ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

Modi Threatens To Cut Indus Flow Into Pakistan

India's Waters Can't Be Allowed To Flow Into Pak: PM Narendra Modi On Indus Row

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking at an event in Punjab’s Bhatinda

Bhatinda:  In election-bound Punjab, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that Indus river waters “belong to our farmers” and India has the right to the waters flowing into Pakistan.

“The Indus waters, India has the right to those waters…it flows into Pakistan. Flowing through Pakistan, the water goes into the sea. That water belongs to the Indian farmers. We will do whatever we can to give enough water to our farmers,” PM Modi said at a rally in Bathinda.

Taking a swipe at the Congress, he said: “Governments came and went in Delhi… no one paid attention to the problems of the farmer. Pakistan took full advantage of this, but not anymore. I will ensure that my farmers get what is rightfully theirs.”

He also commented that after India’s surgical strikes, “Pakistan didn’t know what hit it’. The country is yet to recover from the strike, he said of the operation carried out by the army in September targeting terrorist staging areas in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

The 1960 Indus Waters treaty brokered by the World Bank, on the sharing of the waters of six rivers between the two countries, became a flashpoint after the Uri attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed by terrorists from Pakistan. PM Modi then signaled a review of the pact, saying “blood and water cannot flow together.”

The Indus Waters Treaty gives India rights to use the eastern rivers – Ravi, Sutlej and Beas – and Pakistan has control over the three western rivers, Chenab, Jhelum and Indus.

India has asked for a neutral expert to examine Islamabad’s complaint against hydroelectric power projects on the rivers that flow into Pakistan. Pakistan has, at the same time, asked for an international court of arbitration.

Pakistan warned India at the UN Security Council against using water as ‘an instrument of coercion or war”.

Indian Army Recovered Items Marked “US Government Property” and “Pakistan Defense Forces” From LoC Incursion

us-govt-night-vision

Pak terrorists left behind US night vision goggles after beheading Indian soldier

oneindia

 

On the army’s twitter page, it was posted that search leads and recoveries indicate Pakistan’s complicity in the attack.

New Delhi, Nov 29: Search and leads indicate Pakistan‘s complicity in an attack in which 3 Indian soldiers were killed.

beheaded-indian-soldier source

Three Indian soldiers were killed and one of the bodies was mutilated [BEHEADED–ed.] in Jammu and Kashmir’s Machil sector.

Pakistan

The Northern Command IA had posted on its Twitter profile that retribution will be heavy for this cowardly act.

On the army’s twitter page, it was posted that search leads and recoveries indicate Pakistan’s complicity in the attack.

The army also posted two photographs on its Twitter handle to suggest Pakistan’s role in this gory attack.

One pair of night vision goggles with US Government property marked on it and another of the supplies with Pakistan marked on it was posted on the Twitter handle by the Northern Command.

Following the gory incident on November 22 there was heavy retaliation by India which led to escalation of tensions.

Pakistan claimed that 11 civilians and 3 soldiers had been killed in heavy shelling by Indian forces.

This led to a call from Pakistan’s Director General Military Operations in which he sought to reduce tensions.

During the unscheduled hotline interaction between the two DGMOs, India made it clear that Pakistan must behave and stop resorting to unprovoked firing along the border.

OneIndia News

Erdogan Finally Admits That He Entered Syria “to end the rule of tyrant al-Assad”


Turkish army tanks and military personnel are stationed in Karkamis, on the Turkish-Syrian border, in Gaziantep province, Turkey, Aug. 25, 2016.  (photo by REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Erdogan’s shifting rationale on Syria

al monitor

At first it was to clear Turkey’s border of the Islamic State (IS). Then it was to roll back the Syrian Kurdish militants of the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Today brought a brand new explanation for why Turkish troops entered northern Syria in August to team up with opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels: “Why did we enter? We do not covet Syrian soil,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in Istanbul at the Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium. “We entered there to end the rule of tyrant [Bashar] al-Assad. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest rationale for Turkish forces entering northern Syria point to a long-term engagement.

Coming as Syrian regime forces appeared poised to regain control of rebel-held neighborhoods in eastern Aleppo, Erdogan’s comments suggest that Turkey will not be pulling the plug on its Syrian rebel proxies anytime soon. In fact, if his words are to be taken at face value, they signal an even deeper Turkish military engagement in Syria, pitting Turkish forces simultaneously against IS, the YPG and the regime.

This would leave Turkey at odds with the US-led coalition — which considers the YPG its top ally against IS — and with Russia, which wants Turkey to end its support for the FSA rebels. It would also inevitably raise the specter of more body bags coming home to Turkey. Added to all this, Erdogan’s statement belies recent speculation that Turkey was abandoning its long-running campaign to unseat Assad and was sending out feelers to Damascus, if only to join forces against the Kurds.

Since entering Jarablus in August, Turkish troops have succeeded in clearing the border of IS and have pushed further south, capturing the IS stronghold of Dabiq. Over the past month, however, they have — together with their rebel allies — been unsuccessfully struggling to dislodge the YPG from areas around the hotly contested IS-held town of al-Bab. Apparently, Ankara believed it had won Russian backing for that plan. The Nov. 24 deaths of at least four Turkish soldiers near al-Bab, in what the Turkish General Staff initially described as an airstrike by Syrian jets, threw cold water on such notions amid speculation that Russia might have been behind the attack.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus announced Nov. 28 that Russian President Vladimir Putin had assured Turkey that its planes had not carried out the attack. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim will travel to Moscow Dec. 5 to meet with his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, and Putin, and Syria is certain to be a topic of discussion.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials speaking on strict condition of anonymity told Al-Monitor Nov. 28 that they had concluded that the Assad regime was not responsible for the soldiers’ deaths either. This, therefore, points to IS, which actually claimed responsibility for the attack. In further alarming news, IS also claimed, on Nov. 29, to have captured two Turkish soldiers in the village of Dana, west of al-Bab.

Coalition officials believe that an IS suicide bomb was the likely culprit for the Nov. 24 attack, but the waters have been further muddied by unconfirmed reports by local sources in northern Syria that an Iranian drone had been spotted in the skies above al-Bab when the attack occurred. Iran has armed drones, and there is video footage of Iranian drones purportedly hitting opposition rebels in Syria.

Historical rivals Iran and Turkey are on opposite sides in the Syrian conflict, but have been at pains to avert a direct confrontation. On Nov. 26, Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, called for greater cooperation on Syria during a visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Still, the possibility that an Iranian drone, intentionally or unintentionally, dropped the fatal munitions on the Turkish forces “cannot not be treated as a fantasy,” said a YPG commander contacted by Al-Monitor in northern Syria by phone. “The real fantasy,” he contended, “is that Turkey can overthrow Assad by military force.”

Pentagon Self-Investigates and Exonerates Its Murderous Attack Upon Syrian Troops At Deir Ezzor

[RAAF fighters bombed Syrian troops after vital clues missed]

US military: Fatal phone tag with Russians contributed to Syrian deaths

cnn

Washington (CNN)A US military investigation revealed Tuesday that Russian and coalition officers engaged in a 27-minute game of phone tag while American and coalition warplanes were mistakenly bombing and killing fighters allied with the Syrian regime in September.

“In this instance, we did not rise to the high standard we hold ourselves to, and we must do better than this each and every time,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, commander of US Air Forces in the Middle East, said in a statement accompanying the completion of the classified investigation into the deadly September 17 strike. A redacted executive summary of the report was released Tuesday.
“The decision to strike these targets was made in accordance with the law of armed conflict and the applicable rules of engagement,” US Brig. Gen. Richard Coe, the officer charged with investigating the airstrike, said in a statement. “But we concluded based upon post-strike analysis that a number of ‘human factors’ resulted in incorrect identification of forces on the ground.”
Military officials said the US took the unprecedented step of informing the Russian military in advance of its intent to strike the targets — which the Americans believed were ISIS — via a hotline that had been established to ensure mistakes were not made in the airspace used by Russian and US warplanes.
Coe acknowledged that the information provided to the Russians was “off by several kilometers.”

‘Human error’

The investigation found that once the strikes began, Russian officials called the hotline and waited to speak to the designated point of contact but were told that the person was unavailable.
Coe said the other officer in the operations center offered the chance to pass a message along, but the Russians “hung up on that phone call to call back later.”
When the Russians rang up a second time and the point of contact was still not available, Coe said, “They elected not to leave a message and went on hold” pending the arrival of the officer in question.
Coe said 27 minutes elapsed between the first Russian call and the cessation of airstrikes.
“In that 27 minutes, 15 of the 32 strikes happened,” he said, noting that once the Russian information was received and understood, the coalition “immediately halted strikes.”
Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for Central Command, told reporters that the coalition had asked the Russians to immediately convey critical information in the future.
The US and its coalition allies had previously said they believed their warplanes were targeting ISIS fighters. Russia said at the time the strikes jeopardized a cessation of hostilities that Washington and Moscow had negotiated and that the Syrian regime resumed striking rebel areas soon after, with the accord eventually collapsing.
The hotline difficulties were one of several errors highlighted by the investigation, which said “human error” in the targeting process was largely to blame for the deadly mistake.
Speaking to reporters on a conference call, Coe said there was “no intent to target Syrian forces” and added that the units struck on September 17 near Deir Ezzor “looked and acted like the forces the coalition has been targeting,” referring to ISIS fighters.
“They were not wearing uniforms, they had no flags or insignia,” Coe said, adding that the coalition now believes “those forces were aligned with the Syrian regime more likely than not.”

Review of targeting procedures

One critical error involved the incorrect identification of a vehicle that targeting analysts believed belonged to ISIS. That vehicle met up with the larger force that was eventually struck, with analysts believing those fighters were also associated with ISIS due to the vehicle’s presence there.
Coe said Harrigian had ordered a review of targeting procedures to prevent similar incidents from happening.
The attack involved 32 strikes carried out by F-16s, A-10s, F/A-18s jets and remotely piloted aircraft. The coalition said 34 precision-category weapons were dropped and 380 30mm rounds were fired on the targets.
Representatives from Australia, Denmark and the UK took part in the investigation as they had also been involved in the strikes, along with the US.
The coalition said it could only substantiate 15 deaths as a result of the errant attack, but Coe said “we certainly believe more than 15 individuals were killed,” although the US was not able to determine the precise number of fatalities.
In the days following the attack, the Russian military put the number at 62 Syrian fighters killed.

Time To Take A Stand Against Govt/Corp Fake “News”

Time to stand up

craig-medred

%e4%bf%9d%e9%9a%9c%e8%a8%80%e8%ab%96%e8%87%aa%e7%94%b1%e7%9a%84%e7%be%8e%e5%9c%8b%e6%86%b2%e6%b3%95%e7%ac%ac%e4%b8%80%e4%bf%ae%e6%ad%a3%e6%a1%88%e7%b4%80%e5%bf%b5%e7%a2%91_-the_first_amendment_to_the_

The First Amendment Monument at Independence National Historic Park/Wikimedia commons

 

If journalists are truly concerned about “fake news” or “false news,” there is a simple solution.

Call out the people doing shoddy journalism and explain why readers should be concerned as Rolling Stone did on Monday. It picked a big target, too; nothing less than The Washington Post and its suggestion that Russian propaganda might have won the election for president-elect Donald Trump.

“The thrust of (Post reporter Craig) Timberg’s astonishingly lazy report is that a Russian intelligence operation of some kind was behind the publication of a ‘hurricane’ of false news reports during the election season, in particular stories harmful to Hillary Clinton. The piece referenced those 200 websites as ‘routine peddlers of Russian propaganda,’” wrote Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi.

Taibbi did not take the easy road of calling for government regulation to solve this fake news/false news problem. He took the high road by doing what journalists are supposed to do: their goddamn jobs.

Taibbi set a standard for what others should be doing. He did not make nice with the Post as part of Club Journo. He forthrightly pointed out why what it did was fundamentally wrong in terms of responsible journalism.

“…The vast majority of reporters would have needed to see something a lot more concrete than a half-assed theoretical paper from such a dicey source (as propornot.com) before denouncing 200 news organizations as traitors,” he wrote.

“But if that same source also demanded anonymity on the preposterous grounds that it feared being ‘targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers’? Any sane reporter would have booted them out the door. You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won’t put your name to your claims? Take a hike.

“Yet the Post thought otherwise, and its report was uncritically picked up by other outlets like USA Today and the Daily Beast. The ‘Russians did it’ story was greedily devoured by a growing segment of blue-state America that is beginning to fall victim to the same conspiracist tendencies that became epidemic on the political right in the last few years.”

The Alaska Dispatch News, which has a publication agreement with the Post, was among the news organizations happily picking up the Post story suggesting Russian-backed fake news might have tipped the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

Taibbi’s criticism of the Post and the journalistic echo-chamber to which it played is that journalism is supposed to have standards.

Facts head the list of standards. The Post story was not supported by any facts. The Post story actually bowed to the propornot.com, anti-transparency belief that facts are irrelevant because it doesn’t matter if the blacklisted websites published factual information or “knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they (published) they are at the very least acting as bona-fide ‘useful idiots’ of the Russian intelligence services….”

Neither propornot.com nor the Post specifically defined what constitutes “Russian propaganda,” but generally indicated anything anti-Hillary Clinton and/or pro-Donald Trump qualified.

Taibbi links this behavior to the incredibly partisan politics of America today.

“A lot of reporters over the summer were so scared by the prospect of a Trump presidency that they talked – in some cases publicly – about abandoning traditional ideas about journalistic ‘distance’ from politicians, in favor of open advocacy for the Clinton campaign,” he writes.

“These journalists seemed totally indifferent to the Pandora’s box they were opening. They didn’t understand that most politicians have no use for critical media. Many of them don’t see alternative points of view as healthy or even legitimate.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa

Taibbi is partially right about journalists abandoning or wanting to abandon traditional journalistic standards in order to advocate for a Clinton presidency, but he is only partially right. The fundamental idea that journalism should be a fact-based business was fading long before the election.

Economic pressures years ago began to transform journalism.  Old mainstream news organizations – what former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin likes to call the “lamestream” – became increasingly click-based news organizations instead of fact-based news organizations as they moved online.

Old news organizations started the business on the journey down the road to false news, and they are these days as guilty of continuing along that path as some of the websites devoted to flat-out “fake news.”

The suggestion that some kids in Macedonia created fake news that helped Trump win the election has been everywhere on mainstream websites of late, and the Guardian went all in with Hannah Jane Parkinson’s column claiming “Click and elect: how fake news helped Donald Trump win a real election.” 

The journalistic problem is that there is no evidence to support that claim. None.

“The influence of verifiably false content on Facebook cannot be regarded as ‘small’ when it garners millions of shares,” Parkinson writes.

Maybe it can’t. Maybe it can. The fact is nobody knows. All anyone knows is that some fake stories about Clinton were regularly shared.

Maybe they were believed. Maybe they weren’t.

Maybe they changed minds. Maybe they didn’t.

Maybe they were only read by people who were going to vote for Trump no matter what. Maybe they weren’t.

Maybe Clinton supporters shared them thinking they were so absurd they were funny. Maybe they didn’t.

And maybe they now have everyone distracted from the real issue.

All that sharing

BuzzFeed.com started much of this Macedonia madness with a story headlined “How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping  Trump Supporters With Fake News.”

So was it kids trying to make money, or was it the Russians?

But wait, that’s a topic for a different story. Let’s stick to the Macedonia madness.

The BuzzFeed story had the same problem as those that have come since. Nobody knows if Trump supporters were duped. Possibly, maybe probably, some were. Possibly so, too, some Clinton supporters were duped by the mainstream.

All that is factually known about the false stories reportedly coming out of Macedonia is that in many cases they were shared far more often on social media than were stories originating in the mainstream.

The question that really needs to be asked then is “why?”

Is all this sharing a reflection of the success of fake news, the failings of the mainstream media, or a little of both? Is it possible some segment of the American public thinks the mainstream so inaccurate or so slanted that it doesn’t care if its news is fake?

If you happened to engage in or monitor any of the discussion flowing across the country’s vast political divide in the lead up to the election, as opposed to staying within your like-minded group, you might have noticed something interesting.

A lot of people used internet links to make the point that the candidate they disliked was flawed, and most of these people – right or left – didn’t worry much about the bona fides of the authors of those links. They went looking for a link that reflected what they already believed and said, “there, see!”

BuzzFeed reported one of the most shared stories from a Macedonia-based site had a headline that read “Hillary Clinton In 2013: ‘I Would Like To See People Like Donald Trump Run For Office; They’re Honest And Can’t Be Bought.’”

The headline is almost true. In a private speech to a bunch of Goldman Sachs financiers, Clinton said she would like to see more successful business people in politics, though should did not specifically mention Trump by name.

Many a mainstream news outlet called out on something like this would defend it, arguing that while Clinton didn’t mention Trump by name she did mention successful business people and that is close enough; no correction is warranted.

And you most certainly wouldn’t see a publication like the New York Times going after a publication like the Washington Post for a story engaging in this sort of journalistic over reach. That would violate the rules of the club.

Far more blatant violations of the idea that journalism should be fact-based have taken place in Alaska in the last few years, and competing news publications have willingly overlooked the frauds committed by competitors.

#Badjournalism

This is the mess mainstream journalism has made of things:

Logic should dictate that Trump, a man born with a silver-spoon in his mouth and raised in the lap of luxury who ran on a populist platform, cannot get elected president in  a country where the majority of voters are middle class or lower.

Why would these people put their trust in such a man? What could they possibly see in him that they would think likely to make their lives better?

The only logical answer to these questions is that a bunch of Americans believe the system is so broken that they don’t care if Trump’s promises are false or not. They are willing to vote for anyone who at least offers them hope.

And they’re not about to believe a media they don’t trust that tells them a vote for this guy would be a bad idea.

The electoral map reflecting Trump’s victory coming from states that are economically struggling or believe their ideas of “family,” for lack of a better word, have been overlooked by better-off, urban elites points strongly at this possibility.

You’d think the media might be taking a serious look at this, and an even more serious look at why so much of the country takes such a dim view of the mainstream whether in print, on the air, or online.

Yes, maybe all those people out there in middle America (and Alaska) are country-bumpkin idiots. Maybe they aren’t as smart as the members of Club Journo. Maybe they don’t understand why it is sometimes more important to protect club members than fact-based reporting.

But maybe they’d like to see more people behaving like Taibbi at Rolling Stone, who not only calls out the Post and fake/false news but points to a bigger danger facing U.S. journalism today, a danger that makes fake news, most of which is so bad anyone with half a brain can spot it, or harder-to-spot false news look rather insignificant.

The bigger danger?

The ever-growing association between journalists, politicians and the bureaucracy leading to the slow but steady transformation of the media into another arm of government.

“…In the end what will happen is that they (journalists) will adopt the point of view of their political sponsors,” Taibbi writes. “They will soon enough denounce other reporters and begin to see themselves as part of the power structure, as opposed to a check on it.

“This is the ultimate in stupidity and self-annihilating behavior. The power of the press comes from its independence from politicians. Jump into bed with them and you not only won’t ever be able to get out, but you’ll win nothing but a loss of real influence and the undying loathing of audiences.”

Nowhere in the country should this last warning ring louder than in Alaska at this moment.

 

Saudi Terrorist Indoctrination Program Hidden Within Bin Naif Rehabilitation Program

[As you can see in the links posted below, the subject of Guantanamo secret brainwashing and mind control have been a favorite topic on this site for a long time, especially relating to the idea of “proactively targeting terrorism from captured terrorists.”  There is a body of common evidence which describes the relationship of Guantanamo prison to virtually every major Sunni terrorist group in the world.  Every terrorist group embraces those militants released from Gitmo, where they always take leadership positions.  Guantanamo has cultivated a generation of militant, radical Islamist leaders, under the guise of “terrorist rehabilitation and reconditioning.”  The intimate symbiosis between Guantanamo and the Saudi rehabilitation center, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef Center for Care and Counseling.  The Saudi reconditioning program is the model used by nearly every Western country which has a terrorist rehab program, including Pakistan.  If the Saudis are really running a terrorist training program disguised as a rehabilitation program, then all of these countries are knowingly, or unknowingly, doing the same. 

(SEE:  TRANSCRIPT OF DETAINEE ISN682/20160623 U ISN682)

“there is a strong externally…a strong de-radicalization program, but make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program. There is a very hidden stronger, way stronger in magnitude, broader in
financing and in… in all that.”
They need a jihadist, but they want you to be a
compliant terrorist. They need … they want al-Qaeda…they want you to be a jihadist.
They want you to … to fight under their cloak – under the royal
Saudi cloak, under the religious establishment cloak.”]

image-543

Guantanamo prisoner claims Saudi Arabia’s rehab program for terrorists is really a front for recruiting jihadists

daily mail

[SEE THE FOLLOWING–]

Al-Qaida in Arabian Peninsula=Guantanamo/Mossad, ISIS=Camp Bucca, Iraq
Guantanamo and The Saudi Rehabilitation Program Behind AQAP–(Intentional, or Major Fowl-UP?)
The Saudi Terrorist “Rehabilitation” Scam—Munasha
Detention Operations, Behavior Modification, and Counterinsurgency
Yemen–al-Munasaha , Saudi Re-Education
Batch 10
Yemen al-Qaeda link to Guantanamo Bay prison
What is the truth about ISIS?

 

  • Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi said rehab program at the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center is actually working to recruit jihadists
  • The Saudi centers in Riyadh and Jeddah include psychological counseling and religious clerics on hand to clarify ideology
  • Those enrolled are supposed to be reintegrated into society through activities like swimming, ping-pong, and art therapy
  • But al-Sharbi said ‘underneath there is a hidden radicalization program’

An al Qaeda operative told a parole board at Guantanamo Bay that a Saudi reform program for terrorists is actually a front for recruiting jihadists, according to declassified documents.

Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi said the program at the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center, which was thought to have played a key role in Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism strategy, is not what it appears to be.

Dozens of Guantanamo detainees, including Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, have been sent through to the program as a condition of their release as President Obama hopes to close the prison before he leaves office.

The center, which includes activities like swimming, ping-pong, and art therapy, has been compared to a holiday resort, and those who complete the 12-step program are rewarded with young brides and new cars, the New York Post reported.

Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi told a parole board at Guantanamo Bay that a Saudi reform program for terrorists (pictured in 2009) is actually a front for recruiting jihadists

Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi told a parole board at Guantanamo Bay that a Saudi reform program for terrorists (pictured in 2009) is actually a front for recruiting jihadists

Dozens of Guantanamo detainees have been sent through to the program as a condition for their release. Programs include art therapy

Dozens of Guantanamo detainees have been sent through to the program as a condition for their release. Programs include art therapy

According to the Post, 134 Saudi detainees have been sent to the rehab centers in Riyadh and Jeddah.

The facilities are meant to help former jihadists integrate into society, with psychologists on hand to determine problematic social factors while religious officials are there to clarify ideologies, the New York Times reported.

Those who are sent to the center also have access to a PlayStation, gourmet meals, and private apartments for conjugal visits, the Post reported.

But Al-Sharbi told the parole board: ‘You guys want to send me back to Saudi Arabia because you believe there is a de-radicalization program on the surface, true.

‘You are 100 per cent right, there is a strong…de-radicalization program, but make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program.’

Al-Sharbi, who faced the Periodic Review Board after 14 years, said he did not want to enroll in the 12-step rehab program fearing he would be ‘used’ to ‘fight under the Saudi royal cloak.’

He said: ‘When they release you they wanna make sure that you’re still under that cloak and they got you to fight their jihad in their regions and in the States.’

The facilities are meant to help former jihadists integrate into society, with psychologists and religious officials on hand (pictured released Gitmo detainees listening to a Muslim cleric)

The facilities are meant to help former jihadists integrate into society, with psychologists and religious officials on hand (pictured released Gitmo detainees listening to a Muslim cleric)

Those who are sent to the center also have access to a PlayStation, gourmet meals, and private apartments for conjugal visits, although about 20 per cent return to terrorism

Those who are sent to the center also have access to a PlayStation, gourmet meals, and private apartments for conjugal visits, although about 20 per cent return to terrorism

He added: ‘They will proudly tell you they will fight terrorism. That means they will support it.’

He also added that fighters are being recruited and trained to face off against Iranians in Yemen and Syria.

Earlier this year, the Periodic Review Board, created under Obama’s administration in 2011, agreed to release Muhammed Al Shumrani after his lawyers argued that enrolling him in the rehab program would help.

