syrians in the process.

A bigger read through of the events in Syria reveals an even more complicated web: one that has Qatar facing off against Syria, with both using Syria as a pawn in a great natural resource chess game, and with Israel and the US both on the side of the petrodollars, while Russia and to a lesser extent China, form the counterbalancing axis and refuse to permit a wholesale overthrow of the local government which would unlock even more geopolitical leverage for the gulf states.

Up until today, we would have thought that when push comes to shove, Russia would relent. However, with the arrival of a whole lot of submarines in Cyprus, the games just got very serious. After all the vital interests of Gazprom – perhaps the most important “company” in the world – are suddenly at stake.

Finally, one wonders just what President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan were really talking about behind the scenes.

Will IDF Join USAF In Illegal Air War Over Syria?

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US-Israel Accord to Support Coordinated Air Ops in Syria

 OSNet

 

Defense News

A US-Israel defense agreement will support coordinated air power in Syria if and when the Israel Air Force (IAF) is tasked to operate in close proximity to American-led coalition air forces.

The bilateral accord was signed more than a year ago, sources here said, as part of Pentagon planning for prospective air strikes against chemical weapon-related sites then serving the Syrian regime.

In interviews here, defense sources said the agreement codified coordination procedures for scenarios where US and Israeli aircraft may need to operate simultaneously in Syrian airspace.

It was put on the “shelf,” an Israeli official here said, after the Russian-led effort to remove, destroy and otherwise deny Syrian President Bashar el-Assad’s illegal use of mass destruction weaponry.

But in the run-up to US President Barack Obama’s air power-based strategy to degrade and deny terrorist hegemony of the militant group Islamic State (IS), the official said the accord provides “a relevant mechanism” for potential operations in Syria.

The official underscored that while Israel principally supports Obama’s call for a united front against IS and all forms of radical terror, Israel’s primary concern is preventing Assad’s strategic arsenal from reaching the hands of Hezbollah allies fighting on behalf of the Syrian regime.

Israel has not publicly acknowledged at least three attacks in the past 18 months on Syrian soil or directly across its border with Lebanon with a strike targeting suspected strategic missile cargo en-route to Hezbollah.

“We needed a mechanism for situations where we could find ourselves operating in the same domain as other international interests,” an Israeli general officer told Defense News.

“It’s not for joint planning or coordinated air operations in the classical sense… but it will help enormously with deconfliction,” the officer added.

In an address to the Herzliya-based International Institute for Counter-Terrorism’s annual conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel “was playing our part” in responding to Obama’s calls to confront IS.

“Israel fully supports President Obama’s call for united actions against ISIS…. Some of the things are known; some things are less known.”

Netanyahu claimed the shared threat from the radical Sunni IS and Iranian-led radical Shiite groups has prompted Sunni states in the region to “reevaluate their relationship with Israel.”

“They understand that Israel is not their enemy but their ally in the fight against this common enemy. And I believe this presents an opportunity for cooperation and perhaps an opportunity for peace,” Netanyahu said.

But Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog assailed Netanyahu’s claims of regional unity in the face of common threats as disingenuous due to his government’s unwillingness or inability to pursue a Palestinian peace deal.

Israel is “definitely out there behind the scenes” working to contain ISIS, but it should be taking a prominent and public role in the planned US-led coalition, Herzog told Voice of Israel radio Sept. 14.

“Israel should be a pillar in the coalition operating against ISIS,” Herzog said. But this can’t happen until the Israeli government seizes its “unique opportunity to change circumstances of the region.”

“Especially after the Gaza war, we saw a convergence of interests with Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf States and the Palestine Authority,” said the leader of Israel’s opposition Labor Party.

“I criticize the prime minister for lacking imagination and for not deciding to be proactive in initiating a chance for peace,” he said.

House OKs Creation of “AL-QAIDA 3,” In Saudi

House Gives Obama Authority to Arm and Train Syrian Rebels in Fight with the Islamic State

In a crucial vote of support for the White House’s declared war on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, the House of Representatives voted to give President Barack Obama authority to arm and train Syrian rebels in the war-torn country.

The plan passed 273-156 despite concerns by House Democrats about a new U.S. military commitment in the Middle East and Republican concerns that the president’s proposal is far too limited.

The administration’s request was an amendment to a must-pass, stopgap measure to keep the government running through mid-December. Although the amendment had the early support of House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif., a number of lawmakers in both parties began defecting, prompting a last-minute push by party leaders to build support.

New York’s Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said a range of top Democrats worked to the last minute to gather votes for the president’s plan, which would train some 5,000 Syrian rebels in the first year at facilities in Saudi Arabia.

Israel specifically cited Maryland’s Dutch Ruppersberger, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, New York’s Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, New York’s Eliot Engel, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Pelosi, as key backers of the plan. “It cuts across a broad range of members,” he said.

Publicly, Pelosi downplayed her role in lobbying support for the war effort. “We just don’t whip war votes,” she told reporters, calling the decision a “vote of conscience” for her colleagues.

Having secured approval in the House, the bill now moves to the Senate, where it may receive a skeptical reception. In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry came under intense questioning about the White House’s plan to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.

Tennessee’s Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the committee, called the strategy “unserious” and a “political answer” to widespread outrage among the American public fueled by the barbaric tactics used by the Sunni-militant group.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, the Illinois Democrat, was deeply skeptical that the legal rationale articulated by the White House, which relies on the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force, grants the White House power to carry out military action against Islamic State in Syria. Calling the three-year Syrian civil war a “dog’s breakfast” of violence, carnage, and deceit, Durbin questioned how efforts to undermine the group also known as ISIS and ISIL would not inadvertently end up strengthening the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

In an effort to reassure war-weary Americans, Obama spoke at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on Wednesday and ruled out deploying ground combat forces. “I want to be clear: The American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission,” he said.

Many lawmakers’ misgivings about arming the rebels stem from the lack of guarantees that the United States is working with and handing heavy weaponry to people that it can trust.

“There’s still a lot of questions on who the opposition is,” said Oudai Shahbandar, a senior advisor to the Syrian opposition, who has been meeting with lawmakers and their staff about arming the rebels. For years now, that uncertainty has stalled efforts to train and equip the rebels, long before the Islamic State took over vast chunks of Iraq and drew the U.S. military back into engagement there.

The CIA is in charge of vetting the rebels, as part of a training program the agency runs at a base in Jordan. That vetting has gone painfully slow, say sources with direct knowledge of the process. Now, though, the White House says it’s starting to bear fruit.

“The president has been deliberate about vetting the elements of the Syrian opposition. And over the course of the last three years, the United States has gotten much greater clarity about which individuals in the region we can rely on and count on and work with, and which individuals, frankly, that we can’t,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said last week. In the past year, the U.S. has provided direct military assistance to the rebels, primarily in the form of heavy weapons.

Shahbandar argued that the rebels have demonstrated that they can be trusted not to let powerful weapons slip out of their control. “Not a single TOW missile has fallen into the wrong hands,” he said. Last April, a YouTube video surfaced showing what appeared to be the first public confirmation that the rebels had obtained the TOW anti-tank missile. Such videos, which the rebels produce, are meant to build a public case that they know how to use the weapons and can be trusted with them.

That strategy sees to be working. “[The rebels’] capacity is expanding and improving,” Earnest said last week, adding there’s “no doubt” that U.S. airstrikes “will significantly enhance their capability on the battlefield.”

But sources working with the Syrian rebels say the program hasn’t produced a large enough group of soldiers to fight the Islamic State. That could fundamentally undermine the Obama administration’s strategy of fighting the militant group, which relies on the rebels to be the “boots on the ground” while the U.S. provides airstrikes.

“What the president has said he wants to do, he said more out of theory. You can’t fight someone with no one,” said one person working with the Syrian opposition.

There’s also no plan to ensure that the U.S.-armed and trained rebel fighters stay focused on the administration’s main enemy. Testifying before Congress on Tuesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has “no agreement at all” with Syrian rebels to attack only Islamic State fighters instead of the Assad regime.

The White House might not want one. Officials have made no secret that they’d also like to use the rebels to weaken Assad. “We need to bolster the Syrian moderate opposition to enable it to be able to take and hold ground, pushing out both ISIL and the Assad regime,” a senior administration official said last week shortly before Obama laid out his plan for fighting the militant group. “That is going to be essential to our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the organization.”

How quickly the rebel-training program will get off the ground remains an open question. Sources working with the Syrian opposition said that crucial operational procedures have yet to be worked out. It’s not clear whether fighters in Syria would be removed from the battlefield, trained in Saudi Arabia, and then brought back to Syria, or if the Americans and their partners would recruit a new force from people outside the country. There are, for example, defected Syrian military officers in Turkey who could be brought into the fight.

Kerry and Saudi Prince Faizal Laughing Their Asses Off After ISIS Hearing

Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal says help should be extended to the Syrian opposition

  • Gulf News

 

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia wants the war on the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and other militant groups to continue for ten years, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al Faisal has said.

Addressing world leaders during the International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq, Prince Saud on Monday cautioned that the threat posed by Isil has transcended the boundaries of Iraq and Syria, Saudi media reported.

“We see that the planned structure to fight [Isil} should continue for at least ten years to eradicate this hateful phenomenon.”

“It has become a danger, threatening everybody, and as such, should be jointly confronted.”

He emphasised the need to attack Isil strongholds in Syria, where the group received military training. “We should also extend every means of support to the Syrian opposition to confront Isil militants.”

WV Sen. Joe Manchin Takes A Principled Stand Against Collective ISIS Insanity

Sen Joe Manchin Alone In the Senate

Manchin: I will not support training Syrian rebels

the hill

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he doesn’t trust Syrian rebels and will not support President Obama’s plan to train them in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“I cannot and will not support arming and training Syrian rebels,” Manchin said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The first principle of war is to know your enemy. … It is equally important to know our allies and I am not confident that we know who our allies are.

“How do we know they won’t join forces with ISIS if it would help them defeat [Syrian President Bashar] Assad.”

Manchin said he supports Obama’s airstrike efforts but that he’d prefer that Middle Eastern countries, such as Turkey, use their military to present a ground front rather than arming moderate Syrian rebels.

“We have been at war in that part of the world for that last 13 years,” Manchin said. “If money and military might could make a difference it would have by now.”

The House is expected to pass a continued spending resolution (CR) to keep the government funded through Dec. 11 on Wednesday and attach an amendment to train Syrian rebels at the president’s request. Lawmakers are trying to get out of town by the end of the week so some can head home to campaign for the midterm election.

“I do not believe we should have to fund our government and arm Syrian rebels in the same vote,” Manchin said. “But if it that is the decision I am forced to make, it is one I am committed to making. … I believe these issues should be separate and debated.”

OWWWW!–Obama Smackdown of Gen. Dempsey

[SEE: Gen. Dempsey Rates Iraq Army–Half Incompetent, Half Incapable of Working With US Army]

Obama insists no ‘combat mission’ for US troops in Iraq, despite Dempsey comment

Obama _MacDill Air Force Base_660_AP.jpg

In this Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014 photo, President Barack Obama speaks at US Central Command (CentCom) at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. (AP)

President Obama insisted Wednesday that he will not send U.S. troops into a “combat mission” on the ground in Iraq, a day after his top military adviser opened the door to that possibility during a Capitol Hill hearing.

The comments from Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stirred confusion about the administration’s policy and pointed to possible daylight between Obama’s long-term view of the fight against the Islamic State and that of his military team. It triggered complaints from the Iraqi government as well as Obama’s Democratic allies on the Hill.

IRAN–U.S. ‘Not Serious’ About Defeating Islamic State

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a recent news conference in Rome. Zarif told NPR that the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to dealing with the self-declared Islamic State.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a recent news conference in Rome. Zarif told NPR that the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to dealing with the self-declared Islamic State.

Fabio Campana/EPA/Landov

Iran’s foreign minister says the U.S. has been hesitant and contradictory in its approach to combating extremist groups in Iraq and Syria and that President Obama needs a reality check on the subject of defeating the Islamic State insurgency.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep in an interview to air on NPR, said the United States is “not serious” about defeating the Sunni extremists.

U.S. interests are “not served by a double-edged policy” in which militants with the so-called Islamic State are dealt with differently whether they are inside Syria or in neighboring Iraq, he said.

“You cannot deal with a terrorist group whose bases are in Syria based on this illusion … that you can [also] have this pressure on the Syrian government,” Zarif told NPR.

