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Middle East     Empty Middle East

Post  polka23dot Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:12 pm

Pat Condell - peace in the Middle East: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNNhG0zDtA8

Islamist terrorists and fanatics are methodically exterminating the 2,000-year-old Christian civilization of the Middle East through oppression, threats, appropriations and deadly violence... Christianity’s greatest thinkers, greatest monuments and greatest triumphs for its first 1,000 years rose in the Middle East... Christians in Iran? Gone. Turkey? Almost gone. Saudi Arabia? The once-thriving Christian and Jewish populations of Mecca and Medina were finished off centuries ago. And in Lebanon, the only Middle East country that until recently had a Christian majority, Christian rights have been so threatened by Sunni fanaticism that some Christians have reached out to Shia Hezbollah in their desperate hunt for allies. Far to the east, in Pakistan, Christians face trumped-up charges of insulting Islam or rape, beatings, murder and church bombings. And we still pour billions into Pakistan. It’s the end of a world as we know it. source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/christian_catastrophe_lX4yqB48KfKyKuUgQPreDM

Eradication of ancient Christian communities in the Middle East: http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2014/01/dr-martin-parsons-will-the-persecution-of-christians-continue-to-spread-in-2014.html

The plight of Arab Christians in the Middle East has been largely ignored by the mainstream press. In contrast, Conservative and Christian news organization as well as the Israeli press have not hidden behind euphemisms and half truths in reporting the atrocities committed by Islamists against Christian communities throughout the region. But while the legacy media is on top of every disagreement between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, when the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (abbreviated as ISIS) storms a Christian community, forcing the citizens to pay protection money called “jizya” and forbidding Christians to publicly practice and display their faith, barely a word is printed. source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/14645#.Ux8sDoWwXW4

Libya is now a country in meltdown. The government has disintegrated, law and order has been abandoned, violence is endemic, thousands have been killed, airports are in flames and high-grade weaponry is available on every street corner, able to find its way to Islamist militia groups in countries such as Mali, Mauritania, Chad and Niger. Libya has become an open door for illegal migrants from all over Africa seeking to reach southern Europe and eventually Britain’s generous welfare system. The Italian navy cannot expect cooperation from its Libyan counterpart, which used to help it stem the flood of refugees in Gaddafi’s day, since that navy is now in the hands of five rival militias. Last Saturday the United States shut down its embassy and evacuated its diplomats to neighboring Tunisia under U.S. military escort. On Monday the Royal Navy was sent in to help Britons leave Libya, while the Foreign Office has advised people not to visit the country. The fact is that while the world protests over Gaza, it has given up on Libya. Just three years since Gaddafi, its despotic ruler of 40 years, was deposed — and David Cameron made that hubristic visit with President Sarkozy of France to congratulate the Libyans on their new-found freedom — the country is no longer functioning, as warring tribes and sects slug it out for supremacy. There is an old Libyan saying: ‘Within Libya, it is region against region; within regions, tribe against tribe; within tribes, family against family.’ Meanwhile the situation in Syria and Iraq is as bad, if not worse. Yesterday, it emerged that 40,000 members of one of Iraq’s oldest minorities have been stranded for days on a mountain in the north-west of the country without food or water. These people from the Yazidi sect were driven there by Islamist militant group the Islamic State, formerly ISIS. They now have to choose between slaughter at the hands of the Islamic State jihadists waiting for them below, or death by dehydration if they stay on the mountain. Where are the protests in the West for action to stop their suffering?... In a development with overtones of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany, Christian families have had their doors ominously marked to inform them they face the bleak alternatives of conversion to an extreme version of Islam or death. In the past 24 hours, 200,000 Assyrian Christians have fled the Islamic State into Kurdistan where there are already 1.56 million refugees. Crucifixions and beheadings are commonplace, while the Islamic State runs extortion rackets in every town it conquers and has looted hundreds of millions from banks... Syria’s President Assad and his ruling party are Alawite Muslims, which is a form of Shia. Lebanon’s Hizbollah militia are also Shia. They are both supported financially and militarily by Iran, the main Shia power. The jihadist groups, on the other hand, are puppets of Qatar and Saudi Arabia which are Sunni — and determined to fight President Assad of Syria to the death. The Islamic State is partly funded from private Qatari and Saudi sources. This age-old power struggle was kept in check when dictators such as Saddam in Iraq, and Gaddafi in Libya, were in power. But now it has been unleashed, many ordinary people in the region yearn for the restoration of the kind of strongmen in whose overthrow the West naively connived. As the Arabic proverb says: ‘Better a thousand years of tyranny than one of anarchy.’ Absurdly, Britain’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair claims that this chaos has nothing to do with Western intervention in Iraq and Libya. The truth is that, by displacing their dictators, we have caused carnage. And this descent into chaos has coincided, like a perfect storm, with America’s weariness of overseas conflicts and mischief-making by Russia which supports President Assad of Syria, where it wants to keep a naval base. But make no mistake, key allies of the West are now under threat from the Islamic State, and the crisis is lapping at our own shores. The so-called ‘blowback’ threat from jihadi terrorists on the streets of Britain, for instance, is growing by the day as disenchanted British Muslims are sucked into the ‘holy war’ in Syria and Iraq. For sure, we should grieve for the children in Gaza. But we cannot afford to ignore how many more innocents will die in the infinitely more dangerous conflicts in the Middle East, in a cycle of murder that could last for decades rather than just four weeks. source and high-resolution photos: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2719460/

