[Every news report about this Saudi request for immunity begins with the same disclaimer.]
“the U.N. de facto institutionalized aid segregation by allowing humanitarian relief to be conditional to certain criteria: political affiliation and religious orientation.
With Yemen set as a precedent, who’s to say that a similar setup will not be replicated in other countries in the region — mainly, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Libya?”
[This is the standard by which Middle Eastern human beings will be granted the right to eat by the Royal Saudi Caliphate. Anyone who can’t see the real “Sunni Caliphate” by now has not been paying attention to Saudi aggression in the region. War-mongering king Salman has been arrogantly open about his intentions to cleanse the Middle East of Shiites and other religious apostates (this would include Christians, obviously). even whike he pretends to be fighting against the Caliphate of ISIS. The Saudi royals and their Gulf subordinates have been creating a Saudi Caliphate, right before our eyes. The fact that the world’s only hope for humanitarianism, the United Nations, would allow a tribal Arab king to enforce Draconian standards on simple aid intended to keep civilians alive (amidst a hot, desert war), is proof that human compassion is just another commodity that can be bought and sold like anything else.
SANAA, Yemen — Five months have passed since Saudi Arabia declared war on Yemen, and for all its might, political resolve and military arsenal, the kingdom has yet to bring the poorest nation on the Arabian Peninsula to heel.
Its institutions in tatters, its military apparatus reduced to rubbles, and with no economy to speak of, Yemen’s imminent collapse has been foretold time and time again by experts and state officials. Yet these predictions have not quite come to fruition.
In its match against Goliath, David is resisting. In rallies, demonstrations and even an open letter signed by 18 Yemen scholars and experts living in the United States and Britain, tens of thousands of Yemenis and others around the world have decried Riyadh’s actions, calling for an end to all violence.
Yet this dedication to opposing Riyadh’s actions doesn’t mean Yemenis aren’t suffering. The World Health Organization issued a statement in June, warning that a “major health crisis is unfolding in Yemen, where hospitals have been destroyed, health workers killed and critical shortages of food, medical supplies and fuel are causing large-scale suffering.”
In early July, the United Nations declared the situation in Yemen to be the highest level of humanitarian emergency. According to a U.N. report published July 7, over 1,500 civilians have been killed, 3,600 have been injured, and over a million have been displaced in the ongoing conflict.
A “major health crisis is unfolding in Yemen, where hospitals have been destroyed, health workers killed and critical shortages of food, medical supplies and fuel are causing large-scale suffering.”
-World Health Organization
By U.N. estimates, about 80 percent of all Yemenis — more than 20 million people — are in need of humanitarian aid.
In late March, Amnesty International confirmed the deaths of at least six children under the age of 10 during a Saudi-led air raid that killed 25 people. The report read: “The organization spoke to medical personnel at four different hospitals where the dead were taken after being pulled from the rubble of 14 houses that were hit in a residential neighbourhood near the city’s international airport.”
Already the poorest and most vulnerable population in the Peninsula and arguably the Greater Middle East, Yemenis have seen their livelihoods and freedom of movement disintegrate under Saudi Arabia’s war momentum. In late April, Saudi Arabia bombed Sanaa International Airport, effectively trapping civilians within Yemen’s borders.
Despite mounting evidence of abuses and war crimes, it would take the international rights community several months to stand up to the oil giant. On July 27, Human Rights Watch unequivocally slammed Saudi Arabia for a litany of human rights violations. The report reads:
“Saudi-led coalition airstrikes that killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children, and wounded dozens in the Yemeni port city of Mokha on July 24, 2015, are an apparent war crime. Starting between 9:30 and 10 p.m., coalition airplanes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant, which housed plant workers and their family members.”
With fierce battles raging across Yemen, and as warplanes continue to rain lead onto heavily populated areas, Saudi Arabia has been looking for innovative ways to exert pressure onto the resistance movement. It is now withholding humanitarian aid to Yemen’s civilians to tame the growing insurrection movement against its rule and thus secure victory in the face of international law — all under the guise of the United Nations.
The kingdom is holding hostage not just Yemen but to some extent the international community, using the United Nations’ humanitarian institutions to wage war. It’s using institutions meant to offer relief as a means of weaponizing aid.
Hassan Jayache, a senior leader of the Houthi movement, which took control of Yemen earlier this year, told MintPress News that local NGOs have found themselves caught in a political web, forced to surrender their neutrality to secure not just funding but access to areas where aid is needed.
“The Saudis have exerted political pressures onto local NGOs and international aid organizations, demanding that aid be restricted to pre-approved segments of the population, based on political affiliations and according to religious criteria,” Jayache said.
“In other words, Al Saud has decided to starve the Shias of Yemen, hoping to break the Houthis’ momentum.”
Mohammed Al-Emad, a Yemen-based journalist and political commentator, says Saudi Arabia called on several media organizations in the Middle East, the United States and Europe, demanding that “coverage on Yemen be sanitized and in keeping with Riyadh’s chosen political narrative.”
While Al-Emad’s claims could be considered bias, WikiLeaks published a series of confidential cables pointing to systematic media/PR manipulation on the part of the Saudis.
But if the international community had been standing silent before Saudi Arabia’s war crimes, exploiting what Al-Emad describes as a convenient media blackout to avoid addressing some sticky legal points, Riyadh’s move against the U.N. might prove one indiscretion too many for anyone to ignore.
The work of King Salman and his allies to sabotage U.N.-organized aid to Yemen started on April 17 in the wake of a U.N. emergency flash appeal for $274 million to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs over the following three months.
Speaking on Yemenis’ hardship, Humanitarian Coordinator Johannes Van Der Klaauw stressed:
“The devastating conflict in Yemen takes place against the backdrop of an existing humanitarian crisis that was already one of the largest and most complex in the world … Thousands of families have now fled their homes as a result of the fighting and airstrikes. Ordinary families are struggling to access health care, water, food and fuel – basic requirements for their survival.”
Saudi Arabia immediately volunteered the exact amount requested. But the aid would come with strings attached.
Vice News reported in June that Saudi officials leaned on U.N. officials to sabotage aid deliveries, threatening to close the kingdom’s checkbook should U.N. agencies deny Riyadh’s requests.
Based on a U.N. memo obtained by Vice, the media outlet reported that the Saudi government imposed unprecedented conditions on aid agencies, demanding that assistance be limited to Saudi-approved areas and confined to strictly Sunni civilian populations.
“If such despicable logic can somehow be expected from a power which has wielded sectarianism to sow discord and from chaos rise a tyrant, what of the UN, an institution which claims itself impartial and fair?” Hasan Sufyani, a leading political analyst at the Sana’a Institute for Arabic Studies, asked MintPress.
“If humanitarian organizations are to be subjected to the rules of realpolitik then truly the world has reached a dark chapter in its history and reverted back to organized barbarism.
Still, no well-thinking Western powers has thought to challenge Saudi Arabia’s war crimes in Yemen. In a world system where capitalism reigns king, the rich and haughty stand above the pettiness of the rule of law.”
As a rule of thumb, and to avoid political entanglements, humanitarian organizations tend to shy away from donations which come with strings attached, especially when they fall under the umbrella of the OCHA.
Meant as a supranational institution, OCHA was never intended to be manipulated as an instrument of pressure, legal absolution or, in the case of Yemen, a weapon of war.
Playing aid as both a military tactic and a PR exercise to redeem its atrocious human rights record and whitewash its war crimes in Yemen, Saudi Arabia has held the U.N. hostage to its policies.
Such shadowing and lobbying on the part of Saudi Arabia had Yemeni officials waving the political red flag.
Ali al-Bukhaiti, a prominent member of the Houthis’ political arm, told MintPress his office has vehemently denounced Riyadh’s attempts to “buy the U.N. out to better corner Sana’a government and foil the resistance movement.”
Yet it appears the train was already far too out of the station for anyone to hit the brakes.
By late June, amid reports of a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen, the Saudi government finally announced that out of its initial pledge of $274 million, $244 million would be divided among nine U.N. agencies.
On the heels of this announcement Stephen O’Brien, the U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, sent a letter to the Interagency Standing Committee, a global humanitarian coordinating body, which includes both U.N. humanitarian agencies and outside NGOs.
Vice News confirmed the letter was attached to a Saudi press release announcing the nine-way cut, explaining how the funds would go through the recently created King Salman Center for Relief Humanitarian Works (KSC).
“Having agreed to the overall envelopes, however, the KSC would like to negotiate individual Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with each recipient agency,” O’Brien told Vice, openly admitting to Riyadh’s lobby.
“Interestingly few media outlets picked up on this Orwellian development! After unilaterally and, let’s be frank, after illegally declaring war on Yemen, the Saudi government wants also to dictate how humanitarian relief is distributed in the very country it is attacking,” Sheikh al-Matari, the head of Yemen’s Rasoul Akram Foundation, an aid organization, told MintPress.
Vice News quoted a U.N. aid official in Yemen as saying: “The UN has punted and handed off the problems to these agencies. I’ve never seen that before.”
The official continued:
“The charitable way of saying it is this is a compromise — the less charitable way of saying it is that they folded. It’s really unusual for a single donor to have any substantive role once they contribute funds, let alone negotiate individual MoU’s with agencies.”
When asked about this very public U.N. capitulation before Al Saud’s millions, O’Brien attempted to rationalize the situation by arguing a massive deficit funding gap.
O’Brien wrote: “With regard to NGOs, I am aware that there are sensitivities in receiving funding directly from the KSC and we therefore must work actively to mobilize additional funds to be allocated directly, or via the Pooled Fund, to our front-line partners.”
Yet, as al-Matari noted:
“That’s only half of the story. What O’Brien is not telling is that by accepting Saudi Arabia’s conditions on aid distribution and aid funding in relation to Yemen, the U.N. de facto institutionalized aid segregation by allowing humanitarian relief to be conditional to certain criteria: political affiliation and religious orientation.
With Yemen set as a precedent, who’s to say that a similar setup will not be replicated in other countries in the region — mainly, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Libya?”
“From the onset of this conflict King Salman has walked outside international law. There is nothing remotely legal about attacking a sovereign nation. The argument Saudi Arabia aimed to preemptively strike Yemen in order to stop the so-called ‘Shia crescent’ from further strengthening its hold on the region is both legally erroneous and redundant. What is troubling is the speed at which the kingdom is institutionalizing war crimes,” Al-Emad, the journalist and political commentator based in Yemen, told MintPress.
Al-Emad added: “It is one thing to declare war against a country and another to select a segment of population for annihilation. How long before Saudi Arabia’s ill intentions against all Zaidis and Shias in Yemen are understood for what they are? Genocidal.”
Although no legal action has been taken against Saudi Arabia, the kingdom’s humanitarian and human rights violations in Yemen have come to define the very nature of its war on the tiny, impoverished nation.
Even the sectarian aspect of Riyadh‘s wrath has transpired in official reports, giving weight to Yemenis’ mounting accusations of ethnic cleansing. The Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights raised concerns in this area, as well, as a U.N. report issued in July notes: “The UN rights office is also acutely worried about increasing attacks against places of worship, pointing to the targeting of five Zaydi mosques with car bombs over the past few weeks as an alarming trend to create sectarian divisions.”
Additionally, Cécile Pouilly, spokesperson for the OHCHR, confirmed mounting abuses against civilians when she explained: “Since 17 June, there has been further destruction of civilian infrastructure, with at least 36 buildings, including hospitals, schools, court houses, power generation facilities and communications institutions partially or totally damaged in the governorates of Sana’a, Aden, Taiz, Al-Jawf, Al-Mahwit, and Hajjah.”
The Saudis have not been alone in violating international law, though. The Houthis have also committed their share of war crimes. In May, for example, Human Rights Watch accused pro-Houthi forces of killing civilians and holding aid workers hostage in the southern seaport of Aden. But it is the sectarian intent and systematicity behind Riyadh’s military campaign which has rights activists ringing the alarm.
Speaking to MintPress, Hussain Abu Salem, a human rights activist based in Saada, a northern province of Yemen, located south of Saudi Arabia, who personally documented Saudi air raids against identified Zaidi-targets in northern Yemen, compared Riyadh’s actions against Yemen’s Zaidi community to Israel’s attacks against Palestinians:
“Saudi Arabia knowingly and willingly targets Zaidi villages and Zaidi monuments. It seeks the destruction of Yemen Zaidi heritage. It wants to surgically remove all Zaidi Yemenis from political, religious, economic and social life. The kingdom is following in the footsteps of Israel in all impunity. It is exactly the same logic, the same methods and of course the same justifications.”
“This is the thing about right violations,” he added, “when the world does nothing to impose the law, when the powerful can oppress the weak, then injustice becomes the rule of law.”
The leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Ankara, Turkey, July 30, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
Prosecutors in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir have started an investigation against Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtas for inciting people to take up arms during the protests that left dozens dead, the agency said.
If the case comes to court, he could face up to 24 years in jail, it added. The investigation comes as Turkey presses on with a military campaign against Kurdish militants.
The investigation comes as Turkey presses on with a military campaign against the Kurdish militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.
Should the investigation conclude that Demirtas should be charged, prosecutors will ask that his parliamentary immunity be removed, the report said.
The news comes hours after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a fierce personal attack on Demirtas, telling him to “know his place” and referring to the presence of his elder brother Nurettin among the PKK fighters in Iraq.
“He would run there [too] if he found the opportunity,” Erdogan said on a visit to China.
The probe refers to a statement made by the executive committee of the HDP on October 6, 2014, urging its supporters to take to the streets to protest the policies of the Turkish government in Syria.
According to the official toll, 35 people including two police were killed in three days of rioting across the country.
The demonstrations were over the fate of the mainly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani, which at the time was falling into the hands of ISIS jihadis. The HDP has long accused the government of collaborating with ISIS, allegations it denies.
“The price of continuing the civil war is simply too high. In the name of humanity there is no alternative to the negotiating table,” Ban added.
He said international support is critical to UN point man on Syria, Staffan de Mistura’s new peace effort and urged the international community to build on the political momentum generated by the recent nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers to work on resolving the conflict in Syria.
Ban also urged the Security Council to endorse de Mistura’s recommendations and convince the Syrian parties to participate in the proposed talks. He further urged the council, Syria’s neighbors and regional sponsors of the parties fighting in Syria “to stem all flows of arms and foreign fighters pouring into the country” and “to stop using the country as a proxy battleground.”
Over the last 2 1/2 months de Mistura held talks with over 200 individuals — Syrians and non-Syrians — on finding a political solution.
He said the talks revealed a shared sense of urgency given recent gains by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group and the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, and “talk about fragmentation, radicalization and sectarianism.” He said there was also wide support for “a managed, phased, gradual or controlled transition, avoiding a repeat of Libya or Iraq.”
De Mistura said the two past peace conferences in Geneva in 2012 and 2014, which failed to bring peace, still got opposing Syrian parties to start talking to each other, even indirectly.
He said his aim was now to hold simultaneous discussions among Syrians on addressing key aspects of the 2012 Geneva roadmap and Ban said the UN hopes to get four working groups operational in September.
De Mistura said they will tackle safety and protection of civilians, medical access and the release of detainees, political and constitutional issues, combatting terrorism, as well as reconstruction and development.
After closed consultations, secretary-general Ban said he was “encouraged by the many expressions of strong support” for De Misutra’s plan from council members.
Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said de Mistura’s proposals will be sent to Damascus and will be studied thoroughly.
He stressed that combatting terrorism is a top priority for his government and welcomed the emphasis by UN leaders on the negative roles by neighboring countries in supporting “the so-called foreign terrorist fighters.” Syria has often accused neighboring Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries, especially Qatar, of supporting “terrorists” inside the country.
“We cannot go ahead with the political track and put aside the issue of combatting terrorism. We need stabilization of the country … and then we engage peacefully on the other tracks,” Ja’afari said.
If the neoconservatives have their way again, US ground troops will reoccupy Iraq, the US military will take out Syria’s secular government (likely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State take over), and the US Congress will not only kill the Iran nuclear deal but follow that with a massive increase in military spending.
Like spraying lighter fluid on a roaring barbecue, the neocons also want a military escalation in Ukraine to burn the ethnic Russians out of the east, and the neocons dream of spreading the blaze to Moscow with the goal of forcing Russian President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin. In other words, more and more fires of Imperial “regime change” abroad even as the last embers of the American Republic die at home.
Much of this “strategy” is personified by a single Washington power couple: arch-neocon Robert Kagan, a co-founder of the Project for the New American Century and an early advocate of the Iraq War, and his wife, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who engineered last year’s coup in Ukraine that started a nasty civil war and created a confrontation between nuclear-armed United States and Russia.
Kagan, who cut his teeth as a propaganda specialist in support of the Reagan administration’s brutal Central American policies in the 1980s, is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist to The Washington Post’s neocon-dominated opinion pages.
On Friday, Kagan’s column baited the Republican Party to do more than just object to President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal. Kagan called for an all-out commitment to neoconservative goals, including military escalations in the Middle East, belligerence toward Russia and casting aside fiscal discipline in favor of funneling tens of billions of new dollars to the Pentagon.
Kagan also showed how the neocons’ world view remains the conventional wisdom of Official Washington despite their disastrous Iraq War. The neocon narrative gets repeated over and over in the mainstream media no matter how delusional it is.
For instance, a sane person might trace the origins of the bloodthirsty Islamic State back to President George W. Bush’s neocon-inspired Iraq War when this hyper-violent Sunni movement began as “Al Qaeda in Iraq” blowing up Shiite mosques and instigating sectarian bloodshed. It later expanded into Syria where Sunni militants were seeking the ouster of a secular regime led by Alawites, a Shiite offshoot. Though changing its name to the Islamic State, the movement continued with its trademark brutality.
But Kagan doesn’t acknowledge that he and his fellow neocons bear any responsibility for this head-chopping phenomenon. In his neocon narrative, the Islamic State gets blamed on Iran and Syria, even though those governments are leading much of the resistance to the Islamic State and its former colleagues in Al Qaeda, which in Syria backs a separate terrorist organization, the Nusra Front.
But here is how Kagan explains the situation to the Smart People of Official Washington:
Critics of the recent nuclear deal struck between Iran and the United States are entirely right to point out the serious challenge that will now be posed by the Islamic republic. It is an aspiring hegemon in an important region of the world.
It is deeply engaged in a region-wide war that encompasses Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, the Gulf States and the Palestinian territories. It subsidizes the murderous but collapsing regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and therefore bears primary responsibility for the growing strength of the Islamic State and other radical jihadist forces in that country and in neighboring Iraq, where it is simultaneously expanding its influence and inflaming sectarian violence.
The Real Hegemon
While ranting about “Iranian hegemony,” Kagan called for direct military intervention by the world’s true hegemonic power, the United States. He wants the US military to weigh in against Iran on the side of two far more militarily advanced regional powers, Israel and Saudi Arabia, whose combined weapons spending dwarfs Iran’s and includes – with Israel – a sophisticated nuclear arsenal.
Yet reality has never had much relationship to neocon ideology. Kagan continued:
Any serious strategy aimed at resisting Iranian hegemony has also required confronting Iran on the several fronts of the Middle East battlefield. In Syria, it has required a determined policy to remove Assad by force, using US air power to provide cover for civilians and create a safe zone for Syrians willing to fight.
In Iraq, it has required using American forces to push back and destroy the forces of the Islamic State so that we would not have to rely, de facto, on Iranian power to do the job. Overall, it has required a greater US military commitment to the region, a reversal of both the perceived and the real withdrawal of American power.
And therefore it has required a reversal of the downward trend in US defense spending, especially the undoing of the sequestration of defense funds, which has made it harder for the military even to think about addressing these challenges, should it be called upon to do so. So the question for Republicans who are rightly warning of the danger posed by Iran is: What have they done to make it possible for the United States to begin to have any strategy for responding?
In Kagan’s call for war and more war, we’re seeing, again, the consequence of failing to hold neocons accountable after they pushed the country into the illegal and catastrophic Iraq War by selling lies about weapons of mass destruction and telling tales about how easy it would be.
Instead of facing a purge that should have followed the Iraq calamity, the neocons consolidated their power, holding onto key jobs in US foreign policy, ensconcing themselves in influential think tanks, and remaining the go-to experts for mainstream media coverage. Being wrong about Iraq has almost become a badge of honor in the upside-down world of Official Washington.