Asked if he thinks Obama ought to reach an accommodation with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Zarif replied: “President Obama needs to reach an accommodation with reality.”

‘We Are Ready’ For A Nuclear Deal

On the subject of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Zarif said all the “wrong options” have already been tried and that “we are ready” for an agreement.

“The only problem is how this could be presented to some domestic constituencies, primarily in the United States but also in places in Europe,” because “some are not interested in any deal,” he said.

“If they think any deal with Iran is a bad idea, there is no amount of — I don’t want to call it concession — no amount of assurance that is inherent in any deal because they are not interested in a deal, period,” Zarif said.

In sharp contrast with what U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other political leaders have said about no deal being better than a bad one, Zarif said: “I think if you compare any deal with no deal, it’s clear that a deal is much preferable.”

He noted that Western sanctions against Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear program have, in any case, been ineffective. “Iran did not abandon it,” Zarif said. “At the time of the imposition of sanctions, we had less than a couple of hundred centrifuges. Now, we have 20,000. So that’s the net outcome.”

Detained Journalist

The foreign minister also spoke about Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been held by Iranian authorities since July. Zarif said Rezaian has been “interrogated” but declined to say for what crime.

“Jason Rezaian is a dual citizen,” Zarif said. “Whatever he has done … he has done as an Iranian citizen, not as an American citizen.”

Pressed about the charge against the journalist, Zarif insisted that Iran’s judiciary “has no obligation to explain to the United States why it is detaining one of [Iran’s own] citizens.”

“His lawyers know, he knows his charge,” Zarif said.

Update at 2:45 p.m. ET: Washington Post Response

The Washington Post emailed this statement from foreign editor Douglas Jehl regarding the detention of Jason Rezaian:

“It is long past time for the Iranian authorities to release Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post and his wife Yeganeh Salehi. The two have been held for more than eight weeks without explanation or charges. They have not been permitted to meet with their lawyer. The two are fully accredited journalists, and we remain mystified by their detention and deeply concerned about their welfare.”

Gen. Dempsey Rates Iraq Army–Half Incompetent, Half Incapable of Working With US Army

[Pentagon chief promises to reoccupy Iraq after Obama’s non-fighting Arab coalition fails.  The plan then (he calls it “Plan B,” although, in truth, ISIS WAS “PLAN B”) would be to do that which previously proved impossible–train an Iraqi army that will fight Iraqis.]

Top general says half of Iraqi army incapable of working with US against ISIS

foxnews

The U.S. military’s top officer said Wednesday that almost half of Iraq’s army is incapable of working against the Islamic State militant group, while the other half needs to be rebuilt with the help of U.S. advisers and military equipment.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey made the remarks to reporters while traveling to Paris to meet with his French counterpart to discuss the situation in Iraq and Syria. The general said that U.S. assessors who had spent the summer observing Iraq’s security forces concluded that 26 of the army’s 50 brigades would be capable of confronting the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Dempsey described those brigades as well-led, capable, and endowed with a nationalist instinct, as opposed to a sectarian instinct.

However, Dempsey said that the other 24 brigades were too heavily populated with Shiites to be part of a credible force against the Sunni ISIS.

Sectarianism has been a major problem for the Iraqi security forces for years and is in part a reflection of resentments that built up during the decades of rule under Saddam Hussein, who repressed the majority Shiite population, and the unleashing of reprisals against Sunnis after U.S. forces toppled him in April 2003. Sunni resistance led to the relatively brief rise of an extremist group called Al Qaeda in Iraq, led by the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. That group withered but re-emerged as the Islamic State organization, which capitalized on Sunni disenchantment with the Shiite government in Baghdad.

On Tuesday, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he would consider recommending the return of ground forces to Iraq if an international coalition sought by the Obama administration proves ineffective

On Wednesday, Dempsey said no amount of U.S. military power would solve the problem of ISIS’s takeover of large swaths of northern and western Iraq. The solution, he said, must begin with formation of an Iraqi government that is able to convince the country’s Kurdish and Sunni populations that they will be equal partners with the Shiites in Iraq’s future.

“I’m telling you, if that doesn’t happen then it’s time for Plan B,” he said. He didn’t say what that would entail.

Dempsey also said that ISIS fighters in Iraq have reacted to weeks of U.S. airstrikes by making themselves less visible, and he predicted they would “literally litter the road networks” with improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, in the days ahead. That, in turn, will require more counter-IED training and equipment for the Iraq army, he said.

According to the general, a renewed U.S. training effort might revive the issue of gaining legal immunity from Iraqi prosecution for those U.S. troops who are training the Iraqis. The previous Iraqi government refused to grant immunity for U.S. troops who might have remained as trainers after the U.S. military mission ended in December 2011.
“There will likely be a discussion with the new Iraqi government, as there was with the last one, about whether we need to have” Iraqi lawmakers approve new U.S. training, he said. He didn’t describe the full extent of such training but said it would be limited and he believed Iraq would endorse it.
“This is about training them in protected locations and then enabling them” with unique U.S. capabilities such as intelligence, aerial surveillance and air power, as well as U.S. advisers, so they can “fight the fight” required to push the Islamic State militants back into Syria, Dempsey said.

A Pentagon plan for training Syrian rebels is another, more controversial element of the plan, which also includes potential airstrikes in Syria; building an international coalition to combat the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq; and efforts to cut off finances and stem the flow of foreign fighters to the Islamic State group.

President Obama is to be briefed on the planned campaign against ISIS Wednesday in Tampa, Florida, when he meets with Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, which manages U.S. military operations and relations across the Middle East.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

“The FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”–August 6, 2012, Council on Foreign Relations

[From the CFR (Trilateral Commission).  How soon we forget.]

Al-Qaeda’s Specter in Syria

Author: Ed Husain, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies

August 6, 2012

Al-Qaeda's Specter in Syria - al-qaedas-specter-in-syria

The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army. Al-Qaeda fighters, however, may help improve morale. The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.

In Syria, al-Qaeda’s foot soldiers call themselves Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People). The group’s strength and acceptance by the FSA are demonstrated by their increasing activity on the ground (BBC)–from seven attacks in March to sixty-six “operations” in June. In particular, the Jabhat has helped take the fight to Syria’s two largest cities: the capital of Damascus, where 54 percent of its activities have been, and Aleppo. Indeed, al-Qaeda could become the most effective fighting force in Syria if defections from the FSA to the Jabhat persist and the ranks of foreign fighters (Guardian) continue to swell.

Al-Qaeda is not sacrificing its “martyrs” in Syria merely to overthrow Assad. Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country. Failing that, they hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organization’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven. If al-Qaeda continues to play an increasingly important role in the rebellion, then a post-Assad government will be indebted to the tribes and regions allied to the Jabhat. Failing to honor the Jabhat’s future requests, assuming Assad falls, could see a continuation of conflict in Syria.

Thus far, Washington seems reluctant to weigh heavily into this issue. In May 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly accepted al-Qaeda’s presence in Syria (Guardian). And in July, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Daniel Benjamin, rather incredulously suggested that the United States will simply ask the FSA to reject al-Qaeda. The unspoken political calculation among policymakers is to get rid of Assad first—weakening Iran’s position in the region—and then deal with al-Qaeda later.

But the planning to minimize al-Qaeda’s likely hold over Syrian tribes and fighters must begin now as the Obama administration ramps up its support to rebel groups (Reuters). Of course, these preparations should also include efforts to locate and control Assad’s chemical weapons. The months ahead will not be easy.

“When Genocide is Permissible”

Times of Israel Article: “When Genocide is Permissible” – Just a Little Too Honest

SCG NEWS

Times of Israel Article: "When Genocide is Permissible" - Just a Little Too Hone
Times of Israel has since taken down the original article which defended genocide as a legitimate tactic, but we have the cached version for you to read.

On August 1st, 2014, The Times of Israel posted one of their most honest articles to date. In it, the author openly made the case that in certain circumstances genocide may not only be permissible, but in fact a necessary component of government policy.

The original article was taken down after the internet got hold of it and began spreading it feverishly. However you can still access the cached version of the page here.

The title of the article “When Genocide is Permissible” by itself was bad enough, but this wasn’t a question of poor word choice. It was the thesis. This is particularly evident in the closing paragraph:

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

The view point expressed here isn’t unique to the author. What’s unique is that he seemed to be testing the waters to see if the public was ready to bring the dark side of Zionism out of the closet. He seemed to think that at this juncture in history genocide could go mainstream with little more than a PR makeover. Unfortunately this delusion is not entirely understandable considering the cultural context within Israel. When you live in a society where crowds hilltops and cheer after each bomb as Gaza is obliterated, you might start to believe that everyone is ok with a few massacres here and there, and after all, such thinking is institutionalized in Israeli military doctrine. This article by Haretz further confirms this.

The Times of Israel took the article down, and put up a disclaimer saying that the article was a “blatant breach of editorial guidelines”. I’m not sure what their editorial guidelines entail, but they must have something to do with choosing your words in order to hide the full implications of what you are saying. To put is bluntly Yochanan Gordon was chastised because he failed to match industry wide propaganda standards.

No PR disaster would be complete without a 180 degree reversal and a “heartfelt” apology from the author:

I wish to express deep regret and beg forgiveness for an article I authored which was posted on 5TJT.com, Times of Israel and was tweeted and shared the world over.
I never intended to call to harm any people although my words may have conveyed that message.
With that said I pray and hope for a quick peaceful end to the hostilities and that all people learn to coexist with each other in creating a better world for us all.
Yochanan Gordon

I don’t know about you, but that got me all choked up. So nice to see people who are capable of going from advocating genocide to praying for peace, coexistence and a better world at the drop of the hat (or a few thousand angry tweets).

And always remember the real reason for this bombardment:

 

The Geopolitics of World War 3.0

The Geopolitics of World War III

SCG NEWS

The real reason Russia and Syria are being targeted right now.

Contrary to popular belief, the conduct of nations on the international stage is almost never driven by moral considerations, but rather by a shadowy cocktail of money and geopolitics. As such, when you see the mouthpieces of the ruling class begin to demonize a foreign country, the first question in your mind should always be “what is actually at stake here?”

For some time now Russia, China, Iran, and Syria have been in the cross hairs. Once you understand why, the events unfolding in the world right now will make much more sense.

The U.S. dollar is a unique currency. In fact its current design and its relationship to geopolitics is unlike any other in history. Though it has been the world reserve currency since 194 this is not what makes it unique. Many currencies have held the reserve status off and on over the centuries, but what makes the dollar unique is the fact that since the early 1970s it has been, with a few notable exceptions, the only currency used to buy and sell oil on the global market.

Prior to 1971 the U.S. dollar was bound to the gold standard, at least officially. According to the IMF, by 1966, foreign central banks held $14 billion U.S. dollars, however the United States had only $3.2 billion in gold allocated to cover foreign holdings.

Translation: the Federal Reserve was printing more money than it could actually back.

The result was rampant inflation and a general flight from the dollar.

In 1971 in what later came to be called the “Nixon Shock” President Nixon removed the dollar from the gold standard completely.

At this point the dollar became a pure debt based currency. With debt based currencies money is literally loaned into existence.

Approximately 70% of the money in circulation is created by ordinary banks which are allowed to loan out more than they actually have in their accounts.
The rest is created by the Federal Reserve which loans money that they don’t have, mostly to government.

Kind of like writing hot checks, except it’s legal, for banks. This practice which is referred to as fractional reserve banking is supposedly regulated by the Federal Reserve, an institution which just happens to be owned and controlled by a conglomerate of banks, and no agency or branch of government regulates the Federal Reserve.

Now to make things even more interesting these fractional reserve loans have interest attached, but the money to pay that interest doesn’t exist in the system. As a result there is always more total debt than there is money in circulation, and in order to stay afloat the economy must grow perpetually.

This is obviously not sustainable.

Now you might be wondering how the dollar has maintained such a dominant position on the world stage for over forty years if it’s really little more than an elaborate ponzi scheme.

Well this is where the dollar meets geopolitics.

In 1973 under the shadow of the artificial OPEC oil crisis, the Nixon administration began secret negotiations with the government of Saudi Arabia to establish what came to be referred to as the petrodollar recycling system. Under the arrangement the Saudis would only sell their oil in U.S. dollars, and would invest the majority of their excess oil profits into U.S. banks and Capital markets. The IMF would then use this money to facilitate loans to oil importers who were having difficulties covering the increase in oil prices. The payments and interest on these loans would of course be denominated in U.S. dollars.