Innocent Australian has been imprisoned without trial in Dubai: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrqCb5cbqCM

The commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.” So remarked that wily old political operator, British prime minister and foreign secretary Lord Salisbury, some 140 years ago... Until the recent barbarous killing of American journalists and a British aid worker, our politicians have averted their eyes from the mounting chaos in the Middle East and instead mouthed pieties about the need for forming “inclusive” governments in Iraq and Syria (not to mention Egypt, Libya, and Yemen). They persist in the illusion, like a story out of A Thousand and One Nights, that somehow Western-style democracy can be grafted onto Middle Eastern polities, despite all the terrible evidence of the repeated failure to do so over the years. As in a Hollywood movie, they look for good guys to back and bad guys to chastise and are bedazzled when the actors switch roles without telling the scriptwriter and director. source: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/388006/obama-indecisive-saul-kelly

Over the past year, fellow Gulf countries Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain have publicly rebuked Qatar for its support of political Islamists across the region. These countries have threatened to close land borders or suspend Qatar's membership in the regional Gulf Cooperation Council unless the country backs down. source: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/09/30/the_case_against_qatar_funding_extremists_salafi_syria_uae_jihad_muslim_brotherhood_taliban

It’s well understood in the Middle East that nonviolent demonstrations are sort of a sporting, pro forma gesture on the way to violent demonstrations. source: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/390219/how-obamas-non-strategy-doomed-kobani-andrew-l-peek

No one in Egypt can agree on how many people live in Cairo, let alone the precise ratio of Muslims to Christians. But senior government clerics are quite sure of one thing: there are exactly 866 atheists in Egypt – roughly 0.00001% of the population. This suspiciously precise figure means Egypt harbors the highest number of atheists in the Arab world, according to claims by Dar al-Ifta, an official wing of government that issues religious edicts, citing research released this week by a regional polling group. Morocco came in second, with supposedly only 325 atheists. Yemen is meant to have 32. source: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/12/egypt-highest-number-atheists-a rab-world-866

Bad times have visited the Arabs before, but 2014 was a year from hell. The region stretching from Beirut to Basra continued to slowly disintegrate, with people clinging more than ever to their primordial identities as if the colonial constructs of the Nation-States that emerged after the First World War were only a passing moment. Most Arabs in that part of the ephemeral Arab World are now seeing themselves and are being seen as Sunnis and Shiites, while others are stressing their Christian, Druze, Kurdish, and Turkoman identities, along with members of a plethora of smaller ethnic and religious groups that constituted what was once a promising and breathtaking spectrum of diverse human mosaic. In 2014, the Middle East became less Arab and more Iranian and Kurdish, with Turkey trying to jockey for influence in Iraq and Syria. Watching Iran’s emergence as the country with great influence in Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa, and listening to Iranian officials saying that Iran has once again, since the reign of the Persian emperor Xerxes, (486-465 BC), become a Mediterranean power, one is tempted to say that this could be the beginning of Iran’s moment as the hegemon of the region. source: http://www.yemenonline.info/focus/128