But we need to unpack the truckload of sophistry that Kagan is peddling. First, it is simply crazy to talk about “Iranian hegemony.” That was part of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rhetoric before the US Congress on March 3 about Iran “gobbling up” nations – and it has now become a neocon-driven litany, but it is no more real just because it gets repeated endlessly.
For instance, take the Iraq case. It has a Shiite-led government not because Iran invaded Iraq, but because the United States did. After the US military ousted Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein, the United States stood up a new government dominated by Shiites who, in turn, sought friendly relations with their co-religionists in Iran, which is entirely understandable and represents no aggression by Iran. Then, after the Islamic State’s dramatic military gains across Iraq last summer, the Iraqi government turned to Iran for military assistance, also no surprise.
Back to Iraq
However, leaving aside Kagan’s delusional hyperbole about Iran, look at what he’s proposing. He wants to return a sizable US occupation force to Iraq, apparently caring little about the US soldiers who were rotated multiple times into the war zone where almost 4,500 died (along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis). Having promoted Iraq War I and having paid no price, Kagan now wants to give us Iraq War II.
But that’s not enough. Kagan wants the US military to intervene to make sure the secular government of Syria is overthrown, even though the almost certain winners would be Sunni extremists from the Islamic State or Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front. Such a victory could lead to genocides against Syria’s Christians, Alawites, Shiites and other minorities. At that point, there would be tremendous pressure for a full-scale US invasion and occupation of Syria, too.
That may be why Kagan wants to throw tens of billions of dollar more into the military-industrial complex, although the true price tag for Kagan’s new wars would likely run into the trillions of dollars. Yet, Kagan still isn’t satisfied. He wants even more military spending to confront “growing Chinese power, an aggressive Russia and an increasingly hegemonic Iran.”
In his conclusion, Kagan mocks the Republicans for not backing up their tough talk: “So, yes, by all means, rail about the [Iran] deal. We all look forward to the hours of floor speeches and campaign speeches that lie ahead. But it will be hard to take Republican criticisms seriously unless they start doing the things that are in their power to do to begin to address the challenge.”
While it’s true that Kagan is now “just” a neocon ideologue – albeit one with important platforms to present his views – his wife Assistant Secretary of State Nuland shares his foreign policy views and even edits many of his articles. As she told The New York Times last year, “nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.” [See “Obama’s True Foreign Policy ‘Weakness.’”]
But Nuland is a foreign policy force of her own, considered by some in Washington to be the up-and-coming “star” at the State Department. By organizing the “regime change” in Ukraine – with the violent overthrow of democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 – Nuland also earned her spurs as an accomplished neocon.
Nuland has even outdone her husband, who may get “credit” for the Iraq War and the resulting chaos, but Nuland did him one better, instigating Cold War II and reviving hostilities between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States. After all, that’s where the really big money will go – toward modernizing nuclear arsenals and ordering top-of-the-line strategic weaponry.
A Family Business
There’s also a family-business aspect to these wars and confrontations, since the Kagans collectively serve not just to start conflicts but to profit from grateful military contractors who kick back a share of the money to the think tanks that employ the Kagans.
For instance, Robert’s brother Frederick works at the American Enterprise Institute, which has long benefited from the largesse of the Military-Industrial Complex, and his wife Kimberly runs her own think tank called the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
According to ISW’s annual reports, its original supporters were mostly right-wing foundations, such as the Smith-Richardson Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, but it was later backed by a host of national security contractors, including major ones like General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and CACI, as well as lesser-known firms such as DynCorp International, which provided training for Afghan police, and Palantir, a technology company founded with the backing of the CIA’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel. Palantir supplied software to US military intelligence in Afghanistan.
Since its founding in 2007, ISW has focused mostly on wars in the Middle East, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, including closely cooperating with Gen. David Petraeus when he commanded US forces in those countries. However, more recently, ISW has begun reporting extensively on the civil war in Ukraine. [See “Neocons Guided Petraeus on Afghan War.”]
So, to understand the enduring influence of the neocons – and the Kagan clan, in particular – you have to appreciate the money connections between the business of war and the business of selling war. When the military contractors do well, the think tanks that advocate for heightened global tensions do well, too.
And, it doesn’t hurt to have friends and family inside the government making sure that policymakers do their part to give war a chance — and to give peace the old heave-ho.
[The CIA has been so successful in dividing the Afghan Taliban with their fake peace process and “office” in Qatar that there really is NO ORGANIZED TALIBAN anymore. The following comes from Fidai Mahaz faction,a.k.a., the Mullah Dadullah faction of Taliban (SEE: Talks Divide Taliban, Herald An End To Its Relationship With Islamabad). The recent announcement that Mullah Omar is long dead, exposes the elements who have been posing in his name to take control over the rebel alliance (SEE: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead, Afghanistan confirms). Pakistan’s usage of the fake negotiations ploy in its arrests of Mullah Baradar and other leaders, to reintroduce them today as intercessors exposes the degree of Pakistani hypocrisy and manipulations of Taliban and the truth (SEE: Arresting Taliban To Cover America’s Ass). If anything, it proves that the Pak Army has been using proxies in Afghanistan, who happened to be fighting US and coalition forces.]
[Turkey plans to run the Syrian refugees out of Turkey, into this “safe zone,” if the humanitarians of this world allow it.]
1.7 million Syrian refugees are currently sheltering in Turkey after fleeing their country’s four-year civil war
By Michelle Nichols
United Nations aid chief Stephen O’Brien warned Turkey on Tuesday against calling its planned buffer in northern Syria “a safe zone” unless there is a guarantee of protection for civilians who are likely to flood the area for help.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that a “secure zone” would pave the way for the return of 1.7 million Syria refugees currently sheltering in Turkey after fleeing their country’s four-year civil war.
“What you don’t want to do is call something a safe zone, people flee to it, but it hasn’t got sufficient protection,” O’Brien told reporters after briefing the U.N. Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
“As our primary objective is the protection of civilians we need to make sure there is protection in place and that is not always the role of the humanitarians, it needs to be established by others,” he said.
Turkey and the United States are working on plans to provide air cover for Syrian rebels and sweep Islamic State militants from a strip along the Turkish border. But U.S. officials said the aim was not to create a civilian “safe zone.”
O’Brien said the United Nations was in constant contact with all the parties regarding new proposals.
Turkish warplanes attacked Islamic State targets in Syria for the first time on Friday, joining a U.S.-led coalition that has been bombing Islamic State targets in Syria for the past 10 months.
“We are facing this kind of escalation by the Turkish government, it’s an irresponsible action,” Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari told reporters on Tuesday.
A Syrian government crackdown on a pro-democracy movement in 2011 sparked a civil war. Islamic State militants have taken advantage of a more the chaos to seize swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq and declare a caliphate.
The United Nations has said that some 220,000 people have been killed and 7.6 million are internally displaced in Syria. Another 4 million people have fled the country, which O’Brien said was the largest refugee population from a single conflict in more than 25 years.
“Syria today … is the most acute, unrelenting and shameful blot on the world’s humanitarian conscience,” said O’Brien, who hopes to visit Damascus next month.
Beirut: A joint US-Turkey plan to create an Islamic State-free strip of Syrian territory along its border with Turkey looks set to go ahead, although details on the so-called “safe zone” remain sketchy as the two countries worked to finalise the agreement.
It comes as NATO ambassadors prepared for an extraordinary emergency session requested by Turkey to discuss the serious security threats posed by the extremist Islamic State group.
US discussions with Turkey centred on a 110-kilometre strip of territory that was still under the control of Islamic State militants, the US State Department spokesman John Kirby told a news conference in Washington.
He was quick to stress that the US has ruled out the imposition of a “no-fly” zone to protect the area from Syrian government air strikes, despite repeated requests from Turkey for such a move.
The idea of the buffer zone was to “establish an ISIL-free zone and ensure greater security and stability along Turkey’s border with Syria”, Mr Kirby said.
However, there is already deep concern in some circles, particularly from Kurdish groups, that Turkey’s recent entry into the US-led coalition against IS provides a convenient cover for it to carry out attacks against its long-time enemy: the PKK and its allies.
They question whether Turkey’s recent campaign of air strikes against IS in Syria and Kurdish positions in Iraqi Kurdistan were aimed more at limiting the Kurds’ newly won territory in north-eastern Syria than fighting IS.
The YPG, or People’s Protection Units, have proved to be one of the most effective forces against IS, providing vital ground troop support for the US-led coalition air strikes against IS militants in Syria. They won the Syrian border town of Kobane from IS and went on to secure another strategic Syrian border town, Tel Abyad, last month, cutting off a key IS supply route for weapons and fighters and expanding the territory under Kurdish control inside Syria.
“It is not clear yet if or how that ISIS-free zone is going to materialise, how it would be protected or what it would be used for,” said Cale Salih, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
“There is a lot of fear amongst Kurds that Turkey will use that kind of zone to target the PYD or at least to restrict it in terms of the PYD’s quest for more territory that would link Afrin and Kobane, which is one of their main strategic goals in Syria.”
The PYD, or Democratic Union Party, along with the YPG is an affiliate of the PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party, which waged a decades-long armed struggle against Turkey. But, Ms Salih points out, the PKK has a new mission in Syria which has very little to do with resistance against Turkey.
“It is really about establishing an economy in northern Syria, it is about linking the two cantons, fighting jihadists, and that is a real opportunity for the peace process and a chance for the PKK to move away from this identity that it has had for so long which is about resistance in Turkey.”
After holding out for almost a year, Turkey entered into an agreement with the US on Friday that will allow US war planes to launch air strikes from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base. Soon after Turkey began bombing IS targets in Syria and on Saturday it also began attacking on Kurdish targets in northern Iraq.
“A lot of people are quite alarmed that Turkey has gone after ISIS and the PKK at the same time because it invites retaliation from both inside Turkey,” Ms Salih warned.
“That could seriously destabilise south-eastern Turkey … and present a genuine national security threat for Turkey in terms of ISIS.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who was due to chair Tuesday’s extraordinary closed-door session, expressed solidarity with Turkey after “recent heinous terrorist attacks”, but cautioned against abandoning its peace process with the Kurds.
For years “there has been progress to try to find a peaceful political solution”, he told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK. “It is important not to renounce that … because force will never solve the conflict in the long term.”
Syriac-Assyrian Christians in Syria also urged NATO to refrain from allowing Turkey to launch attacks against Kurdish positions in Syria.
“Any Turkish attack … will give ISIS all the space it needs to undo any progress against it,” a statement from the group released on Monday reads.
Turkey requested the meeting in view of the seriousness of the situation after the recent terrorist attacks, and to inform Allies of the measures it is taking.
The North Atlantic Council met today at Turkey’s request to hold consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, which states that “the parties will consult whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of the parties is threatened.”
At its meeting today, the North Atlantic Council discussed the threats against Turkey.
We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruç and other attacks against police and military officers.
Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity. It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion – a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.
Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations can never be tolerated or justified.
The security of the Alliance is indivisible, and we stand in strong solidarity with Turkey.
By Wendy Laursen
Russia celebrated Navy Day on Sunday. Along with celebrations of its existing fleet, the nation unveiled a new naval strategy and a new spy ship.
The new ship was commissioned during a large naval parade attended by President Vladimir Putin in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. The new vessel is designed to monitor U.S. anti-missile defenses on the high seas, a navy spokesman said.
The ship, Yury Ivanov, is the first of a series of intelligence ships, and a second will be launched next year. The vessels have a displacement of around 4,000 tons and a crew of 120.
Each of Russia’s four major fleets already has spy ships, but these were built in the 1980s and are ill-equipped to counter the newer U.S. vessels, reports Russian local media. Each fleet is therefore expected to receive an Ivanov-class ship over the next several years.
Russia’s navy has been a key focus of Putin’s military modernization efforts after decades of neglect. The Russian Navy is expected to take delivery of 10 warships and over 40 support vessels by the end of 2015.
A New Naval Doctrine
Coinciding with Navy Day, Russia issued a new edition of its Naval Doctrine. The new Doctrine comes around six months after an earlier version that already reflected deteriorating relations with the West. It describes the “inadmissible character” of NATO’s plans to move military infrastructures towards its borders, and sets targets for developing infrastructure in the Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
It also calls for the “accelerated reconstitution and completion of strategic Russian positions” in the Black Sea.
In announcing the Doctrine, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin highlighted “the accent put on the Atlantic and the Arctic.”
“Our attention towards the Atlantic is justified by the expansion of NATO in the East,” he told Russian news agencies.
Rogozin also stated the intention for the development a Northern Fleet. This follows his April announcement that Russia was going to invest 222 billion rubles ($4.3 billion) on an Arctic development program between 2015 and 2020.
The Doctrine also calls for long-term technological independence in the fields of shipbuilding and naval equipment.
Ships, submarines, aircraft, troops and amphibious vehicles were deployed in port cities across Russia to mark Navy Day, a commemoration of the victories of Russian sailors. It is celebrated each year on the last Sunday of July, with parades of the Pacific, Northern, Baltic and Black Sea fleets and the Caspian Flotilla.
TASS – The US State Department’s decision to hand its Human Rights Defenders Award to Azimzhan Askarov, who is sentenced to life imprisonment in Kyrgyzstan for inciting inter-ethnic discord, organizing mass riots and complicity in killing a police officer during mass protests, is an attempt to create “controlled chaos” in the country, President Almazbek Atambayev told journalists on Monday.
US State Department’s actions “look like they are aimed at inciting inter-ethnic discord,” Atambayev said. “I would not want such situation [protests] to happen again, and I am displeased with attempts to create controlled chaos here,” the president noted.
Atambayev also said he supports the Kyrgyz government’s decision to denounce 1993 cooperation agreement with Washington that allowed the US to export products for fulfilling Washington’s programs to Kyrgyzstan customs-free. “I, as a president, have only one vector in foreign policy — everything should be done in the interests of our country. I support our government in this matter,” he stressed.
Two weeks ago, US State Department handed its Human Rights Defenders Award to Kyrgyz national Azimzhan Askarov, who participated in clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that took place in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Nearly 500 people died and 2,000 were injured. The clashes followed the revolution and change of power in April 2010.
Kyrgyzstan’s foreign ministry said that “awarding Askarov, who was convicted by all republic’s courts for inciting inter-ethnic discord, organizing mass riots and complicity in killing a police officer during mass protests during tragic events of June 2010, called into question the constructiveness and equality of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.” The foreign ministry said the award presented to Askarov is a “factor aimed at undermining the process of strengthening the unity of people and accord in the country” adding that cooperation with US will hopefully develop “on the basis of mutual respect and constructivism” in the future.
July 15, 2015
BISHKEK — Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry has officially protested to the U.S. State Department over the latter’s decision to honor jailed Kyrgyz human rights defender Azimjan Askarov with a prestigious award.
In a statement issued on July 15, the Kyrgyz side said the move “seriously damages” bilateral ties between the United States and one of Central Asia’s more democratic post-Soviet republics.
It says that the “awarding of Askarov is considered a deliberate action against the strengthening of interethnic peace and harmony in our country.”
Askarov is an ethnic Uzbek, a group that accounts for more than 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan’s nearly 6 million people.
The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry complained that “the State Department’s Award is being given to the wrong person.”
The U.S. State Department announced on July 14 that Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski would present its 2014 Human Rights Defender Award to Askarov at the State Department on July 16.
Askarov’s son Sherzod will accept the award on behalf of his father, who founded a group more than a decade ago to monitor alleged police brutality but has been in jail for more than four years on charges relating to deadly ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010.
The State Department described Askarov as “a uniting figure in the human rights community, bringing together people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to urge the government of Kyrgyzstan to take effective action towards creating a sustainable peace between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz.”
The Kyrgyz statement stressed that Askarov was convicted by Kyrgyz courts of inciting ethnic hatred, organizing mass disorder, and complicity in the murder of a law-enforcement officer during the violence, in Kyrgyzstan’s southern regions of Osh and Jalal-Abad.
Bishkek also said that awarding Askarov the U.S. honor “would undermine the process of strengthening the unity of the people and harmony” in Kyrgyzstan.
The statement describes the State Department’s decision as a “U.S. move with the use of an interethnic element that seriously damages bilateral ties.”
Askarov, the leader of rights group Vozdukh (Air), was sentenced to life in prison after a court found him guilty of organizing the 2010 clashes and involvement in the murder of a police officer during the violence.
More than 450 people, mostly but not exclusively ethnic Uzbeks, were killed and tens or even hundreds of thousands more displaced by the unrest. Dozens of people are still missing.
The majority of those convicted for taking part in the deadly clashes have been ethnic Uzbeks.
Askarov insists he is innocent, calling his conviction an act of “retaliation” for his rights activism.
DUSHANBE, July 26, 2015, Asia-Plus – Xinhua reported on July 26 that a total of 125 security personnel have given up fighting and joined Taliban militants after three days of fighting in Tirgaran valley of Wardoj district, Badakhshan province with Faizabad as its capital.
“After three days of fierce fighting between the government forces and Taliban rebels for the control of Tirgaran valley, 125 police personnel gave up fighting and joined the Taliban Saturday night,” the district governor Dawlat Mohammad Khawar told Xinhua.
Following the surrender of more than 120 police personnel, Taliban took control of the strategically important Tirgaran valley, the governor said.
Khawar said some 20 Taliban fighters and 10 government security personnel were killed during the fight.
Meantime, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in contact with media confirmed Sunday the fall of Tirgaran, saying the Taliban militants are in control of military base with all its facilities in the Tirgaran area.
The attack was launched when a vehicle carrying security personnel was ambushed on its way to an emergency call, the Diyarbakir provincial office said.
Diyarbakir is a province in southeastern Turkey, a heavily Kurdish area, and is home to the city of the same name.
No one has been arrested in connection with the explosion, officials said
The bombing comes as Turkey grapples with a wave of violence near its southern border with Syria and is ramping up its effort to fight terrorists.
On Thursday, at least five ISIS militants in northern Syria approached the border and fired on a Turkish border unit, killing a soldier and wounding two others, the Turkish military said.
Authorities say ISIS was also to blame for a suicide blast Monday that killed more than 30 people in Suruc, a Turkish town that borders Syria.
And after the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, killed two Turkish police officers Wednesday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to take action.
“We will not stay silent in the face of those who kill our police officers in their sleep,” Davutoglu said.
Turkey initially decided to attack ISIS during a national security meeting Thursday headed by Davutoglu. Turkish forces arrested 590 suspected terrorists, bombed ISIS positions in northern Syria and targeted the PKK in strikes in a daylong operation Saturday.
It was the first time Turkey had attacked ISIS and the PKK simultaneously.
“This is a big deal for the U.S. and the coalition, to get the Turks on their side,” retired Air Force Lt. Col. Rich Francona, a military analyst, told CNN. “This is a game-changer.”
The U.S. reached a tentative agreement with Turkey last week to increase U.S. and coalition access to Turkish air bases.
“We attach great importance to our cooperation with the U.S. and believe that it will result in an effective fight against the ISIS threat,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
An act of ‘retribution’
The PKK issued a statement declaring a 2013 ceasefire agreement with Turkey to be over, according to the pro-PKK Firat News Agency. The statement referred to the slaying of the two police officers, calling it an act of “retribution” carried out by “local branches” without orders from the central PKK command.
Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani expressed concern about Turkey’s bombardment of PKK positions in Iraq’s Kurdish area, but he called on all parties to stay calm “because peace is the only solution to problems, and years of dialogue is better than an hour of fighting.”
Turkey believes the PKK is exploiting ISIS’ efforts. The PKK has been fighting for independence since 1984 and is feared to be making gains.
The group is considered a terrorist organization by the United States, but PKK militants have come to the aid of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters who have been fighting ISIS in northern Iraq.
Gul Tuysuz reported from Istanbul, and Holly Yan wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Susanna Capelouto, Ony Nwaohuocha and Salma Abdelaziz also contributed to this report.
TM & © 2015 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.
When Americans look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.
In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.
Geography is our greatest protector. Wide oceans separate us from potential aggressors. Our vast homeland is rich and productive. No other power on earth is blessed with this security.