This agreement was formalized in the “The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation” put together by Nixon’s Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974.

Another document released by the Congressional Research Service reveals that these negotiations had an edge to them, as U.S. officials were openly discussing the feasibility of seizing oil fields in Saudi Arabia militarily.

In the United States, the oil shocks produced inflation, new concern about foreign investment from oil producing countries, and open speculation about the advisability and feasibility of militarily seizing oil fields in Saudi Arabia or other countries. In the wake of the embargo, both Saudi and U.S. officials worked to re-anchor the bilateral relationship on the basis of shared opposition to Communism, renewed military cooperation, and through economic initiatives that promoted the recycling of Saudi petrodollars to the United States via Saudi investment in infrastructure, industrial expansion, and U.S. securities.

The system was expanded to include the rest of OPEC by 1975.

Though presented as buffer to the recessionary effects of rising oil prices, this arrangement had a hidden side effect. It removed the traditional restraints on U.S. monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve was now free to increase the money supply at will. The ever increasing demand for oil would would prevent a flight from the dollar, while distributing the inflationary consequences across the entire planet.

The dollar went from being a gold back currency to a oil backed currency. It also became America’s primary export.

Did you ever wonder how the U.S. economy has been able to stay afloat while running multibillion dollar trade deficits for decades?

Did you ever wonder how it is that the U.S. holds such a disproportionate amount of the worlds wealth when 70% of the U.S. economy is consumer based?

In the modern era, fossil fuels make the world go round. They have become integrated into every aspect of civilization: agriculture, transportation, plastics, heating, defense and medicine, and demand just keeps growing and growing.

As long as the world needs oil, and as long as oil is only sold in U.S. dollars, there will be a demand for dollars, and that demand is what gives the dollar its value.

For the United States this is a great deal. Dollars go out, either as paper or digits in a computer system, and real tangible products and services come in. However for the rest of the world, it’s a very sneaky form of exploitation.

Having global trade predominately in dollars also provides the Washington with a powerful financial weapon through sanctions. This is due to the fact that most large scale dollar transactions are forced to pass through the U.S.

This petrodollar system stood unchallenged until September of 2000 when Saddam Hussein announced his decision to switch Iraq’s oil sales off of the dollar to Euros. This was a direct attack on the dollar, and easily the most important geopolitical event of the year, but only one article in the western media even mentioned it.

In the same month that Saddam announced he was moving away from the dollar, an organization called the “The Project for a New American Century”, of which Dick Cheney just happened to be a member, released a document entitled “REBUILDING AMERICA’S DEFENSES Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century”. This document called for massive increases in U.S. military spending and a much more aggressive foreign policy in order to expand U.S. dominance world wide. However the document lamented that achieving these goals would take many years “absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor”.

One year later they got it.

Riding the emotional reaction to 9/11, the Bush administration was able to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and pass the patriot act all without any significant resistance.

There were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and this wasn’t a question of bad intelligence. This was a cold calculated lie, and the decision to invade was made in full knowledge of the disaster which would follow.

They knew exactly what was going to happen but in 2003, they did it anyway. Once Iraqi oil fields were under U.S. control, oil sales were immediately switched back to the dollar. Mission accomplished.

Soon after the invasion of Iraq the Bush administration attempted to extend these wars to Iran. Supposedly the Iranian government was working to build a nuclear weapon. After the Iraq fiasco Washington’s credibility was severely damaged as a result they were unable to muster international or domestic support for an intervention. Their efforts were further sabotaged by elements within the CIA and Mossad who came forward to state that Iran had not even made the decision to develop nuclear weapons much less begin an attempt. However the demonization campaign against Iran continued even into the Obama administration.

Why?

Well, might it have something to do with the fact that since 2004 Iran has been in the process of organizing an independent oil bourse? They were building their own oil market, and it wasn’t going to be tied to the dollar. The first shipments of oil were sold through this market in July of 2011.

Unable to get the war that they wanted, the U.S. used the U.N to impose sanctions against Iran. The goal of the sanctions was to topple the Iranian regime. While this did inflict damage on the Iranian economy, the measures failed to destabilize the country. This was due in large part to Russia’s assistance in bypassing U.S. banking restrictions.

In February of 2009 Muammar Gaddafi, was named chairman of the African Union. He immediately proposed the formation of a unified state with a single currency. It was the nature of that proposed currency that got him killed.

In March of 2009 the African Union released a document entitled “Towards a Single African Currency”. Pages 106 and 107 of that document specifically discuss the benefits and technicalities of running the African Central bank under a gold standard. On page 94 it explicitly states that the key to the success of the African Monetary Union would be the “eventual linking of a single African currency to the most monetary of all commodities – gold.” (Note that the page number is different on other versions of the document that they released.)

In 2011 the CIA moved into Libya and began backing militant groups in their campaign to topple Gaddafi and the U.S. and NATO pushed through and stretched a U.N. nofly-zone resolution to tip the balance with airstrikes. The presence of Al-Qaeda extremists among these rebel fighters was swept under the rug.

Libya, like Iran and Iraq had committed the unforgivable crime of challenging the U.S. dollar.

The NATO intervention in Libya segued into a covert war on Syrian. The armories of the Libyan government were looted and the weapons were shipped via Turkey to Syrian rebels groups working to topple Assad. It was already clear at this point that many of these fighters had ties to terrorist organizations. However the U.S. national security apparatus viewed this as a necessary evil. In fact the Council on Foreign relations published an article in 2012 stating that “The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervor, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathizers in the Gulf, and most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al-Qaeda now.”

(Hat tip to theantimedia.org for catching this.)

Let’s be clear here, the U.S. put ISIS in power.

In 2013 these same Al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebels launched two sarin gas attacks. This was attempt to frame Assad and muster international support for military intervention. Fortunately they were exposed by U.N. and Russian investigators and the push for airstrikes completely fell apart when Russia stepped in to broker a diplomatic solution.

The campaign for regime change in Syria, as in Libya has been presented in terms of human rights. Obviously this isn’t the real motive.

In 2009, Qatar put forth a proposal to run a natural gas pipeline through Syria and Turkey to Europe. Assad however rejected this, and in 2011 he forged a pact with Iraq and Iran to run a pipeline eastward cutting Qatar and Saudi Arabia out of the loop completely. Not surprisingly Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been the most aggressive regional players in the push to topple the Syrian government.

But why would this pipeline dispute put Syria in Washington’s cross hairs? Three reasons:

1. This pipeline arrangement would significantly strengthen Iran’s position, allowing them to export to European markets without having to pass through any of Washington’s allies. This obviously reduces the U.S. government’s leverage.
2. Syria is Iran’s closest ally. It’s collapse would inherently weaken Iran.
3. Syria and Iran have a mutual defense agreement, and a U.S. intervention in Syria could open the door to open conflict with Iran.

In February of 2014 this global chess game heated up in a new venue: Ukraine. The real target however was Russia.

You see Russia just happens to be the worlds second largest oil exporter, and not only have they been a thorn in Washington’s side diplomatically, but they also opened an energy bourse in 2008, with sales denominated in Rubles and gold. This project had been in the works since 2006. They have also been working with China to pull off of the dollar in all of their bilateral trade.

Russia has also been in the process of organizing a Eurasian Economic Union which includes plans to adopt common currency unit, and which is slated to have its own independent energy market.

Leading up to the crisis in Ukraine had been presented with a choice: either join the E.U. under an association agreement or join the Eurasian Union. The E.U. insisted that this was an either or proposition. Ukraine couldn’t join both. Russia on the other hand, asserted that joining both posed no issue. President Yanukovich decided to go with Russia.

In response the U.S. national security apparatus did what it does best: they toppled Yanukovich and installed a puppet government. To see the full evidence of Washington’s involvement in the coup watch “The ukraine crisis what you’re not being told”

This article from the Guardian is also worth reading.

Though this all seemed to be going well at first, the U.S. quickly lost control of the situation. Crimea held a referendum and the people voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia. The transition was orderly and peaceful. No one was killed, yet the West immediately framed the entire event as an act of Russian aggression, and this became the go to mantra from that point on.

Crimea is important geostrategically because of its position in the Black Sea which allows for the projection of naval power into the Mediterranean. It has also been Russian territory for most of recent history.

The U.S. has been pushing for Ukraine’s inclusion into NATO for years now. Such a move would place U.S. forces right on Russia’s border and could have potentially resulted in Russia losing their naval base in Crimea. This is why Russia immediately accepted the results of the Crimean referendum and quickly consolidated the territory.

Meanwhile in Eastern Ukraine, two regions declared independence from Kiev and held referendums of their own. The results of which overwhelmingly favored self rule.

Kiev responded to this with what they referred to as anti-terrorist operations. In practice this was a massive and indiscriminate shelling campaign which killed thousands of civilians. Apparently killing civilians didn’t qualify as aggression to the West. In fact the IMF explicitly warned the provisional government that their 17 billion dollar loan package could be in danger if they were not able to put down the uprising in eastern Ukraine.

While the war against eastern Ukraine was raging elections were held and Petro Poroshenko was elected president. It turns out that Poroshenko, was exposed by a leaked diplomatic cable released by wikileaks in 2008 as having worked as a mole for the U.S. State Department since 2006. They referred to him as “Our Ukraine insider” and much of the cable referred to information that he was providing. (A separate cable showed that the U.S. knew Poroshenko was corrupt even at that point.)

Having a puppet in place however hasn’t turned out to be enough to give Washington the upper hand in this crisis. What does Washington do when they have no other leverage? They impose sanctions, they demonize and they saber rattle (or pull a false flag).

This isn’t a very good strategy when dealing with Russia. In fact it has already backfired. The sanctions have merely pushed Russia and China into closer cooperation and accelerated Russia’s de-dollarization agenda. And in spite of the rhetoric, this has not led to Russia being isolated. The U.S. and NATO have put a wedge between themselves and Russia, but not between Russia and the rest of the world (look up BRICS if you are unclear about this).

This new anti-dollar axis goes deeper than economics. These countries understand what’s at stake here. This is why in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis China has proposed a new Eurasian security pact which would include Russia and Iran.

Consider the implications here as the Obama administration begins bombing in Syria which also has a mutual defense agreement with Iran.

This is not the cold war 2.0. This is World War 3.0. The masses may not have figured it out yet, but history will remember it that way.

Alliances are already solidifying and and a hot war is underway on multiple fronts. If the provocations and proxy wars continue, it’s only a matter of time before the big players confront each other directly, and that is a recipe for disaster.

Does all of this sound insane to you? Well you’re right. The people running the world right now are insane, and the public is sleep walking into a tragedy. If you want to alter the course that we are on, there’s only one way to do it. We have to wake up that public. Even the most powerful weapons of war are neutralized if you reach the mind of the man behind the trigger.

How do we wake the masses you ask? Don’t wait for someone else to answer that for you. Get creative. Act like you children’s and grandchildren’s futures depend on it, because they do.

Iraq Tribal Chief Says Arms to Iraqi “Awakening” are Being Sold in Syria

An Iraqi policeman poses for a photo with members of the Sunni Awakening Council, 2008. AFP
An Iraqi policeman poses for a photo with members of the Sunni Awakening Council, 2008. AFP

BAGHDAD, Iraq – A prominent tribal chief in Iraq’s Anbar province claimed that weapons supplied to a Sunni militia to fight Islamic State militants are instead being sold off in Syria.

Qasim al-Karwali, leader of the Tribes Revolution, accused Ahmad Aburish, head of the Awakening Council, of the illegal arms sales to opposition and government forces Syria.  Aburish denied the accusations.

The Iraqi government and US army created the Sunni Awakening Council in 2006 to drive out al-Qaeda forces from Anbar, Iraq’s largest province.

Since then Baghdad has maintained some level of ties with Aburish’s council, arming and funding them to win their allegiance against radical Sunni groups.

Aburish denied the accusations, calling them “an attempt to stop our arms supplies to fight the armed groups.”

“Armed groups, especially the IS try to distort public opinion against the Awakening Council by saying that we are selling our weapons to Syria,” Aburish told Rudaw. “These are baseless accusations.”

In recent years, Anbar’s Sunni population have accused leaders of the Awakening Council of collaboration with Iraq’s Shiite government at the expense of local grievances.