Jordanian border guards are well trained and led and under orders to shoot first and shoot to kill whenever anyone gets too close to the border or crosses without permission. The “kill zones” along the border are clearly marked and several times a month someone tries to cross anyway and gets killed or wounded. The word gets around and that is a major deterrent... The UN has complained the Jordan is too quick to expel suspicious refugees... Jordan has long been recognized as having the best troops in the Arab world. This comes about because there is no conscription and most Jordanian troops are recruited from the Bedouin population. During several decades of British rule early in the 20th century the local Bedouins eagerly embraced British military techniques and traditions. Bedouins have long honored skilled warriors and professional soldiers are seen as just that. These western training techniques and military practices became part of the Jordanian Bedouin culture... Jordanian special operations troops (commandoes and rangers).... are particularly good and greatly feared by Islamic terrorists. Jordanian troops have also shown an exceptional ability to train Moslem troops for special operations. source: https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htwin/articles/20170122.aspx

Last edited by polka23dot on Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:15 pm; edited 7 times in total

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Middle East     Empty Kurdistan

Post  polka23dot Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:03 pm

short history of the Kurds: http://blogs.ft.com/the-world/2014/10/a-short-history-of-the-kurds/?hubRefSrc=permalink

regions inhabited by Kurds: https://images.angelpub.com/2014/45/27452/kurd.jpg

photos of Kurdish city of Kobane: https://news.vice.com/article/in-photos-48-hours-under-siege-by-islamic-stat e-militants-in-kobane

For two years, the Kurds have been warning the world about the Islamic State. Accusations by the Kurds that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar support jihadists in Syria were dismissed as conspiracy theories until Joe Biden confirmed them. The son of Salih Muslim, the co-president of the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, in Rojava — the Kurdish region in northern Syria — was killed fighting ISIS in 2013, nearly a year before the rest of the world even heard about the militant group. Muslim tried to spread word to international actors, but was denied meetings, even visas. To make things more cynical, the same states that previously supported the Islamic State are now part of the coalition against it. And yet again, though the airstrikes finally started to have an effect on the ground a few days ago, it has been the Kurds fighting alone in Kobani. While American officials openly admit that Kobani is “not a priority” and suggest that there are no groups on the ground to cooperate with, the entire city of Kobani armed itself, from teenagers to senior citizens. In the anticipation of genocide, they defend Kobani with Kalashnikovs. For the same reasons why they were excluded from peace negotiations in Geneva, the Kurds are abandoned in Kobani today: the lack of genuine interest of the international community to resolve the crisis and the appeasement of NATO-member Turkey... For one month, the world has been predicting that “Kobani will fall any minute.” But, without arms or outside support, Kobani still stands thanks to Kurdish resistance... Kobani needs arms, and Rojava needs political recognition. If the peace process ends, if the Islamic State commits a massacre in Kobani, if more people die in clashes in Turkish streets, the Kurds will rightfully blame Erdogan and his government — but also the inaction of the United States and its allies, which appeased a state that supported jihadists. source: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/10/17/turkey-has-failed-kobani-kurds/HHSGA5n5xJBnVrDKFxkPGN/story.html

We would be wise to... support the broad Kurdish desire for an independent homeland... Kurdistan would help our purposes in the region. Kurds oppose Arab imperialism. They are not Arabs, and throughout history, Kurds have suffered from various types of regional imperialism. The Kurds are more religiously tolerant than most Muslims and resist Islamic radicalism. Although most Kurds are Sunni Muslims, there are Kurdish Yazidis, Kurdish Yarsans, Kurdish Jews, Kurdish Zoroastrians, and Kurdish Christians... The case for Kurdistan has strong similarities to the case for Israel in 1948.  These Kurds want a homeland so that they can live without persecution in a nation that is their own, and Kurds have no more aggressive designs on neighboring nations that the Jews of 1948 had toward the Arab states. source: http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/08/a_case_for_kurdistan.html