Our other asset is the weakness of potential rivals. It will be generations before China is able to pose a serious challenge to the United States — and there is little evidence it wishes to do so. Russia is weak and in deep economic trouble — not always a friendly neighbor but no threat to the United States. Heart-rending violence in the Middle East has no serious implication for American security. As for domestic terrorism, the risk for Americans is modest: You have more chance of being struck by lightning on your birthday than of dying in a terror attack.
Promoting the image of a world full of enemies creates a “security psychosis” that misshapes our view of the world. It tempts us to interpret defensive steps taken by other countries as threatening. In extreme cases, it pushes us into wars aimed at preempting threats that do not actually exist.
Arms manufacturers profit from the security psychosis even more directly than militarists. Americans take our staggeringly large defense budget almost for granted, and lament continuously that other countries do not build as many exotic weapons systems as we do. Finding new threats is always good business for someone.
With the United State so dominant in global politics, it’s time to secure this low-threat world. Our strategic goal should be to keep our country as safe as it is now. That means bringing troublemaking countries out of their isolation. Ignoring their interests, or seeking “full-spectrum dominance” to assure that they cannot rise, provokes reactions that will be bad for us in the long run.
Last year, after Russia began encouraging upheaval in Ukraine, NATO decided to “suspend all practical civilian and military cooperation” with Russia. Moments of crisis, however, are precisely the times when contact is most urgent. We took advantage of Russia when it was powerless a quarter-century ago. Future peace requires taking its security concerns seriously rather than treating the country as an enemy that is always seeking to best us.
Our policy toward China is less aggressive, but beneath its surface is often a presumption that one day there must be a showdown between our two countries. The recent deal between Western nations and Iran is being sold as the taming of an enemy — although Iran is not our enemy. Neither is Cuba, despite the warnings of revanchists in Washington and elsewhere. Nor are most of the enemies-for-a-day that we eagerly seek, from Sandinistas in Nicaragua to Houthis in Yemen.
I recently asked a United States Navy officer what threats he believed the United States might confront in the future. To my astonishment, he answered, “Venezuela.” The South American country is in political crisis and careening toward bankruptcy. Its combat navy counts six frigates and two submarines, none of them seaworthy. Yet last month President Obama designated Venezuela an “extraordinary threat to US national security.” The search for enemies can lead to odd places.
This impulse is not peculiarly American. Feeling threatened strengthens group solidarity. Some thinkers have gone so far as to suggest that since societies become more united and resolute in the face of enemies, those that have none should find some.
“It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love,” Freud wrote, “so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness.” Nietzsche believed the nation-state’s “profound appreciation of the value of having enemies” produced a “spiritualization of hostility.” A young country especially, he said, “needs enemies more than friends: in opposition alone does it feel itself necessary.”
When Americans see threats everywhere, we fall into this trap. Believing we are besieged is strangely comforting. To recognize how safe we are would require a change of national mindset that we seem reluctant to make.
Stephen Kinzer is a visiting fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Follow him on Twitter @stephenkinzer.
Sultangazi police attacked the crowd gathered to walk Gunay Özaslan’s funeral was killed in an operation held yesterday in the Gazi district in Bağcılar. Tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd streets after the intervention was made with water. (DHA)
A female member(Günay Özaslan’) of a radical Turkish Marxist group was killed Friday in clashes with police during an operation to arrest suspected militants, the official Anatolia news agency reported. The woman was a member of the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C)
The coffin of one of three Kurdish activists murdered in Villiers-le-Bel (Val-d’Oise), 15 January 2013.
On 9 January 2013, at lunch time, three Kurdish activists are murdered in central Paris, in the Rue La Fayette apartment hosting a community association. Sakine Cansız, 54, a founding member of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), Fidan Dogan, 29, nicknamed “the diplomat” and Saylemez Leyla, 25, known as “the warrior”, were coldly shot several bullets in the head.
After two and a half years of investigation, the Paris prosecutor rendered on 9 July, the final indictment, that Le Monde was able to consult. He asks, as revealed by Le Canard chained in its edition of July 22, referral to an Assize Court of the main suspect, Omer Guney, for murder in relation to a terrorist undertaking. This document of over 70 pages is unique: for the first time, the French justice evokes the possible involvement of a foreign intelligence service, namely MIT (Turkish equivalent of the Directorate General of Internal Security) in a political crime committed in France.
Having failed to positively identify the sponsors of this crime, the prosecution remains cautious about the degree of involvement of MIT. This service is in fact run by a relative of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, engaged since 2012 in a peace process with the PKK that deeply divides the Turkish state apparatus. After the instruction, the trail of a conspiracy by factions opposed to negotiations is still on the table.
“Many elements of the procedure allow MIT to suspect involvement in instigating and preparing the killing, the prosecutor wrote. Indeed, it is established that Omer Guney had proven espionage, he had numerous secret contacts with or individuals located in Turkey (…). However, it should be noted that the investigation did not establish whether the MIT agents attended these facts officially, with the approval of their superiors, or if they did it to the Unbeknownst to their service, to discredit or undermine the peace process. “
If an “uncertainty” remains on the identity of the originator, the performer, he was promptly arrested and imprisoned for ten days only after the fact: Omer Guney, a 32 year old Turk arrived in France to Age 9 years. Its presence in the streets of La Fayette apartment the alleged time of the crime is proven, traces of gunpowder were found on her purse and partial DNA of one victim on his parka. He has continued to deny the facts.
When arrested, the young man nevertheless commits an illuminating slip requesting that the Turkish Embassy in Paris is alerted. Surprising reflex on the part of an individual who continues to run the police as a “heart of Kurd” PKK sympathizer. His family, themselves, qualify it as “ultranationalist” fierce opponent of the Kurdish cause, and claim that it defined itself as a “gray wolf”, the name of the youth branch of the MHP, the Turkish nationalist party .
This feigned sympathy for the PKK had allowed him to infiltrate a year earlier the Kurdish community of Ile-de-France. French perfectly, he regularly acted as interpreter and driver in the movement of senior living in Paris. Thus he made the acquaintance of Sakine Cansız emblematic figure of the PKK, a political refugee in France after spending eleven years in Turkish jails. He was also responsible to escort the car to the street Lafayette apartment the day she fell under the bullets with his two comrades.
The investigation has established that Omer Guney made three trips to Turkey in the six months before the murders. He used the occasion of his travels a phone line “secret”, reserved for specific contacts. One particular interest to investigative services. A “mystery caller” who has never been identified, the Turkish authorities refused “strangely” to respond to the letters rogatory sent to this effect, makes it clear the floor. Which illustrates an understatement as the frustration of French justice that the disorder role of Ankara in this case.
In this context opaque, it is ultimately the Turkish press that will give a dramatic boost to education. Sign of violent conflict reveal that these murders within the state apparatus, innumerable information will in turn feed the thesis of state crime and internal conspiracy. Three weeks after the murder, a former Turkish intelligence agent said in a newspaper Güney Omer is an agent of MIT and that “the massacre of Paris is the business of the tough faction in the MIT.” Heard by the judge, it will return on all its declarations.
On 12 January 2014, a voice recording of three men is posted on YouTube from Germany. In voice-over, the author of the video says that this recording was made by Omer Güney himself, during a meeting in Turkey with two members of the MIT to “plan” its mission. We hear the three individuals mentioned targets among European Kurdish activists.
Two months later, on 14 March, a Turkish website opens a new track: he says that the two unidentified voice on the record is that of a certain Omer Kozanli, billed as “the police imam Gülen movement “, a moderate Islamist current. The movement of Fethullah Gülen, exiled in the United States, supported the rise to power of Erdogan before taking his distance, while remaining very influential within the state apparatus.
peace, “Who did this? An individual of Pennsylvania, the servants of the individual, his supporters. Of course, these people have also infiltrated the judiciary. Unfortunately, they are also in the police and other state institutions … “
The efforts of Erdogan to distance themselves from the triple murder are partly ruined with the publication on 14 January 2014 another Turkish site of an internal note of MIT, presented as a project to assassinate PKK executives in Europe. The same day, MIT published a denial. Several sources confirm later the German newspaper Der Spiegel the document’s authenticity.
Who ordered the murder of three Kurdish activists in Paris on 9 January 2013? The Turkish government, to upset a peace process that he himself had committed? A hard MIT factions infiltrated by the Gülen movement? Or the MHP, the Nationalist Action Party, close to the army, which was said Omer Güney near?
Faced with this investigation without fulfillment, Antoine Comte, civil party lawyer, praised the quality of the work of French justice. “This is the first time that the judicial authority shall also clear position on the possible involvement of a foreign State in a political assassination. Political power, he has always been careful not to comment on the case. “
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist organization, was founded in 1978 by Abdullah Ocalan to promote the creation of an independent Kurdish state on the borders of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. A series of attacks earned him to be considered a terrorist organization by several European countries, including France in 1993. Captured in 1999, Ocalan is serving a life prison on Imrali Island. The PKK then engages in a peace process with Turkey and renounces the claim of a Kurdish state in favor of federalism recognizing Kurdish identity.
End of 2012, Ocalan from his cell launches the “process of Imrali,” a round of negotiations with the AKP, the ruling party in Turkey. This process is strongly criticized Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish state apparatus, infiltrated by more radical currents. It is in this complex context that three Kurdish activists were murdered in Paris on 9 January 2013.
Since the grounding, the Philippines has rotated a small group of marines to occupy and report on the shoal; seen as vital to the Philippines activity since China began ramping up their island expansion in the region.
In a bit of political subterfuge, BRP Sierra Madre remains a commissioned vessel in the navy, making it an official extension of Philippine sovereign territory, despite the fact the hull is no longer seaworthy. The conditions aboard are harsh—the corrosive effects of the saltwater environment have eaten away at the vessel; there are safety and habitability concerns everywhere. Planks cover enormous holes in the decks, and makeshift shelters are built into what’s left of the superstructure. The marines rely upon a limited supply of consumables; lightly armed, the outpost would not be able to resist a determined attack. At least two China coast guard cutters hover nearby, eager to interdict any resupply attempts to the beleaguered outpost.
For years, Manila maintained the official stance that it would not escalate the situation at Second Thomas Shoal, nor anywhere else in the contested area per the so-called Declaration of Conduct. While relying upon a long-awaited arbitration reading from a U.N. tribunal on China’s actions, the Philippine outposts within the Spratleys were kept in status quo; no expansions, or even maintenance to the infrastructure were made. The nation made it painfully clear that it was abiding by the rules, even as other regional players scrambled to consolidate their presence. While this deferral was quite public, it’s fair to say that much of it was related to budgetary and logistical constraints as much as political hand-wringing.
The acceleration of Chinese encroachment has changed the situation again. With Mischief Reef only 15 miles away from Second Thomas Shoal, the Philippine navy has quietly begun “maintenance” of the Sierra Madre. Reportedly, cement, welding tools and other reinforcing materials were brought in via several shipments that made it past the Chinese blockade. The effort, which the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs considers to be legal, has garnered China’s ire.
Improvements to shelter aside, the outpost still has to deal with habitability challenges, including a lack of organic ability to generate electricity and fresh water. In order to continue sustaining the outpost, some recent and forthcoming defense acquisitions could help. Former Australian landing craft and a brand new support vessel arriving in 2016 would bring much needed faster, far-ranging and heavier lift to sustain the blockade runs. Air drops, currently executed by aging Philippine air force Norman-Britten Islander transports, could be relieved by newer NC-212s under construction in Indonesia.
Overall, the drama of reinforcing BRP Sierra Madre is not the endgame, only a move in a larger match. A favorable outcome of the Philippines’ so-called lawfare approach, via the tribunal court, would finally put a legal stake in the ground that China’s actions are illegal. It would then fall heavily upon Beijing to either prove it’s a worthy international partner by abiding and agreeing to external arbitration, or continue on its path of the South China Sea claims, to the detriment of future relations within the region.
[After Turkey drew its Mare-Jarablus line, and brainwashed ISIS-affiliated Turkish-Kurdish boys were used to bomb Kurds in Suruç, and Turkish forces began to bomb ISIS positions in Syria, Obama knew that Erdogan had begun to soften. This is the moment O has been waiting for, implicating the CIA in the Suruç attack.]
Turkey was already preparing to carve-out a piece of Northern Syria, before the Suruç bombing. The alleged ISIS attack facilitated that move.
[The following shot from Google Maps shows the new Mare-Jarablus line, a.k.a., the southern boundary of Erdogan’s shrunken Free Syrian Army enclave (SEE: Partial no-fly zone included in US-Turkey consensus: Turkish sources).]
The PYD is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK). Both ISIS and the PKK are recognised as terrorist groups by Turkey.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin stated that, “It is not healthy to interpret the necessary measures which aim to ensure our border security as ‘Turkey is entering a war’,” speaking on Tuesday at a press conference in Ankara.
Kalin also emphasised that Turkey has never used the terminology of a “buffer zone,” but spoke about a need to establish a no-fly zone and a safe zone in the area for civilians. Turkey’s stance on this issue remains unchanged and these possible moves are continuing to be discussed with its allies, he added.
The Turkish government has been alarmed by both ISIS’ moves near the Syrian towns of Azaz and Mare and the enlargement of northern Kurdish enclaves under the control of the PYD along its long border line with Syria.
ISIS reportedly recently attacked an area between Azaz and Mare, which are situated in northwestern Syria, which controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA). This move by ISIS came after it lost Tal Abyad to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the militant wing of the PYD, which was able to join the Kobane and Jazira “cantons,” along the Turkish border by capturing the district.
ISIS already controls a zone between Jarablus and Mare, also along the Turkish border.
In the worst case scenario for Turkey, as it becomes further threatened by ISIS between Azaz and Mare, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) could ask for assistance from the YPG in order to protect the areas of northwestern Syria they hold. This might then allow the Kurdish group to extend its reach to Afrin, another isolated Kurdish “canton” declared by the PYD in the far west of Syria.
The PYD needs to overrun Jarablus and pass west of the Euphrates to reach the Azaz-Mare region if this scenario is to be realised. Then, the PYD might take full control of the Turkish-Syrian border, leading to fears in Turkey that it might end up neighbouring a hostile Kurdish state which could use its control of the border to undermine Turkey’s internal security.
These are reasons, Turkey has laid down a red line regarding advances by either ISIS or the PYD west of the Euphrates. According to the Turkish daily Milliyet, if the PYD undertakes any operation past this point the Turkish Armed Forces will carry out a cross border operation without providing notice.
If ISIS captures the area it will able to take control of the Oncupinar border crossing with Turkey, and could get closer to reaching another border crossing at Cilvegozu. Therefore, Turkey would virtually lose control of its border to two hostile militant groups.
In addition, the fighting involved in capturing the crossings as well as any ethnic cleansing or massacres by the two groups could lead to a new wave of refugees from Syria to Turkey, another concern which is also behind Turkey’s decision to issue the second red line regarding any attack by the Assad regime attack north of Idlib, the Milliyet report said.
It is feared that if the Syrian regime launches an attack north of Idlib there will be another huge flow of refugees into Turkey, which already hosts more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees who fled the violence in their country after the escalation of the civil war there.
Turkey and the US-led anti-ISIS coalition forces appear to have differences in terms of priorities in northern Syria, despite mostly sharing the same interests. Turkey is concerned by the PYD’s activities in northern Syria along the Turkish border as much as it is concerned with the actions of ISIS and the Assad regime.
However, the US-led coalition is highly supportive of the PYD’s activities against ISIS, which has been heavily bombarded by the coalition in coordination with attacks by the PYD.
US State Department Spokesman John Kirby at Washington’s daily press briefing on June 30 reacted to Turkish demands by saying that, “The Defense Department has made it clear that they don’t believe there’s a need for that at this time, and that the use of coalition military assets in trying to effect a zone like that would entail an awful lot in terms of logistics, time, resources, and effort.”
When asked about the difference between a buffer zone and a safe haven Kirby stated that, “In military terms, I’m not sure that there’s technical definitions for either one. I think it depends on the context in which you’re using it. I don’t know that there’s much – it depends on how you define it and how you want that area defended and protected.”
However, he also said, “They would have to decide how they would both make the decision, defend the decision, and implement it. That’s a national decision that they would have to speak to.”
Source: TRT World and agencies
[Reuters claimed that the guy was a disgruntled Kurd, but the Turkish press calls him “Sheikh” Seyh (Sheikh) Abdurrahman Alagoz.
Abdurrahman and brother Yunus Emre, according to this latest report from Turkey, both went to Syria for military training. The two brothers had helped Orhan Gönder‘ with the previous bombing of HDPE rally in Diyarbakir. They were all neighbors in ADIYAMAN.]
Re-reviewed images pulled from Diyarbakır investigation.
[PKK says that ISIL was working for the State. Police reportedly switched-off electronic sensing in border town Ceylanpinar, to facilitate movement of bomb from Syria to Suruc (SEE: PKK Claims Killing of ‘ISIL-linked’ Turkish Police).]
[The question becomes, “False Flag, or genuine Terrorist Attack?” Considering Turkey’s previous frequent usage of the false flag, to implicate the PKK, makes it easy for outside powers to use the same M.O. in their attacks upon Turkey. Is Turkey, once again, bombing the Kurds, or is someone pushing civil war upon Turkey (SEE: The New Silk Road union and the terror game in Turkey )? Are Turkish bombing runs and police crackdown upon IS militants for real?]
The People’s Defence Forces (HPG) said in a statement on one of its websites that the two police officers were killed at around 6am in the southeastern town of Ceylanpinar for “collaboration with the Daesh gangs” – the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State (IS) group.
Security sources earlier told Reuters the officers were found dead with bullet wounds to the head in the house they shared in Ceylanpinar, on the border with Syria some 160 km (100 miles) east of Suruc, the site of Monday’s suicide bombing.
The bombing, which targeted pro-Kurdish campaigners in Suruc, has been blamed on the IS group, which is locked in heaving fighting with Kurdish forces in northern Syria.
Many of Turkey‘s Kurds and opposition supporters suspect President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AKP party of covertly backing IS militants against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.
Anti-government protests after Monday’s bombing in Suruc erupted in several cities for a second night on Tuesday, with some of the demonstrators chanting “Murderer Islamic State, collaborator Erdogan and AKP”.
“Although Islamic State has been held responsible for this attack, Turkey’s AKP government, by resisting the taking of effective measures to prevent Islamic State and other reactionary forces, bears the real responsibility,” the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose support base is mostly Kurdish, said in a statement.
Turkey’s NATO allies have expressed concern about control of its border with Syria which in parts runs directly parallel with territory controlled by Islamic State. The prospect of conflict spilling onto Turkish soil, embroiling Kurds, Islamist militants and security forces will raise alarm inside and outside Turkey.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected accusations that Turkey had tacitly supported the IS group and had unwittingly opened the door to the bombing; but he said initial evidence suggested the Islamist radical group was responsible.
Bombing suspect travelled to Syria
A senior Turkish official told Reuters there was “strong evidence” to suggest the bomber was a 20-year-old man born in the southeastern province of Adiyaman and of Kurdish origin, who had travelled to Syria last year with the help of a group linked to the IS militants.
“He was active in a Syria-linked group supporting the Islamic State. We know that he went to Syria illegally. It was not possible to track him during his time there,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
He had links with another alleged bomber who attacked an HDP rally in the mostly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir days ahead of a June 7 parliamentary election, killing four people and wounding at least 200, the official said.
The Radikal newspaper quoted what it said was the man’s mother saying he was a former student at Adiyaman university who had worked as a painter with his 25-year-old brother before going abroad.
“I don’t know what they were doing abroad, they never said. They were just telling me they were fine,” Semure Alagoz told the newspaper. “I don’t know where he is now. I don’t know if they joined ISIL, if they went for jihad. They are both good kids, they wouldn’t harm anyone.”
According to FRANCE 24’s correspondent in Turkey, Jasper Mortimer, investigators are trying to identify the remains of a possible second bomber, whose body was blown to pieces.
“This might be the corpse of a second female bomber (…), we’ll have to wait until the identification is made,” he said.
Two lawmakers from the HDP submitted separate parliamentary motions on Wednesday naming a 20-year old woman as a suspect, and asking why police had released her from custody last month.
The turmoil comes at a difficult time for Turkey, with a caretaker government in charge while the AKP seeks a junior coalition partner after losing its majority in the June election for the first time in more than a decade.