The accusations made by al-Karwali on Tuesday come at a time when the US and other NATO countries have pledged support to Iraqi groups who fight the Islamic State.

Al-Karwali said he feared any weapons supplied by the West or Haider al-Abadi’s government to the Awakening Council will be sold in the black market by its leaders.

In the past two years, Sunni tribes in Anbar have split into two camps. Al-Karwali’s group has vowed to stand against the government until Sunni grievances are addressed. Other tribes, such as Aburish’s, have sided with Baghdad.

This split is also reflected in the army and police, where some still fight for the government while others take orders from their tribal chiefs.

Aburish said that the IS and other rival tribes try to drive a wedge between the Iraqi government, the international community and the Sunni tribes fighting terrorism.

Aburish’s council has been the target of many attacks from insurgent groups, surviving several assassination attempts over the past few years.

ISIL–The Latest Disastrous Tool of Western Statecraft

https://i0.wp.com/worldmeets.us/images/US-Advisers-Iraq_inyt.jpg

ISIL: The Latest Disastrous Tool of Western Statecraft (Carta Maior, Brazil)

world meets US

 

“ISIL, at first manipulated by Saudi Arabia, with the capacity to unify a wide swath of Arab territory under its authority and eliminate Iranian influence in the region, became increasingly autonomous, and eventually adopted the ideals of al-Qaeda. … For the sake of its obsessively anti-Iranian stance, Washington permitted the growth of Wahhabi fundamentalism (the most radical branch of Sunni Islam), and the formation of a large army, to which it gave a territorial basis for dominating regions of Syria and Iraq – something that al-Qaeda never succeeded in doing. In all, the United States acted like Harry Potter upon obtaining his first magic wand: it liberated forces it didn’t understand or control.”

 

By Francisco Carlos Teixeira

                                                

 

Translated By Brandi Miller

 

July 28, 2014

 

Brazil – Carta Maior – Original Article (Portuguese)

The Western press, and given its habitual addiction to mimicry, the Brazilian media, have chosen to adopt a narrative that looks at the current Middle East situation in terms of intra-Islamic conflict, highlighting the confrontation between different conceptions of Islam, in particular, between Sunnis and Shiites. In the face of these two radicalized interpretations of the Prophet Mohammed’s message, Islam definitively split, and the formation of viable state units became impossible. In fact, the two sides have confronted one another since the death of the cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, Caliph Ali. There were those who defended maintaining the “Caliphate” in the hands of the wealthy merchants of the Quraysh clan [Sunnis], and the rest, who defended the line of succession remaining within the family of the Prophet, with the descendants of his daughter Fatima who was married to Ali [Shiites]. This become a strong point of division. The caliphate – a form of religious and secular government – was formally abolished between 1923 and 1924, when the Turks consolidated their country as a republic, and the Turkish monarch, the sultan, who was also caliph, lost his titles. Since then, Islam has lacked a caliph in either the Sunni or Shiite tradition.

 

This division between Sunnis (traditionalists) and Shiites (supporters of Fatima and Ali) has only deepened since their 8th century schism. Shiism, in contact with Persian Zoroastrianism, Byzantine Christianity, and the Nestorian heresy, assumed quite a different form from traditional Sunnism, observing festivals, flagellation ceremonies, the worship of saints, relics and shrines (tombs of saints, such as those in Karbala and Najaf, for example), in addition to a total rejection of the caliph (where “caliph” is the title of the “successor” sent by God, and who guards within himself all civil and religious power).

 

Turkish mastery over the Arabs from the 15th century up to 1918, and after that French and British dominance, only deepened these divisions further, with the colonial powers selecting the Sunnis, more inclined to accept demands and recognize the authority of their colonial rulers, to form the core of pro-Western ruling elites. Thus in Iraq after 1918, a small minority of Sunnis was organized by Great Britain to govern the majority Shiite population. In this way, Sunnis united with Western imperialist interests in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, always resulting in cruel and highly repressive dictatorships.

 

In the Baath Party regime under Saddam Hussein, there was a precarious arrangement with Christians and a certain tolerance of Shiites, but in the final years of Saddam’s regime, the Shiites, many times supported and encouraged by the United States, revolted against Saddam (a Sunni), and were brutally repressed, with the widespread use of torture and thousands killed.

Posted By Worldmeets.US

 

Thus the narrative that there is an incapacity to form a viable state due to religious differences conceals the West’s long and continuous intervention in the Arab world and Western responsibility for pitting religious and ethnic groups against each other, all for the purpose of facilitating foreign domination (as it was, for example, in India under British rule, Rwanda under Belgian colonialism, or Nigeria, again, under British rule). Thus the role of imperialism and colonialism, its responsibility for local divisions, including U.S. policy in the region, and before that the continuous colonial interventions of Great Britain and France, which the Americans inherited, are precluded from factual and moral responsibility for the current situation in the region.

 

The main “cause” pointed at by the media, echoing statements and press releases from the authorities in Washington, is the “incapacity” of Nouri al-Maliki’s government, a Shiite, to “unite” and lead a government with Sunnis and Kurds.

 

Since it regained its autonomy in the post-Saddam Hussein era, a coalition government has functioned in Iraq – with Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis. This mixed parliamentary government, based on a broad ethnic and religious coalition, sought to give voice and rights to the majority of the Iraqi population, which consists of Shiites, and offer controlled autonomy to the Kurds, who were persecuted and killed in large numbers during the years of the Saddam dictatorship.

 

One of the Shiite militias of the post-Saddam era was the “Dawa,” a group that in addition to confronting al-Qaeda, faced the remnants of Saddam’s Republican Guard and the Americans themselves, who wanted a quick exit from Iraq after the 2003 invasion. Since 2006, the “Dawa” has transformed itself into a political party under al-Maliki’s leadership, which now governs Baghdad with a parliamentary majority. It is in fact a broad but fragile coalition. Opposition to al-Maliki is not centered in the Sunnis because of their exclusion, but in other Shiite groups, including the Mahdi Army and its leader Muqtada al-Sadr, who favors the creation of an Islamic regime in the country.

 

Nouri al-Maliki was long in exile in Syria (he was sentenced to death by Saddam), and was strongly opposed to the United States. Al-Maliki opposes, in particular, America’s policy of reintegrating large numbers of cadres from the banned Baath Party, the only party in power under Saddam, including the readmission of soldiers loyal to Saddam, police accused of torture, and judges and civil servants from the Baath Party who were involved in the brutal repression of the Saddam era. In the American version, al-Maliki’s refusal is due to his “Shiite” sectarianism. In fact, the United States is proposing that the Iraq government, which was reelected on January 30, 2014, accept and forgive members of Saddam’s government who actively participated in the brutal attacks against the Shiite majority of their own people.

 

In the name of “national unity,” the United States, once again and in yet another country, just as it did in Latin America, demands that criminals and violators of human rights be brought to power and for the recent past to be forgotten. Washington would much rather see in power men like Ahmed Chalabi, prime minister between 2005 and 2006, a “client” of the CIA, and a U.S. government pensioner. Chalabi, America’s central informant and so-called “man who prepared the invasion of Iraq,” lost his seat in parliament in the last election. Another name defended by the U.S. is Ayad Allawi, a secular leader, former member of the Baath Party, and member of the transitional government after the U.S. occupation administration and before the new free Iraqi government. It so happens that neither has the votes to legitimize their hopes of forming a government. However, just as it was in South Vietnam during the 1960s (with Cao Ky and Van Thieu), the U.S. insists on “naming” the rulers of client states – despite the election results.

 

Al-Maliki, accused in the past of organizing terrorist attacks against the United States and France, also poses other “inconveniences” for Washington. First, American demands of extraterritoriality for all of its personnel in Iraq, including soldiers, police, and American “contractors” (in other words, mercenaries), was refused by al-Maliki’s cabinet. Thus, under pressure from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (2009 and 2013), the United States opted to improve and adorn Obama’s “pacifist” foreign policy by completely withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. This was clearly an act of blackmail: either the U.S. largely controlled Iraq’s armed forces and police, with the dominant inclusion of former Baath Party members, or they would leave.

 

Al-Maliki opted to take the risk and maintain Iraq’s shaky national sovereignty. In addition to this, Baghdad contradicted the U.S. on two fundamental points of Obama’s Middle East policy. On the one hand, it tightened relations with Iran, the largest Shiite-Muslim country ruled by a regime hostile to both Washington and Israel, and on the other, it approached Russia, from which it purchased high performance weapons (the former USSR was an Iraqi ally). Obama-Clinton largely tried to prevent friendly relations among Baghdad, Tehran, and Moscow (al-Maliki’s Dawa Party also possessed strong ties with Iran’s Shiite clergy), which clearly sabotaged American attempts to isolate Iran.

 

Likewise, Baghdad charted a foreign policy independent of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions, especially in Syria. For Baghdad and Tehran, the situation in Syria was and is completely different from the other “Springs.” Early on, they denounced the extensive foreign intervention from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United States, Turkey and France, to overthrow the Assad regime, comprised of a coalition of Shiites (Alawite) and Christians, which is nationalist in character, as well as pan-Arab and anti-Israel. Tehran and Baghdad denounced from the outset foreign intervention and the presence of mercenaries and volunteers from the Persian Gulf, financed by Saudi Arabia and armed by England and France, aimed at overthrowing the Damascus regime.

 

In Syria, a broad Sunni fundamentalist coalition formed that was extremely intolerant and conservative in character: al-Qaeda, the al-Nusra Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, called ISIL in English.

 

This coalition, in the beginning manipulated by Saudi Arabia, with the capacity to unify a wide swath of Arab territory under its authority and eliminate Iranian influence in the region, became increasingly autonomous, and eventually adopted the ideals of al-Qaeda, which was in the end overcome by the harshness and cruelty of the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”

 

Meanwhile, Al-Maliki caused great discomfort in Washington and Paris by supporting pan-Arab and Shiite groups in Lebanon, where the “Dawa Party,” a Lebanese cousin of Iraq’s Dawa and also very close to Tehran, confronted American and French troops in Lebanon.

 

Thus in recent years, the Obama-Clinton Administration (2009-2013), drawing ever closer to the American center-right and right, and to Saudi interests in America, has adopted a clear anti-Iran, anti-Dawa, anti-Shiite stance, based on a strategic triangle capable of ruling the Arab world centered in Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. For the sake of this obsessively anti-Iranian stance, Washington permitted the growth of Wahhabi fundamentalism (the most radical branch of Sunni Islam, which executes Shiite clergymen and destroys Shiism’s holy places), and the formation of a large army to which it gave a territorial basis for dominating regions of Syria and Iraq – something that al-Qaeda never succeeded in doing.

 

Strangest of all, to sum up this immense list of strategic, political, and anthropological mistakes made by Washington, is that the death of Osama bin Laden strengthened and accelerated the fight against the Baghdad government established by the American invasion in 2003. The elimination of the charismatic leadership of bin Laden among his followers and sympathizers allowed for the emergence of dissident forces such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its proclamation of the “caliphate,” opening up a new and explosive reality in the Middle East.

 

All told, the United States acted like Harry Potter upon obtaining his first magic wand: it liberated forces it didn’t understand or control. The crucial difference is that in this case, there is clear risk of general chaos and a bitter end for the local peoples.
http://worldmeets.us/ http://worldmeets.us/cartamaior000010.shtml#ixzz3DTaaEHRP

Kiev and the Logic of Winter

Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn’t have enough fuel for winter

the independent

ukraine snow statue

The fields around Grabova and Debaltseve became the focus of international attention as the crash site of Flight MH17. But along the roads leading to the villages are reminders, on the scarred landscape, of another casualty of Ukraine’s civil war which will have a huge impact in the coming months – the coal mines that have been closed down.

ISIS Conference Statement—” no mention at all of Syria”

US Wins Diplomatic Support for Campaign in Iraq; Syria Trickier

A member os Islamic State group waves a flag in Iraq (Reuters Photo)

Paris:  World powers backed military measures on Monday to help defeat Islamic State fighters in Iraq, boosting Washington’s efforts to set up a coalition, but made no mention of the tougher diplomatic challenge next door in Syria.

France sent fighter jets on a reconnaissance mission over Iraq, a step closer to becoming the first ally to join the United States in new bombing there since President Barack Obama declared his plans to establish a broad coalition last week.