About 20 per cent of those who enroll in the rehab program return to terrorism, the Post reported.

The road at the centre of the struggle for Afghan influence

The road at the centre of the struggle for Afghan influence

today

 

JALALABAD (Afghanistan) — Giant trucks thunder along the main stretch of highway that peels away from the Pakistani border, carrying cement, fruit and chemicals to the Afghan city of Jalalabad.

Vulnerable to attacks from Taliban and Islamic State (IS) militants, the crucial 74km expanse of road that runs near the famed Khyber Pass is undergoing a major facelift after security concerns forced a seven-year delay in the project.

As well as paving the way for an expansion in bilateral trade between the two countries, the road is at the centre of the struggle between Pakistan and India to maintain influence over Afghanistan.

Strategic interests

“It’s strategic interests that are prompting investment in Afghanistan,” Mr Imtiaz Gul, executive director at the Centre for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad. “Goodwill is secondary.”

In the last decade, India’s investment in Afghanistan has created discomfort for Pakistan, he noted.

Last month, Pakistan pledged a further US$500 million (S$712 million) to help rebuild Afghanistan, in addition to an existing US$500 million package on health, education and infrastructure that includes a 400-bed hospital in Kabul and more than 2,000 scholarships for Afghan students.

India, too, has focused on building infrastructure such as dams, highways, and power frameworks as well as the new Parliament in Kabul. It has largely refrained from supporting Kabul militarily because of Pakistani sensitivities, said Mr Dhruva Jaishankar, fellow at the Brookings India think-tank.

“For India, the priority is a stable and plural Afghanistan, and the defeat of the Taliban. This would ensure that the region is not a hotbed for terrorism and is instead a conduit to Central Asia,” Mr Jaishankar said.

Militant insurgency

Meanwhile, Afghanistan remains in the grip of a resurgent Taliban and repeated attacks from IS militants.

Bilateral relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been severely strained over Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, presenting significant challenges to economic development in the region, said Mr Abdul Baqi Amin, director of Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies in Kabul. The neighbours accuse each other of harbouring militants who carry out assaults on both sides of the border.

Nevertheless, Pakistan is Afghanistan’s largest trading partner, with annual trade of around US$2 billion. The two governments pledged to raise bilateral trade to US$5 billion by next year.

Some of this investment is bearing fruit. Last year, Afghanistan and Pakistan trade increased from US$1.03 billion to US$1.7 billion, according to Pakistan central bank figures, and Pakistan, as one of South Asia’s fastest-growing economies, is eyeing the central Asian markets for trade expansion.

Trade between Pakistan and central Asian republics combined accounted for just US$74.27 million in 2015-16, according to the Pakistan Trade Development Authority. With the expansion of the Torkhum-Jalalabad road, Islamabad is also looking to the expansion of the corridor to central Asia, creating an economic engine for the region.

Historic roadway

As the main gateway to Afghanistan, more than half of Afghanistan’s 2014 trade with the rest of the world was conducted via Pakistan’s two border crossings — Torkham in the north and Chaman in the south, according to the Pakistan Business Council.

“If you see the history, people just came here to fight,” said Mr Amjad Ali, director of the road project for Pakistan’s national highway authority, referring to the use of the Torkham crossing by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces prior to 2014, as well as the long history of invasions via the Khyber Pass. “Now, more than 600 trucks each day cross the border via this road, and once the second carriageway is completed and the mechanism at border is upgraded, it will go up further.”

Pakistan is among the best-performing economies in Asia, and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif aims to boost it further after China pledged to invest US$46 billion in an economic corridor linking its less-developed western part to Pakistan’s deep-sea port of Gwadar.

Despite the harsh exchange of words between Pakistan and India, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Reform, and the brains behind Mr Sharif’s development policy, Mr Ahsan Iqbal, offered an unexpected olive branch, inviting India to join China’s corridor in order to promote economic growth in south and central Asia.

“We need to normalise ties in this part of the world,” Mr Iqbal said in an interview earlier this month. “A better political environment is the key to better economic cooperation.” BLOOMBERG

US allies to flood city with anti-aircraft missiles

US reportedly reverses policy to allow shipments of man-portable systems to Syria, in response to intense bombardment of city

Manpad systems are effective against low-flying aircraft such as helicopters (AFP)
Graeme Baker's picture

The US has resolved to prevent the fall of Aleppo and is preparing to allow its Gulf allies to flood the city with shoulder-fired, anti-aircraft missiles, according to a source with close contacts to rebel forces.

The Reuters news agency this week reported anonymous US officials as saying that the recent intense bombardment of Syria’s second city had “heightened” the possibility of the Obama administration lifting a long-held ban by allowing Qatar and Saudi Arabia to arm rebels with man-portable missiles.

A source on Tuesday told Middle East Eye that the US had confirmed it would allow the two Gulf states to begin shipments.

“The US confirmed the green light to begin sending them to rebels through supply routes still open through Jordan and Turkey,” the source said. “Rebels are being told only to target Syrian helicopters, not Russian – but it’s not clear they will abide by this.

“The US won’t let Aleppo fall. We can expect to see Syrian helicopters falling from the sky within weeks.”

However, the source warned that such an escalation could provoke regional blowback – suggesting Iran, an ally of the Syrian government, would respond by shipping similar missiles to Houthi rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

The report comes amid the launch of a mass ground attack on the rebel-held eastern areas of Aleppo, and almost a week of intense bombardment that has killed hundreds of civilians after the failure of a ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia.

Syrian helicopters continue to use indiscriminate barrel bombs, while Russian and Syrian jets have been accused of dropping incendiary devices, “bunker buster” munitions and “vacuum” bombs on civilian areas.

On Wednesday, the US state department warned Russia it was considering the suspension of “bilateral engagement” in Syria, “unless Russia takes immediate steps to end the assault on Aleppo and restore the cessation of hostilities”.

One US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Reuters, said Washington had kept large numbers of man-portable air defence systems, or Manpads, out of Syria by uniting Western and Arab allies behind channelling training and infantry weapons to moderate opposition groups while it pursued talks with Moscow.

But frustration with Washington has intensified, raising the possibility that Gulf allies or Turkey will no longer continue to follow the US lead or will turn a blind eye to wealthy individuals looking to supply Manpads to opposition groups.

“The Saudis have always thought that the way to get the Russians to back off is what worked in Afghanistan 30 years ago – negating their air power by giving Manpads to the mujahideen,” a second US official told the news agency.

“So far, we’ve been able to convince them that the risks of that are much higher today because we’re not dealing with a Soviet Union in retreat, but a Russian leader who’s bent on rebuilding Russian power and less likely to flinch.”

Asked if the US was willing to do anything beyond negotiations to try to stop the violence, State Department spokesman Mark Toner did not outline other steps, but stressed that Washington did not want to see anyone pouring more weapons into the conflict.

“What you would have as a result is just an escalation in what is already horrific fighting,” Toner said. “Things could go from bad to much worse.”

Another administration official, however, said: “The opposition has a right to defend itself and they will not be left defenceless in the face of this indiscriminate bombardment.”

“We don’t believe they will take lightly to the kind of outrages we’ve seen in the last 72 hours,” said the administration official, who added that he would not comment on “the specific capability that might be brought into the fight”.

He declined to elaborate.

Manpads would be an effective counter against the low-flying, relatively slow helicopters often used by the Syrian air force to drop barrel bombs. However, such systems are much less of a threat to fast-moving targets at high altitude, such as the jets leading the recent bombardments.

‘Not a game changer’

Shashank Joshi, a senior research fellow at the Rusi think-tank, said that he did not think the weapons would be a “game-changer” in Syria.

“It depends what altitude the planes are flying at,” he said. “Manpads are much more limited than proper surface-to-air missiles, like the kind that shot down the MH-17 passenger airline over Ukraine. Your average Manpad would not be able to reach cruising altitude.

“There is evidence that the Syrians and Russians are using ‘dumb bombs,’ mostly unguided weapons – that typically requires you to fly lower than when using precision weapons and so you are more susceptible to being shot down.

“But on the whole I doubt that Russian fixed-wing aircraft would be flying low enough to be at serious risk. The risks are to helicopters and planes taking off and landing.

“I don’t think the bombing that is taking place in Aleppo is done from such an altitude that would put planes at serious risk. This would be an irritant, a problem to contend with, but not a game-changer.”

Manpads have been used in Syria in limited numbers, but the most notable attack that destroyed a Russian helicopter was carried out with a US-made TOW anti-tank missile in northern Syria. The helicopter had landed and was attempting to recover two pilots whose plane had been shot down by a Turkish jet last November.

The US famously shipped “Stinger” missiles to the Afghan mujahiddeen during their war against the Soviets in the 1980s, a move that has been cited as a “game-changer” in the conflict, but the terrain in Syria and type of warfare being fought is vastly different.

The Soviets often used helicopters for attack missions and troop transport through Afghanistan’s mountainous countryside, and were easy targets for Afghan rebels armed with the missiles.

Their effectiveness in the battle for Aleppo – street-to-street fighting in an urban area – remains to be seen.

Falling into wrong hands

There are long-held concerns that the new weapons could fall into the hands of militants with agendas beyond Syria: Manpad systems are a huge threat to commercial aviation during take-off and landing.

The Los Angeles Times reported in May that caches of anti-tank missiles made their way to hard-line factions in Syria after the CIA gave them to select “moderate” allies.

“It only takes one stray Manpad to sneak into Turkey and that would be a very bad thing,” a US official told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

Joshi, of Rusi, said: “Gulf states and Turkey understand the serious risks involved in supplying Manpads, in some ways they would bear more of the risk than anyone else to civilian and passenger airlines. I think they should be extremely cautious before proceeding with such moves.”

Local Police Screw-Up Modi Masterplan, Arrest Escaped Khalistani Sikh Leader

[There are no 2 Indian reports w/the same details on the conspiratorial attack upon Punjabi jail.]

“fired over 100 rounds.”…”a dozen men disguised as policemen”–NDTV

“Around 35 rounds were fired at the location.”…”Five people came in a car in police uniform”–HINDU

“Parwinder Singh Pinda, was caught last evening in Uttar Pradesh with a huge cache of arms.”–NDTV
Four guns were found from the vehicle.“–TRIBUNE INDIA

[This coincides w/Indian press efforts to create impression of Khalistani terrorists training in B.C. Canada.]

Khalsa Centre at Miracle Valley

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Gurpreet Singh: Reports of Sikh terror camp in Fraser Valley reveal true colours of Narendra Modi government

“Critics believe that by creating fear of terrorism in Punjab, intelligence agencies are trying to help the BJP and Akali Dal as part of a grand design….

“Instead of going after terrorists from the majority community, they are trying to instill fear of the ISI and Khalistani terrorism in the minds of Indian public….”

Punjab Jailbreak: Khalistani Terrorist, 5 Others Flee

times-now

Punjab Jailbreak: Khalistani Terrorist, 5 Others Flee
SOURCE : Times Now, Agencies

Ten armed men today stormed the Nabha jail near Patiala, opened indiscriminate fire and fled with five prisoners including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Mintoo, an accused in 10 cases.Police said a group of youths dressed in police uniform stormed the jail and opened indiscriminate fire at the jail.

Those who fled with the armed men include gangster Vicky Gondar, Gurpreet Sekhon, Nita Deol, Vikramjeet, and terrorist Mintoo, police said.

Mintoo was arrested by Punjab Police from Delhi’s IGI Airport in 2014. He was arrested in connection with 10 cases including the 2008 attack on Sirsa-based Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh and recovery of explosives at Halwara Air Force station in 2010.

 Punjab DGP Suresh Arora rushed to Nabha after the incident.

In the wake of the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal has called a meeting of senior officials including State Chief Secretary Sarvesh Kaushal. The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report on the jaibreak.

A high alert had been sounded in Punjab with security around railway stations, airports, inter-state bus terminuses and other places of key importance stepped up, officials said.

Sequence of events: 

8. 00 a.m: 10 armed men disguised in uniform open fire outside Nabha jail

8.00 a.m: Unarmed jail security men run for cover

8.20 a.m: Six prisoners break out of jail

8.20 a.m: Six prisoners and the 10 attackers escape in three cars

9.00 a.m: Fugitives cross Nabha jail again

9.00 a.m: Shots fired again as both cars cross prison

Punjab Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal said that the DG Jails has been suspended and Nabha Jail superintendent, Deputy Jail Superintendent have been dismissed post the jailbreak.

Afghan Taliban Keep ISIS Penned-Up In The Wilderness of Nangarhar

Editor’s Note: Radical Islam is not a monolith. The Lebanese Hizballah fights the Islamic State in Syria, Hamas has crushed al-Qaeda sympathizers in Gaza, andmost importantly from a U.S. perspective—al-Qaeda and the Islamic State are bitter rivals. This tension shows up in Afghanistan, one of the most important U.S. theaters of war. Seth Jones of the RAND Corporation details how a surprising source contains the Islamic State therethe Taliban.

***

Since 2014, the Islamic State has established a small presence in Afghanistan. Islamic State leaders call this province, or wilayat, “Khorasan,” a reference to the historical region that encompassed parts of Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Yet despite their effort to expand power and influence in the region, the Islamic State-Khorasan Province, as Islamic State leaders refer to the affiliate, controls virtually no territory except for tiny areas in such districts as Deh Bala, Achin, and Naziyan in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The Islamic State has conducted only a handful of attacks in the region, failed to secure the support of most locals, and struggled with poor leadership.

The Afghan Taliban has emerged as one of the Islamic State’s fiercest enemies, though the U.S. and Afghan governments have conducted strikes as well. Taliban commanders have orchestrated an aggressive campaign against the Islamic State to kill its senior leaders, co-opt its members, and undermine its ideology. This development is a double-edged sword for the United States, with broader implications in the campaign to unseat the Islamic State from territorial control in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The weakening of the Islamic State is a positive step. But Taliban successes against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s organization have increased the Taliban’s strength in eastern and southern Afghanistan, creating a separate challenge for the United States and its allies.

 

The Rise of the Islamic State in Khorasan

In 2014, Islamic State leaders communicated with militant groups in South Asia to gauge the possibility of expanding the Islamic State’s influence in the region. The Islamic State began conducting an information campaign through word of mouth, printed material, and other forums. Islamic State sympathizers, for example, distributed a 12-page printed booklet titled “Fateh” (or “victory” in Pashto) in Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. As Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Shahid Shahidullah remarked in late 2014: “Oh our brothers, we are proud of you in your victories. We are with you in your happiness and your sorrow … All Muslims in the world have great expectations of you. We are with you, we will provide you with mujahedeen and with every possible support.”

South Asia seemed a promising market for the Islamic State. The region has a long history of supporting jihadist groups, dating back to the anti-Soviet wars in the 1980s. South Asia also had several factors that made it attractive for Islamic State leaders: relatively weak governments, which provided an opportunity to secure safe havens in areas with little or no official interference; ongoing wars backed by Western countries like the United States, which could be used to delegitimize the governments in Kabul and Islamabad as foreign puppets; and a religious and historical importance as part of Khorasan. The Islamic State launched a blistering public attack against al-Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, accusing them of having gross shortcomings regarding the teaching of tawhid (the oneness of God) to their members. The Islamic State accused both the Taliban and al-Qaeda of multiple offenses: focusing on tribal law over Sharia, establishing a close alliance with Pakistan’s intelligence agency, failing to effectively conquer and control territory, neglecting to target Shi’a, adopting “un-Islamic” practices such as wearing amulets, establishing a hierarchical structure that excluded many rank-and-file fighters, and recognizing international borders (instead of supporting a pan-Islamic caliphate).

One of the few groups that escaped the Islamic State’s excoriation was the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which was formed in December 2007 as an umbrella organization among various Pakistani militant groups. “They were upon great good,” concluded one article in Dabiq, the Islamic State’s online magazine, referring to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. “They carry the Salafi creed and hope and strive to establish the laws of Islam in their region.”

 

The Islamic State’s Strategy

In January 2015, the Islamic State formally announced the establishment of what it called “Wilayat Khorasan,” or Khorasan Province, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the next several months, the Islamic State focused on co-opting local militants and expanding its networks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its strategy included several components.

First, the Islamic State attempted to exploit local grievances in leveraging already-established networks. Following the death of several Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan leaders, Hafiz Saeed Khan and several of his colleagues in Pakistan became increasingly disenchanted with the group. Saeed had apparently been one of the main contenders for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s top spot, but was passed over. In southern Afghanistan, Abdul Rauf Khadim was a longstanding Taliban military leader who rose to prominence after the United States released him from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007. Yet he became increasingly disgruntled with the Afghan Taliban. The Islamic State recruited some of these frustrated former Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Afghan Taliban members, as well as operatives from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

Second, the Islamic State headquarters in Syria and Iraq doled out some money to attract supporters. The Islamic State was willing to provide some finances—perhaps as much as several hundred thousand dollars—to build networks in South Asia. The Islamic State’s seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria attracted some extremists in the region, who wanted to ally with what they viewed as a successful violent jihadist group.

Third, the Islamic State took advantage of weak local governance to establish a foothold. Nangarhar Province in Afghanistan is perhaps the clearest example. Both the Afghan government and Taliban had failed to control territory in parts of Nangarhar. The Afghan government and its security forces had virtually no presence in most parts of districts along the Spin Ghar mountain range south and east of Jalalabad. And the Taliban had little control in an area that included multiple insurgent groups and fractured tribal dynamics. In such districts as Achin, Deh Bala, and Naziyan, the Shinwari tribal structure has almost completely broken down.

Based on this strategy, the Islamic State established an organizational structure led by an emir, with a deputy emir and a central shura composed of such committees as intelligence, finance, propaganda, and education. After the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan in 2016 by a U.S. drone strike, the Islamic State appointed Abdul Hasib, a former Afghan Taliban member, as emir of the organization.

 

The Decline of the Islamic State

Despite its best efforts, however, the Islamic State controls little territory in South Asia, conducted only a handful of attacks, failed to secure the support of most locals, and struggled with poor leadership.

In 2015, the now-deceased Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour bluntly warned in a message to Islamic State fighters that the war in Afghanistan should come “under one banner” and one leadership—that of the Taliban.

One of the Islamic State’s fiercest opponents has been the Taliban. In 2015, the now-deceased Taliban leader Akhtar Mohammad Mansour bluntly warned in a message to Islamic State fighters that the war in Afghanistan should come “under one banner” and one leadership—that of the Taliban. Taliban leaders strongly objected to the Islamic State’s desire to establish a separate chain of command in Afghanistan with a separate leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In response to Mansour’s letter, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (now deceased) responded by accusing the Taliban of allying with Pakistani intelligence. This war of words soon gave way to bloody skirmishes.

In eastern Afghanistan, fighting erupted between the Taliban and Islamic State in early 2015. The first clashes took place in Naziyan district of Nangarhar Province, and were followed by Taliban attacks against Islamic State positions in Kot and the Mamand Valley. In May 2015, the Afghan Taliban withdrew after failing to secure support among locals, and Islamic State forces conducted offensive operations against the Taliban in several districts of Nangarhar. By mid-summer of 2015, the Islamic State controlled territory in several districts in the province. But the Taliban regrouped. Drawing on fighters in nearby provinces, the Taliban successfully pushed Islamic State fighters out of most districts in Nangarhar, except for Deh Bala, Achin, and Naziyan. In southern Afghanistan, the Taliban routed Islamic State fighters. In the northern Helmand district of Kajaki, for example, Taliban fighters captured or killed several dozen fighters that had allied with the Islamic State in 2015. The Taliban did the same in Farah Province, where they killed, captured, or co-opted an Islamic State cell in the Khak-e-Safid district. The Taliban also brutally crushed Islamic State cells in Logar and Zabul provinces.

 

Broader Lessons

Today, the Islamic State has roughly 1,000 to 2,000 fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a decrease from 2015 estimates. The group has conducted only a handful of attacks in the region, such as against a police convoy in Quetta in August 2016, Pakistan attorneys at a hospital in Quetta in August 2016, Hazara protesters in Kabul in July 2016, and the Pakistan consulate in Jalalabad in January 2016. But the Islamic State’s loss of territory in such provinces as Helmand, Farah, Zabul, and Logar is not entirely a good news story. The Afghan Taliban has benefited from the Islamic State’s decline. The Taliban has strengthened its power, bolstered its reputation, and complicated U.S. and Afghan government efforts to wind down the Afghan war.

The Afghan experience highlights a broader lesson in the fight against the Islamic State. The Islamic State’s loss of territory will not occur in a vacuum. Who will benefit? Other terrorist groups or non-state actors? The local government? Regional powers? As the United States and its allies undermine Islamic State territorial control in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and other countries, policymakers need to shift their attention to understanding and influencing who fills the vacuum. As in Afghanistan, the United States may not be much better off with the winners.

Will Obama’s Total Failure In Syria Be Revealed In The Coming Fiasco At Al-Bab?

Turkey’s push for Syrian town complicates anti-IS fight

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 file image made from video posted online by Qasioun News Agency, Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces patrol in Dabiq, Syria. Turkey is pushing ahead with plans to liberate the town of al-Bab, the last major Islamic State stronghold in northern Syria despite a complicated terrain. (Qasioun News Agency via AP, File)

    FILE – In this Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 file image made from video posted online by Qasioun News Agency, Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces patrol in Dabiq, Syria. Turkey is pushing ahead with plans to liberate the town of al-Bab, the last major Islamic State stronghold in northern Syria despite a complicated terrain. (Qasioun News Agency via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

 

Turkey is pushing to capture the town of al-Bab, the last major Islamic State group stronghold in northern Syria. But are others welcoming the new advance in the war against the militants? Not quite.

By seizing the city, Turkey would plant its firmest foothold yet in Syria. That is already causing frictions with other players in the country’s war.

Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government opposes the Turkish incursion. His military’s air defenses have threatened Turkish warplanes, and on Thursday, three Turkish troops were killed outside al-Bab in what the Turkish military said was a Syrian airstrike.

At the same time, Turkey’s Syrian allies are clashing with Syrian Kurdish fighters, who are another ally of the United States in the war on IS and are currently leading an assault on the Islamic State group’s de facto capital Raqqa.

Here is a look at why al-Bab is important for Ankara and how it can influence the balance of power in Syria.

WHY AL-BAB?

For Turkey, capturing al-Bab is key to preventing Syrian Kurds from connecting the stretches of territory they have captured along the border. A contiguous Kurdish-held area in Syria emboldens Turkey’s own Kurdish rebels. Ankara views the Kurdish forces on both sides of the border as linked and labels them terrorists.

A victory would push IS further from Turkey’s border and further squeeze the militants in the city of Raqqa.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey was forced to descend to al-Bab, 30 kilometers (19 miles) south of the Syria-Turkey border, “to prepare a region there that is free of terror.” Home to at least 2.7 million Syrian refugees, Turkey is looking to establish a “safe-zone” inside Syria.

But Turkey’s priority is the Kurds.

Erdogan has also vowed to take the nearby town of Manbij, which the Kurds captured from IS this summer after 10 weeks of grueling battles. That victory allowed the Kurdish forces to expand west of the Euphrates River — a line Ankara said they must not cross.

Al-Bab, Arabic for ‘the door’, would provide Turkey with a new leverage with its NATO ally, the United States, and strengthen Ankara’s influence over Syrian rebels at a time when a new Trump administration in Washington could halt support.

___

THE BATTLEFIELD

Al-Bab is sandwiched between three rival forces. Moving from the north and west, Turkish-backed fighters are less than one kilometer (half a mile) away. Kurds are moving in from the east. Syrian troops are stationed to the south.

The Islamic State group is ready, erecting a wall around the entire town and its countryside to the south, according to satellite imagery by U.S.-based firm TerraServer shared by intelligence analyst Roa Komar. He said fighting could be as heavy as the battle for Manbij.

Some 1,500-3,000 Syrian fighters backed by 300-600 Turkish troops are involved in the three-month-old Turkish incursion into northern Syria, known as Operation Euphrates Shield, according to a Western military official speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations. So far they have captured some 1,800 square kilometers (7,000 square miles), largely sparsely populated rural areas cleared by Turkish artillery and warplanes.

Turkey’s Syrian allies comprise diverse factions often plagued by infighting, including the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham and the U.S.-backed al-Mutassem Brigade. Turkey’s ground presence provides the factions with some protection from Russian or Syrian airstrikes, which have pounded rebels elsewhere, said al-Mutassem’s chief, Mustafa Sejari, on his Twitter account.