Since Monday’s bombing, at least 51 people have been arrested in protests in Istanbul alone and police seized more than 200 petrol bombs and a rifle, the governor’s office said.
Anti-government groups have vowed further demonstrations and the HDP has called for supporters to converge on Turkey’s largest city for a mass rally this weekend.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
“As the US is lifting Cuba blockades, I see no reasons for Europe to keep Russia sanctions in place,” Mariani told reporters after speaking at the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol on Thursday. He added that he felt the effect of sanctions as the delegation’s mobile phones stopped operating because European companies refuse to provide service in the area.
The Crimean status referendum held on March 16, 2014 made it possible for the Crimean peninsula to avoid the scenario unfolding in eastern Ukraine, he said.
Mariani noted that he “observed the devastation and the people’s suffering with horror” while he was visiting war-torn Donbass two months ago.
“We congratulate you that you managed to avoid that,” he said at a meeting with Crimea’s Parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov. “We welcome the courage of the Crimean Parliament because it was able to make this decision despite the difficult situation and a great risk of escalation [of tensions],” he added.
He reiterated that the visit of the French delegation aims to understand the situation in Crimea. He added that his first impression was great weather and no military personnel on the streets.
“I’m very happy to be here,” he told the Crimean lawmakers in Russian adding that the visit of the delegation caused an uproar in France.
He said the current visit proves the freedom and independence of the French lawmakers. “Regardless of our political orientation, we adhere to the views of Charles de Gaulle, who believed that above all is the will of the people.”
Konstantinov, in turn, thanked the French delegation for making “a courageous political step” by visiting Crimea. He said that he is “proud” of the fact that the referendum was made possible and that the “lawmakers stood up for protection of their people for the first time for many years.”
He added that during those days the Crimean residents “lived through turmoil.”
“The outcome of the referendum was a reaction of the whole Crimean community to the events in Ukraine,” he said.
“Ukraine was like a boiling pot and the people were frightened of the situation in Kiev. After the funerals of people killed in Kiev, a wave of spontaneous protests swept through Crimea…The task set before the parliament was not to let the protests grow into unconstrained actions. A civil war seemed to be the main threat those days.”
READ MORE: EU prolongs economic sanctions against Crimea till June 2016
Crimea rejoined Russia last March following a referendum where more than 96 percent of people voted in favor of reunification. The decision to hold a referendum was sparked by the refusal to recognize the new coup-imposed government in Kiev as legitimate. Crimea, which is home to an ethnic majority Russian population, feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect their rights.
Considering Crimea’s decision illegal, the US and EU accused Moscow of annexing the peninsula and imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Following the escalation of violence Donbass, the Western states imposed further sanctions on Russia with Moscow responding with retaliatory restrictions.
Last April, Kiev launched a military operation in the country’s southeast after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the new administration in Kiev. According to a recent UN report, the conflict has killed nearly 6,500 people, wounded over 16,000 and left 5 million people in need of humanitarian aid in the past year.
On Thursday Mariani told Rossiya’24 news channel that the public opinion in France is gradually shifting in Russia’s favor.
“The public opinion in France is changing step by step,” Mariani said. “We’ve had that story involving the Mistrals and many people in France think it is simply stupid, as a commodity that was promised was not delivered eventually and the contract was disrupted.”
“I think public opinion is making a gradual evolution,” he concluded. “I hope our trip to Russia will speed up this evolution, as the French government will have to give a bigger measure of attention to this opinion at a certain point.”
Last year the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), led by Saudi Arabia, initiated an economic oil war against the United States when it refused to cut production in November of 2014 like it usually does when oil prices drop. This was an attempt to drive some U.S. shale oil producers bankrupt and stem the flow of North American shale oil onto the global market.
In fact, OPEC actually increased oil production in November, which drove oil prices down to nearly $50/bbl, the price at which many shale producers can’t even break-even. But it hasn’t quite worked out the way they wanted.
In fact, I think they’ve lost this war by inadvertently making the U.S. shale oil industry leaner and meaner.
“The deliverability of Middle East oil is just not there in the long-term,” says David Zusman, Managing Partner of Talara Capital Management, with whom a long discussion generated a clearer picture of what is coming for the future of oil. “The EIA has global oil demand in 2020 and beyond being met with increased supplies from a region of the world stuck in a multi-decade crisis that is likely to get much worse before it ever gets better. Supply from the short-cycle U.S. oil market is required to balance the global crude market at a rate where U.S. shale should remain a growth industry.”
Most likely, oil prices will remain reasonably low at somewhere around $70/bbl, and natural gas prices quite low at about $3.75 per mmcf, for many years – which is good for the American consumer, even if it might be bad for the environment.
From a production standpoint, this oil war pits conventional oil against unconventional, sort of like jelly donuts versus tiramisu (see figure below).
While over half of the proven oil reserves are generally under the control of OPEC, there are many more unconventional reserves, such as oil shale, heavy oils and tar sands, outside the Middle East (see 2nd figure below). And most of these are on the edge of affordability.
Thus, OPEC would like to keep the price of oil low enough that these reserves never enter the world supply to jeopardize OPEC’s influence.
Drilling into conventional sources is like sticking a straw in a jelly donut – the petroleum is trapped in a large single formation that just flows out under pressure. Drilling into unconventional sources like oil and gas shale is quite different, more like tiramisu – the petroleum is in many layers that have to be individually tapped using horizontal drilling and fracking methods to open up the rock. Saudi Arabia has a bunch of really big jelly donuts. The United States has lots of tiramisu, plus some pretty good jelly donuts as well. Source: Jim Scherrer
Drilling into conventional sources is like sticking a straw in a jelly donut – the petroleum is trapped in a large single formation that just flows out under pressure. Drilling into unconventional sources like oil and gas shale is quite different, more like tiramisu – the petroleum is in many layers that have to be individually tapped using horizontal drilling and fracking methods to open up the rock. Saudi Arabia has a bunch of really big jelly donuts. The United States has lots of tiramisu, plus some pretty good jelly donuts as well. Source: Jim Scherrer
The Oil & Gas industry is a textbook case of supply and demand, evolving continuously, on scales from individual parts of a geologic formation, or plays, to the entire global supply. From month-over-month trends to decades-long changes. There have been several key developments that set the stage for the evolutionary phase that the world has now entered:
1) development of mature fracking technologies for oil and gas shale that have made previously uneconomic reserves economic, and development of other unconventional sources like tar sands and heavy oils
2) the global economic melt-down of 2008 that reduced the global growth rate and thus oil demand, instigated very low interest rates, and slowed-down Chinese economic growth
3) the rapid urbanization of developing countries that is increasing oil demand faster than the Middle East can supply oil
4) the Saudi war on United States shale oil producers
5) limited excess spare capacity for oil production
This last point is key. Today, spare capacity is less than 2 million barrels per day compared to the 1980’s oil glut when spare capacity was over 15 million barrels per day. This means that small changes in supply or demand can cause large changes in the price of oil. This leads to significant price volatility, which should only increase in the coming years.
The world is producing about 93 million bbl/day, but it is the cost to supply the last barrel needed to meet demand that determines the marginal cost of oil. So, the marginal cost of oil is above the average production cost of that first 92.9 million barrels. The marginal cost is used by oil companies to plan long-range capital budgets and field operations and bankers value assets during acquisitions or divestiture processes. It is also the best guide to what futures prices will be.
The cost of production of a barrel of oil is the most important component of determining the marginal cost. Individual geologic formations and well completion methods vary widely as to the ease of production, particularly for shale. Take, for example, the Bakken formation in North Dakota that has an overall break-even point of about $40/bbl. However, in McKenzie County, the break-even point is only $28/bbl, while Divide County had a break-even point of $85/bbl (OGJ).
One reason Saudi Arabia has dominated the world oil market is that they have more oil that is easier to produce than anyone else. The Saudis have sweet crude that is unmatched for ease of access, recovery and refining. They can bear to sell at $15/barrel without going bankrupt, something no one has done since the Los Angeles basin almost a hundred years ago. So they are well-positioned for this economic war with oil.
The nominal cost of oil production for various countries is:
Saudi Arabia – $21/bbl
Middle East – $24/bbl
Russia – $26/bbl
Mexico – $42/bbl
S.America/Europe/Eurasia/Africa – $56/bbl
North America – $60/bbl
Gulf Deep Water – $70/bbl
Canada tar sands – $82/bbl
other unconventionals – $100/bbl
There is far more oil in the rest of the world than there is in Middle East, most of it being of the unconventional kind, more expensive to produce but not enough to prevent it from entering the market. In fact, we have so much oil in the world, that we will not run out anytime in the next few hundred years. Source: Dr. Bill Kovarik, Radford University
There is far more oil in the rest of the world than there is in Middle East, most of it being of the unconventional kind, more expensive to produce but not enough to prevent it from entering the market. In fact, we have so much oil in the world, that we will not run out anytime in the next few hundred years. Proven (solid) and recoverable (transparent) values shown for each region, and a single light lavender bar for unconventionals. Source: Dr. Bill Kovarik, Radford University
However, while Saudi Arabia produces 10 million barrels of oil per day, more than any other country, it has little-to-no extra capacity to adjust to sudden increase in demand. Similarly for the other OPEC nations. So OPEC can no longer control the price and supply as well as they used to, because there is too much outside supply and too much growing volatility in demand.
The above costs are only to sell from existing fields. But the Saudis need over $100 per barrel to significantly grow their capacity to produce, a critical distinction that is usually overlooked.
“Prior to the present Saudi-U.S. oil war,OPEC was flush with cash from its currency reserves,” points out Zusman. “Oil had remained above $100 per barrel for the longest time in history, which allowed OPEC governments to dramatically increase their spending on social programs. At some point, OPEC countries will begin to bleed too much, and you will see it show up in social disruptions, but they are content to fight the oil share war for now.”
So the Saudis pressed the OPEC nations to drop prices by increasing production in the hope of driving U.S. oil companies out of business.
The big global oil companies could weather this war, but the small ones, some of which led the fracking revolution, may not. What this war has engendered, instead of halting U.S. shale oil production, is a rapid consolidation and merging of companies that has increased efficiencies and lowered production costs so that the marginal cost of shale oil can go lower and lower and still allow shale oil to compete on the global market.
The U.S. shale oil industry has rapidly gone through these evolutionary stages:
1) Land-grab stage – buying up potential land area without a detailed understanding of the underlying geology and possible productivity, but with the knowledge that a new market is emerging.
2) Delineation stage – drilling to determine the broad outlines and characteristics of whole formations but still with wide variations in properties and productivity. Shale is absolutely not homogeneous at all, and the local geologic properties determine productivity and longevity of the play. This stage determines which plays will be profitable and which should be abandoned or put in stasis.
3) Development stage – batch drilling and fracking. Better technology (better fracking, secondary recovery using CO2, replacing trucking with pipelines), more efficient operations, centralizing infrastructure, less gouging by service companies, a deep understanding of the local geology, and consolidation of geographic areas under one operational umbrella (WSJ). Field development costs can be 30% less than the same field in the delineation stage.
This last stage is when the play becomes competitive in the global market, and represents where U.S. shale oil is headed now.
Zusman put it this way, “This behavior is typical for a new market that is highly fragmented and inefficient, and that is undergoing a significant evolutionary change. It is all about localizing, not generalizing, everything from oil recovery, cost of full field development, and expected returns. There is going to be a ton of performance dispersion as the industry moves into a more manufacturing-like state. The race for land has now become a race for efficiencies.”
On the other hand, “In response to lower oil and natural gas prices, exploration and production companies have slashed capital budgets by over 40% on a year-over-year basis, and the oil rig count fell by 58% from its 2014 peak.”
Over 1,000 drill rigs in America, a third of all rigs that were active, have been disassembled in the first half of this year (Oil&Gas 360). The rig count fell at a pace of 57 rigs per week in the first quarter, faster than the 49 rigs per week decline in 2009 when the financial world was collapsing.
This is just what OPEC was hoping for in their oil war with the United States, but it does not seem to be accomplishing what they expected. The low prices led to a global glut that led to the falling rig count, but without so many rigs, the supply cannot rebound quickly and prices increased again, bringing more rigs back. And the cycle repeats itself. With each iteration, the U.S. oil industry gets more efficient and smarter.
As an indication of this evolution, $11 billion of new equity was issued from the major oil companies in just the half of 2015. This was more equity issued than in all of 2014, and means the capital markets are available and ready and see a strong shale oil future.
As all this has been occurring within the United States, the rest of the world has been changing, too. Dropping oil prices from $100/bbl to below $70/bbl has imperiled the finances of many OPEC nations and authoritarian governments overly-dependent on oil revenue. This, in turn, has produced social unrest, since many of these governments are already at risk of violence from their populations.
Even worse for OPEC, the rate of change in oil production has recently begun to slow, and the oil price has recovered from the low $40′s per barrel to the mid $50′s. Five-year deferred oil futures contracts have increased to $66 per barrel. This level can easily sustain the newly-consolidated U.S. shale oil industry, effectively ending this oil war.
Is it time for the Saudis to surrender?
Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki said Wednesday the Al Saud regime must be placed in the international community’s custody for pursuing wrong policies and supporting terrorism.
In an interview with an Iraqi satellite channel, Maliki described Saudi Arabia as the breeding ground of terrorism, saying Takfir extremism is rooted in the Wahabbi ideology in the Saudi kingdom.
Maliki, a former Iraqi prime minister, said the international community should intervene to prevent the spread of extremist ideologies emanating from Saudi Arabia and put the monarchy under global supervision.
Otherwise, Maliki said, terrorism will continue to grow, fed by Saudi petrodollars.
Johannes Hahn, the EU enlargement commissioner who mediated the talks, told local reporters on Wednesday that the country’s leaders had brought Macedonia closer to its ambition of EU membership by reaching a deal.
The crisis began in February, when the opposition SDSM party began releasing thousands of secret recordings of government phone calls which revealed a “massive invasion of fundamental rights” according to an expert report produced for the European Commission in June.
Reinhard Priebe, author of the EU report, said the tapes suggested senior government officials appeared to be directly involved in “electoral fraud, corruption, abuse of power and authority, conflict of interest, blackmail, extortion, criminal damage.”
The government in turn accused opposition leaders of treason and espionage and said the tapes had been manufactured by foreign intelligence services.
Tensions reached a peak in May, when at least 18 people were killed in a special forces operation against an armed group in Kumanovo, a town in the north of the country.
The violence sparked fears of a return to unrest in the ethnically divided country of 2m, where an estimated 130 were killed in inter-ethnic strife in 2001 before a 3,500 strong NATO force arrived to quell the unrest. The latest violence prompted EU and US mediators to launch talks between Macedonia’s leaders in May.
The political parties agreed last month to prepare for early elections in April but the role of Nikola Gruevski as prime minister remained a key obstacle, with the opposition claiming free and fair elections would be impossible without his resignation.
Talks remained stalled for much of June but people familiar with the discussions said the arrival of Victoria Nuland, US assistant secretary of state, in Skopje this week added urgency to the efforts to reach an agreement.
Mr Gruevski has now agreed to resign in early January, allowing an interim leader 100 days to prepare for the elections on April 24. SDSM MPs will return to parliament at the beginning of September and nominate key ministers to take up positions in October. A special prosecutor will be appointed on September 15 to investigate the wiretap recordings.
Observers welcomed the agreement but warned that previous commitments had been discarded by both the government and opposition and urged the EU and US to hold the country’s leaders to their commitments.
“Without close and continuous monitoring of the deal, both by Brussels and member states, the government may well return to business as usual,” warned Goran Buldioski, co-director of the Open Society Initiative for Europe.
“A key test of this [agreement] will be appointing the new special prosecutor to investigate the wiretapping revelations; will it be an independent outsider from the Balkan region or simply another insider?” he added.
Members of the Democratic Union for Integration party, Mr Gruevski’s ethnic Albanian coalition partner, said by agreeing to investigate abuses of power, the country had moved closer to EU membership.
“We need a catharsis of the political scene,” said Artan Grubi, a DUI member of parliament. “This is the key moment when we can embrace Europe by ensuring that corruption and abuse of power is unacceptable.”
The Polish government has been pushing for several months for the construction of a permanent NATO base on Polish soil, in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis.
“We want to avoid a serious dispute within the alliance,” said John A. Heffern, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, in an interview with the Rzeczpospolita daily.
Although Heffern did not name countries, Germany has opposed the construction of permanent bases.
The 1997 NATO-Russian Pact stipulated that such bases cannot be built in new member states (Poland joined NATO in 1999 with the Czech Republic and NATO, followed by seven more countries in 2004).
However, Heffern has said that NATO will continue its rotational programme of troops within the region.
“We will stay with you for as long as is necessary,” he said.
Missile defence system to go ahead
Meanwhile, Heffern has said that an American missile defence system will still be built in Poland, and that construction should be completed at Redzikowo.
An agreement for a larger system was initially signed in 2008, but the plan was shelved by President Barack Obama’s incoming administration.
The US consistently argued that the shield was to protect countries in the region against Iran, although Russian leader Vladimir Putin vigorously opposed the system from the outset.
The US continues to claim that modified shield is a means of protection against Iran, in spite of the freshly signed deal to curb Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
“The agreement with Tehran does not cover missiles, the threat remains,” Heffern said, while acknowledging that technically the Iranian missiles can no longer be fitted with nuclear warheads. (nh)
American war hawks are angry over the fact that RussiaToday is much better at getting “NEWS” out than “Radio Free Europe.” RT is being condemned for serving the same purpose in Russia that AlJazeera served in the wars on Libya and Syria. AlJazeera served as a tool of American “public diplomacy” in the propaganda war in the Middle East, just as RT serves Russian diplomacy in Russia and Eastern Europe. RT doesn’t spread disinformation, it spreads NEWS that the Western powers actively suppress. Radio Liberty and RFE do spread Western disinformation, instead of news. Because people are able to understand this, they turn away from these NEWS sources. War Hawks hate this (they hate everything).
RussiaToday helps Russians to avoid Western traps laid for them. Russian and Moldavian crowds are harder to incite to violence because of RT. This really pisses-off the hawks. What makes them even madder, is that Americans cannot be agitated with war fever without first seeing mobs of civilians getting mowed-down by guns or tanks.
“Against the background of the aggressive anti-Russian rhetoric of many leaders of NATO member states, voters in these countries are not ready to support such a policy. In particular, this contradiction between the official position and public opinion is most noticeable in Germany.”–Russian Information Agency
The majority of Americans have grown weary of war. Most doubt the reasons given for prolonging our wars or for starting new ones. No American with any measure of sense wants to go to war against Russia. We have spent most of our lives dreading accidental war against Russia, so why would we support a decision to fight another European war?
The information war is needed to neutralize Russia’s ability to ignore and evade American provocations, without having to resort to violence to pacify seditious mobs. Russian “propaganda” is really defensive, in nature, helping Putin’s govt defuse planned disruptions and social actions. John McCain, Barack Obama, and other politicians of the American war party, are offended that Russia has cultivated this capability to defend itself against planned military aggression, using only the “NEWS” as its “soft” defensive weapon. All Putin has to do to defeat war plans, which are based entirely upon lies, is to broadcast the truth.
Western Propaganda organs plan to fight this truth using only lies and half-truths as offensive weapons. The first lie is that RussiaToday and others only broadcast disinformation. The truth that comes from RT becomes “disinformation,” simply because American sources say so. America’s information war is not fought to be won, but only until a path to war between Europe and Russia is opened-up.
The John McCains are pissed-off that they can no longer force new wars upon the American people without endangering their political immunity. People like McCain, who claim to be “war heroes,” due to no action of their own (other than enlisting), are molded into leading politicians by the people who have laid all of that money at their feet. Mad dogs like McCain get red-faced, fighting mad, whenever the American people dare to cross their war plans.
Pompous windbags cannot accept the fact that they have no authority of any kind, over other nations.
Relatives of gun violence victims and gun control advocates held a news conference in Washington on Dec. 10, 2014, two years after the Sandy Hook shooting, to urge lawmakers to expand background checks. (Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images)
By Alan Zarembo
Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.
The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.
A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”
The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.