Kurdish troops have forced ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant) fighters out of the Mosul Dam on the Tigris River. ISIL seized control of the dam on August 3rd. This is the largest dam in Iraq and because of shoddy construction during the 1980s requires constant maintenance to prevent it from failing. If the dam did come down over half a million Iraqis could die from the flood and subsequent water shortages. The Kurds had been defending the dam since the Iraqi Army ran away in early June. ISIL also seized two nearby Kurdish held towns as they went after the dam. This ISIL advance was not unexpected because the Kurds stretched had themselves thin by trying to replace the Iraqi Army while also building and defending a new fortified border to incorporate Kirkuk and nearby oilfields. The Kurds asked for air support from the United States but did not start receiving it until the 8th. The Americans had already shipped in ammo and light weapons and some additional American trainers and advisors. ISIL hit the Kurds with multiple columns of vehicles carrying armed men. This force included some suicide bombers and there were more ISIL gunmen coming from more directions than the small Kurdish force could handle. After a day or so of holding off ISIL the Kurds were ordered to withdraw and they did that in an orderly fashion on the 3rd. The Kurds organized a counterattack force and moved to regain the lost territory once the U.S. agreed to resume air support. There are still some ISIL gunmen in the vicinity of the dam, as well as some mines and booby-traps the Islamic terrorists set before they left. Kurdish forces are taking care of this... With the U.S. again carrying out air strikes and aerial reconnaissance in Iraq ISIL is looking to Syria for more progress. The majority of veteran ISIL men have experienced American air power and would rather avoid having to deal with it again. This means more new ISIL recruits are seeking to fight in Syria rather than Iraq. Thus there have been major ISIL operations in eastern Syria during the last week. The Sunni tribes of eastern Syria have rebelled against ISIL rule and the Islamic terrorists have responded with mass executions. This has left over 700 Syrian Sunni Arabs dead so far, many of them by beheading. ISIL is doing the same thing in northwest Iraq because ISIL forces are limited and they really only control most of Mosul and the main roads (along with key towns and villages on those roads). Now ISIL is essentially moving off these highways and raiding towns and villages full of infidels (non-Moslems, especially Christians and Yazidis). These raids often involve mass murder, with the survivors fleeing to whatever safety they can find... Iraq complained of illegal use of its air space by foreign aircraft in the north. This is in reference to NATO nations flying in military supplies for the Kurds. The Iraqi government, as part of its months long feud with the Kurds over Kurdish attempts to sell oil pumped out of Kurdish territory has withheld military supplies sent by the United States for the Kurds. The U.S. went by the book with this stuff and had been trying to get the Kurds and the Iraqi government to play nice. This approach was not working. The Kurdish government in the north had corruption problems, but much less so than with the Shia Arab run central government. The lesser degree of corruption in the north meant that the Kurds were able to control (and practically eliminate) terrorist violence (and much crime in general) in their territory. The Kurds were unhappy with the U.S. for treating the Iraqi government with such respect. The Kurds saw the Iraqi Shia politicians as a bunch of thieves who were only marginally better than the Sunni Arab politicians they replaced in 2003. At the least the Shia Arabs did not have such a hostile (and murderous) attitude towards the Kurds as the Sunni Arabs had (and still have, as ISIL is dominated by Iraqi Sunni Arabs). The inability of the Shia Arabs to maintain effective security forces caused the Americans to change procedures and support the Kurds directly. After all, the Kurdish forces were the most effective in Iraq and at this point even the Shia Arabs were willing to concede that. What is going on here is the continuing dispute over how much autonomy the Kurds are officially allowed in the north. As a practical matter the Kurds have been ruling themselves in the north since late 1991 when, with the help of U.S. and British warplanes they managed to keep Iraqi troops out of four provinces in the north. This area long comprised about ten percent of Iraq, or 40,000 square kilometers. Because of recent fighting with ISIL the Kurds now control about 16 percent of Iraq. This area contains nearly nine million people which is 25 percent the Iraqi population and includes a lot of recent refugees. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/iraq/articles/20140819.aspx

Syrian Kurds battling Islamic State forces are being aided by airstrikes from the United States and its coalition of allies, but the Kurds need much more assistance if they are to remain a viable fighting unit, and they aren’t getting it... That is a deplorable state of affairs, and one that must change if this country is serious about stopping the Islamic State in the Middle East so we don’t have to do it here... One expert said the Syrian Kurds need more troops, food, medicine, ammunition, artillery and other supplies. source: m.cjonline.com/opinion/2014-10-17/editorial-us-must-supply-kurdish-allies

While the Islamists believe that if they die in jihad (Holy War), they will be rewarded with 72 virgins in heaven, the opposite is true if a woman kills them, then their "paradise" will be denied. The Kurdish women fighters are said to have made use of this fear in combat, psychologically intimidating their enemies. In the throes of battle, YPJ soldiers are said to issue a shrill ululating cry to announce their presence and strike fear into the IS fighters. source: www.heraldscotland.com/news/.25629512