At the same time, the Kurds vow to take al-Bab as well, though they are more likely to prove a distraction for Turkey’s assault. Kurdish fighters and the Turkish-backed forces are already battling over control of an IS-held village between al-Bab and Manbij.

Meanwhile, Turkey is aggressively recruiting among rebels. One opposition faction recently evacuated from Damascus suburb of Darayya to rebel-held northern Idlib is mulling whether to join Turkey’s operation.

After surviving a four-year government siege, Abu Jamal, leader of Islam Martyrs Brigades, said his estimated 700 fighters are joining other battles in northern Syria to gain new experience. “We have never fought Daesh before,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

___

HOW DOES THE U.S. FEEL ABOUT IT?

Nowhere is the U.S.’s often muddled Syria policy more tested than in al-Bab.

The U.S. has mainly been trying, with little success, to prevent fighting between its two allies, Turkey and the Kurds. After U.S. Chief of Staff Gen. Roger Dunford visited Ankara in early November, an American military liaison was sent to Turkey for closer coordination on anti-IS operations.

Part of that coordination could be over the offensive against Raqqa, said Noah Bonsay, of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.

The offensive has been led by the Kurds, but Washington recognizes the need for a more local Sunni Arab force to eventually capture and control the city with its majority Arab population, Bonsay said. Ankara, which also said it wants to take part in the Raqqa operation, is in a position to help in that.

But while focusing on fighting IS, Washington has struggled in playing the bigger power game with Russia, Turkey and other players in Syria.

Turkey has grown closer to Russia even as it consolidates the opposition, including ultraconservatives, under its leadership.

“The U.S. is going to wake up in 2017 … to find that Turkey has all the local influence and all the local leverage, and we have exactly none or precious little,” said Jennifer Cafarella, a Syria analyst with the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

___

THE VIEW FROM MOSCOW AND DAMASCUS

Despite Assad’s opposition to the Turkish incursion, his ally Moscow appears to be tolerating it in order to further cultivate its warming ties with Ankara.

Russia and Turkey have been finding common ground on Syria. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Erdogan have met several times since August, after Ankara apologized for downing a Russian warplane a year ago. Russian and Turkish military chiefs met three times in as many months, and Russian media say Moscow is sharing military intelligence with Ankara.

With the better ties, Russia likely aims to exploit Turkey’s strains with the West. Turkey, in turn, prevents Moscow from growing closer to the Kurds.

Russia could see advantages in the Turkish foray — for example, in the city of Aleppo, where Assad’s Russian-backed forces are threatening to crush the eastern, rebel-held enclave. Ankara is unlikely to risk its rapprochement with Moscow by sending its allied Syrian factions to rescue the opposition part of the city.

Russia, however, must also deal with its ally Assad’s opposition to Turkish influence in Syria.

Turkey had to briefly halt its airstrikes around al-Bab after Syrian air defenses locked on its warplanes last week. The strikes resumed this week, raising speculation Moscow mediated.

Thursday’s Turkish casualties could be a sign Damascus views Turkey’s advance so close to al-Bab as a step too far. Ankara’s account of how the three soldiers died is disputed by Syrian activists, who said they were killed by an Islamic State suicide attack the day before.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said Damascus “cannot accept having one Turkish soldier remain” in Syria.

___

Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, and Lolita Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

‘Atheist Muslims’ could be the key to defeating Islamic terror

‘Atheist Muslims’ could be the key to defeating Islamic terror

new york post

Ali A. Rizvi says there’s a wisdom to be found in non-religious people from Muslim backgrounds.Photo: Alishba Zarmeen

I was raised in three Muslim majority countries — Libya, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan — and arrived in North America in my mid-20s. Two years after I settled in Canada, September 11 happened. Nineteen hijackers acting in the name of my parents’ religion — 15 from a country I grew up in — flew fuel-laden airliners into the World Trade Center, killing thousands.

From the ashes, two opposing narratives began to emerge, as it happens with most issues in the US: one on the right, and one on the left.

And today, in a nation more divided than ever after a rancorous election season, the differences couldn’t be more stark.

The right is clear: We’re at war with Islamic terrorists. They started it, and we must respond. We know the common denominator here, so enough with the political correctness — we must keep our country safe, and if that means profiling Muslims, restricting Muslim immigration or even “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” as President-elect Donald Trump proposed last year, so be it.

No, says the left. We need to be nuanced. Read through our history. Islamists are simply responding to America’s atrocities around the world. We’re the imperialists who colonized them, held them down under the boot of the military-industrial complex and built our civilization at their expense. We must look at the underlying grievances and root causes driving this. The “biggest terrorist operation that exists,” according to uber-leftist hero Noam Chomsky, is actually the one being run by Obama.

Both of these narratives miss the mark. One assumes that Muslims are inherently violent because Islam is inherently violent. The other paints the act of criticizing Islam as bigotry against all Muslims.

The key distinction both sides miss is that Islam is an idea. Muslims are people.

Human beings have rights and are entitled to respect; ideas, books and beliefs don’t and aren’t. No belief is sacred, but our right to believe what we want is.

Not making this distinction leads the far right to demonize all Muslims because of the problems in Islam, and the far left to completely ignore legitimate problems with Islam in an effort to defend Muslims. The result? One side calling for a ban on Muslims and the other pretending Islamic terrorism doesn’t exist.

Photo: Shutterstock

I’m a liberal atheist who grew up as part of a Muslim family. I’m not alone. Recent polls reveal millions of secular agnostics and atheists in the Muslim world, though you probably won’t hear about them unless they’re being flogged in prison, executed by the state, or murdered by a mob. A WIN/Gallup poll found that 19 percent of people in Saudi Arabia — the historical birthplace of Islam and Muhammad — identify as “non-religious”; for perspective, that number is 15 percent in Italy. The same poll shows that 5 percent of Saudis — over a million people — identify as “convinced atheists,” the same percentage as in the US.

Secularists in the Muslim world are growing fast and targeted viciously within their communities. Make no mistake, these freethinking dissidents — fighting to bring universal values like free expression, liberty and equality to their people — are not shy about criticizing Islam. They are putting their lives on the line to do this, and many have died for it. They are your most dedicated allies.

But when you fail to distinguish between the ideology we’re fighting and the people that make up our families, friends and loved ones, you’re shutting us out.

After Trump announced his Muslim ban, Fareed Zakaria, one of the world’s most respected American journalists, felt he had to embrace his Muslim identity. “I am not a practicing Muslim,” he wrote. “My wife is Christian, and we have not raised our children as Muslims. My views on faith are complicated — somewhere between deism and agnosticism. I am completely secular in my outlook.”

Why embrace the Muslim label then?

When you fail to distinguish between the ideology we’re fighting and the people that make up our families, friends and loved ones, you’re shutting us out.

“As I watch the way in which Republican candidates are dividing Americans, I realize that it’s important to acknowledge the religion into which I was born,” he continued. “I am appalled by Donald Trump’s bigotry and demagoguery not because I am a Muslim but because I am an American.”

Do we really want to force well-integrated, patriotic American Muslims like Zakaria back into tribal categories under a President Trump?

The greatest thing about America is that it empowers people to rise above their birth identities. This is certainly true of American Muslims. Look at Muhammad Ali. Or Ahmet Ertegun, the founder of Atlantic Records, who brought us the voices of Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Led Zeppelin. Or comedian Dave Chappelle. Or actor Aziz Ansari, who is avowedly secular but was incensed at Trump for unfairly targeting Muslims like his parents.

Reducing their identity to just “Muslim” doesn’t help successful, hard-working Muslim-Americans rise above it. It throws them back, categorizing, ghettoizing, and tribalizing them. It alienates those who would otherwise be allies.

We should be able to criticize any doctrinal idea openly while also standing up for the right of people to believe in them. The left’s failure to honestly address the Islamism problem from a position of moral strength has left a void that the Trumpian right has opportunistically — and successfully — exploited in a very divisive way, alienating reformist dissidents in the Muslim world who feel betrayed by liberals and conservatives alike. Today — more than ever — those fighting for freedom there need the support of those who love freedom here.

Ali A. Rizvi, a writer and a medical communications professional, is the author of “The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason” (St. Martin’s), out now. Twitter: @aliamjadrizvi

Pak. Army Stops Another TTP Fedayeen Attack On Military Base In Mohmand

pakistan-armyPakistan army foiled an attempted suicide bombing attack by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar group on a military camp near the Afghan border on Saturday morning, 26 November – File photoKhuram Parvez/Reuters

Pakistan army kills 4 militants and foils suicide bombing attack on military facility

international-bus-times

Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar claimed responsibility for the attempted attack.

 

 

 

The Pakistani army said on Saturday, 26 November, that it foiled a suicide bombing attack attempted on a military facility in northwestern Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

All four attackers of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Jamaat-ur-Ahrar group, which claimed responsibility, were reportedly killed.

Asim Bajwa, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan, confirmed the attack on the Ghalani military camp in Mohmand Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. He tweeted that the four suicide bombers were killed by the army, which suffered two casualties in the incident.

The attack took place at around 6.20am local time (1.20am BST). The assailants attempted to enter a busy mosque where soldiers were attending morning prayers, The Dawn reported.

“Wearing suicide jackets they opened fire and tried to rush inside the mosque. They were taken on and contained in the outer courtyard of the mosque,” the military reportedly said in a statement. The statement added that two of the attackers were shot dead and two blew themselves.

Reuters quoted Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the militant group, as saying that they intended to set free fellow militants from the custody of the security forces through this attack.

Erdogan Threatens Europe w/Three Million Hungry, Pissed-Off Syrian Refugees

Turkish president threatens to reopen borders to hundreds of thousands of migrants

foxnews

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses an annual economy and trade meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses an annual economy and trade meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016.  (The Associated Press)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned the European Union that if it continues threatening his country he will open the border gates and allow hundreds of thousands of migrants to flood into EU countries.

Erdogan, in a speech Friday, reacted furiously to a non-binding resolution approved the previous day by the European Parliament demanding that the bloc freeze membership negotiations with Turkey over the government’s heavy-handed crackdown following a failed coup in July.

“We are the ones who feed 3-3.5 million refugees in this country. You have betrayed your promises,” Erdogan told the EU. “If you go any further those border gates will be opened.”

The EU struck a deal earlier this year to return migrants to Turkey in return for a package including aid for the refugees and accelerated membership talks.

Turks Cross the Line In Syria…3 Turkish Soldiers Killed In Syrian Airstrike

3 Turkish soldiers martyred in Syrian regime attack

anadolu agency turk state

Ankara says regime forces conducted air attacks against Turkish troops in Al-Bab, northern Syria

ANKARA 

Three Turkish soldiers were martyred and 10 others wounded Thursday in an air attack carried out by Syrian regime forces, the Turkish military has said.

Starting at around 3.30 a.m. local time Thursday (0030GMT), Syrian regime forces carried out air attacks on Turkish troops close to the city of Al-Bab in northern Syria, the Turkish General Staff said in a statement.

The dead and injured were taken to hospitals in Turkey’s southern Kilis and Gaziantep provinces.

One of the injured soldiers is in a critical condition.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was briefed on the attack by Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar and Defense Minister Fikri Isik.

The Turkish Armed Forces, meanwhile, announced that at least 14 Daesh targets were destroyed Thursday under Operation Euphrates Shield, launched by Turkey in late August to rid the northern Syrian border area of terrorists.

Targets were located in the towns of Qabasin, Bzaa, Arima plus Al-Bab.

Over 215 residential areas, including more than 1,800 square kilometers (694 square miles) of land in northern Syria have so far been cleared of Daesh terrorists as part of the operation, which is now in its 93rd day.

Reporting by Sinan Uslu;Writing by Ayse Humeyra Atılgan

Egypt’s Al-Sisi Calls for International Support for Syria, Libya, Iraq Armies

Egypt’s Sisi Calls for International Support for Syria, Libya, Iraq Armies

Al-Manaralmanar
egyptian-president-abdel-fattah-al-sisi

Egyptian President, ‘Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi voiced support for the Syrian, Libyan, and Iraqi armies in their battles against terrorists.

In a live television interview with RTP TV on Tuesday, Sisi said “there should be international support for the Libyan, Iraqi & Syrian national armies to ensure security in their countries.”

“It is better that the national army of any country ensures security and stability by itself,” Sisi said when asked about sending Egyptian troops to Syria.

“Syria has been for five years suffering a deep crisis. Our stance is that we respect the will of the Syrian people,” the Egyptian president said, stressing that the political settlement is the best solution to the current conflict.

In this context, Sisi urged to deal seriously with the terrorist groups in Syria and to disarm them, in order to preserve the unity of Syria and to rebuild the war-ravaged country.

Western Media’s War Against Truth–“RT News” Is NOT ISIS

‘Ridiculous & insane hysteria’–

Russia placed alongside ISIS in new EU resolution debated by MEPs

Russia-Today

The EU Parliament is debating a resolution that aims to establish measures “to tackle Russian and ISIS propaganda.” In the latest wake of anti-Russia sentiment, the British parliament will also hear a report denouncing public figures with alleged Russia links.

On Wednesday, MEPs in Strasbourg will vote on a non-legislative resolution which calls for the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia and Islamist terrorists with more positive messaging, awareness raising, and education in information literacy.”

READ MORE: Why has NATO chosen Russia as its enemy instead of ISIS?

Ahead of the vote, the issue was debated at a plenary sitting, with a report “calling for stronger counter measures” having been presented the lawmakers, according to the European Parliament. The report, written by a Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Anna Fotyga, said that Russia aims to “incite fear and divide Europe” along with terrorist organizations, such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“The EU is under growing pressure from disinformation by countries, such as Russia, and non-state actors, like ISIS/Daesh, Al-Qaeda and other violent jihadi terrorist groups which promote violence and use pseudo-news agencies and internet trolls to challenge democratic values and divide Europe,” the newsletter said.

RT was cited as one of the alleged propaganda “tools”. It said that Moscow has an influence on media markets and societies in the EU and other countries. Fotyga told the European Parliament, “surely the citizens of the United States of America are also the target of Russian propaganda with the use of many tools such as Russia Today [RT].”

“It comes to being ridiculous when the same report includes a threat coming from ISIL and from Russia, it demonstrates that people have lost their mind and sense of reality,” French MEP Jean-Luc Schaffhaueser told RT, adding that the situation is now at a point where he doesn’t know “whether to cry or to laugh”.

The EU “desperately needs an enemy, be it Russia or any other,” that it can blame for any of its own failures, the MEP said. “No one [in the parliament] wants to admit that EU ideology has led to the current situation, the bloc’s economic, social and political fiasco,” Schaffhaueser added.

“We are lucky that there is Russian media and other media that stand against [the EU’s] official propaganda. In Europe, its institutions and parliament, they refuse to see the obvious, to see the truth. And I am saying that we are lucky because it’s European democracy that is at stake,” he said.

During the debate, Spanish MEP Javier Couso Permuy denounced the report as an “insult to the intelligence of Europeans.”

“This report is insane. It fosters hysteria against Russia and neo-McCarthyism in Europe. It’s a caricature of Russia,” Permuy said. “This is a dangerous report. It’s headed at confrontation and it’s an assault on freedom of information. To put terrorist groups like Daesh, which disseminates live videos of torture and murders, on the same footing as a member state of the Security Council and other multilateral organisations which we have a grievance with, is an insult to the intelligence of Europeans.”

In the meantime British right-wing UKIP party MEP James Carver noted the report is “worryingly reminiscent of the Cold War.”

“Diplomacy and deterrence are delicate mechanisms,” Carver said. “Escalation can spiral out of control and lead us to places that I trust nobody in this chamber wishes to go. You have to stop your neo-colonialism and your justification for more European Union and remember the hard learned lessons of the Cold War.”

Meanwhile, as MEPs debated how to counter the alleged Russian threat and deal with the “impact of this disinformation,” their British colleagues will be presented with another report involving Russia.

Called ‘Putin’s Useful Idiots,’ the document was written by Andrew Foxall, the Director of the Russia Studies Centre at the conservative think tank, the Henry Jackson Society.

“Challenging [the] credibility” of politicians and other prominent figures who are sympathetic to Russia, it proposes a radical clampdown on such people, suggesting they have been paid by the Kremlin.

The report mentions a number of people who have shared their opinions on a range of international issues with RT viewers over the years, including UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

READ MORE: ‘New form of segregation?’: Moscow reacts to US State Dept treatment of RT reporter

“Many of those… have appeared on RT. If they received appearance fees, then they have also taken money from the Kremlin, thereby establishing financial links between themselves, their organizations and Moscow,” Foxall stated, adding that with the Kremlin’s “heavy investment” the Russian media aims to influence European public opinion.

Yemen War Reverses Direction…Houthis Drive Into Saudi Arabia

DAMASCUS, SYRIA (4:00 A.M.) – The Houthi forces continued their advance in the Najran region of southern Saudi Arabia on Monday, capturing two more military sites after a fierce battle with the Coalition fighters.

According to Yemen-based “Al-Masirah News Agency,” the Houthi frces and the Yemeni Republican Guard managed to overrun the Saudi Coalition’s defenses and establish control over two military installations on Monday.

Yemeni sources reported that scores of Saudi soldiers were killed in the operation which was carried out despite KSA air force’s attempts to hamper the advance of Yemen’s army and popular committees.

On Monday, the 48 hour long ceasefire in Yemen concluded, despite neither side abiding by the guidelines set forth in the agreement.

Saudis Admit Losing the Oil War To US Shale

[USGS Estimates 20 Billion Barrels of Oil in Texas’ Wolfcamp Shale Formation]

OPEC poised for output cut as Saudis bow to U.S. shale

financial-post

Saudi Arabia can no longer afford to fight a gruelling war of attrition to force rivals out of the market.

The OPEC cartel is poised to slash crude output after weeks of feverish shuttle diplomacy by Saudi Arabia, halting the “pump and dump” price war that has ravaged the oil industry for two years.

Officials from the cartel’s 14 member states will gather in Vienna today to start hammering out the final details of a deal to clear the enormous surplus hanging over the market.

OPEC talked themselves into a corner and they have to come away from Vienna with something

They have received quiet assurances from the Kremlin that Russia will play its part by freezing production.

“OPEC talked themselves into a corner and they have to come away from Vienna with something,” said David Fyfe, market chief at oil trader Gunvor.

“Prices could easily fall below US$40 again if this ends without a deal. They need to cut by at least 1 million barrels a day (b/d) to eat into inventories in early 2017. But it will be tricky: the Saudi red line is that they are not going to do this alone, and there must be some ‘buy-in’ from the others,” he said.

Yet any breakthrough will come as the U.S. Geological Survey reports vast quantities of cheap shale in the Wolfcamp pocket of the Permian Basin of West Texas, and US president-elect Donald Trump vows to slash costs for drillers and open federal land for exploration.

The Permian alone could rival the giant Ghawar oil field in Saudi Arabia, ultimately producing 6 million b/d at relatively low cost.

OPEC faces a Sisyphean task. It must learn to live with a permanent threat from agile frackers in North America, who are able to crank output within months at ever lower break-even costs, potentially capping global crude prices at half the level of the long boom years, which ended so brutally in 2014. Brent crude nudged up to US$46.80 last week on optimistic talk from OPEC ministers, though prices are still down 15 per cent since early October.

There have been hints of a loose agreement that lets Iran and Iraq curtail output slightly above current levels, leaving the Gulf states to do the heavy lifting.

“If they are highly disciplined and it doesn’t all fall apart as everybody cheats, prices could climb back up US$60 next year, but that is a very big if,” said Mr Fyfe.

Suspicions abound that several countries are inflating production figures to lock in a higher ceiling.

“Basically, there is going to be a deal,” said Ole Hansen from Saxo Bank. “Shale is now so lean and mean that OPEC can’t count on U.S. production falling. They’re only hurting themselves if they continue to pump and dump.”

OPEC reached a political accord in September to cut supply to a band of 32.5 million -33 million b/d, vowing to flesh out the details by Nov 30. Failure to do so would be the final nail in the coffin for the shattered credibility of the cartel.

Yet everything has gone the wrong way since then. OPEC produced a record 33.8 million b/d last month, and the immediate glut is getting worse. Shipments from Libya and Nigeria have together jumped by about 1 million b/d since mid-summer as attacks on oil infrastructure abate and ports return to business.

Iraq is reopening a pipeline in the Kirkuk area, and aims to boost output by another 300,000, insisting it should be exempt from cuts while it battles Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

Iran is back to pre-sanctions levels and is preparing to open three new fields with a further 200,000 b/d.

Twisting the knife deeper, the U.S. is still drilling extra wells. The latest Baker Hughes rig count rose by two to 452 last week.

Frackers have sold forward their production with hedge contracts, guaranteeing future supply whatever now happens. “They took advantage of the window for a few weeks when oil was higher and locked in hedges of around $52 for 2017, and $55 for 2018,” said Mr Hansen.

Esther George, the head of the Kansas Federal Reserve, told an oil forum on Friday that the average price needed by shale drillers to make a profit has fallen from US$79 to $53 in two years as technology matures, and many are making money at prices well below that.

She had a warning for those who expect a return to business as usual in global oil markets, predicting that a “large amount” of production would come on stream as soon as prices push through the mid-US$50s.

“I do not see much room for price appreciation,” she said.

Markets have grown cynical about OPEC rhetoric on cuts. Yet it is increasingly clear that Saudi Arabia has genuinely reversed course under the new energy minister, Khaled al-Falih, and this has changed the character of the Vienna meeting entirely.

The Kingdom can no longer afford to fight a gruelling war of attrition to force rivals out of the market.

While it has succeeded in killing off US$200 billion of investment in deep-water projects, Canadian tar sands and other high-cost ventures, this has come at a very high price.

The Saudis have been burning through foreign exchange reserves at a rate of US$10 billion a month, and contrary to general belief, their usable reserve buffer is relatively thin. They face an internal banking and liquidity squeeze and a construction crash, and have had to tap the global bond markets on a large scale to pay their bills.

“The Saudis are the ones that have suffered the biggest hit in revenue and face the most financial pain, and it has gone on a lot longer than they ever anticipated,” said Mr Fyfe.

Austerity policies are biting in earnest, threatening the social contract of cradle-to-grave welfare that underpins the Wahhabi regime. Cuts in salaries, and perks and allowances have reduced take-home pay for lower-level state employees by as much as 60 per cent.

Intelligence analysts say the Saudi-led war in Yemen is proving far more expensive than admitted, suggesting that budget deficit is significantly higher than the official figure of 13 per cent of GDP. It recently emerged from Pentagon papers that the Saudis have lost 20 of their state-of-the-art Abrams tanks.

Helima Croft from RBC says the Saudis are now throwing their full diplomatic weight behind the search for a deal, though markets have not yet grasped the significance of this. If the Saudis want a deal, a deal is what will almost certainly happen.

Crucially, they need a much firmer oil price to have any chance of floating a 5 per cent share of state oil company Saudi Aramco for a very ambitious US$100 billion.

The country is to release secret details about the true extent of its reserves, frozen at a constant 260 billion barrels since the inception of the modern oil age – a patently absurd estimate.

“We think the Saudis want to see prices at $60,” said Amrita Sen from Energy Aspects. “There is so much hardship in the Kingdom and they know what the repercussions are if there is no deal: prices are going to fall very sharply.”

Ultimately they want to keep the price in a “sweet spot” between US$60 and $80, preventing it rising so high that it leads to a fresh surge of investment in renewables – the real enemy.

The paradox of oil today is that although the market is over-supplied, spare capacity has fallen to wafer-thin levels as OPEC states produce flat out, and the Saudis have just 1.5m b/d left as a safety buffer. All it will take is a geostrategic shock or disruption somewhere in the world for the market to tighten viciously, leading to a fresh global crunch.

Sen said China’s output has fallen by 450,000 b/d, Mexico is down 200,000 b/d, and deeper-water investment has collapsed everywhere. “The risk is that prices are going to react in about 18 months. I wouldn’t rule out a spike to US$100,” she said.

RBC suggests a flutter for the truly brave: buy deep “out-of-the-money” call options on crude oil with strike prices of US$100 and $120. You may hit the jackpot.

Obama’s Terrorists In Syria Get Shipment of “Manpad” Surface-To-Air-Missiles

Ansar al-Islam Front says it has ‘good number’ of man-portable missiles in south Syria, in first apparent relaxation – or breach – of US ban

A member of Ansar al-Islam Front hold an SA-7 anti-aircraft missile (screegrab)

 

A Syrian rebel group has paraded a cache of shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, the first evidence of the weapons being supplied to opposition forces after an expected relaxing of US restrictions.