But critics — including gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled — say that expanding the list of prohibited gun owners based on financial competence is wrongheaded.
Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.
“Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,” said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. “They are very different determinations.”
Steven Overman, a 30-year-old former Marine who lives in Virginia, said his case demonstrates the flaws of judging gun safety through financial competence.
State police lead students from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., after a shooting. The Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at the school left 26 people, including 20 children, dead. (Shannon Hicks / Newtown Bee)
After his Humvee hit a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2007, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury that weakened his memory and cognitive ability.
The VA eventually deemed him 100% disabled and after reviewing his case in 2012 declared him incompetent, making his wife his fiduciary.
Upon being notified that he was being reported to the background check system, he gave his guns to his mother and began working with a lawyer to get them back.
Overman grew up hunting in Wisconsin. After his return from Iraq, he found solace in target shooting. “It’s relaxing to me,” he said. “It’s a break from day-to-day life. It calms me down.”
Though his wife had managed their financial affairs since his deployment, Overman said he has never felt like he was a danger to himself or others.
“I didn’t know the VA could take away your guns,” he said.
The background check system was created in 1993 by the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was partially paralyzed after being shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan.
The law requires gun stores to run the names of prospective buyers through the computerized system before every sale.
The system’s databases contain more than 13 million records, which include the names of felons, immigrants in the U.S. illegally, fugitives, dishonorably discharged service members, drug addicts and domestic abusers.
State agencies, local police and federal agencies are required to enter names into the databases, but the system has been hampered by loopholes and inconsistent reporting since its launch.
The shortcomings became clear in the wake of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people. Cho had been declared mentally ill by a court and ordered to undergo outpatient treatment, but at the time the law did not require that he be added to the databases.
Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe. They are very different determinations. – Dr. Marc Rosen, Yale psychiatrist
Congress expanded the reporting requirements, but Social Security determined it was not required to submit records, according to LaVenia LaVelle, an agency spokeswoman.
After 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, 20 children and six school staffers in Newtown in 2012, President Obama vowed to make gun control a central issue of his second term.
The effort fell flat. Congress ultimately rejected his proposals for new gun control legislation.
But among 23 executive orders on the issue was one to the Department of Justice to ensure that federal agencies were complying with the existing law on reporting to the background check system.
One baseline for other agencies is the VA, which has been entering names into the system since the beginning. About 177,000 veterans and survivors of veterans are in the system, according to VA figures.
The VA reports names under a category in gun control regulations known as “adjudicated as a mental defective,” terminology that derives from decades-old laws. Its only criterion is whether somebody has been appointed a fiduciary.
More than half of the names on the VA list are of people 80 or older, often suffering from dementia, a reasonable criterion for prohibiting gun ownership.
But the category also includes anybody found by a “court, board, commission or other lawful authority” to be lacking “the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs” for a wide variety of reasons.
The agency’s efforts have been criticized by a variety of groups.
Rosen, the Yale psychiatrist, said some veterans may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns.
Conservative groups have denounced the policy as an excuse to strip veterans of their gun rights.
Republicans have introduced legislation in the last several sessions of Congress to change the policy. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, now under consideration in the House, would require a court to determine that somebody poses a danger before being reported to the background check system.
Social Security would generally report names under the same “mental defective” category. The agency is still figuring out how that definition should be applied, LaVelle said.
About 2.7 million people are now receiving disability payments from Social Security for mental health problems, a potentially higher risk category for gun ownership. An addition 1.5 million have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons.
The agency has been drafting its policy outside of public view. Even the National Rifle Assn. was unaware of it.
Told about the initiative, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: “If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks.”
Gun rights advocates are unlikely to be the only opponents.
Ari Ne’eman, a member of the National Council on Disability, said the independent federal agency would oppose any policy that used assignment of a representative payee as a basis to take any fundamental right from people with disabilities.
“The rep payee is an extraordinarily broad brush,” he said.
Since 2008, VA beneficiaries have been able to get off the list by filing an appeal and demonstrating that they pose no danger to themselves or others.
But as of April, just nine of 298 appeals have been granted, according to data provided by the VA. Thirteen others were pending, and 44 were withdrawn after the VA overturned its determination of financial incompetence.
Overman is one of the few who decided to appeal.
He is irritable and antisocial, he said, but not dangerous. “I’ve never been suicidal,” he said. “To me that solves nothing.”
More than a year and a half after Overman filed his challenge, the VA lifted its incompetence ruling, allowing his removal from the background check system before the VA ever had to determine whether he should be trusted with a gun.
Overman, who hasn’t worked since leaving the military, said he and a friend are now thinking of opening a gunsmith business.
The Minister visited the new hospital
The Minister visited the new hospital
More on the topic
Russian Minister of Health visited the hospital on Shikotan
On the island of Shikotan opened a modern hospital
Health Minister visited the island region with working visit
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk immediately went to the Kuril Islands, where they visited the hospital recently opened in the village Krabozavodskoe (Shikotan Island). Public health institution was built in the framework of the federal target program of social and economic development of the Kuril Islands. The new hospital has all the necessary facilities: an operating unit, delivery room, the offices of ultrasonic and functional diagnostics, x-rays, physiotherapy, clinical diagnostic laboratory, physiotherapy and x-ray rooms. Details – in the article “FederalPress.”
“This is a modern hospital. It’s small, intimate, made for the needs of the population. Everything is very well thought out, “- said Veronika Skvortsova. The minister also stressed that “in the health of the Sakhalin region in recent years made a huge leap, it is a very good account of all the regions of Russia – are significantly reduced mortality observed population growth.”
In addition, the Minister visited the opening of radiological building in the Sakhalin regional oncologic dispensary. “This building – one of the best in the country. He gathered all the advanced technology that is in the world. Analogues of some machines, I saw only two federal centers, “- said Veronika Skvortsova. The new equipment should help to improve the efficiency of detection and treatment of cancer – now in Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, only 48% of diseases detected in the first and second stages. According to the Acting Governor of the region Oleg Kozhemyako, now solved the question of whether to establish a special additional payments to doctors who detect cancer in patients in the first and second stages. In addition, it planned to equip the clinic of the island region with the necessary equipment.
Positively assessed the Minister of Health and the measures that the Government of the Sakhalin Region takes to address the shortage of skilled personnel in the health sector. The region runs a program to attract doctors from other Russian regions. Last year, the South Kurils arrived two doctors in this – four. Coming to provide comfortable housing.
“In addition, today we have in effect a decree according to which health care workers in the Kuril Islands after three years of work can privatize housing office. For other areas the term – five or seven years “- said Oleg Kozhemyako. According to the acting head of the region, all the young doctors coming to work on the island will receive municipal supplement of 10-15 thousand rubles, depending on the area. “A whole series of measures to address the medical staff. I think in a few years we’ll take her sharpness, “- he added.
Another significant step towards solving the personnel problem – the creation of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk base chair Vladivostok State Medical University in the framework of the cooperation agreement between the Government of the region and the university. According to the document, the signing ceremony which was attended by the head of the Ministry of Health, the Department will begin work in 2016. For two years, students will be acquainted with the theory of Vladivostok, and the rest of the course of study is planned on Sakhalin.
“Education will be our teachers in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. We certainly will attract the best professionals and medical institutions of the region “- said the rector of Vladivostok State Medical University Valentin Shumatov.
In addition, during his visit to Sakhalin, Veronika Skvortsova said that the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the regional government intends to work towards a regional sanatorium zones based on natural sources available on the islands, reports Tass. Oleg Kozhemyako clarified that at the international economic forum in Vladivostok, the regional government intends to present the plans to build the Kuril Island of Iturup and recreation complex “Green Lake”. The project will be implemented as a priority development area. It provides for the construction of the hotel on 132 places with the necessary infrastructure. His cost of the project at the 2014 price of 2.4 billion rubles.
Summing up his visit to Sakhalin, Veronika Skvortsova said that the region “is developing a rapid pace.” The minister identified the priority areas of work for the health system is to identify cancer, first aid and vaccinations, especially in the counter flu.
The federal budget for the construction of the hospital was sent to 470 million rubles from the regional – 238 million. The hospital was built 2.5 years, construction was completed in December 2014. The complex includes a clinic for 50 visits per shift and inpatient unit with 25 beds.
Staffing hospital staff: doctors – 76.2%, nurses – 78%.
Photo from the governor and the government of the Sakhalin Region
America and its allies need to get tougher on young men, who may become radical Islamists, said Clark, who is best known for leading NATO troops during the Kosovo war. The former Democratic presidential candidate made the comments in an interview on MSNBC in response to the shooting at a recruitment camp in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that left four Marines killed.
“We have got to identify the people who are most likely to be radicalized. We’ve got to cut this off at the beginning,” the retired general said. “I do think on a national policy level we need to look at what self-radicalization means because we are at war with this group of terrorists.
“In World War II, if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war,” he said. “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine, that’s their right. And it’s our right and our obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”
Clark added that “not only the United States but our allied nations like Britain, Germany and France are going to have to look at their domestic law procedures.”
The suggested heavy-handed solution that implies punishing people not for criminal acts but for upholding radical beliefs came in contrast to Clark’s earlier criticisms of the excesses of the Bush administration response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, such as the torture of terror suspects.
He also spoke against “the politics of fear” in dealing with the threat of foreign fighters coming home from Middle East conflicts.
The interview sparked outrage on social media, which the former general called “blogosteria” on his Twitter account. He reiterated that “US Citz who choose #ISIS are spies, enemy combatants or both. Govt should separate them from the rest of us.”
Syria-bound trucks operated by MİT were searched in January 2014 after prosecutors received tip-offs that they are illegally carrying arms to Syria. (Photo: DHA)
A pro-government prosecutor who was appointed to the case regarding the alleged transport of weapons and munitions to Syria via trucks belonging to Turkish intelligence filed for a verdict of non-prosecution regarding the case and admitted that weapon-laden trucks made 2,000 trips to Syria, according to the lawyer of one of the defendants of the case.
Lawyer Hasan Tok, the legal counsel for former Adana Provincial Gendarmerie Regiment Commander Col. Özkan Çokay, who was at the scene when trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) were searched in January 2014, said that Prosecutor Ali Doğan stated in court that trucks owned by MİT made at least 2,000 trips to Syria.
Doğan is a known government loyalist and filed for a verdict of non-prosecution regarding the investigation into the trucks after he was appointed to the position of Adana chief public prosecutor. According to Tok, Doğan had asked the defendants in a previous hearing, “2,000 trucks have passed [into Syria] why was this one specially chosen?”
“We didn’t know there had been 2,000 trucks passing into Syria, may God bless Ali Doğan,” said Tok.
Ali Doğan’s reference to 2,000 trucks echoes an alleged statement by MİT head Hakan Fidan in which he said he “sent around 2,000 trucks [with] equipment” to Syria after General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler complained that the region needed arms and ammunition to be saved. A voice recording was published online in March 2014 of a top-secret conversation between then-Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, Fidan and Güler, revealing Turkey’s clandestine effort to aid certain groups in Syria.
Aziz Takçı, one of the four prosecutors involved in an investigation of trucks belonging to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) that were allegedly carrying weapons to radical groups in Syria, said in his defense statement to the Tarsus Second High Criminal court regarding the investigation of the MİT trucks, “Someone [in the government] had already sworn an oath to convict us [prosecutors investigating the MİT trucks]. We also know that some people [within the government] were pressuring the HSYK [Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors], saying, ‘Why aren’t the detentions [of prosecutors] happening sooner?’” said Takçı in his statement to the court, according to GriHat news portal.
Turkey has wanted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power ever since an uprising that started at the end of 2011 turned into a fully-fledged civil war in the neighboring country. Assad is a member of the Nusayri (Alawite) sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, whose members are a minority in both Syria and Turkey.
Describing the events that unfolded on Jan. 19, 2014, when trucks later found to belong to MİT were stopped in the Ceyhan district of Turkey’s southern Adana province en route to Syria, Takçı said: “When I went to the scene there were two trucks. A few stubbly bearded men, claiming to be MİT operatives, were shouting, swearing. As I had gone to the scene of the search, I had to look at what was there. [The trucks] were full to the brim with weapons…155mm [howitzer] shells, anti-aircraft munitions; I also saw munitions of different types and sizes.”
“I told the gendarmerie [present at the scene] to record these items, what else can a prosecutor do? Then out of nowhere, the chief public prosecutor of Adana, the chief police officer, and Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş [all] came to the scene with 400-500 riot police. The governor told me that Prime Minister [current President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan had called him and had said, ‘These trucks belong to MİT, we sent the weapons and ammunition. The prosecutor must leave the trucks, we are going to lay the [necessary] legal framework,’ several times,” said Takçı.
“In the meanwhile, Hüseyin Avni Coş was saying that he was going to obstruct this [investigation] even if it would mean his death. I told him, Mr. Governor, you don’t need to say such things. The state has laws. No one needs to die, if [as you say] the Prime Minister [Erdoğan] has called. Then I asked him to present me a [official] document with only a few sentences, which I could sign, and told him repeatedly that if the individuals who claimed they were MİT operatives gave their IDs, they could be released,” said Takçı.
Takçı said that after he had the license plate of the vehicle carrying the people claiming to be MİT operatives checked, he found that it belonged to suspects known to have affiliations with al-Qaeda. “Al-Qaeda is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Supreme Court of Appeals. It [Al-Qaeda] is on the ministerial cabinet list and the world’s list [of recognized terrorist organizations],” he said.
Takçı also said in his statement to the court that MİT operative Önder Sığırcıklıoğlu, who sold out a Syrian colonel who had defected to the Free Syrian Army from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) controlled by Assad for $100,000, was absolved of espionage charges while he was being charged with espionage for investigating the trucks.
Three MİT officials, including Sığırcıklıoğlu, were arrested in 2012 for allegedly abducting Col. Hussein Harmush, one of the most senior Syrian military officers to have defected to the opposition Free Syrian Army, from a Turkish refugee camp in the southern province of Hatay near the Syrian border and handing him to pro-Assad forces in Syria for $100,000.
As the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had formally charged five suspects, one of whom was a MİT regional official, for their supposed role in handing over Harmush to Syrian security forces, it appeared that MİT was deeply involved in the abduction. The suspects were sent to prison, where they face charges of political espionage.
Stating that there is no need for suspicion and that only a shred of doubt is enough for public prosecutors to act, Takçı said: “They [prosecutors] are asking me why I took [members of] the law enforcement agency with me. Who am I supposed to undertake the investigation with as a public prosecutor? Of course, with members of the law enforcement agency. Moreover there is talk of a truck full of weapons.”
“Who can carry a truckload of weapons? You don’t have to be a public prosecutor to know that such a crime is being has the suspicion of being [affiliated to] terrorism,” he said.
Pointing out that, after he had ordered the trucks to be stopped and searched, another vehicle carrying individuals claiming to be MİT agents came to the scene, Takçı stated that the newly arrived operatives started to argue with gendarmerie personnel at the scene, demanding the search be stopped, even using curses insulting Takçı’s mother. Takçı said, “I wanted to see their identification, but they refused, so I told [the gendarmes] to keep them under control while the search was going on.”
Admitting that one of the operatives had later complied with his request to show identification, Takçı emphasized: “The people in civilian vehicle, which came later, these weren’t the people in the trucks. I have to be frank: Even if the undersecretary of MİT had come, he would have had to make his connection to the trucks very clear.”
Even if the trucks were proven to belong to MİT, as the prosecutor, he would have had to collect any evidence before it was lost, Takçı explained, adding: “A MİT operative was caught in Van [province] with a substantial amount of drugs on his person, no one said to him, ‘Oh, you’re a MİT agent, [sorry].’ The evidence was put forward, and he was detained, arrested and later convicted… Those who are caught smuggling 50 kilograms of drugs are to be convicted, while those who are caught smuggling three trucks worth of weapons are to be let go? What a country to live in!
“Is this [government] always going to remain? Is there always going to be this ruling party? In the future, the political landscape will change and another party will come [into power],” he remarked, continuing: “The [new] ruling administration will come and say to me: ‘Why did you not see these pieces of evidence? Why did you allow this car to leave? Come and account for your actions.’ Are we to change our decisions based on the political party in power right now? I consider this to be dishonorable. If a judge or a prosecutor renders a decision according to the [views of the] current political party, then that person is the most base, most parasitical, most dishonorable person there is, as I would be, if I had let my actions be influenced by the party in power.”
Another of the four prosecutors involved in the investigation, and currently under arrest, Ahmet Karaca, said in his defense statement that, before the investigation into the trucks belonging to MİT had begun, an investigation into rocket warheads found in the province of Adana was already underway, adding: “The driver of [one of] the trucks said, ‘I’ve taken 2 loads like this before. I deposited them at the same spot,’ and the place he indicated, close to the Turkish-Syrian border, is, unfortunately the place where the terrorist organization [the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)] now holds camp.”
A total of 935 rocket warheads, manufactured in Adana and Konya provinces, had been seized from a truck in the southern province, then-Governor of Adana Hüseyin Avni Coş told media in 2013.
Pointing out that 85 citizens had lost their lives in terrorist attacks between 2012 and 2013, and that the investigation into the trucks is now open to the public, Karaca stated, “Those trucks were full to the brim with weapons.” He expressed his grief at being persecuted for simply performing his duty, stating: “If you find one piece of evidence linking me to crime, I’m willing to serve time without even the need to submit a defense. Send me [to jail] and I’ll go without blinking an eye.”
[The Chinese play by different rules than Russia, making Obama’s meddling and provocations in the S. China Sea even more dangerous than in Ukraine, with even more unpredictable reactions.]
The Chinese Navy has staged a large-scale amphibious landing drill in the South China Sea amid heightened tensions in the region, China’s state Broadcaster CCTV reported on Monday.
According to CCTV, the drill involved a landing brigade, marine corps, amphibious forces and navy helicopter units.
Chinese media reported “Bison class” amphibious hovercrafts were deployed during the drill for the first time.
The hovercrafts can carry three heavy tanks, or ten armored vehicles with 140 soldiers on board, CCTV reported.
Reports of the drill followed a seven-hour surveillance flight by the new US commander of the Pacific Fleet over the South China Sea, particularly over the West Philippine Sea, on board one of America’s newest spy planes.
The CCTV report did not identify the specific area of the drill.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, Japan emphasized China as a threat in escalating regional tensions in this year’s annual defense report.
The report raised concerns over China’s recent reclamation work in the South China Sea, saying it had escalated regional tensions.
Territorial disputes involving China, the Philippines and several others have flared on and off for years, creating fears that the South China Sea could spark Asia’s next major armed conflict.
BAGHDAD – There is concern within the Iraqi central government that Qatari diplomats are making a direct trip to Erbil without visiting Baghdad officials first.
State of Law MP Aliyeh Nousaif claims that the Qatari Foreign Minister has violated diplomatic protocol by visiting Erbil directly and treating the Kurdistan Region President as the head of an independent state.
“Massoud Barzani is acting like the president of an independent country against the central government in Baghdad,” she said.
Qatari Foreign Minister Khaleed bin-Mouhammed al-Atiyyeh visited Erbil on Sunday 19th July to meet with senior Kurdish officials including President Massoud Barzani.
Aliyeh released which expressed his concerns, saying that the Qatari foreign minister violated international and diplomatic principles by visiting the region directly and neglecting officials in the capital.
Furthermore, Aliyeh accuses the Qatari government of supporting Islamic State (IS) and promoting the division of Iraq.
“No longer possible to distinguish ISIS members from the Turkish intelligence agents.”
SURUC – The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in a statement blamed the recent suicide attack in Suruc on the Turkish government.The KCK, the executive council of the PKK, accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of creating the Islamic State threat in Syria and Turkey, and that it was ‘no longer possible to distinguish ISIS members from the Turkish intelligence agents’.
According to the PKK the AKP government supports ISIS in order to undermine the Syrian Kurds in Syria. “As a result of this policy, the border between Turkey and Syria became a haven for ISIS and gangs from all over the world used this border for logistical and mobilization purposes,” the PKK said.
“It is obvious that responsibility for this massacre is of the Turkish state that unrestrainedly commits massacres on the basis of animosity towards Kurds,” the PKK added.
The PKK finally called on the Kurds and democratic powers to enhance the struggle against the AKP government.
Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) called on Kurds on Monday to provide for their own security and also blamed the Turkish government for the attacks.
The Kurdish leader called on people to protest the massacre in Turkey everywhere.
At least 28 civilians were killed in suicide attack in the town of Suruc on Monday morning.
Turkish officials suggest the attack was carried out by the Islamic state.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned the bombing.
Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan condemned the “despicable” incident on Twitter, saying such terrorist attacks on Turkey’s integrity and peace would never reach their goal, the Daily Sabah reported.
The US-led exercises, which see annual Saber Guardian and Rapid Trident drills combined, were launched on Monday near the city of Lvov in western Ukraine and are scheduled to continue until the end of July.
“Multinational exercises have been conducted in Ukraine since 1995, however it is safe to say that this is the largest multinational exercise held in Ukraine to date,” Don Wrenn public affairs public affairs specialist for US Army Europe is cited by Newsweek.
Besides Ukraine and the US, the troops from Germany, Spain, Turkey, Canada, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as non-members Serbia, Moldova, Georgia and Azerbaijan are participating in the exercises.
“It is not anything to do with the political situation. This exercise was planned ahead of time. Countries were notified that it would occur and we can’t directly connect with the situation going on,” Wrenn stressed.
However, during the flag rising ceremony, Ukrainian forces commander, Oleksandr Syvak, said that the war games “display a broad support for Ukraine in its struggle for freedom and sovereignty,” UPI reported.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned that NATO drills in western Ukraine threaten the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the east of the country.
NATO’s actions are fueling “revanchist moods among the ‘party of war’ in Kiev, which jeopardize the outlined progress in the peaceful settlement of a deep internal crisis in Ukraine,” the ministry said in a statement.
Moscow has called the drills “a clear manifestation of the NATO’s course of unconditional support for the current policy of the Kiev authorities in the south-east of Ukraine, which leads to civilians dying on a daily basis in the region.”
Over 6,500 were killed during 15-month-long conflict between Kiev and the rebels in the south-eat of Ukraine.
The fighting broke out in April 2014 after the new Ukrainian government sent its troops to Donbass to quiet the local population, which refused to recognize the violent coup in the capital.
Despite NATO leaders vocally urging the fulfilment of the Minsk peace deal between Kiev and the Rebels, the bloc “isn’t only reluctant to acknowledge the explosive character of such exercises, but significantly increased their scope and the number of troops involved in comparison with similar drills last year,” Russia’s foreign ministry stressed.
The flag has come down, and that’s not a bad thing. But never forget, from the earliest days of our country through the early part of the 20th century, the U.S. government allowed, encouraged, aided and committed one of the largest genocides in the history of the world. While those in the South enslaved individuals to steal the riches of their labor, the U.S. government destroyed whole nations to steal the wealth of their lands.
I’m sure some native Americans look at the Stars and Stripes and feel even worse than African-Americans feel seeing the Stars and Bars — because they still have to live under the flag of the country that stole their ancestral lands, raped and murdered their forebears, forced the survivors into large prisons euphemistically called “reservations” and destroyed their way of life.
I have a modest proposal. Before we start taking down monuments to those who fought for the South, maybe first we should cleanse our actual government: Take down all statues honoring presidents, governors and legislators who served up until the 20th century. They oversaw state-sponsored terrorism on an unprecedented scale. Also, take down any monuments honoring the soldiers, Texas Rangers, settlers and others who “won the West.” Finally, we should furl the Stars and Stripes and come up with a new banner that doesn’t symbolize death of one’s culture to a portion of our citizens.
If we’re going to cleanse our history of evil doers, we should do it right, right?
Larry E. Turner
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — At least 27 people were killed and 100 others wounded by a suicide bomber who detonated himself in a crowd of students on Monday in the southern Turkish town of Suruc, a local official said.
According to a Rudaw reporter at the scene, scores of dead bodies were strewn across the explosion site, the cultural center of the Socialist Students Federation. The Turkish government said 27 people were killed, but other death tolls vary as details emerge. Ismail Kaplan, an official in Suruc with the People’s Democratic Party, said at least 50 people had been killed by the blast.
The explosion took place during a press conference held to announce the federation’s plans to help rebuild the war-torn town of Kobani in the ethnically Kurdish region of northern Syria known as Rojava.
The border town of Suruc, known to Kurds as Pirsus, is a 25-minute drive north of Kobani.
Kobani was the scene of months of fierce battles between Kurdish groups and the Islamic State. Many residents who fled the violence resettled in Suruc.
The propaganda leaflets were reported to have been dropped on the city on Sunday, a resistance group called ‘Raqqa is Being Silently Slaughtered’ reported. They depicted four fighters wearing insignia of the Kurdish militia walking down a road with dozens of blooded bodies of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters lying down on sidewalks. The cartoonish picture has two words in Arabic saying “Freedom will come.”
The act of physiological warfare comes as fighters of Kurdish militia advanced as close as 50km towards Raqqa from northern Syria, AP reported.
The gruesome cartoons used by the coalition are a far cry from the brutality IS itself uses to promote their cause. The militants regularly release videos of executions of their captives. On Friday it published a video showing beheading of a Syrian army officer by a teen fighter.
The air campaign over the weekend also bombed several targets, including tactical units, tunnels, buildings and weaponry in six Iraqi cities, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Sunday. Six of the strikes were delivered in Ramadi. In Syria, the coalition conducted eight strikes around Hasakah and a ninth in Raqqa.
The militants on Friday carried out truck bombing of a crowded market in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province, killing 115 people. On Sunday, a series of bombings killed at least eight people and injured some two dozen others.
[Today, the Saudi press claims a major crackdown upon Daesh/ISIS cells, which had been dispensing the “deviant ideology” to local Saudis. The Saudi authorities claim to have disrupted 6 ongoing attacks in a sectarian plan to raise-up squads of anti-Shia terrorists. Were they really “ISIS,” or is ISIS just another handy lable, like “al Qaeda,” or “the Taliban”?]
[This mass arrest in Saudi comes ten days after Dubai reveals arrest of Qatari intelligence in UAE. It is claimed that the Qatari intelligence had been fundraising for multiple Sunni outfits in Iraq and Syria.]
Al Khaleej quoted the source as saying that the available information on the spy agents contradicted what the Qatari paper, Al Arab, had said that they were on a tourism trip.
Al Khaleej further quoted the UAE sources as dismissing Al Arab’s claim because “hundreds of Gulf citizens enter the UAE or move out daily without any encumbrance.”
“For that case, Qatar has to come out clearly and open in the execution of her foreign policies whether within the Gulf countries or in any other Arab nation other than opting for underhand methods that have eroded confidence in her political expedition,” Al Khaleej quoted the UAE source.
The source said that the recent congratulatory message sent by the Qatari Emir to the leaders in the GCC and other Arab nations meant to break the isolation Qatar is facing but the message “does not reflect the reality on the ground which is exemplified by the latest arrest of spies in the land of the UAE.”
The source further said; “It is, therefore, natural for the UAE to take strict measures in matters pertaining to espionage or threats to the country’s security and stability.
This in light of what Qatar has been involved in before particularly regarding the ambiguous relationship with one Abdulrahman Al Nuaimi of an Al Karama organisation that was bent at promoting the Brotherhood, a.k.a., “Al-Islah” militia and discrediting the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
“Similarly, there was another individual, Mahmoud Al Jaidah, who claimed in the Qatari media that he was a traveller passing by the UAE yet the fact is he was raising money to free some members of Islah aka Secret Organisation.”
“Qatari’s security operation deliberately undermines and creates a rift among the relationships of regional countries.”
July 17, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci – LD) – Once again, another convenient shooting has helped supercharge anger, hatred, fear, and division across the Western World after an alleged “Islamist extremist” opened fire on and killed 4 US Marines at a recruiting station in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Without any knowledge of how the US has in fact created Al Qaeda and its many global affiliates, including vicious terrorist groups plaguing Southeast Asia, and the most notorious to date, the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS), the American public will predictably react in a manner that will simply further justify America’s meddling across the globe amid its self-created and perpetuated “War on Terror.” It will also help in efforts to further tighten control over the American public itself, with increased justifications for expanding police state measures and future pushes to disarm the American people.
Yahoo News would report in their article, “Shootings at Chattanooga military facilities leave 4 Marines, gunman dead; act called ‘domestic terrorism‘,” that:
A U.S. official told the Associated Press that Abdulazeez had not been on the radar of federal law enforcement before Thursday’s shooting.
But also added:
His father had been investigated several years ago for “possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization” and added to the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a report in the New York Times, but that probe did not surface information about Abdulazeez, the paper said.
This means that yet another case of “domestic terror” has involved someone either investigated by the FBI, entrapped by an active FBI operation where FBI investigators posed as terrorist leaders and walked a patsy through every step of a terrorist attack before arresting them and thus “foiling” the attack, or linked directly to someone the FBI was investigating.
Ironically, the immense omnipresent police state the West has erected to combat the so-called “terrorist” threat, including the total surveillance of all communications online and across all telecommunication networks, at home and abroad under the National Security Agency (NSA) will only expand, despite it once again apparently failing, and despite attempts by special interests on Wall Street and in Washington to claim this latest attack “again” somehow circumvented these already sweeping measures.
Meanwhile, The US Continues Supporting Extremists Abroad
And while this latest attack is passed off as a “domestic terrorist attack” and the result of “Islamic extremists,” rather than a false flag event, the US continues to openly support the very “terrorists” it claims threatens its homeland and has inspired these sort of attacks.
Just recently, the Washington Post literally allowed a spokesman of Al Qaeda to defend his faction’s role in the fighting in Syria, and his condemnation of the United States for not rendering more aid for the cause of overrunning and destroying the Syrian nation – a goal the US itself is likewise pursuing.
Labib Al Nahhas, “head of foreign political relations” for terrorist organization Ahrar al-Sham, wrote in his Washington Post op-ed titled, “The deadly consequences of mislabeling Syria’s revolutionaries,” that:
Stuck inside their own bubble, White House policymakers have allocated millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to support failed CIA efforts to support so-called “moderate” forces in Syria. But these “moderate” groups have proved to be a disappointment on nearly every count, not least of all in confronting the Islamic State.
He also states:
That question should prompt Washington to admit that the Islamic State’s extremist ideology can be defeated only through a homegrown Sunni alternative — with the term “moderate” defined not by CIA handlers but by Syrians themselves.
Essentially, the Washington Post afforded a terrorist organization space to make an appeal to the American public for military support. Ahrar al-Sham regularly coordinates with and fights within operations led by Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front, a US State Department designated terrorist organization from which ISIS itself sprung.
Al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham are described as the “closest” of allies by Western think-tanks and media reports. It is also revealed that Ahrar al-Sham worked along side ISIS itself.
A Stanford University report under “Mapping Militant Organizations” explained (emphasis added):
Ahrar al-Sham quickly became one of the largest military organizations operating in Syria, and it has been active in efforts to unite the Islamist opposition under a single banner. It rejects the idea of Western intervention but sometimes works alongside Free Syrian Army brigades. It routinely cooperates with al-Nusra and, until relations soured in 2013, also worked with ISIS. In February 2014, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence called Ahrar al-Sham one of the three most effective rebel groups in Syria.
The Washington Post isn’t the only voice in the Western media promoting Al Qaeda. Foreign Policy in 2012 abhorrently proclaimed, “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists: So the rebels aren’t secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn’t much matter.” As much as an admission that the US is backing what is essentially terrorism in Syria, the Foreign Policy article attempted even then to promote the alleged “pragmatism” of supporting Al Qaeda to eliminate America’s foreign enemies.
|Image: 100’s of trucks a day pass over Turkey’s border with Syria, destined for ISIS territory. NATO literally is supplying ISIS with an endless torrent of supplies, weapons, and fighters meaning that no matter how many token airstrikes the US carries out, many times more fighters and materiel will fill the void.|
And while Foreign Policy and terrorists writing in the pages of the Washington Post demand more weapons and support from the West, it is already a documented fact that immense and constantly flowing supply convoys are streaming out of both NATO-member Turkey and US-ally Jordan’s territory, into Syria and Iraq, for the purpose of resupplying ISIS. This explains ISIS’ otherwise inexplicable ability to not only maintain its impressive fighting capacity as it simultaneously wages war against both the Syrian and Iraqi armies, but to expand its fighting to all fronts opposed to US regional hegemony.
This includes Yemen, Libya, and even Egypt where ISIS most recently managed to hit an Egyptian naval vessel with a missile. Foreign Policy would again weigh in. Their article, “Islamic State Sinai Affiliate Claims to Have Hit Egyptian Ship With Missile,” states:
The use of a guided missile to strike an Egyptian ship represents a higher level of technological sophistication than what has been previously observed in Sinai attacks. It is unclear, however, exactly what kind of missile was used in the attack, beyond the militant group’s claim that it was a guided munition.
Militant groups in the region have in the past used guided missiles to attack government ships in the Mediterranean. During the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, an Iranian anti-ship missile fired by the militant group struck the Israeli warship Hanit, badly damaging the vessel and killing four crew members.
Of course, Foreign Policy and others across the Western media will be quick to point out that Hezbollah is a state-sponsored militant organization which receives its weapons from Syria and Iran. The question then becomes how ISIS replicated this level of “technological sophistication,” and which state-sponsors put the missiles into their hands.
The US supporting Al Qaeda is not really news. Al Qaeda was initially a joint US-Saudi venture to create a mercenary army to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980’s. This mercenary army would again fight Russian interests in Serbia and Chechnya before eventually being used as the pretext for US invasions and occupations of both Afghanistan and Iraq from 2001 onward. In 2007, it was revealed that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel sought to use the terrorist organization to raise a proxy military front to overthrow Syria and Iran. The resulting bloodbath in Syria beginning in 2011 is the operational execution of this documented conspiracy.
Al Qaeda and its various affiliates serve both as a proxy mercenary front to strike where Western forces cannot, and a pretext to invade abroad. It also serves as a constant justification for increased tyranny at home. With the most recent shooting carried out by yet another target of the FBI’s “investigations,” and the predictable divisive backlash that will follow, it is assured that the American public will be further blinded to the fact that this so-called “Islamic extremism” was born in Washington and on Wall Street, in Riyadh and Tel Aviv, not in a mosque or springing forth from the pages of the Qu’ran.
In fact, the vast majority of the world’s Islamic people are locked in mortal combat with the West’s mercenary terrorist forces, with tens of thousands of them having shed their blood fighting Al Qaeda everywhere from Libya to Egypt, to Iraq and Syria. While the US attempts to pose as the leading power in the fight against extremism, its token airstrikes deep within Syrian territory are quickly undone by the torrent of supplies it itself oversees flooding into Syrian territory. For every fighter killed by a US airstrike, 10 more are being trafficked in through US and NATO-run networks stretching as far afield as Xinjiang, China.
The US presence in Iraq and Syria serves simply as one of several planned stepping stones to eventually and directly intervene militarily in toppling either or both governments, before moving on to Tehran.
The “War on Terror” is a fraud, and each “terrorist attack” a carefully orchestrated means of further perpetuating that fraud.
Local militias backed by Saudi Arabia, special forces from the United Arab Emirates and al Qaeda militants all fought on the same side this week to wrest back control over most of Yemen’s second city, Aden, from pro-Iranian Houthi rebels, according to local residents and Houthi forces.
As Yemen’s conflict degenerates into a precarious tangle of alliances, it poses a new quandary for the U.S. Yemen was a cornerstone of the American global counterterrorism strategy until earlier this year when the Houthis drove out a government that was working with Washington. The U.S. then backed a Saudi-led coalition that launched airstrikes against the Houthis in March.
Although the U.S. continues to conduct separate airstrikes targeting AQAP militants in Yemen, its plans to build a robust counterterrorism force in the country to deny al Qaeda a haven have been wiped out. Yemen has been a staging ground for several global terrorist attacks.
Meanwhile, Saudi-backed militias are spearheading efforts to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate the government that the rebels drove into exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia. But they have turned to Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, for help, according to local residents and a senior Western diplomat. This puts the U.S.-allied Gulf kingdom on the same side as one of the world’s most notorious extremist groups.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.
The AQAP militants are exploiting the chaos to expand across Yemen, according to Western officials. At the same time, the regional coalition has been criticized for ignoring the group’s territorial gains since the onset of the conflict, while relentlessly targeting Houthi rebels.
Houthi forces and their allies said special forces from the U.A.E.—one of the chief Saudi partners in the Yemen military campaign—fought alongside the Saudi-backed militias in the southern city this week. They said they captured a few of the Emiratis, interrogated them and found Emirati identity documents on them.
The U.A.E.’s state news agency reported Thursday that an Emirati serviceman died fighting in Yemen—the first public acknowledgment that foreign forces from the coalition are on the ground in Yemen. Emirati government officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The Yemen conflict was sparked when the Houthis seized control of the government in the capital San’a in February and forced the government’s resignation. Until this week, the Houthis controlled most of Aden with the sea and air ports being key footholds. But in the past few days, control over those ports and the bulk of the city has reverted to the other side as the Saudi-led coalition ramped up efforts to reclaim the city to restore the ousted government.
There were conflicting reports that several exiled officials of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government returned to Aden in the wake of the victory to try to set up a parallel government. A leader of a Saudi-backed militia said two government ministers and an intelligence official allied with Mr. Hadi came back on Thursday. Yemeni government officials denied that they had arrived in Aden, but said there is a plan to bring members of the exiled leadership back to the port city imminently.
The local militias used trucks and weapons supplied by the Saudi-led military coalition to finally push the Houthis out of the Aden ports after a five-month battle, local residents said. AQAP militants celebrated the victory alongside the militias, parading cadavers of Houthis on a main commercial street in the city to a cheering crowd, according to residents and video posted online on Monday.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether AQAP and the Emirati-backed militias fought side by side, or battled the Houthis separately in different parts of the city.
Aden wasn’t the first victory for AQAP in this conflict. In April, the group captured al-Mukalla, the country’s largest eastern seaport. The Saudi-backed militias have also acknowledged that they fought with AQAP against the Houthis in Ataq, the capital of Shabwa province, earlier this year.
Since 2011, the U.S. has spent nearly $500 million to train and equip Yemen’s security forces to battle AQAP. The U.S. has also backed the Saudi-led regional coalition with intelligence and logistical support since it formed in March, imposing a crippling aerial and naval blockade across Yemen.
American officials acknowledge that AQAP is one of the war’s biggest benefactors, but say Houthi rebels are ultimately to blame for overthrowing the government in February and sparking the conflict.
AQAP, which claimed responsibility for the January assault on a French satirical magazine in Paris that killed 12 people, has the longest reach of any of the world’s terrorist organizations and is the most capable of orchestrating global attacks, U.S. officials say.
“Unfortunately, in many areas, the locals and tribes are turning to AQAP to halt the Houthi advance,” said a senior Western diplomat in the region, acknowledging the support that Saudi-backed militias are receiving from al Qaeda militants.
“They are turning to anybody who will help them resist against the Houthis,” the diplomat added.
The Shiite-linked Houthis have repeatedly accused the Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia of working with the Sunni extremists of al Qaeda—a group the kingdom publicly says it is battling—to check the influence of rival Iran. Saudi Arabia has supported radical jihadist groups in past regional conflicts, although the monarchy is currently battling a rise of extremism at home.
Earlier this year, a spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition acknowledged that the alliance was providing weapons to Yemeni militias that support the ousted government. But he denied those militias were fighting alongside AQAP. The allied militias, known as popular committees, often receive the Saudi support via airdrops.
This week, the popular committees retook several neighborhoods in Aden from Houthi rebels under the cover of dozens of Saudi airstrikes before reclaiming the airport on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the city’s seaport also fell to the Saudi-led alliance, a crucial win for the efforts to reinstall the ousted government, the Western diplomat said.
But As the popular committees fanned out across Aden, residents were surprised to see AQAP militants swarm the city alongside them.
“I’m confused over who has captured Aden, seeing al Qaeda flags flying in some parts [of the city] and on dozens of armored vehicles,” said a resident.
Another resident living in Crater, a neighborhood in Aden just south of the city’s airport, described the scene similarly.
“We were surprised to see some fighters raising al Qaeda flags and dragging some rebels on the streets of Crater tonight,” said the second resident.