Paris also hosted an international conference, attended by the five U.N. Security Council permanent members, European and Arab states, and representatives of the EU, Arab League and United Nations. All pledged to help the government in Baghdad fight against Islamic State militants.

But a statement after Monday’s conference made no mention at all of Syria – the other country where Islamic State fighters hold a wide swathe of territory. Iraq attended Monday’s meeting but Syria did not, nor did its main regional ally, Iran.

Obama pledged last week to establish a coalition to defeat Islamic State fighters in both Iraq and Syria, plunging the United States into two separate civil wars in which nearly every country in the Middle East has a stake.

“All participants underscored the urgent need to remove Daesh from the regions in which it has established itself in Iraq,” said a statement after Monday’s talks, using an Arabic acronym for the group which now calls itself Islamic State.

“To that end, they committed to supporting the new Iraqi Government in its fight against Daesh, by any means necessary, including appropriate military assistance….” it said.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said French aircraft would begin reconnaissance flights over Iraq. A French official said two Rafale fighter jets and a refuelling aircraft had taken off on Monday for Iraq.

“The throat-slitters of Daesh – that’s what I’m calling them – tell the whole world ‘Either you’re with us or we kill you’. And when one is faced with such a group there is no other attitude than to defend yourself,” Fabius told a news conference at the end of the talks.

Iraqi President Fouad Massoum told Monday’s conference he hoped the Paris meeting would bring a “quick response”.

“Islamic State’s doctrine is either you support us or kill us. It has committed massacres and genocidal crimes and ethnic purification,” he told delegates.

VOTE OF CONFIDENCE

Monday’s conference was an important vote of confidence for the new Iraqi government, formed last week, led by a member of Iraq’s Shi’ite majority, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and also including minority Sunnis and Kurds in important jobs.

Iraq’s allies hope that Abadi will prove a more consensual leader than his predecessor Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi’ite whose policies alienated many Sunnis. They hope that the new Iraqi government will win back support from Sunnis who had backed the Islamic State’s revolt.

Monday’s conference shows that Abadi enjoys broad international good will, which means Washington will probably face little diplomatic pushback over plans to use air strikes against Islamic State fighters on that side of the frontier.

Syria, however, is a much trickier case. In a three year civil war, Islamic State has emerged as one of the most powerful Sunni groups battling against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, a member of a Shi’ite-derived sect.

Washington remains hostile to Assad, which means any bombing is likely to take place without permission of the government in Damascus. Russia, which has a veto at the U.N. Security Council and supports Assad, says bombing would be illegal without a Security Council resolution. Turkey and other countries are wary of measures against Islamic State that might help Assad.

Islamic State fighters set off alarms across the Middle East since June when they swept across northern Iraq, seizing cities, slaughtering prisoners, proclaiming a caliphate to rule over all Muslims and ordering non-Sunnis to convert or die.

The United States resumed air strikes in Iraq in August for the first time since the 2011 withdrawal of the last U.S. troops, fearful the militants would break the country up and use it as a base for attacks on the West.

Obama’s plans, announced last week, would involve stronger military action in Iraq and extend the campaign across the frontier to Syria. Secretary of State John Kerry has said he believes he can forge a solid alliance despite hesitancy among some partners and questions over the legality of action.

U.S. officials said several Arab countries have offered to join the United States in air strikes against Islamic State targets, but declined to say which countries made the offers. Ten Arab states committed last week to joining a military coalition, without specifying what action they would take.

Britain, Washington’s main ally when it invaded Iraq in 2003, has yet to confirm it will take part in air strikes, despite the killing of British aid worker David Haines by Islamic State fighters this past week.

France has said it is ready to take part in bombing missions in Iraq but is so far wary of action in Syria. French officials say the coalition plan must go beyond military and humanitarian action, arguing there must also be a political plan for once Islamic State has been weakened in Iraq.

The absence from Monday’s conference of Iran, Assad’s main ally and by far the most influential neighbour among Iraq’s Shi’ite majority, shows how difficult joint action can be in the Middle East. French officials said Arab countries had blocked Tehran’s presence.

“We wanted a consensus among countries over Iran’s attendance, but in the end it was more important to have certain Arab states than Iran,” a French diplomat said.

Norwegian daily VG quoted Foreign Minister Boerge Brende as saying Oslo, which is at the Paris conference, was considering a military presence in Iraq.

“First and foremost we have said that there would an additional contribution to humanitarian work. But we are also considering whether we will, separately to the humanitarian help, also contribute with military capacity building,” he said.

“This could be training of personnel, but it will depend on the demand we get,” he added.

The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia

Middle East Time Bomb: The Real Aim of ISIS Is to Replace the Saud Family as the New Emirs of Arabia

ETHIOMEDIA

By Alastair Crooke

Caliphate
What ISIS sees as its caliphate includes what it calls “The Land of Habasha” (Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, Chad up to even the Gulf of Guinea)

 

BEIRUT — ISIS is indeed a veritable time bomb inserted into the heart of the Middle East. But its destructive power is not as commonly understood. It is not with the “March of the Beheaders”; it is not with the killings; the seizure of towns and villages; the harshest of “justice” — terrible though they are — that its true explosive power lies. It is yet more potent than its exponential pull on young Muslims, its huge arsenal of weapons and its hundreds of millions of dollars.

“We should understand that there is really almost nothing that the West can now do about it but sit and watch.”

Its real potential for destruction lies elsewhere — in the implosion of Saudi Arabia as a foundation stone of the modern Middle East. We should understand that there is really almost nothing that the West can now do about it but sit and watch.

The clue to its truly explosive potential, as Saudi scholar Fouad Ibrahim has pointed out (but which has passed, almost wholly overlooked, or its significance has gone unnoticed), is ISIS’ deliberate and intentional use in its doctrine — of the language of Abd-al Wahhab, the 18th century founder, together with Ibn Saud, of Wahhabism and the Saudi project:

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the first “prince of the faithful” in the Islamic State of Iraq, in 2006 formulated, for instance, the principles of his prospective state … Among its goals is disseminating monotheism “which is the purpose [for which humans were created] and [for which purpose they must be called] to Islam…” This language replicates exactly Abd-al Wahhab’s formulation. And, not surprisingly, the latter’s writings and Wahhabi commentaries on his works are widely distributed in the areas under ISIS’ control and are made the subject of study sessions. Baghdadi subsequently was to note approvingly, “a generation of young men [have been] trained based on the forgotten doctrine of loyalty and disavowal.”

And what is this “forgotten” tradition of “loyalty and disavowal?” It is Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine that belief in a sole (for him an anthropomorphic) God — who was alone worthy of worship — was in itself insufficient to render man or woman a Muslim?

He or she could be no true believer, unless additionally, he or she actively denied (and destroyed) any other subject of worship. The list of such potential subjects of idolatrous worship, which al-Wahhab condemned as idolatry, was so extensive that almost all Muslims were at risk of falling under his definition of “unbelievers.” They therefore faced a choice: Either they convert to al-Wahhab’s vision of Islam — or be killed, and their wives, their children and physical property taken as the spoils of jihad. Even to express doubts about this doctrine, al-Wahhab said, should occasion execution.

“Through its intentional adoption of this Wahhabist language, ISIS is knowingly lighting the fuse to a bigger regional explosion — one that has a very real possibility of being ignited, and if it should succeed, will change the Middle East decisively.”

The point Fuad Ibrahim is making, I believe, is not merely to reemphasize the extreme reductionism of al-Wahhab’s vision, but to hint at something entirely different: That through its intentional adoption of this Wahhabist language, ISIS is knowingly lighting the fuse to a bigger regional explosion — one that has a very real possibility of being ignited, and if it should succeed, will change the Middle East decisively.

For it was precisely this idealistic, puritan, proselytizing formulation by al-Wahhab that was “father” to the entire Saudi “project” (one that was violently suppressed by the Ottomans in 1818, but spectacularly resurrected in the 1920s, to become the Saudi Kingdom that we know today). But since its renaissance in the 1920s, the Saudi project has always carried within it, the “gene” of its own self-destruction.

THE SAUDI TAIL HAS WAGGED BRITAIN AND U.S. IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Paradoxically, it was a maverick British official, who helped embed the gene into the new state. The British official attached to Aziz, was one Harry St. John Philby (the father of the MI6 officer who spied for the Soviet KGB, Kim Philby). He was to become King Abd al-Aziz’s close adviser, having resigned as a British official, and was until his death, a key member of the Ruler’s Court. He, like Lawrence of Arabia, was an Arabist. He was also a convert to Wahhabi Islam and known as Sheikh Abdullah.

St. John Philby was a man on the make: he had determined to make his friend, Abd al-Aziz, the ruler of Arabia. Indeed, it is clear that in furthering this ambition he was not acting on official instructions. When, for example, he encouraged King Aziz to expand in northern Nejd, he was ordered to desist. But (as American author, Stephen Schwartz notes), Aziz was well aware that Britain had pledged repeatedly that the defeat of the Ottomans would produce an Arab state, and this no doubt, encouraged Philby and Aziz to aspire to the latter becoming its new ruler.

It is not clear exactly what passed between Philby and the Ruler (the details seem somehow to have been suppressed), but it would appear that Philby’s vision was not confined to state-building in the conventional way, but rather was one of transforming the wider Islamic ummah (or community of believers) into a Wahhabist instrument that would entrench the al-Saud as Arabia’s leaders. And for this to happen, Aziz needed to win British acquiescence (and much later, American endorsement). “This was the gambit that Abd al-Aziz made his own, with advice from Philby,” notes Schwartz.

BRITISH GODFATHER OF SAUDI ARABIA

In a sense, Philby may be said to be “godfather” to this momentous pact by which the Saudi leadership would use its clout to “manage” Sunni Islam on behalf of western objectives (containing socialism, Ba’athism, Nasserism, Soviet influence, Iran, etc.) — and in return, the West would acquiesce to Saudi Arabia’s soft-power Wahhabisation of the Islamic ummah (with its concomitant destruction of Islam’s intellectual traditions and diversity and its sowing of deep divisions within the Muslim world).

“In political and financial terms, the Saud-Philby strategy has been an astonishing success. But it was always rooted in British and American intellectual obtuseness: the refusal to see the dangerous ‘gene’ within the Wahhabist project, its latent potential to mutate, at any time, back into its original a bloody, puritan strain. In any event, this has just happened: ISIS is it.”

As a result — from then until now — British and American policy has been bound to Saudi aims (as tightly as to their own ones), and has been heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia for direction in pursuing its course in the Middle East.

In political and financial terms, the Saud-Philby strategy has been an astonishing success (if taken on its own, cynical, self-serving terms). But it was always rooted in British and American intellectual obtuseness: the refusal to see the dangerous “gene” within the Wahhabist project, its latent potential to mutate, at any time, back into its original a bloody, puritan strain. In any event, this has just happened: ISIS is it.

Winning western endorsement (and continued western endorsement), however, required a change of mode: the “project” had to change from being an armed, proselytizing Islamic vanguard movement into something resembling statecraft. This was never going to be easy because of the inherent contradictions involved (puritan morality versus realpolitik and money) — and as time has progressed, the problems of accommodating the “modernity” that statehood requires, has caused “the gene” to become more active, rather than become more inert.

Even Abd al-Aziz himself faced an allergic reaction: in the form of a serious rebellion from his own Wahhabi militia, the Saudi Ikhwan. When the expansion of control by the Ikhwan reached the border of territories controlled by Britain, Abd al-Aziz tried to restrain his militia (Philby was urging him to seek British patronage), but the Ikwhan, already critical of his use of modern technology (the telephone, telegraph and the machine gun), “were outraged by the abandonment of jihad for reasons of worldly realpolitik … They refused to lay down their weapons; and instead rebelled against their king … After a series of bloody clashes, they were crushed in 1929. Ikhwan members who had remained loyal, were later absorbed into the [Saudi] National Guard.”

King Aziz’s son and heir, Saud, faced a different form of reaction (less bloody, but more effective). Aziz’s son was deposed from the throne by the religious establishment — in favor of his brother Faisal — because of his ostentatious and extravagant conduct. His lavish, ostentatious style, offended the religious establishment who expected the “Imam of Muslims,” to pursue a pious, proselytizing lifestyle.

King Faisal, Saud’s successor, in his turn, was shot by his nephew in 1975, who had appeared at Court ostensibly to make his oath of allegiance, but who instead, pulled out a pistol and shot the king in his head. The nephew had been perturbed by the encroachment of western beliefs and innovation into Wahhabi society, to the detriment of the original ideals of the Wahhabist project.