American journalist Serena Shim was killed in a suspicious car accident on Sunday... She was on a working mission in Turkey to cover the ongoing war in the strategic Syrian town of Kobani... “Serena told the stories,” Emadi said, referring to Turkey’s role in the crisis, including “how Ankara collaborated with those terrorists,” and “blocked Kurdish fighters from entering Kobani” to help tackle the ISIL... Turkey has been accused of backing ISIL militants in Syria. On Friday, Serena Shim told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying probably due to some of the stories she has covered about Turkey’s stance on the ISIL terrorists in Kobani and its surroundings, adding that she feared being arrested. Shim said she was among the few journalists obtaining stories of militants infiltrating into Syria through the Turkish border, adding that she had received images from militants crossing the Turkish border into Syria in World Food Organization and other NGOs’ trucks. Shim flatly rejected accusations against her, saying she was “surprised” at this accusation “because I have nothing to hide and I have never done anything aside my job.” source: www.salem-news.com/articles/october192014/

Syria's armed forces, including its aircraft, have been providing military support to Kurdish fighters defending the town of Kobani besieged by jihadists. source: www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Oct-22/274938-n.ashx#axzz3Gru2hO7P

Kurdish female fighters armed with antiquated Dragunov sniper rifles killed hundreds of Islamic State mujahideen in Kobani: www.ibtimes.co.uk/kurdish-1471412

A Kurdish female activist was shot dead Thursday on the Syria-Turkey border near the besieged Syrian town of Kobani, allegedly by the Turkish security forces. source: www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Nov-06/276707-reports.ashx#axzz3IJkp23z2

Kobane has turned into a major embarrassment for ISIL, which has been losing ground to the defending Kurds in the last week. The Kurdish ability (because of Turkish cooperation) to shift forces back from Iraq to help defend Kobane was decisive. These reinforcements arrived at the end of October. The original ISIL force of over 5,000 fighters used armored vehicles and artillery for the campaign against the Syrian Kurds in September and was eventually reinforced by several thousand more men and concentrated around Kobane. There NATO (mainly American) air strikes found plenty of targets and the Kurdish fighters on the ground proved more capable than the Arab troops and rebels ISIL had been dealing with so far. ISIL gunmen had first entered Kobane on October 6th. The Kurdish defenders counterattacked and pushed ISIL out by the 8th. But on the 9th ISIL had massed more men and armored vehicles and came back in. By the 10th ISIL controlled at least a third of Kobane and eventually took most of the town. Then the air attacks became more frequent and intense. In November the Kurds began retaking much of Kobane, despite ISIL bringing in more fighters and making more attacks. The Kurds are moving in reinforcements and supplies (especially ammunition) to Kobane as fast as they can. The Kurds have about 2,000 fighters in Kobane and another few hundred secular Syrian rebels (the FSA). There are also several thousand Kurdish civilians in and around Kobane although fewer than 500 are left in the town. For a long time ISIL maintained four to five thousand men in and around the town but casualties and desertions have left them with not much more than 3,000 gunmen. The Kurdish reinforcement route is now via the Turkish road network making it easier to bring new fighters in and get casualties out.  The Kurds asked for more American air strikes and there have been some more. The Kurds have better fighters and leadership on the ground and are linked with the aircraft above and NATO intelligence. ISIL is still determined to achieve a decisive victory over the Kurds but unless they can come up with some new ideas that will negate the superiority of Kurdish fighters and the effectiveness of the Kurdish air support the battle will continue to be a major source of combat losses and discouragement... ISIL attracts more recruits in part because of its propaganda (massacres of enemies and female sex slaves is a big draw with young Moslem men) and the fact that ISIL pays new recruits up to $500 a month, and even more if they survive long enough to get promoted. The Iraqi Sunnis who form the core of ISIL leadership contain a lot of former Saddam supporters and bureaucrats who have years of practical experience running a country as a bloody dictatorship. So if ISIL’s “Islamic State” seems vaguely similar to Saddam’s “Republic of Fear” it’s no accident. Saddam knew how to use cash, sex, the promise of power and freedom to terrorize to attract and retain skilled supporters. This has become the ISIL playbook and it works, even if done with a thin veneer of religious fanaticism. source: http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/syria/articles/20141119.aspx

Out of the chaos of Syria's civil war, Kurdish leftists have forged a radical, multi-ethnic mini-state. Made up of enclaves across Northern Syria, Rojava is built on the principles of equality, providing sanctuary to a spectrum of minorities as well as refugees on the run from ISIS. Described by Aldar Xalil, member of the Rojava Government Council, as a “consensus based, democratic way of life”, the state enjoys a political liberty unfamiliar to other areas of the Middle East. video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fJtjzR4UNE

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