Members of the Ansar al-Islam Front were shown in a video posted on 20 November testing SA-7 Strela-2 missiles.

READ: ‘Aleppo must not fall’: US allies to flood city with anti-aircraft missiles

The group said they had a “good number” of the weapons, which were being deployed among Ansar and Free Syrian Army forces to counter government aircraft in Daraa and Quneitra, to the south of the country.

The first fighter in the video can be heard saying: “We, in Ansar al-Islam Front, have distributed several points of air defence to counter any attempt by the Syrian warplanes or helicopters which bombs points in Quneitra province. We have good number of these missiles.”

A second fighter, named as “Abu Bilal” in the video, says: “We, in Ansar al-Islam Front and factions of the FSA, are distributing equipment and soldiers toward Tal al-Hara, Mashara, Sandaniya and Jabata. And in the coming days you will hear good news from Quneitra and its surroundings.

“There are a lot of preparations for ambushes and units deployed on the front lines. There are units of air defence, infantry elements and other several sets of our factions and the factions of the FSA in Quneitra and its surroundings.”

US may allow weapons?

The supply of the missiles breaches a standing order from the US to prohibit their distribution in Syria. The US has feared the weapons could fall into the hands of groups such as the Islamic State or the Nusra Front and be used against American forces, their allies and civilian aviation.

However, a high-level rebel source told Middle East Eye in late September that the US was to clear the way for allied nations to begin supplying the weapons, as Russian and Syrian forces increased their attacks on rebel-held areas of the northern city of Aleppo.

“The US confirmed the green light to begin sending them to rebels through supply routes still open through Jordan and Turkey,” the source told MEE at the time. “Rebels are being told only to target Syrian helicopters, not Russian – but it’s not clear they will abide by this.”

The source told Middle East Eye that the US had confirmed it would allow Qatar and Saudi Arabia to begin shipments.

The Reuters news agency at the same time quoted anonymous US officials as saying the assault on Aleppo had “heightened” the possibility of the Obama administration lifting the ban.

However, there is no evidence of the missiles reaching Aleppo, where supply routes have been cut by a siege by Syrian government forces.

The Ansar al-Islam Front is reportedly among dozens of rebel groups that have in the past been supplied with US-made BGM-71 anti-tank missiles, with US approval and through Saudi channels.

The SA-7 was designed by the Soviets in the 1960s and was among the first generation of man-portable air defence weapons, known by the acronym “Manpads”, although there have been several upgraded variants since.

President Trump Meets w/National Media Heads, Blasting Them As A “Roomful of Liars”

Trump Explodes And Turns Off The Record Meeting With TV Networks Into A Total Disaster

politicus-usa

The members of the networks expected to negotiate presidential press access during their meeting with the President-elect. What they got was a Trump-style temper tantrum where his disrespect for the free press was on full display.

Trump Explodes And Turns Off The Record Meeting With TV Networks Into A Total Disaster

President Donald’s Mean Face…reserved for meetings with the lying media.

The members of the networks expected to negotiate presidential press access during their meeting with the President-elect. What they got was a Trump-style temper tantrum where his disrespect for the free press was on full display.

The New York Post reported:

“The meeting was a total disaster. The TV execs and anchors went in there thinking they would be discussing the access they would get to the Trump administration, but instead they got a Trump-style dressing down,” the source added.

A second source confirmed the encounter.

“The meeting took place in a big board room and there were about 30 or 40 people, including the big news anchors from all the networks…,” the source said.

“Trump kept saying, ‘We’re in a room of liars, the deceitful dishonest media who got it all wrong. He addressed everyone in the room calling the media dishonest, deceitful liars. He called out Jeff Zucker by name and said everyone at CNN was a liar, and CNN was network of liars.

The press should have expected this behavior. Donald Trump is not going to suddenly grow up and act like an adult because he won a presidential election. The guy who whines about media coverage with a near pathological zeal won’t see the value of the free press once he becomes president.

Donald Trump doesn’t believe in checks and balances. He doesn’t subscribe to the belief that the free press exists to hold the powerful accountable. In Trump’s view, the press is there to give him good publicity. Any member of the media that does not give Trump good publicity is an enemy.

NATO needs external enemy to make its members ‘fall into line’

NATO needs external enemy to make its members ‘fall into line’ — Putin

tass russian news

The president says Russia is alarmed about NATO’s expansion

© AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis

MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. It looks like NATO needs an external enemy to make its member states fall into line, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in Oliver Stone’s Ukraine on Fire documentary to be shown on Russia’s Ren TV channel on Monday.

“I don’t understand the logic of our partners,” Putin said. “Sometimes it looks like they are seeking to establish discipline in their Atlantic alliance, to make its members fall into line. And an external enemy is needed for that.”

“Despite all the concerns they have about Iran, it does not seem to live up to that role,” the Russian leader added.

He explained why Russia is so alarmed about NATO’s expansion. “We are worried about the decision-making practices. I know the process (of NATO’s decision-making),” Putin explained.

“When a country joins NATO, it becomes next to impossible for it to resist pressure from a major NATO leader such as the United States and hence it may deploy anything – a missile defense system, new bases or, if need be, missile strike systems,” he said.

“And what are we supposed to do? We are forced to take counter measures, that is, to aim our missile systems at those facilities which we think pose a threat to us,” he stressed. “The situation is heating up.”

Britain Backs Down On Threat To Move Missiles To Estonia…Feels Putin’s Heat

Britain backs out of sending missiles to Estonia to combat Russian threat

express sunday

 

BRITAIN has backed down on plans to send missiles to its Nato outpost on mainland Europe for fear of inflaming tensions with Russia

The UK was due to ship medium-range rockets to Estonia, but has had second thoughts in light of the Kremlin’s anticipated anger. 

Russia missiles backtrack Nato

The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) was thought to be a bold move by Nato in response to Moscow deploying Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad enclave on the continent, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania on the Black Sea.

But the Army has backtracked on its decision and removed all mention of the GMLRs from a press release published on its website last week which announced their deployment.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) that the launch was now on hold and “yet to be confirmed”.

Colonel Bob Stewart blasted the decision as a sign of weakness.

The MP for Beckenham, said: “This certainly sends a signal of indecision or possibly incompetence.”

Russia missiles backtrack NatoGETTY

They would have been the first overseas deployment of the rockets since Afghanistan

A former United Nations commander in Bosnia, he added: “Trump’s election is a wake-up call for Nato.

“He will tell them they must spend two per cent of GDP on defence but they are moving at the speed of a striking slug to achieve that.”

This certainly sends a signal of indecision or possibly incompetence

A defence source confirmed “politics” had played a part in the decision to delay their deployment, and concerns over Russia’s possible aggression towards any ground missiles may have been a factor.

Aerial confrontations, coupled with president-elect Donald Trump’s frosty attitude towards Nato, are also thought to have influenced the decision to pause sending the GMLRs.

Russia missiles backtrack NatoGETTY

A defence source confirmed “politics” had played a part in the decision

A defence source said the rockets had not been removed from the press release “as a result of third party pressure”, and the final deployment date would be announced “at the appropriate time”.

The U-turn comes as it was recently revealed Russian fighter jets have been intercepting British spy planes over the black sea.

Both country’s planes regularly confront each other, in particular the Russian Sukhoi- SU-27 planes which fly alongside the RAF RC-135 Rivet Joint eavesdropping on them.

RAF sources claim that despite the provocative behaviour Russian jets behave less aggressively towards them than with their American counterparts.

 Russia missiles backtrack NatoGETTY

Colonel Bob Stewart blasted the decision as a sign of weakness

The source said: “Our American colleagues have been buzzed pretty badly on missions over the Baltics, but the Russians are on their best behaviour when we are around.”

Britain is in the midst of preparations to send 800 troops to Estonia, as part of a Nato force to bolster protection around the eastern members.

The GMLRs were due to accompany this ground force as part of “artillery support”, according to the now removed press release.

They would have been the first overseas deployment of the rockets, which have a 45 miles range, since Afghanistan.

Nato chiefs have growing concerns that Russia could launch a strike to take back Estonia, the most northern Baltic state, sending in an invading force before Nato was able to muster a response.

Balochistan After Zarb-e-Azab Becomes What Fata Was After Operation Enduring Freedom

Balochistan playing Fata

the news international

The massive and deadly attack on Shah Noorani shrine proves the expanding and evolving theatre of Islamist terror

Balochistan playing Fata
Devotees outside the Shah Noorani shrine.

 

The devastating suicide attack on Shah Noorani shrine in Khuzdar has underscored the fact that Islamist threat in Balochistan is both evolving and expanding. Initially inter-sectarian, the militant landscape has, apparently, also acquired intra-sectarian character. Similarly, it is political too. The toxic ideology of militant Deobandism under the unsavoury influence of Wahabism gives rise to Islamist terror in Balochistan.

If the year 1999 is taken as starting point of Islamist perpetrated violence in Balochistan, the nature of violence was inter-sectarian. The high profile incident of anti-Shia violence was carried out on October 6, 1999 when Sardar Nisar Ali Khan, an ethnic Hazara, Shia and Balochistan’s education minister, was wounded in a hit-and-run attack while his driver and guard were reportedly killed.

Nevertheless, sectarian violence perpetrated by Deobandi militants from Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) became bloodier with the passage of time. On June 8, 2003, eight Hazara police cadets were killed by two armed men on motorcycle in Quetta city. Then there is a long list of Hazaras killed en masse in a string of deadly attacks ranging from bomb blasts to suicide attacks to target killings since June 8, 2003 to 2014 through.

The militant violence inflicted by the predominantly Deobandi Taliban associated with Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is also political. They, emerging shortly after the US-led invasion of Taliban-governed Afghanistan, stood for bringing about a Taliban type Shariah regime in Pakistan.

Flushed out from Afghanistan, initially they relocated to Pakistan’s tribal areas, primarily North and South Waziristan. They found themselves on the run whenever a military operation was launched in the six of the seven tribal agencies. The state’s security apparatus, military installations, police and paramilitary troopers were Taliban’s favourite targets in the rest of Pakistan though Balochistan was a late entry.

After the launching of Zarb-i-Azb in North Waziristan, the last of the tribal agencies to experience a major military operation, in June 2014, some of the anti-state Taliban ended up in Afghanistan’s bordering areas with Pakistan, others went into hiding or relocated to various parts of the country including Balochistan. A conglomerate of more than 40 militant outfits, the TTP was an umbrella organisation for Deobandi militant Islamists with two broad agendas: political and sectarian with religion playing an overarching role.

The most worrying scenario is that all three recent suicide attacks in Balochistan carry the footprints of ISIS.

In Balochistan, the recent spike in violence is perpetrated by multiple splinter factions of the TTP in the service of their political and sectarian objectives. Although these groups may have parted ways, operationally they appear to be in cahoots with one another. What brings these all militant groups on the same page is their unwavering commitment to a distorted version of Deobandi Islam under Wahabi influence.

The massive suicide attack on Shah Noorani shrine added a third dimension of Islamist terror in Balochistan. The nature of terror is intra-sectarian. Deobandi militants, like their Wahabi/Salafi counterparts, exhibit strong antipathy towards reverence to shrines as practiced among Barelvi Sunnis and Shia Muslims. Visiting shrines and participating in various activities such as Dhammal — a Sufi dance performed by devotees — and Nazr-o-Niaz — literally offering of less valuable thing in the hope of getting more valuable thing — are considered equivalent to mockery of religion bordering on idolatry and heresy punishable by death.

The militant Deobandis have a very constrictive interpretation of religion. Even the otherwise very conservative religious leaders, the likes of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, do not qualify for being pious Muslims. It should not come as a surprise that the JUI-F chief has survived three suicide attacks.

The Quetta suicide attack on October 22, 2014 was claimed by Jundullah, the otherwise anti-Shia militant outfit.

The most worrying scenario is that all three recent suicide attacks in Balochistan carry the footprints of ISIS. While al-Qaeda introduced suicide attacks inside Pakistan, the Islamic State group is even more savage. The issue with state’s denial of ISIS’s presence is that those at the helm of affairs equate ISIS with the possession of some territory, which has been terror group’s hallmark both in Iraq and Syria.

To the extent that ISIS does not occupy any territory in Pakistan, which it won’t for the foreseeable future, the official stance carries due weight. Nevertheless, what appears is that ISIS has established links with local terrorist groups such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi (LeJ) and Jammat-ur-Ahrar, a breakaway faction of TTP. What it requires for a militant to be part of Islamic State group is simply to switch allegiance from one group to the terrorist entity. Just take the example of Islamic State Afghanistan chapter. Militants previously affiliated with Afghan Taliban defected to establish Islamic State group in that country. The recent surge in Deobandi militancy in Balochistani is a bad omen for how bleak the future may look like.

It seems that Balochistan is playing Fata post Taliban collapse in Afghanistan when militants from al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban and Uzbeks of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan among others flocked to Pakistan’s tribal areas in the northwest. Seemingly, Balochistan, especially its metropolitan city Quetta and its suburb areas, is increasingly becoming Taliban’s new centre as fleeing militants are relocating there.

Seeking powers under FCR is not a rational move on the part of Balochistan government to prevent terror. Trimming the list of good Taliban was a rational move by the government though it took too long to do so. Nevertheless, much needs to be done. Until the good and bad Taliban distinction is laid to rest we can never get rid of terror perpetrated by non-state actors because every good Talib is a potentially bad Talib. Today’s all bad Taliban were once good Taliban. The longer we take to realise it, the further we shall suffer!

Brit SAS Ordered To Kill 200 British Jihadis Now Before They Leave Iraq

‘Kill them before they come home’ 200 Brit Jihadis on SAS kill list

daily-star-uk

SAS units in Iraq have been handed a “kill list” of at least 200 British jihadis.

 

by Patrick Williams

They are on a mission to kill or capture the fanatics before they can return to establish terror cells in the UK.

The list includes at least 12 bomb-makers who studied electronics at British universities.

They are now regarded as some of the most dangerous terrorists on the planet.

Special forces have been told to “use whatever means possible” to stop them leaving Iraq.

Tank firing at Mosul in Iraq GETTY

DEADLY: The end of ISIS in Iraq is getting closer

The SAS have been warned the operation could be the most important in the regiment’s 75- year history and that success is vital to keep the UK safe.

“The race is now on to kill or capture those who are left”

Senior source

Any British jihadis captured alive will be handed over to the Iraqi authorities, tried and possibly executed if found guilty of terror offences.

The order was issued after intelligence suggested hundreds of British terrorists are attempting to return to the UK.

One senior source warned: “Foreign fighters serving with IS have been told to return home and carry out attacks.

Burning ISIS flag GETTY

NO RETURN: Jihadis will have no place to call home once the war is over

“We know there are hundreds of Brits who went to fight in Iraq and Syria, a lot have been killed but there could be up to 700 still alive.

“The race is now on to kill or capture those who are left.”

The SAS have been told to focus on targeting 200 senior Islamic State members who pose a direct threat to the UK.

It is understood that the British and US special forces have a series of hunter-killer teams under orders to eliminate the high-value targets.

Soldiers holding ISIS flag GETTY

INSIDE THREAT: Intelligence agencies warn ISIS Brits will try to return

They are based at the HQ of the US Joint Special Operations Command near Baghdad.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces have closed in on Mosul – the headquarters of IS in Iraq – and are expected to capture the city within weeks.

The Iraqis have been advised by members of the SAS and US special forces throughout the campaign.

Soldiers firing rockets at ISIS GETTY

DESPERATE: Special Forces will do all they can to stop the warriors of terror

MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the government’s secure listening service, believe the British jihadis will try to return to the UK once IS has been defeated in Iraq.

They fear the Islamist killers could attempt to carry out a wave of Paris-style massacres.

The kill list has been drawn up from intelligence provided by MI6 and CIA agents operating inside towns controlled by IS.

Lone soldier holding an ISIS flag GETTY

WAR: The fight with ISIS is a deadly conflict

Mum-of-two Sally Jones, who converted to Islam and uses the name Sakinah Hussain, is one of the top names on the list.

She vowed to behead Christians with a knife and is known to be active in Islamic State’s recruiting team.

Sources said that Jones, from Chatham, Kent, is regarded as a senior figure within the group and her links with the UK make her a major threat.

Hundreds of British nationals left the UK to fight in Syria as part of the Islamic State group and at least 60 have been killed.

Americans Should Un-Stupid Themselves

Many Americans Should Un-Stupid Themselves – OpEd

eurasia-review

donald-trump

 

To be upfront, I strongly believe that President Trump is exactly what the USA desperately needs at this time, a disrupter. I say this as someone who worked in the political world for over 20 years, is white, highly educated, old and affluent.  I ask all who have negative views of Trump to open their minds and consider my arguments.

In September 2015 I published an article in which I said: “Trump surely has more current and potential supporters than the media and political establishment can accept. Unlike Trump, they have no imagination. The Donald, to his credit, is really on to something Great. I hope that many more Americans recognize that he is exactly what the nation needs. Stick that middle finger up at all the chronic liars that have sold out the vast majority of Americans.” More than a year before the election I was correct.

The most fascinating post-election fact I have seen is that Trump prevailed with voters making $100,000 or more a year. Second was that Trump won 53 percent of white women. Would you have ever predicted these from what you heard from the mainstream media?

The craziest moment I had was watching President Obama very close to the election support voting by illegal immigrants.

During the campaign I was appalled at the insane pro-Clinton bias among the mainstream media; it made me nauseous and caused me to greatly reduce my watching of CNN and MSNBC and all three major television networks.

Not only were most Trump supporters not deplorable, they were not racist, sexist or stupid. But the media, Democrats and establishment Republicans tried to make them feel like they were.

When 70 percent of the nation consistently says that the country is on the wrong track there is enormous pent up demand for change. Did anyone really think Clinton was a change agent? The media dismissed the significance of the demand for change.   When you thirst for change you are willing to ignore a lot of negatives of a change candidate. The media and Clinton were just the opposite; they were status quo supporters.

And now what amazes me is that all these media companies have not fired the many, many pro-Clinton anchors, pundits, columnists and reporters. Days after the election all these people who got nearly everything wrong about this election are still appearing in the same venues. A great many columnists, editors and reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post and countless personalities at CNN and MSNBC should be fired. Not solely because they were wrong, but because they showed themselves to lack any journalistic integrity. That means you Wolf Blitzer.

Even more sickening are the countless Democrat politicians and hacks who refuse to accept full responsibility for all the idiotic and disrespectful things they did that caused their terrible candidate to appropriately lose the election. The clearest sign of Democrat stupidity and delusion is the constant garbage bragging that Clinton got more votes than Trump. Why is this so repulsive? Because presidential campaigns are devised and operated on the basis of the Electoral College system that constitutionally determines the victor. This means that a winning campaign must focus on specific states rather than on states with the largest populations. In other words, Clinton’s larger national popular vote total is irrelevant and meaningless. Moreover, millions of illegal immigrants may have voted for Clinton.   Clinton herself has clearly refused to accept personal responsibility for her loss. This makes all of us who intensely opposed her feeling justified as well as even more thrilled with her loss.

What the biased media apparently also has not learned is their behavior helped the Trump victory. Why? Because it pissed off many millions of Americans. Sure, politicians lie a lot, including Trump and Clinton.   But to constantly see and hear nearly all media outlets distort and lie about the pros and cons of both major candidates irritated rational, smart Americans who supported Trump for valid reasons having nothing to do with racism and other negative characterization.

The media has done of terrible job of properly informing Americans about the true nature of globalization that is pushed by corporate interests. There are two main dimensions. One is the advocacy for international trade agreements that have already sold out middle class Americans by exporting good jobs in manufacturing. The availability of cheaper goods does not outweigh the incredible costs and pain for a large segment of the American population. There has been a transfer of American wealth to countries such as China, but that wealth has been robbed from the middle class, not the upper wealthy and corporate class that has increased their wealth because of trade.

The other side of globalization is the escalating movement of non-white people from terrible situations and countries to white-majority countries. This too has been pushed by corporate interests seeking low cost labor.   Both legal and illegal immigrants have been changing the culture and economy of white-majority democracies.   What I greatly resent is that Americans have never been given a clear political choice to vote for changing their beloved white-majority country to a very different kind of country.   Neither Obama or Clinton or any other politicians clearly told the American public that their long-term objective was to convert the white-majority nation to something very different.   Of course Clinton was pretty clear that her campaign was based on getting the votes of blacks and Hispanics, which, in the end, she failed at. This – I strongly say – is not about racism; it is about the right of a majority population to maintain a major characteristic of their nation and culture. None of the historic waves of immigration in previous centuries did what the current kind and scope of immigration is doing to the fundamental character of the USA. It has been imposed upon the white-majority population in a fundamentally undemocratic way. Americans were never given a chance to vote on this change, except to vote for someone like Clinton who never honestly said what she wanted. So white Americans saw the truth this time and acted on their beliefs and fears.

Here is the truth of contemporary nationalism: Any national majority has a democratic right of self-determination to use their political system to reject immigration that threatens to change that majority, whether that majority is based on race, religion, culture or language. Political leaders that use humanitarian arguments to ignore majority resistance to immigration face defeat such as Hillary Clinton’s loss.

Thus the Trump victory is consistent with what is going on in other democracies, namely a rejection of elitist, establishment, corporate driven systems pushing globalization and intense immigration. So called right wing populist movements reflect a rejection of globalization priorities. Not only is this not about racism, it is also not about isolationism. It is about self-determination of majority populations. Swedes have a right to keep their white culture, the French have a similar right and so do Americans. It is not racist to see connections between fast, massive immigration and threats from terrorism and crime.

Give Trump time to show that he can actually help make America great again. If you did not see the true realities that produced the Trump victory, then un-stupid yourself.

The most stupid thing you can do right now is to ignore the several core serious messages of Trump that resonated so much with so many Americans because for one reason or another you hate the messenger.

Saudi Royal Considers Bashar Assad Greater Terrorist Than ISIS and Al-Qaeda Combined

Donald Trump striking a Syria deal with Russia would be ‘most disastrous step possible’, Saudi Arabian prince warns

the independent

‘Mr Trump should pack his bags and get together with America’s friends in the Middle East’

turkiDonald Trump deciding to strike a deal with Russia and Iran over Syria would be “the most disastrous thing that could happen” to the Middle East, a Saudi prince and former senior intelligence official has warned.

Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud said the US President-elect should unite with America’s traditional allies in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia – to counter the threat of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, during a discussion at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC.

“If President-elect Donald Trump makes a deal with Russia and Iran over Syria, it’ll be the most disastrous step possible,” Prince Al Saud told a crowd at the conference, according to Kuwait News Agency.

“Since the Iran nuclear deal, we’ve seen a massive influx of Iranian soldiers to Syria, inflicting death.

“Mr Trump should pack his bags and get together with America’s friends in the Middle East before his inauguration, and he must help stop the biggest terrorist of all, President Assad.”

President Assad believes Mr Trump will be a “natural ally“ to “fight the terrorists” in Syria, after the President-elect effectively signalled he would end support for Syrian rebels.

The former Saudi ambassador to the US also called on Mr Trump to recognise the Iran nuclear deal, formalised in 2015, and not to reverse the legislation.

“I would rather see that this nuclear deal becomes a first step in ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. We want Saudi Arabia to have peace,” he said.

“To scrap that willy-nilly, as it were, will have ramifications, and I don’t know if something else can be put in place to guarantee Iran will not go that route if the agreement is scrapped.”

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained over various issues including religion and relations with the United States and other Western countries.

In September Saudi Arabia’s chief cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, declared Iran’s leaders were not Muslims and said he regarded Sunni Muslims as the enemy.

Last week, another member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, ended his Twitter feud with Mr Trump by congratulating him on the election result.

“Whatever the past differences, America has spoken, congratulations and best wishes for your presidency”, Mr bin Talal said.

State Dept. Spokesman Claims Russia Today NOT REAL MEDIA

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov might punish U.S. journalists if State Department criticism of a Kremlin-backed media outlet continues, his spokeswoman said.

“I would like to focus on a shocking incident yesterday, when it was stated at a briefing at the U.S. Department of State that the State Department does not put RT television on a par with other respected media outlets,” Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday. “If our TV channel faces the same attitude in Washington once again, American journalists will have a special place set aside at the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s briefings.”