SEIZING THE GRAND MOSQUE IN 1979

Far more serious, however, was the revived Ikhwan of Juhayman al-Otaybi, which culminated in the seizure of the Grand Mosque by some 400-500 armed men and women in 1979. Juhayman was from the influential Otaybi tribe from the Nejd, which had led and been a principal element in the original Ikhwan of the 1920s.

Juhayman and his followers, many of whom came from the Medina seminary, had the tacit support, amongst other clerics, of Sheikh Abdel-Aziz Bin Baz, the former Mufti of Saudi Arabia. Juhayman stated that Sheikh Bin Baz never objected to his Ikhwan teachings (which were also critical of ulema laxity towards “disbelief”), but that bin Baz had blamed him mostly for harking on that “the ruling al-Saud dynasty had lost its legitimacy because it was corrupt, ostentatious and had destroyed Saudi culture by an aggressive policy of westernisation.”

Significantly, Juhayman’s followers preached their Ikhwani message in a number of mosques in Saudi Arabia initially without being arrested, but when Juhayman and a number of the Ikhwan finally were held for questioning in 1978. Members of the ulema (including bin Baz) cross-examined them for heresy, but then ordered their release because they saw them as being no more than traditionalists harkening back to the Ikhwan— like Juhayman grandfather — and therefore not a threat.

Even when the mosque seizure was defeated and over, a certain level of forbearance by the ulema for the rebels remained. When the government asked for a fatwa allowing for armed force to be used in the mosque, the language of bin Baz and other senior ulema was curiously restrained. The scholars did not declare Juhayman and his followers non-Muslims, despite their violation of the sanctity of the Grand Mosque, but only termed them al-jamaah al-musallahah (the armed group).

Because of donations from wealthy followers, the group had been well-armed and trained. Some members, like Juhayman, were former military officials of the Saudi National Guard. Some National Guard troops sympathetic to the insurgents smuggled weapons, ammunition, gas masks, and provisions into the mosque compound over a period of weeks before the attack, including automatic weapons smuggled from National Guard armories and hidden in rooms under the mosque that were used as hermitages.

ISIS VS. WESTERNIZED SAUDIS

The point of rehearsing this history is to underline how uneasy the Saudi leadership must be at the rise of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Previous Ikhwani manifestations were suppressed — but these all occurred inside the kingdom.

ISIS however, is a neo-Ikhwani rejectionist protest that is taking place outside the kingdom — and which, moreover, follows the Juhayman dissidence in its trenchant criticism of the al-Saud ruling family.

This is the deep schism we see today in Saudi Arabia, between the modernizing current of which King Abdullah is a part, and the “Juhayman” orientation of which bin Laden, and the Saudi supporters of ISIS and the Saudi religious establishment are a part. It is also a schism that exists within the Saudi royal family itself.

According to the Saudi-owned Al-Hayat newspaper, in July 2014 “an opinion poll of Saudis [was] released on social networking sites, claiming that 92 percent of the target group believes that ‘IS conforms to the values of Islam and Islamic law.'” The leading Saudi commentator, Jamal Khashoggi, recently warned of ISIS’ Saudi supporters who “watch from the shadows.”

There are angry youths with a skewed mentality and understanding of life and sharia, and they are canceling a heritage of centuries and the supposed gains of a modernization that hasn’t been completed. They turned into rebels, emirs and a caliph invading a vast area of our land. They are hijacking our children’s minds and canceling borders. They reject all rules and legislations, throwing it [a]way … for their vision of politics, governance, life, society and economy. [For] the citizens of the self-declared “commander of the faithful,” or Caliph, you have no other choice … They don’t care if you stand out among your people and if you are an educated man, or a lecturer, or a tribe leader, or a religious leader, or an active politician or even a judge … You must obey the commander of the faithful and pledge the oath of allegiance to him. When their policies are questioned, Abu Obedia al-Jazrawi yells, saying: “Shut up. Our reference is the book and the Sunnah and that’s it.”

“What did we do wrong?” Khashoggi asks. With 3,000-4,000 Saudi fighters in the Islamic State today, he advises of the need to “look inward to explain ISIS’ rise”. Maybe it is time, he says, to admit “our political mistakes,” to “correct the mistakes of our predecessors.”

MODERNIZING KING THE MOST VULNERABLE

The present Saudi king, Abdullah, paradoxically is all the more vulnerable precisely because he has been a modernizer. The King has curbed the influence of the religious institutions and the religious police — and importantly has permitted the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence to be used, by those who adhere to them (al-Wahhab, by contrast, objected to all other schools of jurisprudence other than his own).

“The key political question is whether the simple fact of ISIS’ successes, and the full manifestation (flowering) of all the original pieties and vanguardism of the archetypal impulse, will stimulate and activate the dissenter ‘gene’ — within the Saudi kingdom. If it does, and Saudi Arabia is engulfed by the ISIS fervor, the Gulf will never be the same again. Saudi Arabia will deconstruct and the Middle East will be unrecognizable.”

It is even possible too for Shiite residents of eastern Saudi Arabia to invoke Ja’afri jurisprudence and to turn to Ja’afari Shiite clerics for rulings. (In clear contrast, al-Wahhab held a particular animosity towards the Shiite and held them to be apostates. As recently as the 1990s, clerics such as bin Baz — the former Mufti — and Abdullah Jibrin reiterated the customary view that the Shiite were infidels).

Some contemporary Saudi ulema would regard such reforms as constituting almost a provocation against Wahhabist doctrines, or at the very least, another example of westernization. ISIS, for example, regards any who seek jurisdiction other than that offered by the Islamic State itself to be guilty of disbelief — since all such “other” jurisdictions embody innovation or “borrowings” from other cultures in its view.

The key political question is whether the simple fact of ISIS’ successes, and the full manifestation (flowering) of all the original pieties and vanguardism of the archetypal impulse, will stimulate and activate the dissenter ‘gene’ — within the Saudi kingdom.

If it does, and Saudi Arabia is engulfed by the ISIS fervor, the Gulf will never be the same again. Saudi Arabia will deconstruct and the Middle East will be unrecognizable.

“They hold up a mirror to Saudi society that seems to reflect back to them an image of ‘purity’ lost”

In short, this is the nature of the time bomb tossed into the Middle East. The ISIS allusions to Abd al-Wahhab and Juhayman (whose dissident writings are circulated within ISIS) present a powerful provocation: they hold up a mirror to Saudi society that seems to reflect back to them an image of “purity” lost and early beliefs and certainties displaced by shows of wealth and indulgence.

This is the ISIS “bomb” hurled into Saudi society. King Abdullah — and his reforms — are popular, and perhaps he can contain a new outbreak of Ikwhani dissidence. But will that option remain a possibility after his death?

And here is the difficulty with evolving U.S. policy, which seems to be one of “leading from behind” again — and looking to Sunni states and communities to coalesce in the fight against ISIS (as in Iraq with the Awakening Councils).

It is a strategy that seems highly implausible. Who would want to insert themselves into this sensitive intra-Saudi rift? And would concerted Sunni attacks on ISIS make King Abdullah’s situation better, or might it inflame and anger domestic Saudi dissidence even further? So whom precisely does ISIS threaten? It could not be clearer. It does not directly threaten the West (though westerners should remain wary, and not tread on this particular scorpion).

The Saudi Ikhwani history is plain: As Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab made it such in the 18th century; and as the Saudi Ikhwan made it such in the 20th century. ISIS’ real target must be the Hijaz — the seizure of Mecca and Medina — and the legitimacy that this will confer on ISIS as the new Emirs of Arabia.

(Courtesy of Huffington Post)

Goldman Sachs, Western Banks Set Up “Sukuk” (Islamic Bonds) Programs

Societe Generale has set up a sukuk program.

REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

DUBAI: Islamic bond programs from a trio of big conventional banks are set to expand the boundaries of Islamic finance, helping open the market to first-time issuers while testing the banks’ ability to win over industry purists. Since June, France’s Societe Generale, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) and Goldman Sachs have set up sukuk programs, with the aim of tapping the pool of cash-rich Muslim investors.

They are treading a fine line, having to get around the fact that their businesses mostly depend on conventional banking practices – interest payments, and to some degree monetary speculation – which Islamic principles forbid.

An abortive plan by Goldman to issue sukuk in 2011 showed the obstacles which conventional banks can face in the market. Some in the industry accused Goldman of failing to follow Islamic principles, and it never went ahead with that issue.

But if the three banks are successful and become regular sukuk issuers, they could help to widen Islamic finance beyond its core markets in the Middle East and southeast Asia.

Governments in non-Muslim countries are already issuing sukuk; Britain and Hong Kong made debut issues earlier this year, while South Africa and Luxembourg are next in line. The entry of conventional banks into the market may be needed to prompt significant numbers of Western companies to issue.

“It builds credibility in an industry that is attracting many new participants,” said Khalid Howladar, Moody’s Investors Service’s global head of Islamic finance.

“Key financial institutions represent volume issuers in mature markets. They will improve liquidity and encourage more global investor participation,” he said.

Year-to-date, sukuk issuance totals $88.9 billion through 475 deals globally, up from $76.4 billion through 574 deals a year earlier, according to Zawya, a company that provides business intelligence.

But the market remains reliant on sovereign and quasi-sovereign issuers, which represent a combined 77 percent of the total; most corporate sukuk come from Malaysia.

Only a few companies from non-Muslim countries have so far issued sukuk, including GE Capital, which in 2009 raised $500 million through five-year Islamic bonds backed by interests in a portfolio of aircraft, and Japanese brokerage Nomura Holdings, which in 2010 issued $100 million of two-year sukuk in Malaysia.

HSBC is the only non-Islamic bank to have issued sukuk, through a $500 million deal in 2011. Market acceptance of that deal was ensured in part by the fact that HSBC operates a major Islamic retail brand, HSBC Amanah.

SocGen and BTMU, Japan’s largest lender, do not have Islamic retail banking brands. So they have been building their Islamic credentials by establishing strategic relationships with heavyweight Islamic financial institutions.

BTMU, which set up its $500 million multi-currency sukuk program in Malaysia in June, signed a cooperation agreement in April with the Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank.

Last week, BTMU extended $100 million in murabaha financing to the ICD, marking the first time that the ICD had raised cash from a non-Islamic financial institution. Murabaha is a common cost-plus sale arrangement in Islamic finance.

The participation of conventional banks in Islamic finance is positive as long as they ensure adherence to Shariah principles in a way that is acceptable to the market, the ICD said in a statement to Reuters.

“The recent murabaha agreement marks the first step along this path and we fully expect the relationship to grow, develop and strengthen over the coming years,” the statement said.

SocGen, which also set up a sukuk program in Malaysia in June, offers Shariah-compliant commodity hedging tools to corporate clients. Last year, it helped Dubai-based cable manufacturer Ducab migrate most of its commodity hedging needs into Islamic equivalents.

“We know there are many similar companies to Ducab within the region and we do hope they will gradually move into Shariah-compliant programs,” said Dubai-based Mohamed Virani, SocGen’s head of Islamic products.

“It’s a natural progress in the evolution of the Islamic finance market as it develops and matures.”

The biggest leap could be for Goldman, which is viewed by some in Islamic finance as a symbol of Western financial engineering. Though it insisted that its 2011 sukuk plan obeyed Shariah principles and had enough certification from Islamic scholars, it is taking a different tack with this year’s plan.

While the 2011 plan was a $2 billion program of one-year sukuk, the current plan appears smaller; lead managers said the issue would be benchmark-sized, meaning at least $500 million, and the tenor would be longer, at five years.

Goldman sought advice for its latest plan from two of the same scholars whom it cited for its 2011 scheme, Abdul Sattar Abu Ghuddah and Mohammed Elgari, a source familiar with the plan said. This time, however, Goldman has also revealed the banks arranging the issue: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), Emirates NBD, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank.

The involvement of four top Gulf banks, including ADIB, which has a Shariah board led by prominent scholar Taqi Usmani, may go a long way towards removing the misgivings which dogged Goldman’s 2011 plan.

Goldman has also changed the structure of its sukuk plan. While its 2011 scheme was based on murabaha, its current plan has a hybrid structure and envisages operating only 49 percent though murabaha and 51 percent through a structure called wakala.