Saudi Arabia cobbled together a regional coalition to intervene in Yemen in March, after Houthi rebels forced President Hadi to flee the country from Aden, where he had moved his government after fleeing San’a. Mr. Hadi and his government are currently operating in exile from Saudi Arabia.
In April, AQAP overran al-Mukalla, Yemen’s most significant eastern seaport located in Hadramout province, looting the central bank and staging a prison break to free some of its operatives. AQAP jointly runs the city with local tribes, according to residents. They have renamed their forces the “Sons of Hadramout,” and imposed elements of their brand of strict Islamic law in the city, banning the chewing of khat, a mild narcotic.
Tribes that rule the city jointly with AQAP have received some Saudi support, residents say, including fuel to keep the city running.
Write to Maria Abi-Habib at firstname.lastname@example.org
Four members of the military were killed in two attacks on military centers in separate parts of Chattanooga by an unknown gunman, leading to lockdowns at local hospitals as well as the Army Recruiting Center on Lee highway as well as the Naval and Marine Reserve Center at the Chattanooga Riverpark, where shots were fired.
A single shooter, described by witnesses as a white man driving a silver Ford Mustang convertible, began firing shots at 10:45 am.m. at the Lee Highway recruiting center, then led police on a chase to the Amnicola Highway location, where further shots were fired.
A U.S. official says the gunman in the shootings in Tennessee has been identified as 24-year-old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez, according to the Associated Press.
He was believed to have been born in Kuwait, and it was unclear whether he was a U.S. or Kuwaiti citizen. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing, sensitive investigation. It was not immediately clear whether the gunman’s first name was spelled Muhammad or Mohammad.
A man named Youssuf Abdulazeez attended UTC, spokesman Chuck Cantrell said, and graduated in 2012 with a degree in engineering.
Abdulazeez is from Hixson, Tennessee, which is just a few miles across the river from Chattanooga. He was booked for a DUI in April 2015.
Police in Hixson kicked a reporter out of the neighborhood that contained a house apparently owned by Abdulazeez. The reporter saw a SWAT team and FBI agents staging at a nearby strip mall. The house, which Hamilton County records is owned by Youssuf S. Abdulazeez, is appraised at $206,100 by the Hamilton County Assessor of Property.
Abdulazeez allegedly killed four Marines and shot one police officer in the attack at Amnicola Highway. A soldier and a police officer were wounded in the attack, according to the Associated Press. Dennis Pedigo, a Chattanooga police officer, is in stable condition.
Abdulazeez’s father, Youssuf Abdullazeez, was appointed as a “special policeman” for Chattanooga’s Department of Public Works in March 2005.
Erlanger’s Trauma Center received three shooting victims, a Chattanooga police officer and two members of the military. One of those patients was discharged from Erlanger this afternoon; the other two are still being treated.
Officials have said the shooter is dead and that the active shooting situation has ended. The shooter did not work at either of the facilities, according to the FBI. Today’s attack came with no warning, the FBI said.
A sign on the outside of the Lee Highway location had a “no guns allowed” sign posted. During the news conference, the FBI confirmed that guns were generally prohibited at federal facilities.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam called the situation a “tragedy” and “sickening.” The Governor’s mansion, along with many other sensitive facilities in the region, was put under heightened security immediately following the shootings.
U.S. Attorney Bill Killian said during a press conference that he would classify the violence as an “act of domestic terrorism.”
During the attack on Amnicola Highway, numerous Chattanooga and Hamilton County officers “actively and enthusiastically” engaged the suspect, said Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher.
Witnesses at both the Amnicola and Lee Highway sites reported hearing multiple gunshots in each case, with the bulk of the firing happing at the Amnicola Highway location. Shortly after the shooting, blue markers littered the ground outside the recruiting station on Lee Highway where shots were fired, and police completely blocked off Amnicola Highway to traffic.
A photo taken after the attack from a helicopter and posted on Twitter showed the shooter’s Ford Mustang with doors opened, parked next to a bent gate that was positioned in such a way that it appeared to have been rammed by the vehicle.
President Obama has been briefed on the situation, and multiple law enforcement agencies have responded to the scene, including the FBI.
Carolyn Taylor, who works at Binswanger Glass across Amnicola Highway from the incident site, said she heard what sounded like over 100 gunshots.
“It was eight, 10 rounds at a time,” she said. “Several people were shooting.”
Taylor said the police arrived and took the employees behind the building and later let them back inside.
She said the business was still locked down more than two hours after the shooting and police were bringing food into the employees.
At Lee highway, witnesses also reported hearing multiple gunshots.
Nicholas Donahue, an employee at Desktop Solutions, said there were two groups of four to eight shots.
Another witness said he saw the shooter drive away at high speed after the shooting there.
Toscano Italian Grill co-owner Mohamed Elbardissy heard shots and saw the shooter drive away at high speed.
“He was driving a silver, convertible Mustang — a white guy,” Elbardissy said.
“One of the guys, he got shot in his leg,” Elbardissy said. “He was trying to join the Navy.”
Victims were rushed to Erlanger, where police officers put the hospital on lockdown. Shortly after the shooting, there were more than half a dozen police cars with lights flashing, and ambulances arrived one after another.
Police officers at Erlanger guarded the door with high powered rifles and ordered the news media across the street.
Erlanger CEO told a reporter the hospital was on lockdown “so that we could actively manage the disaster.”
At one point, officers closed a curtain outside the Emergency Room, obscuring the ambulance from public view. They continued to work on the person in the ambulance for several minutes before bringing him inside the hospital. He appeared to be awake and sitting up.
Family members arrived later and were escorted inside by other police officers, who put their arms around the women.
Bruce Gans, owner of Tri-State Pools at 6220 Perimeter Drive, near Lee Highway where the shooting occurred at the U.S. Naval Recruiting Station, heard at least three gunshots this morning.
“We had the back door of the store open when we heard ‘Pop, pop, pop,’ which sounded liked an AR-15. Within minutes, it seemed, cops were all over the place. We heard rumors that five Marines had been killed. We locked the doors.”
“I just heard all the shooting,” said Fred Wright, a counter salesman at Carquest Auto Parts downhill from the U.S. Army Recruiting Office at 6219 Lee Hwy.
Then Wright saw recruiting office personnel come running.
“All of them starting running through the brush and the briars,” Wright said. “One of them was yelling, ‘Call 911, someone’s shooting at us.'”
“Three of them came in here, and we called 911,” Wright said.
Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland, which also has a recruiting office, was also locked down after a “shots fired” call. However, after clearing the mall shortly before 2 p.m., police said that there was no shooting in Bradley County. It was set to reopen at 5 p.m.
Chattanooga State Community College, which is down the road from the shooting on Amnicola, was also on lockdown until further notice, said spokeswoman Eva Lewis.
Lewis said she could see Chattanooga Police and Chattanooga State patrol cars circling around campus.
A Rave alert was sent out to students warning those on campus to get inside and stay put and those with classes now and this afternoon to stay away, she said.
The lockdown was lifted after police said the “active shooter” situation was over, but Lewis said the campus will close for the day.
The campus was being closed for the day out of respect for the families of the victims, and in recognition of the emotional day for students’ parents and the students themselves, she said.
Chattanooga State’s campus on Amnicola HIghway will return to a normal schedule on Friday.
Cleveland, Tenn., police responded to reports of a shooter at Bradley Square Mall and the mall was locked down but no shots were ever fired, authorities said.
West’s counterpart at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Ed Ramsey, told the Times Free Press around 1:45 p.m.that the mall would reopen at 5 p.m.
“Everything’s back to normal,” Ramsey said.
About an hour after the shots were fired in Chattanooga, McMinn County Sheriff Joe Guy said officers were sent over to the area around the recruiting center in Athens, Tenn., “just as a precaution.”
Gerald McCormick, Tennessee house majority leader, said he was “deeply saddened to hear of today’s horrific events in our hometown of Chattanooga.”
“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. I have been in contact with state and local officials to monitor any developments. I have the utmost confidence in our law enforcement agencies to handle this situation in a swift and professional manner.”
Georgia has officially sent a letter of protest to Russia denouncing Russia’s “provocative actions” and unlawful claim over Georgian territory in a move called creeping occupation.
The country’s Foreign Ministry sent the official note today – five days after Russia erected new so-called border signs along the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) between Georgia’s breakaway Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia) and the rest of the country.
In the note, the Georgian side condemned its northern neighbour’s “provocative actions” in the strongest possible terms.
On July 10, Russian forces in occupied Tskhinvali installed banners marking the so-called “state border” on the territory adjacent to Tsitelubani village in Gori municipality and Orchosani village in occupied Akhalgori district, in close vicinity to the Tbilisi-Gori central highway.
These actions saw Russia’s occupational forces advance 2km into Georgian territory.
The letter of protest from Tbilisi to Moscow was sent through the Swiss Embassy as Switzerland has acted as a diplomatic mediator between Russia and Georgia since the two countries cut diplomatic relations after the August 2008 war.
Swiss Ambassador in Tbilisi Guenther Baechler was welcomed to Georgia’s Foreign Ministry earlier today where he was briefed about the situation along the ABL in Georgia and was asked to hand Tbilisi’s protest note to the Moscow authorities.
Baechler said this action of Russia needed to be met with “proper reaction”.
[Russia will not stop gas through Ukraine voluntarily, nor send it through Turkey and Greece. Between US pressure and conflicts over pricing, the West intends to take over Ukrainian market. Nabucco may yet be resurrected, under American oil co. terms.]
“If you look at the construction and plans of gas pipelines, one of the goals is to make the Ukrainian transit system less relevant, or to cut off supplies through Ukraine completely. This would have very negative consequences for energy security in Europe, because the Ukrainian transit is very important, it is the largest, at 140 billion cubic meters per year,” said Sefcovic speaking to journalists on Wednesday.
He said that if the purpose of the Turkish Stream project is to gradually empty the Ukrainian transit route, it is unacceptable for the EU, as it will change the balance of gas in Europe. It will put the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe in a very difficult situation, he added.
In July, the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said the agreement between Russia and Ukraine on gas transit to Europe would be prolonged after 2019, when the current transit contract expires, as there is no alternative to the Ukrainian route.
Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak and Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller have repeatedly said that Russia does not plan to renew the contract for gas transit through Ukrainian territory after 2019.
However, at the end of June Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed Miller to hold talks with Ukraine on the extension of the transit contract. Ukraine’s Naftogaz wants to raise the rate of transit from the current $2.70 to $5.00 per thousand cubic meters per 100 km, which is unacceptable to Russia.
Turkish Stream is intended to reduce gas transit through Ukraine. The 1,100 km pipeline that will have four lines and an annual capacity of up to 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas.
About 16 bcm will be supplied to Turkey; the remaining 47 bcm will go to a hub on the Greek – Turkish border, where the gas can be transported onwards to Europe.
However, the project has been facing difficulties. Last week Gazprom decided to sever an agreement with Italy’s Saipem as the major contractor, just as construction of the first part of the project under the Black Sea was about to start. The termination would not affect the construction schedule, as it is a technical issue, Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said.
In addition, Russia had planned to sign an intergovernmental agreement with Turkey on the project by the end of June, but it never happened. The new Turkish government hasn’t yet been formed after the parliamentary elections in early June. Turkish gas company Botas is expecting a discount from Gazprom, and is threatening the Russian company with court action if it doesn’t get it.
Once at the beginning of December, it was announced that the rejection of the “South Stream” in favor of the Turkish route, started a variety of speculation. The fact that the “Turkish Stream” – nothing more than blackmail our European Union, is still a lot of uncertainties, etc, etc.
Yes, and we assumed that the “South Stream” can still be implemented if the “Gazprom” will get full access to their own trumpet. But whether such a proposal had been received, or after the deterioration of political relations with the EU, it became clear that Russian investment in the European territory – is not the best time.
But if in 2019 the supply of gas through Ukraine will be stopped, the time for redrawing the route really “back to back”. And in recent days, events began to move over quickly.
Route “Turkish flow” is defined
First, determine the route “of the Turkish stream.” It will take place for the most part the sea route “South Stream”, but at the last stage of the route deviates from the old in order to enter the land is not on the Bulgarian and on nearby, the Turkish coast. Thus, the fuel will flow into the western (European) part of Turkey.
Recall that there was an alternative – albeit “Turkish Stream” parallel actions “Blue Stream”, which goes on almost the shortest sea route between the two countries, bringing gas into the central part of Turkey.
That is the route chosen longer, but his logic is clear.
First, Turkey will receive their part of the Russian gas where it gets it right now. After all, in addition to direct “Blue Stream” in Turkey are supplies of Russian gas through Ukraine (about 12 billion cubic meters per year) and the territory of Europe (on the Burgas-Alexandroupoli pipeline). From the point of entry to Turkey, of course, just to the west of the country.
Secondly, in such a case it would need a minimum of new land infrastructure Turkish territory. (Otherwise, we would have to build a pipe from the center of Turkey to the western border.)
Thirdly, in this version of the “Gazprom” is still room for maneuver. First will be laid one thread (15.75 billion cubic meters, has already announced that the first gas will go through it in December 2016), the fuel is completely or almost completely accepted the will of the Turkish market.
A further action on new NITC will depend on whether there will be willing to European partners to take gas from the new hub. For additional pave marine thread will be easier and faster (though more expensive) than prepare a complete project overland route through Turkey, the construction of which would have to run at the last minute – when and if there will be certainty of the EU.
At the same time, Turkey is traded for additional discounts on the current supply of Russian gas (Ankara wants 15% more in December, Moscow proposed 6%). But “Gazprom” is adamant. It is understandable – the emergence of gas hub with a base in the form of Russian gas is beneficial for Turkey itself. And oil prices have fallen, which means that the gas would be already quite cheap.
Advances in the EU
Meanwhile, even within the EU there are already possible outlines of a new route. As it became known recently, Hungary is already in talks with Greece, Serbia and Macedonia on the supply of Russian gas to Central Europe through the new pipeline through Turkey.
While there is no certainty, the most active countries are trying to score for a future transit status. In addition, it is clear that the role of the “instigators” of the new route Hungary fits most. For the EU as a whole reacted very cool to the idea of change supply routes for Russian gas, and Hungary – one of the few “frondiruyuschih” countries on the relationship of Russia and the West. And this year, “Gazprom” stores in Hungary about 700 million cubic meters of gas from its reserves, uploaded directly to Europe.
The most difficult thing that you need to solve the “Gazprom”, – changes in contractual arrangements on the new point of delivery-acceptance of Russian gas. Rather, the parties agree amicably. The alternative – a unilateral refusal of “Gazprom” on the Ukrainian transit due to force majeure, which objectively probable.
In this context, an interesting message came on Wednesday. “Gazprom” and Austria’s OMV have “amendments to the long-term contract for the supply of gas, taking into account changing market conditions.” The amendments – was not disclosed. Perhaps we are talking about raising the spot price component in the formula.
At the same time, the parties stressed the role of the Austrian Baumgarten as an important hub for Russian gas exports. (Now this is the main point of delivery of Russian gas to Central Europe.)
That is already Austria fears that after the change of the route status of the hub will fall. And, accordingly, will try to get gas for the new route still came to her.
Northern Europe: instead of the tube LNG
At the same time news came from northern Europe. “Gazprom” is not going to expand the “Nord Stream”. (This expansion was to bring the “Nord Stream” to the UK.) In fact, to expand silly when he is half-empty “Nord Stream” in Germany. As well as the contact tubes with Britain in the current realities.
On top of this it means that the total European market to be delivered less Russian gas – which means that no southbound exports will be more difficult to manage.
A few days earlier, in “Gazprom” was a meeting on the project “Baltic LNG” in Ust-Luga. Capacity – 10 million tons per year, expandable to 15 million. The final investment decision has been made yet, but monopoly, apparently determined.
In the context of an expected surplus of LNG plant construction market can be explained by the following considerations.
The first plans for bunkering LNG: to take place in the emerging LNG market in the region as a marine fuel.
Secondly, we can offer the same UK LNG instead of pipeline gas – if strongly needed.
Third, the LNG can be insured in the case in southern Europe, all countries in the period will not be able to finish its pipeline infrastructure. Then the missing volumes can be run on the European market through one of the LNG terminals. 10 million tons of LNG – is 14 billion cubic meters of gas.
“The successful resolution of the nuclear issue does not eliminate the need for (creating) missile to counter the Iranian missile threat. That is why a new UN Security Council resolution, which will be codified joint comprehensive action plan, will keep the UN sanctions against Iran’s ballistic program for eight years “- leads the RIA” Novosti “words of the representative gosdepartamenta.Vo Tuesday Iran and” six “international mediators We reached a historic agreement on the atom after 10 years of negotiations.
Difficult negotiations culminated in the adoption of the joint comprehensive action plan, the implementation of which will remove completely with Iran earlier economic and financial sanctions by the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union.
The document reads that Tehran has agreed not to enrich uranium in excess of 3.67% for 15 years.
“Six” and Iran have agreed to boost economic cooperation and provide access to all features of Iran’s foreign trade, as well as financial and energy resources.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that US President Barack Obama in his speech in Prague on 5 April 2009 stated that after the settlement of the situation around Iran’s nuclear problem of the European segment of the ABM will lose relevance.
Leaked footage obtained from a staffer of US Senator John McCain shows the making of an ISIL “execution” video similar to the videos portraying the beheading of James Foley and other victims.
In the three-and-a-half minute video, ISIL executioner Jihadi John (aka Mohammed Emwazi) can be seen standing in front of a green screen, beside a kneeling hostage wearing an orange jumpsuit and a green screen hood in a fully equipped studio in the presence of a production crew, the Leaksource website recently reported.
The desert style set and wind machine effects, share similarities to the beheading videos ISIL released of Steven Sotloff, David Haines, and Alan Henning.
The following is an example showing the similarities between the leaked footage and Foley’s alleged beheading.
According to the report, the video was obtained in Ukraine from the cellphone of a member of McCain’s staff by the Hactivist group, CyberBerkut.
“Dear Senator McCain! We recommend you next time in foreign travel, and especially on the territory of Ukraine, not to take confidential documents.
On one of the devices of your colleagues, we found a lot of interesting things. Something we decided to put: this video should become the property of the international community!” the group is quoted as saying in the report.
MacCain’s ironic response to the claims can be seen below.
According to British forensic experts, Foley’s execution was probably staged with the use of “camera trickery and slick post-production techniques.”
A terrorism expert stated that the videos of Japanese hostages Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa was probably taken in an indoor studio.
The ISIL video purporting to show the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya is also fake, said Hollywood horror film director Mary Lambert.
“In the opening shot all the figures might be animated. They never had more than six men on the beach… The close-ups of jihadists on the beach are most likely green screen… The sea turning red is obviously FX,” she said.
LEBANON (BBC) | Aden Tribune – Lebanese security forces have detained a wife and son of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi near the border with Syria, the army says.
The pair, whose names were not given, were picked up by military intelligence after entering Lebanon 10 days ago.
The al-Safir newspaper reported that Baghdadi’s wife was being questioned at the Lebanese defence ministry.
In June, Baghdadi was named the leader of the “caliphate” created by IS in the parts of Syria and Iraq it controls.
Last month, the group denied reports that he had been killed or injured in an air strike by US-led forces near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
It released an audio recording purportedly of Baghdadi in which he said the caliphate was expanding and called for “volcanoes of jihad” to erupt.
Describing them as “a valuable catch”, al-Safir said that, in co-ordination with foreign intelligence services, the IS leader’s wife and son were detained at a border crossing near the town of Arsal while trying to enter Lebanon from Syria with forged papers.
They were currently being held for interrogation at the defence ministry’s headquarters in al-Yarza, in the hills overlooking Beirut, it added.
A security source told the AFP news agency that the woman was a Syrian citizen and that her son was eight or nine years old.
“It is his second wife,” the source added.
Since early April, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has controlled Yemen’s fifth largest city, Mukkalla, and much of the surrounding governorate of Hadramawt. The Hadramawt is Yemen’s largest governorate and home of about one-third of Yemen’s oil production before the war. Mukkalla is the country’s second largest port on the Indian Ocean after Aden. Hundreds of AQAP supporters have gone to Mukkalla after jail breaks in other parts of Yemen since the start of the war.