That threat was prompted by a testy exchange between State Department spokesman John Kirby and a reporter from Russia Today that pertained to the ongoing civil war in Syria. Kirby had cited “credible aid organizations” that Russia and Syrian dictator Bashar Assad recently attacked five hospitals and a mobile clinic. When the Russia Today reporter pressed for specifics, Kirby rebuffed the question.

“You work for Russia Today, right? Isn’t that your agency?” Kirby said. “Why shouldn’t you ask your government the same kinds of questions that you’re standing here asking me?”

The reporter protested her treatment. “When I ask for specifics, it seems your response is ‘why are you here?'” she replied. “Well, you are leveling that accusation.”

Kirby denied that he was making an accusation against Russia. “Relief agencies that we find credible are leveling those accusations,” he said. “So why don’t you question them about their information and where they’re getting it? And why don’t you question your own defense ministry?”

American reporters defended Russia Today. “Please be careful about saying ‘your defense minister’ and things like that. I mean, she’s a journalist just like the rest of are,” another reporter interjected. “The questions that she’s asking are not out of line.”

Kirby didn’t complain about the question, but denied that the Russia Today reporter is a journalist “just like the rest” of the press corps. “[She’s] from a state-owned outlet that’s not independent,” he said. “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to put Russia Today on the same level with the rest of you who are representing independent media outlets.”

China, U.S. Chill Tensions w/Joint Humanitarian Relief Drill

China, U.S. look past tensions with joint relief drill

Reuters

By Ben Blanchard

KUNMING, China, Nov 18 (Reuters) – China and the United States wrapped up a three-day humanitarian relief military drill on Friday, looking past simmering tensions over the disputed South China Sea and the deployment of an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in South Korea.

The exercises, held in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, come a month after a U.S. navy destroyer sailed near islands claimed by China in the South China Sea, prompting fury in Beijing which called the moved illegal and provocative.

That patrol, the latest by Washington to challenge Chinese claims in the strategic waterway, capped a tense year for military-to-military ties between the world’s two largest economies, which are also at odds over the U.S. decision to base Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system battery system in South Korea to defend against North Korea.

China, neighbouring North Korea, worries the system’s radar will be able to track its own military capabilities.

New uncertainly looms with the shock election of Donald Trump as U.S. president earlier this month, a man who lambasted China on the campaign trail and has suggested Japan and South Korea be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

But it was all smiles and friendship as Chinese and U.S. soldiers simulated digging out bodies from an earthquake-destroyed building and rescuing people from an overturned boat in a reservoir.

Liu Xiaowu, army commander of the Chinese southern military region, and General Robert Brown, commanding general of the U.S. Army Pacific, chatted amiably as they oversaw the last day of exercises.

“Very smart, very good,” Brown said, as Chinese officers explained how they were using new technology, including drones, in the drill.

Jeremy Reynolds, a U.S. army captain based in Hawaii, told Reuters the exercise was a unique opportunity for the two to work together.

“The execution of the exchange went very well between the Chinese and the American forces. We were able to communicate very well through interpreters. There were no major issues. The Chinese did a very good job planning their portions of the exercise and it led to very smooth operations in a very good overall product,” he said, standing on a pontoon bridge.

“These operations do help to create a mutual understanding between our two militaries.”

This is the fourth time China and the United States have conducted such drills since they began in 2013, as the two try to set aside mutual suspicion from the bottom up, rather than just relying on contacts at a more senior level.

The exercise involved 134 military personnel from China and 89 from the United States, using helicopters, pontoon bridges and engineering equipment.

They also conducted tabletop exercises focusing on sharing information and joint decision-making, field manoeuvres focusing on evacuation of earthquake victims and search and rescue.

“We had very happy cooperation with the United States. I was really happy,” said Chinese army doctor Zhao Yao.

“This was the first time I’d met the U.S. military. The exchange with them has really helped my English.” (Editing by Nick Macfie)

“No Saudi Oil” Says Trump, Royal Mouthpiece Fires Back

Pakistan Purges Gülenist Teachers Before Erdogan’s Upcoming Visit

Pakistan to deport teachers linked to Gülenists

hurriyet

KARACHI

REU Photo

 

REU Photo

Pakistan has ordered Turkish teachers at schools with alleged links to the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen to leave the country, as it prepared to host President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The teachers and their families, totaling roughly 450 people, were given three days’ notice to leave, PakTurk International Schools and Colleges said in a statement late on Nov. 15.

PakTurk educates more than 10,000 students in Pakistan and denies any affiliation with the preacher or the Gülen movement, which is widely believed to have been behind the July 15 failed coup attempt.

Turkey has previously asked Pakistan to shut down any groups in the country that have links to the Gülenists.

“PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members … to leave the country within three days,” the school said, adding that the staff were asked to leave because of the “non-approval of their requests for visa extensions.”

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry did not respond to requests for comment, according to Reuters.

But before his departure from Ankara, Erdoğan praised Pakistan’s actions against the Gülenist movement, which the government calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

“Pakistan’s decision to have people linked to FETÖ leave the country by Nov. 20 is very pleasing,” Erdoğan said. “Just like Turkey, Pakistan is carrying out a relentless fight against terror. Turkey supports Pakistan’s battle until the end.”

Turkey and Pakistan have traditionally had close ties, which have warmed further under the leadership of Erdoğan and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

PakTurk said the schools would continue operating across Pakistan and told students and their family members that it was opposed to the infiltration “of some other organization into the teachers and staff of the schools.”

Why Have 26 Peace Committee Activists Been Killed In Bara?

BARA: At least six volunteers of a peace committee were killed and three others were injured in firing incident in Tirah valley of Khyber Agency on Wednesday.
According to reports, some unknown armed men opened firing at the members of the Zakhakhel peace committee in Tirah valley, killing six volunteers and injuring three others. The security forces rushed to area and started search operation for the attackers. According to reports, the volunteers were going to Bara, when they were attacked.

Obama’s Last Free Vacation In Greece Ignites Violent Anti-American Protests

Greek police clash with demonstrators protesting Obama’s visit to Athens (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

Russia-Today

Leftist demonstrators protesting against US President Barack Obama’s visit to Athens have clashed with police, who used tear gas to disperse the crowd as people tried to break through cordons.
Protesters run away from teargas as they clash with riot police during a demonstration against the visit of U.S President Barack Obama, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. © Alkis Konstantinidis

Some 7,000 people took to the streets of central Athens on Tuesday to protest Obama’s visit to the Greek capital, Reuters reports. The demonstrators initially planned to walk all the way to the US Embassy located in another part of the city, but the procession was disrupted as protesters clashed with police officers.

We don’t need protectors!” one of the banners carried by the demonstrators read. Some could be heard exclaiming: “Yankees go home!”

One protester was seen setting an American flag on fire.

All public gatherings were banned in the central part of Athens due to Obama’s two-day visit. Riot police parked buses along Obama’s route and erected cordons.

No injuries or arrests have been reported so far, according to AP.

More than 5,000 police officers were deployed in central Athens to maintain order.

Nearly 1,000 people took part in a similar protest in Greece’s second biggest city, Thessaloniki.

Protesters are rallying against US policy that is “creating tensions” with various countries around the world, starting with China and Russia, as well as against the US attempts to “overthrow the government in Ukraine,” Greek journalist Aris Chatzistefanou told RT. Apart from that, protesters are blaming the US for supporting“Islamic extremists”which led to“well-known consequences.”

“While the Greek government is trying to present the visit of Obama as a visit of a peacemaker, thousands of demonstrators came onto the streets to protest US policy in [such] parts of the world from Latin America to Middle East, Afghanistan and Syria,” Chatzistefanou said.

The government was trying to present to the Greek public that Barack Obama will come and help with the austerity policy that was imposed by the Troika,” Chatzistefanou said, also adding that there is “no direct connection” between Obama’s promises and what the IMF is planning to do.

Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration against the visit of U.S President Barack Obama, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. © Alkis Konstantinidis

Notis Marias, an independent member of the European Parliament, believes that the difference in attitudes toward the US in Greece lies in the hope of the Greek parliament that President Obama might influence the EU and the IMF over the austerity measures – an idea that, however, looks rather improbable.

“Obama is an outgoing president. He is not going to be in office in two months. Trump might follow a different approach. I think that Obama can’t help Greece,” Marias told RT.

READ MORE: Obama tours Europe to soothe fears over Trump’s stance on NATO, TTIP deal

Obama may be advocating for Greece in an effort to reach an agreement with the US regarding LNG (liquefied natural gas) that could be transferred from Texas via Greece to the Balkan region, Marias suggested.

Obama’s visit nearly coincides with Greece’s annual anti-American demonstrations carried out to commemorate a pro-democracy student protest that was harshly suppressed by military forces in 1973.

This is the first time that Obama has visited Greece during his eight years in office. Last time Greece was visited by a US president when Bill Clinton held the office in 1999. His visit also saw extensive street fighting between anarchists and riot police.

Protesters clash with riot police during a demonstration against the visit of U.S President Barack Obama, in Athens, Greece, November 15, 2016. © Alkis Konstantinidis

Authorities had to step up security measures “as the circumstances require,” with a number of protests planned, a police source told AFP earlier today.

Obama left Washington on Monday, embarking on his last trip across Europe before President-elect Donald Trump assumes his post in January 2017.

He is to spend one more day in Greece to continue the discussion of Greece’s economic situation and Europe’s migration crisis. He will then leave for Germany on Wednesday, intending to soothe concerns over Trump’s upcoming presidency.

Trump Presidency Is Obvious Reaction To Obama’s Ineptitude and Bad Judgement

Obama says he’s not responsible for Trump’s rise to power

usa_today_long

ATHENS — Before the election, President Obama was so confident that Donald Trump wouldn’t be elected to succeed him that he scoffed at questions about whether he was partly responsible for the Trump backlash.

“You know, talk to me if he wins. Then we’ll have a conversation about how responsible I feel about it,” Obama told NBC’s Matt Lauer in January.

Trump did win, and Obama still isn’t sure what he would have done differently.

“I think it’s fair to say that I was surprised by the election results, and I’ve said so,” Obama said Tuesday after being reminded of the quote by NBC reporter Chris Jansing at a news conference in Athens. “I still don’t feel responsible for what the president-elect says or does. But I do feel a responsibility as president of the United States to make sure that I facilitate a good transition and I present to him as well, as the American people my best thinking, my best ideas about how you move the country forward.”

Obama attributed Trump’s victory to a vague yearning for change amid unease about globalization. And he warned against a “crude sort of nationalism” that threatens Western nations where people are anxious about growing income inequality and job loss.

“Globalization combined with technology, combined with social media and constant information, have disrupted people’s lives sometimes in very concrete ways,” he said. “But also psychologically, people are less certain of their national identities or their place in the world. It starts looking different and disorienting. And there is no doubt that that has produced populist movements both from the left and from the right in many countries in Europe.”

But Obama said he still believes his policies were the right ones.

“Last I checked, a pretty healthy majority of the American people agree with my worldview on a lot of things,” he said. “And I know that that begs the question, well, how is it that somebody who appears to have a very different world view just got elected? As I said, sometimes people just feel as if we want to try something to see if we can shake things up.”

Obama has been largely deferential to the president-elect since the election — a remarkable turnaround from his campaign rhetoric in which he called Trump “dangerous” and “unfit for the presidency.”

But on Tuesday, he seemed to differentiate between the Trump presidency — which he’s constitutionally obligated to accede to — and Trump’s rhetoric, which he called “pretty troubling and not necessarily connected to facts.”

Obama promised that he would speak out when he believes the Republican Party is wrong, even as he pledged to work with them “on things that I think will advance the causes of justice and prosperity and inclusiveness in America.”

Obama spoke at a press conference in Athens, where he began a three-city foreign tour the week after Trump’s upset victory. And he used the European experiment as an example, even as he engaged in a mission to try to reassure European leaders that Trump’s election would not alter the U.S. commitment to economic and political cooperation.

“We know what happens when Europeans start dividing themselves up and emphasizing their differences,” Obama said. “The 20th century was  a bloodbath. And for all the frustrations and failures of the project to unify Europe, the last five decades have been a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity in Europe.”

“History doesn’t move in a straight line,” Obama said. “It zigs and zags.”

China Announces That Aircraft Carrier Liaoning Ready For War–Sister Ship to Adm. Kuznetsov

[Russian navy commander in the aircraft carrier Liaoning Nov. 11, 2016]

Aircraft carrier the Liaoning ready for battle at any time: senior officer

peoples-china-en

liaoning2liaoning

China’s first aircraft carrier the Liaoning recently left a shipyard in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province to start a new training mission, with the political commissar of the carrier saying it is constantly prepared for war.

Li Dongyou, the political commissar of the Liaoning, told the Global Times that “As a military force, we are always prepared for war and our combat capacity also needs to be tested by war. At this moment, we are doing our best to promote our strength and use it to prevent war, and are prepared for actual combat at any time.”

The Liaoning as the first aircraft carrier commissioned into the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force, has always been described as a surface platform for tests and training by the PLA’s official media, but now it has formally been described as having a real combat capacity.

Three US senior officers and military commanders have visited the Liaoning in the past, the 24th Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the 30th and the 31st Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert and Admiral John M. Richardson

“As a combat platform, regarding technology and capability to execute missions, China still lags behind the US, but three high-ranking US officials who visited the Liaoning before all gave a positive evaluation on the management affairs on the carrier: officers and soldiers’ daily lives and training are well organized and the equipment maintenance is fine” Li said.

Saudi Body Count In Yemen Reaches 30,000 Civilians, So Far

600 Days of Saudi Aggression on Yemen–

Civilian Casualties Surpass 30,000

Al Manar almanar

yemen-dead
A statistical survey showing casualties and damages caused by the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen
 

A statistical survey of casualties and damages 600 days after the brutal Saudi aggression on Yemen shows that the civilian casualties have reached 30,746 people.

The survey, conducted by Yemen’s Legal Center for Rights and Developments, showed that 11,403 civilians were killed by the Saudi-led coalition, including 2,458 children and 1,811 women.

The Yemeni center said that 19,343 civilians have been injured since the start of the aggression in March26, 2015, including 2,253 children and 1,906 women.

380,366 is the number of destroyed homes, the center said adding that 15 airports, 13 ports, 148 stations and power generators, 237 water tanks and networks, 282 stations and communication networks and 1,289 bridges and roads have been destroyed by the Saudi aggression.

The number of governmental facilities destroyed since the start of the Saudi air campaign reached 1,553 according to the survey.

674 Mosques, 719 schools and institutes, 263 health facilities, 201 archeologist sites, 100 sport facilities, 108 universities and 20 media facilities have been destroyed by the Saudi aggression, the Legal Center for Rights and Developments said in the survey.

Meanwhile, the center put at 5,193 the number of destroyed commercial establishments. It added that 641 food stores, 476 food tankers, 515 public markets and malls, 294 fuel stations, 254 factories, 216 fuel tankers, 179 poultry farms and 1,376 agriculture fields have been targeted and damaged by the Saudi-led coalition strikes.

Yemen has been since March 26, 2015 under brutal aggression by Saudi-led coalition.

Riyadh launched the attack on Yemen in a bid to restore power to fugitive ex-president Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi who is a close ally to Saudi Arabia.

 

 

Source: Al-Manar

Russian Sea and Air Forces Unleash ‘Hell On Earth’ In Northern Syria

Russian carrier takes part in massive strikes on terrorists in Syria’s Idlib & Homs provinces – MoD

Russia-Today

 

© Ruptly

The Russian military has launched a large-scale operation against terrorists stationed in Homs and Idlib provinces of Syria, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday.

 

“Today at 10:30 and 11:00 we launched a large-scale operation against the positions of Islamic State and Al-Nusra [terrorist groups] in the provinces of Idlib and Homs,” Shoigu said at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the top leadership of the Russian Armed Forces.

The ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ aircraft carrier, the flagship of the Russian Navy, is also taking part, Shoigu said. This is the first time the ‘Admiral Kuznetsov’ has taken part in a military operation. Sukhoi Su-33 fighter jets have been launched from the deck of the carrier, the defense minister said.

Terrorist positions have been hit with cruise missiles from the frigate ‘Admiral Grigorovich’, Shoigu added.

The strikes are targeting factories and arms depots operated by the jihadists in Syria, he said.

“The main targets of the strikes are warehouses with ammunition, [terrorist] gatherings and terrorist training centers, as well as plants for the production of various kinds of weapons of mass destruction of the population,” Shoigu detailed.

He stressed that terrorists had actual factories, not merely workshops, for weapons production. “They are factories, not workshops, more specifically the plants for the production of all sorts of rather serious means of mass destruction.”

“Clearly, this is a well-established industrial production, these are the targets for today’s strikes. And they will continue,” the minister stated.

The minister noted that the Russian military had thoroughly surveilled the targets before striking them, choosing the most important.

“You are aware that we have sent a large group of our radiation, chemical and biological protection troops to determine the toxic substances which are used by terrorists. Within the past week they used them twice – in one case, 27 people were hospitalized and three died, in the other case 30 people were hospitalized – I mean the Syrian Army soldiers,” Shoigu said.

Journalists asked presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov about the possibility of the operation which started on Tuesday to be expanded to include Aleppo.

“Aleppo has not been mentioned in the report of the defense minister; it concerned other areas – Homs and Idlib [provinces],” Peskov told the press.

Air cover for Russian forces

President Vladimir Putin previously ordered the Defense Ministry to provide reliable air cover for the Russian forces in Syria. On Tuesday, Shoigu said the Russian military has been covered with S-300 and S-400 Triumph air defense systems.

The S-400 has been running for a long time now. Apart from that, we have added S-300 to cover the sea area, nearly all the way to Cyprus,” the minister said.

“Additionally, the Bastion coastal missile complexes have covered almost the entire coastline,” Shoigu said, noting that “with these complexes, we are able to destroy both sea and ground targets” at distances of 350km for sea targets and nearly 450km for ground targets.

Shoigu noted that the issue of providing cover from low-flying targets has also been solved.

“That’s what the Pantsir complexes have been deployed there for,” he said, also reporting that Syrian S-200 air defense systems have been restored over the past four months.

the Coming Civil War

History In the Making: The Sides Are Being Drawn for the Coming Civil War

dave hodges common sense show

Since the revelations regarding the intrusiveness and the scope of Jade Helm, many now believe that this country is plunging head first into a state of revolution/civil war.

The Case for Civil War

How many of you believe that a planned currency collapse coupled with the implementation of a brutal martial law and gun confiscation will be the trigger events which will incite the coming revolution? This remains the leading candidate for the unfolding of a civil war. On May 24th, I interviewed Stewart Rhodes of Oathkeepers, and he believes that an economic collapse will set off the conflict and he also believes, as I do, that ISIS will wreak havoc in this country the midst of the chaos caused by the failure of the dollar. We both believe that under the cover of this chaos, we will see political dissidents extracted as per the intent of the Jade Helm exercise. It will be at this point, that the sides will be definitively drawn in the upcoming conflict.

Many of us in the Independent Media believe that this is the likely scenario that will very soon turn this country into the most dangerous country on the face of the earth. It might behoove us to look a little closer at the nature of revolution in order to predict where all of this is likely headed. Although I personally oppose the use of violence as a political tool, in the present political climate, I see no way to stem the tide of unthinkable brutality and violence which seems imminent. It is in this mindset that I set about to research the topic of revolution and this series of articles reflects the results of the research. And as a result of past and common patterns of revolution, it appears as if a clear picture is beginning to emerge and whether, or not, we choose to admit where Jade Helm will take us, the government is already practicing for what appears to be likely.

In an email from a forced Lt. General retiree, courtesy of President Obama, he provided some clues on where he believes the coming conflict is headed.

“…With modern antiaircraft systems (mobile and man portable) air power will be all but useless. What we will see is a ground war, city by city, street by street. Additionally what is coming will be unlike any civil war in history, it will be very personal, the government will call the Patriots forces terrorists and traitors, they will arrest, intern, torture and murder suspected terrorists families, this will result in bloody reprisals which will start a vicious cycle lasting for years”.

What kind of conflict is being described here? In order to answer that question, we must first examine the “Four levels of warfare”.

Four Levels of Warfare

Most military strategists identify four levels of conflict; (1) nuclear war is the trump card of all conflict; (2) conventional warfare; (3) guerrilla warfare; and, (4) terrorism.

It is safe to say that if our country does indeed descend into revolution, nuclear war will not come into play, for if it did, there would be nothing to rule over in the aftermath.

The United States has already witnessed civil war of a conventional nature. In the 1860’s as two mighty armies of that era locked horns in what proved to be the conflict in which America suffered her greatest loss of life. In the Civil War, both sides had equivalent weaponry and as a result, employed conventional tactics.

Initially, the coming civil war could very well consist of one American unit facing off against another as we saw in the civil war. However, the losing side would quickly resort to the use of guerrilla warfare tactics.

At the present time and given the disparity of technology and resources between the people the globalist controlled forces of the government, a conventional war would prove to be a disaster for the rebel forces. The likely mode of the revolutionary war conflict facing the people of the United States is that it will consist of either guerrilla warfare or terrorism.

Guerrilla Warfare Or Terrorism?

Terrorism is the least preferred option by any insurgent group. With terrorism, there is absolutely no hope of final victory because territory is never occupied. For that reason, nobody aspires to engage in terrorism if they have a viable alternative and the American people do have a choice given how well armed we are. However, terrorism arising out of a defeated guerrilla force is a distinct possibility as it would represent American guerrilla’s fallback position should they be defeated. Subsequently, does the MIAC Report which labeled Libertarians, Constitutionalists, Second Amendment Supporters, Ron Paul Supporters, Veterans and now Christians as domestic terrorists, make a little more sense as to why DHS made these bold proclamations? DHS understands and has demonstrated their understanding of these facts and has also prepared for what I just wrote about in the previous paragraph.

The Veterans Administration estimates that there are approximately 21.5 million veterans living in the United States. We also live in a country with over 300 million privately owned guns. These combined factors point clearly to a guerrilla war being the preferred and necessary mode of combat which will likely be visited upon this country.

What Is Guerrilla Warfare?

Guerrilla warfare, for most of human history, is not new. Tribal war, which traditionally pits one guerrilla force against another, is the oldest form of warfare. The new “conventional” form of warfare, which pits guerrillas against “conventional” forces, is more recent as it arose in Mesopotamia 5,000 years ago.

The good news for future American freedom fighters is that guerrilla war has been getting more successful since 1945, but unfortunately guerrilla fighters still lose most of the time. An analysis of past conflicts featuring guerrilla war, reveals that only 25% of guerrilla forces, out of 443 such conflicts since 1775, were successful. The government prevailed almost 64% of the time with the remainder of the conflicts ended in a stalemate. Conversely, since the end of WWII, the percentage of success for guerrilla forces has indeed gone up to 39.6%. Yet that still means that government forces have continued to prevail 51% of the time. When the American people engage in a guerrilla war in the upcoming years, the people have less than a 40% chance of success. However, if some retired military leadership estimates are correct, a sizeable number of U.S. troops will join the American people, this will greatly enhance the chances of success.

Length of Guerrilla Wars

Guerrilla wars are rarely short and as a result do not favor the American culture and our collective psyche of instant gratification. When Americans flip the switch on the wall, we expect the light to come on. Will Americans set aside their entitlements as well as their entrenched soft lifestyle and rise to the occasion? Only time will tell.

The Vietnamese culture with an external locus of control predominating the people where the group is more important than the individual is the perfect mindset for guerrilla fighters. This could prove to be the American rebels biggest challenge because guerrilla warfare is not something that one does like driving over a speed bump. It is a way of life, a very hard way of life filled with misery, extreme sacrifice and unspeakable losses.

For my money, the best guerrilla fighters in the modern era were the Viet Cong in which Vietnamese people were involved in some form of guerrilla war from 1942-1975. After the Americans invaded Vietnam, the forces in the north had a saying, “born in the north, to die in the south.” There were nearly two generations of Vietnamese people in which war was an unavoidable part of life. What General Westmoreland and LBJ failed to recognize was that in order to defeat and totally subdue the Vietnamese people, the Americans would have had to have engaged in unspeakable genocide. Despite the fact that the US won every single battle of the war, the Vietnamese rebels were never going to give up. Do we Americans have that same tenacity to persevere like the Vietnamese?