Under wakala, certificates are issued by an originator to buy assets that are given to an agent, who charges a fee for managing the assets. Some scholars favor wakala over murabaha because of its clearer link to the assets backing the sukuk; the HSBC issue in 2011 was wakala, as are the issuance plans of SocGen and BTMU.

The fact that the Goldman sukuk is predominantly wakala may remove one objection that was leveled against its 2011 plan: that the sukuk might be traded at prices other than par value. Trading wakala structures is relatively uncontroversial, according to scholars.

Hybrid formats have been used in the past by the likes of the Islamic Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Qatar International Islamic Bank, combining different Islamic structures among which at least one is tradable to ensure the sukuk can be bought and sold in the secondary market.

Another objection to Goldman’s 2011 sukuk, which the U.S. bank said was unfounded, was that the proceeds might be used in interest-bearing finance. Documentation for the current sukuk plan, seen by Reuters, does not appear to address that issue directly, though it says proceeds would be used in the commodities business of J. Aron & Co, a Goldman unit.

“The thing they have to be most careful with is the use of the proceeds. They are a conventional bank, so they need to show that the proceeds are going to Shariah-compliant purposes,” said Shamsiah Mohamad, senior researcher at the Malaysia-based International Shariah Research Academy.

Mystery airstrikes target Libyan Islamist militias

CAIRO: Commanders and a spokesman for Libya’s Islamist-allied militias say four airstrikes by unidentified parties hit a western town near the capital Tripoli, killing one person and wounding five.

Mohammad al-Gharyani, spokesman for the Libya Dawn alliance, said Monday that the airstrikes targeted Gharyan, 50 miles south of Tripoli. He said militiamen told residents to leave targeted areas.

A militia commander said the strikes targeted Libya Dawn ammunition warehouses and were aimed at helping rival militias return to Tripoli. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

U.S. officials have said similar airstrikes in the past were carried out by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Cairo has denied intervening in Libya, and the Emirates has not commented on the allegations.

McCain

McCain, the senile idiot/traitor seen here during a photo-op flanked by known terrorists including the flunky FSA mass murderer, Salim Idris.

GOP Senator Apologizes for McCain Tantrum at Syrian Christian Leader Meeting

judicial-watch-logo

Hell-bent on arming opposition forces in Syria—despite strong evidence that they’re run by Islamic terrorists—John McCain displayed behavior unbecoming of a United States Senator during a recent meeting with Syrian Christian leaders touring Capitol Hill.

The delegation of Syrian clergy came to Washington to raise awareness among lawmakers of the growing crisis among the region’s minority Christian community. Christians make up about 10% of the Syrian population and they are being targeted and ruthlessly murdered by radical elements of the rebel forces, according to the visiting church officials. They say the media and human rights groups in the west have been largely silent on the ordeal of the Christians in Syria.

A number of churches have been destroyed or burned, children were killed when rebels fired mortar rockets at an Armenian Christian school in Damascus and countless others have been abducted by Islamic fighters, the Syrian delegation reveals in a statement published by the research group, Westminster Institute, that brought them to Washington. Eleven nuns have also been abducted and are still in captivity and two bishops are still missing after getting kidnapped during a humanitarian mission.

But Senator McCain, an Arizona Republican, evidently doesn’t want to hear negative stories about the rebels he’s working to arm. So he stormed out of a closed-door meeting with the Syrian clergy officials last week. Held in the Senate Arms Services Committee meeting room, the reunion also included senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Sheldon White house of Rhode Island, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Graham is a Republican and the rest are Democrats.

McCain marched into the committee room yelling, according to a high-level source that attended the meeting, and quickly stormed out. “He was incredibly rude,” the source told Judicial Watch “because he didn’t think the Syrian church leaders should even be allowed in the room.” Following the shameful tantrum McCain reentered the room and sat briefly but refused to make eye contact with the participants, instead ignoring them by looking down at what appeared to be random papers.

The outburst was so embarrassing that Senator Graham, also an advocate of U.S. military intervention in Syria, apologized for McCain’s disturbing outburst. “Graham actually apologized to the group for McCain’s behavior,” according to the source, who sat through the entire meeting. “It was truly unbelievable.”

Not really, for those familiar with McCain’s history on this matter. The veteran lawmaker is enamored with a controversial young “Syria expert,” Elizabeth O’Bagy, who has managed to convince him as well as the president and secretary of state that Syrian rebels are mostly moderate and not terrorists. While persuading the U.S. of this, O’Bagy concealed that she was a political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that advocates for Syria’s rebels from Washington D.C.

Before getting exposed by conservative media outlets, O’Bagy claimed to be an objective analyst at a Washington D.C. think-tank that studies military affairs when in fact she had a “reputation as the leading expert on the armed opposition in the Syrian revolution,” according to SETF. In September O’Bagy was abruptly fired from the think-tank for padding her resume and McCain graciously hired her. “Elizabeth is a talented researcher, and I have been very impressed by her knowledge and analysis in multiple briefings over the last year,” McCain said in a statement to the political news publication that broke the story in late September.

Besides the fact that a Syrian Islamist group is essentially steering U.S. policy, a number of domestic and international media outlets have confirmed that terrorists—mainly Al Qaeda—are running opposition forces in Syria. For instance the New York Times published a piece that reveals Islamist rebels—including the most extreme groups in the notorious Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-aligned force—are running the show in Syria. “The Islamist character of the opposition reflects the main constituency of the rebellion,” the story says. “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

Incredibly, last month an international news agency reported that Congress secretly approved U.S. weapons flow to what officials describe as “moderate” Syrian rebel factions. The White House refused to comment on the back-door operation, but the story cites U.S. and European officials who say the weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014.

2013 Jamestown Foundation Report Blasting Saudi and Qatari Sponsorship of All Radical Islamist Terrorists In Syria

Royal Rivalry in the Levant: Saudi Arabia and Qatar Duel over Syria

the jamestown found

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 11 Issue: 16
August 9, 2013

Syria’s envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari criticized the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey for publicly supporting terrorism in Syria (Source FARS News Agency)

The cycle of calamity plaguing Syria continues to intensify with no end in sight. Syria’s predicament today is far removed from the initial outburst of mass dissent witnessed in March 2011 that saw the Ba’athist regime violently suppress demonstrations demanding political change and reform. This sequence of events paved the way for the incremental militarization of the uprising by defected members of the Syrian army and ordinary civilians.  While the circumstances behind these early episodes of the rebellion remain relevant, the initial displays of violent resistance combined with the formation of various competing political opposition blocs inside Syria and abroad have since given way to a lethal and expansive insurgency increasingly influenced by hardline Islamist currents. The stream of foreign fighters that are filling the ranks of the insurgency has added another layer of complexity to the Syrian imbroglio. These facets of the rebellion are particularly salient when contemplated against the backdrop of the opposition’s repeated demands for lethal arms and political recognition from foreign powers. In this context, understanding the role of foreign actors, especially the Persian Gulf monarchies led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, in aiding and sustaining the various political and violent strands of the Syrian opposition, is essential to deciphering Syria.  

Saudi Arabia and Qatar appear united in their opposition to the Ba’athist regime. This appearance of unity, however, masks a deeper rivalry for regional influence that is being played out in parallel with the broader, multi-dimensional proxy battle that has come to embody Syria’s civil war. This shadow conflict is reflected in the agendas of the competing factions being backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar (al-Safir [Beirut], March 21). The friction between Saudi Arabia and Qatar has been readily apparent as the Syrian National Council (SNC), National Council for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCR), the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change (NCC) and other movements vie for primacy within the Syrian opposition (al-Hayat, June 8). The existing overlap in terms of ideology between the disparate insurgent factions and growing indications of their tactical and operational collaboration on the battlefield does not offset the persistence of major rifts between these groups.

Widely viewed as the most active in its support for the Syrian opposition, Qatar has been accused of empowering many of the most ideologically extreme militant factions. This includes armed detachments affiliated with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and others associated with al-Qaeda, such as Jabhat al-Nusra (The Victory Front) (Financial Times [London], May 17). Ultraconservative Salafist factions such as Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiya (Islamic Movement of the Free Men of the Levant) and the umbrella Syrian Islamic Front (SIF) under which it operates, are also known to be favored by Qatar. In contrast, Saudi Arabia is seen as enabling armed factions operating under the auspices of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its Supreme Military Council (SMC) as well as Islamist factions deemed to be lying outside of al-Qaeda’s purview (al-Safir, July 19). Saudi Arabia also tends to favor the factions that make up the umbrella Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), which is seen as a comparatively more moderate than those that make up their SIF counterpart.

Officially, the U.S. reluctance to provide more extensive and lethal forms of military support to the Syrian opposition is being attributed to the prevailing influence of radical Islamist currents within the insurgency. Reports that Saudi Arabia, with U.S. encouragement, has effectively supplanted Qatar as the principal supporter of the Syrian rebellion add another layer of intrigue to an increasingly convoluted situation (al-Safir, July 19). The decision by former Qatari Amir Shaykh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to abdicate his throne in favor of his son may also suggest that important changes are forthcoming in regards to Qatar’s position toward Syria. The new Qatari Amir, Shaykh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, declared his opposition to the sectarianism and other divides that affect the Arab world (al-Akhbar [Beirut], June 28). This statement may reflect a coming shift in Qatar’s stance on Syria to one that is more in line with Saudi Arabia’s position. Yet the muddled and fluid nature of the Syrian uprising is not conducive to engineering an insurgency whose elements adhere to narrowly defined parameters. The role of independent financiers, charity organizations and sympathetic publics in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among other places, is also vital to fueling the insurrection. The emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a violent faction believed to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), has raised another set of anxieties. ISIS’s July assassination of Muhammad Kamal al-Hamami, an FSA commander and member of the SMC in Latakia, is illustrative of the extent of the ideological divides within the insurgency (al-Arabiya [Abu Dhabi], July 12).

Geopolitical Backdrop 

Due to Syria’s alliance with Iran and Hezbollah – a bloc known as the “Resistance Axis” – the uprising in Syria quickly assumed geopolitical overtones. The insurrection in Syria afforded the GCC a chance to undercut Iranian influence in the Middle East. In this regard, the resort to sectarian vitriol by the Sunni-led monarchies and affiliated clergy emphasizing the Shi’a pedigree of the Islamic Republic and the prominent Alawite face of the Ba’athist regime was calibrated to stir up religious tensions between Sunni and Shi’a believers. The provision of support for radical Islamist movements, especially ultraconservative Salafist groups, has been central to the foreign policy of Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members. Consequently, the positions of Saudi Arabia and Qatar are often portrayed interchangeably when it comes to their shared goal of toppling the Ba’athist regime. Their fellow GCC allies, particularly the Sunni-led monarchies representing the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Bahrain, as well as wealthy private donors, religious associations and ordinary individuals, have likewise provided extensive moral, financial and logistical support to the political and armed factions struggling against the Ba’athist regime (al-Monitor, July 2; The National [Abu Dhabi], February 3). Saudi Arabia in particular saw the uprising in Syria as an opportunity to undermine the Hezbollah-led March 8 coalition in Lebanon while strengthening the March 14 coalition headed by the Sunni-led Future Movement. 

The fall of entrenched despots in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt, coupled with the groundswell of grassroots mobilization in Bahrain that would later prompt Saudi-led forces to intervene to prop up Manama under the auspices of the GCC’s Peninsula Shield force, sent shockwaves throughout the Persian Gulf (al-Jazeera, July 2, 2011). The ongoing crackdown by UAE authorities against purported members of the al-Islah (Reform) movement, which is accused of engaging in subversive activities and receiving support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, combined with intensifying exhibitions of dissent by opposition forces in Kuwait, continue to raise anxieties within the GCC (al-Jazeera, June 19; al-Jazeera, April 19). While not a member of the GCC, Jordan is also highly vulnerable to the developments emanating out of Syria. It has become apparent that the royal dynasties are no longer insulated from the political turbulence shaking the Arab world.

A close inspection of the respective approaches of Saudi Arabia and Qatar toward Syria reflect divergent strategies.  While a number of the key protagonists closely involved in Syria, including Saudi Arabia, have formally cut ties with Damascus and are actively engaging with the opposition, Qatar, for example, has gone as far as to transfer Syria’s embassy in Doha to the NCR (al-Jazeera, March 28). While Saudi Arabia has maintained an uncompromising diplomatic posture toward Damascus, the realization has started to set it in in Riyadh that the Ba’athist regime has proven far more resilient and capable than initially believed, while there is a consistent inability on the part of the political opposition and insurgents to assert and consolidate meaningful authority and some semblance of legitimacy (The National, May 15).