AQAP rules Mukkalla in association with other local Salafist groups. Initially, it avoided imposing strict Islamic law to keep public support. It officially banned qat chewing, the drug enjoyed by most Yemenis, but enforcement was apparently nominal at first. Now, AQAP is becoming more rigorous — religious police enforce strict rules on behavior, Sufi religious sites have been destroyed, and the ban on qat is becoming more strict.
AQAP faces opposition in Hadramawt from the Islamic State, which has carried out small attacks there. Northern Hadramawt is controlled by Yemeni army forces loyal to former president Ali Abdallah Saleh, but they generally avoid conflict with AQAP.
American drones have struck Al Qaeda targets in and around Mukkalla with significant success since April, including killing AQAP leader Nasir Al Wuhayshi in June. Wuhayshi reportedly was not targeted specifically; a so-called signature strike killed him. He was immediately replaced as emir of the group by Qasim al Raymi, the military commander of AQAP. He was involved in the 2009 attempt to blow up an airliner en route to Detroit from Amsterdam on Christmas Day.
From its base in Hadramawt, AQAP carries out deadly terrorist attacks on Houthi targets in Sanaa and other cities. Using the base in Mukkalla, the jihadists target Shia mosques, Houthi leaders and patrols, and other targets.
Since the start of the Yemen war, the Royal Saudi Air Force and its coalition partners have not targeted AQAP’s Hadramawt emirate. It has not been subjected at all to the bombing other Yemeni cities are enduring. As a consequence, Yemeni internally displaced persons have sought shelter and protection in Mukkalla. The port has also remained open for some traffic unlike ports controlled by the Zaydi Shia Houthi rebels.
Riyadh’s apparent willingness to tolerate an Al Qaeda stronghold on its southern border has raised conspiracy theories in Yemen that the Saudis implicitly at least welcome AQAP as an ally against the Zaydis. There are also longstanding suspicions that the Kingdom would like to annex Hadramawt to give it access to the Indian Ocean and a route for an oil pipeline to Mukkalla that would allow oil to reach the sea without transiting the Straits of Hormuz.
AQAP now sometimes calls itself “the Sons of Hadramawt” — perhaps to secure local support. It has not abandoned its global jihadist agenda, however, nor its animus toward Saudi Arabia. It is a safe assumption that AQAP’s master bomb maker Ibrahim Al Asiri has his lab somewhere in the Hadramawt preparing more attacks on America and the Kingdom.
“You know, I was offered by Clinton in April 1993 (after the fall of Cerska and Konjevic Polje) that the Chetnik forces enter Srebrenica, carry out a slaughter of 5,000 Muslims, and then there will be a military intervention.”–President Izetbegovic, Interview with Hakija Meholjic, president of Social Democratic Party for Srebrenica, by Hasan Hadzic
One of Clinton’s Islamist battalions (SEE: Bill Clinton and Osama bin Laden ratlines in Bosnia: Clinton is a hypocrite! )
UNTIL the rocks and bottles starting flying, most of the proceedings were solemn and moving, just as they were supposed to be. Celebrities from all over the world commemorated the 20th anniversary of the murder of some 8,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces.
Bill Clinton, the former American president and other local, foreign and Balkan dignitaries made the requisite impassioned and emotional speeches, vowing that they would never let this happen again.
Thousands listened patiently in the broiling sun. The remains of 136 victims of the Srebrenica massacre of 1995 lay waiting to join more than 6,000 others whose remains have been identified and buried in past years. Then came the prayers. So far so good: even Aleksandar Vucic, the prime minister of Serbia, had come to pay his respects and to do his bit for Balkan reconciliation. Then it all went wrong and rocks started flying.
Mr Vucic used to be an extreme nationalist who supported the Bosnian Serb leaders who committed what two international tribunals have found to be an act of genocide. Now his past is forgotten by many who see in him an advocate of modernisation and European integration for Serbia. But not by everyone.
Amongst the tombstones on the hill a giant banner was unfurled reminding everyone of something he had once said: “For one Serb, we will kill 100 Muslims.” A few minutes later Mr Vucic and others were being moved along a path between the crowds when people began to throw stones at him. A mass of angry folk began to surge forward, a chant of “Allahu Akhbar”—God is Great—went up and the security services finally began to do their job. The Serbian prime minister, who had been hit and whose glasses were broken was hurriedly evacuated.
That something of the sort would happen was entirely to be expected. The Serbian security services even warned Mr Vucic. He said he did not care. Turbulence was anticipated because, in the past few weeks, Mr Vucic and other Serbian leaders have campaigned against a British resolution condemning the events of two decades ago and their denial. What they particularly opposed was the use of the word “genocide”.
On July 8th Russia obligingly stepped in to veto the resolution (SEE: Russia vetoes U.N. resolution calling Srebrenica a genocide). On June 10th, acting on a Serbian warrant, the Swiss arrested Naser Oric, the wartime Bosniak leader of Srebrenica for alleged murders of Bosnian Serb civilians. Serbia failed in its bid to have him extradited. No wonder the mood was hostile.
Whether the stoning of the prime minister will do long-term damage remains to be seen. Mile, a Srebrenica Serb taxi driver said relations in the town were always tense about this time of year “and then everything goes back to normal.” About the stoning he said: “People will talk about this for a day or two and then it will be over.” That might be true for Srebrenica, a depressing place which, this time of year apart, only has a third of its pre-war population. The consequences for the region as a whole are harder to predict.
Bosniaks saw it as self-evident that the UN should pass a resolution on what happened here 20 years ago. Bosnian Serbs however say they are baffled as to why Britain chose to promote it and, in their view, stir up demons from the past.
And so the status of the Srebrenica massacres has become one more quarrel along with many others which prevent Bosnia and the region as a whole from moving forward.
“The politicians are taking this country backwards,” said Dzeilana, a Srebrenica native who has settled in Sweden. Like thousands of other people from this region who now live in other parts of Bosnia or much further afield, she returns in July for a brief reunion of families and friends from a scattered, wounded community.
Sadly Dzeilana’s words are true: the unpleasant scenes which unfolded in Srebrenica today can bring no good to the town, the country or the Balkans. But Mr Vucic insisted afterwards that he would not rise to provocation. “There are fools in every nation, there is no deficit here either,” he said, stressing that he “knows that a majority of Bosniaks do not agree with what happened today.”
[Indian military writers always rely upon what I call “strategic hopefulness.” They always seek to explain how the current American paradigm in east Asia can be worked-out, as long as India continues to play the leading role that Pentagon planners have cut-out for her. even doubling-down upon that. The current paradigm is a formula for failure and no amount of twisting and spinning will change that.
Mr. Gokhale is correct that Russia will never return in force to Afghanistan. India thinks that Pakistan can be replaced and a deal worked out with the Taliban to enable TAPI to proceed. There will be NO TAPI, until Pakistan exerts pressure on Taliban, or Pakistani troops are brought-in to protect the pipeline. Anyone who thinks that Pakistan does not maintain ultimate control over the Taliban should consider where the relatives of the Taliban are. Most are in Pak. Afghan refugee camps. The rest live in known locations. Control the families to control the fighters who fight for them.]
MILFORD, N.H. —New Hampshire congressional delegation members are urging the U.S. State Department to investigate the death of an American in Saudi Arabia.
The body of Christopher Cramer, of Milford, New Hampshire, was found beneath the third-floor balcony of the Sahara Makarim Hotel in Tabuk on Jan. 15. He was working for Merrimack-based Kollsman Inc. to help the Saudis with thermal optical devices, part of the country’s missile systems.
Family and friends said just before he died, the 50-year-old Cramer sent a text message to his roommate in Milford saying he thought something bad was going to happen and asking him to contact the State Department.
Kollsman officials initially told Cramer’s family that the company received information from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, indicating the death was a suicide, based on reports from Tabuk police. Cramer’s family later hired Dr. Michael Baden, the recently retired medical examiner for New York State Police, to perform an autopsy, and he determined it was a homicide. He suggests Cramer was severely beaten before he fell or was pushed off the balcony.
“When somebody falls from a height, as was the situation here, there are various injuries to the impact sites: skin injuries and skeletal injuries,” Baden told The Associated Press on Friday. “In this instance, the impact injuries could not account for all the damage to the body. In particular, he had fractures to the front and back of his body and that’s an indication that he had injuries before he went out the window.
“And that to me indicated homicide, not suicide,” Baden said.
Baden said the initial death certificate from Saudi Arabia identified the cause of death as being from multiple injuries but did not classify it as accidental, suicide or homicide.
The Telegraph of Nashua reported a toxicology report showed there were no sign of drugs or alcohol in Cramer’s body.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen first wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry in March asking for an investigation and a briefing. She also recently contacted the White House, spokesman Ryan Nickel said.
“This recent autopsy is further confirmation that Christopher Cramer’s death needs a thorough investigation,” Nickel said in a statement Friday.
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte and U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster have been in touch with the Cramer family, Kollsman and the State Department.
“Six months later, it is unacceptable that the Saudi government still has not provided more information regarding the circumstances surrounding Christopher’s tragic death,” Ayotte said in an emailed statement. “I will continue to press the State Department to do more until all the facts are known.”
State Department spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff said it has offered to assist Saudi authorities with any investigation into Cramer’s death but can’t investigate an incident overseas without the permission of the host government. As of Friday, the U.S. had not received a request for assistance, she said.
“We continue to engage with the Saudis on this case, and our offer of assistance stands,” Pfaff said in an emailed statement.
MOSCOW, June 25. /TASS/. Russia’s Radio-Electronic Technologies Group (KRET) is developing a fundamentally new electronic warfare system capable of suppressing cruise missile and other high-precision weaponry guidance systems and satellite radio-electronic equipment, KRET Deputy CEO Yuri Mayevsky told TASS on Thursday.
“The system will target the enemy’s deck-based, tactical, long-range and strategic aircraft, electronic means and suppress foreign military satellites’ radio-electronic equipment,” Mayevsky said.
The system will be mounted on ground-based, air-and seaborne carriers, he added.
“It will not be based on satellites as this is prohibited by international rules and we comply with this rule,” he said.
Adviser to the KRET first deputy CEO Vladimir Mikheyev told TASS the integrated multifunctional electronic warfare system designed to target enemy aerospace vehicles would operate within the air defense and missile shield control contour.
“It will fully suppress communications, navigation and target location and the use of high-precision weapons,” Mikheyev said.
“The system will be used against cruise missiles and will suppress satellite-based radio location systems. It will actually switch off enemy weapons.”
The system’s ground component will be tested soon, hec said. “Ground tests are now going on in workshops. At the end of the year, the system’s component will leave the factory gates for trials at testing ranges,” he said.
THERE IS NO WAR ON TERROR, THERE IS ONLY US TERRORIZING THE WORLD. IF WE COULD DO THIS TO OURSELVES, THEN IMAGINE WHAT WE HAVE PLANNED FOR THE REST OF MANKIND.
Newly obtained video that was reluctantly released by NIST after a lawsuit by the International Center for 9/11 Studies shows two firefighters on 9/11 discussing how secondary explosions occurred immediately before the collapse of the twin towers, providing damning new evidence that explosive devices were used to bring down the buildings. Firemen discuss how bombs were going off in the lobby of WTC1 as they were staging to move up the building. They explain how the building had already been hit by the plane and fires were already burning. After two explosions in the lobby, a third went off and the whole lobby collapsed. I’m sorry 9/11 truth deniers, you now have another smoking gun that you can’t deny!
By Robert Parry
In a curiously upbeat account, The New York Times reports that Islamic militants have joined with Ukraine’s far-right and neo-Nazi battalions to fight ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. It appears that no combination of violent extremists is too wretched to celebrate as long as they’re killing Russ-kies.
The article by Andrew E. Kramer reports that there are now three Islamic battalions “deployed to the hottest zones,” such as around the port city of Mariupol. One of the battalions is headed by a former Chechen warlord who goes by the name “Muslim,” Kramer wrote, adding:
“The Chechen commands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-century Chechen resistance figure. It is subordinate to the nationalist Right Sector, a Ukrainian militia. … Right Sector … formed during last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrainian nationalist groups like White Hammer and the Trident of Stepan Bandera.
“Another, the Azov group, is openly neo-Nazi, using the ‘Wolf’s Hook’ symbol associated with the [Nazi] SS. Without addressing the issue of the Nazi symbol, the Chechen said he got along well with the nationalists because, like him, they loved their homeland and hated the Russians.”
As casually as Kramer acknowledges the key front-line role of neo-Nazis and white supremacists fighting for the U.S.-backed Kiev regime, his article does mark an aberration for the Times and the rest of the mainstream U.S. news media, which usually dismiss any mention of this Nazi taint as “Russian propaganda.”
During the February 2014 coup that ousted elected President Viktor Yanukovych, the late fascist Stepan Bandera was one of the Ukrainian icons celebrated by the Maidan protesters. During World War II, Bandera headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-B, a radical paramilitary movement that sought to transform Ukraine into a racially pure state. At times coordinating with Adolf Hitler’s SS, OUN-B took part in the expulsion and extermination of tens of thousands of Jews and Poles.
Though most of the Maidan protesters in 2013-14 appeared motivated by anger over political corruption and by a desire to join the European Union, neo-Nazis made up a significant number and spearheaded much of the violence against the police. Storm troopers from the Right Sektor and Svoboda party seized government buildings and decked them out with Nazi insignias and a Confederate battle flag, the universal symbol of white supremacy.
Then, as the protests turned bloodier from Feb. 20-22, the neo-Nazis surged to the forefront. Their well-trained militias, organized in 100-man brigades called “sotins” or “the hundreds,” led the final assaults against police and forced Yanukovych and many of his officials to flee for their lives.
In the days after the coup, as the neo-Nazi militias effectively controlled the government, European and U.S. diplomats scrambled to help the shaken parliament put together the semblance of a respectable regime, although four ministries, including national security, were awarded to the right-wing extremists in recognition of their crucial role in ousting Yanukovych.
At that point, virtually the entire U.S. news media put on blinders about the neo-Nazi role, all the better to sell the coup to the American public as an inspirational story of reform-minded “freedom fighters” standing up to “Russian aggression.” The U.S. media delicately stepped around the neo-Nazi reality by keeping out relevant context, such as the background of national security chief Andriy Parubiy, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blending radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols. Parubiy was commandant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.”
Barbarians at the Gate
At times, the mainstream media’s black-out of the brown shirts was almost comical. Last February, almost a year after the coup, a New York Times article about the government’s defenders of Mariupol hailed the crucial role played by the Azov battalion but managed to avoid noting its well-documented Nazi connections.
That article by Rick Lyman presented the situation in Mariupol as if the advance by ethnic Russian rebels amounted to the barbarians at the gate while the inhabitants were being bravely defended by the forces of civilization, the Azov battalion. In such an inspirational context, it presumably wasn’t considered appropriate to mention the Swastikas and SS markings.
Now, the Kiev regime has added to those “forces of civilization” — resisting the Russ-kie barbarians — Islamic militants with ties to terrorism. Last September, Marcin Mamon, a reporter for the Intercept, reached a vanguard group of these Islamic fighters in Ukraine through the help of his “contact in Turkey with the Islamic State [who] had told me his ‘brothers’ were in Ukraine, and I could trust them.”
The new Times article avoids delving into the terrorist connections of these Islamist fighters. But Kramer does bluntly acknowledge the Nazi truth about the Azov fighters. He also notes that American military advisers in Ukraine “are specifically prohibited from giving instruction to members of the Azov group.”
While the U.S. advisers are under orders to keep their distance from the neo-Nazis, the Kiev regime is quite open about its approval of the central military role played by these extremists – whether neo-Nazis, white supremacists or Islamic militants. These extremists are considered very aggressive and effective in killing ethnic Russians.
The regime has shown little concern about widespread reports of “death squad” operations targeting suspected pro-Russian sympathizers in government-controlled towns. But such human rights violations should come as no surprise given the Nazi heritage of these units and the connection of the Islamic militants to hyper-violent terrorist movements in the Middle East.
But the Times treats this lethal mixture of neo-Nazis and Islamic extremists as a good thing. After all, they are targeting opponents of the “white-hatted” Kiev regime, while the ethnic Russian rebels and the Russian government wear the “black hats.”
As an example of that tone, Kramer wrote: “Even for Ukrainians hardened by more than a year of war here against Russian-backed separatists, the appearance of Islamic combatants, mostly Chechens, in towns near the front lines comes as something of a surprise — and for many of the Ukrainians, a welcome one. … Anticipating an attack in the coming months, the Ukrainians are happy for all the help they can get.”
So, the underlying message seems to be that it’s time for the American people and the European public to step up their financial and military support for a Ukrainian regime that has unleashed on ethnic Russians a combined force of Nazis, white supremacists and Islamic militants (considered “brothers” of the Islamic State).
[For more on the Azov battalion, see Consortiumnews.com’s “US House Admits Nazi Role in Ukraine.”]
Secure, interoperable communications are essential in an increasingly mobile military.
Recent U.S.-NATO military exercises have revealed difficulties in maintaining secure communications among western allies as they focus greater attention on Russian forces and electronic warfare capabilities in eastern Ukraine.
Covering a joint training exercise this week in Lithuania, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. Army commanders are increasingly concerned about Russian EW systems and jamming capabilities posing a threat to allied communications.
The newspaper also cited western intelligence officials as saying Russian forces have improved their ability to encrypt communications about military movements in Ukraine.(Something the FBI says ISIS also is doing.)
The U.S. has previously sold sophisticated communications gear to its NATO allies. The Journal reported on July 7 that American export controls currently prohibit the Defense Department from selling communications gear containing the most secure encryption algorithms. For example, the export version of a secure Army radio made by Harris Corp., the Falcon III, does not include the same level of programmable encryption as the domestic version.
At the same time, U.S. commanders are worried that Russian forces in Ukraine could intercept, jam or decode allied transmissions. Earlier this year, Ukraine actively sought help with electronic warfare weapons from the United States and other western nations.
“It can be a challenge to communicate securely on a tactical level,” the newspaper quoted Brig. Gen. Michael Tarsa, deputy commander of the U.S. 4th Infantry Division, as saying. That makes coordinating allied military operations more difficult.
The United States and NATO have been working on secure, interoperable communications for some time. NATO late last year held its largest cyber exercise to date and takes part in events such as the annual Joint Users Interoperability Communications Exercise.
But interoperability issues have persisted and given improving Russian EW capabilities, the Journal reported, NATO is developing new radio technology that could eventually be deployed across the military alliance. However, previous NATO communications interoperability efforts have fallen short of the alliance’s goals.
In the meantime, U.S. and NATO commanders told the newspaper U.S. troops who can use encrypted radios are serving as “liaisons” with Lithuanian units to provide secure communications. With lingering concerns about U.S. encryption capabilities following into Russian hands, the swapping of radio operators between allied units is likely to continue.
George Soros | Photo by EPA
By Karen Shainyan
MOSCOW — Russia is moving to ban the MacArthur Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute and 10 other foreign groups under a law on “unwelcome organizations” adopted this spring.
The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, on Tuesday unveiled the initial names on what the Kremlin and its allies call a “Patriotic STOP-list.”
President Vladimir Putin in May signed the law, the latest step by the Kremlin to restrict the activities of non-governmental organizations in Russia.
The others on the ban list are Freedom House, a U.S. democracy advocacy group; the U.S.-government backed National Endowment for Democracy; two arms of the main American political parties that help parties abroad, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute; the Michigan-based Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; the Education for Democracy Foundation and the East European Democratic Center, which are both in Warsaw; the Toronto-based Ukrainian World Congress; the International Ukrainian Coordination Union in Kiev; and the Crimean field mission for human rights, which is overseen by the Ukrainian parliament.
The list, which is to be voted on Wednesday, would be forwarded to the Prosecutor General’s office and the foreign ministry for inclusion on the official “unwelcome” register.
Under the law, anyone in Russia who works for or collaborates with these banned groups faces financial penalties as well as up to six years in prison.
Since the 2011 mass protests in Moscow against fraudulent elections for parliament, the Kremlin has steadily moved to crack down on dissent. The Russian parliament has passed laws that require any Russian NGO or charity that gets funding from abroad register as a “foreign agent” and that bloggers register with the state.