Prior to WWII, guerrilla wars lasted an average of seven years. Following WWII, guerrilla conflicts lasted an average of 10 years. Will Americans embrace the tenets and sacrifices of guerrilla war and can it ever become a way of life? For this to happen, I believe that conditions would have to be unspeakably horrendous for America to embrace a conflict under these conditions. I think that things would have to be so bad, so completely genocidal, that fighting and dying would be the only viable alternative for America in order to embrace guerrilla warfare as a way of life. What I am saying here is that we are a very soft people. However, Jade Helm with the use of Special Operations Forces designed to extract “Red Listed” political dissidents, could push many Americans over the top.

How Close Is the Inevitable Conflict?

Successful guerrilla leaders such as Lawrence of Arabia, Mao, Castro and Giap all concur that there are three phases of any guerrilla war. However, before the phases can unfold there are two preconditions which must be met.


The first condition which is a prerequisite for guerrilla war, is based upon the fact that there has to be a decisive battle for the belief systems of the people as a whole.
The globalists have invested billions of dollars in order to dominate the mainstream media. On the other side is the Independent Media. Both sides are vying for control of the belief systems of the country. Winning the hearts and minds of the people is critical to success. The Viet Cong understood this principle and the winner of the coming conflict is likely to be the one that can apply this lesson of history to modern times.

There are two very distinct ideologies playing out today in the court of public opinion. On one hand, the future rebels are adept at exposing the loss of national sovereignty and civil liberties every chance they get. Conversely, the globalist dominated media is spending billions of dollars to convince the masses that there is no such thing as a conspiracy theory and despite some governmental incompetence, the government loves and protects its people. And the globalists are being somewhat effective. Have you ever noticed that when you are describing a globalist inspired conspiracy such as what happened at Benghazi, and no matter how well documented your position is, that your audience frequently responds with the globalist-created mantra “You must be one of these conspiracy theorists?” Our facts are rarely attacked because they are accurate, but the idea of the existence of any kind of conspiracy is what is challenged. This kind of programming coming from the media is brilliant and effective. Who is winning this war of words? The jury is still out, but the unmistakable conclusion is that the ideological battle lines for the upcoming conflict have clearly been drawn.

The globalists sell the sheep on the notion that we have to control you to protect you (from a threat of our creation), and the other side is saying “we will take our chances, give us freedom.”

The second precondition which must be met prior to descending into guerrilla war consists of both sides engaging in an arms race. In response to the Obama administration’s threat of seizing our guns for the false flag events of the Aurora Batman massacre and Sandy Hook, Americans went on a gun-buying frenzy which continues to this day. DHS has engaged in their own arms buildup as they have purchased 2.2 billion rounds of ammunition to go with 2700 new armored personnel carriers and that is not all. The federal government has invested in 30,000 drones, super soldier robots and intelligence gathering techniques which are mind-blowing.

In summary, the American people and their government have engaged in an arms race very similar in nature to two rival countries preparing to go to war.

Conclusion

The preconditions for armed conflict and the likelihood that the conflict will be guerrilla is very likely, but whether the American people would tolerate total enslavement in lieu of rebellion is very much in doubt.

Emerging from the discussion in the next part in this series is the discovery of the fact that there are three overlapping phases to guerrilla war and it will be a shocking surprise to all of us as to how far along this country is in relation to these three phases. All that is needed is the right trigger event (i.e. Jade Helm extractions) and that will be discussed in the next part as well.

Mossad News (Debka) Reports Obama Rushing Convoys of Heavy Weapons To Kurds In Raqqa

Obama hits Trump tie with Putin, Erdogan on Syria

debka_elt


Half a dozen long convoys of trucks carrying US arms, hurriedly put together by US military headquarters in Baghdad, have crossed the border in the last three days on their way to the Syrian Kurdish PYD-YPG militia, debkafile military and intelligence sources report exclusively Monday, Nov. 14. The deliveries were expressly ordered by President Barack Obama in a radical turnaround from his five-year refusal to supply Kurdish fighters with American weaponry, least of all anti-air and anti-tank missiles.

More arms convoys are being organized for the same destination.
What caused President Obama’s sudden and belated change of heart about arming the Syrian Kurdish fighters?  Our sources report six motives:

1. To get in the way of the deal for Syria that president elect Donald Trump is developing with Presidents Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan. Obama has chosen Syria as the first arena to disrupt the incoming president’s foreign and security policies.

2. debkafile’s Moscow and Ankara sources report that the accord taking shape between Trump and the Russian and Turkish leaders would have the Turkish army, with Russian air support, mount an offensive to retake Raqqa from ISIS. The Russians and Iranians would meanwhile wind up the battle to defeat the Syrian rebels still holding out in eastern Aleppo.

3. The timeline they have sketched for the conquest of Raqqa is mid-January 2017 in time for Donald Trump’s inauguration as president and well ahead of the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq. The Trump’s strategic team reckons that the Obama plan to retake Mosul is heading for fiasco, because the Iraqi army after four weeks of fighting is still held back by ISIS resistance from breaking through into the city.

Trump is therefore hoping to steal the march on Obama in the war on ISIS by seizing Raqqa before he steps into the Oval Office. Obama, aware of this, has determined to throw a spanner in his successor’s works.

4. The president elect has posted retired US officers to Kurdish provinces in Syria and Iraq as his emissaries for on-the-spot- reporting.

5. Armed with US heavy weapons, the Syrian Kurdish militia, which numbers 45,000 troops, is capable of upsetting the Turkish army’s role in the conquest of Raqqa – that is if Erdogan decides to divert the military forces he has deployed in Syria and Turkey to the anti-ISIS operation.

He might be dissuaded from this step when he realizes that a Kurdish army, substantially upgraded with US weapons, is sitting in northern Syria just across the Turkish border.

6. Our military sources don’t rule out the possibility of Turkey and Russia, whose spy planes are tracking the arms convoys for the Kurds, deciding to bomb them before they reach their destination. The Trump team of strategist advisers is no doubt in hectic consultation on this course with Moscow and Ankara.

Pro-Russian candidates win Moldovan, Bulgarian presidential elections

Pro-Russian candidates win Moldovan, Bulgarian presidential elections

France 24

© Nicolay Doychinov, Daniel Mihailescu, AFP | Bulgaria’s Rumen Radev (pictured left) and Moldova’s Igor Dodon

Pro-Russian candidate Igor Dodon on Monday emerged as winner of Moldova’s presidential runoff, viewed as an East-West choice in the impoverished ex-Soviet country.

With 99.9 percent of ballots counted, Socialist Party chief Dodon had 52.3 percent of the votes, according to the electoral commission, with pro-European rival Maia Sandu on 47.7 percent.

“We have won, everyone knows it,” Dodon told a press conference overnight.

The full results are expected to be announced later this week.

The vote marks the first time in 20 years that Moldova – wracked by corruption scandals in recent years – is electing its leader by national vote instead of having parliament select the head of state.

Wedged between Ukraine and Romania, the tiny nation of 3.5 million people is caught in a political tug-of-war between Russia and the West.

Dodon had come out top in the first round of voting on October 30 with 48 percent ahead of Sandu, a centre-right former education minister who worked for the World Bank, with 38 percent.

They have diametrically opposed visions for Moldova’s future.

Dodon – who served as economy minister under a communist government between 2006 and 2009 – has called for deeper ties and boosting trade with Moscow.

Sandu meanwhile had urged a path towards Europe, calling for the withdrawal of thousands of Russian troops from the Russian-speaking separatist region of Transdniester, which broke away in the early 1990s after a brief civil war.

Moldova signed an historic EU association agreement in 2014, and half of its exports now go to the bloc.

The move was bitterly opposed by Russia, which responded with an embargo targeting Moldova’s crucial agriculture sector.

“I and all my friends voted for Igor Dodon since he promises to restore the strategic partnership with Russia,” said Vasilii Blindu, a 70-year-old pensioner in the northern town of Balti.

Both candidates criticised the vote as badly organised, highlighting the shortage of ballot papers for overseas voters. More than 4,000 Moldovan and international observers were on hand to monitor the vote.

Turnout was 53.4 percent, the electoral commission said.

Corruption scandals

The vote comes as a Moscow-friendly general also claimed victory in ex-communist Bulgaria’s presidential election Sunday, prompting Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to announce his resignation as his nominee was dealt a crushing defeat.

Speaking at a polling station on Sunday, Dodon had described his campaign as “against the oligarchs, against those who have robbed our country and want to destroy it”.

Moldova has been rocked by corruption scandals and political turmoil in recent years.

In 2014, $1 billion (920 million euros) mysteriously disappeared from three banks, prompting huge street protests and the arrest of the former prime minister Vlad Filat, who has since been convicted of corruption and abuse of office.

A recent report published by Transparency International called the country “the regional launderer for money of dubious origin”.

Moldova’s current Prime Minister Pavel Filip, who has served since January, is pro-European and introduced political changes including the direct presidential vote.

Moldova is considered by some international organisations to be Europe’s poorest country.

Forty-one percent of the population live on less than $5 (4.6 euros) a day while the average monthly salary is $240, according to World Bank figures.

(AFP)

SpaceX Explosion Costs One Highly-Insured Israeli Satellite, Stops Sale of Satellite-Maker To China

[Israeli satellite-maker Spacecom had $200 million invested in Amos-6 satellite, but insured the craft for $330 million.  Actual receipts will be slightly less, due to launch failure (Spacecom Assures Bondholders After Loss of Amos 6).  ]

The Story behind the Explosion of Amos-6

israeldefense

An unexpected explosion on the SpaceX launch pad at Cape Canaveral brought Israel’s flagship space project to an end

Photo: YouTube

Spacecom’s Amos-6, an estimated $200 million communications satellite built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), was deemed a total loss after the Space-X Falcon 9 launcher to which it was attached exploded during a static engine test yesterday (Thursday). Defense News reports that Spacecom said the “anomaly” would have “substantial influence” on the company.

The explosion was a heavy blow for all parties involved: the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), who worked for years on the satellite’s development; Spacecom, the Israeli satellite operator that was expecting to sign a large deal with a Chinese company; and the American company SpaceX, which was entrusted with the satellite’s launch.

An investigation has already been launched into the circumstances that led to the failure, which has far-reaching implication both economically and in terms of the image and prestige of the Israeli companies involved, reports the Jerusalem Online. Amos-6 is the largest communications satellite manufactured in Israel and was meant to provide television services to Europe as well as other communication services. Amos-6’s flagship project was the deal with Facebook according to which the social networking giant was planned to provide high-speed internet services to at least 14 countries across Africa using the Israeli satellite.

The satellite was expected to operate for at least 16 years, and now Israel will have to decide whether to invest in the accelerated development of another similar project. In 2012, Israel Aerospace Industries signed a $195 million deal to plan, manufacture and operate the Amos-6 satellite – a price that has since increased.

Substantial technological improvements were introduced in the Amos-6 such as electric propulsion technology that allowed for the significant reduction of its weight and the cost of its launching, making it one of the most advanced satellites of its kind in the world.

A Blessing in Disguise?

IAI noted that Amos-6 was the largest and most advanced Comsat ever built in Israel:  “We’re saddened by the loss of the satellite and stand ready to serve Spacecom… The sector of communications satellites is strategic for IAI and for the state of Israel and we hope that the state will ciontinue to act for the good of preserving the knowledge that will allow continued production of communications satellites in Israel.”

Indeed, the loss of the Amos-6 communications satellite marked a strategic setback, but also opportunities, for the Israeli space industry, whose follow-on orders were threatened by the planned sale of Spacecom to a Beijing conglomerate.

Just last week in an Aug. 24 notice to its principal shareholders, Spacecom said it had agreed to sell the company for Xinwei Technology Group for $285 million in cash. The company noted that the sale was contingent upon the successful launch of the Amos-6.

Now, with that planned deal clouded by uncertainty, Israeli industry executives and experts say IAI may have greater chances of snagging an Amos-6 replacement order as well as follow-on contracts that may have gone to non-Israeli firms once the sale was complete.

Industry executives here said Spacecom has been in communication with US firms Boeing and Loral for price and availability data for its follow-on Amos-7 and possibly Amos-8 satellites.

Earlier this summer, Yossi Weiss, CEO and President of IAI, acknowledged that IAI will have to fight hard to keep Spacecom from going abroad to meet its follow-on communications satellite (Comsat) needs, just as the firm had to fight to clinch the Amos-6 deal more than three years ago.

“It’s a crisis and opportunity at the same time,” said Tal Inbar, head of space programs at Israel’s Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies. “It all depends on the strength and financial resources of Spacecom.”

Inbar confirmed that if the deal with the Beijing conglomerate had gone ahead, chances were slim that the Amos-7 order would be awarded to IAI. Now, he said, it could be a different story. “If, after Spacecom gets the insurance money, they embark on an emergency buildup for a new satellite and if – and it’s a big if – the next satellite will be ordered from IAI, this could assure continued business for the state of Israel’s Comsat sector,” he said.

He added, “The big question is what will be Spacecom’s future plans. If they want to replace Amos-6 very quickly, they may opt to buy an existing satellite that is already in space.”

Obama Sees the Light, Orders Killing of al-Nusra Leaders

Obama changes tack with clampdown on Nusra in Syria

the irish times

US president’s order to ‘track and slay’ jihadi group’s leaders signals turnabout in policy

US president-elect Donald Trump has reiterated his intention of joining the Syrian government in the battle against Islamic State, also known as Isis, and rejected appeals from the opposition for enhanced aid for their campaign to topple president Bashar al-Assad.

Mr Trump told the Wall Street Journal he would not continue the Obama administration’s policy of backing “moderate” armed Syrian groups fighting Damascus. “I’ve had the opposite view of many people regarding Syria. My attitude [is] you’re fighting Syria, Syria is fighting Isis, and you have to get rid of Isis.” He pointed out that Russia and Iran are aligned with Syria while the US is “backing rebels against Syria”, and, as he put it, “ . . . we have no idea who these people are,” referring to mostly jihadi groups receiving training, arms and equipment from the US.

He warned if the US attacks Assad, “we [will] end up fighting Russia, fighting Syria”. He has repeatedly spoken of reconciling with Russia and mentioned the “beautiful letter” he had from Russian president Vladimir Putin congratulating him on his election.

Curious coincidence

It is a curious coincidence that Trump reconfirmed his intention to shift on Syria shortly after it was revealed by the Washington Post that president Barack Obama had issued an order to the Pentagon to track and slay local leaders of al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, re-branded as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham.

He had previously limited US operations to taking-out senior al-Qaeda commanders and agents dispatched to Syria by Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of al-Qaeda central, based on the Afghan-Pakistan border.

The decision to focus on Nusra’s entire leadership demonstrates Obama’s belated realisation that Nusra has become the most powerful insurgent group in Syria. Control by Nusra and its radical allies of the north-western province of Idlib gives al-Qaeda a strategic base from which to mount operations against Europe.

The US has reportedly carried out successful attacks on four Afghan veterans and local leaders but, so far, has not mounted strikes against Nusra bases and fighters in Idlib, as this has been seen as unacceptably widening Washington’s military commitment.

The order amounted to an abrupt turnaround by Obama who has, for nearly a year, refused to honour a pledge to Russia to force US insurgent allies to cut ties with Nusra, branded a “terrorist” organisation by the UN and the international community. In spite of strikes on Nusra leaders intended to compel US allies to break with Nusra, they have refused. Nusra has better motivated fighters and more arms than most insurgent factions. Nusra fighters have, for example, led the campaign to end the Syrian army’s siege of insurgent-held eastern Aleppo and have asserted control over other groups holding out there. Once in office, Trump could order a halt to aid to US “vetted” insurgent groups and collaborate with Russia in the air war not only against Islamic State but also Nusra and other jihadi groups fighting Damascus. Once Islamic state is contained or defeated, al-Qaeda-linked groups could inherit its mantle, ideology and agenda. Al-Qaeda could reclaim jihadi dominance on the global scene.

Captured German Embassy Suicide-Bomber Trained In Pakistan

 

 

Northern Balkh province acting governor Mohammad Eshaq Sarwari said on Sunday the attack on the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif was masterminded six months ago in Peshawar, Pakistan.

He said an arrested would-be suicide bomber confessed he had been trained for two months in Pakistan to carry out a suicide attack.

Sarwari said: “The arrested man said the attack plan was drawn up in Pakistan six months ago.”

“The plan was drawn up in Peshawar. He (arrested man) was trained for months on how to fire a Kalashnikov and a pistol. Then, here (Mazar consulate) was specified to them as a target and they were sent to carry out the attack,” he added.

A car bomb was detonated on Thursday night at the entrance to the consulate. The building sustained severe damage in the attack.

German troops reportedly destroyed what was left inside the building after the attack.

“The consulate offices were destroyed and the little things that remained were burned on Saturday. They (the Germans) have left the area and now the building is just a ruin,” Sarwari said.

It has not yet been specified on how the insurgents reached the consulate. But Balkh police chief said they will be alert to prevent such attacks in the future.

“Our security forces will be more alert after this to prevent such attacks,” said General Sayed Kamal Sadat, police chief of Balkh province.

Six people were killed and 129 wounded in the incident.

10 ISIS Junior Bomb Makers Arrested In Russia

FSB detains in Moscow, St. Petersburg members of group, plotting terrorist attacks

tass russian news

The terrorists planned attacks “with the purpose of killing civilians in crowded places”

MOSCOW, November 12. /TASS/. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) reported detention of ten members of a terrorist group, connected with the Islamic State terrorist organization, outlawed in Russia, who planned a series of terrorist attacks, FSB’s PR Center told TASS on Saturday.

“The Russian Federal Security Service with support from the Interior Ministry and cooperation with foreign partners from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has stopped activities of an inter-regional terrorist group, which united citizens of Central Asian countries, who plotted a series of sabotage-terrorist attacks in Moscow and St. Petersburg, using automatic guns and self-made high-power explosives.”

The terrorists planned attacks “with the purpose of killing civilians in crowded places.”

“As a result of the operative-search and investigatory actions, ten terrorists were detained on November 12 in Moscow and St. Petersburg,” FSB said. “They had four self-made high-power explosives, which were confiscated.”

“The detained are confessing contacts with leaders of the Islamic State terrorist organization, outlawed in Russia, in the Middle East region, targeted facilities, as well as allies and the supportive base both inside the Russian Federation and abroad.”

The Anti-ISIS Operation Is More War Than Obama’s Boys Can Handle

‘Crashing waves’ of jihadists fray soldiers’ nerves in Mosul battle

Reuters

 

By Dominic Evans and Ahmed Rasheed | BAGHDAD

A week after his tank division punched through Islamic State defenses on the southeast edge of Mosul, an Iraqi army colonel says the fight to drive the militants out of their urban stronghold is turning into a nightmare.

Against a well-drilled, mobile and brutally effective enemy, exploiting the cover of built-up neighborhoods and the city’s civilian population, his tanks were useless, he said, and his men untrained for the urban warfare they face.

His Ninth Armoured Division and elite counter terrorism units fighting nearby seized six of some 60 neighborhoods last week, the first gains inside Mosul since the Oct. 17 start of a campaign to crush Islamic State in its Iraqi fortress.

Even that small foothold is proving hard to maintain, however, with waves of counter attacks by jihadist units including snipers and suicide bombers who use a network of tunnels stretching for miles (km) under the city.

They appear able to strike at will, often at night, denying the troops rest and rattling frayed nerves.

“We’re an armored brigade, and fighting without being able to use tanks and with soldiers unused to urban warfare is putting troops in a tough situation,” the officer told Reuters. He asked not to be named because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

A year ago, when his forces took part in an operation to drive Islamic State from the much smaller city of Ramadi west of Baghdad, they were tasked with holding territory outside while the counter terrorism forces entered the city.

Mosul, whose capture is a crucial step towards dismantling the caliphate Islamic State declared two years ago across large areas of Iraq and Syria, is too big for specialist forces alone.

“In Mosul, we have to advance inside residential areas, comb streets, clear houses from terrorists and deal with civilians. I’m afraid this job is too tough for us to handle”.

He said it was impossible to differentiate between civilians and fighters who melt in amongst them. Islamic State has forced its dress code on the population during the two years it has controlled the city. Men are required to have long beards, something the militants are still policing.

“Our soldiers can’t recognize them until it’s too late, when the attacker either detonates his explosive vest or throws a grenade,” the colonel said, adding that he lost two T-72 tanks and an armored vehicle in a single day’s fighting on Tuesday.

“It’s becoming a nightmare and it’s nerve-wracking for the soldiers,” he said.

TOUGHEST URBAN WAR

Even for the Counter Terrorism Service, or special forces, trained more specifically for the challenges in Mosul, the last week of fighting has been unprecedented.

“We are carrying out the toughest urban warfare that any force in the world could undertake”, CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numani said on Sunday.

One CTS officer, in Baghdad on leave, told Reuters the biggest threat came from snipers. “You don’t know where or when a sniper will strike,” he said. That, combined with thousands of people trying to escape the fighting, was a constant source of stress.

As he spoke, a voice on his radio crackled – one of his men on the frontline. “Sir, there are so many civilians, they have these suitcases with them as well. How do I know what’s in them? And they’re coming towards me…”

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared a crossborder caliphate in Syria and Iraq from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque two years ago, told his fighters last week there could be no retreat in a “total war” with their enemies.

Hisham al-Hashemi, who advises the Iraqi government on Islamic State issues and has visited the frontlines, said all the indications from Mosul so far showed that Baghdadi’s comments were no idle threat.

“Now Daesh (Islamic State) is really fighting,” he said.

Hashemi said the jihadists had dug a 70 km (45 mile) network of tunnels just on the eastern side of the Tigris River, which runs through the center of Mosul, since they took over in 2014.

Using the tunnels they were able to surprise troops inside the city, striking between 2 am and dawn when their defenses are at their lowest. “They are not ready for these surprises – it’s the tunnels which have caused our greatest losses,” he said.

“CRASHING WAVES”

Hashemi said government forces were only in full control of two of the districts they entered last week.

The army says it has captured five other districts, but fighting continues in all of them and Hashemi said in some neighborhoods the army had been driven back three or four times – often at night – before reclaiming territory the next day.

With its tanks unable to navigate narrow city streets, the Iraqi army has called on U.S. Apache helicopters to target car bombers. The Pentagon said on Monday they would continue to be used “in what we expect will be tough fighting to come”.

One of the most devastating tactics the militants employed, which helped them tie down a far greater force than their own, was to send consecutive waves of small units – about 50 strong – against the troops so they could never let down their guard.

The militants call the operation “crashing waves”. Each unit includes suicide bombers, snipers, assault fighters, and what they call infiltrators, as well as logistics and mortar experts.

“Each one only fights for a short period and is then relieved by the next group – it exhausts the army,” Hashemi said.

Although they face a coalition of Iraqi army, special forces, Kurdish peshmerga and Shi’ite paramilitary groups which may total around 100,000 fighters, the asymmetric war strategy has so far meant the 5,000-strong jihadists in Mosul have tied down the advancing troops, without using their full reserves.

Hashemi said an inner core of mainly Francophone foreign fighters, given the name ‘al-Murabitoun’ (Guards) had taken an oath to fight to the death defending strategic positions in the heart of the city.

“The only way they will leave is when they are dead,” he said, adding they were also holding residents as human shields against air strikes.

So far the advancing forces have only breached eastern Mosul. Hashemi said two infantry divisions which have advanced close to its northern and southern limits were preparing to open two new fronts in the city, possibly as soon as Friday.

Ultimately, he said the superior numbers of the forces attacking on multiple fronts would wear down the militants. “We will win, without doubt. But it will be a costly victory”.

(Additional reporting by Saif Hameed in Baghdad and Phil Stewart in Washington)

 

Thinking Like Trump—Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn

lt-gen-michael-t-flynn
Trump’s top national security advisor 

Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support

the hill

Our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support
© Getty Images

It is fair to say that most Americans don’t know exactly what to make of our ally Turkey these days, as it endures a prolonged political crisis that challenges its long-term stability. The U.S. media is doing a bang-up job of reporting the Erdoğan government’s crackdown on dissidents, but it’s not putting it into perspective.

We must begin with understanding that Turkey is vital to U.S. interests. Turkey is really our strongest ally against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as a source of stability in the region. It provides badly needed cooperation with U.S. military operations. But the Obama administration is keeping Erdoğan’s government at arm’s length — an unwise policy that threatens our long-standing alliance.The primary bone of contention between the U.S. and Turkey is Fethullah Gülen, a shady Islamic mullah residing in Pennsylvania whom former President Clinton once called his “friend” in a well circulated video.

Gülen portrays himself as a moderate, but he is in fact a radical Islamist. He has publicly boasted about his “soldiers” waiting for his orders to do whatever he directs them to do. If he were in reality a moderate, he would not be in exile, nor would he excite the animus of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.

For those of us who have closely studied the careers of Seyed Qutb and Hasan al Bana, the founders and followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gülen’s words and activities are very familiar.

The late Seyed Qutb in particular was very much in the Gülen mold. The author of 24 books on education and the arts, he assembled an inner circle of intellectuals and influential politicians. But contrary to this well-masked façade, Qutb’s writings provided the inspiration for terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda. Qutb was hanged in 1966 in Egypt for instigating rebellion.

Likewise, Hasan al Bana, an Egyptian who died in 1949, defined the first phase of pre-emptive jihad as a long and quiet process that can take as long as a quarter of a century, to prepare the forces for a decisive strike. Al Bana famously declared that the only acceptable form of law is Sharia.

To professionals in the intelligence community, the stamp of terror is all over Mullah Gülen’s statements in the tradition of Qutb and al Bana. Gülen’s vast global network has all the right markings to fit the description of a dangerous sleeper terror network. From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harboring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden.

Washington’s silence on this explosive topic speaks volumes when we hear the incredulous claim that the democratically elected president of Turkey staged a military coup, bombed his own parliament and undermined the confidence in Turkey’s strong economy, just so that he could purge his political opponents.

This baseless claim is a dark reminder of the vicious rumors spread by our enemies that 9/11 was an inside job by the American intelligence apparatus as an excuse to invade Muslim lands to grab their oil!

To add insult to injury, American taxpayers are helping finance Gülen’s 160 charter schools in the United States. These schools have been granted more H1-B visas than Google. It is inconceivable that our visa officers have approved thousands of visas for English teachers whose English is incomprehensible. A CBS “60 Minutes” program documented a conversation with one such imported English teacher from Turkey. Several lawsuits, including some in Ohio and Texas, point to irregularities in the operation of these schools.

However, funding seems to be no problem for Gülen’s network. Hired attorneys work to keep the lucrative government source of income for Gülen and his network going. Influential charities such as Cosmos Foundation continue their support for Gulen’s charter schools.

Incidentally, Cosmos Foundation is a major donor to Clinton Foundation. No wonder Bill Clinton calls Mullah Gülen “his friend.” It is now no secret that Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s close aide and confidante, worked for 12 years as the associate editor for a journal published by the London-based Institute of Minority Muslim Affairs. This institute has promoted the thoughts of radical Muslim thinkers such as Qutb, al Bana and others.

The American public is being lulled into believing that Gülen is a Sufi scholar who promotes the teachings of Rumi, the Persian poet, works to expand interfaith dialogue and does a great job of providing American youth high-quality education in math and science as well as English.

Voices of concern about this shady character are quickly muffled by his vast network of public relations and legal professionals. He has established a false façade that he is a moderate at odds with Turkey’s autocratic leader.

This image is a stark reminder of a great American mistake from another era — one that has raised the cost of international security forever. We all remember another quiet, bearded, elder cleric who sat under an apple tree in Neauphle-le-Château in the suburbs of Paris in 1978.

He claimed to be a man of God who wanted to topple a dictator and return the power to the people. Washington believed him. Sadly, shortly after his rise to power through the Iranian revolution, we watched in horror as our diplomats were taken hostage for 444 days in what was once one of our strongest allies in the Middle East.

The world has never been the same since that irreversible mistake. Ayatollah Khomeini, the quiet man of God under the apple tree, created the world’s top sponsor of terror. His revolutionary guards created Hezbollah, the famous Lebanon-based terror organization.

The Ayatollah’s terrorists have killed American servicemen and slaughtered Iraqi Sunnis by the thousands, and his brutal Quds Force killed innocent Sunni civilians in Syria. Ultimately, ISIS became the radical Sunni’s response to the mayhem caused by our friendly mullah under the apple tree.

History repeats itself when people repeat the mistakes of the past. It is time we take a fresh look at the importance of Turkey and place our priorities in proper perspective. It is unconscionable to militate against Turkey, our NATO ally, as Washington is hoodwinked by this masked source of terror and instability nestled comfortably in our own backyard in Pennsylvania.

We need to adjust our foreign policy to recognize Turkey as a priority. We need to see the world from Turkey’s perspective. What would we have done if right after 9/11 we heard the news that Osama bin Laden lives in a nice villa at a Turkish resort while running 160 charter schools funded by the Turkish taxpayers?

The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam. We should not provide him safe haven. In this crisis, it is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.

 

Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (ret.) is the former director of Defense Intelligence Agency and the author of New York Times Bestseller “The Field of Fight.”

Obama Loses 10,000 Arabs (all of them) from His Raqqa Army

[This is the only Arab brigade in Obama’s Raqqa army, numbering 10,000 fighters, one/third of the coalition.  Now there are only 20,000 fighters trying to take-back Raqqa, and Turkey still opposes every single one of them.]

Arab brigade says disagreements forced withdrawal from operation, leaving only Kurds involved

SDF forces expect the Raqqa offensive to last for months (Reuters)

The Syrian Arab component of forces attacking Raqqa have withdrawn from operations, declaring Kurdish forces had broken an agreement to allow them to lead the charge into the Islamic State (IS) group-held city.

In a statement released only days after the “Euphrate’s Wrath” offensive began, Liwa Thuaar Raqqa (Raqqa revolutionary brigade) said it would no longer fight alongside the Kurdish YPG militia.

The brigade accused the US of trying to “sideline” its men in favour of the Kurdish forces, placing pressure on the YPG’s backers in Washington who had pledged to let Arab forces take the lead in the operations.

Liwa Thuaar’s political office leader, Mahmoud Hadi, said: “The brigade refused to participate in the operation because the YPG did not keep to what we had agreed – that the battle be led by the brigade and that the fighters all come from Raqqa itself.”

“The agreement was that the SDF would only provide logistical support for the operation,” he added.

 

“Everything had been agreed beforehand, we even agreed which flags would be raised… and that the brigade would be in charge of the administrative and security management of the city afterwards.

“But what happened on the ground has unfortunately been the complete opposite to what we had agreed.”

The brigade said it was the only Arab component of the operation.

Hadi said his brigade was still committed to its goals of retaking Raqqa, that the operation would be long and that the “sons of Raqqa” were the only ones capable of winning this battle and freeing the people from IS.

“There are internal divisions within the SDF and pressures on the YPG from the international coalition, specifically the US, to sideline the brigade,” said Hadi. However, he added that his men were not pulling out of the wider SDF coalition.

Turkey has previously expressed alarm that the SDF is dominated by the YPG, and an influx of Kurds into Raqqa would change its demographics.

Ankara considers the YPG an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it considers a terrorist group.

It has vowed to fight it in northern Syria, and warned it could act if Raqqa, an Arab-majority city, is taken by Kurdish forces.

The Turkish deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said Raqqa “belonged to the people” who lived there before the conflict erupted.

“Changing the demographic structure will in no way make any contribution to making peace,” he said earlier this week.

“Legitimacy is not provided by armed terrorist groups. I think in the end the United States will have to understand this.

“Every step taken by non-Arab elements is not in the interests of the United States.”

The YPG-dominated SDF announced the start of ‘Euphrates Wrath’ on Saturday (Reuters)

The US general, Joseph Dunford, said earlier this week that he did not think the YPG would be involved in the direct capture of the town, but only in its isolation, a process that he said could take months.

“We always knew the SDF wasn’t the solution for holding and governing Raqqa. What we are working on right now is to find the right mix of forces for the operation.”

He also suggested Turkish views would be taken into account before any final assault.

“The coalition and Turkey will work together on the long-term plan for seizing, holding and governing Raqqa,” Dunford said.

Rangers kill Jundallah chief in Hub

“He was amir of Jundallah group in Pakistan and was manipulating subversive activities jointly with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Islamic State (IS) in the country.”

[The man was running three differently-named terrorist groups, with the same missions, ideologies and methods.  His job, evidently, was to create the impression of three separate terrorist entities operating throughout the region, even though the terrorists themselves were interchangeable pieces of the same puzzle.]

Rangers kill Jundallah chief in Hub

the nation pakistan

QUETTA – Pakistan-based Jundallah Amir Arif alias Saqib was reportedly killed on Friday by Rangers.

The Rangers sources said their crews operating in Hub killed on Friday the amir of Pakistan-based Jundallah, an outlawed outfit Arif. Arif alias Saqib was mastermind of suicide explosions in Balochistan.

“He was amir of Jundallah group in Pakistan and was manipulating subversive activities jointly with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Islamic State (IS) in the country,” revealed the sources. A huge quantity of explosive materials along with arms was also recovered.

Apart from Pakistan, the Jundallah amir was also most wanted in Iran in scores of subversive activities, the sources said.

“Acting upon a tip off by intelligence agencies, Rangers’ anti-terrorist force Thursday night conducted an operation at a suspected militant hideout in the Hub area of Balochistan,” read a statement issued by a Rangers spokesperson, reported a private TV channel.

“During the exchange of fire, the Jundallah chief and nominated deputy chief of Tehreek-e-Taliban Sindh, Saqib alias Arif alias Anjum, was killed,” the statement added.

The Rangers spokesperson also revealed that the Jundallah chief along with members of Al-Qaeda, Jamaatul Ahrar and Islamic State was involved in several high-profile terror acts.

Some of them were allegedly involved in various terror activities, including an attack on the vehicle of the then Karachi Corps Commander Lt-Gen Ahsan Saleem, a suicide hit on Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Quetta, assassination of chief security officer of former president Asif Ali Zardari, Bilal Sheikh and attack on a church and members of minority communities.

The Rangers statement also claimed that the killed militant was planning major terror attacks on Rangers’ headquarters and the SSU headquarters in Karachi.

The paramilitary force also recovered explosives from the suspect’s house, which was being used as a factory for preparing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), claimed the spokesperson.

The Rangers also claimed to have recovered huge quantity of automatic weapons, ammunition and hand grenades.

TTP/ISIS/JUNDULLAH Terrorists Commit Massacre At Sufi Shrine In Hub, Balochistan

[Both ISIS and Mehsud terrorist group have claimed responsibility for the deadly bombing, but from the info given below, it is obvious that both ISIS and TTP Taliban (Hakeemullah Mehsud’s boys) are the same group.]

[The NewsTribe article below reveals that the reason behind the attack upon the Sufi shrine in Hub, Balochistan was a raid by Pak. Rangers which killed the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader and destroyed a major bomb-making factory in Hub.

The blast comes a few days after Rangers shot dead several terrorists in a raid in Hub.

Rangers kill Jundallah chief in Hub”–November 11, 2016
Jundallah Amir Arif alias Saqib,

“He was amir of Jundallah group in Pakistan and was manipulating subversive activities jointly with Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Islamic State (IS) in the country,”

The man was running three differently-named terrorist groups, with the same missions, ideologies and methods.  His job, evidently, was to create the impression of three separate terrorist entities operating throughout the region, even though the terrorists themselves were interchangeable pieces of the same puzzle.]shrine-of-shah-noorani[At least 62 killed, 100 injured in Shah Noorani Shrine blast in Khuzdar]

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10 dead, dozens injured in Shah Noorani Shrine blast | Thenewstribe.com

30 killed, dozens injured in Shah Noorani Shrine blast

news tribe

UPDATE: Dr Hakeem Lassi of Edhi Foundation while speaking to ARY News told that hundreds of people including women and children are injured in the blast.

  • CM Balochistan Sardar Sanaullah Zehri while speaking to media stated that due to complete blackout in the affected area, helicopters can not be sent for rescue mission in order to avoid any further mishap.
  • Interior Minister Balochistan Sarfraz Bugti condemned the incident and claimed that the government’s focus is on the rescue operation.
  • Blood donation units have been established at Jinnah Hospital & Civil Hospital Karachi. People have been appealed to donate for martyrs  blast.
  • No rescue team has yet reached with injured pilgrims at Civil Hospital Hub from Dargah Shah Noorani after the bomb blast: Lasbela DSP.
  • Rescue sources confirm death toll rises to 30, more than 95 people are injured, rise in death toll is feared.


shah noorani2

As per initial reports from local media, the blast occurred near the courtyard at the shrine where devotees were performing Dhamal on Saturday.

Rescue teams from Hub have reportedly reached the scene and started shifting the injured to nearby hospitals.

Hub is an industrial city and its original name was Hub Chowki because once there was a police and customs check post, named Nakahi.

Hazrat Baba Shah Noorani’s Shrine, which is more than 500 years old, is located in Hub in Balochistan province. It is surrounded by a striking mountain range where one can find a diversity of animal life.

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Ambulances from Karachi and Hub have been sent for the rescue operation, But, Shrine of Shah Noorani being too far away from the main city, may cause major halt in rescue operation.

As per an eye witness, the blast took place near 6 pm, but it was reported to media almost 40 minutes later as, telecom signals do not work in the suburbans of Shah Noorani.

The blast comes a few days after Rangers shot dead several terrorists in a raid in the town.

DC Lasbela Zulfiqar Shah said that ambulances were dispatched to the area to help those injured in the attack.

“Although it is not in the jurisdiction of Lasbela, we have sent rescue teams,” he said.

FC, police and Rangers personnel teams cordoned off the area and launched a probe.

The blast comes a few days after Rangers shot dead several terrorists in a raid in the town, reported Samaa.

Pakistan shrine attack: Why Islamists consider mystical Islam a threat

dw

A bomb blast targeting the followers of mystical Islam in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province has killed dozens of people. The attack indicates that militants consider pluralistic Islam a threat.

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The attack took place at the famous Shah Noorani shrine, in the Lasbela district of the volatile Baluchistan province.

It happened as worshippers performed the dhamal – a mystical dance – paying tribute to the famous sufi preacher Hazrat Baba Shah Noorani. His shrine, where followers of mystical Islam regularly gather, is more than 500 years old.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Taliban militants have been known to attack shrines in the region in the past.

Pakistan is facing a protracted separatist insurgency in the southwestern Baluchistan province. But hard-line Islamist groups are also active in the area and have regularly attacked minorities and followers of other Islamic denominations.

In October, Islamist militants killed more than 60 people, mostly cadets, in a police academy in Quetta, the capital city of Baluchistan. In August, a suicide bombing on a hospital in the same city killed 73 people, many of them lawyers mourning a colleague who had been fatally shot. Both “Islamic State” (IS) and a faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed the attack.

“The security situation in Baluchistan is extremely bad. A number of militant groups are fighting in the province – the Baluch separatists, the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and IS,” Hassan Sheerazi, a journalist associated with Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, told DW.

“Mystical Islam brings together people from diverse ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. That is the reason why Islamist militants target shrines. A few years ago, the extremists attacked the Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi,” Sheerazi added.

An attack on pluralism

The militants – most of whom belong to the Saudi-Wahhabi sect of Islam – have attacked a number of Sufi shrines in many Pakistani cities in the past, killing scores of devotees, who mostly belonged to the minority Shiite Islamic group or the majority Sunni Barelvi sect.

Historians say that both Shiites and Barelvis believe in a wide cultural interpretation of Islam and seek inspiration from the Persian and Arabic saints, who played a role in spreading Islam throughout the Indian subcontinent. Many Shiites and Barelvis also revere mystics of Indian origin and regularly visit their shrines which are spread throughout India and Pakistan. These Muslim saints are equally loved by Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Jews in South Asia.

The Wahhabis, which are a relatively small group among the Sunnis, believe in “puritan Islam” and consider pilgrimages to shrines outside of the Islamic faith to be against the teachings of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

“Wahhabis are against any cultural pluralism, so they attack shrines, music festivals and other cultural centers that are not Islamic in their view,” Dr. Mubarak Ali, a renowned Pakistani historian, told DW. The influence of Saudi Arabia had seeped into the psyche of many Pakistanis, causing an “Arabization” of their many traditions, he added.

Many Pakistani analysts, including Ali, say that the zealot Wahhabi groups and political parties not only frown upon pilgrimages to non-Islamic shrines, they also endorse the demolition of historical Muslim sites, and emulate Saudi Arabia in this regard.

An ideological battle

Shoaib Ashraf, a lawyer and human rights activist in Karachi, told DW that Islamist militants were bent on destroying the diverse cultural fabric of Pakistani society. “Pakistan cannot afford this kind of extremism. It is facing several crises at the moment but this is going to do an irreparable damage to the country. Pakistan will not survive if a minority forcefully imposes its extremist agenda on the majority,” he warned.

Attiya Dawood, a writer and peace activist, told DW that the love for saints ran deep in hundreds of thousands of people in Pakistan and that a big number of Pakistanis went to the shrines and listened to qawwali, or Sufi music. “The Taliban want to create fear among the people by attacking their sacred places in order to restrict their social mobility and freedom,” she said.

Many Pakistani analysts think that political rather than religious reasons are behind the attacks on shrines and followers of the saints, since mystical Islam provides a counter-narrative to extremist Islam and is probably the biggest ideological threat to the Wahhabis. Some believe that mystical Islam could be more effective in defeating the Taliban than any military operation.

‘Support’ for Wahhabi groups

Experts, however, say that the policies of the Pakistani state are not in favor of the proponents of Sufi Islam and are thus emboldening extremists. “As long as the Pakistani state and security agencies continue to use Wahhabism as a dominant state narrative, attacks on shrines and their devotees will not cease,” warned Ashraf.

Historian Ali also pointed out that Wahhabi groups and organizations enjoyed state patronage and flourished at the expense of other groups, which in the past had been snubbed by the government. “It is a bit strange, because Wahhabism is a minority Sunni sect in Pakistan,” Ali said.

The frequent militant attacks in Pakistan have angered the public. Many people now question the military’s claim that its ongoing operation against Islamists along the Afghan border has been a success. The army says it has killed 3,500 terrorists since the launch of the Zarb-e-Azb military campaign in June 2014.

“The attacks show that the military’s much-touted Zarb-e Azb operation and the National Action Plan to eradicate terrorism from Pakistani soil have been failures, despite Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif’s claims of victory,” Arif Jamal, a US-based expert on security and Islamism, told DW. “The terror infrastructure is intact in the country and the militants intensify their attacks on the Pakistani state whenever they want to,” he added.

Peace activists demand that the Pakistani government not only abandon its support for zealot Wahhabis, but also promote pluralistic Islam. This, they say, would not only be beneficial to Pakistani society in the long run, but would also improve the international community’s image of Pakistan.

Obama’s Kurdish Army of 30,000 Against 550 Sq. Km. of Terrorists At Raqqa

[30000 fighters trying to take 550 sq. km. means that there will be 54.5 fighters per sq. km.  There are 247.1 acres in each sq. km., being defended by 54.5 fighters, who will each try to cover 74.25 square meters, watching 243.6′ in each direction.  Under favorable conditions, one man could watch an area less than one-hundred yards square, but he could never hope to defend so much territory against a superior ISIS force.  How long did it take this same bunch of Kurdish fighters to take Kobane from ISIS?]

(30,000) Fighters march against Daesh near Syria’s Raqqa

gulf news


Reuters   US military advisers are on the ground training forces forthe assault on the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.

 

Once the forces coming from the two directions meet, they will surround 550 square kilometres territory controlled by the extremists

Beirut: A spokeswoman for a Kurdish-led force fighting Daesh in northern Syria says they are on the verge of surrounding a wide area north of the Daesh stronghold of Raqqa.

Cihan Ehmed of the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces said Thursday that their fighters are pushing on two fronts north of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Daesh’s self-declared caliphate.

She said once the forces coming from the two directions meet, they will surround 550 square kilometres of territory controlled by the terrorists.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said many people are fleeing areas north of Raqqa because of the fighting.

The SDF says they have committed 30,000 fighters to the offensive, aiming to eventually take Raqqa.

Meanwhile, aid workers in eastern Aleppo were distributing the last available food rations on Thursday as the quarter of a million people besieged in the Syrian city entered what is expected to be a cruel winter, UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland said.

The United Nations sent a four-part humanitarian plan to all parties to the conflict several days ago, covering delivery of food and medical supplies, medical evacuations and access for health workers, and Egeland said he was hopeful of a deal.

“I do believe we will be able to avert mass hunger this winter,” he told reporters in Geneva, adding that he had the clear impression that Russia would continue its pause in air operations over the northern city.

Pak. Army Dynamites Wana Business Center For Stopping Support To Taliban and Al-Qaeda

14906970_896902147113695_3437762241204510323_n[Market dynamited as punishment under FCR in South Waziristan]wana-bazaar

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Hong Kong [China], Nov.11 (ANI): The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has urged the international community, particularly the Human Rights Commission of UN, to probe the killings of citizens of South Waziristan in the name of the military-backed Operation Zarb-e-Azb.

It has called on the international community to put pressure on Pakistan to stop Operation Zarb-e-Azb and ensure that all counter-terrorism operations take place in a transparent manner.

The AHRC also said that the Pakistan government must pay compensation for the demolition of a business center valued at over Pakistan Rupees 200 million, and also compensate for losses incurred by traders whose shops were destroyed purportedly on the orders of the army.

The AHRC demand and appeal came after it said that it had received information that in retaliation to locals refusing to supply arms to terrorist organisations like the Taliban and Al-Qaida, army officers have blown up a two-storey business centre, which had more than 150 shops and four commercial halls.

This incident occurred in Wana, the largest town of South Waziristan Agency in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The city acts as the summer headquarters of South Waziristan, where the army claims to be conducting major operations (Zarb-e-Azb) against terrorists.

This is to be mentioned here that the business center belonged to the Mirza Alam Khan Wazir, the former chief of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe.

In his lifetime, Mirza remained staunchly against terrorism, particularly against the Taliban, at a time when the Pakistan Army was allegedly nurturing these terrorists and facilitating them to conduct cross-border terrorism.

Mirza also did not allow Osama Bin Laden to stay in Waziristan; that is why Bin Laden had to settle in Abbottabad and other areas inside Pakistan.

The army retaliated by dynamiting the business centre after an army major Imran was killed and six soldiers were injured in the area. The major and the soldiers were in the area trying to coerce locals to continue supplying arms to the Taliban. However, from the information gathered so far, it appears the killing of the major was not due to any act of violence on the part of locals, but due to a sophomoric mistake of the major himself.

According to information gathered, it appears that the major wanted a shopkeeper, Khan Kharoti, of Suleman Khel, to restart delivery of arms and ammunition to agents of Afghan militants from the Taliban and Al-Qaida.

Khan had suddenly stopped delivery of the arms around two months ago. Khan was delivering arms and ammunition to Angur Ada, a village and a border crossing straddling the South Waziristan Agency of Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Paktika Province. Khan decided to do the business of carpets instead and hired a shop at the said business center in a quest to change his line of work.

On the day of event, October 29, when Khan was arranging carpets in order to open his shop, Major Imran arrived at his shop, along with around 15 soldiers, all in civilian outfits; the major had a hand grenade in his hand and was playing with the grenade, tossing it from one hand to the other, threatening Khan that the hand grenade could be detonated if Khan were not to agree to continue his previous work of supplying arms to the terrorists.

According to the shopkeepers and eyewitnesses, amidst the threats, the hand grenade fell from the Major’s hand, landed on the floor, and exploded. The major ended up being seriously injured. The soldiers panicked and began pointing their guns at the crowd, intending to shoot people. The injured major, however, asked his soldiers not to shoot the people, telling them that the grenade had fallen from his own hands. The major later died, either in hospital, or on his way there.

In response, the military have arrested Khan and his son for “martyring” the major and injuring 10, including six soldiers who were there with him. The father and son have been declared Taliban terrorists.

Given the background to the incident, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the public relations wing of the ,military, took two to three days to come out with its official statement, and even when the ISPR did so, it came out with different versions. The military spin-doctors have been at work trying to mask the true story, and the versions they have given are curious.

However, various newspapers of Pakistan had different versions of the incident.

The Daily Pakistan included the following in their news report: “An army major was killed and six soldiers were injured after a roadside bomb exploded during a search operation in South Waziristan Agency on Tuesday, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) reported”.

Dawn had a different version of events: “A statement issued by the Inter Services Public Relations said Major Imran had ’embraced shahadat’ and six soldiers suffered injuries when an improvised explosive device went off during a search operation in Wana Bazaar. According to officials, army and paramilitary forces cordoned off the area to search shops for arms and ammunition as local authorities had imposed a ban on their sale and purchase in the agency. The explosion took place in a shop belonging to one Khan Kharoti, killing Major Imran on the spot and injuring the six soldiers”.

The Frontier Post conflated the death with that of another in this way: “Major Imran was killed during a cordon search operation in South Wazirstan Agency’s Wana area. Last week, an army officer was killed and another was critically injured after falling into a ditch on the Motorway near Hazro, ISPR said. The deceased was identified as Lt. Colonel Shahid whereas Major Jalal sustained serious injuries when they were going back to Nowshera from Rawalpindi in a military convoy. At around 8PM, the officers climbed off their vehicle as the routes were blocked with containers. Owing to darkness, they both fell off the road edge into a ditch along the Motorway. Lt Colonel died on the spot while Major Jalal was immediately shifted to the hospital”.

Even, the army spokesperson was not clear how Major Imran was killed in an improvised explosion device (IED) blast. All indications point to how the mrmy wants to hide the facts and mask the real reason behind the hand grenade blast.

After two days of his killing, the army declared Major Imran as martyred. The military then wanted to show residents of Wana, South Waziristan, and indeed the whole country, that they know how to take revenge for the killing of an officer, and this set up the Army’s need to bring the market down.

On November 2, the military had called a Jirga, a council of tribals, which is a legal forum in FATA. It was at this time that the factual news about the killing of the major went viral.

The military officers insisted that the Mirza Alam Market, Rustam Bazzar Wana be demolished and they refused to make any conciliation. The political administration, under the Governor appointed by the President of Pakistan, tried to pacify the military men and prevent such a harsh action. However, the military were determined to blow-up the business center.

The military took power from the Jirga, under an Article of the Collective and Territorial Responsibility of Frontier Crime Regulation of 1905, amended in 2011.

Army persons, arrived in jeeps, and announced to all the shopkeepers that they should vacate the market, as the Army would soon dynamite the whole business center.

On November 3, a curfew was imposed throughout Wana City. Over 6,000 shops and more than 500 commercial establishments were shut down. The Army installed dynamites all around the building and quickly detonated the dynamite. The two-storied building, with 150 shops and other commercial structures, caved in. At that moment, the Army raised slogans of long live Pak Army, love live Pakistan, and Allah-o-Akbar (God is great).

Mirza Alam Khan Wazir, ex-Chief of the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe, who founded the business centre bore the brunt of deadly attacks from terrorists during his lifetime. In 2003, his eldest son Farooq Khan Wazir was killed by Al-Qaida and Taliban militants for opposing them and running a renowned Amn Jirga, i.e. a “Peace Jirga”.

When killed, Farooq was sitting outside his gas station, which was also demolished by the terrorists. Later, the terrorists claimed responsibility of killing Farooq Khan. Despite this, Mirza, continued to clean up Waziristan, particularly South Waziristan, from Taliban and Al-Qaida. In 2005, Taliban and Al-Qaida attacked Mirza in Wana and killed him, along with his two sons, two brothers, three nephews, who had come there to visit him; in total nine people were killed by the terrorists in this one incident.

The family members say that anyone can understand who was behind the terrorists; it is those who have nurtured and organized terrorists for decades that are behind such killings of peace activists.

This was the time of the military government of General Musharraf who has become a good friend to the international community after 9/11 by offering his insight into how to deal with terrorists, particularly Osama Bin Laden.

Getting or confirming information of happenings in South Waziristan is not the easiest of tasks, as there are many military check posts and terrorist hideouts; even journalists are not allowed to go to the affected areas where the military claims that it is eliminating terrorists.

The FATA does not come under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government and is also not under the oversight of the Parliament. It is governed directly by the Pakistan President.

The AHRC said that in Wana many innocents have been killed by terrorists and by law enforcement agencies, especially those who dare to report to the Pakistan government about terrorist movement. (ANI)

Taliban Bomb German Consulate In Mazar e-Sharif–6 Dead, 100+ Wounded

epaselect epa05626234 An Afghan soldier inspects the scene of multiple suicide bombing that targeted the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, 11 November 2016. At least four people including two suicide bombers were killed and dozens of injured when Taliban militants attacked the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan.  EPA/MUTALIB SULTANI

An Afghan soldier inspects the scene of multiple suicide bombing that targeted the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan, 11 November 2016. At least four people including two suicide bombers were killed and dozens of injured when Taliban militants attacked the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. EPA/MUTALIB SULTANI

Attack On German Consulate In Balkh Leaves 4 Dead, Over 100 Wounded

TOLO NEWS

MazarFinalStory

As many as four people were killed and at least 115 others were wounded in a Taliban attack on German Consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif city in Balkh province on Thursday night, local officials said.

The attack took place in front of the consulate at 11pm local time on Thursday, Balkh Police Chief Gen. Sayed Kamal Sadat said.

He said an explosives-laden vehicle was detonated near the entrance door to the consulate office.

Meanwhile, head of Abu Ali Sina Hospital in Balkh, Noor Mohammad Faiz, said they had received 31 wounded following the attack.

He said all the victims were civilians and some of them are in a critical condition.

Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

The group claimed the attack was carried out in response to Afghan forces’ military operation in Kunduz.

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan reported that a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said on Friday that all of its two dozen staff escaped the attack “safe and uninjured” and were evacuated, while Afghan security forces and NATO special forces had “repulsed the heavily armed attackers.”

Officials said the consulate had sustained considerable damage in the attack, which began late Thursday.

A spokesman for the governor of Balkh Province told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan that the suicide bomb blast made a large hole in the compound wall, and other Taliban fighters tried to enter the compound through the gap.

But he said security forces at the consulate prevented insurgents from storming the compound.

Witnesses said many of the injured were Afghans who were sleeping in their homes nearby and were struck by flying glass when their windows were shattered by the massive explosion.

In Berlin, officials said a crisis task force meeting had been called at Germany’s Foreign Ministry late on Friday night to review events surrounding the attack.

Both Supporters and Detractors Ready For “Total War” Over Obamacare

Obamacare defenders vow ‘total war’

politico

But Republicans have lots of options in dismantling the law.

Donald Trump is pictured. | Getty
President-elect Donald Trump has been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation. | Getty

Shell-shocked Democrats on Capitol Hill are preparing to make a fight for Obamacare their top priority in the opening days of the Trump administration, with leading advocacy groups ready to wage “total war” to defend President Barack Obama’s universal health care program and his domestic policy legacy.

“We’ve got the battle of our lifetime ahead of us,” Ron Pollack, executive director of advocacy group Families USA, said the day after Donald Trump was elected on a pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which now the law that covers 22 million people. “We’re going to have a huge number of organizations from all across the country that will participate in this effort.”

But their options are limited. They have enough votes to block a total repeal of the law on Day One of a Trump administration. But they can’t block Republicans from passing targeted legislation in the coming months, and Trump — like Obama before him — can pick up a pen as early as Jan. 20 and use executive powers to block, change, or put on hold key elements of the massive six-year-old legislation.

The road to repeal is more complex than Trump acknowledged on the campaign trail. The law is baked into the health care system, touching every American’s life and a fifth of the economy.

But with the Republican sweep of both the executive and legislative branches, expectations for big and bold action are high.

“It’s pretty high on our agenda as you know,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday. “I would be shocked if we didn’t move forward and keep our commitment to the American people.”

Democratic aides on Capitol Hill said it was too early to have concrete plans but that defending Obamacare was a top goal. The law brought uninsurance rates to record lows, and many people have gotten financial help to get covered.

“Sen. Schumer and Senate Democrats are interested in ways to improve the Affordable Care Act. But we will fight tooth and nail against any attempt to repeal it,” a senior Senate Democratic aide told POLITICO, referring to incoming Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

But Trump, if he chooses, could make his mark immediately. He could loosen requirements, for instance by exempting more people from the individual mandate to buy insurance. The new administration could also cut off funds for outreach and enrollment assistance for Obamacare plans, just at the peak busy days at the end of the 2017 sign-up season.

The Trump Justice Department could also stop fighting the lawsuit the Republican House brought against the Obama administration, seeking to shut off subsidies that help pay low-income people’s doctors bills. If the House wins, those payments would dry up — sticking the insurance plans with the bills. If the subsidies stop, insurance companies would have the right to drop out of the Obamacare markets almost immediately, which could lead to the collapse of the exchanges.

Or Trump could work with GOP lawmakers to siphon funding that was supposed to help insurers get through the first risky years of Obamacare — funds that Congressional Republicans have already limited.

“You can change regulations almost immediately to give the power back to states to give them choice,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), an orthopedic surgeon, who is likely to be a key Senate leader on Obamacare repeal. He was one of several lawmakers and Trump advisers who called for some kind of transition or phase-out period to help people who would be losing coverage.

Republicans can’t repeal the law straight away because Democrats will still hold enough Senate seats to mount a filibuster. But over the longer term, Republicans can kill enough of the measure to make it essentially moot. And Trump could undermine the ACA in multiple ways upon taking office because the law gave so much discretion to the HHS secretary.

A Republican Congress could also siphon Obamacare funding to insurers. Lawmakers already blocked some payments meant to offset their financial risk the health plans took on in the uncertain new markets. That’s one reason the insurers raised premiums this year, to make up for anticipated payments that never materialized.

All that has rattled health care industry groups, who did not expect Trump’s triumph and who have spent the last six years adjusting to Obamacare.

“I’ve got clients freaking out a little bit. It’s just the unknown,” said one veteran health care lobbyist, noting that pre-Election Day briefings were typically dominated by gaming out a Clinton administration.

Whether through regulation or legislation, there are risks to taking down Obamacare.

Dismantling an exceedingly complex law that has become baked into the health care system is going to be much more complex than Trump acknowledged on the campaign trail. It would add uncertainty and frustration to the insurance companies running Obamacare plans.

“For the last four years every problem of the health care system has been blamed on Obamacare,” said Tim Jost, a legal expert and strong supporter of the law. “From here on out it’s going to be blamed on Trumpcare — and we’ll see how that works out.”

Trump has provided few details about his health care replacement proposals. He has used some of the same phrases and big picture concepts as congressional Republicans, but with so little detail, it’s difficult to say how his ideas meld with those on the Hill.

“Anybody that says they know what’s going to happen now is smoking something excluded from Part D coverage,” said John Gorman, an insurance consultant. (Part D covers legal prescription drugs.)

Republicans may try to thread the needle between voter demands and massive health industry disruption by taking an early vote on Obamacare repeal – symbolic, given the Democratic filibuster — to show voters they will live up to their promise, and then build in time for a transition.

“I think the replacement obviously must come first and it must be something that is very appealing and easy to understand,” Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon and top Trump ally, told POLITICO. “And then, only then, would you dismantle what’s in place.”

Republicans also have a longer-term path to permanently repeal several huge parts of the law through legislation.

Republicans did a test run of their legislative plan to repeal several huge parts of the law last year when the Senate passed repeal legislation through the complex budget reconciliation process, which requires only 51 votes and can’t be filibustered. That bill would have eliminated the ACA’s subsidies that help consumers buy insurance, Medicaid expansion and the medical device and Cadillac taxes. It would also eliminate the fines for the individual and employer mandates, rendering them moot. Obama vetoed the bill.

House Speaker Paul Ryan happily acknowledged that a similar bill would face a different fate next year.

“This Congress, this House majority, this Senate majority has already demonstrated and proven we’re able to pass that legislation and put it on the president’s desk. Problem is, President Obama vetoed it,” Ryan said. “Now we have a President Trump who has promised to fix this.”

Dan Diamond contributed to this report.

Russia detains Ukrainian ‘extremist’ group in Crimea

Russia detains Ukrainian ‘extremist’ group in Crimea

world bulletin
Russia detains Ukrainian 'extremist' group in Crimea

Russia’s FSB security service on Wednesday “detained members of a sabotage-terror group from the main intelligence directorate of the Ukrainian defence ministry,” it said in a statement.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Russia’s security service said Thursday it had detained several people in Crimea, accusing them of being saboteurs sent by Kiev to the Moscow-annexed peninsula to attack infrastructure targets.

The group “planned to carry out acts of sabotage on objects of military and public infrastructure,” and had in their possession “powerful explosive devices, weapons, ammunition” and communication equipment, the FSB said.

Moscow seized and annexed the Black Sea peninsula in 2014 despite an outcry from the international community which was followed by sanctions.

Earlier this year, the FSB announced that it had thwarted “terror attacks” in Crimea, and Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered additional security measures.

Ukraine has dismissed the accusations of plotting attacks as “fantasies” concocted by Moscow to boost its military buildup and create a pretext for threatening Kiev.

Kiev is still fighting a pro-Russian insurgency in the eastern regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, parts of which have declared independence. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the conflict erupted in April 2014.

The Wave of Cop-Killing Ambushes Reaches the Heartland, S.W. PA., Canonsburg–1 Dead

map

One officer shot dead, another wounded in ‘ambush’ in Canonsburg

pittsburgh post gazette

canonsburgSWAT officers are at the scene of a shooting that wounded two officers early this morning.   Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette

One Canonsburg police was shot to death and another wounded in a shooting this morning. A SWAT team is on scene in another part of the borough where they believe the shooter is located.

State police said one officer was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for medical treatment and a second officer was taken by ambulance to Canonsburg Hospital. One of the officers later died of his wounds. Police did not say which hospital he had been taken to.

Their names have not been released.

State police Trooper Melinda Bonderanka said the officers responded to a call of a domestic issue at 3:14 a.m. in the 100 block of Woodcrest Road and were ”ambushed upon their arrival.”

Homes in the Woodcrest Road area were evacuated and all other residents in the peripheral area were being told to “stay in place” while police search for the suspect.

Trooper Bonderanka would not say where police were specifically targeting their search but police, firefighters and the Washington County sheriff’s office have blocked off a stretch of road near the intersection of Bluff Avenue and West Pike Street.

Much of the view is blocked by fire trucks, but a white tent and an ambulance can be seen further up the street.

Departments on the scene include Peters, North Strabane, Hanover, state police and others.

Canon-McMillan School District has cancelled classes for today and Chartiers-Houston School District is on a two-hour delay because of the shooting.

District Judge David Mark, of Canonsburg, said he knows the slain officer and his family well.

“He is a great guy, top to bottom, one of the best people I know inside and out,”  District Judge Mark said. “I can’t imagine what the family is going through.”

Keith Jacob, of 126 Woodcrest Drive, said he lives two doors down from where the shooting took place and heard gunshots this morning.

“That’s what woke me up. Then I thought I heard someone say ‘My partner’s down’ ” he said.

He said the couple who live at the house where the shooting occurred have had past domestic problems.

“She has had a [protection from abuse order] against him … there have been back and forth disputes going on,” said Mr. Jacob, who also said the woman was two months pregnant.

Richard Crothers, 48, who lives on Pike Street, said he heard sirens about 3:30 a.m. He thought he saw an ambulance followed by two police cars “and then all hell broke loose.”

“This here is just unbelievable,” he said, noting that there are rarely police on the street, except to pull over speeders who use it as a pass through to Cecil when they get off Interstate 79.

Police have been on his street all morning. He watched shortly before 8 a.m. as a SWAT truck and then a bomb squad unit pulled in.

“This is the craziest it’s been,” he said.

He said police didn’t tell him what’s been going on but did tell him to stay inside for a long stretch. He said the snippets he’s heard came from the news.

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or at 724-772-9180. Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com.

Egyptian Media Cites Distortions of Truth, Intentional Deception In Western “News” Media

[Final list for pardons won’t include Brotherhood members, says committee on Egyptian detainees]

“This ‎election has clearly shown that the American ‎people have voted against the disastrous ‎policies of (current US president) Barack ‎Obama and his former secretary of state Hillary ‎Clinton,”

‎‎“I was deceived by the American media, but ‎now we see that there was a broad-based ‎rejection of Obama and Clinton in America,”

“Please review the hundreds of flawed ‎anti-Trump reports and opinion polls which the American media published for months, to discover the disgusting reality of ‎this malicious media,”

Trump’s victory a setback for Muslim ‎Brotherhood, say Egypt MPs

ahram online

Egypt MPs said the election of Donald Trump ‎as America’s new president means hard times ahead for the Muslim Brotherhood and good ‎news for the country’s president Sisi

Parliament

File photo of Egypt’s Parliament in session. (Photo: AFP)

 

In a quick reaction to the results of America’s ‎presidential election, Egypt MPs said the ‎triumph of republican candidate Donald ‎Trump could be a very positive ‎development for Egypt.‎

Most of the MPs who spoke with parliamentary ‎reporters Wednesday also agreed that the ‎election of Trump should be considered good ‎news for Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi—the first Arab ruler to congratulate him on his ‎triumph. Besides, they added, Trump’s victory means a big setback for the Muslim ‎Brotherhood and other Islamist movements ‎who had high hopes that Democratic party ‎candidate Hilary Clinton would win.‎

Margaret Azer, a Coptic MP, said in a ‎statement that the election of Trump will surely ‎mean a positive new beginning for the world and ‎the Middle East.

“Trump’s victory represents a ‎radical departure from the Obama-Clinton clan ‎who supported the Muslim Brotherhood and other ‎political Islam movements,” said Azer, adding ‎that “in fact Hilary Clinton was the candidate ‎of the Muslim Brotherhood — rather than the ‎Democratic party — in the US presidential ‎election.”

“The election of Trump ‎should also help put an end to the terrorist ‎group ISIS and to chaos in Syria,” said Azer.‎

Azer said that she hopes Trump will move ‎quickly to restore old strategic relations ‎between Egypt and the United States. “This ‎strategic relationship is necessary for America to ‎win the fight against terrorism in the Middle ‎East,” said Azer.‎

Parliament’s Human Rights Committee also ‎issued a statement Wednesday, stating that ‎the election of Trump ‎should not come as a surprise. “This ‎election has clearly shown that the American ‎people have voted against the disastrous ‎policies of (current US president) Barack ‎Obama and his former secretary of state Hillary ‎Clinton,” said the committee’s chairman Alaa ‎Abed.‎

Abed accused Obama and Clinton of spending ‎billions of dollars on support for Islamist ‎movements in the Middle East. “They were ‎under false convictions that these movements ‎are moderate and democratic, and in this way ‎they gave them cover to spread their ‎terrorism and poisonous ideology in the ‎Middle East,” said Abed.‎

Abed said the stunning victory of Trump has ‎also exposed the American media’s flawed and ‎biased coverage of the election and how it managed to ‎mislead the American people and the world. “Please review the hundreds of flawed ‎anti-Trump reports and opinion polls which the American media published for months, to discover the disgusting reality of ‎this malicious media,” said Abed.‎

Abed also agrees that the newly elected Trump ‎should move quickly to restore strategic ‎relations between Egypt and the US. “If he is ‎really serious about fighting radical Islam, he ‎should win big allies like Egypt,” said Abed.‎

In one of his foreign policy speeches last ‎summer, Trump said he would call for an ‎international conference on terrorism and that ‎King Abdallah of Jordan and President El-Sisi of ‎Egypt would top the list of invitees.‎

El-Sisi was the only Arab president who met ‎with Trump during his visit to New York to ‎attend UN General Assembly meetings last ‎September. On 19 September and after his ‎meeting with El-Sisi, Trump’s political advisor ‎Walid Fares told reporters that Trump assured ‎El-Sisi that he looks forward to restoring ‎strategic relations with Egypt.

Phares also told ‎Egyptian MPs who were visiting America at ‎the time that Trump considers the Muslim ‎Brotherhood a radical movement.”There is ‎no problem at all with Trump’s administration, in that the Muslim Brotherhood would be designated ‎a terrorist organization,” said Phares.‎

Phares also said that Trump greatly appreciates the Egyptian people’s willingness to stand ‎against the Muslim Brotherhood, saving their ‎country from the chaos which hit countries like ‎Syria and Libya.‎

Abed agrees that Trump’s victory represents a ‎big setback to the Muslim Brotherhood. “They ‎were eager to see Clinton become the new ‎president to use it as a tool for exerting ‎pressure on Egypt, but their hopes were ‎seriously dashed,” said Abed.‎

Mostafa Bakri, an independent MP and high-‎profile journalist, said on his twitter account ‎that the loss of Clinton and the victory of ‎Trump means very bad times for the Muslim ‎Brotherhood and its television mouthpiece ‎‎”Al-Jazeera.”‎

Other MPs, however, said “Egypt should be ‎cautious in its expectations about Donald ‎Trump.”

“I know that some in Egypt are happy ‎and feel optimistic about Trump’s victory, but ‎all should be cautious and wait until we see ‎how this new US president will translate his ‎promises into action on the ground,” said ‎Tarek El-Khouly, deputy chairman of ‎parliament’s foreign relations committee.‎

El-Khouly, who attended the general assembly meetings in New York last ‎September, said he agrees that President Sisi’s ‎meeting with Trump was very ‎positive.

“I agree that there was a kind of love ‎chemistry between the two, and the fact ‎that Trump was keen to meet with El-Sisi ‎should be considered a positive development,” ‎said El-Khouly, adding “but I insist that we ‎should not pin exaggerated hopes on Trump ‎because his policies might antagonize the ‎Muslim world in general rather than put an ‎end to political Islam.”‎

Ali Ezz, deputy chairman of Egypt’s ‎Information Technology and ‎Telecommunication Committee told reporters ‎that Trump’s victory was a big surprise to him. ‎‎“I was deceived by the American media, but ‎now we see that there was a broad-based ‎rejection of Obama and Clinton in America,” ‎said Ezz, adding that “If Trump is serious about ‎fighting terrorism in the Middle East, he ‎should cooperate with strong leaders like El-‎Sisi and president of Russia Vladimir Putin to ‎stem the tide of political Islam.”‎

Solaf Darwish, a female MP, also agrees that ‎the election of Trump means very bad times ahead for the ‎Muslim Brotherhood. Darwish, who was also ‎in New York last September, said “El-Sisi and ‎Trump’s meeting was very positive.”

‎”While Trump told El-Sisi that he wants Egypt to be ‎a big ally of America again, Hilary Clinton ‎showed that she was an extension of the ‎Obama mentality when she tried during the ‎meeting to exert pressure on President El-Sisi ‎by raising issues on human rights and ‎democracy,” said Darwish.‎

 

 

 

 

Trump—not a friend to Pakistan

[ Why Pakistan is worried about Trump becoming the US President ]

“Get it straight: Pakistan is not our friend. We’ve given them billions and billions of dollars, and what did we get? Betrayal and disrespect—and much worse.” #TimeToGetTough

Pakistan Wants to Work on Counter-Terrorism With Trump

abcnews_logo_v2

Pakistani foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz says his country would like to work with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on the common interest of combatting terrorism.

In an interview with Pakistan’s Geo News channel Thursday, he says that helping negotiate a political settlement in Afghanistan is another area where the two countries could work together.

The U.S. president-elect has publicly criticized Pakistan in the past for battling some Islamic militant groups while tolerating others.

Aziz acknowledged that perception, but said such policies were “in the past.”

Local and al-Qaida linked Islamic militants who have had long used Pakistan’s lawless tribal regions along the Afghan border as safe havens. The Afghan government frequently accuses Islamabad of sheltering the senior leadership of the Taliban.

Syria daily dismisses Raqqa fight as ‘media’ operation

Syria daily dismisses Raqqa fight as ‘media’ operation

daily star LEB

Agence France Presse

DAMASCUS: The Syrian Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the government, on Monday dismissed a new assault on ISIS’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa as a “media” operation.

The daily said the fight, led by the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was intended to “focus American public opinion on the ‘war on terror’ and show the seriousness of the current administration in the fight against the terrorist group Daesh (ISIS).”

Citing what it described as a “Western diplomatic source in Paris,” the newspaper said the SDF lacked the capacity to fight ISIS “even if they were backed by Washington and Paris with all their power.”

The daily said the operation’s “sudden announcement” was intended to “cover up the inability of the U.S. to make quick and qualitative progress in cooperation with the Iraqi army in Mosul,” citing the same source.

It also said the operation was timed to coincide with the U.S. presidential elections, which take place Tuesday, especially “with the scandals surrounding the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.”

The SDF is a key ally of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, where it does not coordinate its strikes with the government in Damascus.

President Bashar Assad’s government accuses the U.S.-led coalition of failing to tackle ISIS in Syria, and alleges that Washington and other supporters of rebel groups fuel “terrorism” in the country.