Royal Rivalry 

The roots of the Saudi-Qatari rivalry run deep. In spite of their vast size discrepancy, Saudi Arabia and Qatar share many attributes. Both countries are parties to entrenched and multifaceted strategic relationships with the United States. Each also boasts tremendous energy wealth – Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil while Qatar is the world’s top exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Saudi Arabia and Qatar have also amassed huge reserves of international currency. Both operate monarchical systems of governance marked by varying degrees of authoritarianism and promulgate a common ideology derived from ultraconservative Wahhabist and Salafist philosophies. Yet the sum of these commonalities conceals a multitude of divergences on questions related to foreign policy. The disparate reactions by Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the wave of popular revolutionary upheaval that gripped the Arab world in late 2010 are exemplary cases in point. Fearing the potential of a grassroots revolt by its own people, Saudi Arabia viewed the calls for freedom, justice and democracy by Arab and Muslim publics with great trepidation. Saudi Arabia’s fears about the changing geopolitical landscape in the Middle East were compounded when the United States appeared to assent to the fall of Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. In contrast, Qatar viewed the wave of uprisings as a chance to enhance its regional posture and expand its influence globally.

Despite its diminutive stature, Qatar has employed an ambitious and aggressive foreign policy that has allowed it to wield tremendous regional and international influence that far transcends its tiny geography and population. Qatar has effectively leveraged its wealth through institutions such as its network of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). It has also relied on instruments of soft power, including the al-Jazeera satellite television network, which is owned and operated by the Qatari royal family, to throw its weight behind the political opposition movements that have upended the status quo. Despite Qatar’s stance on the crisis in Syria today, it was not too long ago that Doha enjoyed a relatively amicable relationship with Syria, Iran and Hezbollah while serving as a mediator between regional and international rivals. Qatar, in essence, has excelled at engaging numerous and contradictory actors, including the United States; Qatar serves as host to a forward headquarters of the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

Qatar also has a history of challenging Saudi Arabia. At one time, al-Jazeera provided members of the Saudi political opposition operating in exile with a forum to address Arab audiences (al-Jazeera, November 12, 2003). Qatar has also sought to circumvent Saudi Arabia’s preeminent position in the energy sector by proposing the development of a network of natural gas pipelines that would transport Qatari natural gas to Turkey and Europe (Today’s Zaman, January 11, 2011; The National, August 26, 2009). Many of the most economically feasible proposals involving pipelines originating from Qatar would involve traversing Saudi territory. This gives Saudi Arabia tremendous leverage over Qatar. The fact that Qatar shares the South Pars natural gas field – the world’s largest – with Iran is another point of concern for Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s interest in enhancing its ability to expand its natural gas footprint is often mentioned as a motivating factor in its strategy toward Syria. However, it was Qatar’s support for the numerous Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated associations and political parties in countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and eventually Syria, that drew the ire of Saudi Arabia (Daily Star [Beirut], July 13). Qatar’s strategy also coincided with Turkey’s approach to the region. The electoral victory of now-ousted Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) helped midwife what came to be viewed as an axis between Qatar, Turkey and Egypt (al-Safir, July 22; Today’s Zaman [Istanbul], July 16).

Saudi Arabia’s fears of the Muslim Brotherhood are manifold. At one point, Saudi Arabia provided refuge for persecuted members of the Muslim Brotherhood who were targeted by the likes of Gamal Abd al-Nasser in Egypt and Hafez al-Assad in Syria. Saudi Arabia also enabled exiled members of the Muslim Brotherhood to organize opposition activities designed to undermine the secular, socialist and pan-Arab nationalist ideals promulgated by republican Arab governments. However, as the self-proclaimed “Custodian of the Two Holy Sites of Mecca and Medina,” Saudi Arabia began to grow wary as the Muslim Brotherhood cadres active in the Kingdom began to make inroads among Saudis. The Wahabbist and Salafist principles that serve as the foundation of Saudi Arabia’s legitimacy, especially as they relate to the unquestioned loyalty demanded by its rulers, was inherently threatened by the activist-oriented approach to politics advocated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi animosity toward the Muslim Brotherhood also stems from the latter’s support for Saddam Hussein following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait (al-Monitor, July 4).

Saudi Arabia is a deeply authoritarian regime that is witnessing growing displays of resentment and anger by disaffected members of its own population. This includes a sizeable segment of its youthful, politically aware and social media savvy population that is calling for greater freedom and reform and a sizeable Shi’a minority that faces severe discrimination by a political and religious establishment that views them as heretics and apostates. Consequently, Saudi Arabia fears the precedent of a democratic, modern and Islamist-oriented movement that can organize political action. It should come as no surprise that Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE and Kuwait, has welcomed Mursi’s fall in Egypt.  Democracy, by definition, severely threatens the viability of the royal family as the dominant political and economic entity. Saudi Arabia also harbors concerns over the potential return of Egypt as a major geopolitical player in the Middle East. Egypt’s limited rapprochement with Iran and Hezbollah under the FJP is a case in point. In the long run, Egypt may reemerge to challenge Saudi Arabia and rekindle their natural rivalry. Qatar, on the other hand, due its tiny population – almost 80 percent of Qatar’s population of 2.5 million is made up of foreign nationals – is relatively insulated from the kind of domestic opposition that threatens its neighbors. On account of its small size, it is also agile enough to recalibrate its foreign policy to benefit from what are often conflicting and contradictory regional interests.

Conclusion

Foreign actors will continue to be instrumental in the course of events in Syria. Despite Saudi Arabia’s apparent efforts to rein in segments of the insurgency deemed to be threatening to the wider region, the Syrian insurgency is operating through its own inertia. The reconstitution of al-Qaeda-affiliated elements in Iraq that are making forays into Syria raises another set of important challenges. It is also unlikely that the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar will cease to be a factor affecting events in Syria. Meanwhile, the Ba’athist regime, emboldened by a series of major military gains over the last few months, is likely to prefer having to deal with an opposition operating under Saudi rather than Qatari auspices. Among other things, Syria may be calculating that Saudi Arabia’s growing anxiety over the course of the insurgency and its impact on regional stability may provide a window of opportunity for some sort of agreement to end the crisis.

Chris Zambelis is a Senior Analyst specializing in Middle East affairs for Helios Global, Inc., a risk management group based in the Washington, D.C. area. 


US PRO-SHIITE IN IRAQ, ANTI-SHIITE IN SYRIA, all Sunni all of the time

US backs Iraq, committed to overthrow the Syrian regime

 

jordan times

by Michael Jansen

US President Barack Obama has opted for a faulty, contradictory policy in the fight against the Islamic State.

On the one hand, his administration hailed the formation of the new Iraqi government, meant to be his chief tool in this effort, as a “major milestone”, while on the other hand, he intends to follow his failed anti-Assad strategies in Syria, IS’ main base.

The new Iraqi government was supposed to be an “inclusive” body that brings into the circle of decision makers Sunni politicians capable of convincing alienated members of their community to stand against IS.

However, the over-large 37-member Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi is simply a reshuffle of the same collection of former ministers who have been in all the governments since the 2003 occupation.

The only difference is that former prime minister Nouri Al Maliki is not at the helm.

He is widely blamed for Iraq’s ethnic and sectarian divisions and disputes, the collapse of the army when confronted by the IS, and rampant corruption.

He was replaced by Abadi, who joined Maliki’s fundamentalist Shiite Dawa movement at the age of 15, remains committed to its cause and served in previous governments as communications minister.

The theory is that “anyone is better than Maliki”. But Maliki remains a player, a member of the team he led since 2006.

He has been appointed co-vice president, along with former parliamentary speaker Osama Nujeifi and opposition leader Iyad Allawi.

Maliki insisted that he be included in the lineup in exchange for stepping down as prime minister.

His new job gives him immunity from prosecution, bodyguards and a fat salary at a time many Iraqis insist he should be facing prosecution.

Among the host of “formers” Abadi recruited for his non-inclusive Cabinet are his deputy, former foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd; former legislator Baha Arraji, a Shiite fundamentalist from the rival faction loyal to Muqtada Sadr; and Saleh Mutlaq, a Sunni who has held this post since 2010.

Former prime minister Ibrahim Al Jaafari, of Dawa, is foreign minister, a former finance minister, Adel Abdel Mahdi from the Iranian-founded Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC), is oil minister; and deputy premier Rowsch Shaways, a Kurd, is finance minister.

Six ministers have yet to be appointed, including to the key ministries of defence and interior, which Maliki appropriated during his second term. Abadi says he will fill these posts by next week.

Abadi’s sectarian mindset was exposed when he proposed the appointment of Hadi Al Amiri, head of the Badr Corps, formerly the military wing of SIIC, to the post of interior minister.

The corps fought alongside Iranian forces in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), and during the US occupation, its members joined the Iraqi army’s counter-insurgency brigades responsible for sectarian killings and torture.

Amiri was rejected as too controversial.

Although Iran and, apparently, Saudi Arabia were consulted, an Iraqi source with connections to the ruling establishment said: “This is an American government” without it being the promised “inclusive” Cabinet.

In this “American government”, the key ministers are close to Tehran, which provided a safe haven for Dawa and its offshoots during the reign of the secular Baathist government under Saddam Hussein.

These ministers constitute major Iranian political assets in Baghdad.

In the struggle against IS, Iran also has crucial military assets: the Shiite-dominated Iraqi army, Shiite militias and volunteers, and Kurdish peshmerga forces — all of which have Iranian advisers.

Since IS forces swept into northern Iraq in June, Qassem Suleimani, commander of Iran’s elite Republican Guards Quds Force, has been in Baghdad organising the government’s efforts to meet the IS threat.

Furthermore, Iranian troops crossed into Iraq at least once to counter IS fighters seeking to enter Iranian territory.

The US has 1,200 special forces advisers deployed with the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces in Iraq, and has mounted dozens of air strikes in support of Kurdish, Iraqi army and Shiite militia units fighting IS cadres, convoys and positions in the north and centre of the country.

The cooperation between the US air force and the various ground forces has turned the tide of battle at the Mosul and Haditha dams, in the Turkmen villages of the Amerli area, and for Yezidis trapped on Mount Sinjar.

In spite of this all-too clear coordination, Washington and Tehran have not only denied it is happening but also said there will be no coordination in the future.

Nevertheless, it is obvious that coordination is authorised by both US president and commander-in-chief Obama and by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s ultimate decision maker.

Neither side dares admit coordination due to vehement opposition from hardliners in Washington and Tehran.

Committed to dishonest policies in Iraq, the Obama administration is certain to make an even greater mess of strategies for Syria, the main base of IS, Al Qaeda’s official offshoot Jabhat Al Nusra and a host of equally radical jihadist groups.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Jeddah today still arguing for air strikes on IS targets in Syria — which Damascus signalled it might agree to — along with the failed policy of arming “authorised” insurgent groups fighting the Damascus government.

This failed policy has been responsible for the rise of IS and radical jihadists, as US-trained fighters have defected from “authorised” factions to the more successful IS, taking with them US arms provided by Washington and its allies.

IS has also captured and looted Syrian army depots and, since June, Iraqi army arsenals, boosting its capacities on the ground.

Furthermore, US trained fighters are in IS’ ranks because they have been put in charge of operating complicated US equipment, as they possess skills beyond the capabilities of ordinary recruits.

Obama intends to operate on the theory that once strengthened insurgents defeat IS, they will be in a better position to combat government forces and oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.

However, the brief history of the Syrian conflict has shown it is more likely that these insurgents will turn against each other in a struggle for power, pillage and divide territory rather  than unite against Damascus.

If the insurgents do unite temporarily, the result would be the collapse of Syria into IS-type fundamentalist emirates ruled by warring emirs.

It is ironic that the US continues to back the still dysfunctional sectarian Iraqi regime while remaining committed to the overthrow of the functioning secular Syrian regime, although both are supported by Iran.

The only explanation for this foolish and dangerous policy is Israel — which stands against Damascus for its patronage of Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and of Lebanon’s Hizbollah.

The Netanyahu government has not yet seen that the US and Iran are on the same side in Iraq and should be on the same side in Syria as well, and that IS and jihadists pose a far greater danger to Israel than the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements.