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Turkish Military To Invade Golf On Sunday For A Quick Look Around

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that Turkish military will invade the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday afternoon "for a quick look".

"I have ordered Turkish forces to invade the golf on Sunday afternoon when they are finished shelling Syrians" Erdogan explained on Turkish State television. "Maybe my soldiers will hit some golf balls, eat some ice cream, execute some players, or maybe do some doughnuts in their tanks on the greens, who knows," he added.

"We want all our visitors to Turkey to have a great time this week, and to remember that I can do whatever the fuck I want when I want," Erdogan said.

More as it emerges.

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Weekend Radio Schedule


Saturday November 02

Part 1
12pm EDT/4pm GMT
Download Sven Longshanks  - The Daily Nationalist: Consequences – DN 102819 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 233 - Why Tolerance is the Toxic Trait – 2 hours 10 minutes

Part 2
2.50pm EDT/6.50pm GMT
Download Sven Longshanks  and Max Musson– Aryan Britannia: Scouting for Grownups – AB 102719 – 1 hour
Video Mark Collett and Syrian Girl - Patriotic Weekly Review – 2 hours 5 minutes

Saturday November 02

Part 1
6pm EDT/10pm GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Mr I - The Daily Nationalist: Mr I Talks About Mosley and the BUF – DN 102919 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 234 - The Conquered Germans – 1 hour 50 minutes

Part 2
8.30pm EDT/12.30am GMT
Download Grandpa LampshadeChurch of the Lampshade: Weaponised Women – GL 102919 -  1 hour 20 minutes
Video Morgoth, Keith Woods and Nick Lawrie - Saturday Night With Morgoth and Friends – 2 hours 5 minutes

Sunday November 03

Part 1
12am EDT/4am GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Carolyn Yeager - The Daily Nationalist: Merkel’s CDU Crushed by the AFD – DN 103019 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 235 - Five Year Anniversary – 2 hours 15 minutes

Part 2
2.50am EDT/6.50am GMT
Download Matt JohnsonThe Orthodox Nationalist: Mykailo Kostamarov and the Ukrainian Philosophy of History – TON 103019-  1 hour 5 minutes
Download Sven LongshanksSven Longshanks: Audio Insurgency 77 – AAI 103019 -  1 hour 5 minutes
Download Jared Taylor and Paul Kersey - Radio Renaissance - El Chapito on the Loose Again – 1 hour
Download E Michael Jones – The Religion of Greta Thunberg – 55 minutes (American clock change)

Sunday November 03

Part 1
6am EST/11am GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Matt Johnson - The Daily Nationalist: Nationalist Socialism in Latin America – DN 103119 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 236 - National Socialism Without Hitler – 1 hour
Video Morgoth - Oswald Spengler Vs Star Wars – 25 minutes
Video Mark Collett - Remain Protesters Are Absolute Morons – 10 minutes

Part 2
8.20am EST/1.20pm GMT
Download Count of Letis Radio Free Northwest: The Fall of Civilisation – RFN 102619 -  20 minutes
Download Andreas Johansson, Mikael Karlsson and Johan Svensson - Nordic Frontier - Captain Ahab and the New World – 3 hours 20 minutes

Sunday November 03

Part 1
12pm EST/5pm GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Grandpa Lampshade - The Daily Nationalist: Gender Neutral Emojis Fight Period Stigma for Apple - DN 110119  -  45 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 237 - The Cult of the Individual – 1 hour 50 minutes
Download E Michael Jones – A Conversation About Academia – 25 minutes

Part 2
3pm EST/8pm GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Dennis WiseTruth Will Out Radio: Those Damn Nazis! II – TWOR 110119 - 1 hour
Download Tim Kelly and Borzoi Boscovic - Media Power – 2 hours 15 minutes

Sunday November 03

Part 1
6pm EST/11pm GMT
Download Sven Longshanks  - The Daily Nationalist: Consequences – DN 102819 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 233 - Why Tolerance is the Toxic Trait – 2 hours 10 minutes

Part 2
8.50pm EST/1.50am GMT
Download Sven Longshanks  and Max Musson– Aryan Britannia: Scouting for Grownups – AB 102719 – 1 hour
Video Mark Collett and Syrian Girl - Patriotic Weekly Review – 2 hours 5 minutes

Monday November 04

Part 1
12am EST/5am GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Mr I - The Daily Nationalist: Mr I Talks About Mosley and the BUF – DN 102919 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 234 - The Conquered Germans – 1 hour 50 minutes

Part 2
2.30am EST/7.30am GMT
Download Grandpa LampshadeChurch of the Lampshade: Weaponised Women – GL 102919 -  1 hour 20 minutes
Video Morgoth, Keith Woods and Nick Lawrie - Saturday Night With Morgoth and Friends – 2 hours 5 minutes

Monday November 04

Part 1
6am EST/11am GMT
Download Sven Longshanks and Carolyn Yeager - The Daily Nationalist: Merkel’s CDU Crushed by the AFD – DN 103019 - 35 minutes
Download Carolyn Yeager - Heretic's Hour 235 - Five Year Anniversary – 2 hours 15 minutes
Download Matt JohnsonThe Orthodox Nationalist: Mykailo Kostamarov and the Ukrainian Philosophy of History – TON 103019-  1 hour 5 minutes

Part 2

10am EST/2pm GMT
Rense Don Black and Guests – Stormfront Radio – LIVE – 1 hour
11am EST/3pm GMT
Rense Dr David Duke Show – LIVE – 1 hour

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Bangkok asylum seekers appeal to Pope Francis

Pakistani asylum-seekers in Thailand hope Pope Francis will recognize their plight during his Nov. 20-23 visit to Thailand.

BANGKOK -- When Pope Francis celebrates Mass in a Bangkok sports stadium Nov. 21, tens of thousands of Catholics from across Thailand will congregate to celebrate with him.

Updated 2019-11-06 14:45

But several devout Pakistani Christians will probably stay away, despite desperately wanting to be there. By venturing outdoors to attend the Mass, they run the risk of being arrested by authorities and deported.

They hope the Pope will recognize their plight and speak out on their behalf when he visits Thailand Nov. 20-23 before spending three days in Japan.

“If I could meet Pope Francis in person, I’d ask him to please help us. Pope Francis often speaks up for refugees. Maybe he could do that for us, too,” said a man identified as James, an asylum seeker.

“I really want to meet the Holy Father and tell him about the situation in Pakistan and our situation in Bangkok,” said another Pakistani Christian. “But I know it’s impossible.”

Another Pakistani Christian believes acknowledgement of their plight by the Pope would help their cause.

“It could make a big difference for our community,” said the asylum-seeker from Islamabad. “It would be very helpful to us.”

Thailand is the temporary home of about 1,500 Pakistani Christians who fled Pakistan in fear for their lives. They were driven away by an increasingly militant form of Islam that has come to dominate the public sphere, threatening the rights and freedoms of religious minorities.

In Thailand, however, they are regarded as illegal migrants who are subject to arrest and deportation. So they remain in hiding, waiting for a chance to relocate to a welcoming third country. 

Their plight was chronicled in a recent series in The Catholic Register, which described an effort being led by the Archdiocese of Toronto, and supported by dioceses across the country, to bring 65 of these families to Canada.

“Any time we go outside, we could be arrested,” said James, from Lahore, Pakistan, who works part time, illegally, as an interpreter for a Catholic organization.

“We are suffering. It’s very difficult. I’ve been in Bangkok for nearly seven years. It might take another year and a half before I can leave (for a third country).”

But James said he will attend the Mass to see the Pope.

“I’ll be there,” he stressed. “I think every Catholic should be there.”

To avoid being incarcerated in overcrowded immigration detention centres, asylum-seekers like James are hiding in small apartments, trying to stay out of sight. Even when they venture outdoors they do so only briefly to avoid immigration police officers.

“I only go out at night, after 10 p.m. or 11 p.m., when there are fewer people on the streets,” James said. “When you live like us, you have a constant fear in your mind that makes you paranoid. You keep looking over your shoulder, thinking everyone is staring at you. It’s very damaging psychologically.”

Another Pakistani Catholic asylum-seeker who lives in Bangkok told “I don’t know if I can go and see His Holiness. ... If I go there and (the authorities) stop me, that will be a big problem for me, because I don’t have any documents.”

He fled Karachi after he was accused of defaming Islam, a capital offence in the conservative Muslim nation. He arrived in Thailand on a tourist visa, which has long since expired. He lives frugally on monthly handouts and food packages from Christian charities.

If he stays home he will watch the broadcast live on a Thai television channel.

Some asylum-seekers will take their chances to attend the Mass so as to be near Pope Francis.

“If it’s possible for me, I’ll go,” said a Catholic electrician from Islamabad who has been in Bangkok since 2013. “If I could speak to him, I would ask the Holy Father, ‘Please help us get to a safe haven like you have helped Syrian Muslims.’ ”

In recent years, Pope Francis has repeatedly called on Europeans and their nations’ governments to welcome the more than one million migrants from the Middle East and Africa.


Report: Advanced Israeli Missile Falls into Russian Hands

Report: Advanced Israeli Missile Falls into Russian Hands

News outlets in the Far East were reporting Wednesday morning that a missile from the Israeli David’s Sling interceptor system was discovered in Syria and transferred to the Russian military.

Read more on Yeshiva World News


Ethiopians, often refugees themselves, welcome newcomers, cardinal says

Ethiopia is now managing nearly a million refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen and even Syria, said Ethiopian Cardinal Berhaneyesus Souraphiel. Because so many Ethiopians are refugees, those who remain in the country work to make newcomers feel welcome.

Donald Trump approves mission to return US troops to Syria to 'secure oil'


Weekly Roundup 11/4/19

October 28, 2019 – November 3, 2019 Top Stories Îlham Ehmed, the co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council, said that Turkish drone strikes causing significant Kurdish civilian casualties have continued in spite of a ceasefire in northern Syria. In a statement to reporters during a visit to Washington, Ehmed called …

New UN talks offer best hope for Syria peace


In an extraordinary achievement, a United Nations facilitator has managed to get a broad spectrum of parties to the wars in Syria to begin work today on a writing a constitution that could start to build peace. UN Syria envoy Geir Pederson is facilitating a 45-member group that began work in Geneva on drafting a […]

The post New UN talks offer best hope for Syria peace appeared first on The Moderate Voice.


Turkey captures Baghdadi's wife in Syria

Turkey has captured a wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, more than a week after the former Islamic State leader killed himself during a raid by U.S. special forces. Emily Wither reports.


Catholics, Orthodox Christians face threat of ethnic cleansing in northern Syria (Catholic Register)


"The sudden withdrawal of American troops left not just the Kurds but also Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic communities exposed," according to the report. "Turkey intends to ethnically cleanse a...

Turkey arrests al-Baghdadi’s sister, relative in Syria

ANKARA, Nov 5 (XINHUA//APP):Turkey has arrested the sister of the dead leader of the Islamic State (IS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and her husband in Syria, the Turkish interior minister said Tuesday. They were captured in Azaz district of Aleppo city in northwestern Syria on Monday, Suleyman Soylu told reporters. The Turkish army and Turkey-backed Syrian […]

World News (Nov 6, 2019 EDN): UK’s National Health Service To Deny Treatment To “Racists” And “Sexists” – Watch: Chinese Social Credit Score Publicly Shames ‘Bad Citizen’ For Jaywalking – “The Greatest Fool”: China May Invest Up To $10 Billion In Aramco IPO – US Constructing Two New Bases In Syria’s Oil-Rich Region – Trump OKs Wider Syria Oil Mission, Raising Legal Questions – US ‘pullout’ from Syria looking more like permanent occupation with 800 troops reporte

AND NOW… UK's National Health Service To Deny Treatment To "Racists" And "Sexists" — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 6, 2019 A National Health Service trust in the UK has announced that it will deny treatment to patients it deems are ‘racists’ or ‘sexists’. First it was social media, then it was bank accounts & mortgages. ... Read more

سوق الملابس الداخلية للنساء… كيف تغيّر عالم اللانجري في سوريا بعد الحرب؟


في أواخر العقد الفائت، قدِمت الكاتبة مالو هالاسا والمصممة رنا سلام من لندن إلى سوريا، بهدف اكتشاف جوانب جديدة في ثقافة هذا البلد، والشرق الأوسط عموماً. وفي العام 2008 صدر من تأليفهما كتاب "الحياة السرية للملابس الداخلية النسائية السورية: الحميمية والتصميم"، والذي يتحدث عن منظور جديد لأحد جوانب الثقافة السورية المتداولة بشكل يومي.

كان الدافع من نشر الكتاب ما لاحظته المؤلفتان –المنحدرتان من أصول عربية- من تناقض صارخ بين المحافظة والتدين اللتين يتسم بهما المجتمع السوري عموماً، وبين جرأة ما تعرضه الكثير من محال الملابس الداخلية النسائية التي تقصدها الفتيات استعداداً للزواج أو النساء خلال حياتهن الزوجية، خاصة في العاصمة دمشق ومدينة حلب شمال البلاد.

يبين الكتاب من خلال صفحات ملونة مطبوعة بشكل فاخر وأنيق للغاية، صوراً مختلفة لما يمكن العثور عليه داخل بعض تلك المحال: ملابس داخلية مزينة بطيور وفراشات، وأخرى يكسوها الريش، وثالثة تصدر أصواتاً أو أضواء أو اهتزازات أو تحمل إكسسوارات مختلفة، كهاتف محمول صغير أو ألعاب بلاستيكية، ورابعة مصنوعة من الفواكه المجففة. وتبدو تصاميم العديد من تلك القطع مستوحاة من اللباس المخصص للرقص الشرقي، أو المشغولات اليدوية التي تشتهر بها سوريا وتطرز عادة باستخدام إبرة واحدة، وجميعها صُنع محلياً في معامل موجودة داخل البلاد.

إضافة لذلك، يتضمن الكتاب صوراً لفتيات شقراوات، من أوروبا الشرقية على الأغلب، وهن يرتدين تلك الملابس بغرض عرضها، حيث تضم معظم المحال كتالوجات تظهر فيها صور تستخدم عارضات غير سوريات، مع فرض المجتمع السوري قيوداً محكمة على عرض الأجساد الأنثوية للفتيات السوريات علناً.

تتحدث الكاتبتان ضمن الكتاب المصوّر، ومن خلال ملاحظات ولقاءات عديدة داخل وخارج سوريا، وحتى من خلال لقاءات غير مكتملة مع أشخاص رفضوا الإجابة، عن تناقض تعتقدان بأن المجتمع السوري يعيشه بين المحافظة والحداثة. لم تقصد هالاسا وسلام القول بأن النساء السوريات مضطهدات، وإنما كانتا ترميان لإلقاء الضوء على جانب مغاير من عوالمهن، وجزء من تقاليدهن الشعبية ومكانة الألبسة الداخلية في حياتهن الزوجية، وعن الأدوار المختلفة التي يتوقع منهن بأن يلعبنها، داخل المنزل وخارجه.

سوق نصري، الأشهر في عوالم اللانجري السورية

بعد حوالي عشر سنوات على إصدار الكتاب، بدا مثيراً للاهتمام اكتشاف ما طرأ من تغييرات على ذلك "العالم السري"، خاصة إثر الحرب العنيفة التي عاشتها سوريا، وأرخت بظلالها على جميع السوريين دون استثناء. إذاً، لا بد من زيارة أحد أشهر أسواق الملابس الداخلية النسائية في دمشق: سوق نصري.

يقع سوق نصري، وهو شارع صغير مسقوف، على امتداد أحد تفرعات السوق الشعبي الأكثر شهرة في دمشق: الحميدية. كان يُعرف حتى منتصف القرن الفائت بسوق الطرابيش، ولذلك روايتان مختلفتان، الأولى تقول بأنه كان مخصصاً لبيع الطرابيش، أي تلك القبعات الحمراء التي اعتاد الرجال ارتداءها خاصة خلال عهد الحكم العثماني، والثانية تعزو الاسم لعائلة الطرابيشي التي كانت تملك السوق، وتضيف الرواية الأخيرة بأن الاسم تحول إلى سوق نصري بعد شراء عائلة نصري، التي تنحدر من حي جوبر بدمشق، للمكان بأكمله.

بكل الأحوال، واعتباراً من منتصف الستينيات تقريباً، بدأ هذا السوق بالتحول لبيع الملابس الداخلية النسائية ولوازم الخياطين، وعقداً بعد آخر تحوّل لأكثر أسواق المدينة جرأة وشهرة وارتياداً، خاصة من العائلات التي تنتمي للطبقة الوسطى، فكل فتاة مقبلة على الزواج تقصده "لتتجهز"، أي تشتري لوازم العرس، وكل امرأة ترغب بإضفاء نكهة جديدة على حياتها الزوجية لا بد لها من المرور بسوق نصري، حيث يمكنها أن تجد ما يصعب العثور عليه في أسواق أخرى.

ولا يمكن للزائر اليوم أن يخطئ موقع السوق داخل شارع الحميدية الطويل، فهو ومن مدخله الذي تعلوه لافتة كُتب عليها "سوق نصري يرحب بكم" يبدو مزداناً بألوان زاهية وملابس داخلية بتصاميم مختلفة، ويحتوي على ما لا يزيد عن عشرين محلاً، بعضها لا يمكن الدخول إليه فهو عبارة فقط عن طاولات توضع عليها أو تعلق فوقها الملابس، في حين تتسع محال أخرى لبعض الزبائن في الداخل.

تزدحم هذه المحال وفي معظم أوقات النهار بالمتسوقات. سيدات وفتيات من مختلف الفئات العمرية ومن شرائح اجتماعية متنوعة، يبحثن عن قطع معينة من الملابس الداخلية، أو يرغبن بالاطلاع على أحدث التصاميم والألوان للانتقاء منها. وكمعظم الأسواق السورية، تقضي النساء في سوق نصري وقتاً طويلاً في اختيار القطع الأنسب، ومن ثم التفاوض مع الباعة وصولاً للسعر الأقل الذي يشعرن بأنه عادل إلى حد ما.

يبقى للانجري سحره، ولكن..

تبدو ملاحظات أصحاب محال "سوق نصري" حول التغيرات التي أصابت هذا المكان خلال سنوات الحرب مثيرة للاهتمام، فهي تعكس بمجملها ما حلّ بالمجتمع السوري بشكل عام من تبدلات اجتماعية واقتصادية وثقافية، لا يمكن بأي حال من الأحوال إخفاؤها أو الادعاء بعدم حدوثها.

"التغيّر الأساسي هو الأخلاق والمعاملة. البيوت انهدت؟ منرجع منعمرها. الناس ماتت؟ الله يرحمها. لكن اللي صار بالنفوس لازمه سنين لحتى يترمم"، يقول صاحب أحد المحال، وقد فضّل الحديث لرصيف22 دون ذكر اسمه، كما البقية، فهم لا يحبون الصحافة كثيراً، ويخشون من أن يجلب لهم الحديث مع الصحفيين ما لا يحمد عقباه.

أسأله: "وماذا تعني بتغير الأخلاق؟". يجيب بأن الحرب السورية أفقدت مئات آلاف النساء أزواجهن بين فقيد ومسافر ومغيّب، في حين حرمت أخرياتٍ من فرصة الزواج بسبب النقص الواضح في عدد الرجال، ودفع ذلك بالكثيرات للزواج بسن مبكر للغاية، كما ازدادت حالات الطلاق السريع بعد الزواج بأشهر فقط، "بذلك، انفتحت نساء كثر وفي سن صغيرة على ثقافة جنسية ما كان لهنّ التعرف إليها لولا الحرب، وبات الحديث عن تلك الثقافة أمراً غير مخجل بالنسبة لهن، بخلاف الأجيال الأكبر"، يضيف.

تبدو ملاحظات أصحاب محال "سوق نصري" حول التغيرات التي أصابت المكان خلال سنوات الحرب، مثيرة للاهتمام، فهي تعكس ما حلّ بالمجتمع السوري من تبدلات اجتماعية واقتصادية وثقافية، لا يمكن بأي حال من الأحوال إخفاؤها أو الادعاء بعدم حدوثها.
يجمع أصحاب المحال على أن تجارة الملابس الداخلية لم ولن تشهد كساداً مهما مر من ظروف قاسية على البلاد. "يبقى اللانجري من أساسيات الحياة لدى كثير من النساء"، يقول بائع مع ابتسامة عريضة.

يتحدث آخرون عن أثر نفسي إيجابي لشراء الملابس الداخلية خاصة تلك ذات الألوان الزاهية ما يبرر بالتالي الإقبال عليها، "إن أصيبت المرأة أو زوجها بأزمة نفسية ما، وما أكثر هذه الأزمات أثناء الحرب، فعلينا هنا أن ندخل السرور لقلبيهما"، يبدو هذا شعار محلات السوق، حيث يفخر أصحابها بحرصهم على مواكبة أحدث صيحات الموضة والألوان و"تلبية لرغبات الزبائن في البحث عن كل جديد".

تتضمن تلك الصيحات إدخال ألوان زاهية وعلى رأسها الأصفر والزهري والبنفسجي، واستخدام مواد كالخرز والقطع البراقة ذات الأشكال المختلفة، ويتحدث البعض عن إقبال كبير على كل ما هو جديد، ليس فقط من زبائن سوريين يعيشون في دمشق، وإنما من سوريين مقيمين خارج البلاد، وحتى من متسوقين قادمين من الدول المجاورة أي لبنان والعراق، ومؤخراً الأردن، بعد فتح المعبر البري على الحدود السورية الأردنية.

هنا لا تصعب ملاحظة وجود الكثير من التصاميم كتلك التي يتحدث عنها كتاب "الحياة السرية للملابس الداخلية النسائية السورية"، لكنها ليست كالسابق كما يقول أصحاب المحال، حيث أغلقت العديد من المصانع أبوابها وسافر أصحابها، كما بات تأمين المواد الأولية اللازمة على درجة كبيرة من الصعوبة. "اضطرت معظم المحال للتخلي عن أطقم اللانجري التي تصدر الموسيقى أو تستجيب لصوت التصفيق أو تعمل على جهاز التحكم عن بعد، فجميعها بات تصنيعه صعباً للغاية".

بالطبع لا يغفل كل الباعة أثر تدهور قيمة العملة السورية وتردي الأوضاع الاقتصادية في كافة أنحاء البلاد على مبيعاتهم، خاصة وأن زبائن هذا السوق هن من الطبقة الوسطى التي تضررت بمعظمها من الآثار الاقتصادية للحرب في سوريا. البعض تحدث عن اقتصار العديد من النساء على شراء المستلزمات الضرورية، وآخرون أشاروا إلى تغير الأولويات خاصة لدى النسوة المعيلات لعائلاتهن، واللواتي أجبرن اليوم على الالتفات لتأمين الطعام والكساء والدواء لأولادهن في غياب الأزواج، وعامل ثالث يتعلق بالانخفاض الكبير في أعداد السياح الذين كانوا يقصدون هذا السوق بشكل خاص. "مبيعات هذا العام هي الأسوأ على الإطلاق"، يقولون.

بكل الأحوال، يجمع أصحاب المحال على أن تجارة الملابس الداخلية لم ولن تشهد كساداً مهما مر من ظروف قاسية على البلاد. "في أشد الأيام خطراً وعندما كانت القذائف تنهال علينا كالمطر، كنا نستقبل عشرات الزبائن كل يوم. يبقى اللانجري من أساسيات الحياة لدى كثير من النساء، وأكثر أهمية في بعض الأحيان من الطعام والشراب"، يقول آخر شخص قابلته، مع ابتسامة عريضة.


Timeline Of U.S.–Syria Relations


The U.S. decision to pull troops out of Syria that were assisting rebel forces has cleared the way for Turkey to ramp up military actions, escalating chaos in the region. The Onion provides a timeline of U.S. and Syrian relations.



Al-Farah Choir brings joy to inmates at Damascus Central Prison


DAMASCUS, (ST)- In a unique initiative, the Al-Farah Choir held a concert at the Damascus Central Prison to bring happiness and enhance hope among inmates. The concert included presenting several songs some of which were performed and composed by the prisoners themselves.

The concert was held in cooperation with the Cultural Center of the prison and in partnership with al-Amal music band which consists of a number of inmates.

Father Ilias Zahlawi, the founder of al-Farah Choir, said addressing the inmates "we wanted to bring you some happiness, because we sing for the life and the freedom we hope for you when you return to your families and warmly immerse them." 

He called on authorities at the prison to do their best to boost the hope for better life inside the inmates.

In a statement to journalists, Father Zahlawi said that this artistic activities aims at communicating  with the inmates of Damascus prison and help them return to their normal life, stressing that "what we want today is to sow the seeds of amity in the hearts of each other so that this amity will rebuild better Syria that would be an example to follow by other Arab countries which tried to destroy it."


French delegation’s members to tell their friends: “Syria is full of life… Do not believe what western media outlets report about it”


Since they have been involved in the more than 8-year terror war on Syria, the French media outlets do their utmost to prevent the French people from discovering that the reality of events in Syria is not as they have portrayed.

One of these ways is based on their "care "about the lives of the French people.There is a warning that is still being published about the risk of travelling to Syria.


Έξι άμαχοι νεκροί σε ρωσικές αεροπορικές επιδρομές στη βορειοδυτική Συρία

Έξι άμαχοι νεκροί σε ρωσικές αεροπορικές επιδρομές στη βορειοδυτική Συρία
Έξι άμαχοι νεκροί σε ρωσικές αεροπορικές επιδρομές στη βορειοδυτική Συρία
06/11/2019 - 22:27

Έξι άμαχοι σκοτώθηκαν σήμερα στη βορειοδυτική Συρία από αεροπορικές επιδρομές της Ρωσίας, συμμάχου του προέδρου Μπασάρ αλ-'Ασαντ ο οποίος έχει στο στόχαστρό του αυτή την τεράστια περιοχή την οποία ελέγχουν τζιχαντιστές, ανακοίνωσε το Συριακό Παρατηρητήριο Ανθρωπίνων Δικαιωμάτων.

Οι ρωσικές επιδρομές προκάλεσαν επίσης τον τραυματισμό 20 ανθρώπων στο χωριό Αλ-Σαχάρα, που βρίσκεται στο δυτικό τμήμα της επαρχίας του Χαλεπίου, μια περιοχή που συνορεύει με την επαρχία Ιντλίμπ, σύμφωνα με το Συριακό Παρατηρητήριο.

Στον τόπο του δράματος, δημοσιογράφος του Γαλλικού Πρακτορείου είδε έναν διασώστη να κρατά στην αγκαλιά του ένα νεκρό κοριτσάκι, ενώ τέσσερις άνδρες μετέφεραν ένα άλλο θύμα μέσα σε μια μεγάλη λευκή σακούλα.

Είναι η δεύτερη φορά μέσα σε λιγότερο από μια εβδομάδα που τα ρωσικά αεροσκάφη βομβαρδίζουν τη βορειοδυτική Συρία. Το Σάββατο έξι άμαχοι σκοτώθηκαν σε ρωσικές επιδρομές στον νότο της επαρχίας Ιντλίμπ, σύμφωνα με το Συριακό Παρατηρητήριο.

Η επαρχία Ιντλίμπ, όπως και περιοχές που συνορεύουν με τις επαρχίες του Χαλεπίου, της Λαττάκειας και της Χάμας, ελέγχονται από τους τζιχαντιστές της οργάνωσης Χάγιατ Ταχρίρ αλ-Σαμ (HTS), που ήταν πρώην συριακό παρακλάδι της Αλ Κάιντα. Στις περιοχές αυτές υπάρχουν και άλλες μικρότερες τζιχαντιστικές οργανώσεις όπως και αντάρτες που έχουν αποδυναμωθεί.


Erdoğan likely to push Trump to reverse ‘double whammy’


Erdoğan likely to push Trump to reverse ‘double whammy’


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has repeatedly shown the ability to influence and manipulate U.S. President Donald Trump, though two resolutions passed by the U.S. House on Tuesday highlight the Turkish leader’s lesser influence among U.S. lawmakers. 

After a December 2018 phone call between the two presidents, Trump announced that U.S. troops would withdraw from Syria. The move was soon reversed, but it shocked Washington’s foreign policy establishment and led to the resignations of two key U.S. officials, Defense Secretary James Mattis and counter-Islamic State (ISIS) envoy Brett McGurk. 

After the two met during the June G-20 summit in Japan, Trump told reporters that he appreciated Turkey’s position on its purchase of Russian S-400 air defence missiles. In the months since he has refrained from applying the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act against Turkey, which its deal with Russia should have triggered. 

Last month, following another phone talk with Erdoğan, Trump again announced U.S. troops would be leaving Syria, allowing Turkey to go forward with its long-planned offensive against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has led an insurgency in Turkey since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist group by the United States and European Union, as well as Turkey. 

“Erdoğan has learned to manipulate Trump and Erdoğan has been able to influence Donald Trump’s personal talking points,” said Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East programme at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. 

Stein said Turkish officials identified Trump as their preferred U.S. presidential candidate back in October 2016. “I thought Donald Trump would be an Islamophobe that would work against Turkish interests,” he said. 

“But the Turks rightly concluded that Trump was corruptible and not very smart, and therefore he was manipulable - he could be a transactional partner that would work toward Turkey’s interests,” Stein added. “It took three years, but they ultimately got it.”

The two leaders are set to meet in Washington on Nov. 13, and observers expect Erdoğan to seek to reverse or neutralise two House resolutions passed this week, which the New York Times described as a rebuke to Trump and one analyst described as a “double whammy” against Turkey.  

The first resolution marks an official recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The House move, which came on the anniversary of the birth of the Republic of Turkey, is not unprecedented. In 1975 and in 1984, the House also adopted resolutions acknowledging the Armenian Genocide. And in April 1981, President Ronald Reagan issued a Presidential Proclamation on the matter. 

The second House resolution, which like the first must be approved by the Senate to become binding, calls for sanctioning Erdoğan and other Turkish officials involved in the Syria offensive, as well as Turkish banks linked to the defence sector, and penalising Turkey for its purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.

Russian officials told Turkey on Tuesday that Syrian and Russian forces had successfully cleared the YPG from a strip of land along Turkey’s border, as per last week’s agreement between Erdoğan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that joint Russian-Turkish patrols could begin.

Stein said he expected Russia would soon integrate the YPG into the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which would raise security issues for Turkey and give Assad and Putin some leverage over Erdoğan. 

Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria has thus far displaced some 180,000 people, and many, including former U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, have described Turkish actions there as ethnic cleansing, in part because Erdoğan has repeatedly expressed his desire to settle mostly Syrian Arab refugees in the area, much of which has had a Kurdish majority in recent decades. 

“Erdoğan has said he wants to move 2 million people into these areas. I think that would be tantamount to ethnic re-engineering,” said Stein.

Stein does not foresee Ankara being able to implement that plan, nor does he see a coherent Turkish approach in northeast Syria, but rather the significant influence of Russia. Reports this week have said Turkey is also considering buying Russian Su-35 fighter jets. Also this week, Pentagon officials said Turkey’s S-400s are expected to be operational by the end of the year. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cautioned U.S. officials to think carefully before sanctioning Turkey and pushing Ankara further toward Russia. In the Washington Post last week, Ilhan Omar, a member of the House of Representatives, also argued against sanctioning Turkey, saying that while Turkey’s Syria offensive had been a disaster, sanctions tend to be incoherent and counter-productive. 

“I don’t understand the point of collapsing Turkey’s economy or even threatening to do it for an invasion of Syria,” said Stein, though he did understand punishing Turkey for its S-400 purchase. 

“Turkey has met the threshold for CAATSA sanctions,” said Stein, pointing out that Ankara even aired live video of the arrival of the S-400s, “rubbing the nose of the Americans in the faeces of this deal”.

There have been reports that Trump is negotiating with Turkish officials behind the scenes in an effort to secure the purchase of U.S.-made Patriot missiles to replace the S-400s. Still, most U.S. officials would prefer not to sanction Turkey. 

“People don’t want to alienate a NATO ally,” said Stein, who said it was possible Turkey would buy Patriots at next month’s summit. 

“But a negotiation entails a give and take on both sides, and Turkey never gives, it only takes,” said Stein, who thinks Turkish officials do not realise how few defenders they have left in the White House. 

“Erdoğan played his cards right,” Stein added. “He got another face-to-face meeting with Trump where he can present his case, and when he gets a meeting with Trump, Trump usually capitulates to his point of view.”


Turkey says Armenian genocide bill 'an insult', summons U.S. envoy


Turkey says Armenian genocide bill 'an insult', summons U.S. envoy


(Updates with Erdoğan comments in third paragraph, foreign minister in sixth.)

Turkey slammed a U.S. decision recognising the mass killing of Armenians early last century as genocide and summoned the country's ambassador.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan  said the resolution, which passed the U.S. House of Representatives by 405 votes to 11 on Tuesday, was devoid of any truth. It was approved on the anniversary of the formation of the Turkish republic.

“We see such an accusation as the greatest insult made to our nation," Erdoğan said in a speech to his party deputies in parliament. “A country whose history is filled with stains of genocide, slavery and exploitation has no right to say something or to lecture Turkey.”

Turkey and the United States have been embroiled in a political dispute over a Turkish military incursion into northern Syria that began in early October. U.S. President Donald Trump paved the way for the operation by withdrawing troops from the border region, sparking criticism in Congress that he had abandoned the Kurds. Ankara says Kurdish forces that it has been battling in Syria are terrorists allied with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an autonomy-seeking armed group in Turkey.

Most scholars recognise that genocide was committed by the Ottoman Empire from 1915. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians died. Turkey denies that such a slaughter took place and has lobbied governments and parliaments around the world to refrain from recognising the events as genocide.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry demanded an explanation from Ambassador David Satterfield during a meeting on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said the resolution amounted to "revenge" for Turkey's military operation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the U.S. House also voted 403 to 16 to impose economic sanctions on Turkey for the Syria incursion. Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) militants there have been staunch allies of the United States in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS).

“If we ignore history, then we are destined to witness the mistakes of the past be repeated,” Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, said before Tuesday’s vote. “Recent attacks by the Turkish military against the Kurdish people are a stark reminder of the danger in our own time.”

“If only Turkey had taken the lead to address sadness that haunts Armenians to this day over 1915. If only Turkey had taken the lead to address Kurdish grievances and abuses they suffered regardless of the militants of the mountains. If only Turkey had stayed out of Syria,” Ziya Meral, senior resident fellow at the U.K.-based Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, said in comments on Twitter.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry also criticised the House resolution envisaging economic sanctions on the country.

The bill “is incompatible with the spirit of our NATO Alliance,” the ministry said in a separate statement. “It also contradicts with the agreement reached on Syria with the U.S. Administration on 17 October,” it said in reference to an agreement on a cessation of hostilities in northern Syria reached with the White House two weeks ago.

U.S. officials have failed to discern the difference between a NATO ally and terrorists and “should understand that they cannot achieve anything with the threats of unilateral sanctions”, it said.

The sanctions bill envisages freezing the assets of senior Turkish political and military leaders and blocking their travel to the United States. It would prohibit arms transfers to Turkey if the weapons could be used in Syria, mandates an investigation of Erdoğan’s personal wealth and would impose punishment on state-run Turkish bank Halkbank.

Erdoğan said the resolution was aimed at targeting him, his family and his ministers directly, adding that he strongly rejected it.

The bill faces potential obstacles in the Senate, where leading Republicans have called for a delay in order to give time for the Trump administration to find a diplomatic solution with Turkey.


Turkish Islamic business group aims to triple U.S. membership


Turkish Islamic business group aims to triple U.S. membership


Turkey’s biggest business group Islamic-leaning businessmen aims to more than triple its membership in the United States in one year, Dünya newspaper reported.

The Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MÜSİAD), which has grown rapidly in Turkey since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling party won power in 2002, is seeking to increase its membership in the United States to 250 firms from 80, Dünya said citing Ayhan Özmekik, the group’s new head of U.S. operations.

MÜSİAD will expand its network of offices in the United States and locate them closer to Turks living in the country to help boost its popularity, said Özmekik, who runs the Park Café in west New York. For example, it will open an office in Paterson in New Jersey, where many Turks live, he said.

Turkey is seeking to expand annual bilateral trade with the United States to $100 billion from around $20 billion under targets outlined this year by Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump. Relations between the two countries have suffered from bilateral tensions over Syria, Turkey’s detention of a U.S. pastor last year and the U.S. residence of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey blames for orchestrating a failed military coup in 2016.

MÜSİAD aims to open libraries at its offices in the United States, to help Turkish citizens residing in the country and to hold round table meetings to foster relations, Özmekik said, according to Dünya.


Erdoğan’s Syria deal with Putin cannot last, expert says


Erdoğan’s Syria deal with Putin cannot last, expert says


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan struck a deal to clear northern Syria of Kurdish fighters at a triumphant summit in Sochi, Russia last week.

Despite the smiles and handshakes, the agreement probably will not last because neither leader can enforce its terms, Chris Miller, assistant professor at the Fletcher School and the Eurasia director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said in an article for Foreign Policy on Monday.

“Turkey and Russia may be committed, but it is unlikely that the other combatants will abide by the deal,” Miller said. “Start with the Kurds.”

Russia does not have the forces needed for a protracted campaign against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) that Turkey labels terrorists threatening its security, and Moscow does not have much interest in reducing its fighting capacity, Miller said. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad may be able to pressure the YPG to disarm, but he is unlikely to be willing, he said.

“Ankara is therefore wrong to think that the Syrian Kurdish question is closed. True, the joint patrols envisaged by the Putin-Erdoğan accord could keep YPG units away from the border. But as Turkey well knows, holding territory with an organised army is not the only way that Kurdish militias can wage war.”

Turkey started a military incursion into Syria in early October to combat the YPG and to set up a safe zone for the return of Syrian refugees, millions of whom are currently residing in Turkey. It sees the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a four-decade war for autonomy in southeast Turkey at the cost of about 40,000 lives, most of them Kurdish.

“Assad thinks he is winning. Turkey thinks its threats have won concessions. The YPG is on the back foot but is unlikely to give up. All sides think they can improve their position with further fighting,” Miller said.

“Trump’s withdrawal may have changed the balance of power in Syria, but the Putin-Erdoğan deal that resulted is unlikely to end the war.”


Baghdadi death should not mask Turkey’s illegal land grab – rights advocate


Baghdadi death should not mask Turkey’s illegal land grab – rights advocate


The death of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the weekend may dominate headlines in the coming days, but the killing should not ignore Turkey’s illegal occupation of northern Syria, celebrated by U.S. President Donald Trump, said Rebecca Barber for the Interpreter.

International law dictates that one country cannot decide it needs a so-called “safe zone” in another country and then invade and claim it as theirs by virtue of its seizure, Barber, a human rights advocate for international NGOs, said in an article published on Monday.

“Not only has this flagrant breach of international law gone largely unchallenged by world leaders; worse, it’s been formally endorsed – first by the U.S. in the deal brokered by Vice President Mike Pence in talks with Turkish President Erdoğan on 17 October, and secondly by Russia, in its deal with Turkey last Tuesday.”

Erdoğan sent thousands of troops into northern Syria in early October to combat Kurdish militants allied in the U.S. battle against ISIS. His government aims to resettle more than a million refugees from Syria in the border area in a mass security and construction project that may threaten the local indigenous Kurdish population.

“That the plan has now been formally endorsed by both the U.S. and Russia conveys a message that international law is irrelevant and that Turkey can do whatever it likes,” Barber said.

India could now argue that it needs a safe zone in Pakistan to keep extremists away from the border with Kashmir, or Russia could say that its role in eastern Ukraine is a “safe zone” or peace corridor, Barber said, citing one unidentified commentator. The amount of such entities could become endless, she said.


11/3/2019: Worldwide: 13 killed in car bomb on Turkey’s border

At least 13 people were killed and more than 30 injured in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad on Turkey’s border after an explosion in a market. Pro-Turkey fighters and civilians were among the dead and injured in the car explosion, which no one claimed...

11/3/2019: Life Lessons: The real royal scandal no one is talking about


THERE are a lot of very important things going on on the world stage right now (Brexit and an impending British general election, the almost unwatchable reality TV show that is the Trump presidency, the ongoing sh*tstorm in Syria, and big scary issues...

History Of The Babylonians And Assyrians English Edition

History Of The Babylonians And Assyrians English Edition

Syrias Vitale Marco

Syrias Vitale Marco

Comment on U.S. senator blasts Apple for ‘risking compromise to authoritarianism’ in China by North American Wanderer

one starring me won’t change the truth of what i have seen or heard. To the down voters have you been to Hong Kong? i didn’t go this trip but i’ve been there twice and also been to Taiwan. writing this in singapore which is 90% overseas Chinese. been to Malaysia, cambodia and Thailand. ‘ i bet many of the people downing Apples actions don’t give a rats ass about helping oppressed Chinese, they just don’t like China. Most i doubt have even spoken to Chinese person or visited Asia. BTW some local news reports show arrested Hong Kong ‘protestors’ as former triad (mafia) members who were looting shops etc (just as Apple hinted at in their statement) Blogs say some of those arrested claim they were paid and armed by USA agents Also imagine this, try Changing USA to China in headlines for the last 20 years and see how you feel like: “China invades Iraq on pretext of WMD. Chinese kills hundreds of iraqis (that did not attack China) and begins decades long war that kills, maims hundreds of thousands. Chinese invasion causes rise of ISIS and destabilizes region all the way to Syria causing millions of refugees to flee. Hundreds of Chinese drone strikes kills thousands including women and children. etc: Many believe China did this to control middle East oil. China did not attack Saudi arabia although most of the 9/11 attackers hitting beijing came from Saudi Arabia. “ see when you put china instead of USA it looks different huh? That’s how the world sees USA like it or not. Americans live in a world of their own media and politicians illusion

Israel aiding Syria's Kurds, advocating for them with U.S.: official

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The Syrian Regime Acknowledges the Death of Citizen Fares Saeed al Miqdad Who Was Forcibly Disappeared at the Regime’s Hands


The Syrian Network for Human Rights has notified the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions of the case of the Syrian citizen, Fares Saeed al Miqdad, from Ma’raba town in Daraa governorate, born in 1971, who was arrested in October 2012 by Syrian Regime forces in a raid on his place […]

The post The Syrian Regime Acknowledges the Death of Citizen Fares Saeed al Miqdad Who Was Forcibly Disappeared at the Regime’s Hands appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.


The Most Notable Human Rights Violations as a Result of the Conflict in Syria in October 2019


Press release: The SNHR released its monthly special report today, which documents the human rights situation in Syria, outlining the most notable human rights violations that the SNHR documented in October 2019 at the hands of the main perpetrator parties to the conflict in Syria. The 19-page report outlines the record of civilian victims documented […]

The post The Most Notable Human Rights Violations as a Result of the Conflict in Syria in October 2019 appeared first on Syrian Network for Human Rights.


محافظ حمص: عودتكم إلى تدمر مقابل تطوع أبناؤكم


اشترط محافظ حمص على نازحي مدينة تدمر الرجوع إلى ديارهم ثمنه زج أولادهم في صفوف قوات النظام أو القوات الرديفة بحد وصفهم.   وبحسب “مدى بوست” أن محافظ حمص “طلال البرازي” بأوامر من قوات النظام إلى أهالي مدينة تدمر النازحين أن لا عودة إلى بيوتهم ما لم ينخرط أبناؤهم في صفوف قوات النظام أو القوات […]

The post محافظ حمص: عودتكم إلى تدمر مقابل تطوع أبناؤكم appeared first on المركز الصحفي السوري.


منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيماوية تعد تقريراً لتحديد مرتكبي هجمات الكيماوي في سوريا


نيويورك: ذكرت منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيماوية ، الثلاثاء، أنها تستعد لإعداد تقرير خلال الأشهر القليلة المقبلة يحدد مرتكبي الهجمات بالأسلحة الكيماوية في سوريا. وقال المدير العام للمنظمة، فرناندو أرياس للصحافيين في نيويورك: “فيما يتعلق بما يحدث في سوريا، لدينا بعثة تقصى الحقائق، وفريق تقييم الإعلان وفريق آلية التحقق من الهوية”. وأضاف أن فريق آلية التحقق […]

The post منظمة حظر الأسلحة الكيماوية تعد تقريراً لتحديد مرتكبي هجمات الكيماوي في سوريا appeared first on المركز الصحفي السوري.


متسول يطعن سياح أجانب وعرب في الأردن


أقدم شاب بالاعتداء على عدة أشخاص بالطعن جراء استخدامه أداة حادة اليوم الأربعاء بمدينة جرش في الجزء الشمالي الغربي من الأردن.  وبحسب “الحدث” أن ثمانية جرحى طعنوا على يد المدعو “محمد ابو طعيمة” من مخيم غزة في مدينة جرش بينهم أربعة سياح ومرشدهم ورجل أمن وسائق حافلة من المنطقة. وأفاد المصدر أنه تم نقل الجرحى […]

The post متسول يطعن سياح أجانب وعرب في الأردن appeared first on المركز الصحفي السوري.


القوات العسكرية العراقية: للشعب حق التظاهر السلمي ويمنع استخدام الذخيرة الحية.


أكدت القوات المسلحة العراقية على لسان المتحدث الرسمي بإسم القائد العام للقوات المسلحة اللواء “عبد الكريم خلف” اليوم الأربعاء أن التعليمات واضحة وصارمة بعدم استخدام الرصاص الحي ضد المتظاهرين السلميين، وأضاف أن للشعب حق التظاهر السلمي بعيداً عن العنف.   وطلب من المتظاهرين الابتعاد عن قطع الجسور لأنها معبر حيوي للسكان والابتعاد عن مهاجمة المقرات […]

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الدفاع المدني يوثق أسماء شهداء بلدة السحارة في حلب


وثقت فرق الدفاع المدني أسماء الشهداء الذين سقطوا اليوم الأربعاء في بلدة السحارة بريف حلب، جراء قصف الغارات الحربية الروسية. أفاد مراسلنا بأن مجزرة مروعه وقعت اليوم في بلدة السحارة نتج عنها استشهاد ستة مدنيين، وأصيب عشرات بجروح مختلفة إثر قصف جوي من قبل الطيران الحربي الروسي على بلدة السحارة بريف حلب الغربي. في حين […]

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الرئيس التركي: زوجة البغدادي بقبضبتنا والمسلم “لايمكن أن يكون إرهابي”.


قال الرئيس التركي أردوغان اليوم الأربعاء أمام حشد طلابي في أنقرة أن السلطات التركية اعتقلت زوجة زعيم تنظيم الدولة أبو بكر البغدادي، ويجري التحقيق معها حسب ما أوردت وكالة الأناضول.   وخاطب الرئيس أردوغان الغرب بقوله أن على من يستخدم مصطلح “الإرهاب الإسلامي” بدون خجل أو ملل، عليه أن ينظر بالمرآة جيداً.   وأضاف أن […]

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وصول تعزيزات روسية إلى مناطق قوات سوريا الديمقراطية.


        وصلت شاحنات روسية وآليات عسكرية محملة بالأسلحة والذخائر اليوم الأربعاء إلى مركز تنسيق العمليات العسكرية المشترك بين قوات سوريا الديمقراطية والروس.   حيث نشرت وكالة “نورث برس” صورا تظهر المدرعات الروسية وعربات لنقل الجنود بالإضافة إلى 40  شاحنة تحتوي على ذخائر وأسلحة.     حيث أعلنت وزارة الدفاع التركية أن قوات […]

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استمرار هجمات قوات سوريا الديمقراطية على مناطق السيطرة التركية .


        حصلت اشتباكات بين الجيش الوطني وقوات سوريا الديمقراطية بمحيط قرية “باب الخير” شرقي رأس العين، كما قام الجيش الوطني بالتصدي لمحاولة تقدم لقوات سوريا الديمقراطية على محور “عين عيسى”.   وفي تصريح للرئيس التركي أن روسيا تدعي أن قوات سوريا الديمقراطية انسحبت من مناطق شمال شرق سوريا وهذا ليس صحيحا، حيث […]

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صحة إدلب 40 مشفى ومركزا صحيا خارج الخدمة بفعل الغارات الجوية .


  قالت مديرية صحة إدلب اليوم الأربعاء أن عشرات المراكز الصحية باتت خارج الخدمة بفعل القصف . وفي بيان على صفحة المديرية أعلنت أن 40 مشفى ومركزا صحيا في منطقة خفض التصعيد في حما’ وإدلب وحلب خرجت عن الخدمة بفعل حملة القصف من الطيران الروسي ، والنظام منذ نيسان الماضي. كان آخرها خروج مشفى الإخلاص […]

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شهداء وجرحى بغارات روسية على منازل المدنيين غرب حلب .


  استشهد ستة مدنيين وأصيب آخرون بجروح ظهر اليوم بغارات روسية استهدفت منازل المدنيين . وأفاد مراسلنا باستشهاد ستة مدنيين وإصابة 20 آخرين بجروح بغارتين روسيتين استهدفتا الحارة الغربية ببلدة السحارة بريف حلب الغربي . ولفت المصدر أن غارة ماثلة استهدفت بلدة تقاد دون ورد أنباء عن خسائر . وقصفت قوات النظام المتمركزة في كتيبة […]

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Syrian woman who has been through direct provision wins bursary to study medicine

Our Education Correspondent, Emma O'Kelly spoke to 17 year old Suaad Alshleh

Iran has 'military advantage over US and allies in Middle East'


Thinktank says third parties such as Shia militias are more important to Tehran than nuclear plans

Iran now has an effective military advantage over the US and its allies in the Middle East because of its ability to wage war using third parties such as Shia militias and insurgents, according to a military thinktank.

In one of the most detailed assessments of Iran’s strategy and doctrine across Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) concludes Iran’s “third party capability” has become Tehran’s weapon of choice.

Continue reading...

U.S. senators press for sanctions on Turkey if it is violating Syria ceasefire

Republican and Democratic U.S. senators asked President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday to let them know - and to respond with touch sanctions - if reports are true that Turkey is violating a ceasefire agreement in Syria.


Russia may have taken Israel's most advanced missile from Syria — and could figure out how to defeat it


Russia may have taken Israel's most advanced missile from Syria — and could figure out how to defeat itExperts worry that the Russian military could learn how to defeat the missile system or refine its air defense systems.


"Trump isn’t bringing troops home, and saying that he has “resisted military action” is a strange way..."

“Trump isn’t bringing troops home, and saying that he has “resisted military action” is a strange way to describe someone who has twice ordered the illegal bombing of Syria and has driven the U.S. to the brink of war with Iran. The headline refers to Trump’s “opposition to endless wars,” but the article eventually acknowledges that the president’s “opposition” has proven to be entirely rhetorical. The record shows that Trump has sent more troops to other countries, and that has included escalating the U.S. role in ongoing wars. Trump can be said to have “resisted” military action only in the sense that he was moments away from launching an unnecessary attack on Iran that he then just as suddenly canceled. The president has repeatedly threatened to start new wars, he has greatly intensified U.S. drone strikes around the world, and to date he has not brought home any troops deployed abroad. Relaxed rules of engagement in the wars he has escalated have also meant a spike in civilian casualties.”

- Trump Isn’t Ending Any Wars

"After nearly two decades, every purported objective used to justify our wars in the Middle East has..."

“After nearly two decades, every purported objective used to justify our wars in the Middle East has been upended. The invasion of Afghanistan was supposed to wipe out al-Qaida. Instead, al-Qaida migrated to fill the power vacuums the deep state created in the wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. The war in Afghanistan morphed into a war with the Taliban, which now controls most of the country and is threatening the corrupt regime we prop up in Kabul. The deep state orchestrated the invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. It confidently predicted it could build a Western-style democracy and weaken Iran’s power in the region. Instead, it destroyed Iraq as a unified country, setting warring ethnic and religious factions against each other. Iran, which is closely tied to the dominant Shiite government in Baghdad, emerged even stronger. The deep state armed “moderate” rebels in Syria in an effort to topple President Bashar Assad, but when it realized it could not control the jihadists—to whom it had provide some $500 million in weapons and assistance—the deep state began to bomb them and arm Kurdish rebels to fight them. These Kurds would later be betrayed by Trump. The “war on terror” spread like a plague from Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya to Yemen, which after five years of war is suffering one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The financial cost for this misery and death is between $5 trillion and $8 trillion. The human cost runs into hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, shattered cities, towns and infrastructure and millions of refugees.”

- The Enemy Within

Trump ‘approves expanded military mission’ to secure Syria’s oil fields


Trump ‘approves expanded military mission’ to secure Syria’s oil fieldsDonald Trump has reportedly approved an expanded US military mission to secure an expanse of oil fields across eastern Syria.The US president’s actions raise a number of legal questions about whether American troops can launch attacks against Syrian, Russian or other forces if they threaten the oil.


US believes reports Turkey misused US-supplied weapons in Syria incursion are 'credible'

The US is investigating whether Turkey violated agreements with Washington about the use of US-provided weapons and equipment, including whether Ankara improperly transferred US-supplied weapons to its proxies in Syria, groups that some US officials say may have committed war crimes as part of the Turkish-led incursion targeting America's Kurdish allies.


Эрдоган заявил о задержании жены главаря ИГ аль-Багдади

Президент Турции Реджеп Тайип Эрдоган заявил, что турецким силам безопасности удалось задержать жену уничтоженного главаря ИГ («Исламское государство» — террористическая организация, запрещена в РФ) Абу Бакра аль-Багдади. Об этом он сказал в среду, 6 ноября, во время выступления в Анкаре.«Мы поймали в Сирии его жену. Но никакого шума из этого мы не делали. Я в первый раз сейчас официально заявляю об этом», — цитирует Эрдогана «РИА Новости». 5 ноября агентство Reuters со ссылкой на высокопоставленный источник в администрации Турции сообщило, что турецкие силы задержали сестру уничтоженного главаря ИГ. Отмечалось, что Расмия Авад была задержана близ населенного пункта Азаз. Власти Турции планировали узнать от нее «ценные сведения о внутреннем функционировании ИГ». «Мы поймали в Сирии его жену. Но никакого шума из этого мы не делали. Я в первый раз сейчас официально заявляю об этом», — цитирует Эрдогана «РИА Новости». Турецкий лидер отметил, что также были пойманы сестра аль-Багдади и ее муж. 5 ноября агентство Reuters со ссылкой на высокопоставленный источник в администрации Турции сообщило, что турецкие силы задержали сестру уничтоженного главаря ИГ. Отмечалось, что Расмия Авад была задержана близ населенного пункта Азаз. Власти Турции планировали узнать от нее «ценные сведения о внутреннем функционировании ИГ».  Об уничтожении главаря ИГ президент США Дональд Трамп заявил 27 октября. Уточнялось, что террорист привел в действие пояс смертника, пытаясь скрыться от американских военных в подземном тоннеле. Позже представители американских военных подтвердили, что анализ ДНК доказывает уничтожение именно аль-Багдади. #россия #рф #chechenrepublic #chechnya #чечня #Кадыров #ЧР #russia #СМИ #СМИЧР #RKadyrov #чечнясегодня #новости #news #politics #chechnyatoday #грозный

In apparent mending of U.S. ties, Syrian Kurds seen resuming fight against Islamic State

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have resumed operations alongside the global coalition fighting Islamic State, a sign that ties between the U.S. and the Kurds ...

The world closed its doors to Syrian refugees. Now Turkey wants to send them back. 

Turkey extended a deadline for Syrians to update their registration cards or move until Oct. 30. But many say they’ve run into problems getting their papers in order, and registrations in larger cities, including Istanbul, have been completely blocked.

Made In America: How the U.S. Government Paid For Turkey's War in Syria


Made In America: How the U.S. Government Paid For Turkey's War in SyriaCritics say the Obama administration did not do enough to fight Bashar al-Assad. But the forces attacking Syrian Kurds are the fruit of an anti-Assad effort.


Turkish Forces Loot Electric Power Transformers in Northeastern Syria


Forces loyal to Erdogan in the Turkish Army and accompanying terrorist groups looted electricity power generators and transformers from a number of villages and towns they infested in the Hasakah countryside. A car blew up with the invaders while they

The post Turkish Forces Loot Electric Power Transformers in Northeastern Syria appeared first on Global Research.


Over 100 Missiles against Syria: US, UK and France Committed an International War Crime Against Syria on 14 April 2018


It is now clear that on 14 April 2018, the three Governments of U.S., UK, and France, fired over a hundred missiles against Syria, on no more ‘justification’ than staged videos that had been done by those regimes’ own proxy

The post Over 100 Missiles against Syria: US, UK and France Committed an International War Crime Against Syria on 14 April 2018 appeared first on Global Research.


Syria: OPCW Whistleblowers Confirm What We Already Knew. The OPCW Suppressed Evidence Regarding alleged Chemical Weapons Attack


Whistleblowers have come forward revealing what many had known all along – that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had deliberately altered various reports and suppressed evidence regarding alleged chemical weapon attacks in Syria to help bolster

The post Syria: OPCW Whistleblowers Confirm What We Already Knew. The OPCW Suppressed Evidence Regarding alleged Chemical Weapons Attack appeared first on Global Research.


Learning Theory and Implications for Instruction Adjunct Faculty (Volunteer Position)

Institution: University of the People Location: Online/Remote Category: Faculty - Education - Teacher Education Posted: 10/29/2019 (Reposted Job: Initially posted on 07/22/2019) Application Due: Open Until Filled Type: Adjunct/Part-Time Salary: 600 to 675 USD Per Course University of the People (UoPeople) is the Education Revolution. It is the first non-profit, tuition-free, American accredited online university. Dedicated to opening access to higher education globally, UoPeople is designed to help qualified high school graduates overcome the financial, geographic, political, and personal constraints keeping them from collegiate studies. UoPeople is able to offer a tuition-free education thanks to the generosity of volunteer professors and administrators. The President, the Provost, the Vice Presidents, the Vice Provosts, the CFO, the professors and many others donate their time in the service of democratizing access to higher education. To date, we are proud to have built a network of more than 11,000 volunteers from all over the world. If you support our mission and are willing to volunteer, please continue reading. The university has an immediate need for volunteer instructors to teach its Learning Theory and Implications for instruction course, within the M.Ed program. The course description is as follows: This course will examine the major theories and models for understanding how students learn. Attention will be given to the cognitive, affective, sensory/psychomotor, and sociological domains and implications for learning through differing modalities. Contributions of neuroscience to understanding child and adolescent research are explored, and structural barriers to learning such as stereotype threat are discussed. Students will gain insights into the interplay of learner characteristics, prior knowledge and experiences, the medium of instruction, and cultural influences that construct learning environments, and understand that learning is contextual, with no single theory universally applying to every student in every situation. Positions are filled continuously and only candidates that are a match will be contacted. Applicants that meet the minimum qualifications and are hired will be added to the faculty pool and will be considered for relevant courses as they become available. Position Description: UoPeople volunteer instructors must make a weekly commitment of about 15 hours to course-related activities, which consist of responding to student emails and messages, posting discussion questions, engaging with students, grading learning journals, and reviewing peer assessments. Course instructors teach designated courses within their area of specialty using Moodle. Each UoPeople course is nine weeks. Instructors must be able to teach in an online world and understand the needs of a very diverse student population. The university provides its instructors with a modest honorarium, ranging from $600-675 USD per course. Graduate courses are 8 weeks long. University of the People is a DEAC(Distance Education and Accreditation Commission) accredited institution. Essential Responsibilities: - Devote approximately 15 hours per course per week and be able to check in on courses frequently, but at a minimum once every 48 hours. - Communicate effectively with diverse student populations and global administration. - Convey subject matter expertise in online class. - Regularly check in with the Office of Faculty Affairs regarding any course issues. - Monitor course grades and finalize grades as needed. - Must be sensitive to a diverse student population, representing the full spectrum of cultural, political, socio-economic and religious backgrounds. Desired Qualifications: - Online teaching experience, preferably with Moodle. - A minimum of a doctoral degree within the discipline of education. - Expertise in the subject area of the course. - Appreciation of a diverse student population, representing the full spectrum of cultural, political, socio-economic, and religious backgrounds. - An understanding of the International Baccalaureate methodology How to Apply: Interested applicants should submit an application via our instructor application portal at the following address: *********************************************** The Institution: University of the People (UoPeople) is the 'Education Revolution'. It is the first non-profit, tuition-free, American accredited online university. Dedicated to opening access to higher education globally, UoPeople is designed to help qualified high school graduates overcome financial, geographic, political, and personal constraints keeping them from collegiate studies. The university offers associate and bachelor's degree programs in business administration, computer science, and health science as well as an MBA program. UoPeople was founded in 2009 and accredited in February 2014. Today, it has over 17,000 students enrolled from more than 200 countries and territories. 1,000 of these students are refugees, of whom 600 are Syrian. UNESCO estimates that, by the year 2025, there will be nearly 100 million young people seeking seats in universities that don't exist. UoPeople is an essential part of avoiding such a tragic missed opportunity for would-be students. The university believes that access to higher education can promote world peace and global economic development. As a basic right, higher education can transform not only the lives of students, but also their families' lives, their communities, their nations and, by extension, the world. The university is directed by President Shai Reshef, an education entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience, and by distinguished international boards of trustees and advisers. Its President's Council is led by current and former leadership from several of the world's foremost institutions, including: John Sexton, President Emeritus of NYU; George Rupp, President Emeritus of Columbia University; Catharine Bond Hill, President Emerita of Vassar College; Nicholas Dirks, former chancellor of UC Berkeley; Judith Shapiro, President Emerita of Barnard College, and Nobel Laureate Torsten N. Wiesel, President Emeritus of The Rockefeller University. More than 7,000 professionals have volunteered for the university, including those filling key UoPeople leadership positions. UoPeople has academic partnerships with Yale Law School, and with NYU, the University of Edinburgh, and UC Berkeley, where qualified UoPeople students may apply to transfer and continue studies. 92% of UoPeople graduates are employed, including at such companies as Amazon, Apple, Dell, Deloitte, IBM, Microsoft, and JP Morgan, as well as institutions such as the UN and the World Bank. UoPeople is supported by the generosity of individuals and foundations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Fondation Hoffmann, The Ford Foundation, and more. UoPeople has been covered by the New York Times, BBC, NPR, Times Higher Education, US News and World Report, and more. President Reshef's TED Talk about the university and its mission has over 5.5 million views. UoPeople is building a sustainable new model for higher education, in which students are asked to pay only a $100 assessment fee at the end of each course ($200 in the M.Ed program). One year of study (10 courses) costs $1,000, and a four-year bachelor's degree is only $4,000. For students who might find even these modest fees prohibitive, the university offers a variety of scholarships, to fulfill the part of its mission that no qualified student will be left behind for financial reasons. Application Information Contact: Nicole Elliott Human Resources University of the People



Turkey captured the sister of dead Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Monday in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, a senior Turkish official told Reuters, and is interrogating her husband and daughter-in-law who were also detained. Rasmiya...

The View from Riyhadh


Surely, the story is monumentally important. It’s so important that our news media have largely ignored it. 

Happily, Karen Elliott House has traveled to Saudi Arabia to witness the cultural transformation taking place in the kingdom. We recall the bright eyed New York Times columnists who camped out in Tahrir Square to welcome democracy to Egypt—how did that one work out?—so we ought at least to give passing mention to the one place where Islam is being modernized, rapidly.

Considering how many of the world’s problems derive from the fact that one of its major religions has failed to modernize, we ought to pay some attention to what is happening in Saudi Arabia. Surely, we prefer the course taken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to that proposed by the reactionary forces running the Islamic Republic of Iran.

And yes, I know, Jamal Khashoggi was most likely murdered by people who are very close to the crown prince. Unfortunately, we do not choose our allies on the basis of a moral purity test. How does it happen that everyone is up in arms about Khashoggi and no one cares about the thousands of people who have been executed in Iran for crimes like…homosexual behavior.

As for life on the ground, House offers this sense of the public mood:

During a three-week visit, the public delight is visible everywhere from the capital city to remote rural provinces like Jizan in the south and Tabuk in the north. Teenage Saudi girls scream hysterically at a performance here by the Korean boy band BTS. Young Saudi women with bared faces run a 5K through city streets clad only in short-sleeved T-shirts and tight leggings. Groups of young men and women relax together in Starbucks. Hotels are no longer permitted to ask Saudi couples for proof of marriage at check-in. All this change and more in a society where until very recently women, uniformly clad in floor-length abayas, couldn’t exercise, drive or appear in public with men other than close relatives.

House believes that the nation is anticipating the day when it will no longer be able to rely on oil revenue. She suggests that it is modernizing in order to attract tourism and investments, but I suspect that there is a larger and more profound reason. The crown prince, whatever his faults, has correctly decided that Islam needs to be part of the modern world. It cannot stand apart and watch other cultures surpass it.

House continues:

This most puritanical of Islamic societies is increasingly mirroring Western mores as the government seeks to attract foreign tourists and investors whose money is needed to diversify the kingdom’s oil-dependent economy.

The regime no longer worries about the erosion of the kingdom’s distinctive culture. Its view is that in a world of ubiquitous social media all cultures are destined to blend and it is no longer feasible, let alone desirable, for Saudi Arabia to shut itself off from inexorable global trends.

As it happens, the kingdom does not allow dissenting opinions. It does not have first amendment rights to free speech and free expression. Naturally, this offends us to the marrow. And yet, do you believe that change would have been possible if the religious police had been allowed to constitute a countervailing faction:

There is no doubt that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 34, effective ruler of the kingdom, has decided to press ahead full speed with economic and social change (the former much tougher than the latter). Nothing will deter him. The crown prince, those close to him say, is absolutely convinced his reforms are essential and urgent. So in his view, debate is pointless. There is no possibility of reversing course—and no apparent concern about a conservative backlash. The once-powerful religious authorities have been reduced to mouthpieces for the regime and are widely ignored by the public. Even immediate foreign threats are more distraction than deterrent to Crown Prince Mohammed’s domestic agenda.

To be clear, such rapid change is difficult to impose, even when one can exercise authoritarian control over the culture. Attitudes and social habits change more slowly:

The government is spending billions on bringing entertainment—wrestling, tennis, car racing, expensive restaurants, musical performers—to the kingdom to jump-start tourism. Joining a Saudi family for dinner, I am driven by golf cart through a park to the restaurant by a young Saudi woman with a bare face, cropped hair and no abaya. Such dress or employment for a Saudi woman was unthinkable even a few months ago. “I feel out of place in my own country,” says one Saudi woman in shock at seeing a Lebanese singer entering a Riyadh hotel in a sleeveless midthigh dress. Such “indecency,” unlike dissent, runs no risk these days.

Given its neighborhood the Saudi government requires American assistance. It needs a reliable ally in Washington, especially since Western European nations want to align themselves with Iran. Some say that we should completely withdraw from the region, but we are also part of the world oil market. It’s nice to be self-sufficient energy wise, but what happens if our vendors, suppliers and customers run out of fuel.

Meantime, the Saudi government is putting maximum pressure on the U.S. to provide additional military support to the regime. Failure to stand visibly with Saudi Arabia, say officials here, could encourage Iran to strike again and lead to higher oil prices for the U.S. and world-wide. Or the Saudis could opt to price oil in a currency other than the dollar, with severe ramifications for the U.S. and the global economy.

Crown Prince Mohammed is said to have been livid about the slow U.S. reaction but mollified by the Trump administration’s recent decision to dispatch 2,000 additional American troops to Saudi Arabia along with two Patriot missile batteries and a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or Thaad. The American buildup looks intended to deter future Iranian aggression, but whether the Trump administration would engage or duck is anyone’s guess given the lack of a formal U.S.-Saudi mutual-security treaty. The Saudis are understandably nervous after President Obama failed to enforce his “red line” in Syria and President Trump made no response to Iran’s downing of an American drone in June or its attack on Aramco six weeks ago.

The Trump administration seems to have come to this understanding. If it does not support the Saudi reform effort, the chances for backsliding will increase exponentially.


Turning Trump's Victory into Defeat


In a better world the news would have emphasized the fact that the United States had murdered the leader of the Islamic State, the world’s most important terrorist, a mass murderer and torturer. And yet, to do so would have required the media and the Obamaphile left to praise President Trump. And we can’t have that.

It has been a thoroughly astonishing spectacle. From Saturday Night Live running a skit showing how Trump was coddling ISIS at the precise moment that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was blowing himself and three of his children up to the Washington Post being incapable of writing a correct headline.

The Post, the paper of record in Washington D. C. first headlined the story by calling al-Baghdadi a “terrorist in chief.” Then, someone decided that that would give Trump too much credit, so it changed the description to “an austere religious scholar.” Considering that the man was responsible for mass murder, mayhem, gang rape and sex trafficking, it seemed a bit too weak, even for the Post. It immediately provoked an outcry from Post readers. The paper changed the headline to “extremist leader.”

At the least, it does not inspire confidence in their journalism.

And then, at the World Series game last night in Washington, President Trump was roundly booed by Nationals fans. Obviously, these fans live in a deep blue city. Even the Washington suburbs are deeply blue… meaning that they are inhabited by government employees, thus, the kind of people that Trump has been attacking and that have, truth be told, been attacking Trump.

It is a pathetic spectacle, not a sign of patriotism. When you boo the president you boo the presidency. And it does not spell patriotism.

So, leftist politicians and media mavens started spinning as fast as they could. They said it was no big deal. ISIS is not defeated. Trump’s press conference was largely inferior to that of Obama when Osama bin Laden was killed. Trump lied about al Baghdadi’s whimpering. And besides, the credit all belongs to Barack Obama, who began the fight against the Islamic State.

You need to wonder how people are stupid enough to believe any of this, but apparently they are. Otherwise why would anyone overlook the obvious fact that the Islamic State was part of the Obama legacy?

Before Obama there was no caliphate. During the Obama years a caliphate grew and became more powerful. Its ability to show itself powerful in the face of the weak Obama policy attracted adherents from around the world. When Obama left office there was still a functioning caliphate. President Trump defeated the caliphate, captured large numbers of ISIS fighters, and ultimately, as of yesterday, eliminated the organization’s chief.

If you put that together and decide that Obama deserves credit for the death of al-Baghdadi you should go back on your meds.

And yet, James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence said this on CNN:

What is going to be interesting is to the extent to which this negatively affects ISIS or does it galvanize ISIS, the remnants of ISIS, which still survives as an ideology and has franchises in other places besides Syria.

Since Trump might be credited with launching the raid, we are now told that ISIS is really an idea, that it exists elsewhere and that the death of its leader will embolden it. Was this what they said when the Obama administration killed bin Laden?

Or else, read Matt Stieb, in New York Magazine. He first needs to attack Trump, with mockery and ridicule:

The president, who appears to relish violet rhetoric, personal boasting, the defeat of his enemies, and the simplicity of a good vs. evil narrative, announced on Sunday morning that U.S. special forces had killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a raid in northwestern Syria on Saturday. With such a natural lining up of his interests, Trump turned the event into a spectacle, even promoting the press conference on Twitter the night before.

Anytime President Trump speaks for 48 minutes straight, you can expect some pretty unhinged remarks; on Sunday, things started to get weird just 90 seconds in, when Trump described the ISIS leader “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way” to the back of a tunnel in his compound, where he detonated a suicide vest as he was surrounded by three of his children. The president, who did little to hide his enjoyment in the moment, said that “it was just like a movie.”

For those who have no faith in CNN, I will add that a commentator on that network, someone whose name escapes me, explained that Trump had done a great job detailing the raid to the public. The unnamed commentator thanked Trump for describing what happened so well that he and journalists would not need to spend weeks figuring itout for themselves.

Anyway, Stieb seems vaguely offended that Trump was dehumanizing al-Baghdadi:

Trump aim seemed to be dehumanizing al-Baghdadi, the terrorist responsible for the Yazidi genocide, systemized sex slavery within ISIS-controlled territory, and the deaths of thousands in the region. “He was a gutless animal,” Trump said, later adding that “he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying.” He employed one of his frequent, if incoherent, jabs at al-Baghdadi, claiming that he “died like a dog.” In a bizarre piece of symmetry, as Trump degraded the terrorist, he elevated a military canine involved in the raid: “Our K-9, as they call it — I call it a dog, a beautiful dog, a talented dog — was injured and brought back, but we had no soldier injured … We had nobody even hurt. That’s why the dog was so great.”

Tell me that that is not one of the most bizarre paragraphs you have ever had the misfortune to read. Stieb seems to suggest that there is something wrong with dehumanizing a mass murderer, a genocidal maniac, an inveterate homophobe and promoter of gang rapes and sex trafficking. Does he not understand that the propaganda war against ISIS is best advanced by showing its leader to be a sniveling coward? Apparently not.

The raid was named in honor of one Kayla Mueller, a young American woman who was captured by ISIS and who was raped repeatedly by al-Baghdadi himself for months on end… before being killed by an American missile. (via Maggie's Farm) Mueller’s parents did not have as many reservations as the American leftist media.

And then Thomas Friedman, in a column praising Trump, tries to argue that Obama got it right, that ISIS was produced by the Bush administration—you know, after Obama abandoned Iraq and Syria. And then, he dives into the moral equivalence trap and compares al-Baghdadi to Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi:

Trump has never met a dictator he did not like. He is blind to the fact that the next al-Baghdadi is being incubated today in some prison in Egypt, where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt, whom Trump once actually called “my favorite dictator,’’ is not only rounding up violent Jihadists but liberal nonviolent journalists, activists and politicians. Their only crime is that they want to have a say in their country’s future and help to create an environment where they can realize their full potential — so they will not have to look for dignity, power, a job or a girl’s hand from extremist groups like ISIS.

True enough, el Sissi has been cracking down on dissent. You will recall that Egyptian dissidents are most often members of the Muslim Brotherhood or other terrorist organizations.  These have done their best to produce mayhem in the country. The Brotherhood is the godfather of Islamist terrorist organizations. If you know the difference between the Brothers and supposedly liberal journalists I will agree that we should distinguish the one from the other.

We might add that when a Brotherhood leader named Mohamed Morsi won the presidency of Egypt—before being overthrown by a coup lead by el-Sissi— the first  foreign leader to bless his victory with her presence was no less than America’s Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. 

No one likes to mention it, but Brotherhood voter outreach contained active support for female genital mutilation. Before the election it was sending mobile infirmary vans into the poor neighborhoods of Cairo, the better to allow families to have their daughters mutilated without needing to undergo the indignity of having to go to a clinic or hospital.

Friedman neglects this point. He argues that pro-Iran militias and Syria conspired to help Trump to eliminate al-Baghdadi because they wanted to rid their nation of Sunni influence. He might have added that Sunni Turkey contributed too.

Friedman is sorely offended by the Trump administration’s wish to protect the oil wells, instead of protecting what he called “islands of decency.” A noble thought, offered by a man of surpassing virtue. And yet, where was he when Obama was selling out to Iran and to Islamist terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas? Was the Iran nuclear deal a way to foster decency? And where was Friedman and where was the Obama administration when the Iranian regime was shooting protesters in the streets during the Green revolution of 2009?


Africa: What Does Al-Baghdadi's Death Mean for Continent?

[ISS] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, former leader of the world's deadliest terror group Daesh - also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria - died during a recent United States-led operation in north-western Syria.

By Failing to Maintain Its Deterrence in the Middle East, the U.S. Is Emboldening Iran

According to a recent State Department report, the Islamic Republic attempted nearly 100 attacks, hostage takings, and the like between May and September of this year, of which 40 were successful. The most notable of these include the attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil refinery (the world’s largest), the harassment of oil tankers in and around the Persian Gulf, and the firing of rockets at U.S. troops in Iraq. In addition, Tehran has been openly violating the 2015 nuclear deal. Whatever the merits of the American drawdown in northeastern Syria, writes John Hannah, it confirms the impression that Washington is unwilling to use force in response to Iran’s behavior:
President Trump’s response to the most serious incidents has by now fallen into a predictable pattern of issuing over-the-top verbal threats (to “end” or “obliterate” Iran), imposing further economic sanctions, deploying additional troops and weapons to the Gulf, and, on at least two occasions, launching limited cyberattacks against Iran. . . . By now it’s abundantly clear that the administration’s playbook to deter further Iranian escalation has not worked. Tehran has continued to escalate. Based on the experience of the past several months, it’s hard not to believe that Iran’s leaders have come to the conclusion that for all Trump’s bombast, he wants no part of a military dustup. . . . The alternative to taking meaningful steps to reestablish the credibility of America’s will to use force is simply to sit back, absorb Iran’s provocations, and wait until the regime caves to the steadily mounting pressure of U.S. sanctions. It’s by no means impossible for it to work eventually—Iran’s economy is being absolutely hammered. But the big question is how long it will take and what amount of damage an increasingly desperate Iranian regime, unconstrained by the fear of U.S. military retaliation, is capable of inflicting in the meantime on the interests of the United States and its friends and allies. If the brazen attack on Abqaiq is any indication, the answer may be a great deal of damage indeed.


Only Decisive Action on the Ground, Not Precision Firepower from Afar, Can Defeat Israel’s Enemies

In its conflicts fought in the past two decades with Hamas in Gaza and Hizballah in Lebanon, the IDF has a used a strategy based on the combination of precision weapons with detailed intelligence. David M. Weinberg, basing himself on a recent, extensive report, argues that this doctrine has proved to be a failure, and calls for a return to the military principles that served the Jewish state so well in the first three decades of its existence:
In most clashes, a deleterious dynamic has repeated itself. At first, Israel successfully launches a salvo of firepower based on accurate intelligence gathered over a long period of time. Then follows a decline in the quality of targeting intelligence with an attendant reduction in the number of targets that justify a strike, and a recovery by the enemy and a continuation of its attacks against Israel. Subsequent Israeli frustration leads to attacks on targets with high collateral damage or on useless targets, alongside an immense effort to acquire new quality targets, which can lead to an occasional success but does not alter the general picture. What follows is a prolonged campaign—leading to public anger and frustration—and a maneuver by ground forces that is not sufficiently effective to bring the enemy to the point of collapse. Consequently, a return to combat along more traditional lines is inevitable in many cases. This means maneuvering into enemy territory, locating and destroying enemy forces (or capturing them, thus undermining the myth of the self-sacrificing jihadist “resistance”). Only this will break the spirit of the enemy. Consider this, too: while no large conventional armies today threaten Israel, the situation could change. If a radical Muslim Brotherhood regime should rise in a country like Egypt, or if the Syrian army is rebuilt after that country’s civil war, the IDF must be ready. Bear in mind that building ground forces is a complex process that takes time. Neglecting IDF ground-maneuver capabilities is therefore a dangerous gamble.


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'Perspectives on the Conflict in Northern Syria' Seminar Nov. 16

Webster's History and International Relations faculty members will present “The Turkish Attack and the American Retreat: Perspectives on the conflict in northern Syria” on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. – noon in the H. Sam Priest House, room 104. Assistant Professor Burcu Pinar Alakoc, an expert on terrorism and Middle Eastern politics, along with global history professor and historian Warren Rosenblum, will discuss President Trump’s removal of American troops from Northern Syria that brought fierce criticism from across the political spectrum.

Free Syrian Army opens fire against US convoy heading to Iraq - Russia’s Defense Ministry

Fighters of the Free Syrian Army, allies of the Turkish Armed Forces, opened fire on Sunday against a convoy of US troops heading to Iraq, Major General Yuri Borenkov, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters at a briefing.

US troop numbers in Syria remain stable despite announced withdrawal

The withdrawal of American troops from Syria's northern border opened the way for Turkey's military incursion against Kurdish forces in the country.

Turkish authorities capture Daesh leader Baghdadi's sister, her family

Turkish authorities have detained the leader of the Daesh terrorist group Abu Bakr Baghdadi's older sister and her family in northern Syria, Sputnik news agency quoted a media report citing senior Turkish official.

Biden Dares To Call Trump’s Syrian Policies A “giant ISIS recruiting poster”, After Helping Obama Create ISIS

[SEE: What Is the Truth About ISIS] See “Islamists go where oilmen fear to tread,” “Imperial Plan To Use Civil War As Gas and Oil Valve.” The “War On Terror” is NOT a war on terror, but a war on gas and oil producers outside the US sphere of control. The US policy has been […]

OPCW report to identify culprits of Syria chemical weapons attacks

NEW YORK (dpa)- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is set to produce in the next few months a report identifying the culprits of chemical weapons attacks in Syria, the body's chief said on Tuesday. "We have in connection with what happened in Syria the fact-finding mission, the declaration assessment team and the identification investigation mechanism team - IIT," OPCW director general Fernando Arias told reporters in New York.
OPCW report to identify culprits of Syria chemical weapons attacks

"The IIT is in charge of identifying the perpetrators and in the next few months we are going to be in the position to produce the first report."
The OPCW has said its previous analysis provided reasonable grounds that toxic chemicals had been used in attacks in Syria.
The watchdog did not say who was responsible. The ITT, set up by the OPCW in 2018, got to work in June to assign blame for the attacks.
Arias was at the United Nations headquarters to brief the Security Council on his organization's work in Syria.
He said two main issues were to "verify that Syria has fully declared its entire chemical weapons stockpiles," and to "investigate allegations of the use of toxic chemicals as weapons in Syria since 2013," when it joined the Chemical Weapons Convention.
There have been numerous attacks involving toxic weapons in the war-torn country since then, for which both the Syrian government and rebel forces have been blamed.
In March, the UN Human Rights Council blamed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government for 32 of the 37 publicly reported instances of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.


Eight tourists and Jordanians stabbed in historic city of Jerash

AMMAN, Ramadan Al-Fatash and Nehal El-Sherif (dpa)- An attacker stabbed at least eight people, including four tourists, on Wednesday in Jordan's historic city of Jerash, north of the capital Amman, police said. One Swiss and three Mexican tourists were wounded at the archaeological site, the Public Security Directorate said in a statement.
Eight tourists and Jordanians stabbed in historic city of Jerash

The Jordanians injured are two policemen, a tour guide and a bus driver.
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the Mexican victims were two women and one man, and confirmed that one of them was in serious condition.
All eight were transferred to Jerash Public Hospital around 11 am (0900 GMT), the hospital said.
Four of them are expected to be released from hospital on Thursday, Minister of Health Saad Jaber said, while two have been transferred by helicopter to a hospital in Amman because their condition was serious.
The tour guide and one policeman underwent operations after the first was stabbed in the stomach and the second in the spleen, which had to be removed, Jaber added. Two of the Mexican tourists will also remain under observation for a longer period, the minister said.
Ebrard said that Mexico is in contact with "the highest level of the Jordanian government" and that the king was also monitoring the situation.
"The individual who did this is under arrest. There is no motive to explain why he did this: We don't know if it was a robbery, if he is a [mentally] unbalanced guy," the minister said.
The attacker was arrested at the scene and is being questioned, the statement added without providing any details on his identity.
Hala Akhbar website, which is close to the military, reported that the attacker was born in 1997 and lived at a Palestinian refugee camp in Jerash.
A video circulated on social media and news websites showed at least two people injured, with blood covering their torsos, while others tried to stop the bleeding and a woman shouted in Spanish.
Police called on citizens to stop sharing the video, saying it is a "legal violation" and hurts those injured and their families.
Jordan, a key pro-Western ally and a supporter of US-led campaigns against Islamic State militants in neighbouring Syria and Iraq, has experienced several deadly attacks in recent years.
In December 2016, at least 10 people were killed, including a Canadian tourist, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State extremist group in al-Karak city, some 120 kilometres south-west of the capital Amman.


Erdogan says Turkey captured wife of dead IS leader al-Baghdadi

ISTANBUL, Anindita Ramaswamy (dpa)- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey captured a wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died during a US military operation last month. While Erdogan didn't mention where or when she was detained, a senior Turkish official told dpa late Wednesday that she was taken into custody as part of a group of 11 Islamic State suspects in Hatay, Turkey, which borders Syria, on June 2, 2018.
Erdogan says Turkey captured wife of dead IS leader al-Baghdadi

The four women, one man and six children were caught "after weeks of 24/7 surveillance," he said. Among them was a woman who was later identified to be Asma Fawzi Muhammad al-Qubaysi, al-Baghdadi's first wife, the official added.
Another detainee, who identified herself as Leila Jabeer, was determined to be al-Baghdadi's daughter following a DNA test, the official said, citing a police report.
He also said that al-Baghdadi's DNA sample was provided by the Iraqi government.
Al-Baghdadi - proclaimed the caliph, or leader, of Islamic State in 2014 - died on October 26 in Barisha, in the north-western Syrian province of Idlib, near the Turkish border.
The detainees from Hatay are currently being held at a deportation centre inside Turkey, the official told dpa.
Criticizing the United States for launching "a very solid communication campaign" about al-Baghdadi's death, Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara: "We captured his wife. But, we did not make a fuss out of it. I announce it for the first time today."
The Turkish official wouldn't say why the information was not disclosed earlier.
"We discovered her real identity pretty quickly," he claimed of al-Baghdadi's wife.
"At that point, she volunteered a lot of information about [al]-Baghdadi and the inner workings of ISIS," he said, adding that this led to several arrests elsewhere.
"There may or may not be other high-value targets in Turkish custody. I am not at liberty to discuss ongoing investigations and intelligence operations," he added.
On Tuesday, Turkey said it had captured al-Baghdadi's sister Rasmiya Awad during a raid in Azaz, a Syrian town controlled by Turkish-backed rebels, as well her husband, daughter-in-law and five children.
Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday that al-Baghdadi's sister and brother-in-law were taken into custody "on the Syrian side."
Awad, 65, and her family had been living in the camp of container housing units for a year, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor.
But Abdel Rahman raised questions about the timing of the arrests' announcements.
"The Turkish intelligence service was aware of her presence in the area [before capturing her]," Abdel Rahman said.
Hundreds of Islamic State members and their families remain in Turkish-controlled areas in northern Syria. "I expect in the coming weeks that Turkey will detain more [Islamic State] members in order to show it is active in the fight against terrorism," Abdel Rahman told dpa.
Turkey launched its incursion into north-eastern Syria on October 9 with a stated aim of fighting Islamic State and Syrian Kurdish militias it considers terrorists.
The Turkish military and its allied Syrian rebel groups took control of Azaz following Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016, Turkey's first incursion into northern Syria.
Azaz, in the Syrian province of Aleppo, lies 14 kilometres from the Turkish border. It is 80 kilometres away from Barisha, where al-Baghdadi was hiding out and eventually died.
US President Donald Trump announced al-Baghdadi's death on October 27, saying he blew himself up after he was trapped by US special forces in a tunnel within a compound in Barisha.
Trump and Erdogan will meet on November 13, both leaders confirmed after a phone call on Wednesday.
Trump also tweeted that Erdogan "informed me that they have captured numerous ISIS fighters that were reported to have escaped during the conflict – including a wife and sister of terrorist killer al Baghdadi."
The 48-year-old al-Baghdadi was reclusive and secretive. His only known public appearance was a sermon in July 2014 at a mosque in Mosul just after Islamic State captured the northern Iraqi city and declared its caliphate.
There are more rumours than concrete information about his family. The New York Times reported that al-Baghdadi had five brothers and several sisters, and was believed to have four wives, but couldn't confirm how many of them were alive.
One of al-Baghdadi's sons, Hudhayfah, was killed in 2018 in a suicide bombing in the Syrian city of Homs, the group announced at the time. He was believed to be 13.


Nearly two million Cameroonians face humanitarian emergency: UNICEF

INTERNATIONAL, 5 November 2019, Humanitarian Aid - Ongoing violence in Cameroon’s northwest and southwest has created a fast-growing humanitarian emergency now affecting some 1.9 million people, a “15-fold increase since 2017”, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.

In Geneva, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson, Marixie Mercado, explained that almost a million children were affected in the West African nation, which until a few years ago was among the most settled and peaceful in the region.

.@UNICEF and @UNOCHA spox brief the press on deteriorating humanitarian situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon.
Embedded video
Insecurity – and to a lesser degree, extremely poor road access – have left around 65 per cent of both regions out of bounds to aid workers, who’ve face increased attacks and risk being taken hostage.

“What began as a political crisis in the northwest and southwest regions is now a quickly deteriorating humanitarian emergency,” said Ms. Mercado, a reference to separatist clashes that began in late 2017, linked to alleged discrimination against the country’s English-speaking regions.

15-fold increase in needs since 2018

“Around 1.9 million people, about half of whom are children, are estimated to be in need, an increase of 80 per cent compared to 2018, and an almost 15-fold increase since 2017,” she insisted.

With security worsening in rural and urban areas, particularly in the northwest, UN humanitarian coordinating office, OCHA, insisted that human rights violations continue to be committed by both separatists and Government forces.

“Arbitrary arrest, burning of villages and indiscriminate killing of civilians are conducted with impunity,” it said in its latest situation report on Monday.

For a growing number of youngsters, the situation has deprived them of an education, with thousands of schools closed amid threats by separatists seeking leverage for a political solution to the crisis.

“Three years of violence and instability in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon have left more than 855,000 children out of school”, said Ms. Mercado.

Children ‘living in fear’

Thousands of youngsters “are living in fear”, she added.

In all, nine in 10 primary schools - more than 4,100 - and nearly eight in 10  secondary schools (744) remain closed, or non-operational, in the troubled northwest and southwest since the start of the school year in September.

“Fear of violence has kept parents from sending their children to school and teachers and staff from reporting to work”, the UNICEF official explained.

In a bid to help children who’ve been prevented from learning, community-run activities have been organized.

UNICEF has also purchased educational books and other learning materials for 37,000 school-aged children, as well as broadcasting literacy and numeracy lessons by radio.

Security fears continue to hamper the work of humanitarians however, with 529 recorded security incidents in the southwest and northwest since the beginning of the year, according to UNICEF.

Since August, this has meant that a growing number of aid organizations have faced hostage-taking and extortion situations, while five of the seven attacks against aid workers took place over the past two months.

“In the southwest region, access has improved slightly and we have been able to conduct more missions during the second quarter of the year compared to the first, and to reach places that haven’t been accessible for a year or more,” Ms. Mercado said.

Pupils face kidnapping on way to school

Condemning all attacks on aid workers and humanitarian supply teams, OCHA spokesperson, Jens Laerke, also highlighted the reported kidnapping of three schoolgirls last month.

“When armed groups like this kidnap students on the way to school that’s absolutely horrific and must be condemned.” 

The OCHA spokesperson noted that lack of funding continues to be a major issue in Cameroon, with the $299 million appeal for 2019 only 41 per cent funded.

In May, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet welcomed the Government’s declared openness to work with the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR, to seek effective solutions to the major human rights and humanitarian crises caused by the serious unrest and violence taking place in Cameroon.


UNICEF urges governments to repatriate thousands of foreign children stranded in northeast Syria

INTERNATIONAL, 4 November 2019, Peace and Security - The head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is appealing for countries to repatriate scores of foreign children who are stranded in northeast Syria in the wake of the Turkish-launched offensive which began last month.

The agency estimates nearly 28,000 children from more than 60 countries remain trapped in the region, mostly in displacement camps. This includes almost 20,000 from Iraq.

“Children, whether in the northeast or elsewhere inside Syria, must not be abandoned while the walls of war close in around them”, UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement issued on Monday.

The UN agency reports that more than 80 per cent of the stranded foreign children in northeast Syria are under the age of 12, and half are under-fives.

Additionally, around 250 boys are being held in detention, though that number is likely to be higher. Some are as young as nine.

Many are born to suspected ISIL extremists, who were militarily defeated following the Kurdish-led and United States-backed operation to take back territory across the region. This left thousands of mostly women and children to be housed in often overcrowded camps administered by local Kurdish authorities, which have reportedly been destabilized by the Syrian offensive.

Ms. Fore said the escalation “brings a renewed urgency” for governments to repatriate children who qualify as citizens, before it is too late.

“All are living in conditions not fit for children.” She added. “Their main question to the world is: What will happen to us? These children urgently need adequate care and protection.”

The UNICEF chief reminded authorities of their responsibility “to do the right thing” and bring these children and their parents home where they can receive care and be safe from violence and abuse.

So far, at least 17 countries have repatriated more than 650 children who are now living with family members. UNICEF has supported the process by helping some of the youngsters to reintegrate into their extended families and communities.

However, Ms. Fore pointed out that these countries are the exception, rather than the norm.

“Our message to governments is unequivocal: The best interests of children should be a primary consideration at all times,” she said.

UNICEF remains concerned for the safety and well-being of the stranded foreign children and of thousands of their Syrian counterparts struggling to survive in camps and detention centres in the northeast.

The agency reports that around 40,000 Syrian children have been newly displaced across the region. Some have been separated from their families while others have been injured or disabled because of the violence.

Meanwhile, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reported that 108,500 people, including 47,000 children, have been displaced since the fighting began on 9 October.  Most are living with host communities in Hasakeh, Raqqa and Deir Ezzour governorates, while 17,000 are in shelters.

OCHA said the violence compounds an already dire humanitarian situation as 1.8 million of the three million people in northeast Syria  were already in need of humanitarian assistance before this period.

The UN continues to urge all sides in the conflict to ensure that aid workers can safely  access all people in need.


Al-Baghadadi: Sister of slain ISIS leader captured in Turkey

Turkey has confirmed capture of the sister of slain ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the northern Syrian town of Azaz, according to a senior Turkish official, who shared an image of Rasmiya Awad’s identity card. Not much is known about Awad, 65, but Turkey hopes her capture will lead to a wealth of intelligence […]


In samenwerking met onze partners van de Brede school hebben we de komende tijd de volgende activiteiten:Maandag 4 nov: een schrijversbezoek van Danielle Schothorst.SmallstepsDanielle Schothorst (kinderboeken schrijver).16.15 – 17.15 uur Maandag 4 november een schrijversbezoek van Anna van PraagGroep 511.30 – 12.30 uurDonderdag 7 november een schrijversbezoek van Simon van der Geest            Groep 79.00 – 10.00 uurGroep 6a + 6b10.15 – 11.15 uurVrijdag 8 november een schrijversbezoek van Marthe JongbloedGroep 89.00 – 10.00 uurDonderdag 14 november voorstelling Pannenkoeken uit Syrië in wijkcentrum HuesmolenGroepen 1-29.30 – 10.15 uurGroepen 3-411.00 – 11.45 uur ...

Thoughts on the ISIL destruction of Nimrud

So ISIL are back in the news this morning although to be fair it seems that they are never far from the news these days. This time its because they are destroying or rather, have destroyed, the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud.My first thoughts on reading this were initially shock which quickly morphed into pragmatism. Yes its terrible that these artifacts are being destroyed but lets face it, better this than destroying more human lives although sadly no doubt it will not be long before they're back in the news for doing that too.I have to admit I hadnt even heard of Nimrud before today so any outrage I felt at its destruction was always going to be tempered by that however I wanted to look into things a little and see exactly what it was that was being destroyed.Nimrud is the Arab name for an ancient Assyrian city once called Kalhu which sits just south of Mosul on the river Tigris in northern Mesopotamia. After Nimrud had existed for about 400 years, the city became the second capital of the ancient Assyrian Empire in 879 B.C.It remained as the Assyrian capital for about 170 years, until the capital was moved -- first to Dur Sharrukin and then to ancient Nineveh.It continued to be a major Assyrian city and a royal residence until it was destroyed during the fall of the Assyrian Empire in the seventh century B.C. at the hands of an alliance between the ancient Babylonians, Chaldeans, Medes, Persians, Scythians, and Cimmerians.The ruins of Nimrud had covered an area of about 360 hectares and were located about 1 kilometer from the modern-day village of Noomanea in Iraq’s Nineveh Province.So by the looks of the pictures and description, this place was quite the big deal in archaeological and historical circles.It is indisputably a tragedy and arguably a war crime however I think its important to bear in mind that everything that was valuable enough to be moved had been moved to the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad.The sooner the cancer on humanity that is ISIL or, as they are known more commonly in the Arabic world, Da'ish is excised and destroyed the better. One hopes that Arabic powers and indeed more global powers are doing all they can to achieve. I fear the world will have to cry a lot more tears for human lives however before that is achieved and in that context, tragic though this story is, it represents a sideshow in the terrible story of the Middle East in the 21st century.

'I'd wiped out half a family': F-16 pilot grapples with guilt after a bungled bombing mission in Iraq killed at least 4 civilians


f-16 netherlands

  • A former Dutch F-16 fighter pilot who bombed a civilian home in Iraq said he is grappling with his actions that led to the deaths of at least four civilians in 2015.
  • The pilot, who goes by the pseudonym "Stefan," recounted the events surrounding his bombing mission to two Netherlands-based journalists in the De Telegraaf.
  • "You think to yourself: 'It can't be, surely?' I felt nauseous when I heard the news," Stefan said. "I feel jointly responsible. I dropped that bomb and pressed the button. I ended the lives of people who had nothing to do with [our mission]. It was slap in the face. It went against everything we were there for."
  • Stefan said he viewed drone footage of the bombing on YouTube and struggled with the incident, which was researched by The New York Times. The Times's story included pictures of the civilian family members who were killed.
  • "One evening I was sat clicking on the internet. I saw the photo and thought: that's my target," Stefan said. "At that moment, I knew it would have been self-torture to look further — but I thought if I looked away at that point, that it would be cowardly."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A Dutch F-16 fighter pilot who bombed a civilian home in Iraq thought to be an ISIS car bomb factory said he has been grappling with causing the deaths of at least four civilians on September 20, 2015.

The pilot, who goes by the pseudonym "Stefan," recounted the events surrounding his bombing mission to two Netherlands-based journalists, Olof Van Joolen and Silvan Schoonhoven, in the De Telegraaf.

"I was the mission commander, I'd done all the planning," he said in De Telegraaf. "Everything until the debriefing was successful."

It was weeks after the mission when he received word that his targets may have not been against Islamic State militants in Mosul, but civilians who were held captive under ISIS's rule in the city. The family members he had killed included the Mayada Razzo, according to an extensive New York Times investigation in 2017.

Videos taken by drones of the bombings were previously uploaded to US Central Command's YouTube channel with the caption "COALITION AIRSTRIKE DESTROYS A DAESH VBIED FACILITY NEAR MOSUL, IRAQ," referring to the acronym for improvised explosive devices fashioned from vehicles.

Basim Razzo, Mayada's husband who was a Huawei account manager who studied engineering at Western Michigan University, told The Times that he only needed to see the first few seconds to confirm he was looking at his family's homes. Razzo's wife, brother, 21-year-old daughter, and 18-year-old son were killed in the bombing that was initially believed to be a factory that produced weapons for ISIS militants.

Razzo eventually returned to the neighborhood, according to The Times: "I'm numb. I'm just numb," he said in 2017.

"You are murderers," Razzo said in a comment of CENTCOM's now-deleted YouTube video, according to The Times. "You kill innocents with cold blood and then start creating justification."

CENTCOM — the combatant command which overseas US operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and South Asia — still has videos of previous airstrikes in their YouTube channel, but have since disabled a feature allowing commenting on videos.

"I will NEVER forget my innocent and dear cousins who died in this pointless airstrike," a 16-year-old cousin of Razzo's daughter reportedly added in the comments.

'I felt nauseous'

Screen Shot 2019 11 06 at 9.40.23 AM

Three weeks after the bombing, Stefan said he received a call saying that the US was investigating the incident.

"After a few months it turned out that the target had indeed been incorrect," Stefan recounted to De Telegraaf. "Somewhere along the way, there was an error in the intelligence process."

"You think to yourself: 'It can't be, surely?' I felt nauseous when I heard the news," Stefan added. "I feel jointly responsible. I dropped that bomb and pressed the button. I ended the lives of people who had nothing to do with [our mission]. It was slap in the face. It went against everything we were there for. We were just there to help the Iraqi people."

A military report of the incident obtained by The Times indicated that the US-led coalition believed the homes were used as an ISIS command center. According to Razzo, the location was briefly used by ISIS forces, but was later abandoned after the militants took over the entire city. Despite finding "no overtly nefarious activity," the coalition deemed that a total of 95-minutes of drone footage of the neighborhood warranted a military strike.

Stefan said he viewed the drone footage of the bombing on YouTube and struggled with Razzo's story in The Times, which included pictures of his family members who were killed.

"One evening I was sat clicking on the internet. I saw the photo and thought: that's my target," Stefan said. "At that moment, I knew it would have been self-torture to look further — but I thought if I looked away at that point, that it would be cowardly."

"I'd wiped out half a family, to put it bluntly," he added. "There was one guy who had survived. Then I saw a name and a face and a picture of the children, taken a day before it had happened. A little later I put an end to that. I didn't sleep for two nights. Then life went on."

The pilot's account has sparked a rift in the Dutch military

F-16 netherlands

The pilot admitted civilian casualties were always a possibility in the fog of war, and that it was "frustrating" to find that delicate balance between decisive action and accounting for non-combatants in combat.

ISIS took control Mosul, one of the largest cities in Iraq, in 2014. For three years, roughly 600,000 civilians who resided in the city were forced to abide by ISIS's crude laws until being liberated by a joint Iraqi, Kurdish, and US military campaign.

"War isn't just dirty; it's also a rational game," Stefan reportedly said.

"We really didn't want Baghdad to fall," he added, referring to Iraq's capital. "More people would have died — civilians included. Doing nothing is even worse. War is a game that we play because all else has failed."

Stefan, who has since left the Royal Netherlands Air Force, said he considered reaching out to Razzo and his remaining family. But he says that he faces bureaucratic challenges.

"The Ministry of Defence doesn't want to link a pilot to the deployment. It's not allowed," he reportedly said, adding that he "sometimes [wants] to write a letter."

"Maybe they think I'm some kind of blunderer because I killed half a family," Stefan said. "Maybe it would help if they knew I'm really upset about it too."

In an interview with Business Insider, journalist Schoonhoven said Stefan's candid account has sparked a rift in the Dutch military. Despite possible reprisals from the military, Schoonhoven said the pilot was "quite open" about detailing his experience.

"For him, it's excruciating," Schoonhoven said. "He has to live with having killed the family members."

'This was a war situation'

Ank Bijleveld mattis

Schoonhoven said he and his colleague discovered Stefan's account while researching for their upcoming book, "Missie F-16," about the Dutch F-16's role during the various conflicts in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The aircraft is scheduled to be retired and replaced with the US-designed F-35 aircraft.

"We wanted to write a journalistic book, not a book about heroic stories," Schoonhoven said to Business Insider. "We wanted to present the dark side of flying war planes and dropping bombs."

The Dutch have been heavily active in countering ISIS. Unlike some hesitation in joining the US coalition in Afghanistan, nearly all parliamentary parties voted to participate in the campaign against ISIS. The country deployed military advisers, special forces teams, and F-16s that flew "almost daily" in Iraq and eastern Syria for the anti-ISIS campaign, according to the Ministry of Defence.

Schoonhoven and Van Joolen's research indicated that the F-16s flew over 3,000 sorties and dropped over 2,000 bombs.

Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld admitted on Tuesday that the military was responsible for the deaths of roughly 70 civilians in two bombing runs in the region, according to local media reports. Bijleveld, who claimed she was not informed of the civilian deaths by her predecessor, Jeanine Hennis, passed a no-confidence vote and offered her "sincere apologies."

"As Minister, I am responsible, also for the actions of my predecessor," she said, according to Netherlands-based NL Times.

"Our actions were aimed at preventing as much collateral damage as possible, and especially civilian casualties," she reportedly said in a letter to parliament. "However, this was a war situation where these risks can never be completely excluded."

SEE ALSO: Some US troops guarding oil fields in Syria are reportedly still waiting for military orders — including when and how they could attack the enemy

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: A podiatrist explains heel spurs, the medical condition Trump said earned him a medical deferment from Vietnam


Lindsey Graham's latest defense of Trump is that his policy is too 'incoherent' to do a quid pro quo with Ukraine


Lindsey Graham

  • GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday suggested that President Donald Trump's policy toward Ukraine is so "incoherent" that he's "incapable" of engaging in a quid pro quo in his dealings with the country. 
  • "What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to; they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo," Graham told reporters on Wednesday.
  • Graham has shifted in his defense of the president several times as the impeachment inquiry has ramped up. 
  • In September, Graham said evidence of a quid pro quo involving the president and Ukraine did "not exist."
  • After evidence emerged that a quid pro quo did occur in Trump's relations with Ukraine, Graham on Tuesday refused to look at it.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham continues to find novel ways of defending President Donald Trump as the impeachment inquiry ramps up.

Graham's latest defense of Trump is that his policy toward Ukraine is so "incoherent" that he's "incapable" of orchestrating a quid pro quo in his relations with the country.

"What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to; they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo," Graham told reporters on Wednesday.

The South Carolina senator on Tuesday said he refused to read transcripts from the testimony of current and former diplomats that were released by House investigators.

One of the diplomats — US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland — in revised testimony corroborated the existence of an explicit quid pro quo involving frozen US military aid to Ukraine and Trump's desire for certain investigations, including an inquiry into former Vice President Joe Biden.  

Graham on Tuesday dismissed Sondland's reversal, telling a CBS News reporter: "I've written this whole process off ... I think this is a bunch of BS."

The senator had previously said there was no evidence of a quid pro quo involving the president. 

On Wednesday, Graham continued to criticize the impeachment-inquiry process, which is being led by House Democrats, as he offered his new defense of Trump. 


"I find the whole process to be a sham, and I'm not going to legitimize it," Graham said on Wednesday, going on to call the whole process a "crock."

Graham added: "This whole theory of impeachment, the process is illegitimate, is outside the norm, this substance I find unpersuasive."

The Republican senator, who's the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also echoed controversial calls from Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and his colleague Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky for the name of the whistleblower who filed the complaint that sparked the inquiry to be publicly released. 

"Yes, it should be made public," Graham said, according to CNN. "The whistleblower's claims cannot be used as a basis for criminal accusations, cannot be used the basis for impeachment based on anonymity."

Graham, who was one of Trump's sharpest critics during the 2016 campaign season, has developed a reputation as one of the president's closest allies in Congress. He rarely goes against Trump, though he did briefly break from this trend last month to excoriate the president's decision to abandon US-allied Kurdish forces in Syria.

Lindsey Graham said a month ago there was no evidence of a quid pro quo. Now he's refusing to look at the evidence that shows there was.

SEE ALSO: Lindsey Graham said a month ago there was no evidence of a quid pro quo. Now he's refusing to look at the evidence that shows there was.

Join the conversation about this story »

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The Kurdish Crisis?


The city of Manjib in northeastern Syria has become a focal point for those who have attacked President Trump for pulling American troops from Syria. William J. Murray calls attention to the truths of what Christians are facing in Kurdish controlled areas.

The post The Kurdish Crisis? appeared first on Religious Freedom Coalition.


Read an excerpt from The Heart of Aleppo by Ammar Habib (Excerpt & #Giveaway) #THOAPrism


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Welcome to my tour stop! You can read an excerpt and enter the giveaway below...

The Heart of Aleppo:
A Story of the Syrian Civil War
By Ammar Habib
YA Contemporary
Paperback & ebook, 252 Pages
July 26th 2018


Winner of the 2019 Independent Press Award
#1 Bestseller in "Coming-Of-Age" Fiction
#1 Bestseller in "Asian-American" Literature

From the ashes of the Syrian Civil War comes this story of hope, love, and courage...

After standing for over 7,000 years, Aleppo's ruin came overnight. Separated from his family during the night the rebels attacked the city, thirteen-year-old Zaid Kadir is lost in the middle of a war zone. Alongside his friends, he is forced to survive the dangers of a civil war he does not even fully understand. Zaid witnesses the destruction of the brutal Syrian Civil War as it grows more deadly by the day and rips his city apart. However, as he braves this destruction, as he desperately tries to survive this catastrophe, he discovers something. Zaid realizes that it is in the darkest hours when humanity's spirit of hope burns brightest.

(Affiliate link included.)


The foul stench is everywhere. It floods the buildings and road. It’s in every crevice. It’s soaked into the very brick and mortar of these streets I used to know.
We walk in a single file: Salman up front and me in the back. The sack quickly grows heavy on my shoulder, soon seeming as if it’s filled with bricks. But I trudge on. The weight of the sack is nothing compared to what my heart is feeling right now as I see the city I call home—a city that has stood for over 7,000 years—suddenly turned into wreckage.
Not long into our journey, the last rays of sunlight disappear over the horizon and leave the forsaken city shrouded in darkness. The few street lamps and lights still standing are not illuminated. With smog encompassing the city, the stars and moon are nowhere to be seen tonight. Neither is a single stray animal. Surrounded by a thick forest of smoke and fog, I can’t even see ten feet in front of me.
But the night is not a peaceful one. The only constant reassurance that the city is not abandoned is the echo of far-off chaos and nearby flames. Thunderous explosions sound off like clockwork in the distance as they rock the city. We can’t even go a block without hearing one or feeling the ground lightly tremor beneath our feet. The first few cause me to flinch, but I slowly grow immune to the tremors. However, even with all the smoke, we almost constantly see the dim light of carnage coming from the direction of the Saif Al-Dawla District.
July nights were always warm in Aleppo, but the smoke and smoldering ruins make it all the more unbearable. The heat goes right through me. I was wise enough to bring a small towel from Jari’s kitchen and am forced to use it every twenty minutes or so to wipe off my face.
Every now and then, there is a burning vehicle, trash can, or building that provides some illumination. I usually hear the crackling flames moments before the bright fire cuts through the smoke. But even in the darkness, even when there are no flames to provide any light, I make out the silhouettes of all the destruction around us. Some buildings are completely obliterated like the one across from Jari’s shop. They’re nothing now but a mountain of brick, mortar, and ash. Others have a damaged portion or have been shot up. Debris and rubble spill onto the road. Some buildings tumbled onto one another, creating even more destruction. It’s everywhere you look. You can’t escape it.
The streets are dead silent, but the silence is not without a sound. It’s the sound of desolation. The sound of destruction. The sound of terror.

About the Author

Ammar Habib is a bestselling and award-winning author who was born in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1993. Ammar enjoys crafting stories that are not only entertaining but will also stay with the reader for a long time. Ammar presently resides in his hometown with his family, all of whom are his biggest fans. He draws his inspiration from his family, imagination, and the world around him.

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Tour-Wide Giveaway

One winner will receive a signed copy of Habib's national award-winning novel, Memories of My Future (US only). Memories of My Future is an historical/inspirational novel that was published in 2016. It received several accolades after its release, including the Independent Press Award in May 2017.

Ends November 13, 2019

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Have you read any other books set during the Syrian Civil War? What did you think of the excerpt?


Israeli official: Jerusalem providing aid to Kurds since US pullout in Syria

'We are proud of our taking a stand alongside the Kurdish people,' says Deputy FM Tzipi Hotovely, adding that they provide a bulwark against spread of Iranian influence in area

Erdogan to meet Trump in Washington next week as tensions flare

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Possession : the curious history of private collectors from antiquity to the present by Thompson, Erin L., author.

"Whether it's the discovery of $1.6 billion in Nazi-looted art or the news that Syrian rebels are looting UNESCO archeological sites to buy arms, art crime commands headlines. Erin Thompson, America's only professor of art crime, explores the dark history of looting, smuggling, and forgery that lies at the heart of many private art collections and many of the world's most renowned museums. Enlivened by fascinating personalities and scandalous events, Possession shows how collecting antiquities h

30 killed in Syria clashes between Kurds, pro-Turkey forces

Damascus, Nov 7: Clahes in the northern Syria between Kurdish militias and Turkey-backed rebels have left 30 dead, a war monitor reported.

The Destruction of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Compound (Three Video Compilation)


Background This clip is a compilation of three declassified videos released by the Department of Defense. The official captions are compiled below for reference: Video #1: Upon exfiltration of the target compound, U.S. forces employ precision munitions from a U.S. Remotely Piloted Aircraft to destroy the compound and its contents. Video #2: Following a raid on a compound in Syria occupied by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, U.S. special operations forces deploy precision munitions from a U.S. remotely piloted aircraft to destroy the compound and its contents, Oct. 26, 2019. Video #3: Remotely piloted aircraft footage shows the effects of precision munitions deployed from a U.S. remotely piloted aircraft to destroy the compound formerly occupied by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, Oct. 26, 2019. Raw Video File SyriaCompoundDestruction.mp4 (80MB)

The post The Destruction of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Compound (Three Video Compilation) appeared first on The Black Vault.


Close Air Aviation Engagement of Hostile Fighters During Raid of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Compound


Background Close air aviation engages fighters who demonstrated hostile intent against U.S. forces during infiltration of the compound occupied by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, Oct. 26, 2019. Raw Video File 1920×1080 (Highest Resolution Available)          

The post Close Air Aviation Engagement of Hostile Fighters During Raid of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Compound appeared first on The Black Vault.


U.S. Special Forces Move In on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Compound


Background U.S. special operations forces move toward an objective in the compound occupied by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria, Oct. 26, 2019. Raw Video File 1280×720 (Highest Resolution Available)            

The post U.S. Special Forces Move In on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Compound appeared first on The Black Vault.


Allan Saxe, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed in Syria by US Troops


Allan Saxe Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas Arlington.


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed in Syria by US Troops


Steve Gruber, Abu Bakr Al Bahgdadi—the man who 5 years ago came out and declared a new caliphate in The Middle East and declared he was the leader of ISIS


Its time to get to it—this is where the truth is gleaned from the media rot—and we find the facts hidden by others agendas— Its the Steve GRUBER show—God Bless America—


And here are 3 BIG things you need to know—


Three— We are searching for the truth of what really happened with auto no fault insurance—who it impacts and who are the winners and losers in all of it—the Auto No Fault reality tour is on the road again—


Two— Hillary Clinton continues to saber rattle— as she continues to float the idea of a 3rd run for President—and I for one continue to encourage her to do so—I mean that would be a dream come true for the next year! Can you imagine—I can!


And Number One— Abu Bakr Al Bahgdadi—the man who 5 years ago came out and declared a new caliphate in The Middle East and declared he was the leader of ISIS—or ISIL as the former President likes to call them—but either way Bahgdadi—is Dead after a daring raid into Western Syria by US forces!


Is this Iraq's Arab Spring?

Iraq is currently facing such an alarming array of economic, political and social problems that many observers fear no-one will be up to the task of delivering the much-needed reforms. By Stasa Salacanin | Since the beginning of October thousands of protesters, mostly young Iraqis, from central and southern Iraqi major cities have been voicing their opposition to the deteriorating economic conditions, sectarian politics and rampant corruption that plague the country. Indeed, the country has been one of the most corrupt in the world for decades – according to Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Index, Iraq ranks 168 out of 175 countries. Protestors are also expressing their anger over high unemployment and the common governmental practice of political staffing, where sectarian or ethnic quotas rather than qualifications apply. The majority accuse the ruling elite of abusing public funds and mismanaging the country’s national resources while completely failing to meet the needs of the Iraqi population. But perhaps one of the main – and most surprising – characteristics of the October protests is the fact that the protestors are mostly younger Shia citizens who have turned against a Shia-led political establishment. While there are very few Sunni Arabs or Iraqi Kurds among the protestors, with demonstrations taking place in central and southern Iraq, where the population is predominantly Shia, there has been an increase in the use of national symbols. Transcending sectarian and ethnic divisions The sentiment is Iraqi; these young people are not demonstrating as Shia Arabs, but as citizens who are furious with the system which was imposed upon them following the toppling of Saddam Hussein and the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. How the unrest in Iraq will impact on the region remains to be seen, but it is clearly posing a major threat to Tehran. Iran's state news agency IRNA has accused the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel of fomenting unrest in Iraq in order to sabotage Iran’s ties with Iraq and Syria. However, many Iraqis including the Shia are less than enamoured of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), powerful non-state actors over which Bagdad has limited control, as many of them are heavily under the influence of Tehran. Among Iraqis, there is the overriding perception that their country is becoming a fiefdom for foreign political and paramilitary factions that many view as a blatant violation of Iraqi national sovereignty. Arab Spring in Iraq While the protests in southern Iraq in summer 2018 addressed similar issues, this time they are becoming increasingly militant and are not only calling for the resignation of the current government but aim to overthrow and change the entire political system.As the demonstrations appear to be leaderless and without a specific agenda, except for expressing general dissatisfaction and impatience with conditions in the country, it remains unclear, however, whether the protests will produce any of the desired changes.   Imad Harb, director of research and analysis at the Arab Center in Washington DC, writes that the protests "offer another example of an approaching, painful, and final collapse of the traditional Arab political order that has shown its impotence in addressing the myriad problems besetting Arab societies today." Furthermore, a commentary published by Middle East expert and head of research at Gulf State Analytics Giorgio Cafiero on LobeLog, posits that the recent unrest in Iraq should be interpreted in the wider context of turmoil that has been spreading all over the Arab region, as the citizens of Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Sudan express their deep dissatisfaction with their corrupt governments. According to him, "it is fair to conclude that the Arab Spring has reached Iraq." Can the government regain control of the situation? The government’s brutal response to the unrest and the high number of civilian casualties has put Iraqi Prime Minister Abdel Mahdi under great pressure. Despite promising reforms and ordering a broad cabinet reshuffle, he has so far struggled to address the protesters’ complaints and instead continues to make blunder after blunder. At the beginning of October, for instance, Staff Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, widely perceived as a national hero due to his role in fighting Islamic State, was demoted. Then there is the ongoing use of live ammunition and tear gas to disperse the protesters, which could prove the final nail in the prime minister’s coffin. In such circumstances, it is highly unlikely that mere promises will be able to calm tensions in the country. What is more, the fragile coalition over which Abdel Mahdi presides has begun to crack, making his position even more uncertain. While it is hard to imagine that the current Iraqi government will be able to introduce any major reforms, since the prime minister is actually a hostage to the powerful political and paramilitary factions, Mahdi is right about one thing – in his speech after the first wave of protests he declared that there are "no magical" solutions to the problems. The problems faced by the Iraqis are so numerous and complex that many observers fear that no-one will be up to the task of delivering the much-needed reforms. Solving the social and economic crisis that is at the heart of the protests would require painful cuts to the public sector, which already employs over 3 million Iraqis, as well as removing subsidies for gas, food and electricity. Unpopular at the best of times, such measures would merely be likely to provoke more unrest in the current climate.  Last but not least, even though the protests are not sectarian in motivation, sectarianism remains firmly rooted in Iraqi society. Powerful political factions such as the pro-Iranian Fatah party of Hadi al-Ameri, the Axis party of Khamis Khanjar favoured by Iraqi Sunnis and the Barzani clan’s Kurdistan Democratic Party all aim to limit the power of Bagdad’s central government and are thus largely contributing to the impotence of the Iraqi state. We must hope that Iraq is not heading towards disaster along Syrian lines.  Stasa Salacanin © 2019

I Saw the Birth, and Bloody Death, of the Dream of Syrian Democracy

The Syrian revolution was started by patriots—and ended by international jihadis supported by the United States.

Erdogan: Turkey Captures Slain ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi’s Wife

The first question that comes to mind is “Which wife?” Al-Baghdadi was known to have four wives, plus several ex-wives, one of whom was arrested in Lebanon in 2014, and freed a year later in a prisoner swap with al-Qaida. The 2nd question is “What part did the ‘intelligence gold mine’ obtained from the capture of al-Baghdadi’s elder sister days earlier play in the wife capture?” Suzan Fraser at the Associated Press connects some dots: “The ISIS leader blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. special forces on his heavily fortified safe house in the Syrian province


Erdogan says Turkey captured Baghdadi’s wife in Syria

Turkey has captured a wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, more than a week after the former Daesh (ISIS) leader killed himself during a raid by U.S. special forces.

LETTER: Blundering untrustworthy President

After President Erdogan of Turkey spoke to President Trump an inept decision was made by Trump to pull our military forces from northern Syria. This allowed Turkey to invade and attack the Kurds.Syrian Kurds have been loyal allies of U.S. armed forces since 2015 when they helped to clear ISIS from Syria at a significant cost to themselves. The Turkish invasion and displacement of the Kurds has allowed some ISIS prisoners to escape from prisons guarded by the Kurds, and it appears [...]

CARL HIAASEN: When K9 Conan visits President Trump, which one has to wear the muzzle?

An absolutely true news item: President Trump has ordered the military to arrange a White House visit for Conan, the Army Delta Force K9 that cornered Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi moments before the ISIS leader killed himself during a U.S. raid.The following are pre-event questions from the White House for [REDACTED NAME OF UNIT LEADER IN CHARGE OF K9 CONAN], to be classified top secret, encrypted and transmitted to (REDACTED NAME OF MISSION BASE IN SYRIA].Will K9 Conan be on a [...]

Biden: U.S. Forces Securing Syrian Oil Fields Is ISIS Recruiting Tool

Former Vice President Joe Biden tells WSJ's Gerald F. Seib that President Trump’s decision to send U.S. forces back into Syrian positions to secure the country’s oil fields is “like a giant 300-foot recruiting poster for ISIS.”

Deadly car bomb in Turkish controlled border town.

At least thirteen people killed in a bomb explosion in a town on the Syria-Turkey border; Fresh clashes between police and protestors on the streets of Hong Kong; And what European bee-keepers have to do to prepare their charges for the winter

Turkije: Zus van gedode IS-leider Al Baghdadi opgepakt in Syrië


Turkije claimt de zus van de gedode IS-leider Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi te hebben opgepakt. Het land hoopt veel informatie over interne gang van zaken bij Islamitische Staat los te peuteren van de 65-jarige Rasmiya Awad. Lees hele artikel.


'NCTV: Terugkeer Syriëgangers beter voor nationale veiligheid'


In het belang van de nationale veiligheid is het beter om vrouwen en kinderen die vastzitten in Syrische kampen terug te halen naar Nederland. Dat staat in een vertrouwelijke memo van de Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid (NCTV) die in het voorjaar van 2018 met het kabinet is gedeeld, meldt de Volkskrant vrijdag. Lees hele artikel.


Twee ontsnapte Syriëgangers melden zich met kinderen bij ambassade in Turkije


Twee Nederlandse vrouwen en drie kinderen die vastzaten in het Syrische gevangenenkamp in Al Hol hebben zich donderdag gemeld bij de Nederlandse ambassade in de Turkse hoofdstad Ankara met het verzoek terug te keren naar Nederland. Lees hele artikel.


World Series champ Washington Nationals take celebration to White House

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Turkey’s Erdoğan back in the driver’s seat


Turkey’s Erdoğan back in the driver’s seat


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may be as secure in his position as Turkey's leader as he has ever been, even after widespread international condemnation of his Syria offensive and what many saw as debilitating electoral losses earlier this year. 

Some 300,000 people have been displaced since Turkey launched a military operation in northeast Syria on Oct. 9, aiming to clear the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliate the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from its border areas. 

The European Union has suspended weapons sales to NATO-member Turkey and threatened sanctions. The U.S. House of Representatives has approved sanctions on Erdoğan and other Turkish officials for the Syria offensive, while a range of prominent figures and organisations have described actions by Turkey and its rebel allies as ethnic cleansing and war crimes, pointing to reports of white phosphorous use and roadside executions. 

There has been criticism at home as well. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu delivered a detailed criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Syria policy on Tuesday, highlighting seven errors, including enabling the passage of foreign fighters to join Islamic State (ISIS).

But a survey out on Tuesday found support for Erdoğan had surged since the launch of the operation, with support for the president at 48 percent, the highest in 18 months. 

“Erdoğan has definitely taken advantage of the incursion,” Tezcan Gümüş, lecturer at the University of Melbourne and analyst of Turkish politics and democracy, told Ahval in a podcast. 

Several analysts have argued that Turkey’s Syria offensive was in large part a political move during difficult times. Gümüş pointed to Turkey’s significant economic downturn since a currency crisis that peaked in August 2018, the AKP’s electoral defeats in major cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, earlier this year, and the looming challenge posed by two former senior AKP members readying new political parties. 

“It was a very opportunistic move in terms of reversing the electoral slide and regaining its popularity -- and this rally around the flag strategy seems to have worked instantly for Erdoğan’s popularity,” he said. 

Gümüş, whose forthcoming book is about opposition parties in Turkey under authoritarian rule, points out that Erdoğan has two major advantages over predecessors like Adnan Menderes, prime minister from 1950 to 1960: he has de-fanged the military, which in previous eras would step forward to halt any slide toward authoritarianism, and implemented a presidential system that has given him unprecedented power. 

“Since the constitutional referendum in 2017, pretty much all the levers of the state and government are under the president,” said Gümüş. “The overwhelming power is in the hands of Erdoğan and there’s really nothing opposition parties can do.”

Gümüş points out that in the 12 months after the referendum, more than three-quarters of all new laws (77 percent) were made by presidential decree, without due process or parliamentary involvement. 

Some see Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu as a potential challenger to Erdoğan, particularly in light of his landslide victory in the rerun mayoral vote in June, which many hailed as the beginning of the end for Turkey’s president.   

Yet Erdoğan has begun using his presidential powers to erode İmamoğlu’s influence, such as with a new draft law that would hand authority over all variety of development near the Bosporus Strait to a new national body, taking it away from the Istanbul municipality.

Gümüş expects Erdoğan to continue issuing decrees that whither away the power of opposition-controlled cities, in particular Istanbul, a key source of AKP patronage. İmamoğlu could push back against such moves in court, but can do little to reverse them.

“There’s a long ways to go for İmamoğlu to challenge Erdoğan, given that Erdoğan has vast control of the political landscape,” said Gümüş.

Strengthening Erdoğan’s position is the fact that critics are often silenced by criminal charges and the vast majority of Turkish media outlets are pro-government. This might explain why little has been heard in recent weeks from former economic czar Ali Babacan and the former prime minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, both of whom recently broke from the AKP and had been expected to launch new parties this month. 

Gümüş wondered if they might bide their time until the nationalist wave of popularity passes and then try to capture the public’s attention. He could also see Erdoğan calling for early elections - none are scheduled until late 2023 - before the new parties are able to get their footing. 

“That could definitely happen given that he’s riding a massive wave of popularity,” said Gümüş. “But that would just mean he would win again.”

Besides Turkey’s still-troubled economy, the weak point in Erdoğan’s political armour may be the absence of support from Kurds, some 18 percent of the population. Much of Turkey’s Kurdish community supported the AKP in Erdoğan’s early years, particularly once the peace process started in 2013. 

But since the renewal of conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in mid-2015, Turkish Kurds have seen many of their cities destroyed, many of their leading politicians indicted, arrested and jailed, and just this year the mayors of the three largest cities in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast removed from office within weeks of electoral victories. 

Now Ankara is taking its fight to Kurds across the border in Syria as it sees the YPG and SDF as extensions of the PKK, which is labelled a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union and Turkey, 

“This has fomented a lot of distrust toward the government that they will do anything right by the Kurdish community,” said Gümüş. “The domestic Kurdish population arriving at some sort of political solution, I think that’s null and void at this time.”

Yet Erdoğan has been able to stay on top of Turkish politics for so long mainly because he is a shrewd political player; Gümüş expects him to remain in power for many years.  

“I definitely don’t see Erdoğan going anywhere, voluntarily or electorally,” he said. “Throughout Turkey’s multi-party history we do see precedents of what’s happening now, but Erdoğan is the only leader who’s been able to amass so much political power in his hands and wield it freely and unchecked.” 


An uncontrollable mess: The proliferation of state spyware


An uncontrollable mess: The proliferation of state spyware


Three NGOs and a digital rights platform from Germany including Reporters Without Borders (RSF Germany), The Society for Civil Rights (GFF), the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) this month filed a criminal lawsuit against FinFisher, a German company that develops and markets the spyware called FinSpy, for illegally exporting their software to Turkey. The Munich public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the charges. 

The matter is not new for those who follow this field; reports of FinSpy's use against the opposition in Turkey have been circulating for years. This latest episode is based on the claim that the Turkish government planted the software on a fake website designed to attract people interested in, or involved with the Adalet website, which was originally created to facilitate the coordination of opposition during 2017 protest marches. 

According to the claims, this site contained an app that infected the users' devices with FinSpy, which has many capabilities that can completely undermine the privacy of the individuals who used their devices, opening up opportunities for the Turkish government to abuse information to put pressure on opposition figures. At this point, this is a claim that is still being investigated, but it is well known that intelligence agencies, governments, and even third parties routinely utilise spyware for multiple purposes.

Installing antivirus or privacy protection software is no guarantee against such tools, which are designed to evade such measures. Regardless of the result of the German court case, such tools will continue to proliferate in the foreseeable future. As early as six years ago, researchers from the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto found servers operating FinSpy in 25 countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Netherlands, Qatar and the United States. 

In some cases, the sale and use of FinSpy happened through legal channels, but in an age when the proliferation of extremely complex and costly programmes such as nuclear weapons cannot be fully controlled, to suggest that uncontrolled proliferation of mere software is difficult as it is bound by legal frameworks would be ludicrous. There have already been multiple reports of state actors using FinSpy to monitor their populations and suppress dissent, as the Turkish example also suggests.

And FinSpy is by no means the only tool used by states for such purposes; another recent report of abuse, also revealed by the Citizen Lab in 2018 shows that spyware called Pegasus, developed by Israeli company NSO Group was used by a number of countries. Citizen Lab also found that at least 10 operators of the spyware "appear to be engaged in cross-border surveillance". In total, the report found Pegasus infections in 45 countries.

When it comes to the proliferation of surveillance software, states are not the only interested audience; from businesses to hacker groups (ethical or otherwise), from criminal organisations to terrorist organisations, there is an enormous and chaotic marketplace for such tools, and proliferation happens at every level. In the case of Pegasus, a former employee of NSO Group was charged with stealing the spyware and trying to sell it for $50 million over the dark web. 

Much of the code of FinSpy was found to have been copied and used by the hacker group StrongPity, which staged numerous "Man-in-the-Middle (MiTM)" attacks in recent years, especially in Turkey (but also in Belgium, Italy and Syria). In other words, FinFisher did not have to sell anything illegally to anyone; its code and methods could be compromised by one of many hacker groups. 

Proliferation does not only happen through illicit or illegal means. In 2016, it was found that Turk Telekom had used Sandvine/Procera Networks Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) devices to deliver FinSpy to users who wanted to download Windows applications. Similar claims were made for Telecom Egypt, as well. When the U.S.-based company Procera, which operates branches in Canada and Sweden, became aware through its engineers in Sweden that its products were used by Turk Telekom, senior technical engineer Kriss Andsten resigned, sending a company-wide email that said: "I do not wish to spend the rest of my life with the regret of having been a part of Erdoğan’s insanity, so I'm out." 

According to Forbes, the initial request by Turk Telekom through a proxy had been deemed legitimate by senior figures at the company. But it turned out that Turk Telekom did not just request usernames and passwords, but also the IP addresses of the users, as well as a list of sites they visited.

The strength of the software that was sold to Turkey was likened to a tool used by the National Security Agency in its capabilities by computer security researchers.

If you thought that the major threat to your privacy came from businesses and social media, consider the fact that the motivations of most businesses involve profit, and the legal tools at their disposal can only collect so much. While this is not taken lightly, it is the tip of the iceberg. What about tools built from the ground up to spy on your every activity, designed to avoid detection, tools capable of reading all your messages, including encrypted ones, tools capable of locating your location at any given time with great precision, tools that can not only access your most intimate personal information, but are capable of acting on your behalf using your own equipment?" Do not forget, these tools are primarily being used by state actors with vast resources, in addition to other groups.

Turkey has been accused time and again of abusing human rights, including the right to privacy. In all three examples above, Turkey was one of the top consumers of spyware. This is not a coincidence.

*My thanks to MiTM Labs ( for the help in researching certain aspects of this article.


© Ahval English

The views expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.


Syria offensive exposes Turkey’s disastrous counter-terrorism policy


Syria offensive exposes Turkey’s disastrous counter-terrorism policy


Turkey's problematic counter-terror efforts in northeast Syria have left it using detained Islamic State (ISIS) fighters to threaten Europe and possibly increasing the Kurdish threat along its border while losing the support of key allies like the United States. 

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu told reporters on Monday that Turkey would return captured ISIS members to their countries of origin even if those countries had revoked their citizenship.

Blaise Misztal, a fellow at U.S. think tank the Hudson Institute, saw Soylu’s statement as akin to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's repeated threat to “open the gates” and let refugees flood into Europe. 

“It’s hard to see how that is anything more than an extension of the sort of blackmail that Turkey has been engaging in on Syrian refugees,” Misztal told Ahval in a podcast. “This is really a veiled threat against European countries.”  

Also on Monday, Turkey demanded Germany take back 20 ISIS members. 

Some 2,000 foreign ISIS fighters and 11,000 of their family members are being held in Kurdish-controlled detention camps in northeast Syria. Soylu also said Turkey was holding 1,200 ISIS detainees in Turkish prisons and had captured 287 ISIS members in northeast Syria. 

Launched on Oct. 9, Turkey’s Syria operation has killed at least 250 people, mostly Kurds, and displaced some 300,000 people, leading to fears of ethnic cleansing by prominent observers, including former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. 

Turkey’s main military objective is decimating the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliate the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has led an insurgency in Turkey since 1984 and is labelled a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, as well as Turkey. 

Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Monday that a considerable blow had been dealt to the YPG and called on Western allies for support. 

“Turkey expects its allies, be it the U.S., EU or any other country, to assume a clear stance against all kinds of terror,” said Kalın. “Recognising the PKK as a terror group on paper is not enough. What you practice is important.”

U.S. forces visited the YPG in Qamishli, in northeast Syria, on Saturday and a source told Agence France-Presse that the United States planned to set up a military post there. The Wall Street Journal quoted U.S. officials as saying a U.S. convoy on Sunday saw artillery strikes landing close to its position near the town of Tel Tamr where fighting had intensified between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

This followed a recent incident when Turkish forces fired on U.S. positions in Kobani. Also on Sunday, the aid group Free Burma Rangers said one of its workers was killed and another wounded by a Turkish drone strike near Tal Tamr on Sunday.

“What the United States wanted was to avoid a confrontation with Turkish troops, it did not necessarily want to end the counter-terrorism partnership with the SDF,” said Misztal, who sees frictions between U.S. troops and Turkish and Turkish-backed forces lingering and even increasing as long as the U.S. mission in northeast Syria remains ambiguous. 

President Donald Trump has said U.S. forces will be staying in Syria to protect Kurd-controlled oil fields, but U.S. forces have continued the fight against ISIS. After the U.S. killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last week, Bloomberg reported that the United States was looking into possible Turkish intelligence links to ISIS, particularly as the Turkish military has observation posts not far from Baghdadi’s hideout. 

Turkey’s focus on the PKK-YPG has left it blind to other forms of terrorism, said Misztal, pointing to an oft-ignored concern in regards to terrorism in northern Syria: what might happen to al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a group with links to Turkey, once it is pushed out of Idlib by the forces of President Bashar Assad. “Where will they go? And what will (HTS’) relationship with Turkey look like?” he wondered. 

Misztal also cited reporting that ISIS cells still exist in Turkey today, that thousands of foreign fighters traveled through Turkey to join ISIS, and that Turkish intelligence sent weapons to rebels in Syria.  

“ISIS is a major national security threat for Turkey,” Yusuf Erim, political analyst for Turkish state broadcaster TRT World, told Ahval. "While many have tried to downplay Turkey's contributions in the fight against the terror group, the truth is Turkey has neutralised more ISIS terrorists than any other country.”

State-run Anadolu news agency said Turkey had killed 3,500 ISIS terrorists and arrested 5,500. Yet the annual U.S. State Department country report on Turkey, released on Friday, warned that it remained a transit point for foreign fighters and could serve as a corridor to replenish ISIS. 

The Turkish presidency condemned the report for not mentioning the SDF or YPG, and presidential adviser Fahrettin Altun announced early Tuesday that Turkey had captured the sister of ISIS leader Baghdadi. 

“There’s a certain myopia in the Turkish government about who’s really a terrorist,” said Misztal, pointing out that Baghdadi was killed in Idlib province, which is controlled by HTS. 

This shows the moral bankruptcy, said Misztal, of Turkey’s argument that it is laser-focused on the YPG and terrorism. Now, instead of having its ally, the United States, partnering with the YPG, Turkey faces the prospect of the Syrian Kurdish militia controlled by less friendly governments in Moscow and Damascus. 

“You’re not going to see Syria and Russia really want to stamp out the YPG in a way Turkey would want to,” he said, pointing out that Russia and Syria both made common cause with the PKK against Turkey in the 1990s. “Sometime down the road, they’re probably going to be more willing to arm the YPG, more willing to support the PKK inside Turkey, than the U.S. ever was.”

Already, SDF Commander Mazloum Kobani is now sitting at the negotiating table with the United States and Russia. "Turkey is not completely happy as there are still YPG elements in the region," said Erim, adding that Ankara reserves the right to resume military operations as needed.

Misztal pointed out that Erdoğan supported rebels seeking to topple Assad for years, and still supports Syrian opposition forces like HTS in Idlib. 

“It stands to reason that Assad will want to pay him back in kind, and have his own proxy force that he can deploy against Turkey,” said Misztal. “I think in the long-term Turkey is making its situation on the Syrian-Turkish border worse. It’s creating the conditions to enable the very thing it wants to prevent, which is the further strengthening of the PKK.”


Is Turkey-Qatar alliance in danger?


Is Turkey-Qatar alliance in danger?


Pro-government Turkish news outlets have begun attacking Qatar-owned Al Jazeera’s coverage of Turkey’s Syria offensive, pointing toward potential trouble in the supposedly cosy Turkey-Qatar alliance. 

Turkey and Qatar have in recent years become close allies and strategic partners. When the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and their allies placed a blockade on Qatar in mid-2017, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dispatched emergency food supplies and troops to Qatar and committed to expanding Turkey’s military presence there. 

When the Turkish lira tumbled in August 2018, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani promised $15 billion in Qatari investment for Turkey. 

“Today, that seemingly unshakable alliance is now under threat – from within,” Turkish pro-government Daily Sabah said in an editorial on Monday, expanding on a similar complaint made in a lengthy analysis by state-run broadcaster TRT World at the weekend. 

“Al Jazeera English, Qatar's flagship news channel, has been spreading anti-Turkey propaganda,” said Daily Sabah. “Under the pretext of independent and objective journalism, the network has succumbed to bias and fake news to mis-portray known terrorists and fugitives from law as oppressed activists. Jumping on the Western media's Turkey-bashing bandwagon, the network smeared last month's Turkish operation into northeastern Syria.”

Turkey’s position is that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliate the People’s Protection Units (YPG) are extensions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has led an insurgency in Turkey for 35 years and is labelled a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union, as well as Turkey. 

This, Ankara argues, made the Kurdish entity along the Syrian border an existential threat and necessitated Turkey’s incursion, despite the fact that the SDF played a crucial role in the U.S.-led effort to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS). 

The TRT World analysis detailed anti-Turkey reporting in both Al Jazeera and Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, pinning the former’s as worse. 

“Al Jazeera English goes a step further and even describes the PKK parent organisation as simply ‘Kurdish fighters’- completely whitewashing it of its bloody history,” said the report

“By labelling the YPG as ‘Kurds’ or ‘Kurdish forces’, they are de-facto elevated to the role of representatives of the Kurdish people as a whole.”

Since its Oct. 9 launch, Turkey’s offensive in northeast Syria has led to hundreds of deaths and displaced some 300,000 people. International media and Western news outlets have in recent weeks charged Ankara with ethnic cleansing, war crimes and worse.

The SDF has used the word genocide to describe Turkey’s actions, as have a number of British newspapers and at least one U.S. senator. 

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives appeared to doubly punish Turkey for its offensive, voting for sanctions against Erdoğan and other officials for the Syria offensive and passing a resolution to officially acknowledge the Armenian genocide, which Turkey officially denies. 

All of this appears to have put Turkey’s NATO allies in an uncomfortable position. The Times reported on Monday that the UN had decided against looking for traces of white phosphorous in a recent attack by Turkey-backed rebels, which it said suggests NATO members seem reluctant to investigate possible war crimes committed by Turkey and its partners in Syria. 

Daily Sabah went on to say that Al Jazeera had charged Turkey with deporting Syrian refugees, “without a shred of evidence”. Last week, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said Turkey had been deporting Syrians and warned against any future returns to a conflict zone. 

The editorial said that while Al Jazeera Arabic continued to provide the necessary nuance on Syria, Al Jazeera English sought to reshape regional geopolitics. 

“A small group of people within Al Jazeera English are deliberately dismantling the network's own legacy and undermining the Turkey-Qatar partnership in an attempt to dictate the Gulf nation's foreign policy,” said Daily Sabah. 

Dr. Ali Bakeer, an Ankara-based political analyst, pointed out that he wrote an article for Al Jazeera English last month defending Turkey’s Syria offensive, so the site appears not to have taken a fully anti-Turkey position on the issue. 

Yet Bakeer did view Daily Sabah as a poor choice of medium for airing grievances between allies. “I think that whatever the problem regarding the coverage of Al Jazeera English, the Qataris would have certainly preferred that such an issue should have been conveyed through the appropriate channels,” he told Ahval. 

David Roberts, lecturer at King’s College London and non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, sees Ankara being overly sensitive in this case, as about 90 percent of the time Al Jazeera staffers make their own editorial decisions.   

“I tend not to get excited about ‘Al Jazeera slanders x or y,’ kind of stories,” said Roberts, author of Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City State. 

“They are a bureaucracy and all bureaucracies are punchy and resilient in their own ways,” he explained. “I rarely believe that the Qatar government has forced Al Jazeera to do anything. I think it's more likely that Al Jazeera people decided by themselves, to curry favour with Qatari bosses, or they just thought their story was right.”

Either way, Turkey’s pro-government media is not taking any chances, perhaps because Turkey expects to open a new military base in Qatar by the end of the year. 

“The Turkey-Qatar partnership's future is at stake,” said Daily Sabah. “Before it is too late, Al Jazeera needs to weed out all individuals seeking to poison that alliance behind the smokescreen of independent journalism.”


Turkey’s green light in Syria now flashing yellow


Turkey’s green light in Syria now flashing yellow


The initial rise in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s popularity that greeted Turkey’s success in securing a green light from Donald Trump to attack the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria quickly transformed into cautious negotiations with other actors in Syria. 

Faced with economic sanctions that Turkey, and his political position, could not endure, Erdoğan agreed to a pause in the assault on the People’s Protection Units (YPG) forces to allow them to withdraw from the 32 km safety zone along the Syrian border with Turkey.

Subsequently, Erdoğan had to accommodate his ambitions to the agenda of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, and by extension, Syrian President Bashar Assad’s goal to re-establish his control of the entire country.   And we can expect Iran to assist Assad in that and encourage a reconciliation of the YPG/SDF with Assad’s regime.  And though promised to depart, U.S. forces remains in northeast Syria with a mandate to secure potentially lucrative oil fields.

Military operations are expensive, and though the use of irregular militias reduces the casualties Turkey might face, the financial burden is not eased much by their use.  At the same time, foreign investors are still holding back on investing in Turkey, seen by many as less financially stable following the incursion into northern Syria than before.  The Turkish people overwhelmingly support Erdoğan’s efforts against the YPG, but the political gains may be fleeting if the economy does not show signs of improvement soon.  Also, by claiming success against the YPG, Erdoğan opens himself to a call from his opponents to focus on domestic economic issues now that he’s handled the terrorist abroad.

Economic growth will be hard to come by, in part due to the threat of sanctions.  Even if the U.S. Congress does not proceed with sanctions, either because the Senate under Mitch McConnell’s leadership won’t vote on sanctions or because President Trump blocks their implementation, the potential for sanctions will make foreign investors and domestic business hesitant to undertake new projects.  Business investors like predictability, and in U.S.-Turkey relations, that is in short supply.

There are other concerns as well.  The lopsided vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on an Armenian Genocide resolution, 405-11, shows that Turkey, or at least Erdoğan, has few friends remaining in the U.S. Congress.  The apparent lack of coordination with Turkey in tracking down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, even though he was only 5 kilometres from the Turkish border, raises doubts about the degree to which the U.S. and Turkish militaries trust each other.  Among policy makers, some suspect, without evidence, that Turkey was at least aware of Baghdadi’s location, if not actively protecting him, much like suspicions some U.S. officials had about Pakistani military intelligence personnel protecting Osama bin Laden given his location near Pakistan’s military academy.  Such suspicions, speculation without evidence or merit, are corrosive in the relations between two nations. 

In response to the Baghdadi raid, Erdoğan recently hinted that Turkey could pursue terrorists in foreign countries and assassinate them, as the Americans did.  This ignores the fact that Erdoğan alone names those opponents as terrorists while Baghdadi was labelled a terrorist by every nation in the world.  To suggest that hunting down a vile murderer is akin to sending assassination squads after political opponents living abroad may play well with his most ardent supporters, but no reasonable person sees them as comparable in any way.  Any such, action undertaken in the U.S. would be destructive to what remains of positive U.S.-Turkish relations.

Turkey’s burgeoning partnership with Russia also calls for caution.  Turkey may engage in joint patrols with Russian forces in some border areas, but the anti-Assad militia fighters it uses as ground forces have already clashed with regime forces. 

Assad’s forces would certainly like to eliminate the opposition fighters that Turkey is using, and they for their part would like to re-ignite their actions against the Syrian regime. So Turkey now finds itself depending on Russia to work with it to secure its southern border as it had previously worked with the U.S. to restrain the SDF/YPG.  For how long the various sides can be held back from avenging themselves on others remains to be seen.

The YPG/PYD has already reached an accommodation of sorts with Assad’s regime. They know that plans for a semi-autonomous Kurdish enclave within northern Syria are dead, for now.  However, they to for Assad to use them as a counterweight against the anti-regime militias now supported by Turkey.  How they will operate against Turkish forces and its allied militias, as the U.S. would not allow, remains an open question.

Overhanging all of this is President Erdoğan’s commitment to return one million or more Syrian refugees from Turkey to Syria.  But to do so, he will need the agreement or at least acquiescence of the different factions and actors in northern Syria, as well as that of the refugees themselves.  Of course, he could try to force them back into Syria, but that would only intensify the denunciations of his policies by European, Arab (excepting Qatar), and North American politicians, and further reduce willingness for their nationals to invest in Turkey.

In sum, just as the death of Baghdadi does not solve the problem of ISIS, the green light from Trump to Erdoğan (better seen as the removal of multiple stop signs) does not signal an easy path forward for Turkey in Syria.  Without the U.S. as its partner, Turkey will increasingly enjoy the gentle and warm embrace of a partnership with Putin’s Russia.  Given all the curves in the road and the competing vehicles on the road, Erdoğan must proceed with caution to avoid a crash. 


Russia to Set up Air Base

Russian forces has established a headquarters near Qamishli airport in northeast Syria, as a part of ongoing efforts to convert it to an air base, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on November 2. According to the UK-based monitoring group, the headquarters was established in the “agriculture club” in the vicinity of the airport […]

Putin: Have NWO Agents Published “A World Map” and “Marked All the U.S. Military Bases on It” Yet?

“At this point, the US has some kind of military presence in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, U.A.E., Uzbekistan, and Yemen.”

Syrian War Report – November 6, 2019: SDF Supporters Block Joint Turkish-Russian Patrol

…from SouthFront On November 5, Russian and Turkish forces carried out a second join patrol in northern Syria. According to the Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel, the patrol started in the village of Alishar near the border town of Kobani and covered 160km. 50 Russian and Turkish personnel and at least eight units of […]

SAA takes over NE Syria oilfield

Jim W. Dean - We have the US' official position that it considers ISIS and the Syrian government as threats against which the US can do anything it wants. I think they call this unipolar conquest.


Syria: 25 casualties and injuries in airstrikes by Russian warplanes on a village west of Aleppo city; 1 killed and 7 injured in airstrikes in west Mosul


Syria/Turkey: Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi's brother travelled in and out of Istanbul as his courier for months, Iraqi intelligence reports

Turkey Walking on Tightrope Held by US and Russia


An Iranian expert of Turkish developments says Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is pursuing a policy of balancing power between the United States and Russia in Syria and is walking on a tightrope the two sides of which are controlled by Washington and Moscow. 

The post Turkey Walking on Tightrope Held by US and Russia appeared first on Iran Front Page.


Made In America: How the U.S. Government Paid For Turkey's War in Syria


Matthew Petti

Security, Middle East


Critics say the Obama administration did not do enough to fight Bashar al-Assad. But the forces attacking Syrian Kurds are the fruit of an anti-Assad effort.

Mounting evidence shows that Turkey is now using rebel groups paid for by a $1 billion U.S. taxpayer-funded program as its soldiers in a brutal war on the Kurdish-led forces in Syria—which were also armed and trained by America.

U.S. officials are describing these militants as “thugs, bandits, and pirates” as the Turkish-led Islamist forces are currently committing alleged war crimes against civilians and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Northeast Syria. Ironically, the United States armed many of these rebels as part of an effort to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Critics say that there were warning signs along the way year after year. In fact, Turkish-backed fighters recently videotaped themselves using a U.S.-made anti-tank rocket against an SDF vehicle, perhaps itself supplied by the U.S. military.

“If a fighter was in a faction that received weapons from the CIA, and is still fighting today—and that’s a big if—he is most likely in the ranks of the Syrian National Army,” said Foreign Policy Research Institute Fellow Elizabeth Tsurkov, who has extensive contacts with Syrian rebels.

Anti-Russia and anti-Iran hawks believe that the United States could have ended the could have pre-empted the whole mess in Northeast Syria—Turkey, the Kurds, ISIS, and all—by taking out Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Now that the window of opportunity has passed, and as President Donald Trump doubles down on ending the “endless war” in Syria, anti-Assad hawks have shifted their attention toward using U.S. power to pressure the Syrian dictator into submission. But first, they have to clean up the image of the Syrian opposition.

The National Interest spoke to more than a dozen former officials, activists, and academics involved in U.S. policy towards Syria. Many were not willing to go on the record, but others were eager to point fingers for the current bloodshed and offer their own plans for the future of U.S. involvement.

Preying on Defeated Groups

Read full article

Why Christians Should Embrace Refugees and Not Politicians


Doug Bandow

Security, Americas


Christians should push for a more generous refugee/asylum policy to help respond to attacks on Mideast Christians.

It took President Donald Trump nearly two years to order American troops in Syria home. Or just to move them out of harm’s way, if not yet home. He was right to take that very limited step, despite the hostile tsunami against his decision.

The angry fulminations that characterized his critics—in the main their responses have been more emotional eruptions than considered arguments—well illustrate the need for an American exit from Syria, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Many policymakers appear to believe that America’s purpose is to settle that tragic nation’s brutal, bitter civil war: depose President Bashar al-Assad, promote moderate Islamists, oust Assad’s Iranian allies, constrain Russian influence, deter Turkish involvement, protect Syrian Kurdish forces, and more. Such an effort is not just bizarre hubris but overweening arrogance and sheer delusion, as evidenced by the succession of Middle Eastern geopolitical disasters orchestrated by Washington in recent years.

As if the foregoing list was not long enough, the president’s evangelical backers have added another duty: protect Christians from Turkey and other threats. It is an attractive mission. For years there had been a slow erosion of the Christian population in the faith’s birthplace. The environment is difficult, even hostile, to all religious minorities, and the West offers a hospitable home for those able to emigrate. Although most defenders of Christianity discourage such flight, lest faith disappears from its birthplace, it is impossible to criticize people for seeking a better, safer, and more satisfying life elsewhere.

However, in 2003 Western Christians proved themselves to be perhaps the greatest enemies of Middle Eastern Christianity. The Iraq invasion triggered sectarian strife, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom were Christians. More than half of the original Christian population fled, some to Kurdistan, others abroad, especially to Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. This tragedy was reinforced by the rise of ISIS, an outgrowth of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which conquered much of the Nineveh Plains, then home to many religious minorities. No Iraq invasion, no Islamic State.

Read full article

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias to visit the Russian Federation (Moscow, 6 October 2019)

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias is travelling to Moscow, where, tomorrow, 6 November, he will meet with his Russian Federation Counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. The talks are to focus on, among other things, bilateral political and cultural relations and the prospects for further development of economic cooperation. The two Ministers will also discuss a wide range of regional issues, including recent developments in Syria, the Middle East and the Balkans, the situation in Ukraine, the prospects for the resolution of the Cyprus problem, Turkey’s illegal conduct in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean and EU-Russia relations. Finally, they will discuss issues of global interest, including the migration/refugee issue. Statements to the press will follow, at about 11:20 (Greek time).

United States

US foreign policy has captured the world’s attention, as Donald Trump shifts policy around the world, not least in the Indo-Pacific region, in unanticipated directions. John Bolton’s departure as national security advisor appears to have made US concessions easier, as already seen in the abrupt shifts in policy toward Syria and Ukraine favorable to Russia. […]

Syria: OPCW Whistleblowers Confirm What We Already Knew

November 5, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Whistleblowers have come forward revealing what many had known all along - that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had deliberately altered various reports and suppressed evidence regarding alleged chemical weapon attacks in Syria to help bolster US war propaganda.

The Courage Foundation - comprised of various whistleblowers and investigative journalists - in a statement titled, "Panel Criticizes ‘Unacceptable Practices’ in the OPCW’s investigation of the Alleged Chemical Attack in Douma, Syria on April 7th 2018," would conclude (emphasis added):
Based on the whistleblower’s extensive presentation, including internal emails, text exchanges and suppressed draft reports, we are unanimous in expressing our alarm over unacceptable practices in the investigation of the alleged chemical attack in Douma, near the Syrian capital of Damascus on 7 April 2018. We became convinced by the testimony that key information about chemical analyses, toxicology consultations, ballistics studies, and witness testimonies was suppressed, ostensibly to favor a preordained conclusion.
The panel called on the OPCW to revisit its investigation of the alleged 2018 Douma attack, stating:
This would help to restore the credibility of the OPCW and work towards demonstrating its legally mandated commitment to transparency, impartiality and independence. It is of utmost importance to restore trust in the verification procedures relied upon to implement the prohibitions of the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention].
The panel included a member of the OPCW itself - José Bustani - who in fact served as the first Director General of the OPCW. He would conclude:
“The convincing evidence of irregular behaviour in the OPCW investigation of the alleged Douma chemical attack confirms doubts and suspicions I already had. I could make no sense of what I was reading in the international press. Even official reports of investigations seemed incoherent at best. The picture is certainly clearer now, although very disturbing.”
A detailed breakdown on precisely what evidence was suppressed can be found here.

Confirming the Obvious

From the beginning, the OPCW's role in Syria was clearly to buttress a US pretext for direct military intervention.

Despite this obvious goal, because many of OPCW staff are professionals and as clearly seen through the actions of whistleblowers coming forward - are principled - the OPCW resorted to very subtle methods to skew the outcomes of its reports and word its conclusions in such a way that media spin could fill in gaps and ambiguity the OPCW itself did not want to directly and overtly lie about.

Despite information within their own reports either indisputably disproving claims of Syria's government using chemical weapons, or admissions that no fact-based claims could even be made with investigators often never even visiting sites where alleged attacks took place, the OPCW would release several politically-motivated conclusions that fed directly into US war propaganda at the time.

The alleged 2018 Douma chemical attack was perhaps the most pertinent example of this, with details of the alleged attack sparse and unconvincing and with the final OPCW report even including a picture taken at a militant weapon's factory where a cylinder similar to those allegedly used in the attack was found among ordnance being prepared for use.

The report also included photographs of the alleged holes made on rooftops from what were claimed to be chemical munitions - but noted that adjacent buildings had similar craters and holes that clearly were not the result of chemical munitions. In other words, evidence suggests the canisters were likely placed into position, taking advantage of holes and craters created by conventional weapons.

Despite evidence suggesting the attack was staged, the OPCW chose to suppress or downplay evidence and use ambiguous language to allow Western media sources to spin the report and "confirm" that not only an attack take place, but that the Syrian government was allegedly behind it.

Only upon reading the actual OPCW report would anyone know just how flimsy accusations against the Syrian government were and that despite Western media headlines accusing the Syrian government, evidence within the report pointed the finger instead at US-backed militants operating in the area at the time.

WMDs 2.0 

Having engineered a proxy conflict in Syria in 2011 that would later stall, the US sought to replicate its "successes" in Libya and neighboring Iraq by searching for a justification for direct military intervention. The US used the pretext of fighting militants it itself had armed and unleashed across Syria including the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) to stage military forces within Syrian territory.

From there, it repeatedly cited alleged chemical attacks in an effort to build international consensus for military intervention against Damascus.

However, it appears that the world was aware that the US was - in essence - repeating nearly identical lies it used regarding Iraq - literally the next nation over from Syria - centered around "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs) for the purpose of intervening in and destroying yet another Middle Eastern nation.

Between growing global distrust and Russia's own military intervention in Syria in 2015 - US military aggression was checked. The growing global alternative media - both state-sponsored and independent networks and organizations - helped confront this WMD 2.0 narrative.

Today - the momentum has continued - bringing the OPCW back into the spotlight through the Courage Foundation's recent panel in order to finally expose and perhaps even hold accountable those within the OPCW who attempted to use the organization to facilitate war propaganda rather than fulfil its mandate. The panel and the alternative media promoting it is also a celebration of those within the OPCW with the courage to speak out against impropriety.

With the Syrian conflict drawing to a close in favor of Damascus and its allies - and with the US and its axis of collaborators exposed as having organized the premeditated attempted destruction of a nation and its people - a panel exposing OPCW impropriety and how it fit into Western war propaganda might seem irrelevant.

But fully exposing what was done in Syria regardless of whether or not the war is over and no matter how favorably it ended for Damascus and the Syrian people - is absolutely essential in preventing similar impropriety from being used against the next nation that finds itself in Washington's sights.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.  


Growing insecurity threatens fresh exodus of Christians from Iraq

Insecurity in Syria and Baghdad causing remaining Christians to 'lose hope'.

Daesh Branches in Afghanistan Plan Expansion to CIS Territory - Russian Security Service

TASHKENT (Sputnik) - According to the head of the FSB, terrorists understand that they have suffered a defeat in Syria and Iraq and are therefore deploying their remaining forces outside the Middle East, creating new zones of instability in Asia and Africa, and forming a sleeper cell network in Europe.

Turkish President Erdogan Claims Militants Refused to Leave Safe Zone in Northern Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to discuss the implementation of a Russian-Turkish memorandum on Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

SDF, US-Led International Coalition Resume Cooperation to Fight Daesh - Commander

DAMASCUS (Sputnik) - The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on Wednesday that they had resumed cooperation with the US-led international coalition against the Daesh terrorist group in northeast Syria.

CNS' Syria Withdrawal Coverage Becomes A Little Less Pro-Trump

 Cache's interest in defending President Trump over withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria, thereby permitting Turkey to attack the Kurds that once were U.S. allies, has waned as the media in general has lost interest in the story.

On Oct. 21, Patrick Goodenough detailed a backtracking on Trump's withdrawal (though, of course, he didn't call it that): "As U.S. troops are being redeployed from Syria to western Iraq, there were indications at the weekend that President Trump may be prepared to leave a residual force across the border in eastern Syria, in a bid to keep a lid on ISIS and help to ensure that oilfields in the area to not fall into hands of the Iranians, whose forces are in Syria to bolster Bashar Assad’s regime." The same day, James Carstensen touted a German plan to create an "internationally controlled security zone" in Syria.

More stuff came in over the next couple days:

  • Goodenough reported on a "bipartisan Senate bill" seeking to move U.S. military operations out of Turkey .
  • Dimitri Simes reported on a Turkish pact with Russia to attack the Kurds.
  • Goodenough went for the default pro-Trump narrative by highlighting how "The U.S. special envoy for the Syrian conflict pushed back Tuesday on the charge that, had President Trump not pulled back a small number of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria this month, Turkish forces would not have crossed the border to attack Syrian Kurdish fighters."
  • A follow-up story by Goodenough reported how "Russian troops rolled into Kobane in northeastern Syria on Wednesday, on a mission to oversee the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters and their weapons from the area in line with an agreement reached by the Russian and Turkish presidents a day earlier."
  • Goodenough also repeated an attack line from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Obama administration "invited" the Russians to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war by having "them come in and pretend to be chemical weapons inspectors."

CNS then turned the narrative to the U.S. trying to capture Syrian oil:

Then things flipped back to Goodenough making Turkey the bad guy:

Meanwhile, CNS did publish an op-ed by conservatives Ken Blackwell and david Phillips asserting that "Turkey is practicing genocide again" in northern Syria and that "by allowing ethnic cleansing to remove the Kurds from northern Syria, the U.S. may be seen as an accomplice to Erdogan’s war crimes." But it also published a couple of pieces by managing editor Michael W. Chapman trying to retroactively justify Trump's withdrawal by dismissing the Kurds as terrorists and, perhaps even worse, a bunch of commies.

In the first, on Oct. 23, Chapman ranted:

Although many liberal news outlets and some politicians have described President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria as a “betrayal” of the Kurds, our allies in fighting against ISIS in the region, it is important to note that the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, is a “Marxist-Leninist separatist organization” that was designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the U.S. State Department in October 1997.

The next day, Chapman served up a somewhat altered version of the first article that walked back that one a bit:

Although many liberal news outlets have described President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria as a “betrayal” of the Kurds -- our allies in the fight against ISIS -- the Kurds who make up the People's Protection Units (YPG), are a direct offshoot of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) in Turkey, which was designated a terrorist organization in 1997.

This does not apply to all the Kurds in Syria but specifically to those in the YPG.

But as actual foreign policy experts point out, the links between the PKK and the YPG are not as clear-cut as Chapman portrays them; the YPG denies direct links with the PKK though there is some overlap and shared goals. Perhaps Chapman can write another article walking back things a bit more.


US says reports Turkey misused US-supplied weapons in Syria are 'credible'

The US is investigating whether Turkey violated agreements with Washington about the use of US-provided weapons and equipment, including whether Ankara improperly transferred US-supplied weapons to its proxies in Syria, groups that some US officials say may have committed war crimes as part of the Turkish-led incursion targeting America's Kurdish allies.


One of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi's wives has been captured by Turkish forces in Syria - Daily Mail

  1. One of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi's wives has been captured by Turkish forces in Syria  Daily Mail
  2. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Turkey 'detains dead IS leader's wife'  BBC News
  3. Wife of killed Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi captured, says Turkey  The Guardian
  4. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Former IS leader's wife captured by Turkish forces  Sky News
  5. One of Baghdadi's wives was secretly captured before ISIS leader 'died like a dog'  Mirror Online
  6. View full coverage on Google News


Thanks to Rand Paul, Russian Media Are Naming the Alleged Whistleblower

Outing “the whistleblower” is the most egregious, but certainly not the only, example of Kremlin-funded media cheerleading the fight against impeachment. They love “their” Trump. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian client whose regime teetered on the brink of collapse only to be saved...

Erdogan: Turki Tangkap Istri Baghdadi, Tapi Tak Koar-Koar Kayak AS

 Cache, ANKARA — Presiden Turki Recep Tayyip Erdogan menyatakan otoritas Turki telah lama menangkap istri Pemimpin Ilamic State Iraq & Syria (ISIS) atau Negara Islam Irak & Suriah ISIS Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi. Namun, Erdogan menyatakan Turki tak koar-koar seperti Amerika Serikat (AS) yang langsung memberikan detail saat Al-Baghdadi tewas. Seorang pejabat Turki mengatakan istri Baghdadi […]

Quân đội Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ ở miền Bắc Syria bị tấn công bằng tên lửa suốt 24 giờ

TGVN. Ngày 6/11, Bộ Quốc phòng Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ cho biết, quân đội nước này đã bị tấn công 11 lần bằng đạn cối và tên lửa chống tăng suốt 24 giờ qua trong chiến dịch quân sự ở miền Bắc Syria.

Không hợp tác với Mỹ, Nga tuyên bố dầu mỏ Syria là tài sản của người dân Syria

TGVN. Ngày 6/11, Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Nga Sergey Vershinin cho biết, Moscow tin rằng, chính quyền Syria là thực thể duy nhất nên kiểm soát các nguồn tài nguyên thiên nhiên của quốc gia Trung Đông này, đồng thời khẳng định Nga sẽ không hợp tác với Mỹ trong vấn đề dầu mỏ Syria.

Quân đội Syria triển khai tại khu vực có nhiều mỏ dầu gần biên giới Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ

TGVN. Ngày 5/11, quân đội Syria đã triển khai lực lượng tại các khu vực có nhiều mỏ dầu ở vùng nông thôn của tỉnh Hasakah, Đông Bắc Syria, trong diễn biến mới nhất liên quan hoạt động triển khai quân đội tại các khu vực do lực lượng người Kurd kiểm soát gần biên giới Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ. 

US says reports Turkey misused US-supplied weapons in Syria are 'credible'

The US is investigating whether Turkey violated agreements with Washington about the use of US-provided weapons and equipment, including whether Ankara improperly transferred US-supplied weapons to its proxies in Syria, groups that some US officials say may have committed war crimes as part of the Turkish-led incursion targeting America's Kurdish allies.


This Week's Music Video - The Bangles, Manic Monday


C'est le début de la semaine, c'est pour certain(e)s la rentrée, c'est just another Manic Monday! The Bangles en 1985 à l'époque de leur second album, Different Light, celui qui les fit décoller dans les charts avec le hit Walk Like An Egyptian. Pure pop en version Paisley Underground, le genre de trucs qui (tout comme leur excellent premier album, All Over The Place, paru l'année précedente) n'en finit plus de se bonifier en vieillissant. Enjoy.

Bangles - Manic Monday



Zubron will host 300 Syrian children


The Presidential Reserve Fund allocated funds to finance the costs of organizing leisure and recreation. Chief Editor

The post Zubron will host 300 Syrian children appeared first on Delicious website.


Russia reportedly in possession of advanced Israeli interceptor missile


Russia is in possession of an advanced Israeli interceptor missile that was launched last year in response to Syrian rocket fire, according to a Chinese news site.

The post Russia reportedly in possession of advanced Israeli interceptor missile appeared first on Worthy Christian News.


die verschwiegene Gesellschaft um Yales und die Entstehung der Schulen der Moderne


Bücher von Daniel Prinz

The post die verschwiegene Gesellschaft um Yales und die Entstehung der Schulen der Moderne appeared first on Schäbels Blog #schaebelsblog #schäbelsblog.


Bewußt Aktuell 69


Ab Minute 58 wird es besonders widerlich. Man kann anscheinend Kuschel-Zeiten an deutschen Kitas buchen…. Prostitution mal etwas anders. So langsam bekommt man den Eindruck. irgendwo baut schon einer an einer neuen Arche und sammelt schon wieder paarweise die Geschöpfe der Schöpfung zusammen. Allerdings hoffe ich doch, das wir eine Bereinigung selber hinbekommen. Bücher von … Bewußt Aktuell 69 weiterlesen

The post Bewußt Aktuell 69 appeared first on Schäbels Blog #schaebelsblog #schäbelsblog.


Shadow Brokers data dump tipped researchers off to a mysterious APT dubbed DarkUniverse


Clues about a hacking group that carried out attacks against targets in countries including Syria, Iran and Russia were included in files leaked by a mysterious group known as the Shadow Brokers, according to new findings. Researchers from the security vendor Kaspersky published a report Tuesday detailing an advanced persistent threat (APT) group the company has dubbed DarkUniverse. Documents published in 2017 by the Shadow Brokers — an elusive group that publicly disseminated NSA hacking tools — included a script that checked for other hacking groups lurking in a compromised system. DarkUniverse was among the groups the script could check for. The DarkUniverse group hit victims in Afghanistan, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates, along with more common targets like Russia, Iran and Syria. All told, the APT group breached “around” 20 victims ranging from military agencies to private sector organizations like telecommunication firms, and medical institutions. “We believe […]

The post Shadow Brokers data dump tipped researchers off to a mysterious APT dubbed DarkUniverse appeared first on CyberScoop.


Warner, Collins express concerns about escape of ISIS detainees in Syria


ISIS terrorists in Syria escaped from detention facilities that had been run by America’s Kurdish partners in the Syrian Defense Forces following the withdrawal of U.S. troops and subsequent incursion by Turkey.

Augusta Free Press - Virginia News, Sports, Weather, Arts, Events, Politics


Nga: Mỹ triển khai quân tại Syria gây nguy hiểm cho các cuộc tuần tra

Chủ tịch Ủy ban Đối ngoại Thượng viện Nga tuyên bố, việc Mỹ triển khai lực lượng vũ trang tại Bắc Syria tạo ra nguy cơ xảy ra các vụ tấn công ngẫu nhiên nhằm vào các cuộc tuần tra của Syria và Nga.

المبعوث الأمريكي يلتقي المعارضة السورية في تركيا


أنقرة (زمان التركية)ــ يزور المبعوث الأمريكي الخاص إلى سوريا جيمس جيفري، تركيا غدًا الجمعة، للقاء المعارضة السورية وبحث الوضع في شمال سوريا، وفق ما أعلنت وزارة الخارجية الأمريكية. وقالت الخارجية الأمريكية في بيان، الأربعاء، أن جيمس جيفري سيزور مدينة إسطنبول والعاصمة أنقرة يومي الثامن والتاسع من نوفمبر/ تشرين الثاني، لعقد لقاءات مع مسؤولين أتراك، وآخرين ...

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Director-General deplores killing of Kurdish journalists Saad Ahmed and Mohammed Hussein Rasho in Syria



Apply for up to £100k for a project relating to Libya, Syria and Yemen

Submit an expression of interest for a grant of up to £100k for projects relating to Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Monday’s Daily Brief: US formally announces climate accord withdrawal, young foreigners stranded in Syria, India toxic smog crisis, Ebola worker death shows frontline risks

A recap of stories this Monday: UN reaction to US Paris Agreement withdrawal; UNICEF urges repatriation of children stranded in Syria; Public health emergency in India’s New Delhi; Ebola health worker death in DR Congo shows deadly risks; Guinea Bissau crisis, Security Council update; UNEP campaign targets ocean microplastics.

UNICEF urges governments to repatriate thousands of foreign children stranded in northeast Syria

The head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is appealing for countries to repatriate scores of foreign children who are stranded in northeast Syria in the wake of the Turkish-launched offensive which began last month.

Top UN Syria envoy hails ‘impressive’ start to historic talks in Geneva

UN-brokered face-to-face talks between the Syrian Government and opposition – the first to take place in nearly nine years of fighting – to draft a new constitution for the country, will continue into next week, the UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, said on Friday.

Guterres in Turkey: UN to study ‘new settlement areas’ plan for Syrian refugees

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday presented UN Secretary-General António Guterres with a plan for resettling hundreds-of-thousands of Syrian refugees, in the wake of the country’s offensive into northeastern Syria last month to remove Kurdish forces, aimed at creating a so-called “safe zone” along the border for returnees. 

Mother killed in IS fighting, boy returns home to Italy


BEIRUT (AP) — Red Cross and Red Crescent officials say an Albanian boy who was taken to Syria by his mother when she joined the Islamic State group has been freed from a crowded detention camp. He headed home to Italy with his father Thursday. The story of 11-year-old Alvin has captivated public attention in […]

French company sees some charges quashed over Syria case


PARIS (AP) — A French court on Thursday quashed charges of “complicity in crimes against humanity” pressed against French cement company Lafarge, but says other charges will be considered over payments made to Syrian armed forces. The other charges that the Paris appeal court maintained against the company include financing a terrorist enterprise, violation of […]

Erdogan: Al-Baghdadi’s inner circle trying to enter Turkey


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s president says members of slain Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s “inner circle” are trying to enter Turkey from Syria. Recep Tayyip Erdogan also says the number of people with family ties to al-Baghdadi who’ve been caught by Turkey “is close to reaching double digits.” Erdogan’s comments Thursday were […]

Trump Expands US Military Mission in Syrian Oil Fields, as Russian calls him a “Hitler”

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Lolita C. Baldor at the Associated Press reports that Trump has been prevailed upon by the US officer corps and national security officials to authorize some 600 troops to guard the Syrian oil fields in Deir al-Zor province, in addition to the 200 already in the Tanf pocket. Kurdish troops […]

Nga từ chối hợp tác với Mỹ về vấn đề dầu mỏ ở Syria

Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Nga Sergei Vershinin mới đây tuyên bố, nước này sẽ không hợp tác với Mỹ trong vấn đề khai thác dầu an toàn ở Syria.

Không hợp tác với Mỹ, Nga tuyên bố dầu mỏ Syria là tài sản của người dân Syria

Ngày 6/11, Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Nga Sergey Vershinin cho biết, Moscow tin rằng, chính quyền Syria là thực thể duy nhất nên kiểm soát các nguồn tài nguyên thiên nhiên của quốc gia Trung Đông này, đồng thời khẳng định Nga sẽ không hợp tác với Mỹ trong vấn đề dầu mỏ Syria.

Quân đội Syria giành quyền kiểm soát một mỏ dầu từ tay Mỹ?

Quân đội chính phủ Syria đã kiểm soát một mỏ dầu nằm ở phía đông bắc của tỉnh Hassake, đài phát thanh Sham FM cho biết.

Quân đội chính phủ Syria chuyển vũ khí hạng nặng tới vùng đông bắc

Quân đội chính phủ Syria vừa chuyển vũ khí hạng nặng tới vùng đông bắc Syria, nhằm ngăn chặn bất kỳ sự lấn tới nào của các phiến quân.

Nga phản đối Mỹ duy trì hiện diện ở Syria

Thứ trưởng Ngoại giao Nga Sergey Vershinin cho rằng việc Mỹ "hiện diện quân sự bất hợp pháp" ở Syria là vi phạm luật quốc tế.

Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ đe dọa hồi hương các tù binh IS

Bộ trưởng Nội vụ Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ Suleyman Soylu mới đây đã lên tiếng chỉ trích các quốc gia châu Âu có thái độ vô trách nhiệm với các phần tử khủng bố IS - những người đang bị giam giữ trong các nhà tù ở miền Bắc Syria.

Đoàn xe quân sự Mỹ bị phiến quân do Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ hậu thuẫn tấn công

Quân đội Syria Tự do (FSA) thân Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ vừa nổ súng vào đoàn xe chở binh sĩ Mỹ trên tuyến cao tốc M4, gần thị trấn biên giới Tell Tamer.

Cựu Phó tổng thống Mỹ Biden so sánh tuyên bố của ông Trump về dầu mỏ Syria như "poster tuyển dụng IS"

Theo cựu Phó tổng thống Joe Biden, quyết định của Tổng thống Donald Trump rút quân đội Mỹ khỏi Syria chỉ để lại một ít giữ quyền kiểm soát các mỏ dầu giống như một áp phích tuyển dụng IS.

Oanh tạc cơ B-52 của Mỹ bất ngờ tiếp cận căn cứ Nga tại Syria

Một báy may ném bom chiến lược B-52 của Mỹ mới đây đã xuất hiện ở phía đông Địa Trung Hải và được những chiếc chiến đấu cơ F-16 của Không quân Hy Lạp hộ tống.

Nga ngừng sử dụng tên lửa hành trình Kalibr tại Syria

Tên lửa hành trình Kalibr của Nga sẽ không tiếp tục thực hiện nhiệm vụ ở Syria do chi phí cao và thiếu an toàn.

Quân đội Mỹ "bối rối" chờ mệnh lệnh bảo vệ các mỏ dầu tại Syria

Các chỉ huy quân đội Mỹ vẫn đang chờ đợi mệnh lệnh chính xác từ Nhà Trắng và Lầu Năm Góc về nhiệm vụ thực sự của họ nhằm bảo vệ các mỏ dầu ở đông Syria.

Trump nói thích dầu mỏ ở Syria

Trump cho biết Mỹ triển khai binh sĩ tại Syria là để bảo vệ các mỏ dầu và muốn nhường việc tuần tra biên giới cho Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ.

Cận cảnh quân đội Syria giao tranh dữ dội với phiến quân ở Kabani

Quân đội chính phủ Syria và phiến quân giao tranh dữ dội trong suốt cả tuần nay, nhằm giành quyền kiểm soát thị trấn chiến lược Kabani.

Phiến quân bàn giao 18 binh sĩ Syria cho quân cảnh Nga

18 binh sĩ thuộc quân đội chính phủ Syria (SAA) bị nhóm quân đội Quốc gia Syria (SNA) do Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ hậu thuẫn bắt giữ trong tuần này ở miền Bắc Syria sẽ được bàn giao cho lực lượng quân cảnh Nga.

Vì sao Mỹ không buông dầu mỏ Syria?

Tổng thống Mỹ Donald Trump mới đây cho rút hầu hết binh lính khỏi Syria sau khi đạt thỏa thuận với Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ. Tuy nhiên, Washington không muốn “nhả” số mỏ dầu mà họ đang nắm giữ cùng với người Kurd ở Syria.

Nga hoàn tất chuyển giao S-400 cho Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ

Tổng giám đốc tập đoàn Rosoboronexport của Nga, ông Alexander Mikheev mới đây cho biết, Nga đã hoàn thành việc chuyển giao tất cả các thành phần của hệ thống tên lửa phòng không S-400 cho Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ trước thời hạn.

Sau cái chết của al-Baghdadi, IS đe dọa trả thù Mỹ

Tổ chức khủng bố IS ngày 31/10 đã xác nhận rằng, thủ lĩnh của nhóm là al-Baghdadi đã chết sau cuộc đột kích của lực lượng đặc nhiệm Mỹ hồi cuối tuần trước ở Syria, đồng thời đe dọa sẽ tiến hành trả thù.

Mỹ bắt đầu đưa thiết giáp, binh sĩ tới canh mỏ dầu Syria

Đội thiết giáp Bradley cùng binh sĩ Mỹ tới miền đông Syria ngày 31/10 để đảm bảo phiến quân IS không chiếm các giếng dầu tại đây.

Chính quyền Assad kêu gọi người Kurd gia nhập quân đội Syria

Chính quyền của Tổng thống Syria Bashar al-Assad mới đây đã kêu gọi các lực lượng do Mỹ ủng hộ, chủ yếu là người Kurd gia nhập lực lượng vũ trang của nước này.

Dầu lửa trong cuộc chiến ở Syria

Thời gian vừa qua, với vài động tác ngoạn mục ở Trung Đông, bằng chuyến thăm Arab Saudi, UAE... có vẻ như Tổng thông Nga Putin đã chơi trội hơn Mỹ. 

Đoàn xe quân đội Mỹ "biến mất" trên lãnh thổ Syria

Đoàn xe quân sự Mỹ đã bất ngờ bị mất dấu tại tỉnh Hasek của Syria, cách không xa biên giới Iran.

Đón đọc Báo Năng lượng Mới số 871, phát hành thứ Sáu ngày 1/11/2019

Báo Năng lượng Mới số 871 có những bài tiêu biểu: ^ Giữ vững sản lượng mỏ Tê Giác Trắng, Cá Ngừ Vàng ^ 5 công trình của tuổi trẻ Dầu khí nhận giải thưởng “Đổi mới, sáng tạo phát triển doanh nghiệp lần thứ I” ^ Huyền thoại ở một nhà máy “trẻ” ^ Thuế GTGT với phân bón: Tác động tiêu cực tới doanh nghiệp ^ EVN đóng góp tích cực cho huyện đảo ^ Đổi mới công nghệ trong khai thác, chế biến than ^ Vì sao Mỹ không buông dầu mỏ Syria? ^ Việt Nam - ...

Mỹ công bố video đột kích thủ lĩnh IS

Lầu Năm Góc công bố video đặc nhiệm Mỹ tiếp cận khu nhà có tường cao, nơi thủ lĩnh tối cao IS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ẩn náu tại tây bắc Syria ngày 26/10.

Chỉ huy SDF: Cuộc đột kích tiêu diệt thủ lĩnh IS sẽ thất bại nếu không có tình báo người Kurd

Tướng Mazloum Abdi, chỉ huy Các Lực lượng Dân chủ Syria (SDF) mới đây đã tiết lộ về quá trình hợp tác với tình báo Mỹ để truy tìm thủ lĩnh Tổ chức Nhà nước Hồi giáo tự xưng (IS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Tin tức thế giới 30/10: Xả súng kinh hoàng giữa tiệc Halloween tại Mỹ

Xả súng kinh hoàng giữa tiệc Halloween tại Mỹ; Nga, Iran phản đối Mỹ khai thác dầu ở Syria; Greta Thunberg từ chối nhận giải thưởng môi trường... là những tin tức thế giới đáng chú ý ngày 30/10.

Pet Syrian Hamsters For Sale

Syrian hamster for sale resting on rock surrounded by wildflowers.

Syrian Hamster, or golden, is one of the most popular hamster pets, because of their docile temperament. They are easy to tame and quite comfortable being handled, even by children.They are very intelligen..

Price: $20.00


Quân đội chính phủ Syria quyết tâm giành lại thị trấn Kabani

Quân đội chính phủ Syria (SAA) hiện đang tiến hành một trận chiến khốc liệt nhất trong tháng, nhằm chống lại các nhóm phiến quân ở đông bắc Latakia.

Lực lượng Mỹ được trực thăng hộ tống di chuyển đến Deir ez-Zor

Nhóm phóng viên Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ phụ trách đưa tin về tình hình miền Bắc Syria nói rằng, họ không hiểu về hoạt động quân sự của Mỹ trong thời gian gần đây.

Tin tức thế giới 29/10: Sau thảm kịch 39 người chết, Anh “vá” lỗ hổng an ninh ở cảng Bỉ

Sau thảm kịch 39 người chết, Anh điều lực lượng “vá” lỗ hổng an ninh ở cảng Bỉ; Mỹ tái triển khai binh sĩ ở Đông Bắc Syria; Cơ quan quản lý Australia cáo buộc Google lạm dụng dữ liệu cá nhân... là những tin tức thế giới đáng chú ý ngày 29/10.

Comment on Sayyed Nasrallah Urges Quick Formation of Lebanese Gov’t: Resistance is Very Strong by uprootedpalestinians

"Can Sayyed Nasrallah convince *all* Lebanese to put country over sectarianism, to end corruption in favor or patriotism and the common good, and to move Lebanon forward?" Unfortunately sectariansim is deep rooted in Lebanon, the anglozionist lost Syria and doing their best to keep Lebanon a thorn in resistance back

Russia Captured Advanced Israeli-US Missile

An advanced Israeli surface-to-air missile that was fired from the 's Sling (formerly known as the Magic Wand) missile system was given to Russia by Syria, when it was found intact after the rocket did not explode on contact, according to Russian media sources. The rocket was reportedly fired on July 23, 2018, and Syrian forces that were dispatched to the scene found the missile intact after it sustained minor damage from impact. The missile was then taken to a Syrian-Russian base where it was transferred to Moscow for further research. 's Sling was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and American defense contractor Raytheon. The system is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles and the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude. The system forms the middle layer of air defense systems between the Iron Dome and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missile defense systems. Russian media reports quoted Chinese news agency Sina saying that the missile was taken by Russia for "reverse engineering." source: .

Erdogan: Turkey captured slain IS leader al-Baghdadi's wife


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has captured a wife of the slain leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.

Erdogan made the announcement while delivering a speech in the capital of Ankara but gave no other details. He did not say when or how the woman was captured or identify her by name.

A senior Turkish official, however, said the woman was among a group of 11 Islamic State suspects detained in a police operation in Turkey's Hatay province, near the border with Syria, on June 2, 2018.

The official identified her as Asma Fawzi Muhammad al-Qubaysi and said she was al Baghdadi's first wife. A subsequent DNA test confirmed that another suspect who identified herself as Leila Jabeer, was al Baghdadi's daughter, the official said, adding that the IS leader's DNA sample was supplied by the Iraqi government.

The detainees were being held at a deportation center in Turkey, the official said. He provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government protocol.

According to the official, al Baghdadi's wife "volunteered a lot of information about Baghdadi and inner workings" of the IS. The information obtained led to a series of arrests elsewhere, he said.

Al-Baghdadi was known to have four wives, the maximum number he can have at one time under Islamic law.

"We caught his wife, but we didn't make a fuss about it. I am announcing this today for the first time," Erdogan said, while criticizing the United States for leading a "communications campaign" about Baghdadi's slaying.

The IS leader blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. special forces on his heavily fortified safe house in the Syrian province of Idlib.

Erdogan's announcement came just days after Turkish forces captured...


In last days, al-Baghdadi sought safety in shrinking domain


BEIRUT (AP) — In his last months on the run, Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was agitated, fearful of traitors, sometimes disguised as a shepherd, sometimes hiding underground, always dependent on a shrinking circle of confidants.

Associates paint a picture of a man obsessed with his security and well-being and trying to find safety in towns and deserts in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border as the extremists' domains crumbled. In the end, the brutal leader once hailed as "caliph" left former IS areas completely, slipping into hostile territory in Syria's northwestern Idlib province run by the radical group's al-Qaida-linked rivals. There, he blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. special forces on his heavily fortified safe house.

For months, he kept a Yazidi teen as a slave, and she told The Associated Press how he brought her along as he moved, traveling with a core group of up to seven close associates. Months ago, he delegated most of his powers to a senior deputy who is likely the man announced by the group as his successor.

The Yazidi girl, who was freed in a U.S.-led raid in May, said al-Baghdadi first tried to flee to Idlib in late 2017. She said one night she was loaded into a three-vehicle convoy that included the IS leader, his wife and his security entourage, headed for the province. The convoy reached a main road but then turned around, apparently fearing it would come under attack, said the girl, who was 17 at the time.

For about a week they stayed in the southeastern Syrian town of Hajin, near the Iraqi border. Then they moved north to Dashisha, another border town in Syria within IS-held territory.

There, the Yazidi teen stayed for four months at the home of al-Baghdadi's father-in-law, a close aide named Abu Abdullah al-Zubaie. Al-Baghdadi would visit her there frequently...


Ο Ερντογάν «τα βάζει» με τις ΗΠΑ για τους Κούρδους της Συρίας


Ο Τούρκος πρόεδρος κατήγγειλε σήμερα ότι οι ΗΠΑ δεν τηρούν τη δέσμευσή τους να απομακρύνουν την κουρδική πολιτοφυλακή Μονάδες Προστασίας του Λαού (YPG) από τα σύνορα Συρίας και Τουρκίας. Πρόσθεσε μάλιστα ότι θα θέσει το θέμα στη συνάντησή του με τον Αμερικανό ομόλογό του την επόμενη εβδομάδα. Ο Ρετζέπ Ταγίπ Ερντογάν πρόκειται να επισκεφθεί την […]

Πηγή: Ο Ερντογάν «τα βάζει» με τις ΗΠΑ για τους Κούρδους της Συρίας - altsantiri


Press report from Turkey: Releases in the shade of firings, detentions and hearings


ISTANBUL – Targets of rights violations, media workers experienced heavy repression once again along with Turkey’s military operation against north-eastern Syria. Many journalists were fired, detained, arrested, and sentenced to jail and fines. The prominent development in October 2019 was the releases of nine imprisoned journalists. Reported by Hasan Özhan ...

Press report from Turkey: Releases in the shade of firings, detentions and hearings yazısı ilk önce Gazete Karınca üzerinde ortaya çıktı.


Turkey captures Baghdadi’s wife and sister

According to various Turkish news media, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the late ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s wife and sister have been captured in Syria. However, it is not clear which of his wives was arrested because Baghdadi had many wives. His sister that was captured has been identified as Rasmiya Awad. […]

Assad annoints Trump 'best' American President


"I tell you he's the best American president," said in an interview with Syria's state television. "Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he's the most transparent president."   He continued: "All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the 'unique' and 'brilliant' American or Western principles. But all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others."


Erdogan: Kurdisk milits drepte tyrkiskstøttede soldater

Kurdisk milits har brutt våpenhvilen og drepte torsdag elleve tyrkiskstøttede militssoldater i Syria, ifølge Tyrkias president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Lafarge frikjent for forbrytelser mot menneskeheten i Syria

En fransk domstol har frikjent sementprodusenten Lafarge for anklager om medvirkning til forbrytelser mot menneskeheten i Syria.

Certified Ethical Hacker - CEH V10 - Hippo Cyber Institute , Dubai

Certified Ethical Hacker V10
A Certified Ethical Hacker is a skilled professional who understands and knows how to look for weaknesses and vulnerabilities in target systems and uses the same knowledge and tools as a malicious hacker, but in a lawful and legitimate manner to assess the security posture of a target system(s). The CEH credential certifies individuals in the specific network security discipline of Ethical Hacking from a vendor-neutral perspective.

Hippo Cyber Institute Premium CEH V10 Training program 
  • Officially EC-Council Accredited training Centre
  • Certified EC-Council Trainer with 8+ year of industrial training experience in more than 8 countries and delivered training to people from America, Canada, Brazil, UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, Egypt, Syria, Australia, Hongkong, Mongolia, Philippines, Indian, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Argentine, Qatar, Tanzania, Lesotho, Seychelles, Afghanistan, Burundi, Sweden, Pakistan, Russia
  • Official EC-Council courseware material includes Book, Tools, & Exam Voucher
  • Official EC-Council Test Centre
  • Intense hands on training and demonstration
  • One free repeat training if not you are not ready for the exam
  • Exam tips, practice questions, and in-depth explanations
  • Post-training support
  • Exam Registration support
  • Exam cost of all the training are included
  • Refreshments
About the Program

Our security experts have designed over 140 labs which mimic real time scenarios in the course to help you “live” through an attack as if it were real and provide you with access to over 2200 commonly used hacking tools to immerse you into the hacker world.
As “a picture tells a thousand words”, our developers have all this and more for you in over 1685 graphically rich, specially designed slides to help you grasp complex security concepts in depth which will be presented to you in a 5 day hands on class by our Certified EC-Council Instructor.
The goal of this course is to help you master an ethical hacking methodology that can be used in a penetration testing or ethical hacking situation. You walk out the door with ethical hacking skills that are highly in demand, as well as the internationally recognized Certified Ethical Hacker certification! This course prepares you for EC-Council Certified Ethical Hacker exam 312-50.

The Purpose of the CEH credential is to:
  • Establish and govern minimum standards for credentialing professional information security specialists in ethical hacking measures.
  • Inform the public that credentialed individuals meet or exceed the minimum standards.
  • Reinforce ethical hacking as a unique and self-regulating profession.
What is New in CEH Version 10 Course
  • Module 01: Introduction to Ethical Hacking
  • Module 02: Footprinting and Reconnaissance
  • Module 03: Scanning Networks
  • Module 04: Enumeration
  • Module 05: Vulnerability Analysis
  • Module 06: System Hacking
  • Module 07: Malware Threats
  • Module 08: Sniffing
  • Module 09: Social Engineering
  • Module 10: Denial-of-Service
  • Module 11: Session Hijacking
  • Module 12: Evading IDS, Firewalls, and Honeypots
  • Module 13: Hacking Web Servers
  • Module 14: Hacking Web Applications
  • Module 15: SQL Injection
  • Module 16: Hacking Wireless Networks
  • Module 17: Hacking Mobile Platforms
  • Module 18: IoT Hacking
  • Module 19: Cloud Computing
  • Module 20: Cryptography
About the Exam
  • Number of Questions: 125
  • Test Duration: 4 Hours
  • Test Format: Multiple Choice
  • Test Delivery: ECC EXAM, VUE
  • Exam Prefix: 312-50 (ECC EXAM), 312-50 (VUE)

Cost: 5000 AED

Duration: 40 Hours


Of Assyria Rise And Fall Of Ancient World Power

Of Assyria Rise And Fall Of Ancient World Power

Team to report on perpetrators of Syrian chemical attacks


Team to report on perpetrators of Syrian chemical attacksThe investigation team in charge of identifying perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks in Syria will produce its first report "in the next few months," the head of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Tuesday. Fernando Arias gave the update to reporters after a private meeting with the U.N. Security Council when asked about the lack of accountability and justice for victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The OPCW voted to apportion blame for poison gas and nerve agent attacks last year after Russia used its Security Council veto to terminate a joint U.N.-OPCW investigative body set up in 2015 to determine responsibility for chemical attacks.


Syrian army confiscates weaponry and munitions left by terrorists in Damascus, Hama and Daraa countryside


Artillery attack launched by terrorist groups on residential neighborhoods in Syria’s Aleppo kills one civilians, injures eight of others


Terrorist Shelling Attacks Kill Syrian Civilian, Injure Others in Aleppo

A Syrian civilian was martyred and eight others were injured on Wednesday in terrorist shelling attacks on the residential neighborhoods in Aleppo. SANA news agency reported that Nusra Front terrorists fired shells at residential areas in al-Jamilyia, al-Siryan in Aleppo “at the peak people’s daily activity.” One civilian was martyred and two others were wounded ...

Turkey captures wife of slain ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi

Turkey captures wife of slain ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi

[Image: 5dc3b47bc6b7c.PNG]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stated that his country's forces have captured one of the four wives of the slain leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, days after it captured the elder sister, Rasmiya Awad.  
Erdogan made the announcement while delivering a speech in the capital of Ankara, in which he also criticised the United States for making a fuss over the killing of Baghdadi.
Quote:“The United States said Baghdadi killed himself in a tunnel. They started a communication campaign about this. But, I am announcing it here for the first time: We captured his wife and didn’t make a fuss like them. Similarly, we also captured his sister and brother-in-law in Syria” Erdogan said.
Erdogan gave no other details. He did not say when or how the woman was captured or identify her by name. The IS leader blew himself up during an Oct. 26 raid by U.S. special forces on his heavily fortified safe house in the Syrian province of Idlib.  
Erdogan’s announcement comes just days after Turkish forces captured al-Baghdadi’s elder sister, identified as Rasmiya Awad, in the town of Azaz, in Aleppo province in northwestern Syria.

Iconic photo: Russian and American troops crossing each other’s route in northeast Syria

This was posted here: Iconic and sweet image indeed :-)

US to Build Two More Bases in Syrian Oil Region


US to Build Two More Bases in Syrian Oil Region | Construction equipment being sent to areas US troops are based

The post US to Build Two More Bases in Syrian Oil Region appeared first on News From


Erdogan says U.S. not fulfilling Syria deal ahead of Trump talks - Reuters

Erdogan says U.S. not fulfilling Syria deal ahead of Trump talks  ReutersView full coverage on Google News

U.S. Senators urge State Department to sanction Turkey if it is breaking Syria agreement


U.S. Senators urge State Department to sanction Turkey if it is breaking Syria agreement


Bipartisan U.S. Senators have urged President Donald Trump’s administration to investigate reports that the Turkish military has violated an agreement with Washington to halt its military operation in northeast Syria and to respond with sanctions if they are true.

Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Senators Chris Van Hollen, Richard Blumenthal and Jeanne Shaheen told Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “time is of the essence” to look into the reports and impose measures against Turkey, Reuters said.

The United States and Turkey reached an agreement on Oct. 17 to halt the Turkish military operation against Syrian Kurdish-led forces that had played a key role in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.

The agreement left a 30-km deep, 120-km-wide area under direct Turkish control, but warned that the United States would impose devastating sanctions if Turkey breached the terms of the deal.

This week, outlets including the Wall Street Journal reported that Turkish forces had advanced beyond the reach of the zone to the edge of Tel Tamr, a strategic town held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces.

“On several occasions, President Trump has threatened to ‘destroy Turkey’s economy’ should Turkey violate its obligations,” the senators wrote in the letter.

“In keeping with this position, we ask that the administration take swift measures to enforce the October 17 agreement with tough economic sanctions,” they said.

Meanwhile, a motion passed by the House of Representatives last week to sanction Turkey over its military operation will not move to the Senate until after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to Washington on Nov. 13, a report in Politico said.


Humanitarian crisis growing: Syria needs Australia’s help

The Red Cross has issued a stark warning about a human tragedy unfolding in northeast Syria, as hundreds of thousands of people become displaced from civil war. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokesman Pat Griffiths says that the aid organisation are witnessing the beginnings of a humanitarian crisis in northeast Syria. “The latest...

Syrian Ingrates Throw Stones - Turk Patrol

. . Syrians think Turkey deserves stones, not thanks, for invading their country. What the... Russians are along to protect the Turkish patrol from serious conflict and real gunfire. Shots to Turkish heads would not be wise at this point, do you not agree? Turks are finding out that War is Hell. -

Trump Says Er#Dogan Visit to U.S. is On; U.S. Officials #Travel to Ankara


The Trump administration moved Wednesday to repair the U.S.-Turkish relationship amid deepening strains, congressional criticism and reports of continued skirmishing in northeast Syria weeks after a U ...


  Join us for a screening of Infiltrators, a visceral and haunting “road movie” that chronicles the daily travails of Palestinians of all backgrounds as they seek routes through, under, round, and over a bewildering matrix of barriers, and discussion with filmmaker Khaled Jarrar. Khaled Jarrar’s raw debut documentary was the standout success at the 2012 Dubai International Film Festival, winning the Muhr Arab Documentary Prize, the Special Jury Prize, the International Critics Prize, and the Gold Hugo for the best Documentary at Chicago International Film Festival. Film Details: Arabic dialogue with English subtitles. Length: 70 minutes. About the Filmmaker: Khaled Jarrar, born in Jenin, completed his studies in Interior design at the Palestine Polytechnic University, visual artistry from the International Academy of Art – Palestine, and MFA from the University of Arizona. His first exhibition took place in public space at the checkpoints of Huwarra and Qalandya in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Jarrar started making films and videos in 2008, among them Journey 110 (a selection of BPFF2011). He has participated in international art events such as Art Basel 41, Instant video, London Palestine Film Festival, the International Contemporary Art Fair “FIAC” in Paris, the Berlin Biennale 7 in 2012, and the Sharjah Biennial 11 in 2013. Jarrar’s Upcycle the Wall series, which has been shown internationally at venues such as the Aga Khan Museum, is perhaps his most well-known project to date and draws attention to the occupation of Palestine with sculptures made of reconstituted concrete from the apartheid wall that illegally annexes and cuts through parts of the West Bank. These works were highlighted in a critically acclaimed exhibition at Ayyam Gallery London in 2013 that included the installation of a massive concrete partition and related photographs. Jarrar was highlighted by a number of international publications such as The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and Creative Time Reports for his artistic intervention at the U.S-Mexico border. There, he removed and reappropriated a piece of the partition in order to create a ladder that now stands as a symbolic means of crossing for Mexicans who are separated from their American relatives. Recently, Jarrar was awarded the 2017 General Grants program for Cinema by the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture for his film Displaced in Heaven, a documentary that follows an exiled Palestinian family fleeing Syria. 

Trump, Erdogan Announce White House Talks On November 13

U.S. President Donald Trump is set to host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan next week amid friction between the two NATO-ally countries over actions in Syria and Russian weapons sales to Ankara.

U.S. senators press for sanctions on Turkey if it is violating Syria ceasefire

Republican and Democratic U.S. senators asked President Donald Trump's administration on Wednesday to let them know - and to respond with touch sanctions - if reports are true that Turkey is violating a ceasefire agreement in Syria.


Taste Suffering SO THAT You Can Taste Glory


Sometimes, the scriptures say things that really unsettle me. But I’ve learned when that happens, that’s a clue that I am approaching a place in my own heart that needs attention. And it’s beginning to dawn on me that most of the time I am unsettled by the wisdom of the Faith it’s because this wisdom is touching on suffering. Take, for example, this quote from St. Isaac the Syrian: If you would…

An Ancient Faith Blog

The post Taste Suffering SO THAT You Can Taste Glory appeared first on Faith Encouraged.


The Islamic State in Britain: Radicalization and Resilience in an Activist Network


Drawing on extensive field research with activists on the streets of London, Michael Kenney provides the first ethnographic study of a European network implicated in terrorist attacks and sending fighters to the Islamic State. For over twenty years, al-Muhajiroun (Arabic for 'the Emigrants') strived to create an Islamic state in Britain through high-risk activism. A number of Emigrants engaged in violence, while others joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Kenney explains why young Britons joined the Emigrants, how they radicalized and adapted their activism, and why many of them eventually left. Through an innovative mix of ethnography and network analysis, Kenney explains the structure and processes behind this outlawed network and explores its remarkable resilience. What emerges is a complex, nuanced portrait that demystifies the Emigrants while challenging conventional wisdom on radicalization and countering violent extremism. Read more...


Erdogan says U.S. not fulfilling Syria deal ahead of Trump talks

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday the United States was not fulfilling its pledge to remove a Kurdish militia from a Syrian border region and he will raise the issue when he meets President Donald Trump next week.


Trump’s Semi-Withdrawal From Syria: How Not To End Endless Wars

Trump’s Semi-Withdrawal From Syria: How Not To End Endless Wars mg allen Fri, 10/25/2019 - 15:52

President Trump revises US military withdrawal from Syria to protect oil fields

As waves of U.S. troops leave northeastern Syria under orders to withdraw, hundreds of soldiers move in the opposite direction to protect oil fields. The initial withdrawal, ordered by President Trump in early October, sought to prioritize the safety of American soldiers in the area caught between advancing Turkish troops and US-allied Kurdish forces in...

NBA’s Enes Kanter calls out Ilhan Omar over Turkey sanctions vote

But Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter tore into Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday night for not voting in favor of a bill to place economic sanctions on Turkey for its military campaign against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. Kanter, who is Turkish and has long been a vocal critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip …

Iraq: US troops leaving Syria don’t have permission to stay in country

Iraq’s military says U.S. troops leaving Syria and heading to neighboring Iraq do not have permission to stay in the country. The Iraqi statement contradicts the Pentagon’s announcement that all of the nearly 1,000 troops withdrawing from northern Syria are expected to move to western Iraq to continue the campaign against Islamic State militants and …

New Railway to Link Iranian, Syrian Coasts


Over 900 Syrians Return Home From Jordan, Lebanon


‘U.S. Troops Back to Military Bases in Northeast Syria’


Car Bomb Kills a Dozen in Syrian Border Town


Tố Mỹ thất hứa trong vấn đề Syria, liệu Tổng thống Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ còn gặp ông Trump?

TGVN. Ngày 7/11, Tổng thống Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ Tayyip Erdogan lên tiếng cáo buộc Mỹ đã không thực hiện cam kết quét sạch lực lượng người Kurd khỏi khu vực biên giới Syria.

Russia Dominated Syria’s War. Now It’s Sending Mercenaries to Libya.

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Turkey invasion protested in Mulhouse, Hamburg and Saarbücken

The protests of the invading Turkish state against North East Syria were protested in the cities of Muhlouse, Hamburg and Saarbücken.

Kurds sued despite being victims of racist and police attacks

Following the Turkish state's invasion of North-East Syria on 9 October, provocation and attacks were carried out by pro-AKP Turkish racists in Germany during the demos organised by Kurds. 

Demos protesting Turkey invasion of NE Syria around Europe

The invasion of the Turkish state against North East Syria was protested in Heilbrornn, Bonn, Nuremberg and Marseille.

Norwegian Red Party youth branch protested Turkey aggression

The Norwegian Red Party's youth organization Central Executive Board condemned the Turkish state invasion of northern Syria and demanded the immediate withdrawal of troops.

Fierce clashes in the village of Bir Issa

Violent clashes between SDF and the occupation forces continue in northern Syria.

Students in Qamishlo protest Turkish massacre of children

People of northern Syria stand against the Turkish genocidal campaign seeking to invade North and East Syria amid grave war crimes and crimes against humanity that also target children and minors.

Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs


Latest World News, World News, Current Affairs, Daily Current Affairs

Tweets For Today

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 10:32 PM PST

Picture Of The Day

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 10:24 PM PST

A B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, sits on the flight line, Oct 24, 2019. Consistent training and exercising validates the B-2Õs ability to respond to challenges all over the globe. (Sr. Airman Thomas Barley/Air Force)

WNU Editor: The above picture is from this photo-gallery .... Best photos of the week: Nov. 4, 2019 (Defense News).

Majority Of U.S. Voters Say President Trump Will Be Re-Elected In 2020 Despite Impeachment Process

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 10:16 PM PST

U.S. President Donald Trump sits for an exclusive interview with Reuters journalists in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S. December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Daily Mail: Comfortable majority of voters say Trump WILL be re-elected in 2020 despite impeachment process – including one-third of Democrats

* A new poll found that 56 percent of registered voters believe President Trump will win again in 2020
* That includes 85 percent of Republicans, 51 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats, according to the Politico/Morning Consult survey
* Pollsters found that voters believed that Trump's voters were twice as likely than Hillary Clinton's to be 'very motivated' to go vote
* Another poll found that the percentage of voters who believe Trump should win re-election hasn't significantly changed since the impeachment inquiry opened

A majority of registered voters believe President Trump will win again in 2020.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 56 percent of all voters said Trump will be re-elected next year. The president obviously has an edge with Republicans, with 85 percent saying a Trump 2.0 is happening.

But a majority of independents - 51 percent - agreed. Even a third of Democrats, 35 percent, said they believed there would be four more years of President Trump.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: He will be difficult to defeat. President Trump has the advantage of the incumbency and the bully-pulpit. The economy is also doing well, and his base overwhelmingly supports him. The Democrat candidates for President are also not inspiring, and I have trouble seeing them being able to attract independent voters. But the election is still far away. A lot can happen in 12 months.

Should CIA Director Gina Haspel Protect The Ukraine Whistleblower From President Trump?

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 10:10 PM PST

CIA Director Gina Haspel is sworn by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as President Donald Trump looks on and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds the bible during ceremonies at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia, U.S. May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque © Reuters

NBC: Intel officials want CIA Director Gina Haspel to protect Ukraine whistleblower from Trump

As Trump allies denounce the whistleblower, pressure is building on CIA Director Gina Haspel to take a stand, say current and ex intelligence officials.

WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump and his allies continue to denounce the CIA whistleblower whose complaint led to an impeachment investigation, pressure is building on the spy agency's director, Gina Haspel, to take a stand on the matter, current and former intelligence officials tell NBC News.

"It will be incumbent on her to protect the whistleblower — and by extension, the organization — moving forward," Marc Polymeropoulos, a recently retired CIA officer who oversaw operations in Europe and Russia, said in an interview. "This is a seminal moment for her leadership, and I'm confident she will do the right thing."

So far, Haspel has been publicly silent as Trump has railed about the whistleblower, a CIA analyst, on Twitter. So has the director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: There is a problem with this "CIA analyst". He was removed from the White House for lying and leaking. He is implicated in filing a complaint against President Trump and Ukraine that has led to this impeachment inquiry, even though his complaint is at odds with the transcript that was released. He is a well known Democrat activist who is closely affiliated with former Obama intelligence officials whose opposition to President Trump is well known. Bottom line. This is a person who has used his CIA position to pursue a political agenda against the President and his policies. In this context, this is someone that I am sure CIA Director Gina Haspel does not want to step in and defend.

Democrats' 'Star Impeachment Witness' Admits He Was Not On The Trump-Ukraine Call, And That His Sole Source Of Information Was From The NY Times

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 09:17 PM PST

Zero Hedge: Democrats' 'Star Witness' Admits He Wasn't On Trump-Ukraine Call, Sole Source Was NY Times

House Democrats have released the latest in the series of heavily-redacted transcripts of the secret hearings they had undertaken in recent weeks - that of Bill Taylor - the top US diplomat in Ukraine - ahead of his public testimony next week.

As The Hill notes, Taylor is viewed as a key witness who previously testified in meticulous detail about what he considered an effort by Trump and his allies to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations that would benefit Trump politically.

In leaked copies of his 15-page opening statement, Taylor voiced concerns that the Trump administration had withheld nearly $400 million in aid as leverage to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations into interference in the 2016 election and former Vice President Joe Biden, one of his leading 2020 political rivals.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: When you listen to the main stream media they are saying that Ambassador Bill Taylor is a critical witness to President Trump's demand for a quid-pro-quo from the Ukraine government on military aid and an investigation on the Bidens .... Why William Taylor's testimony is central to the impeachment inquiry (PBS). But when you read his transcript .... READ: Testimony Of William Taylor, Acting U.S. Envoy To Ukraine (NPR), the story is very different where he admits that his source of information comes SOLELY from the New York Times?!?!?! You gotta be kidding me. His sole source of information that he is basing his testimony on is from the New York Times?!?!?! It is not surprising that the main stream media is ignoring this critical admission. Kudos to the above post from Zero Hedge and The Federalist .... Testimony Transcript Shows William Taylor Never Talked To Trump, Wasn't Even On July 25 Phone Call (The Federalist) for their summary and analysis on Bill Taylor's testimony. As for the Democrats hoping that he will be their "star witness" next week, my advice to them is that they find a better witness.

Saudi Arabia Recruited Twitter Workers To Spy On Critics Of Saudi Regime

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 08:47 PM PST

CNBC: Justice Department charges two former Twitter employees with spying for Saudi Arabia

* The Department of Justice on Wednesday charged two former Twitter employees for spying on users on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
* The charges allege that Ali Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo used their employee credentials to access information about specific Twitter users, including their email addresses, birth dates, phone numbers and internet protocol addresses.

The Department of Justice on Wednesday charged two former Twitter employees for spying on users on behalf of Saudi Arabia.

The charges allege that Ali Alzabarah and Ahmad Abouammo used their employee credentials to access information about specific Twitter users, including their email addresses, birth dates, phone numbers and internet protocol addresses. A third individual, Ahmed Almutairi, was also charged for acting as an intermediary between the Twitter employees and the Saudi government, the Justice Department said.

Read more ....

More News On Saudi Arabia Recruiting Twitter Workers To Spy On Critics Of Saudi Regime

US: Saudis recruited Twitter workers to spy on users -- AP
Two former Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia -- Euronews/Reuters
Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia -- The Hill
Saudis recruited Twitter workers to spy on critics of Saudi regime, U.S. charges -- NBC
Twitter employees recruited by Saudi Arabia to spy on kingdom's critics, US prosecutors say -- The Independent
Former Twitter employees charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by digging into the accounts of kingdom critics -- The Washington Post
Three charged in US with spying on Twitter users for Saudi Arabia -- Twitter

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 6, 2019

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 04:00 PM PST

Jesse Barajas searches for the remains of his brother José, who was was dragged from his ranch on 8 April 2019 and has not been seen since, last month near the town of Tecate. Photograph: Emilio Espejel/The Guardian

Tom Phillips, The Guardian: 'The disappeared': searching for 40,000 missing victims of Mexico's drug wars

José Barajas, who was snatched from his home, joins the ever-swelling ranks of thousands of desaparecidos, victims of the drug conflict that shows no sign of easing

As he set off into the wilderness under a punishing midday sun, Jesse Barajas clutched an orange-handled machete and the dream of finding his little brother, José.

"He's not alive, no. They don't leave people alive," the 62-year-old said as he slalomed through the parched scrubland of tumbleweed and cacti where they had played as kids. "Once they take someone they don't let you live."

Read more ....

Commentaries, Analysis, And Editorials -- November 6, 2019

Deadly ambush shows Mexico lost control of area -- Peter Orsi and Maria Verza, AP

The epic struggle behind Iraq's protests -- CSM Editorial

A Month of Anti-government Protests in Iraq -- Alan Taylor, The Atlantic

As US dithers over human rights, China opens its arms to Prabowo Subianto, the Indonesian defence minister with a chequered past - Amy Chew, SCMP

From Singapore to Sweden, China's overbearing campaign for influence is forcing countries to resist and recalibrate relations with Beijing -- Drew Thompson, SCMP

New Silk Road money is paving the Old Silk Roads -- Alexander Kruglov, Asia Times

Why India pulled out of the RCEP free trade deal -- Rahul Mishra, DW

Why is India's pollution much worse than China's? -- BBC

One year to go for Tanzania's President Magufuli and the reviews are mixed -- Cristina Krippahl, DW

Study: Russia's web-censoring tool sets pace for imitators -- Tami Abdollah, AP

UK election campaign: Who wants what on EU issues? -- Rob Mudge, DW

Explainer: Chile's constitutional conundrum - To change or not to change? -- Natalia A. Ramos Miranda, Reuters

Revisiting the End of the Cold War -- John Lewis Gaddis & Elmira Bayrasli, Project Syndicate

Why Are So Many Countries Witnessing Mass Protests? -- The Economist

World News Briefs -- November 6, 2019

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 03:36 PM PST

An Iranian flag flutters in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria September 9, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

Reuters: Iran fuels centrifuges, resumes uranium enrichment at Fordow

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow nuclear facility, the country's Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) said on Thursday, further stepping away from its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

The agreement bans enrichment and nuclear material from Fordow. But with feedstock gas entering its centrifuges, the facility, built inside a mountain, will move from the permitted status of research plant to being an active nuclear site.

"After all successful preparations ... injection of uranium gas to centrifuges started on Thursday at Fordow ... all the process has been supervised by the inspectors of the U.N. nuclear watchdog," the AEOI said in a statement, Iranian media reported

Read more ....


Turkey's Erdogan speaks with Trump, to visit Washington next week.

Houthis fire missiles at Yemen's Mokha port, military coalition says.

Iraqi security forces break up protests in Battle of the Bridges.

Civilian deaths as Idlib hospital struck by Russian air raids.

Turkey says Kurdish fighters still remain in safe zone near Syrian border.

Iran begins process of fuelling centrifuges at Fordow.

Riyadh has 'open channel' with Yemen rebels: Saudi official. Riyadh in talks with Yemen rebels, Saudi official says.

Lebanon protesters seek to shut down key state institutions.

World Bank urges Lebanon to form govt, warns of recession.

Jordan police arrest man after stabbing attack at popular tourist site.


China urges re-elected Canadian government to free Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Over a dozen killed in attack in Thailand's Yala province. 15 defense volunteers killed in Thailand attack. 15 killed in suspected rebel attacks in Thailand's south.

Tajikistan: 17 killed in border outpost attack. ISIL blamed for deadly attack on Tajik border outpost.

Two suspected suicide bombers from Egypt killed in Philippines.

Hong Kong protesters don Guy Fawkes masks to mark month since mask ban. Water cannons deployed in Tsim Sha Tsui as Hong Kong protesters wearing 'V for Vendetta' masks test new 'flash mob' tactic of assembling at short notice.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho stabbed in Hong Kong.

Facebook video shows PNG police kicking, hitting and stomping on group of men.

Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy announces Saturday return.

South Korea promotes DMZ 'peace zone' with new video.


At least 37 killed in attack on Canadian miner Semafo convoy in Burkina Faso.

Water crisis builds in Egypt as dam talks falter, temperatures rise.

France says its troops killed a leading jihadist in the Sahel.

10 civilians killed in militia attack in eastern DRCongo.

Sudan rebels insist new parliament be formed only after peace deal.

UN calls for action as Somalia floods affect 200,0000 children.

US Nile talks 'not a negotiation', says Ethiopia.

Two killed in strike on Libya police station: ministry.

Libya migrant attack: UN investigators suspect foreign jet bombed centre.

Mozambique detains elite police chief over election observer's murder.


Mike Pompeo carries divisive US messages to Germany.

Sweden charges man with spying on Iranian exiles.

Johnson tries to shake off rocky start as UK election begins.

PM's election campaign launch marred by gaffe, resignation and doctored video.

Spain's far-right Vox surges in wake of Catalan independence protests.

Local German conservatives cause uproar with call for talks with far right.

Putin: New weapons will offer Russia reliable protection.

EU urges faster Greece vetting of migrants as arrivals soar.

Hungarian mayor resigns after yacht orgy video.

Netherlands: '4,000 schools shut' in teacher strike.

Italy to become first country to make studying climate change compulsory in schools.


Exclusive: Brazil likely to vote with U.S. against Cuba at U.N. over embargo.

US Diplomat had 'clear understanding' of Ukraine quid pro quo.

McConnell says Senate would acquit Trump if trial held today.

Democrats win control of Virginia Legislature. Democrat declares upset victory in Kentucky governor race.

Heavily armed hitman of rival El Chapo cartel is arrested over Mormon massacre after a stand-off at the US border where he held two HOSTAGES as heartbreaking photos show devastated relatives visiting the scene of the massacre.

Mexico ambush: Boy, 13, walked 23km for help after gun attack.

United States sanctions 5 Venezuelan officials.

Chile: president promotes minimum wage hike to quell unrest.

Chile's Pinera resists call to resign over protests.

Chilean protest footage captures police officers on fire after molotov cocktail explosion.

Thousands of Bolivians march over disputed election.


Pakistan failed to stop terror groups from recruiting & raising funds, US report сlaims.

German man fighting for Kurds killed in Syria.

Turkey captured al-Baghdadi's wife and didn't make fuss like US – Erdogan.


Wall St. ends near flat; healthcare shares gain but trade deal delay weighs.

Europeans look to China as global partner, shun Trump's US.

Xi Jinping's Brazil trip 'may be too soon' for China to sign partial US trade war deal.

Macron in China: Xi hails $15 billion trade contracts as 'strong signal of free trade'.

Michael Jackson's iconic moonwalk socks are tipped to sell for over $1MILLION at auction... more than a decade on from his passing.

Israel Expects To Be Engaged In A Major War Very Soon

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 03:01 PM PST

Ali Hashisho / Reuters

Michael Oren, The Atlantic: The Coming Middle East Conflagration

Israel is bracing itself for war with Iranian proxies, as Tehran escalates its provocations. But what will the United States do if conflict comes?

The senior ministers of the Israeli government met twice last week to discuss the possibility of open war with Iran. They were mindful of the Iranian plan for a drone attack from Syria in August, aborted at the last minute by an Israeli air strike, as well as Iran's need to deflect attention from the mass protests against Hezbollah's rule in Lebanon. The ministers also reviewed the recent attack by Iranian drones and cruise missiles on two Saudi oil installations, reportedly concluding that a similar assault could be mounted against Israel from Iraq.

The Israel Defense Forces, meanwhile, announced the adoption of an emergency plan, code-named Momentum, to significantly expand Israel's missile defense capacity, its ability to gather intelligence on embedded enemy targets, and its soldiers' preparation for urban warfare. Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing. Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: The Syrian conflict, unrest in Iraq, and the Yemen war is where the focus in the Middle East is right now. Another Hezbollah - Israel and/or Hamas - Israel war is not on people's radar.

Media Upset That Trump's Son Tweets Name Of Alleged Whistleblower Even Though His Name Was Revealed Last Week

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 01:00 PM PST

AFP: Impeachment: Trump's son tweets name of alleged whistleblower

Washington (AFP) - President Donald Trump's son published on Wednesday the name of the alleged anonymous whistleblower whose complaint fired the impeachment inquiry against Trump, breaking strict conventions for protecting officials who reveal wrongdoing in government.

Amid calls by the president himself to expose the whistleblower, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the name of a CIA analyst which has circulated online for weeks, and linked to a Breitbart news article implying the person was pro-Democrat and anti-Trump.

AFP could not independently verify the whistleblower's identity and is not publishing the name.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: This is actually old news. The identity of the "whistle-blower" was revealed last week .... The Identity Of The Anonymous 'Whistleblower' Who Triggered Impeachment Proceedings Against President Trump Is Suspected To Be A Well Known Democrat Activist (October 31, 2019). A picture of the "whistle-blower" is below.

Special Operations Air Force Member Goes Missing During Training Jump Over Gulf Of Mexico

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 12:40 PM PST

The airman was a part of the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field in in Okaloosa County, Florida. He disappeared four miles south of the field over the Gulf of Mexico

Daily Mail: Desperate search launched for airman who fell out of Special Operations military plane 1,500 feet over the Gulf of Mexico and was last seen treading water after deploying his parachute

* A search is underway for a staff sergeant in training who disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday afternoon during a training exercise
* The unidentified Air Force airman was from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County, Florida
* He exited a C-130 four engine aircraft around 1.45pm from a height of 1,500 feet
* He deployed his parachute and was last seen treading water in the Gulf, approximately four miles south of Hurlburt Field
* As the aircraft turned to retrieve the man, crewmen lost sight of him
* Several vessels, three Air Force aircraft were deployed in the search
* The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Coast Guard are also on the scene

A desperate search is underway for a missing airman who disappeared into the Gulf of Mexico after suffering a parachute-jump mishap while exiting a Special Operations military plane.

The unidentified Air Force airman from the 24th Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field was exiting a C-130 four-engine aircraft over the Gulf of Mexico during a training exercise around 1.45pm Tuesday when he suddenly vanished into the water below.

'The fall happened during a parachute-jump training exercise out of Hurlburt Field,' a report from the Air Force Times said.

The Coast Guard said the airman was a staff sergeant in training and fell out of the aircraft at 1,500 feet, according to WEAR.

Read more ....

More News On A Special Operations Air Force Member Going Missing During A Training Jump Over The Gulf Of Mexico

Special tactics airman missing in Gulf of Mexico; search underway -- Air Force Times
Airman who fell from plane above Gulf of Mexico still missing -- NBC
Mobile area Coast Guard continue search for airman who fell from plane into Gulf of Mexico --
Air Force member goes missing during training jump over Gulf of Mexico -- CBS
Airman fell from C-130 military aircraft while training over the Gulf of Mexico -- Defence-Blog
Coast Guard, Air Force, local agencies searching for a airman in the water near Destin -- FOX 10

ISIS Launched A Failed Attack On A Tajikistan Border Outpost With Uzbekistan

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 11:00 AM PST

DW: Tajikistan: 17 killed in border outpost attack

Twenty masked gunmen launched a failed attack on a Tajik outpost on the border with Uzbekistan. The rare attack was quashed when border forces launched a counter operation and killed most of the raiders.

At least 17 people were killed in an overnight raid by armed men on an outpost on the border between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, Tajik authorities said on Wednesday.

"An armed group of 20 unknown masked individuals attacked a border outpost … using firearms," said Tajikistan's national security committee, according to Russian state-run news agency TASS.

Tajikistan's border forces said the assailants were members of the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group in Afghanistan.

At least five of the gunmen were detained and later provided critical intelligence during interrogations, authorities said.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: I agree with this analysis .... Reported Attack In Tajikistan Could Have Broad Implications For Central Asia (RFE).

More News On Today's ISIS Attack On A Tajikistan Border Outpost With Uzbekistan

Many dead in Tajikistan 'firefight with IS' -- BBC
Fifteen IS jihadists killed in Tajikistan border attack -- AFP
Tajikistan: 17 killed in attack on border checkpoint -- Eurasianet
ISIL blamed for deadly attack on Tajik border outpost -- Al Jazeera

World Leaders Warn Iran To Stick To Nuclear Deal

Posted: 06 Nov 2019 10:24 AM PST

ABC News Online: World leaders warn Iran to stick to nuclear deal, as it begins injecting uranium gas into centrifuges

World leaders have called on Iran to fulfil the terms of its 2015 nuclear deal, after it begins injecting uranium gas into centrifuges at its underground Fordow nuclear facility.

Iran has begun to further distance itself from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that curbed its atomic work, local media reported on Wednesday (local time).

The deal bans nuclear material from Fordow and, with the injection of uranium gas into its centrifuges, the facility will move from its permitted status of research plant to become an active nuclear site.

Read more ....

WNU Editor: Aside from their rhetoric that everything is still OK .... Long way before JCPOA collapses, says Rouhani's chief of staff (MEHR News Agency), the Iranians are becoming more and more nervous .... Exclusive: Iran briefly held IAEA inspector, seized travel documents - diplomats (Reuters).


“Latter-day Saint Women” Podcast Offers New Ways to Connect with Women Leaders throughout Church History


In some cases, the stories are well known, but often she comes across stories that haven’t been shared before or perhaps have been lost or forgotten over time. And getting the chance to share such discoveries and insights is one of her favorite things about being a historian. “We all learn differently and think differently,” Holbrook said.  From left to right, Sisters Jayne B. Malan, Ardeth G. Kapp, and Elaine L. Jack of the Young Women General Presidency in 1989. Sister Kapp served as Young Women General President from 1984 to 1992. This presidency oversaw the creation of the Young Women theme and Young Women values, and they updated the Personal Progress program. Sister Jack was Relief Society General President from 1990 to 1997. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.In addition to the messages themselves, the guests on the podcast, particularly the historians, are able to add valuable historical context to the topics discussed.  Sister Amy Brown Lyman at Social Service Training in Anaconda, Montana, circa 1920. Lyman, bespectacled in the center of the front row, became a trained social worker after formative visits to Hull House in Chicago and was a leader in implementing social service work within the Relief Society. Sister Lyman served on the Relief Society General Board for 36 years, including her time as President. Photo by Montgomery Studio. Photo courtesy of Church History Library.Although as a historian Holbrook understands better than most people just how influential history can be on modern lives, she is also all too aware of the fact that not everyone enjoys sitting down and poring over books and histories the way she does. For its first season, or the first 13 episodes—produced during the first half of 2019—the podcast centered solely around the discourses or content from At the Pulpit.People in the Church today, particularly women, are hungry for “the words and the insights and experiences from women of faith,” Guymon explained, citing some of the feedback they have received from listeners of the podcast. “Whether it was 15 to 20 years ago or even 50 to 100 years ago [that a talk was given], it’s almost like it had been given yesterday or at the most recent general conference,” Guymon said. “They’re just so timely and relevant and there really are profound messages and takeaways that the women of today can draw from the messages.”  Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Emmeline B. Wells, and Eliza R. Snow circa 1876. Whitney, left, and Snow, right, were members of the Nauvoo Relief Society and served together when the General Board of the Relief Society was organized in 1880. Emmeline B. Wells, center, edited the Woman’s Exponent and worked as the General Secretary and then General President of the Relief Society in later years. These three women traveled often to speak to different congregations. Photo by Charles R. Savage. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.Historically, and to an extent still today, men’s letters and talks have been better recorded because on some level, they have been thought of as more important or authoritative, Holbrook said. But as a historian, that is a notion she hopes to dispel. “We would love to create a podcast that highlights the contributions of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, especially in various leadership positions and in various locations around the world,” Back said. Their examples “provide visions of beautiful ways to live your life,” she said, adding that “working on At the Pulpit expanded my vision of women’s roles in the Church and all the different ways that they contribute.”Take, for example, the journals of Sister Leone O. Jacobs. While working to gather discourses by women leaders throughout Church history for the book At the Pulpit, Holbrook came across a talk by Sister Jacobs, who served on the Relief Society general board in the mid-1900s. “Regardless of whether people are able to read At the Pulpit, they can still join in the podcast for any episode and have some takeaways and be able to feel engaged in a meaningful conversation about gospel principles,” Back said.  Sisters Belle S. Spafford, Marianna C. Sharp, and Louise W. Madsen with the Relief Society general board in 1962, with members of the presidency at the head of the table. Left to right: Sisters Madsen, Spafford, and Sharp and the Relief Society general board pose in the six-year-old Relief Society Building. Board members trained Relief Society units throughout the world, oversaw temple clothing production, published the Relief Society Magazine, and created Relief Society curricula. Photo by J. M. Heslop. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library.She added that, through their discourses and histories, women are sharing ways to truly live Christ-centered lives and their examples can be used to motivate and inspire the future generations. Despite living in different times and different situations, women throughout Church history have encountered many of the same difficulties and feelings that contemporary women have, Back said, and understanding that is inspiring.For example, from her time studying women’s history, Holbrook said one thing she has learned is that “there are times when women have had more autonomy than others, and that fluctuates. But a constant has been that leaders and members of the Church have always been ready to be engaged in a good cause.” Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association general board, circa 1905. The first YLMIA general board was organized in 1880 under Elmina S. Taylor. The first board members traveled, coordinated the efforts of local associations, corresponded with local units, conducted training, developed curricula and programs, and spoke at MIA June Conferences starting in 1896. Photo courtesy of Church History Library.That’s part of why the podcast is important, Back added.  Relief Society General Conference in 1962. The first Relief Society general conference as held in 1889. This photograph of the Salt Lake Tabernacle shows a large crowd at one of the sessions of the October 1962 conference, at which Sister Louis W. Madsen spoke. Photo by Ross Welser. Photo courtesy of Church History Library.Women throughout Church history are innovative and dedicated problem-solvers, Holbrook said. And for women in the Church now, it is important to know that “you are part of a long tradition of women looking for space where they could improve something and finding concrete ways to do that.” Another thing Holbrook has learned through her work as a historian is the importance of record keeping for both men and women.Throughout history, many of the solutions and innovations created by women have become a part of the fabric of the Church, Holbrook said.Recognizing, however, that the content of the book is finite, with only so many chapters to pull from, Back explained that their vision for the podcast shifted with the second season. “That is one thing we hope will be much better going forward, is that more members of the Church outside of the United States will keep records of the things they’re doing in Church and keep records of their speeches,” she said. Hopefully the existence of a book like “From the Pulpit” will encourage more people “to keep copies of the talks they give and make notes in their journals or however they want to do it.”Her hope is that both the book and the podcast will help women around the world to see that their words and experiences matter and should be recorded and preserved. “It was so meaningful,” Holbrook said of getting to pore over Sister Jacobs’s journals and learn about the experiences she had as a wife, mother, and leader in a very different part of the world.In order to match that effort and to cover the topics that both readers of the book and listeners of the podcast find meaningful, the podcast has evolved in its second season to focus more on topic discussions. It also brings in the voices of guest historians and current and former women leaders of the Church to initiate conversations about the topics that are important to women in the Church today.“The podcast offers another way for women to get at that content and those histories in a way that is more accessible, especially for women on the go,” Guymon said. “Of all of the media we can consume . . . I think having a podcast where women can be inspired by other women, both their experiences and their teachings, is just a great thing to have.” Eliza R. Snow, circa 1875. Snow as a poet, a world traveler, and a renowned leader of Latter-day Saint women. She effectively linked the Nauvoo Relief Society to the resurgence of the organization in the Utah Territory by preserving the Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book and traveling throughout settlements to help organize women and encourage them to speak. Photo by Charles Carter. Photo courtesy of Church History Library.Finding fully written discourses by women — particularly from the early years of the Church — that could be included in “At the Pulpit” was difficult, Holbrook noted. Finding discourses by women from outside of the United States or that had been given in an international context was even more difficult. As one of several guest historians and women leaders to have joined the Latter-day Saint Women podcast for various episodes during its first year of production, Holbrook noted her gratitude for the addition of the podcast.Learning from and connecting with women leaders of the past and the present—even if only through the histories, discourses, or records they leave behind—can be a powerful experience for any member, Holbrook explained. Prior to contacting one of Sister Jacobs’s children through the white pages and getting her hands on some of Sister Jacobs’s old journals, Holbrook said she had no idea that the Church had established a mission in Palestine and Syria before World War II. Sister Jacobs’s husband served as president of the missions in Palestine and Syria from 1937 to 1939, at which time the Jacobs were called home following England’s declaration of war on Germany. Back and Guymon explained that one of the remarkable things about the discourses from the book they have discussed on the podcast is the longevity and continued relevance of their messages.A New Way to Connect with Women of the PastTimeless Messages and Lessons Sister Judy Brummer as a missionary in Queenstown, South Africa, circa 1980. A native of South Africa, Brummer, second from the right, was the first Latter-day Saint missionary fluent in the Xhosa language. (Photograph in family possession, photo courtesy of Judy Brummer. Photo courtesy of the Church History Library. So for the people who don’t feel inclined to sit and read, the Church is working to make the histories of women leaders in the Church available through other means. Books have lives apart from their content when people have conversations about them and are willing to interpret and misinterpret them, Holbrook said. “And the podcast is a good place to experience that life beyond the actual contents of At the Pulpit.”In early 2019, the Church launched a new podcast called Latter-day Saint Women. At first, the podcast was meant to simply discuss the 54 discourses by women leaders that are included in At the Pulpit. However, after receiving feedback from listeners who were hoping to gain even more knowledge from and about women leaders in the Church, the podcast has evolved into something even better, explained Karlie Brand Guymon and Shalyn Back, cohosts of the podcast.“It can be something that can connect all of us as women and help us feel like our contributions are valued and that they are making a difference and that we’re not alone,” she said. “Women have been so instrumental in teaching and sharing the gospel, and this has been such an incredible way to highlight that.”As one of the leading historians for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and as managing historian of women’s history at the Church History Department, Kate Holbrook is an expert on the history of women in the Church. Her work allows her to find, and sometimes unearth, stories about women leaders of the Church from throughout the less-than-200-year history of the Restoration.


Lafarge charges of crime against humanity dropped on appeal but others remain

A French court on Thursday quashed charges of “complicity in crimes against humanity” pressed against French cement company Lafarge, but says other charges will be considered over payments made to Syrian armed forces.

Letters to the Editor: At least Trump is honest about pillaging another country's oil


Trump is fine with risking U.S. soldiers' lives to protect oil field in Syria, but not to protect the lives of innocent Kurds.


A Commitment to Radicalism


A Radcliffe Institute conference looks back on the legacy of activist icon Angela Davis and ahead to freedom struggles at Harvard and around the globe.

Angela Davis

Angela Davis

Photograph by Tony Rinaldo

Angela Davis

Photograph by Tony Rinaldo


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Radcliffe Institute conference on activist Angela Davis
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On Tuesday morning, Elizabeth Hinton told everyone to get ready. The second and final—and fullest—day of a Radcliffe Institute  conference honoring radical activist and global icon Angela Davis was about to start. Davis herself was seated in the front row, smiling beneath her instantly recognizable afro, now a shade of silver-gray. A capacity crowd filled the Knafel Center behind her. Hinton, halfway through her welcoming remarks, was talking about the difficult issues and “contested truths” the rest of the conference would grapple with. “If you are not uncomfortable at some point during the day,” said the Harvard historian, who chaired the event’s organizing committee, “then we’re not doing our jobs.”

For the next eight hours, the panelists—scholars, activists, educators—would discuss revolution and liberation and the fight against violent oppression. They’d talk about feminisms (plural) and blackness and queer solidarity; they’d talk about anti-capitalism and the prison-abolition movement. They’d talk about Palestine and apartheid South Africa and northern Syria. And Brazil, where Davis traveled a few weeks ago and met with the family of Marielle Franco, the human rights activist and Rio politician who was assassinated in 2018, a few months before repressive politician Jair Bolsonaro was elected president.

Elizabeth Hinton speaking
Elizabeth Hinton
Photograph by Tony Rinaldo

And the panelists would also talk about Harvard, whose recent acquisition of Davis’s papers—now archived in the Schlesinger Library and available to scholars starting this week—catalyzed the conference. Hinton praised the increasingly prominent University-hosted discussions like this one, but she also pushed back. “We can’t be in a space confronting Angela Davis’s life’s work and its implications,” she said, “without recognizing the struggles against racism and oppression that are very much alive on this campus.” She described a recent incident in which Harvard police confronted a group of students of color in the Yard as they were preparing a poetry installation for a class. And she cited the Harvard Prison Divestment Campaign, whose leaders have been demanding that the University withdraw its investments from prison-related industries. For more than a year, the campaign “has engaged the entire campus in thinking about the kinds of investments Harvard can and should make to advance social justice and equality, including expanding educational opportunities for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people,” said Hinton, whose scholarly work focuses on the carceral state. She has been pushing Harvard to provide education in prisons since she first arrived in Cambridge six years ago. 

Other speakers, too, declared support for the Harvard divestment campaign, including Davis herself. “Of course I would support your efforts to persuade the University to divest from the prison-industrial complex,” Davis replied to a student who stood up late in the program to ask whether she would take a stand. (She also brought up the Harvard Graduate Student Union, which remains at odds with the University in its contract negotiations; the union voted overwhelmingly last week to authorize a strike. “I want to offer them support and solidarity,” Davis said, referring to the union. She echoed panelist and UCLA historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who earlier in the day had urged Harvard to come to an agreement with the students.)

Ruth Wilson Gilmore, a cofounder with Davis of the prison-abolition organization Critical Resistance, also answered a question about the Harvard divestment campaign. “Everyone should fight how they need to fight,” she said. “But: plan to win.” She explained what she meant: “Let us say that the divest committee gets Harvard to divest tonight. What changes for anybody in a cage tomorrow morning? Nothing.” Divestment, she explained, can be a fight worth having, but she admonished students to be cognizant of the limits of its effect, and also to think about how to build and extend that campaign not only to achieve a circumscribed goal, but also to change public consciousness about prison. “Fight what you’re fighting, but think about what happens the next morning.” 

“That said,” she added, “a multi-, multi-, multi-, multi-billion-dollar empire like Harvard … could use its economic clout” to pressure banks not to issue bonds to state and municipal governments to build new prisons. “If Harvard said, ‘We won’t do business with any bank that will write a bond to build any prison, whether public or not,’ that will be meaningful.”


Much of the day seemed to unfold that way: discussions of Davis’s work kept turning into the work itself. In part, that’s because many of the conference participants were old friends and comrades who’d stood alongside Davis for decades in one struggle or another. Some were her very oldest friends. On Monday night, Bettina Aptheker, a childhood companion and fellow radical, recalled meetings with Davis and other members of the youth socialist organization they belonged to in high school. The group would gather in the basement of Aptheker’s parents’ home in Brooklyn, where, under the clothesline in the boiler room, stood a row of metal filing cabinets containing the papers of W.E.B. DuBois. “In that time of McCarthyism and House committees on un-American activities and virulent racism and anti-communism,” she said, “no university library would touch DuBois’s papers.” When DuBois departed for Ghana in 1961, “he left them with my father”—Marxist historian Herbert Aptheker, who would later serve as executor of DuBois’s estate—“until they could be properly housed in a university library.” (They are now at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.)

Davis’s sister, Fania Davis, an activist for restorative justice—a practice that seeks to repair the harm of criminal behavior through reconciliation between the offenders and victims—recalled growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in those days nicknamed “Bombingham” because of the dynamite explosions that targeted black residents moving into white neighborhoods. She recalled the sisters learning to read their earliest words—“colored” and “white”—and playing pranks on racist white neighbors and shopkeepers. “Just being African American growing up in the fifties and sixties in the South can, itself be radicalizing,” she said.

Davis greets jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, who performed during the conference's opening night. To Davis's left are Gina Dent, Fania Davis, and Bettina Aptheker.
Photograph by Tony Rinaldo

Attorney and law scholar Dorothy Burnham, who defended Davis against murder charges in the trial that made her world-famous, reflected on the case against her friend that followed a deadly 1970 shootout between police and the Soledad Brothers outside the Marin County courthouse. Burnham, a lifelong friend from Birmingham—whose 104-year-old mother, the scientist and civil-rights leader Dorothy Burnham, was in the audience—recalled Davis’s imprisonment and trial and how it not only cemented her fame, but profoundly shaped her activism and political philosophy for the rest of her life: the concepts of freedom and oppression, of solidarity and resistance. In prison, Burnham said, “She grew her voice. She grew her confidence.”  

Earlier in the evening, there was a jazz performance arranged by percussionist Terri Lyne Carrington, another longtime friend of Davis’s, whose setlist included a Herbie Hancock song inspired by the activist’s ordeal during her trial. Harvard music professors Vijay Iyer, a pianist, and Esperanza Spalding, a bassist, played alongside Carrington, trumpter Nicholas Payton and singer Cécile McLorin Salvant.

Again and again, conversations came back to the work. Moderating a panel titled “Revolution,” Brandon Terry, a Harvard assistant professor of African and African American studies, exhorted students to nurture their own “revolutionary practice” and to take the risks required, reminding them that Martin Luther King Jr. was only 25 when he organized the Montgomery bus boycott. “A revolution is not just armed struggle,” he said at one point, quoting from a speech by Davis. “It’s not just a period in which you can take over.…. The society you’re going to build is already reflected in the nature of the struggle you’re carrying out.” 

Film director and Spelman professor Julie Dash, who is working on a biopic of Davis, found herself brainstorming ideas from the speakers’ table. “I’m interested in redefining how African-American women are depicted in historical dramas, reimagining lives in bold and cinematic displays,” she said. “Where do we begin the story of the making of a revolutionary? How do we show the seeds of black radicalism taking root?” 

Gilmore, on stage with Kathy Boudin, a formerly incarcerated woman who codirects and cofounded the Center for Justice at Columbia University, fell into a discussion about the importance of confronting the real harm and violence committed by many those who are behind bars. “People in the movement are afraid to talk about that,” Boudin said. And they also discussed the tension between the need to invest in prison reform to improve inhumane conditions and the importance of preserving the long-term goal of abolition. 

Many who spoke noted the power and potential in the Davis archive—a vast collection of writings, speeches, photographs, and artifacts filed away over a lifetime. “I just knew I shouldn’t throw it away,” Davis said. Historian Jane Kamensky, the Schlesinger’s director, hoped the materials would allow “gatherings in far off years to make connections we have not yet thought of and ask questions we have not yet dreamed of.” Hinton curated an exhibit on Davis’s life and thought drawn from the papers, Angela Davis: Freed by the People, on view at the Schlesinger through March. “The collection was so stimulating for me and so rich,” Hinton said. “I left no box unturned.” 

Lehman College historian Robyn Spencer weighed the Davis archive against “all the violence and erasures and silence, all the things that have shielded black women’s lives from really being known.” She called the collection an act of “self-preservation and self-determination,” by an “unapologetically feminist, blues-loving Afro-wearing, left-leaning black woman. Black women are so rarely allowed universality, unboxed breath.” Her papers will provide “oxygen,” Spencer said, “to people, to movements, and ideas that definitely need to be aired.”

“The Davis papers are not a place for nostalgia,” Spencer concluded. “They demand action.” 


As the evening wound to a close, Hinton and Elsa Hardy, a graduate student, and Abbie Cohen, a Radcliffe staff member, shared poetry and other thoughts produced by a reading collective of incarcerated women they work with, who were granted special access to the Davis papers last summer and among the first to study it. Kaia Stern, Radcliffe practitioner-in-residence and visiting lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who cofounded the Harvard Prison Studies Project and has taught incarcerated people for years, recounted conversations with some of the women she has worked with inside: “Human connection is contraband in jail and prison,” Stern said. “We don’t say that out loud; it’s not written in our policy, but anyone who has spent time in a jail or prison know this. Sharing is punished as extortion.…Yet education in prison is transformative precisely because it is about human connections—to history, to science, to art, and to people.”

 Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Angela Davis speaking
Neferti X.M. Tadiar and Angela Davis
Photograph by Tony Rinaldo

Afterward, Davis herself took the stage, interviewed by her friend and former colleague Neferti X.M. Tadiar, now professor and chair of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at Barnard. They talked about philosophy and politics and jazz, and the power of art to fortify and inspire and understand. “Art can produce knowledge that nothing else can approximate,” Davis said. Then Tadiar asked her about hope: “When you say we’re at the beginning, I feel like you’re already formulating a way for us to generate hope.” 

Yes, Davis answered. “Historical perspectives are important.… Sometimes we’re too short-sighted; we assume that what is happening right now is what will forever be.” Her mother, Sallye Davis, had trained her to always keep in mind other possibilities, other outcomes, other openings: “That is one of the primary articles of our movement. We have to generate hope.” 

One of the last questions of the night came from a high-school student, who asked Davis how she would define success for movements like hers and newer organizations like Black Lives Matter: “What does success look like?” “It’s a very complicated question,” Davis said. More complicated, for her, than is used to seem. Partly, she said, success is figuring out how to ask the right question in a particular moment, and partly about making new mistakes, not old ones. “I don’t think there’s an ultimate point where you could say, ‘This is freedom, we’re there.’” She paraphrased Nelson Mandela on the long walk to freedom: “Each time one thinks that one has reached the top of the mountain, there is another ahead....If someone had asked me to define freedom 50 years ago, I would’ve said, ‘We have to free the black man.’ That would have been my answer. Now it’s so much more complicated.”  

Radcliffe Institute conference on activist Angela Davis
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Legal questions. That’s hilarious.

I just want to remember the good old days, when they felt the need to dazzle us with yellow cake uranium fraud before they stole the oil.

Via: Military Times – AP:

President Donald Trump has approved an expanded military mission to secure an expanse of oil fields across eastern Syria, raising a number of difficult legal questions about whether U.S. troops can launch strikes against Syrian, Russian or other forces if they threaten the oil, U.S. officials said.


V4: Erdogan arrives in Budapest for a meeting with Viktor Orban


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the second major world leader to visit Budapest for meetings with Prime Minister Viktor Orban in only 8 days, after the visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Erdogan was welcomed by his counterpart, Hungarian President Janos Ader, and will meet Orban later this afternoon, reported the V4 news agency. Their meeting is expected to focus on the two countries' political and economic relations and the situation in Syria, which has a significant impact on the issue of migration.

Turkey is Hungary's ally in NATO and Europe's most important ally in stopping migration. Hungary strives for good relations with all of its allies and all major powers. The three million immigrants currently held up in Turkey would cause insurmountable difficulties in Europe if the Turks decided not to provide for them, Hungary's state news agency quoted the minister as saying, the head of the Hungarian Prime Minister's Office Gergely Gulyas said ahead of the visit.

The post V4: Erdogan arrives in Budapest for a meeting with Viktor Orban appeared first on Republika English.


Macron declared NATO “brain-dead”, says Europe is “on a precipice”


French President Emmanuel Macron, who has is carving out a growing role for himself in European politics and who recently vetoed Macedonia and Albania from opening EU accession talks, gave a blunt interview to the Economist. In it, he declares NATO "brain-dead" while Europe is on the "edge of a precipice".

Macron told the Economist that it is absurd to allow further EU enlargemnet toward the Balkans, before the procedure is thoroughly reformed. Never the less, he leaves room to allow this, if conditions are met.

His strongest comments are reserved for NATO, as the French President pushes for military and security independence of the European countries, pointing to the fact that they can't continue to rely on the United States.

What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO... Europe needs to wake up. NATO only works if the guarantor of last resort functions as such. I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States, Macron told the Economist in light of the US foreign policy and the announced Syrian withdrawal. The President dismissed the idea of honoring NATO's Article 5 - the obligation that all allies need to run to the aid if a member state is attacked. "I don't know. What will Article Five mean tomorrow?", Macron replied to the Economist when asked if he believes in it.

The post Macron declared NATO “brain-dead”, says Europe is “on a precipice” appeared first on Republika English.


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THE PEACE PRESIDENT: US retreat from Syria likely prevented war with Iran. So why do the peace-lov…

THE PEACE PRESIDENT: US retreat from Syria likely prevented war with Iran. So why do the peace-loving lefties hate him?

French President Macron dunked on Trump for pulling out of Syria without telling his NATO allies


trump macronChristophe Petit Tesson/Pool via AP

  • French President Emmanuel Macron gave a blistering interview to The Economist about his dissatisfaction with NATO and the European Union.
  • He slammed President Donald Trump for withdrawing from Syria without consulting NATO last month, saying that there was "no co-ordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making."
  • NATO countries including France, Germany, and the UK still have forces in Syria. Macron said the Syria withdrawal represented the "brain-death of NATO."
  • Trump has for years complained that about what he sees as the US' outsized financial role in NATO, and has threatened multiple times to pull out of the alliance.
  • Macron also said the European Union is "on the edge of a precipice," and partly blamed Trump for not having its back in the face of Russian and Chinese aggressions.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

French President Emmanuel Macron has slammed US President Donald Trump for unilaterally withdrawing from Syria — a decision that has upended power structures in the Middle East — without even telling his NATO allies.

"You have no co-ordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None," Macron told The Economist in an article published Thursday, referring to Trump's troop withdrawal from Syria last month. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Russia has acquired an advanced Israeli air-defense missile that failed to detonate


Syria's Assad regime turned over a missile that missed its mark in June 2018, according to a Chinese news website.

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Trump Confirms ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Dead

On Saturday, October 26th, United States President Donald Trump announced Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dead in a targeted US Official raid. The operation began with the help of several top informants working with the U.S military to track Baghdadi’s whereabouts. Along with the informants, the Syrian Democratic Forces (specifically a Syrian military leader...

The Thongs Market: A Peak At Syrians’ Intimate Lives


At the end of the last decade, writer Malu Halasa and designer Rana Salam came from London to Syria, with the aim of discovering aspects of Syria’s culture and the Middle East in general. In 2008, they published “The Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie - Intimacy and Design” which gives am insight into Syrians intimate lives.

The authors of the book, both of Middle Easter origins, were captivated by the remarkable contradiction between the conservative and religious nature of Syrian society in general, and the boldness found in women's lingerie shops, often frequented by young brides or married women mostly in Damascus and Aleppo.

The elegant book with its colourful photos shows different images of what can be found in some of these shops: underwear decorated with birds and butterflies, covered with feathers or issuing sounds or lights or even vibrating. Others included different accessories, such as a small mobile phone or plastic toys, some are made of dried fruit. The designs of many of these pieces are inspired by belly dancing outfits or the handicrafts that Syria is famous for and are usually embroidered using a single needle and all are made locally in workshops within the country.

In addition, the book includes pictures of mostly blond Eastern European girls modelling the lingerie. Most stores have catalogues showing pictures of non-Syrian models since Syrian society frowns on girls showing off their bodies.

Through numerous observations and encounters inside and outside Syria, and even through incomplete interviews with people who refused to answer certain questions, the writers talk about the contradictions in Syrian society which oscillates between conservatism and modernity. Halasa and Salam did not aim to state that Syrian women are oppressed but rather aimed at shedding light on a different aspect of their worlds, part of their popular traditions and the importance of underwear in married lives, and about the different roles, they are expected to play, both inside and outside the home.

Nasri Lingerie Souk

Almost ten years after the publication of the book, it seemed interesting to discover the changes in that "secret world", especially after the violent war in Syria which has cast a shadow on all Syrians without exception, a visit to one of the most famous women's underwear markets in Damascus - Nasri Souk would be most telling.

Nasri Souk which lies in a small roofed street, branches off from the most famous souk in Damascus: Hamidiyeh. Until the middle of the last century, it was known as the Tarabish (or Fez) market and there are two stories to why it carried that name: the first says that it was dedicated to the sale of Tarabish, that is, the red fezes that men used to wear, especially during the Ottoman era, and the second story attributes the name to the Tarabishi family who owned the market, then the name changed to Nasri after the Nasri family, who hail from the Jobar neighbourhood of Damascus, bought the entire Souk.

However, as of the mid-1960s, this market began to shift to the sale of women's underwear and tailoring supplies, and a decade after that it became the city's most daring and popular market, especially for girls from middle-class families who are putting together a trousseau, also every woman who wants to spice up her marital life goes Nasri market to find unique items.

The Secret Life of Syria’s Lingerie, a telling tale of what has happened to Syrian society: less disposable income, less innovation, less production, less inhibition, and younger brides. Thrill seekers in an otherwise grey life is what keeps shops open.
Syrians were always at peace with pleasure and sexuality, especially in the big cities. A visit to Damascus’ Souk Nasri lingerie stalls reminds one of the real priorities in life: temptation and thrills.

Today it’s hard for visitors to miss the market which lies along the long Hamidiya Street. The entrance is topped by a banner: ” Nasri Souk Welcomes You" and is decorated with bright colours and underwear in different designs. The market contains no more than twenty shops some of which are simply tables on which undies are displayed while other shops can accommodate some customers inside.

Most days these shops are crowded with women of different age groups and social backgrounds looking for specific items, or just shopping for the latest designs. Like in most Syrian markets, women in Nasri market spend a lot of time choosing the best items and then negotiating with vendors to get the best price they can.

Charming But…

The observations of the Nasri Souk shop owners about shoppers purchasing habits compared to pre-war are very interesting, these reflect Syria’s evolution terms of social, economic and cultural changes that cannot be ignored or denied.

“The biggest change in Syria are decency and kindness”. “The houses were destroyed, we can rebuild them”. “People died, may God have mercy on their souls, but what has happened to people’s spirits will need years to mend” says one of the shop owners, asking to remain anonymous as did the rest of the people we interviewed, they don’t like journalists and fear that talking to them would bring trouble”.

I asked him "What do you mean by morals changing?" He replies that the Syrian war has cost hundreds of thousands of women their husbands through death, exile and travel while other women have been denied the chance to get married due to the disproportionate migration of men, the war has also pushed many to marry at a very young age, meaning there has been an increase in the number of divorce. “Girls have been exposed from an early age to sexual matters, they would not have such exposure were it not for the war, sexual matters have become commonplace.”

Others talk about the positive psychological effect of buying underwear, especially those with bright colours, which justifies the demand for them. “If a woman or her husband experience depression, and that is quite common during war, it’s our duty to bring joy to their hearts.” This seems to be the slogan of the market where shop-owners pride themselves on being on-trend with colours and models “meeting the demands of customers searching for everything new”.

These trends include the introduction of bright colours like yellow, pink and violet, and the use of materials such as beads and shiny elements of all shapes. Some shop owners spoke of the high demand for new designs not only from Syrian customers living in Damascus, but from Syrians living outside the country, and even from customers from neighbouring countries like Lebanon, Iraq and, most recently, Jordan - after the reopening of the crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian border.

It is not difficult to notice many designs featured in "The Secret Life of Syrian Women's Lingerie" but things are not what they used to be, shopkeepers say, many factories closed their doors and their owners have left the country, securing the necessary raw materials has become difficult. "Most stores had to give up lingerie sets that produced music, responded to clapping, or could be operated with remote control as importing some of the elements has become difficult.”

Of course, none of the sellers overlooked the impact of the deterioration of the value of the Syrian currency and the deterioration of the economic situation throughout the country on sales, especially since the customers of this market are the middle class who were affected most by the economic effects of the war. Some talked about how women are buying only crucial goods and how priorities have shifted for female breadwinners who are forced to think about securing food, clothes and medicine for the children in the absence of their husbands and how there has also been a drop in the number of tourists that would visit this market specifically, many said: "This year's sales are the worst ever".

In all cases, shopkeepers agree that the underwear trade has not and will not experience a decline no matter how harsh the situation in the country turns. "On the most dangerous days, when the shelling was at its worst, we still had dozens of customers. Lingerie is a necessity for many women, sometimes more important than food and drink," says the last person I interviewed, with a broad smile.


Letter to the editor: Nothing to celebrate until terrorists' ideology comes to end

So what that the so-called Caliph Al-Baghdadi is dead? Hooray that a ruthless man can no longer inflict pain and suffering on earth. But the real triumph will occur when the ideology that underpins terrorist organizations comes to an end. It won’t happen via bombs and bullets. It won't happen via the killing of men.Cycles of devastation between rival factions have ravaged certain war-countries, from Afghanistan to Syria, but they ultimately have failed to produce any true peace. [...]

A Newly Discovered Drawing of a Neo-Assyrian Demon in BAM 202 Connected to Psychological and Neurological Disorders


A Newly Discovered Drawing of a Neo-Assyrian Demon in BAM 202 Connected to Psychological and Neurological Disorders

Arbøll, T. P., 2019, In : Le journal des médecines cunéiformes. 33, p. 1-31 31 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Original languageDanish
JournalLe journal des médecines cunéiformes
Pages (from-to)1-31
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Syrian Refugees Who Resettled In Turkey May Have To Move Again

Turkish troops invaded northern Syria after the U.S. moved troops out of their way. Turkey says it might move more than a million Syrians back over the border into the "safe zone" it's creating.

Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has captured Baghdadi's wife in Syria

"The United States said Baghdadi killed himself in a tunnel. They started a communication campaign about this," Erdogan said. "But, I am announcing it here for the first time: We captured his wife and didn't make a fuss like them. Similarly, we also captured his sister and brother in law in Syria," he said in a speech at Ankara University.



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Russian and Syrian officials criticize US over Syrian camp


MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and Syria have accused the United States of preventing the evacuation of a camp for displaced in southern Syria. Russian and Syrian officials said in a statement that the U.S. military has blocked efforts to disband the Rukban camp near the Jordanian border despite “inhumane conditions” there. The statement, released on […]

World: Opening statement at the 70th session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme

Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World

By Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
07 October 2019

Mr. Chairman,
Deputy Secretary-General,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The modern concept of refugee protection was born in the middle of the last century, as the world emerged from two devastating global conflicts and was preparing to enter the Cold War. Millions had been uprooted from their homes, as wars cast people adrift, empires disintegrated, borders were redrawn, and minorities and political opponents were persecuted and expelled. Ensuring the safety of those displaced, and resolving displacement, were among the earliest priorities of the United Nations.

Seven decades on, forced human displacement remains a global concern. The context is different, but the complexity remains immense. Today’s refugee crises are part of a growing flow of human mobility, driven by many overlapping elements.

Resource-based conflicts that transcend borders, shaped by a mosaic of local, regional and international interests; fueled by extremism, criminal networks and urban gangs.

Loss of hope, as global advances in prosperity, education and the fight against hunger and disease fail to reach those most in need.

Conflicts premised on ethnic and religious differences, stoked by others for political and financial gain.

Collapsing eco-systems and weather-related disasters that destroy homes and livelihoods, forcing millions further into poverty.

Damaging forms of nationalism, and hate speech that – often through cyberspace – have found a new legitimacy in public discourse.

Refugees emerge from these widening fault-lines – a warning of things going wrong. This is why tackling forced displacement calls again for a bigger, broader ambition than we have managed to muster in the recent past.

This was the vision that drove the development of the Global Compact on Refugees. Addressing refugee crises cannot be done in isolation from larger global challenges, and from effective migration policies. The two compacts – on refugees, and on safe, orderly and regular migration – were designed to complement each other, and for good reason.

Look at the Sahel – a situation of enormous complexity, where insecurity, poverty and loss of traditional livelihoods are fracturing and uprooting entire communities, across the region and beyond. Protecting refugees and the internally displaced is vital. But this must be accompanied by a deeper and wider scope of action that cuts across the political, security, migration and development spheres.

Two aspects of the Global Compact on Refugees stand out.

One is its comprehensive approach. It accelerates a long-awaited shift in responses – from a traditional humanitarian angle, as the Deputy Secretary-General said, to one that preserves the humanitarian imperative, but matches it with a broader set of tools more adapted to the dynamics of today’s refugee flows.

This means peacemaking and peacebuilding, development action and private sector investment. It means sustained, strategic support to address the root causes of refugee movements and mixed population flows. The Deputy Secretary-General has just highlighted how this dovetails with the work to bring about a UN system that can best catalyze progress collectively towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Synergies between the compact and UN reforms are therefore relevant and strong.

Also, the compact makes tangible the commitment to international solidarity that underpins the refugee protection regime, but has never been fully realised. You will hear more about this from our new Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Gillian Triggs, whom I am happy to introduce to you today.

Securing the refugee compact – a practical, concrete tool – proved that beyond the damaging, unilateral approaches that sometimes surface, a commitment to addressing refugee flows through international solidarity still prevails. At UNHCR, we are fully committed to this effort, and we count on all of you – our closest partners – to do the same. It is possible! The Global Refugee Forum, to be convened in December in this building, will be the opportunity to showcase what has been achieved, and make fresh commitments to further progress.

Mr Chairman,

The last year has underscored why the compact is needed, and how it is starting to re-shape our collective response. Let me share my thoughts on seven related challenges.

First, while much of the discussion on forced displacement has focused on arrivals in the global North, the most profound consequences by far are in host countries in the global South. Preserving asylum there, and helping host communities, requires more substantial and sustained international support. More than four million Venezuelans, for example, have left the country, the majority taking refuge in 14 nations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Most of these states have shown commendable solidarity, despite immense pressures. Colombia’s recent decision to grant citizenship at birth to the children of Venezuelans in the country is an example, and the Quito Process is helping shape a regional approach.

Sustaining this solidarity is vital, including through support to the services, infrastructure and economy of impacted countries. I welcome the engagement of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank’s decision to extend support to Colombia – and potentially also Ecuador – through its Global Concessional Financing Facility. I urge them to accelerate their contributions. The forthcoming Solidarity Conference convened by the European Union, together with UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration, will be an opportunity to take stock and commit more.

Second, responses to 'mixed flows' of refugees and migrants continue to generate very divisive debates. Widespread political rhetoric exploits the anxieties prevailing among those excluded from the benefits of globalization, and directs those fears towards refugees and migrants – themselves among the most disenfranchised people on the planet. Pitting exclusion against exclusion is not only cynical and immoral – it rarely offers practical solutions to either. And measures taken or invoked to reduce flows – pushbacks, externalization of asylum processing, policies of deterrence – all erode refugee protection without really addressing the root causes of mixed flows, or the challenges of integration.

These situations are enormously complex – we must recognise that. I saw this last week in Mexico, where impressive examples of refugee integration are coupled with increasing migratory pressures from the region but also from Africa. A range of actions is undoubtedly needed to address these “mixed” flows. Several are included in that region under the MIRPS, a regional framework for protection and solutions which we have promoted; and we will contribute to UN efforts to support initiatives such as a regional development plan for Mexico and northern Central America, currently being discussed. In this context, saving lives and safeguarding the dignity and rights of all those on the move must remain central, together with access to international protection for those with valid claims. There and elsewhere, legal migration pathways would help prevent the abuse of asylum systems as substitutes of migration channels.

We observe these challenges not only in northern Central America and at the southern border of the United States, but also in southern Africa, and south-east Asia. In Europe, public confidence in asylum and migration management has been diminished, and must be restored through fast and fair procedures, good migration management that avoids overloading asylum systems, and investments in integration for those with a right to stay. Cooperation between governments is needed – including on the return of those who do not qualify for international protection or other stay arrangements.

I welcome the recent decisions of four EU States to establish a temporary cooperation mechanism for disembarking those rescued in the Mediterranean, and hope that this will galvanise broader EU engagement and revitalize rescue at sea arrangements. But this must also be matched by a broader ambition – investments in addressing the root causes of refugee flows, and supporting the efforts of refugee-hosting and transit countries. UNHCR continues to evacuate the most vulnerable from Libya – efforts for which Niger and now Rwanda are providing life-saving channels. Hopefully, others will join. We work closely with the International Organisation for Migration in these efforts, as elsewhere. But these operations pose enormous dilemmas, and can only be sustained as part of a comprehensive, responsibility-sharing approach that has the preservation of life, and access to international protection as central imperatives. There, as in several other operations, UNHCR colleagues and our partners are working – let us not forget that – under extremely dangerous conditions.

Third, long-standing and recurring displacement crises continue to persist, in the absence of political solutions. And other major crises are now becoming protracted too. In this context, the compact’s emphasis on inclusion, resilience and development action – pending solutions – is critical. This year marked the fortieth anniversary of the start of the Afghan refugee crisis. Regrettably, peace efforts seem once again to have stalled. I welcome Afghanistan’s decision to apply the comprehensive refugee response model in support of its initiatives to solve displacement, but solutions remain compromised by drought, insecurity and governance failures. Just 15,000 refugees returned home last year. The hospitality displayed by Pakistan and Iran, and their work on refugee inclusion and self-reliance, as well as on legal migration and stay options, are ground-breaking, but must receive more international support while the Afghan crisis continues.

In Somalia, too, while the commitment of the government to reduce forced displacement is evident and commendable, conflict and drought are still inhibiting solutions and driving new displacement. In this context, the regional application of the comprehensive response model by IGAD helps strengthen asylum, access to rights, and refugee inclusion in health, education and national economies.

Governments in the East and Horn of Africa have been in the forefront of the application of the comprehensive refugee response model. Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda, among others, have made enormous strides with the support of the World Bank’s expertise and financing, bilateral development support and private sector investments. These are already transforming the lives of many refugees, as well as refugee-hosting communities across the region, and proving the validity of the model enshrined in the compact. They are giving concrete meaning to the African Union’s decision to declare 2019 the year of refugees, displaced people and returnees in Africa.

Fourth, the issue of repatriation continues to be the subject of much attention. A question we are increasingly asked is – how to advance solutions, when security in countries of origin remains fragile, and there is no end of hostilities? Can people return to their home countries in the absence of political settlements?

The answer is that returns must be driven by people, not by politics. Across UNHCR’s operations, we have an ongoing dialogue with refugees on return, and on the complex factors that influence their decisions. We work with governments to help create the conditions paving the way for returns. These must be voluntary and sustainable.

Take the example of Syria. Some 200,000 Syrian refugees have returned since 2016, and over three quarters of the almost six million refugees in neighbouring countries say they hope to return one day. We must continue to be guided by their views and decisions, and provide support to those who choose to return to avoid exposing them to further hardship.

Our policy is not to stand back and wait. We work with the Government of Syria to help address barriers to return and support confidence-building measures; hoping of course that recent political advances are consolidated; and that further humanitarian crises – especially in Idlib – can be avoided through concerted action by all parties.

In the meantime, international support to asylum countries must be sustained. Their outstanding generosity, and continuous donor support have helped Syrian refugees contend with long years in exile, even in places like Lebanon where the ratio of refugees to nationals continues to be the highest in the world. The achievements are significant: last year, 1.3 million Syrian refugee children were attending school, and 110,000 work permits were issued in Jordan and Turkey. However, acute poverty and vulnerability are weighing on people’s lives, and on host communities, and inevitably influencing their decisions.

In Myanmar, too, the Government has recognised the right of refugees in Bangladesh to return, and has started an important dialogue with the refugees, to build confidence and enable informed decisions. UNHCR and UNDP are working on social cohesion projects in northern Rakhine State to help pave the way for eventual returns. These are important steps, but need to be accompanied by more visible changes on key issues of refugee concern – freedom of movement, solutions for the internally displaced, clear information on a pathway to citizenship.

A second bilateral initiative to commence repatriation in August did not result in any refugees coming forward. But it sent important messages: the door is open, and voluntariness was respected. My hope is that this can now pave the way for a more strategic approach, in which refugee voices and choices are central. UNHCR stands ready to advise and support. There, and in other places, for example with Burundian refugees in Tanzania, and Nigerian refugees in the Lake Chad region, we are available to facilitate dialogue and solutions through tripartite approaches which include UNHCR.

Fifth, and closely linked to my previous point, we need to seize opportunities to accelerate solutions. Conflicts moving towards peace are rare, but when there is a chance, we have to pursue it. In this respect, we are closely following events in Sudan and South Sudan. The political transition in Sudan and the new Government’s commitment to a peace process have important implications for hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees, and for the internally displaced. The renewed momentum in the South Sudan peace process is also encouraging. Spontaneous refugee returns to South Sudan have already surpassed 200,000, and IDP returns are also under way.

Over the last two years, UNHCR and IGAD have been promoting the inclusion of refugees and internally displaced people in the South Sudan peace process. I hope that these recent developments will pave the way to a definitive end of the cycle of violence and displacement that has blighted the lives of generations of Sudanese and South Sudanese people.

Resettlement is another solution – albeit for very few. While some countries are stepping up their programmes, the overall number of places has plummeted. I am very disappointed by this. Resettlement saves lives and offers stability to refugees who are most vulnerable and at risk. I propose that we use more deliberately our new three-year strategy to intensify resettlement efforts, and expand private sector and community involvement.

The sixth major challenge relates to our engagement with the internally displaced. At the end of 2018, over 41 million people were living in displacement in their own countries. Major IDP operations, in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Lake Chad Basin, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ukraine, remain among our most politically and operationally complex – but all are among our priorities. I wish to flag in particular that together with our partners, we are responding with more resources to the Ethiopian government’s call for support to address recent large-scale internal displacement in the country.

In sum, we are trying to better align our efforts to advance solutions for refugees and IDPs, and to design our operations more effectively, in the context of inter-agency efforts. Our new policy on internal displacement reflects our firm and revitalized commitment. This places particular emphasis on protection leadership, and aligning our interventions with those of our partners.

Mr. Chairman,

A few days ago, at the start of the 74th session of the General Assembly in New York, we heard calls to accelerate our responses to the climate emergency, before it is too late. Greta Thunberg, speaking for the next generations, and António Guterres, speaking as the world’s conscience, were adamant in asking all of us to take action – now.

These calls concern us, too, as we gather here to discuss issues of forced displacement. I have just presented six key displacement-related challenges. The seventh intersects and underpins them all.

Climate-related causes are a growing driver of new internal displacement, surpassing those related to conflict and violence by more than 50%. Climate is often also a pervasive factor in cross-border displacement.

The term “climate refugee” is not based in international law, and does not reflect the more complicated ways in which climate interacts with human mobility. But the image it conveys – of people driven from their homes as an outcome of the climate emergency – has rightly captured public attention.

I am often asked how the UN refugee organization can help respond to this challenge. I wish to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts for your consideration.

For some years, UNHCR has worked to highlight relevant legal frameworks and the protection gaps resulting from cross-border displacement in the context of climate change. We will continue to help steer international discussions and the legal and normative debate in this area, including through engagement with the Platform on Disaster Displacement, and other multilateral fora.

Forced displacement across borders can stem from the interaction between climate change and disasters with conflict and violence – or it can arise from natural or man-made disasters alone. Either situation can trigger international protection needs.

In the first case, these would normally be met through recognition as a refugee under the 1951 Convention or regional refugee frameworks. In the second, temporary protection or stay arrangements, on which UNHCR has expertise, can provide flexible and speedy responses.

Even more specifically, where disaster-related displacement occurs, a strong operational response, guided by protection considerations, is often needed. Here too, UNHCR will continue to work in inter-agency contexts to support governments – building on our strong expertise in emergency responses. The Global Compact on Refugees by the way calls for preparedness measures and evidence-based forecasting, and the inclusion of refugees in disaster risk reduction strategies.

There are other considerations. Climate factors drive people out of their homes – but large-scale refugee movements – whether or not climate-induced – have themselves in turn an environmental impact, and refugees are frequently located in climate hotspots. I am determined to make these considerations more relevant to the way we prepare for and respond to refugee crises.

At UNHCR, we have worked for years to reduce the environmental impact of refugee crises through renewable energy options, reforestation activities, and access to clean fuels and technology for cooking. We have now launched a revitalized energy strategy and are improving our tools to address these challenges. Private sector partners such as the IKEA Foundation have been invaluable in helping us develop new approaches.

And finally like other organizations, we recognise that our own operational footprint has an environmental impact, and are taking action accordingly. We are working, for example, to increase energy efficiency and renewable energy use.

Mr. Chairman,

Work to respond to these challenges is made possible by the strong confidence that UNHCR continues to receive from donor partners. We expect funds available this year to reach an estimated 4.82 billion US dollars. The United States’ contribution has continued to be the most substantial, and has been decisive in many challenging situations, and for this I am very grateful. I wish to thank the European Commission and Germany for their particularly strong support; and Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands for providing critical, substantive unearmarked funding; and of course all other donors as well.

The gap between requirements and available resources nonetheless continues to grow in absolute terms and will reach around 3.82 billion US dollars this year. Private sector income is projected to increase by 11% over last year’s figure, to 470 million US dollars. We continue to work to diversify our funding base, in the spirit of responsibility-sharing and to ensure a stable platform for our work. Most importantly, our partnership with development organizations is becoming much stronger, and is helping us find ways to target our resources in ways that leverage those bigger programmes.

I am aware that donor generosity must be matched by constant improvements in how we manage the organization. In late 2016, I initiated a reform process to ensure an agile and effective UNHCR, with country operations equipped to pursue context-driven strategies, innovate, and respond to local and regional dynamics, as part of UN Country Teams. This was the rationale for our regionalisation and decentralization process, which is giving greater authority and flexibility to country offices, helping us get closer to refugees, and front-loading support through Regional Bureaux located in their regions.

We are entering the last phase of structural changes, which will involve adjustments to Headquarters Divisions and other entities in line with the new rebalanced authorities.

Of course, transformation is not only about structures and accountabilities, and is not a one-time exercise – it is also about transforming our organisational culture, investing in the quality of work, improving and streamlining systems and processes, and creating space for innovation.

We are working on evidence-based planning, on how we describe impact, and on increasing efficiency, in line with our Grand Bargain commitments and as an active participant, as the Deputy Secretary-General noted, in broader UN reforms. I recently endorsed a Data Transformation Strategy, and the new UNHCR/World Bank Joint Data Centre will be inaugurated this week in Copenhagen by the Secretary-General – a milestone of humanitarian/development cooperation.

We also continue to embed a strong risk management culture across the organisation, and to strengthen systems and tools for preventing and responding to misconduct. This includes sexual exploitation and abuse, and sexual harassment, for which we have implemented a broad range of measures and to which I am personally committed, also as Champion for this issue in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee. There is no place in the organization for perpetrators, and we will keep survivors and victims at the center of our response.

Mr. Chairman,

In 2011, my predecessor, the Secretary-General, convened a ministerial meeting on the 60th anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention, and the 50th of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. It is fair to say that until then, the statelessness mandate had been a rather peripheral aspect of UNHCR’s work. Clearly, you didn’t see it that way. More than 60 states and regional entities came forward with pledges aimed at reducing statelessness, and that groundswell of political will and commitment became the catalyst for the #IBelong campaign, launched in 2014. Spurred on by the energy that had emerged, we decided to fix a time limit – ten years – to bring statelessness to an end.

Now, as we mark the halfway point, it’s time to take stock and renew the commitment that set us on the path towards that bold ambition. This is the aim of the High-Level Segment that will follow in a few moments, as part of this Executive Committee meeting.

When we talk about statelessness, we often find ourselves speaking of laws, documents and other technicalities. These are critical, and are where the hard work has to happen, but when we frame statelessness purely in legal terms, we lose sight of the all-encompassing blight it casts on people’s lives, pushing them to the margins of society, denying them basic rights and a sense of identity. This is an area in which – for relatively little investment – wide-reaching impact is within our reach.

Some of you, last year, were present at an EXCOM side event at which a young woman who had grown up stateless became the citizen of a country for the first time. It was a deeply emotional experience for everyone present – and that moment, more than any speech or list of pledges, captured what it means to finally belong, after years spent living on the margins. She and a number of formerly stateless people are present here today, and I encourage you to talk to them and understand what citizenship has meant to them. Their stories are what will inspire us as we move ahead.

There have been important achievements in the first half of the campaign – tackling gender discrimination in nationality laws, introducing laws to avoid childhood statelessness, and developing procedures to find solutions for people who would otherwise be stateless. Certain protracted situations were finally resolved. Fifteen states acceded to one or both of the Statelessness Conventions. Kyrgyzstan became the first State to formally announce that all known cases of statelessness on its territory had been resolved – an achievement that should inspire others. I look forward to honouring a Kyrgyz champion of this campaign, Azizbek Ashurov, at the Nansen Award ceremony this evening.

I also wish to acknowledge the work of UNICEF, UNFPA, the World Bank, and civil society and academic networks – and especially the Geneva-based ‘Friends’ of the campaign, who have been persistent in their advocacy and support. The regional preparatory meetings have been characterized by energy and commitment. I am pleased to share that we have received 171 pledges ahead of today’s event, which has also galvanised other initiatives that may become concrete pledges later.

At a time when we are asking a lot of you, this is particularly commendable. At UNHCR, we will also step up our efforts even more to achieve the ambitious collective goal of ending statelessness once and for all.

Mr Chairman,

The first Global Refugee Forum will be convened in this building in just over two months. It comes at the end of a turbulent decade, in which people and communities have been uprooted across all regions. Nobody foresaw, ten years ago, the convergence of trends and events that would lead to a doubling in the number of people forcibly displaced, and the prominence that refugee and migrant flows would assume in domestic and international politics. Addressing and resolving forced displacement has rightly emerged as an urgent priority intertwined with other 21st-century global challenges, including climate change.

The big question now is – what are we going to make of the next decade? Will it be one that sees us in retreat – turning our backs on the hard-learned lessons of the twentieth century – or one in which we will have the courage of joining forces in spite of our different perspectives and interests, embracing the challenges and opportunities of international cooperation to address the plight of exile? These are the fundamental questions that the Forum will have to tackle. I hope – of course – that it will respond by clearly showing the second way. I encourage all of you to ensure high-level representation from States, share positive experiences, and make significant and impactful commitments that will greatly improve the future of refugees and host communities.

I believe that in the Global Compact for Refugees, we have grounds for optimism. The momentum is there. We have a powerful tool that was born of a narrative of possibility. The Forum will be the occasion, I hope, to show that we do not shy away from the enormous responsibility placed on all of us – one that stems not only from the refugees and host communities looking to us for action, but also from the opportunity that we have to inspire new generations, and demonstrate, in so many practical, concrete ways, why international cooperation matters, and how it can be made to work.

Thank you.


World: Education Above All Foundation, World Bank Partner to Ensure Education for Two Million Out of School Children Around the World

Source: World Bank, Education Above All
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia

WASHINGTON DC, September 20, 2019 - This week, Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and the World Bank announced a ground-breaking partnership to enrol two million out of school children from more than 40 countries by 2025. During a meeting with World Bank President David Malpass, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Founder and Chairperson of Education Above All Foundation, stressed the importance of this framework agreement.

The agreement commits up to $250 million in funding for developing countries striving to enable access to quality primary education for all of their still out-of-school children. Unlike traditional philanthropic efforts of organizations like EAA who usually fund local non-profits directly, this innovative funding model aims to take lessons learned in the field to scale, through direct support to participating countries with implementation, evaluation, and reporting - enabling accountability and systemic change at the national level.

Out of school children (OOSC) are among the hardest to reach in each country due to the many and often compounding barriers to education including extreme poverty, distance to school, and conflict. This new agreement calls on governments to utilise funds to prioritise out of school children by ensuring their access to quality primary education through results-based financing. The agreement highlights the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships in supporting developing nations, in providing education for all, and meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 4 (ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning).

"The World Bank is committed to addressing the global learning crisis. The partnership with Education Above All is critically important in this effort. There are still too many out of school children around the globe. Together we will bring these children into school and help them learn and fulfil their potential. Learning for all is a foundation for building strong human capital for every country," said Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education at the World Bank.

"Our partnership with Qatar and Education Above All will play an especially important role in the Middle East and North Africa," said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa. "As access to quality education is critical for the region to unlock the huge potential of its large youth population, whose energy and creativity could become a new source of dynamic and inclusive growth."

Through this new funding structure, EAA and The World Bank will support financing opportunities for resource mobilization, education advocacy, and poverty reduction in developing countries across three continents. Proposed targeted countries include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Laos, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and Zambia.

About Education Above All (EAA) Foundation

The Education Above All (EAA) Foundation is a global education foundation established in 2012 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. The Foundation envisions bringing hope and real opportunity to the lives of impoverished and marginalized children, youth and women, especially in the developing world and in difficult circumstances such as conflict situations and natural disasters. It believes that education is the single most effective means of reducing poverty, generating economic growth and creating peaceful and just societies, as well as a fundamental right for all children and an essential condition to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For more information, visit educationaboveall.org

About World Bank Group Work on Education

The World Bank Group is the largest financier of education in the developing world. We work on education programs in more than 80 countries and are committed to helping countries reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, which calls for access to quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all by 2030. In 2018, we provided about $4.5 billion for education programs, technical assistance, and other projects designed to improve learning and provide everyone with the opportunity to get the education they need to succeed. Our current portfolio of education projects totals $17 billion, highlighting the importance of education for the achievement of our twin goals, ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.

For more information, please visit: educationaboveall.org


World: Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 [EN/AR/ES/FR/ZH]

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Argentina, Aruba (The Netherlands), Bangladesh, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao (The Netherlands), Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

Global trends and challenges

More than 1 per cent of people across the planet right now are caught up in major humanitarian crises. The international humanitarian system is more effective than ever at meeting their needs – but global trends including poverty, population growth and climate change are leaving more people than ever vulnerable to the devastating impacts of conflicts and disasters.

Humanitarian needs are increasing despite global economic and development gains. In the past decade, the world has made profound development progress. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of people living in extreme poverty fell from 1.2 billion to 736 million. The world is also richer than ever before: global GDP rose from $63.4 trillion in 2008 to $80.7 trillion in 2017.
But in recent years, more than 120 million people each year have needed urgent humanitarian assistance and protection. There are more crises, affecting more people, and lasting longer today than a decade ago. Most humanitarian crises are not the product of any single factor or event, but of the interaction between natural hazards, armed conflict and human vulnerability.

People’s vulnerability to crises is not just about where they live, but also about how they live.
Poverty, inequality, population growth, urbanization and climate change can erode people’s resilience and make them more susceptible to shocks. Although development gains are being made, progress has been uneven. The rate of extreme poverty remains high in low-income countries and in countries affected by conflict. Crises have disproportionate consequences for the poor: people exposed to natural hazards in the poorest nations are at least seven times more likely to die from them than those in the richest nations.

Fragile and conflict-affected areas are growing faster and urbanizing more rapidly than the rest of the world

In the past five years, the world’s population has grown by 400 million people, from 7.2 billion in 2014 to 7.6 billion in 2017. Although global population growth has slowed compared with previous decades, the rate has been uneven. Today, an estimated 2 billion people live in fragile and conflict affected areas of the word, where they are extremely vulnerable to the impact of conflicts and disasters. This number is projected to increase, as the population in these areas is growing twice as fast as the rest of the world, with an annual growth rate of 2.4 per cent, compared with 1.2 per cent globally. And the urban population in fragile areas grows by 3.4 per cent each year, compared with the world average of 2 per cent. These trends can compound resource scarcity and increase vulnerability to disasters. Urban population density can also amplify the impact of disasters and conflicts. In 2017, when explosive weapons were used in populated areas, 92 per cent of casualties were civilians, compared with 20 per cent in other areas. The populations of countries affected by fragility, conflict and violence are also younger than the global average. Whereas the proportion of the world’s population under 14 years of age has been steadily declining to about 25 per cent today, the average for countries in fragile situations is 40 per cent. As a result, one in every four children in the world is living in a country affected by conflict or disaster, facing threats of violence, hunger and disease. In 2017, more than 75 million children experienced disruptions to their education because of humanitarian crises, threatening not only their present well-being, but their future prospects as well.

More people are being displaced by conflicts

By the end of 2017, war, violence and persecution had uprooted 68.5 million men, women and children around the world – the highest number on record, and nearly 10 million more people than in 2014. Just over 40 million people were internally displaced by violence within their own countries, and 25.4 million refugees and 3.1 million asylum seekers were forced to flee their countries to escape conflict and persecution. The levels of new displacements far outstrip returns or other solutions. In 2017, 5 million people returned to their areas or countries of origin, but 16.2 million people were newly displaced – an average of one person displaced every two seconds, and the highest level of new displacement on record.

The rise in forced displacement is not the result of an increase in conflicts. In fact, after peaking in 2014, the number of political conflicts worldwide decreased by about 10 per cent, from 424 in 2014 to 385 in 2017, although there are still more conflicts compared with a decade ago (328 in 2007). However, during the same period, the proportion of violent and highly violent conflicts, which are more likely to cause human suffering, destruction and displacement, increased from 53 per cent to 58 per cent of all conflicts worldwide.5 The total economic impact of conflict and violence has also increased, from $14.3 trillion in 2014 to $14.8 trillion in 2017.6 The major share of both the human and economic cost of conflicts is borne by developing countries, which host 85 per cent of refugees.


World: Humanitarian Funding Update October 2018 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals [EN/AR]

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

United Nations-coordinated Appeals








Global Humanitarian Funding




Global Appeal Status

  • At the end of October 2018, 21 Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) and the Syria Regional Response Plan (3RP) require US$25.20 billion to assist 97.9 million people in urgent need of humanitarian support. The plans are funded at $11.97 billion; this amounts to 47.5 per cent of financial requirements for 2018. Requirements are lower than in September 2018 due to revision of the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP). For the remainder of 2018, humanitarian organizations require another $13.23 billion to meet the needs outlined in these plans.

  • Global requirements are $1.10 billion higher than at this time last year. Overall coverage and the dollar amount were only marginally higher in late October than at the same time in 2017.

  • On 8 October the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners issued a Mid-Year Review of the HDRP. The revised plan reflects changes in the humanitarian context, and requires $1.49 billion for 2018, as opposed to the March 2018 requirement of $1.6 billion to reach some 7.88 million people in need of food or cash relief assistance and 8.49 million people with non-food assistance in the course of the year. Despite the general good performance of this year’s belg (spring) rains, the number of people targeted for relief food and cash support remains largely unchanged due to the significant spike in internal displacement since April 2018.

Security Council Briefings and High Level Missions

  • At a briefing to the Security Council on 23 October, Under-Secretary-General/Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) Mark Lowcock called on all stakeholders to do everything possible to avert catastrophe in Yemen. In a follow up note on the humanitarian situation in Yemen of 30 October, the USG/ERC thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Kuwait, the United Kingdom and all donors for the record amount raised for the humanitarian appeal in 2018 which had meant nearly 8 million people had received assistance across the country; more than 7 million people had received food and more than 420,000 children been treated for malnutrition; clean water, sanitation and basic hygiene support is now available to 7.4 million people and about 8 million men, women, girls and boys had benefited from health services.

  • At a Security Council briefing on the humanitarian situation in Syria on 29 October, the USG/ERC urged the Security Council and key Member States to ensure that the ceasefire holds in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib to prevent a military onslaught and overwhelming humanitarian suffering. He thanked donors for the $1.7 billion contributed so far towards the HRP for Syria, but pointed out that this HRP is currently funded at less than 50 per cent.

  • In her statement to the Security Council on 30 October, Assistant Under-Secretary-General/Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (ASG/DERC)
    Ursulla Mueller spoke of the steady decline in humanitarian funding for the Ukraine over the years and mentioned that the HRP for 2018 is funded at only 32 per cent. This is simply not enough to cover food, health care, water, sanitation and other life-saving assistance. ASG/DERC Mueller appealed to donors to increase their support for consolidating gains in anticipation of the fast-approaching winter.

  • During a joint mission to Chad and Nigeria (5-7 October) with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, as part of a series of country visits the two will make to advance humanitarian-development collaboration, the USG/ERC called on donors to fulfil pledges and announcements of over $2 million made in Berlin last month at the High Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region (3-4 September). He noted the importance of maintaining humanitarian response in the region as needs were still very high.

  • Following her visit to the Republic of the Philippines from 9 to 11 October, ASG/DERC Mueller announced that OCHA would continue advocating for sustained funding to address humanitarian needs of people displaced by the Marawi conflict while ensuring that support for the transition to longerterm and sustainable recovery is forthcoming.

Upcoming Event

  • The Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 and World Humanitarian Data and Trends will be launched in the course of joint event to take place in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on 4 December 2018.

Pooled Funds

  • Between January and the end of October 2018, country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) have received a total of $708 million in contributions from 32 donors (including contributions through the UN Foundation). During the same period, a total of $616 million from the 18 operational funds was allocated towards 1,071 projects with 575 implementing partners. Nearly 40 per cent ($246 million) of the funds were allocated to international NGOs and some 26 per cent (approximately $160 million) to national NGOs. UN agencies received 32 per cent ($202 million) of the allocated funds and Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations received over 1 per cent (some $8 million) of all allocated funds. The largest allocations per sector went to health; food security; water, sanitation and hygiene; nutrition; emergency shelter and NFIs.

  • Between 1 January and 31 October 2018, the Emergency Relief Coordinator approved $477 million in grants from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support life-saving activities in 45 countries. This includes $297.7 million from the Rapid Response Window and $179.7 million from the Underfunded Emergencies (UFE) Window. A total of $31.6 million in Rapid Response grants was approved in October in response to cholera outbreaks in Zimbabwe, Niger and Nigeria; flooding in Laos; and the population influx from Venezuela to Brazil, Ecuador and Peru; as well as to support Government relief efforts following the earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The UFE 2018 second round was completed this month, with $30.6 million approved in September and the remaining $49.4 million of the round’s $80 million released in October to assist people caught up in nine chronic emergencies in Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Libya,
    Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Sudan.

Country Updates

  • Funding for humanitarian activities in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) is at an all-time low. Nearly all agencies requesting financial support through the HRP have received less funding in 2018 than in previous years. This leaves humanitarian partners ill-placed to meet emerging needs or respond to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the rise in casualties during the recent demonstrations has stretched Gaza’s overburdened health system.
    Humanitarian agencies appealed in August for $43.8 million to respond to the Gaza crisis, particularly trauma management and emergency health care, in 2018. On 22 September, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt launched an $8.3 million allocation from the oPt Humanitarian Fund to implement critical HRP projects, mainly in Gaza. Stocks of medical supplies are in extremely short supply and depleted to almost half of requirements. Since late October, the Gaza power plant has been providing up to eleven hours of electricity a day. However, around 250 health,
    WASH and essential solid waste facilities continue to rely on UN-procured emergency fuel for running back-up generators. This year’s intensive operations have depleted funds and stocks and the $1 million allocated by the oPt Humanitarian Fund for fuel supplies will only last until the end of November. Further and urgent financial support is therefore required.

  • Conditions in Yemen continued to deteriorate in October, pushing the country to the brink of famine. On 23 October, the USG/ERC warned the Security Council that without urgent action, up to 14 million people – half the population – could face pre-famine conditions in the coming months.
    Assessments are currently under way, with initial results expected in mid-November. The economic crisis is raising the risk of famine. The Yemeni rial has depreciated by nearly 50 per cent over the last year. Commodity prices have soared, as Yemen imports 90 per cent of staple food and nearly all fuel and medicine.

Urgent steps are required to avert immediate catastrophe. First, a cessation of hostilities is needed; this is especially critical in populated areas.
Second, imports of food, fuel and other essentials must be able to enter Yemen without impediment. Roads must remain open so these goods can reach communities across the country. Third, the Yemeni economy must be supported, including by injecting foreign exchange, expediting credit for imports and paying salaries and pensions. Fourth, international funding must increase now to allow humanitarians to meet growing needs for assistance. Finally, all parties must engage with the UN Special Envoy to end the conflict. Yemen remains the largest humanitarian operation in the world, with more than 200 partners working through the Yemen HRP.


World: Humanitarian Funding Update September 2018 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals [EN/AR]

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen








Spotlight on the recent disaster in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

On Friday 28 September, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. On 5 October, the Government and country team/regional office issued the Central Sulawesi Earthquake Response Plan to support the six priority areas identified by the Government. Some existing programmes in Sulawesi will be augmented and others entailing WASH, health, camp management and logistics activities will be developed.

The response plan will focus on immediate response over a three-month period. On 2 October and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock (USG/ERC) announced an allocation of US$15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to bolster relief assistance for people affected by this emergency

Global appeal status

At the end of September 2018, 21 Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) and the Syria Regional Response Plan (3RP) require $25.32 billion to assist 97.4 million people in urgent need of humanitarian support. The plans are funded at $10.63 billion; this amounts to 42 per cent of financial requirements for 2018. For the remainder of 2018, humanitarian organizations require another $14.69 billion to meet the needs outlined in these plans.

Global requirements are $1.13 billion higher than at this time last year. Overall coverage and the dollar amount were only marginally higher in late September 2018 than at the same time in 2017.

High-level events The USG/ERC made a strong appeal for HRP funding for South Sudan and Yemen at two high-level events at UN headquarters last month. At an event on 25 September on the crisis in South Sudan during the General Assembly, the USG/ERC asked that donors sustain their generous and large response to the crisis to enable life-saving activities and to encourage a multi-year approach to crisis response with stronger focus on stabilization, resilience and recovery from the conflict. In his statement to the Security Council on Yemen on 21 September, he announced that we may now be approaching a tipping point beyond which it will be impossible to prevent massive loss of life as a result of widespread famine across the country.

Three days later, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen reiterated the call for more funding and more humanitarian partners on the ground to respond to the unprecedented emergency in Yemen.
The UNHCR Commissioner and USG/ERC ended a mission to Afghanistan last month with a call for donors to urgently increase and sustain support for humanitarian response in the country, and to take measures to find durable solutions for millions of people caught up in Afghanistan’s displacement crisis.
On 3-4 September, in a follow-up event to the 2017 Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, Germany, Nigeria, Norway and the UN co-hosted the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region in Berlin. On this occasion, UN Member States, international organizations and civil society actors discussed humanitarian assistance, stabilization and development cooperation in the region. Humanitarian and development announcements made at the conference totalled $2.17 billion and it is estimated that $1.02 billion was for humanitarian assistance in 2018 for Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Of that amount, approximately $875 million (86%), has been made available to recipient organizations.

International financial institutions pledged an additional $467 million in concessional loans.

Concerning pledging conferences this year, according to data reported to FTS by donors and recipient organizations as of 18 September, 95 per cent of pledges have been fulfilled for Yemen, 91 per cent of pledges have been fulfilled for Somalia, and 82 per cent of pledges have been fulfilled for DRC. In each of these countries, many donors have contributed above and beyond their original announcements.
For Syria and the Region, the EU recently published a tracking report on announcements made in Brussels in April which can be accessed here: Donors are urged to quickly fulfil outstanding pledges made at the conferences and to consider providing additional funding before the end of the year.

Pooled funds

Between 1 January and 30 September 2018, the Emergency Relief Coordinator approved $395 million in grants from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), including $265 million from the Rapid Response Window and $130 million from the Underfunded Emergencies Window, for life-saving activities in 38 countries. A total of $40 million was released in September to assist people affected by underfunded emergencies in Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic and Rwanda; as well as people affected by flooding in India and Myanmar, and Venezuelan refugees and migrants arriving in Ecuador and Peru.

Country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) have received a total of US$667 million from 31 donors between January and September 2018. During this period, the 18 operational funds have allocated $478 million to 921 projects, implemented by 525 partners. Over 60 per cent of all CBPF allocations were disbursed to NGOs, including 21 per cent ($100.6 million) directly to national NGOs. Another 36 per cent was allocated to UN agencies and a smaller portion to Red Cross/Red Crescent organizations, which have received 1.2 per cent of funding ($5.8 million) for direct project implementation. The first allocation for 2018 of the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF) for $90 million is ongoing and focuses on covering gaps in first-line responses in cluster strategies and providing life-saving support to people in newly accessible and hard-to-reach areas. In Ethiopia, the Humanitarian Coordinator launched a $30 million reserve allocation targeting immediate and life-saving activities in the nutrition, health, WASH, agriculture/livestock, emergency shelter/NFI, education and protection sectors. Finally, reserve allocations were also ongoing in Afghanistan and Myanmar during September.

In Myanmar, an integrated CBPF and CERF allocation strategy ($1 million CBPF reserve and $2.95 million CERF) prioritized projects aligned with the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund (MHF) operating principles and the CERF Life Saving Criteria, aiming at achieving the main objective of addressing critical unmet needs of flood‐affected people across the country, particularly the most vulnerable people.

Country updates

The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated considerably over the past year, primarily due to the drought, but also as a result of worsening violence. Overall, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection services in Afghanistan has increased dramatically since the beginning of 2018, from 3.3 million people to 5.5 million people. Over half of the needs are generated by conflict and population movement. In the meantime, chronic vulnerabilities such as poverty, food insecurity, and unemployment are also increasing. Afghanistan is experiencing its most severe drought since 2011, with some 20 provinces affected by significantly reduced rainfall from winter snow. Some 2.2 million chronically food insecure people are on the verge of acute food insecurity, with four provinces – Badakhshan, Badghis, Faryab and Herat – likely to pitch into a state of emergency unless they receive comprehensive and sustained humanitarian assistance. Drought-related displacement is growing in volume and geographical scope – now constituting 40 percent (119,000) of the overall number of people displaced in Afghanistan in 2018. It is likely that the Afghan population – some 15 million of whom are dependent on the agriculture sector across these 20 provinces for livelihoods – will take years to recover. Overall, more than 12 million Afghans have been displaced internally or abroad during the last four decades of conflict, natural hazards, disasters and the resulting socio-economic upheaval.

Since 25 August 2017, extreme violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, has driven over 727,000 Rohingya refugees across the border into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Statelessness imposed over generations has rendered this population seriously vulnerable, even before the severe traumas of this most recent crisis. The vast majority of these refugees now live in congested sites that are ill-equipped to handle the monsoon rains and cyclone seasons – with alarmingly limited options for evacuation. Low levels of funding are seriously hampering the capacity of humanitarian to respond effectively to the scale and scope of the humanitarian needs in the refugee camps, particularly to ensure safe shelter, appropriate educational options, nutritional support, and most critically, the quality of health services available for an extremely vulnerable population. For example, with the health sector only 23 per cent funded, programming for non-communicable diseases, malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS remains insufficient, and partners are struggling to scale up service provision which is critical for emergencies including obstetric emergencies.

The alarming financial shortfall for humanitarian programmes in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has had detrimental consequences on the lives of the most vulnerable. More than 40 per cent (10.3 million) of the population remains undernourished. One in five children under-five is stunted with likely irreversible physical and cognitive repercussions. More than 9 million people lack access to essential health services. Pregnant women, young children and people living with diseases, in particular, struggle to access the care they need. Those living in rural areas are most at risk. Recent floods in North and South Hwanghae provinces have affected 280,000 people, killed 76 and displaced over 10,500 people, and chronic underfunding is making it difficult for UN agencies and their partners to respond to needs caused by the natural disasters that frequently hit the country. The 2018 Needs and Priorities plan seeks $111 million to assist 6 million out of 10.3 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

The prospect of protracted displacement in Iraq is real, warranting a whole-of-system approach to respond to needs and work toward durable solutions. Some 1.9 million Iraqis remain displaced, with insecurity, lack of livelihood opportunities, destroyed housing, and explosive remnants of war contamination among the key barriers to returning. Considerable protection concerns exist, especially for women and children with perceived ties to ISIL. Critical funding gaps are hampering the response, particularly in food security, health, shelter and non-food item sectors, and the WASH sector. Urgent funding priorities include water supply interventions in the south, especially in Basra, which is experiencing water shortages and a gastrointestinal disease outbreak. Child health and nutrition services for up to 180,000 pregnant and lactating mothers, 300,000 children under the age of five and 5,000 newborn babies lack adequate funding.

The level of humanitarian need in Myanmar remains high and is driven by multiple factors including armed conflict, protracted displacement, inter-communal violence, statelessness, segregation, discrimination, food insecurity and vulnerability to natural disasters. More than 720,000 people – mostly stateless Rohingya Muslims – were forced to flee the country in August last year and there remains little tangible progress on addressing the root causes of violence and discrimination against this population. More than 128,000 Muslims confined in camps, some since violence erupted in 2012, have little to no access to essential services. In Kachin and Shan, persistent cycles of displacement due to conflict continue to raise serious protection concerns, with annual flooding exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. In both areas of the country, access remains a critical challenge.

Recent violence in Tripoli has highlighted the fragile situation in Libya. Thousands of people have been displaced, including families staying in schools converted into makeshift IDP shelters. The violence led to a breakdown in basic services, with frequent electricity cuts and compromised access to water. The situation is compounded by liquidity challenges which deepen needs among the most vulnerable. Humanitarian partners are responding to pre-existing and new needs, but the response is undermined by underfunding. With only 24 per cent of financial requirements covered, the ability of partners to provide assistance in life-saving sectors such as water, sanitation and hygiene and protection, as well as education, is limited. Additional funds are required to support a nation-wide measles vaccination campaign, targeting 3 million children against the backdrop of an ongoing outbreak.

South Sudan continues to experience extensive humanitarian needs, including dire levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. In September, 6.1 million people (59% of the population) faced crisis, emergency, or catastrophe levels (IPC Phase 3-5) of food insecurity. This includes 47,000 people in catastrophic conditions (IPC Phase 5). Urgent funding is needed in the coming months to procure and preposition food and other life-saving supplies during the approaching dry season, when these activities are most cost-effective. Food insecurity is expected to decline slightly following the October-December harvest, and rise again in January-March, when 5.2 million people are expected to be in IPC Phases 3-5, including 36,000 in IPC Phase 5. Resources are also needed to scale up preparedness and capacity to respond to Ebola Virus Disease. Though no cases have been reported in South Sudan, there is a risk of cross-border spread.

An agreement on 17 September to establish a demilitarized zone in Idlib, Syria, provided a reprieve for close to three million people placed at risk by a major military escalation in the area, of whom more than two million were already in need of humanitarian assistance. Civilian deaths and injuries due to airstrikes and shelling, as well as displacement and attacks impacting health facilities, were reported in the Idlib area in the weeks prior to the announcement of the agreement. Response and readiness efforts continued in Idlib and other parts of the north-west, drawing to a large extent on cross-border assistance channels from Turkey. Despite significant access challenges, humanitarian assistance continued to be provided across the country, including in areas that had recently come under Government control such as eastern Ghouta, northern rural Homs and much of the south-west. Cross-border assistance to the south-west under the framework of Security Council resolution 2393 remained suspended, but assistance was delivered from Damascus, primarily through the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). Deployment of an inter-agency convoy from Damascus to Rukban on the Syria-Jordan border became increasingly urgent, with reports of a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in a camp estimated to be hosting up to 45,000 people. The situation in eastern Deir-Ez-Zor, in the east of the country, also deteriorated, with clashes linked to counter-ISIL operations displacing thousands in rural areas with limited humanitarian access and reports of restrictions on the onward movement of displaced people.

Steep economic decline accelerated in Yemen in September, with the Yemeni riyal losing about 30 per cent of its value against the US dollar during the month. Because Yemen imports the vast majority of its food and other basic commodities, this has translated into sharp rises in prices of food, fuel and other essentials – placing these goods increasingly out of reach for millions of Yemenis at a time when famine remains a real threat. In parallel, conflict in Hudaydah has intensified, with about 550,000 people displaced by the violence since 1 June. Aid operations have dramatically expanded, reaching 8 million people with direct assistance across the country every month. Partners have provided rapid response kits to nearly all families recently displaced from Hudaydah, as well as additional assistance based on assessed needs. Generous funding has been key: the 2018 HRP has received US$1.96 billion, or 67 per cent of requirements. Despite these achievements, recent developments threaten to overwhelm the operation’s capacity to respond. Urgent steps are needed to stabilize the economy, keep all ports and main roads open, uphold international humanitarian law, and move towards a political solution. Partners are also seeking full funding for the $3 billion HRP in order to deliver all activities in the plan.


World: U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at a "Celebrating World Humanitarian Day" Event

Source: US Agency for International Development
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Mexico, Myanmar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, United States of America, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

For Immediate Release
Monday, August 20, 2018 Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email:

Center for Strategic and International Studies
Washington, DC
August 20, 2018

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Good morning, everyone. Thank you, Dan, for that kind introduction and thanks to all of you for being here to help mark this very important occasion.

As we begin, as we call it in Congress, I'd like to start with a point of personal privilege. I'd like to take this opportunity this morning to express our sadness over the death of Kofi Annan. He was a giant who has spent his entire life advocating for peace, and the for the protection of humanitarian workers, something that we'll be talking about today. As he so often said, "People, not states, should be at the center of what we do." His passing makes this World Humanitarian Day even more poignant.

This morning, on behalf of USAID, I hope to convey two important messages to all of you. The first is, as Dan was alluding to, relates to the rapidly-evolving nature of humanitarian relief and assistance.

The second, as we mark this day, is simply our deep, deep admiration and gratitude for the many heroes of our humanitarian work. They, and many of you, are truly extraordinary and heroic.

I have to say that before I joined USAID, I didn't really appreciate the scope and range of what it is that we do in our humanitarian work. You can see it in some of the numbers. In 2017, USAID responded to 53 crises in 51 countries. For only the second time in our agency's history, we had six DART teams, Disaster Assistance Response Teams, deployed simultaneously around the world. The first time that happened was the preceding year.

At this very moment, we have pre-positioned resources and experts in just about every part of the world. We have seven emergency stockpiles in places like Djibouti, South Africa, and Malaysia. We have full-time response staff in 30 countries. We have six regional offices and 11 adviser offices, located with partners like the military's combatant commands.

One of my most vivid memories from my first year as Administrator was, essentially, a crash course in how some of this works. One day, during last year's UN General Assembly meetings, we received word of a terrible earthquake, the second one that had struck Mexico City. One evening that week, I was walking down the street between back-to-back dinners with two different mobile phones: one with the White House, one with the DART team leader.

I was dodging pedestrians, I'm sure looking ridiculous, while the disaster professionals were helping me navigate something much more serious: how to rapidly mobilize an emergency response team to Mexico City to help our neighbors to the South respond to its second earthquake in just a few weeks' time.

The government said to us that they'd welcome the assistance of a highly-specialized type of international search and rescue team, something really hard to find, especially in a hurry. But, thanks to the White House, our talented team here in D.C., our network of first responders, and the DOD, we were able to transport and stand up just such a team in Mexico City before breakfast the next morning. I'm honored to be part of a network, which includes many of you, that can make something like that happen.

But, as we gather to mark World Humanitarian Day this year, we have to acknowledge that natural disaster responses no longer epitomizes today's humanitarian work. We still do that, to be sure, and I think we do it well. But, these days, we face vast other challenges all around the world.

Our humanitarian resources are increasingly being deployed, not for storms and quakes and the like, but for man-made disasters, from conflict-driven displacement to tyranny-driven economic collapse.

Our DARTs are more likely to be deployed for those types of crises, and by far, most of our humanitarian assistance dollars are being allocated for those kinds of needs. There's the ongoing tragedy in Syria, a horrific conflict in its seventh year and one of the most complex crises of our time. Over 13 million people, more than 80 percent of the current population, need humanitarian assistance. There's the ongoing struggle in Afghanistan, where 3.3 million people need humanitarian assistance. A recent upturn in violence has claimed 1,700 civilian lives this year alone.

A dozen or so years ago, I travelled to Afghanistan as a congressman. And, in those days, our presence was measured by the tens of thousands of military boots on the ground. These days, we still have some troops there, but our boots on the ground are increasingly humanitarian and development workers, some of whom have been back to work in Afghanistan two, three, and even four times.

Nine hundred aid workers have been killed in Afghanistan in the last decade.

There's South Sudan, the most dangerous place of all for humanitarian workers. Seven million people in South Sudan, including 1 million living on the brink of famine, depend on international assistance just to survive.

Then there are the man-made crises far closer to home. One of the most underreported catastrophes in the world today is what's happening in and around Venezuela. More than 2.3 million Venezuelans have already fled. It's the largest single mass exodus in the history of the Western Hemisphere. And it's ongoing. I saw this first hand when I visited Cucuta, in Colombia, and the Bolivar Bridge last month. Five thousand new migrants enter Colombia each and every day. They're desperately seeking food and emergency medical care. They're seeking survival.

This isn't merely Colombia's challenge. Venezuelans are fleeing to places like Brazil and Ecuador, as we read over the weekend, and northward to the Caribbean. The list of man-made, conflict-caused, and regime-driven humanitarian crises goes on and on. After all, there are roughly 70,000,000 displaced people in the world today.

Since humanitarian needs and crises are changing, we're doing our best our to change and to respond to them, with the best tools and ideas that we can find. We're applying lessons learned over and over again. And we're fostering innovation.

This past February, USAID and our British cousins, DFID, joined in launching the first-ever Humanitarian Grand Challenge. The Grand Challenge mechanism is a way for the world's best thinkers, from organizations large and small, for-profit and non-profit, business, academia, to offer new ideas in helping (inaudible) relief to the most vulnerable, hardest to reach communities in the world.

It's a chance for us to identify and invest in the best and the brightest. We've already received 615 applications from 86 different countries, including a third from women and nearly half from lower and middle income countries. We're excited to see and mobilize the results, and they're due out this fall.

Given how much of our humanitarian response is in conflict zones and fragile states, we're paying more attention than ever to the obstacles and challenges that factions, gangs, militias, and corrupt officials are throwing at relief teams. Case in point. In April of this year, a leading humanitarian agency reported that it had encountered no fewer than 70 checkpoints on the 300-mile trip from Aden to Sanaa, in Yemen. I'm sure those were just helpful citizens offering directions along the way.

But it's the kind of situation that caused us to launch the Strengthening Field Level Capacity on Humanitarian Access and Negotiations program last August.

It's aimed at helping relief team members better understand practical negotiation techniques and safe, effective field-level decision making.

Because there is nothing more important to us, nothing more important to me, than the safety and security of our humanitarian network, that's the area that we're especially focusing on. We must stay ahead of threats and potential threats. So we're supporting organizations dedicated to improving security standards and training for NGO staff. We're modifying our policy so that security, costs for equipment, staff, training and site enhancements can be more easily built into your contracts and grant budgets.

We're investing in new tools to help us map and minimize risk to operations at the most basic level, the level of, for example, moving food from a plane to a truck, to a warehouse and distribution center. But, let's face it: we can take every possible step to minimize risk. We can't make it go away.

And many of you here know that all too well. One of the most inspiring and humbling parts of my job is getting to meet the heroes who know the risks but carry on just because they care.

I saw firsthand, when I visited IDP camps just outside of Raqqa. I heard stories of challenges that humanitarian heroes face each day, as they strive to bring water and food and medical care to those who've been victimized by the years of conflict. With Assad's regime still holding sway in parts of the country, there's no real, legitimate government partner with whom to work. And their path is riddled with unexploded ordinance, which is going off at the rate of, roughly, three dozen per day.

The shelters they sleep in at night shake with the dropping of bombs each and every day. And yet, somehow, because of their commitment to others, they wake up the next morning and they do it all over again. These are the heroes that we hold high this World Humanitarian Day.

People like Iraq's Salam Muhammad. When Anbar and Kirkuk were liberated from ISIS at the end of last year, humanitarians were the first ones on the ground, providing food, water, and medical care. Iraq staff with the U.S.-funded NGO spend their days clearing mines and educating their neighbors about the dangers the ordinance poses.

Salam decided to joint this particular NGO after witnessing several tragedies that left some of his relatives and friends injured, or killed. He was one of the NGO's first recruits in Iraq. Every day is challenging for the de-miners; any accident can be fatal. But Salam and his staff love their jobs and show up for work every day filled with passion because they know what they're doing matters.

There's Jay Nash, a regional adviser who has lived and worked for USAID in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the past 20 years. The DRC is, as you know, no stranger to aid worker attacks, with 210 people being killed, wounded, or kidnapped since 2000.

In 1999, while visiting a university in the DRC, Jay was ambushed by a mob of students who thought he was a spy for neighboring Rwanda. The mob torched the U.S. embassy vehicle he had been driving, but Jay escaped after a group of brave students made a ring around him, guarding him until they were able to duck him into the girls' dormitory.

Sitting in that dorm, trapped for hours with a mob threatening to break down the doors, Jay said he had one thought: he thought of the children with disabilities that he was helping in his free time. DRC has a higher than average rate of disability. And he thought to himself, if he died in that girls' dorm, who would take care of those kids?

After eight hours, he made a run for it, and he didn't look back. Not only did he stay in DRC working for USAID, in 2001, he started his own NGO called StandProud. It provides treatment and equipment to young people with disabilities, helping them gain dignity, mobility, and independence.

There's Fareed Noori, one of the victims of last month's attack on a government building in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The blast killed 15 people. Fareed had been working in Afghanistan since 2010 for a USAID partner the International Rescue Committee, as a water, sanitation, and hygiene engineer. As his colleagues noted, whenever there was an emergency, Fareed was the first in the field to help with whatever was needed.

Fareed was in an emergency meeting at the time of the attack. He was killed doing the work of helping others, to which he had committed his life. Fareed leaves behind four children, two girls, two boys, all under the age of 9.

Another victim of that attack was Bakhtawara; it's a pseudonym, a bright and impressive 22-year-old woman. She was working for the International Organization for Migration, another USAID partner. She had married very early and had a child by the age of 16. But, despite being a young mother in a conservative community, she fought for her education and learned English. After school, she knew she wanted to help people. She convinced her family to let her, not just get job, but get a career as a humanitarian.

When her husband was killed in a bombing three years ago, she continued working as a 19-year-old single mother. Her job took her to the very government offices that were often targeted by insurgents. On the day she was killed, she was attending one of the meetings that she had hoped would help her find better ways to deliver aid to people in need. The building was bombed and then overrun with gunfire. She died doing what she focused her life on, helping people build a brighter future.

Extremist insurgents in Afghanistan like to target these workers. There's a special place in hell...

There's the story of the seven aid workers killed in South Sudan in March of this year. They were killed when their car was ambushed along the 185-mile route of the badly rutted roads in South Sudan's remote east. Their vehicle had been labeled as belonging to an NGO right down to the license plates. It didn't matter. Six of the seven worked for a small Sudanese NGO called the Grass Roots Empowerment and Development Organization, GREDO, which is supported by USAID and worked to promote sustainable development at the grassroots level.

Three of the victims were helping to build a youth center. Two taught English. One was also a driver and the father of a newborn. Three were new recruits. Humanitarian heroes, one and all. And there were thousands of others. And I stand in awe of what they do.

Final thoughts. Why do they do it? What causes them to go out and take these risks? I learned the answer, and (inaudible), when I visited Bangladesh and Burma with Secretary Pompeo earlier this year. In Bangladesh, I went to a Cox's Bazaar, and I saw the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who are barely surviving in that camp.

They are vulnerable to monsoons and cyclones and without the humanitarian workers, life would be very different. It's bad enough already.

And then I went to Burma, and I travelled to an IDP camp near Sittwe. And what I saw there was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen in development. I saw young families trapped. I saw young families unable to go to school and completely dependent upon the emergency food assistance that we provide.

So, those workers take the risks because they are all that is standing between an even worse catastrophe and death in these young people, these victims. Today we celebrate them. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thank you. (inaudible) I'm also the director of the Humanitarian Agenda, as Dan mentioned, which is what this event is a part of, it's a new partnership as as we have this conversation. Firstly, I want to ask you -- well, one, congratulations; it's been about a year now since you've been appointed, and you've been back one year? So, happy anniversary.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Pretty close. Thank you -- ask my staff.

MODERATOR: (inaudible) We're all very happy that you were chosen to be in this position because, as Dan alluded to, your deep background in international developments. One of the things that you said a lot in this position is talking about, "The purpose of foreign aid is to end the need for its existence." It's one of your key messages that we hear time and time again. So, I want you to elaborate on sort of how that squares with humanitarian assistance. Right? There's a big difference of international developments for, you know, economic growth and being self-reliant. But humanitarian assistance is so often, as you mentioned, driven by tyranny and regimes, and it's about saving lives. So, how do you marry those two?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, first off you're right. What I've said since the day that I was first announced is that the purpose of our foreign assistance must be ending its need to exist. And what I mean by that is, we should look every day at ways of helping people take on their own challenges. Not because we want to do less or walk away, but because we believe in human dignity, and we believe in the innate desire of everyone -- every individual, every family, every community, every country -- to want to craft their own bright future.

In the area of humanitarian assistance, what I always say is, look, we will always stand with people when crisis strikes because that is who we are, that is in the American DNA. But at the same time we'll also look for ways to foster resilience so that we can help countries and communities withstand future shocks. And we've seen promising results in places like Ethiopia. You mentioned on the food security front, Ethiopia's a country that's had six consecutive years of drought and yet not falling into full famine. And that obviously is about much more than the work we're doing, but I think we're making a difference in helping Ethiopians build their ability to withstand consecutive years of drought.

So, I see the two as fitting very well together, and the other piece to it is, on the humanitarian front, again, we have natural disasters and man-made disasters. The man-made disasters are coming at us fast and furious. It's also about preventing the next generation of crisis and conflict. I'm often asked what it is that keeps me up at night, and what keeps me up at night are our children being born in camps, and growing up in camps, and getting educated in camps. And when, God willing, the walls come down and the gate opens up, the question is, are those young people going to be prepared to take on the challenges of the world? Are they connected to the communities around them?

And so with the humanitarian work that we do in many of these places, it's really aimed towards the future. And so I think it fits in well; it's a longer term of view, but I see them -- really is all going in the same direction.

MODERATOR: I'm actually headed out to Nigeria in a few weeks and doing some research looking at Feed the Future portfolio there, but really looking at the nexus between that humanitarian and development assistance, you know, how that would work in an unstable environment. So, I'm anxious to see what I learn from that as well. You know, the Trump administration has called for reduction, of course, of U.S. foreign assistance, but, regardless of that, the U.S. continues to be -- and dominate as the largest donor worldwide.

When you're talking to your colleagues in this administration, what is it that you talk about in terms of why it's so important for us to sustain this leadership? I mean, I could throw out numbers and I'll do a little bit.

In 2018, the U.S. pledged 29 billion foreign assistance. Five billion of that was dedicated to humanitarian assistance. I was looking this morning at how that compares to others, and, I mean, the UK -we're event twice what they do. So, you know, we're such a leader in this space. Why is that so important? Why should we dedicate American tax dollars or more importantly to cleaning up other people's wars?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, first off, you're correct; we're far and away the world's humanitarian leader, and, quite frankly, two or three or four of them together don't really add up to what we're doing. We need other countries to do more because, with those challenges that I laid out, those man-made challenges, I don't see an end in sight, quite frankly, in any of them. So, these are open-ended challenges, and while we are proud to be the world's leader, we need others to step up to the plate. I will tell you, what I worry about is, because these man-made disasters, man-made, often regime-driven disasters, because they are open-ended, there's a real risk that it will begin to take up so much of our budget that it threatens our ability to do some of the development investments that we all want to do, including quite frankly, some of the resilience work that we want to do.

So, we do need others to step up to the plate. But in terms of, you know, what I say to the rest of the administration, it's not a hard cell, you know, pushing them to open a door. The administration is very supportive of our humanitarian work; we continue to be the world's leader; that's not going to change. And I think it's really -- the arguments for it fall on a number of different fronts. Number one, this is an expression of American values. This is who we are and always have been. It is a projection of the American spirit, in my view. So, I think that is very much alive and well in the American psyche, in the American DNA.

But secondly, it's in our interest. Just take for a moment the assistance that we're providing to Colombians, supporting Venezuelans who have fled the border, doing the same thing in some other countries. There is great American self-interest in supporting the ability of these communities to withstand this migration, to help afford some of those costs, because the instability that results from not being able to provide support, I think, is an issue, is a diplomatic issue, is a national security issue. And, as you heard me mention, I think particularly what is happening in the Western Hemisphere is completely underreported.

When I was at the Summit of the Americas, I heard from a number of countries, including Caribbean states, that they were starting to feel the presence of Venezuelans fleeing. And while they're all supportive of their neighbors, clearly it's not without a cost. But the same thing is true in many other parts of the world. So, the investments that we make on the humanitarian front are oftentimes in our self-interest. I look at the work that we're doing on the humanitarian front with an eye towards providing a lifeline so that those who've been displaced in parts of the Middle East can return. That's in our interest. That's a stated foreign policy priority. So, you know, yes, there is certainly -- I think the morality that we -- the expression of values that we've always supported. But I also believe it's in our interest and our national security interest.

MODERATOR: And thank you for reminding us in your speech about humanitarian heroes and what World Humanitarian Day is about. You talked about the unfortunate situation that in today's crises a lot of the time aid workers are targeted specifically. So, I want to ask you whether you feel like there's an erosion of international humanitarian law over, you know, that you talked about the evolution of humanitarian assistance. And so as the world gets more and more disorderly, we see more and more protracted conflicts. Do you feel that both governments and non-state actors alike are violating this law, and is there anything that we can or should be doing more I guess, particularly from the donor or U.S. government perspective, to hold them more accountable?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Well, first off, we in the U.S. demand adherence to international law, international humanitarian law. So, we demand that unfettered access is provided, for example, in Rakhine, in Northern Rakhine in Burma. So, that's always been important for us. But if you're asking whether some non-state actors like ISIS are breaking international law, yeah. Having been to both Raqqa and Northern Iraq, what has been done there by ISIS is truly evil. There is simply no other word to describe what they've done: the desecration of graves, the desecration of churches, the disappearances of Yazidis. It's staggering and truly evil. Of course they are breaking every standard that we all know.

Yes, it is a challenge to international law; one of the best ways that we can respond is to say that, and to say it often, and to keep coming back to it. Because I do think the American opinion matters. And to say all across the political spectrum here in this country that we stand united and demand adherence to those standards and that what is happening is unacceptable.

MODERATOR: You brought up demanding unfettered access. I want to let our audience know that the Humanitarian Agenda will be going to the capitol this fall, and we're focusing specifically on the issue of humanitarian access. You brought up, of course, in Yemen, that's 70 choke hold points that David Miliband also talked about when he was here in Yemen -- in April on Yemen. I also want to say we're publishing a policy piece on Yemen here at CSIS that will come out this week.

I have many more questions, but I think we'll turn to the audience, so that we can engage them as well. So, if you have a question, please raise your hand. We will take it in rounds of threes, so announce yourself and where you're from. Please keep it concise, and at the end of it, there should be a question mark. So, who has a question? Yes, sir, right over here. Thanks, gentlemen.

QUESTION: I'll ask a real fast question, my name is Rob, I work for USAID, thank you, sir. My question is about the environment, I'm just back from the Congo, where Ebola is happening and I was just in Madagascar where there was a plague outbreak. A lot of the disasters you talked about have an environmental component, and we're doing some in the United States, but some people think we really need to do more, and that's a little bit against maybe some people in the administration, so I would love for you to talk about your thoughts about that.

MODERATOR: Great question. More? Let's do Julie Howard right there.

QUESTION: Thank you. Mr. Administrator, thank you for your comments. Could you comment on the recent story in the Washington Post about the potential pullback of $3 billion in foreign assistance funds and how that may affect our ability to respond to humanitarian as well as the resilience opportunities you described?

MODERATOR: And, Julie, will you introduce yourself for those that don't know you?


MODERATOR: Would you introduce yourself?

QUESTION: Oh, yes, okay. So, I'm a non-resident senior adviser here at CSIS, thank you.

MODERATOR: Julie and I are also going to be travel partners when I go to Nigeria. It's actually Julie that is leading that study. Let's take one more question right back here. Yes, thank you.

QUESTION: Hi, my name's (inaudible) a reporter from Voice of America. There are a number of humanitarian assistance and also food aid to North Korea spended by the United States Government. What are the key principles that all the United States Government providing assistance to North Korea and under which scenario can assistance to North Korea be resumed?

MODERATOR: Thank you.


MODERATOR: Easy questions, right?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: On North Korea, simply put, there have been no discussions that I'm aware of regarding assistance into North Korea. I certainly haven't been part of any such discussions.

Secondly, on the pullback, while we haven't received official notification of anything, I've heard of nothing that would change our status as the world's leader in humanitarian assistance. I haven't seen anything. Third, on -- first off, it's interesting that you visited Ebola country and you talked about conservation, because their linked, obviously.

I think that's one of the reasons we've seen the outbreak of Ebola in other formerly, entirely rare diseases in some of the areas where we've seen deforestation and such. What we're trying to do at USAID, many of you are aware, we're developing metrics that are aimed at helping us to better understand a country's capacity and commitment in a number of sectors, and conservation's one of them.

So, we're looking at things like biodiversity and how resources are managed, because we think it's important, and it's something that we hope to be able to incentivize in the future and have conversations around. I have a personal interest in the conservation front and as you know, we recently made some announcements regarding assistance to Colombia and helping them in their natural resource management. So, I think it's an important area that shouldn't be divorced from the rest of development.

We think it is one of those key areas that needs to be assessed and looked at as we help countries, in what we call, as you know, probably ad nauseam as I talk about the journey to self-reliance. One of those areas is, in fact, conservation, biodiversity, and the capacity to manage resources.

MODERATOR: Let's take another round of questions. Raise your hand high. Joel?

QUESTION: Joel (inaudible) from Norwegian Refugee Council, thank you Administrator Green for your excellent remarks. I'm afraid I have to follow up on the rescission question. We're not going to let you off so easily.

What's been reported is that there's going to be a cut of a billion to UN peacekeeping operations, and that has the potential to not only disrupt work in South Sudan and Somalia and the Congo, but it also has the potential to disrupt, through further chaos in refugee flows, neighboring countries that we care about that are our allies, such as Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and so on.

I guess -- the argument is that, even if USAID itself doesn't lose funding or doesn't lose out through the rescission, the work will lose out, I feel, if this really goes ahead. So, if you could just offer more thought on -- I mean, you said you're pushing on an open door when it comes to international work, and, honestly, it's not always obvious to see that from the outside. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Thanks, Joel. Let's do these two right here in the front, Haley, yep.

QUESTION: Thank you. Hi, good morning. Nicole (inaudible), I'm a senior associate here at CSIS. Thank you, Administrator Green, for your great comments. You mentioned briefly -- you touched on young people and so, given the disproportionate (inaudible) of people in these countries and how often humanitarian crises can disproportionately affect children and young people, can you talk a little bit more about some of the focus that you're keeping in these initiatives and on the work that you're doing to remedy the situation for youth? Thanks.

MODERATOR: Great, and I think there was a question right behind you if there still is, yeah.

QUESTION: Hello, my name is Jessica (inaudible), and I'm a Jeane Kirkpatrick Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. You mention in your remarks about the man-made nature of a lot of the ongoing conflicts, and I was wondering if you could speak to USAID's role not only in providing humanitarian response in that context, but also the active role that the agency is taking in countering and preventing ongoing violent extremism.

MODERATOR: Great question.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: That's a great question. Joel, on the budget front, I really don't have much more that I can provide. Part of it is I'm not attempting to duck, I just literally don't have more, I'd refer you to OMB quite frankly. But again, you know, they is simply looking at the numbers of the last year and what we're doing on the humanitarian front. There is simply no argument that we have backed away from our role as the world's leading humanitarian assistant. Just objectively, we are far and away the largest humanitarian donor.

We're the largest humanitarian donor in Syria; we're the largest humanitarian donor in conflict after conflict. I do think it is fair for all of us to talk about how it is that these resource needs can be met in the future. I don't mean just the immediate future, but the open-ended nature of these conflicts and this instability and this displacement is staggering.

It is what worries me, because these conflicts that we're seeing -- South Sudan; Yemen -- you and I have talked about Yemen a great deal in recent months. It's open-ended, and I do worry about that. I do worry about our ability to meet resource needs and, you know, the world meeting these resource needs. They're significant.

On the question of young people, particularly in displaced settings, we are looking at a number of ways of accelerating crisis situation education, conflict community education. We've received generous support from Congress, along with generous directives from Congress, in the area of education. What we've been trying to do, and Congresswoman Lowey has long been a great leader on this front, is to try to make sure that we are able to prioritize these crisis needs, and I do think that it's a crisis. It does worry me a great deal.

So, we're looking at some of the use of innovative technologies to see if that can help us in these settings, but it is a very focus and as we develop our basic education strategy going forward, I think you'll see a particular focus on those areas, because it is, as you suggest, very important for the future.

In terms of preventing violent extremism, we have, as you know, an important role under the National Security Strategy. We are investing in trying to identify the drivers of violent extremism.

One of my strong beliefs that comes, actually, from my time at International Republican Institute is that we shouldn't jump to conclusions and try to draw global assumptions and lessons. Instead, we need to look at local drivers. Experience shows us that it's often local drivers, community drivers that become flashpoints for extremism. And so, we're certainly investing research there, and some of the preventative tools that are there; from my days as an Ambassador in Tanzania, I often point out that after the terrible bombing, embassy bombing, the work that we did with our Tanzanian partners in the wake of that, to take on some of the drivers of poverty and despair, I believe was an important down payment for preventing violent extremism. So, I'm a big believer in tackling those drivers and tackling that which can lead to despair. So, that will always be a key part of our work.

MODERATOR: Mr. Green, at Davos this year, you talked about the importance of tapping into the creativity of the private sector, and how innovative financing mechanisms and other innovative technologies can really create better development outcomes. In your speech today, you talked about the Humanitarian Grand Challenges. Are there any specific companies or partnerships or technologies that you're most excited about right now. The things that you see that are happening in the field, you've been in in this career -- I mean, you've had a career for decades that are all related to development --

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Don't say decades.

MODERATOR: Okay, sorry -- you're very young. The last year that you've been an administrator, what are the -- what are the cool, new technologies that we should know about, that are out there, that the mainstream audience has no idea how we're delivering (inaudible) humanitarian assistance?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Yeah, I mean, to be honest, there are countless. During global innovation we -- which we had last fall, whenever it was, and I had a chance to walk through the marketplace at the Ronald Reagan Building, and take a look at some of the innovations. Everything from lunchbox-size solar batteries allowing us to power work in refugee and displaced persons camps to some of the weather forecasting stations that are created with 3D printers. You go through there and it's extraordinary. And it fills you with great hope for our ability to reach out and touch more people in more settings than ever before. In the area of financing -- we announced in India last fall, the world's first Development Impact Bond for maternal and child health, and the largest development impact bond of its kind. So, what we did through that is to set outcomes that we needed to see in order to repay the investment, but in terms of the means, we turn the private sector loose.

And in the follow-up conversations that we had, you can see that our partners, some of whom are based here in D.C., were terribly excited. Because for the first time they didn't have us micro-managing each step along the way, but saying, "Look, these are the outcomes that we need, you go get them." And really tapping into the private sector, nonprofit and for-profit. Also, in the area of displaced communities on World Humanitarian Day, the use of biometrics to establish identification of refugees and IDPs as well as some of the digital technologies for delivering resources -- assistance so that recipients have modest purchasing power in surrounding communities, thereby not only providing assistance, not only holding onto human dignity and allowing them to make some decisions, but also providing a tangible benefit to those host communities which are often placing a disproportionate burden by those who are there. So, it -- it's really using business principles, human nature, and I'd like to say there are new technologies, but my kids will tell me very quickly they're old technologies, just new to someone like me. Tapping into these, I think, creates enormous, enormous hope for reaching into places we haven't before.

MODERATOR: I want to continue on that "hope" trend for a minute. So, you know, when you think about the crises, many of which are located in Syria, Yemen, in South Sudan --

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Is that the whole part?

MODERATOR: Now, I know. Well, this is where I'm kind of heading with this. Is there a crisis that you have your eyes on that you do see any reversal in terms of reversal trends, or any progress? Is there a place that you do think we're going to be able to see some positive outcomes in the next -- I should say decade there, because I know it takes time. But is there one that you see not going the wrong direction?

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Oh, sure. There are lots of promising stories. I think Ethiopia and Eritrea provide tremendous hope. One of the challenges, again, as an old democracy guy, one of the challenges that I saw was the enabling environment, for civil society and NGOs in a place like Ethiopia, and with the transition to a new government, we're having conversations that we didn't have before, in ways that I think will be very helpful. Also, I think that their willingness to partner with us more and more will help us make some investments in those areas -- in those resilience areas that will not only help Ethiopia and Eritrea, but also, quite frankly, I think will save us money in the long run. So, there are lots of stories like that, I think all around the continent of Africa and elsewhere. But there are -- every hopeful story is replaced by a new challenge. None of these challenges are inevitable, as problems. But they do require us to be innovative. They do require us to be engaged, they do require us to invest up front, and to be innovative in those procuring methods and how we partner. All of those things need to be done if we're going to turn -- either prevent the challenges from becoming crises, or turn problems into solutions.

MODERATOR: Thank you. I lived in Ethiopia for three years, and I have to say it's quite exciting to see the change that's happening there. I'd like to just turn it onto -- are there any more burning questions? No hands are shooting up; let's do one more right here in the front.

QUESTION: Hi, this is Chris (inaudible) with the State Department. Thank you so much for your leadership of USAID and development. I have a question regarding the nexus between humanitarian assistance, you've been mentioning the nexus with conflict development stabilization -- how does humanitarian assistance fit in, or is it just a one piece element that is disassociated from political issues?

MODERATOR: Great, and as you answer that and any other final remarks you'd like to make as well.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Sure. Thank you and again, thanks to all of you. So I think from the National Security Strategy, you see -- also the Stabilization Assistance Review, you see, I think, a clear multi-agency, multi-department approach to many of these challenges. Our relationship with the State Department is as close as it's ever been. I've received nothing but support and affirmation from Secretary Pompeo. We are working, as you know, closely because all of these challenges touch each of us in different ways and we each have different capacities.

You know, I think it's probably never been more clear than in a place like the Burma-Bangladesh crisis. So, you know, when Rohingya in one place their IDPs and when they're in another place, they're refugees, and then of course we all look at that and say, "forget the labels, they're people who we need to help out," and invest in, and so we do. Also, I would say that both State and AID have as close of a working relationship with DoD as we've had in a very long time. As many of you know, we have a couple dozen detailees over at the Pentagon and the Combatant Commands. DoD has made it clear that they don't want to do what we do or State does, and we certainly don't want to do what they do. So, I would think those seamless teams and close communications are helping us. And going back to the budget question, they have to; there's not enough money for duplication. There's not enough money for bureaucracy. We just have to stay in constant communication.

As to (inaudible) final remarks, I really would like to leave off with where my remarks, my opening remarks left off -- or left off. On this World Humanitarian Day, I would ask that we all think of those men and women who are in places in far places in world, in conflict zones, in fragile settings, day after day, delivering emergency medical assistance, food assistance, water and hygiene under the most trying of circumstances, difficult security situations. They do it because they care. They're my heroes. I'm sure they're your heroes. They are patriots. And what a wonderful expression of values and our priorities that with what they're doing each and every day. Thank you.


World: Forced Migration Review Issue 58: Economies: Rights and access to work

Source: Forced Migration Review, University of Oxford
Country: Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Ecuador, Eritrea, Germany, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, World, Zambia

From the editors

When people are forced by conflict or other circumstances to leave their homes, they usually also leave behind their means of economic activity and subsistence. In their new location, they may not be able, or permitted, to work to support themselves. This has wide-ranging implications not only for people’s immediate earning capacity and well-being but also for community relations, economic development and the capacity of future generations to lead fulfilling lives. In our main feature on Economies, authors explore the complex interactions of the constraints and opportunities involved, drawing on case-studies from around the world and highlighting the roles of new actors, new technologies and new – or renewed – approaches.

We are also pleased to include two ‘mini-features’ in this FMR, one on Refugeeled social protection and one on Humans and animals in refugee camps. (See the back cover if you are interested in collaborating with FMR on a mini-feature – or a full feature.)

We would like to thank Karen Jacobsen (Tufts University) and Khalid Koser (Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund) for their assistance as advisors to the Economies feature theme. We are also grateful to the following donors for their support of this issue: ESRC-AHRC (Economic and Social Research Council and Arts and Humanities Research Council) Global Challenges Research Fund, the Global Program on Forced Displacement of the World Bank Group, Mercy Corps, UNHCR Division of Resilience and Solutions (Livelihoods Unit) and the Wellcome Trust.

See to access the magazine, its accompanying ‘digest’ and all individual articles. A podcast of each article is also available. FMR 58 will be available in English, Arabic, Spanish and French. For printed copies, please email us at

Forthcoming issues (see

• FMR 59: Twentieth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (October 2018)

• FMR 60: Education (February 2019)

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or sign up for email alerts at

Marion Couldrey and Jenny Peebles
Editors, Forced Migration Review


World: Education in Emergencies - ECHO Factsheet

Source: European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen

Key messages

Education is lifesaving. Education is crucial for both the protection and healthy development of girls and boys affected by crises. It can rebuild their lives; restore their sense of normality and safety, and provide them with important life skills. It helps children to be self-sufficient, to be heard, and to have more influence on issues that affect them. It is also one of the best tools to invest in their long-term future, and in the peace, stability and economic growth of their countries.

Education in emergencies actions can help prevent, reduce, mitigate and respond to emergency-related academic, financial, social, institutional, physical and infrastructural barriers to children's education, while ensuring the provision of safe, inclusive and quality education.

In 2017, the EU dedicates 6% of its annual humanitarian aid budget to education in emergencies, one of the most underfunded sectors of humanitarian aid. In 2018, this amount will increase to 8%.

4.7 million girls and boys in 52 countries have benefited from EUfunded education in emergencies actions between 2012 and 2017.


Restoring Iconic Church a Turning Point for Iraq’s Assyrians.


A long-awaited decision to restore an iconic church in Iraq desecrated by Daesh (ISIS) -- one of 14 repair projects agreed by a leading Catholic charity -- has been hailed as a turning point in the struggle to keep Christianity alive in one of its most ancient heartlands. Syriac Catholic Archbishop Petros Mouche of Mosul

The post Restoring Iconic Church a Turning Point for Iraq’s Assyrians. appeared first on Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation.


The Effect of Immigration on Adverse Perinatal Outcomes: Analysis of Experiences at a Turkish Tertiary Hospital

Introduction. In literature, it is well documented that migration is associated with adverse perinatal outcomes in many countries over the world. But in Turkey, health care providers and obstetricians had to face the effects of migration for the first time after civil war in Syria. Hence, this situation motivated us to conduct the current research in Turkey. Also we aimed to evaluate the effect of immigration on adverse perinatal outcomes, comparing the obstetric results of a native population and an immigrant population, and focusing on relevant indicators of perinatal health. Methods. Information from the hospital database of pregnant women who had vaginal or cesarean delivery was evaluated. The patients were divided into two groups, native women and immigrant women, according to their ethnic origin. Adverse perinatal outcomes were compared between groups using multivariate regression models. Adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated. Results. A total of 6311 patients were evaluated, of which 4271 were classified as native and 2040 were classified as immigrants. Mean hemoglobin level before delivery was significantly lower in the immigrant group. Preterm delivery (aOR: 1.41; 95% CI: 1.19–1.65), stillbirth (aOR: 1.88; 95% CI: 1.09–3.23), red blood cell transfusion requirement (aOR: 3.12; 95% CI: 2.02–3.98), unplanned birth rates before hospital arrival (aOR: 2.25; 95% CI: 1.53–3.31), and postpartum infection rates (aOR:2.12; 95% CI: 1.48–3.08) were significantly increased in the immigrant group compared with native group, even considering adjustment for potential confounders. Conclusion. The immigration may be an important and independent risk factor for some adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.

Isis Leader Killed in Raid on Compound

Top Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed in a lethal strike in Syria, all thanks to a special military dog. The founder and leader of Isis was killed on October 26, 2019, after a years-long manhunt to find him. Thanks to a talented military dog, he was tracked down and killed soon after. Al-Baghdadi and...

Washington Elites Are Chaining Us to the Middle East | The American Conservative – Ivan Eland

After President Trump’s impulsive and abrupt decision to pull back U.S. forces from Syria—thus betraying Syrian Kurdish allies in the war against ISIS to a Turkish invasion—the American foreign policy elite has worked overtime to [...]

Israel assisting Syrian Kurds via 'a range of channels,' says Israeli official

Cleveland Jewish News - Collapse of Kurdish autonomy in northern Syria is a "negative and dangerous scenario" that would bolster Iran, says Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely.The post Israel assisting Syrian Kurds via

Baghdadi’s wife has been in custody for a year

Baghdadi’s wife has been in custody for a year

Ankara: Turkish authorities have held slain Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s wife in custody for over a year and were exploring ways to deport her, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said here on Thursday. Baghdadi was the world’s most wanted terrorist until his death last month during a US special forces raid on a property …

Check out more stories at The Siasat Daily


Erdogan visits Hungary facing protests over Syria

Erdogan visits Hungary facing protests over Syria

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to Hungary on Thursday for talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orban — a rare EU ally — but is expected to face protests over his deadly military offensive in Syria. The meeting comes just a week after Orban met Russian President Vladimir Putin, stoking concerns in the European Union …

Check out more stories at The Siasat Daily


French court scales back charges in Lafarge Syria finance case

French court scales back charges in Lafarge Syria finance case

PARIS: A French court on Thursday quashed a charge of complicity in crimes against humanity against cement giant Lafarge over alleged payments to Islamist militants in Syria, but kept other key accusations in place including terrorism financing. The case revolves around the operations of Lafarge in Syria between 2011 and 2015, during the first phase of the country’s …

Check out more stories at The Siasat Daily


Kurdish forces kill 11 pro-Turkish Syrian fighters: Erdogan

Kurdish forces kill 11 pro-Turkish Syrian fighters: Erdogan

ISTANBUL: Eleven pro-Turkish Syrian fighters were killed Thursday by Kurdish forces in violation of ceasefire agreements aimed at creating a “safe zone” in northern Syria, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “This morning, 11 members of the Syrian National Army were martyred,” Erdogan told a press conference in Ankara, using the name for a Syrian militia …

Check out more stories at The Siasat Daily


UEFA Turkey probe is ‘discrimination’: Erdogan

UEFA Turkey probe is ‘discrimination’: Erdogan

ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that UEFA was discriminating against Turkey’s football team following a controversy over the players’ use of military salutes on the pitch. UEFA opened disciplinary hearings against Turkey last month after its players saluted during Euro 2020 qualifiers — a gesture seen as supporting the country’s military offensive in Syria. …

Check out more stories at The Siasat Daily


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Baghdadi is dood, maar Islamitische Staat leeft voort


De leider van de Islamitische Staat, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is dood, vijf jaar nadat hij in de Al Noeri Grand Moskee in de Noord-Iraakse stad Mosoel de oprichting van een kalifaat in Irak en Syrië...

Het bericht Baghdadi is dood, maar Islamitische Staat leeft voort verscheen eerst op MessiaNieuws.


German Foreign Minister Maas and US Secretary of State Pompeo Hold Press Conference - Video

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have discussed the situation in Ukraine, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan during Pompeo's visit to Germany.

Military Dog in Anti-Baghdadi Operation to Visit Trump in White House ‘Very Soon’

Conan is the nickname of a military dog which took part in and was injured during the US military operation in north Syria against the leader and founder of Daesh* Abu al-Baghdadi that resulted in his death on 26 October.

Oil-Rich Lands in Syria to Serve as Base for US Operations Against Daesh - State Department

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The oil-rich area in northeast Syria the United States is protecting will serve as a base for the US military operations against the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia), a senior US State Department official said in a press briefing.

Trump, Erdogan Discuss Syria, Confirm Meeting in DC Next Week

ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, confirmed during their phone talks on Wednesday their meeting on 13 November in Washington, DC the Turkish president's office said in a statement.

US says reports Turkey misused US-supplied weapons in Syria are 'credible'

The US is investigating whether Turkey violated agreements with Washington about the use of US-provided weapons and equipment, including whether Ankara improperly transferred US-supplied weapons to its proxies in Syria, groups that some US officials say may have committed war crimes as part of the Turkish-led incursion targeting America's Kurdish allies.

Nobody Ever Went Broke Underestimating the Intelligence and Integrity of the American Political Class

The conventional wisdom spouted by the political class in the US is almost always wrong, and often laughably so. The only question on any particular issue is the exact mixture of stupidity, ignorance, and manipulative malignity behind the conventional wisdom on that subject. The political class’s narrative regarding the Kurds in Syria is a perfect […]

Washington Elites Are Chaining Us to the Middle East | The American Conservative – Ivan Eland

After President Trump’s impulsive and abrupt decision to pull back U.S. forces from Syria—thus betraying Syrian Kurdish allies in the war against ISIS to a Turkish invasion—the American foreign policy elite has worked overtime to [...]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Topical Questions (5 Nov 2019)

John Woodcock: Heartfelt congratulations, Mr Speaker. Will the Foreign Secretary comment on the report overnight of the capture of the sister of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in north-west Syria? Does not this, and the death of the Daesh leader itself, underline the importance of our international alliances to keep British citizens and our communities safe from the threat of terror?

Written Answers — Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Syria: British Nationals Abroad (5 Nov 2019)

John Lamont: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the care needs of British children trapped in north-east Syria.

The Road from Damascus: How an Evangelical Syrian Spoke at Harvard’s Commencement

From Homs to Harvard Divinity to Fuller Seminary, Tony Alkhoury trusts God to “bring life out of deadly events.” Following Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria and establishment of a “safe zone” in coordination with Russia, the beleaguered nation faces another refugee crisis. According to the United Nations, 6.7 million Syrians have registered with their High […]

Could Congress Reverse Trump's Decision To Pull Troops Out Of Syria?


from The Conversation

-- this post authored by Sarah Burns, Rochester Institute of Technology

The political and humanitarian outcry condemning President Donald Trump's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria came soon after he made the announcement.

Trump's actions paved the way for Turkish troops to attack U.S.-allied Kurdish forces that had been fighting the Islamic State group. In reaction, on Oct. 15, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nonbinding resolution opposing his move, with strong bipartisan support.


Read more ...


Will Turkish media criticism of Qatar harm relations?


Will Turkish media criticism of Qatar harm relations?



Turkish state-run media outlets have levelled unprecedented criticism at Qatar over coverage by the Gulf state’s news network Al Jazeera English of Turkey’s military operation in Syria, but analysts say, despite warnings from Turkey, it is unlikely the relationship between the two countries is in any serious danger

Since Turkey launched its attack against Kurdish-led forces in northeast Syria last month its state-run press has been hypersensitive of any criticism of the country’s so-called Operation Peace Spring. It frequently accuses the operation’s critics of actively and consciously making propaganda on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), whose Syrian Kurdish affiliates it is fighting. 

More surprisingly, the Turkish media has also directed its condemnation against the Qatari state-owned network for its coverage of the war. TRT World slammed the network by comparing its coverage to that of its Saudi-owned rival Al-Arabiya and even claiming that Al Jazeera English is the most anti-Turkish of the two. The Turkish broadcaster also highlighted human rights concerns related to the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar.

An editorial by the pro-government Daily Sabah said a small group at Al Jazeera English was “undermining the Turkey-Qatar partnership in an attempt to dictate the Gulf nation’s foreign policy” and warned that the countries’ partnership could be at risk if Doha did not “weed out individuals seeking to poison that alliance behind the smokescreen of independent journalism.” 

This is quite remarkable given the fact that Qatar is Turkey’s only real ally left in the Middle East. As Turkey analyst Soner Cagaptay noted in a tweet, “Doha abandoning Ankara in Syria would mean that Turkey and Erdoğan are all but alone in the Middle East.” 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim Al Thani have affectionately addressed each other as “brother”. Al Thani even gifted Erdoğan a luxury Boeing 747 worth approximately $500 million. 

Moreover, Turkey has a military base in Qatar, giving it a foothold in the strategically important Gulf, and will open a new base this year as well as increasing the number of its troops deployed there. 

Turkey’s diplomatic and military came to the aid of Qatar, which was faced with a Saudi-led blockade in June 2017, and when Turkey faced U.S. sanctions over its imprisonment of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson in 2018, Qatar’s $15 billion investment pledge helped keep the lira afloat. 

Thus, the latest spat over Al Jazeera English is a low point in the special relationship, but analysts doubt it will do any serious harm.

“I think that the dispute has to do with Turkey wanting to shut down all critique, especially in English language media,” Seth Frantzman, a Middle East affairs analyst for The Jerusalem Post, told Ahval. “Turkey is seeking to extend its own suppression of the free press to the modicum of dissent that exists at Al-Jazeera English.” 

Frantzman noted that while Al Jazeera English “doesn’t critique its masters in Qatar, it has had some dissenting voices on Turkey.”

“So this is about a power struggle over media and Turkey is using its state and pro-government media to demand Qatar weed out any journalists that it doesn’t accept,” he said. “This is about Turkey dominating Qatar.”

“I think Doha will probably bend to Turkey’s demands because Doha doesn’t have a lot of close allies and Turkey has sent armed forces to Qatar,” he said. “It’s quite easy to give a nudge to Al-Jazeera to not critique Turkey’s operation. In the past Al-Jazeera has stopped programmes that were considered controversial, such as a report on the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S.”

Political analyst Ali Bakeer believes the current dispute is an ordinary part of relations between friendly countries. 

“Yet, in such situations, the question is ‘how should such challenges be tackled and ultimately resolved?’” Bakeer asked. 

For Bakeer, that could mean finding a middle path in which Qatar is not forced to sacrifice AJE’s credibility in order to avoid disruptions to its relationship with Turkey.

Frantzman agreed there is little chance of the incident seriously harming bilateral relations, but sees it as an interesting example that reveals the total control the Turkish state has over domestic media and its desire to extend that abroad.  

“It’s also interesting because it shows the Turkish state will use state broadcasters and pro-government media to attack other media as a message to the state of Qatar, basically arguing that Qatar and Al Jazeera are one and the same,” he said. 

Al Jazeera has sought to mark itself out in the West as independent, but the current dispute reveals that “from its closest ally’s point of view there is no difference and Turkey’s demand to the emir of Qatar is to stop its criticism,” Frantzman said.

While both analysts agreed reporting by Al Jazeera English is unlikely to cause any serious rift, Turkish former Foreign Minister Yaşar Yakış pointed out that in the longer term “Qatar is not a country that can carry a country the size of Turkey on its shoulders.”

“It is an Arab country and will remain so,” Yakış told Ahval. “Its long-term interests are firstly with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and secondly with the Arab countries at large.”

Yakış said that “an Arab country can hardly remain on the Turkish side in a divide between Turkey and Arab countries,” adding that Turkey would be wise to turn back to its traditional policy of engaging culturally with Arab states, but not getting involved in conflicts between them.

“It should remain equidistant to all Arab countries,” he said. “It should also remain equidistant to Israel,” he said. “This is how Turkey remained for decades a reliable interlocutor, which communicated with all countries in the Middle East, including Arabs and Israel.”

Yakış concluded by warning that: “Any harm done by an Arab country to another Arab country will be forgotten, but any harm done by Turkey to an Arab country is less likely to be forgotten.”


Turkey’s Syria aggression signals NATO brain death - Macron


Turkey’s Syria aggression signals NATO brain death - Macron


The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been experiencing a “brain death” due to weakening planning and coordination in the alliance, and Turkey’s aggression in Syria has clearly shown this, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview published in the Economist on Thursday.

Macron was one of several European leaders who harshly criticised Ankara for launching military offensive in northern Syria last month against Kurdish militias which formed the backbone of the U.S.-led coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State (ISIS). 

“You have an uncoordinated aggressive action by another NATO ally, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake. There has been no NATO planning, nor any coordination,” the French president said. 

“If the Bashar al-Assad regime decides to retaliate against Turkey, will we commit ourselves under (Article 5)?” Macron asked, referring to the requirement which states an attack on one member of NATO is an attack on all of its members.

Both U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops in northern Syria and the Turkish offensive meant sacrificing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which spearheaded the ground offensives against ISIS, Macron said. 

He said pushing Turkey out was not in NATO’s interest, adding that perhaps the alliance should consider redefining itself.

“I think that, in the current context, it’s more in our interest to try to keep Turkey within the framework, and in a responsible mindset, but that also means that given the way NATO operates today, NATO’s ultimate guarantee must be clear with regards to Turkey,” Macron said. 

“What we have seen, why I spoke about ‘brain death’, is that NATO as a system doesn’t regulate its members. So as soon as you have a member who feels they have a right to head off on their own, granted by the United States of America, they do it. And that’s what happened,” he said referring to Turkey’s nine-day military offensive last month.


Budapest on lockdown for Erdoğan visit – news report


Budapest on lockdown for Erdoğan visit – news report


Roads have been closed in busy areas of Hungary’s capital city for the visit on Thursday of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Budapest Business Journal reported.

An image shared on Twitter by Budapest-based Agence France-Presse journalist Peter Murphy showed the city’s main avenue completely closed, with “nobody allowed even on the sidewalk”.

Erdoğan is scheduled to attend a high-level strategic council with Hungarian officials on Thursday.

Locals have organised protests against the Turkish president in support of Syrian Kurds after Turkish forces and their Syrian Islamist allies attacked Kurdish forces northern Syria last month, BBJ said.

On Thursday, investigative reporter Anita Komuves shared an image of workers cleaning anti-Erdoğan graffiti from a city wall.

But officials from the Hungarian government, which follows a strict anti-immigration line, say they favour policies that reverse the flow of Syrian refugees.

“With relation to Turkey’s operations in Syria, the Hungarian government need only take one thing into consideration: the interests of the Hungarian people,” BBJ quoted Hungarian Foreign and Trade Minister Péter Szijjártó as saying. “Hungarian national interests dictate that we must avoid hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of illegal immigrants from appearing at Hungary’s southern border.”

Erdoğan has vowed to resettle 1 million or more Syrians in an area Turkey seized control of during the military operation.


Turkey captured one of Baghdadi’s wives in 2018


Turkey captured one of Baghdadi’s wives in 2018


Turkey captured one of the wives of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the slain leader of the Islamic State (ISIS), in June 2018 in the southeastern Turkish province of Hatay along with ten other members of the jihadi group, Agence France-Presse reported citing an unnamed senior Turkish official. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Wednesday that Turkey had captured one of Baghdadi’s wives but did not reveal the identity of the woman and did not mention when or where she had been captured. 

One of the four women caught in 2018 was Baghdadi’s first wife, Asma Fawzi Muhammad Al-Qubaysi, who identified herself as Rania Mahmoud, AFP quoted the Turkish official as saying.  

"We discovered (the wife's) real identity pretty quickly. At that point, she volunteered a lot of information about Baghdadi and the inner workings of [ISIS]," the official said. "We were able to confirm a lot of things that we already knew. We also obtained new information that led to a series of arrests elsewhere."

The official said that DNA tests had revealed that one of the children caught with the group was Baghdadi’s daughter.

According to a 2015 report of al Monitor, Baghdadi’s first spouse Qubaysi was also his first cousin and the couple had five children.

Fahrettin Altun, the communications director of the Turkish president, announced on Tuesday that Turkey had also captured Baghdadi's sister, her husband and daughter-in-law in northwestern Syrian town of Manbij. 

Baghdadi declared himself caliph of all Muslims and ISIS ruled over large areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014 to 2017.

The United States announced on Oct. 27 that the jihadi leader had been killed during a U.S. raid near the northwestern Syrian town of Idlib, a mere 5 km away from the Turkish border.


Reports that Turkey misused U.S. weapons in Syria operation are credible – Pentagon


Reports that Turkey misused U.S. weapons in Syria operation are credible – Pentagon


The United States is investigating what it considers credible reports that weapons it sold Turkey have been misused in the country’s military operation in northern Syria, Pentagon officials told CNN.

The reports say Turkey has breached its agreements for the end-use of the weapons and may have transferred them to Syrian rebel allies suspected of committing war crimes during the operation.

Ankara launched Operation Peace Spring against Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria that it views as terrorists due to their links to insurgents in Turkey. The offensive was launched on Oct. 9 after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew troops that had been deployed alongside the Syrian Kurds, who had fought the Islamic State with U.S. backing for years.

Turkish forces advanced quickly into northern Syria with the aid of Syrian rebel groups it has backed throughout the eight-year conflict. Video footage believed to have been shot by the rebel groups is viewed by many as evidence that they have committed war crimes during the operation, including the ambush and murder of Hevrin Khalaf, a Syrian Kurdish politician.

If Turkey transferred military equipment and weaponry bought from the United States to those groups, this would breach standard user agreements on the use of that equipment, CNN said.

"Consistent with our end-use monitoring agreements, the United States always investigates credible allegations," Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Gleason told CNN on Wednesday.

As well as being prohibited from transferring weaponry to third parties by the agreements, Turkey could be held responsible if its Syrian rebel proxies, rebranded as Syrian National Army (SNA), are found to have committed war crimes.

"By all of the rules of -- as we understand international affairs, if you have a force that you support, supply, provide air support for and, essentially, effectively command and control, and that is the situation of the government of Turkey over these Turkish-supported organisations, then you bear at least part of the responsibility,” CNN quoted a senior State Department official as saying.


Pittige to-dolijst VN-Mensenrechtencomité voor #België: #eenkindsluitjenietop #etnischprofileren aanpakken meer actie tegen #geweld op vrouwen #kinderen terughalen uit #Syrië verder werk maken van #mensenrechteninstituut … #CCPR127


Pittige to-dolijst VN-Mensenrechtencomité voor : 👉 👉 aanpakken 👉 meer actie tegen op vrouwen 👉 terughalen uit 👉 verder werk maken van …


US ‘pullout’ from Syria looking more like permanent occupation with 800 troops reportedly tasked to ‘protect’ oil


RT The long-awaited US pullout from Syria appears to have been postponed, with Pentagon sources claiming some 800 troops will stay behind to “guard” Syria’s oil, in a mission even pro-war US politicians are calling “reckless.” US troops will occupy … Continue reading

The post US ‘pullout’ from Syria looking more like permanent occupation with 800 troops reportedly tasked to ‘protect’ oil appeared first on From the Trenches World Report.


US Constructing Two New Bases In Syria’s Oil-Rich Region: Report


Zero Hedge – by Tyler Durden Turkey’s state-run media is reporting the United States is planning two new military bases in Syria’s oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province, which are currently under construction, after US special forces convoys were seen patrolling the area in the past days. … Continue reading

The post US Constructing Two New Bases In Syria’s Oil-Rich Region: Report appeared first on From the Trenches World Report.


theBABAorchestra - Marigold (Thirsty Owl / Slow and Steady Records, 2019) ****½


By Bill Kautz

[Lauren] Elizabeth Baba returns with a new imagining of what theBABAorchestra can create, and how she as an orchestrator and conductor can push the group even further tonally, rhythmically, and communally.

Marigold is the latest release from composer, conductor and bandleader [Lauren] Elizabeth Baba performed by theBABAorchestra, a 17-piece experimental big band based out of Los Angeles. Marigold follows 2017’s release Another Ride on the Elephant Slide with an even stronger sense of group unity, vision and identity.

This is a 4 part continuous, unedited performance finding its origins from the immigration story of Baba’s family from Greece and Syria. Their tenacity is brought into the now by exploring one’s journey of self-discovery, inequality, immigration, and the reality that juggling all of this can lead to a breakdown. While highlighting that realness, Baba makes sure we understand that the largest theme which rises above is the indomitable pursuance of creativity. And there is nothing that is going to get in the way of the power of this sound on this record.

The album starts off with space and time in the forefront. A repetitive pitch is played by the piano and gradually spreads itself throughout the entire orchestra into the opening theme of the first movement. From there, listeners will go into a gradual escalation into powerful territory full of heavy groove, free playing and tight lines. Throughout the work, Baba holds on to themes and distributes them throughout the ensemble in multiple layers and adaptations. With this fiery melange, freedom with the ensemble and as individual players remains. Each of the 3 takes (you are hearing take 3 here) all venture into different areas with movements changing based off of how the group is making sense of them at that moment. Because of this, the group has to move together in order to survive. Much credit is due to Baba’s leadership here, but also the trust and understanding of everyone in the ensemble to immerse themselves into the music and to create something together that is bigger than themselves.
Marigold shows that [Lauren] Elizabeth Baba understands the inherent power and harmonic potential of the big band format. She honors the history of this medium while also pushing what it can do, reinforcing its relevance as a vehicle of the avant-garde and creative music.

This is music of a higher purpose. Of 18 artists’ unhinged passion and energy. Art that captures this dynamic and soul is worth experiencing, celebrating and leveraging.


Israel, US Request Russia To Return David’s Sling Anti-Missile System Seized In Syria


David’s Sling anti-missile system – an advanced Israeli interceptor missile that was launched last year in response to Syrian rocket fire is in the possession of Russia and the Syrian defence Forces according to a Chinese news site. David’s Sling anti-missile system was declared operational in April 2017, was developed in a joint project by the […]

The post Israel, US Request Russia To Return David’s Sling Anti-Missile System Seized In Syria appeared first on EurAsian Times: Latest Asian, Middle-East, EurAsian, Indian News.


Stolen Underwear and a Vengeful Spy Led to Baghdadi's Undoing

Syrian Kurdish officials stressed their spy and their work with the CIA played a key role in the U.S. raid operation.

Hungary, Russia Both Committed to Protecting Christian Culture – Official

Countries agree to jointly rebuild a monastery in Syria

Turkey’s mercenaries use German tanks in northern Syria

German politician Jelpke said that a genuine arms embargo would be a first step to stop Turkey's war of aggression against northern Syria.

Turkey and mercenaries attack the strategic M4 highway

Occupation forces have increased their attacks against northern Syria.

Assyrian fighters: We are attacked by the ISIS

Fighters from the Assyrian Khabour Forces state that the troops deployed by Turkey to attack their villages in northern Syria are ISIS mercenaries.

11/07 Links Pt1: Ron Prosor: For UNRWA, the party is over; Shin Bet: We thwarted over 450 terror attacks in the past year; Apartheid on Temple Mount: Police Block Jews from Using Drinking Fountains

From Ian:

Ron Prosor: For UNRWA, the party is over
When I heard that United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Commissioner Pierre Krahenbuhl resigned, I was shocked. After all, the UN does not have the best track record when it comes to investigating corruption allegations against its own agencies, let alone when it comes to the UNRWA, which until recently had airtight immunity from criticism.

For 70 years, UNRWA has been something of a separate entity in the UN, one dedicated solely to the issue of Palestinian "refugees," alongside the agency that handles all other refugees – the UNHCR. But unlike the former UNRWA never even tried to solve the refugee problem and seemed dedicated to perpetuating it.

Case in point: When UNRWA was founded in 1949, there were around 700,000 Palestinian refugees in the world. Today, their number stands at 5.7 million.

But UNRWA's data must always be taken with a grain of salt, as they tend to artificially inflate. A census that took place in Lebanon in 2017 found that 300,000 people included in the agency's data simply do not exist and that the true number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon was 66% smaller than stated on its reports.

At the same time, the budgets appropriated to UNRWA put the UN's actual refugee agency to shame.

Not only is UNRWA's budget per-refugee four times greater than that of any other refugee, it employs 30,000 people. The UNRCR, which deals with 70 million refugees, employs only 10,000 people.

But it seems that UNRWA's party is coming to an end.
Head of Shin Bet: We thwarted over 450 terror attacks in the past year
Head of Shin Bet Nadav Argaman claimed on Thursday that the Shin Bet thwarted over 450 terror attacks in the past year. Argaman spoke at the Unmanned Systems Conference, UVID 2019, initiated by Israel Defense.

"We are an agency with excellent people, the best technology and synergy within the agency and with Israeli security authorities, which allows us to have an edge on very challenging enemies," Argaman said. "All that allowed us to thwart over 450 terror attacks in the past year and try to provide the citizens of Israel with safe and peaceful daily life without knowing what happens behind the scene."

Meanwhile, the IDF mapped on Thursday the house of Kassem Shabli, one of the terrorists who carried out an attack near the West Bank town of Dolev in August, in which 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was murdered.

The mapping was done in order to prepare for the demolition of the house in Kfar Kobar on Wednesday night.

Kassem a-Karim Ragah Shabli, 25, a member of the PFLP, has been arrested in the past for involvement in terrorist activities. Kassem provided the explosives that were used in the IED as well as assisted in assembling it, and took part in the killing of Shnerb.

Two other terrorists were arrested for involvement in the attack.

PMW: Why is Martyrdom-death “unique in Palestine”?
Death as a "Martyr" for Allah and for "Palestine" - during terror attacks and other violent confrontations with Israel - has been promoted as an ideal by the Palestinian Authority for years, as documented by Palestinian Media Watch.

The elevated status "Martyrs" enjoy in the PA was recently stressed by a host on official PA TV, who bragged that "Martyrdom in Palestine is unique," because a Martyr's funeral is considered "a wedding." A mother of a "Martyr" present in the TV studio expressed her opinion that death as a Martyr is "an honor":
Official PA TV host: "Praise Allah, I want to say that this Martyrdom always is-"

Mother of a "Martyr": "An honor."

Official PA TV host: "Exactly! Martyrdom in Palestine is unique. We are the only ones who celebrate the news of a Martyr's wedding." [Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 27, 2019]

A Martyr's funeral is considered a wedding to the 72 Virgins in Paradise in Islam.

These expressions of support for dying as a "Martyr" come as no surprise. PMW has documented numerous mothers and fathers who have expressed joy when their terrorist children died as "Martyrs." This is what the PA has taught them and what is expected of them. The following are examples of mothers praising their dead children's Martyrdom, collected in one video (additional texts below):

"I hold my head high. The honor is mine. I have a son who is a Martyr." [Official PA TV, Sept. 24, 2002]

"[My son] told me: 'In this entire world, I can't think of anyone to marry... I want to marry the Dark-Eyed (i.e., Virgins of Paradise).' I said: 'If these are his thoughts, I wish him Martyrdom.'" [Official PA TV, Jan. 21, 2003]

"I ask Allah to give him the reward of a Martyr... I greet all the people who came today to accompany my son at his wedding (i.e., to the Virgins of Paradise). My son is a sacrifice for the homeland, for Palestine, for Islam, and a sacrifice for all of Palestine." [Official PA TV, Feb. 17, 2018]

Apartheid on Temple Mount: Police Block Jews from Using Drinking Fountains
Zionist watchdog group Im Tirtzu on Wednesday released a video showing Israeli police officers physically blocking Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount from using the compound’s water fountain.

Im Tirtzu’s Tamir Baram, who was among the Jews prevented from drinking water on the Temple Mount, said: “We’ve gotten to such an absurd situation on the Temple Mount in which something so elementary as drinking water is being prevented from Jews. For those who forgot, the Temple Mount is Judaism’s holiest site – and we deserve to be treated there with respect rather than with discrimination.”

Netanyahu requests U.S. transfer funds to PA, Trump refuses
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested that Washington allow the transfer of $12 million to Palestinian security forces, but President Donald Trump denied the request, Channel 13 reported.

“If it’s so important for Netanyahu, he should pay the Palestinians $12 million,” Senior White House officials told Channel 13, quoting the president.

Netanyahu's administration was supposedly one of the key factors in Trump's decision to cut aid to the Palestinians in the first place, i24 reported. The cuts were made slowly over time, but the US State Department found that the money was still being transferred to Palestinian security forces, according to Israel National News.

Israeli ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, among other Israeli officials, reportedly asked the US to allow the transfer.

"All US security assistance to the PA has ceased," a US official told Axios. "The US security coordinator and his team continue to conduct a security cooperation-only mission. These activities are not funded with foreign assistance resources."

The transfer of funds did not occur, according to Israel National News.
Security Agencies in India on Alert for Possible Terrorist Attacks on Jewish, Israeli Targets
Security agencies in India are on alert for possible terrorist attacks on the country’s Jewish community or visiting Israeli tourists.

News site DNA India reported that both al-Qaeda and ISIS could both be involved in such attacks, as intelligence agencies have traced messages being shared online by the terror groups.

In addition, a jihadist group in the southern state of Kerala may be collecting information on the Jewish community in the district of Kochi. Kochi is home to the Cochin Jews, an ancient community most of whose members have immigrated to Israel.

There may also be plans to kidnap Israeli tourists in the country. India is a popular destination for Israeli travelers, especially for young Israelis who have just finished their military service.

DNA speculated that the terror groups could also be motivated by Israel’s support for the Indian government’s decision to impose direct rule on the disputed Kashmir region.
Netanyahu lauds pro-Israel fmr Canadian PM Stephen Harper
RELATING TO the project that will link Harper’s name in perpetuity with the State of Israel, Netanyahu said that Israel is a hub on many levels, including bird migration from Europe to Africa and back. He saw the center as an important facility for ornithological research, combining beauty and science.

In a reference to the many friendships that Israel has developed over the years with the leaders of different countries, Netanyahu said that, “the best friendship is based on an alliance of values. Stephen has stood up for these values time and again.”

Harper, acknowledging that he is not supposed to be partisan in another country, recalled that he had first come across Netanyahu in the 1980s and had seen him on television when he had “virtually exploded off the screen.” He had predicted at the time that Netanyahu would one day become prime minister of Israel.

Not only did that happen, he said, but Netanyahu had become Israel’s longest serving prime minister and had transformed the country and its image on the world stage.

Harper described Netanyahu as “the most consequential figure in the history of the State of Israel.”
Bipartisan group of US congresswomen visits to show ‘no daylight’ on Israel
A bipartisan delegation of women members of Congress is visiting Israel this week to underline that there is “no daylight” between the Democratic and Republican parties when it comes to ensuring the strength of US-Israel relations, and in supporting Israel as a Jewish, democratic state, the leader of the group said Thursday.

Speaking to The Times of Israel by phone as the delegation toured the country, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat of Florida, said the group had met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, and former chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and found it “heartwarming” to hear how similar they sounded about the imperative to enable Israelis and Palestinians to “live side by side in peace.”

Two other members of the delegation were also on the call — Martha Roby (a Republican of Alabama) and Angie Craig (a Democrat of Minnesota). The delegation also included Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman, Brenda Lawrence, Mikie Sherrill and Susie Lee.

Asked about concerns in Israel that some high-profile members of the Democratic party have been loudly critical of Israel, and that three Democratic presidential candidates — Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg — have talked of leveraging US military aid in order to compel Israel to change its policies on settlements and the Palestinians, Wasserman Schultz replied: “Quite the contrary: The message given to us, particularly by Prime Minister Netanyahu, is that he does not perceive or believe that there is any erosion of support.”
Jewish Democratic congressman visiting W. Bank blasts treatment of Palestinians
A Democratic congressman from Michigan has criticized Israel for its treatment of Palestinians following a tour of the West Bank earlier this week.

Rep. Andy Levin said Wednesday he was enraged by the situation in Susya, where Palestinian villagers are denied water access, while Jewish settlers nearby are granted government-supplied amenities.

“Yesterday, I traveled to the southern West Bank, including the Palestinian village of Susya, which the Israeli government has destroyed twice and currently denies access to water,” he wrote. “Yet we watched the government utility, right before our eyes, lay in pipes right across the village’s land to deliver tap water to an illegal Israeli outpost nearby.” He did not name the outpost.

Israel has several times in the past demolished Palestinian buildings in Susya, saying they were built without permits.

“It was simply incredible. As angry as the situation made me, the resilience of the Palestinian villagers left an even stronger impression,” wrote Levin, a former synagogue president and chair of the steering committee of Detroit Jews for Justice.
French far-left leader accuses Jews of 'violent sectarianism'
The leader of the French far left accused French Jews of inciting to assault him and promoting “violent sectarianism” that he said doesn’t occur among Muslims.

Jean-Luc Melenchon, leader of the France Unbowed movement, inveighed against the CRIF federation of Jewish communities and organizations on Sunday during a televised interview with France Inter.

“Sectarianism’s always been a problem for the republican idea,” Melenchon, who has been accused of anti-Semitic rhetoric in the past, said. “Take CRIF. It practices blatant, violent and aggressive sectarianism, namely against me, right? To the point of encouraging people to hit me during a demonstration like the one for Mirelle Knol.”

Mirelle Knol was a Holocaust survivor who was murdered in her Paris apartment last year, allegedly by a Muslim neighbor. CRIF asked Melenchon and the leader of the rightist National Rally party, Marine Le Pen, not to attend a commemorative march for Knol. Both politicians came to the march, where participants booed them until police escorted them away.

CRIF did not call for violence, which did not occur at the event, and condemned the booing.

Melenchon, who continued to call CRIF “bizarre, folkloristic and ridiculous,” did not name any other group as responsible for sectarianism.
BREAKING: Ex-Twitter Employees Charged For Spying For Saudi Arabia, Reports Say
The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday charges against two former Twitter employees for allegedly spying for Saudi Arabia which analysts believe is the first time that the United States government has accused Saudi Arabia of spying in the United States.

The two former Twitter employees that were charged are Ahmad Abouammo, who reportedly is a U.S. citizen, and Ali Alzabarah, who is a Saudi citizen.

In a statement, the DOJ wrote that the “information could have been used to identify and locate the Twitter users who published these posts.”

Prosecutors alleged that Abouammo “spied on the accounts of three users — including one whose posts discussed the inner workings of the Saudi leadership – on behalf of the government in Riyadh,” The Washington Post reported. Abouammo was also charged for allegedly “falsifying an invoice to obstruct an FBI investigation.

Prosecutors accused Alzabarah of “accessing the personal information of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts in 2015 on behalf of Saudi Arabia,” The Post added. “One of those accounts belonged to a prominent dissident, Omar Abdulaziz, who later became close to Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was killed by Saudi government agents last year.”

A second Saudi national, Ahmed Almutairi, was also charged for allegedly spying as prosecutors say that he acted as a middle man between the Saudi government and the two Twitter employees.
‘They Are Leading by Leaps and Bounds’: South African President Cyril Ramaphosa Lauds Israeli Economic Innovation in Policy Speech
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa lavished praise on Israel’s technology sector during a recent major economic policy address to women business leaders in Johannesburg, describing it as a model for his own country to follow.

When it came to growth and innovation, Israel was “leading by leaps and bounds,” Ramaphosa told the 2019 Presidential Dialogue of the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa on Oct. 29.

“They are innovative in a number of sectors in the economy — in agriculture, in maritime, in many other areas,” Ramaphosa said, in remarks that were also broadcast live on South Africa’s national television network.

“They have shown that they can lead, and we can learn a lot from what they do,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s comments about Israel came in response to an audience question from prominent venture capitalist Polo Leteka — the co-founder of IDF Capital, a South African-owned equity firm that invests in businesses owned by black women.

Leteka told Ramaphosa that Israel’s status as a global technology leader had been secured by the financial support of its government.

“It was the government of Israel who put up a challenge fund back in 1992 — it was essentially a matching fund that put millions of dollars into the private sector,” Leteka said. “That’s how the industry there has developed as it has.”
Iran said to pull out of deaf futsal championships to avoid facing Israeli team
After the Iranian Judo federation was banned by international sports authorities from all competitions over its boycott of Israeli athletes, another Iranian sports team has reportedly pulled out of a competition to avoid facing an Israeli squad.

Israel and Iran were placed in the same group in the upcoming World Deaf Futsal Championships, along with Argentina and Sweden. Israel was due to play against Iran on Saturday.

The Iranians said they wouldn’t show up to the tournament in Switzerland unless they were moved to a different group, Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported Thursday. When that didn’t happen, they withdrew from the competition entirely.

Futsal is similar to soccer, with five players per side on a small court.

The Iranian team had won the Asia Pacific Deaf Futsal Championships in February.

Iran does not recognize Israel as a country and Iranian sports teams have for several decades had a policy of not competing against Israelis. Iranian passports remind holders in bold red that they are “not entitled to travel to occupied Palestine.”

Last month, the International Judo Federation (IJF) banned Iran from competition indefinitely over the country’s refusal to face Israeli competitors.
Jordan bans Israeli farmers from border enclave
The Jordanian government announced that as of Sunday, Israeli farmers will be banned from entering the Naharayim enclave, Jordan Valley Council head Idan Greenbaum said Thursday.

Under the 1994 peace agreement with Jordan, the Naharayim enclave and the Tzofar enclave were leased to Israel for 25 years, allowing the Israeli farmers living in the enclave to continue managing their farms.

About a year ago, the Hashemite Kingdom announced that it wanted to terminate the lease agreement and take over the two enclaves.

Various attempts were made both in public and in private to change the Jordanian decision, but the decision is apparently final.

About a month ago, a Naharayim farmer in the Jordan Valley approached with an urgent letter to King Abdullah II and asked him to stop the process of restoring the enclave to the possession of the Kingdom of Jordan.

Idan Greenbaum wrote to the Jordanian King on behalf of all the farmers of the Naharayim enclave: "I am taking an extraordinary step of writing directly to you, to prevent what is a disaster for us. I sincerely ask you to have the opportunity to present our suggestions to you or to someone you trust, through a meeting with us at the Island of Peace itself.
Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas bans rally to commemorate Yasser Arafat
The Palestinian ruling Fatah faction on Thursday accused Hamas of banning Palestinians in the Gaza Strip from holding a rally to commemorate former Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat on the 15th anniversary of his death.

Fatah had called on its supporters to gather on Thursday afternoon at the Square of Unknown Soldiers in Gaza City to mark the anniversary of the death of Arafat, who died on November 11, 2004. Another event, planned for next Monday, has also been banned by Hamas.

The ban came as Fatah and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations on PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s initiative to hold new Palestinian parliamentary and presidential elections.

Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah, said that the ban shows that Hamas’s announcement welcoming the new elections is nothing but “slogans.”

The ban, Aloul said, is a “frustrating and unreasonable message” from Hamas.

He said that Fatah was optimistic that matters were moving in the right direction after Hamas welcomed Abbas’s initiative to hold long overdue elections. “But Hamas took this unwise and unexpected decision to ban the event commemorating Arafat,” Aloul added.
Gaza Protests Erupt after Police Throw Arrested Man Out the Window of His Home
A rare public anti-Hamas protest took place in Gaza following the death of a 28-year-old man who’d been thrown from the window of his own home by the terror group’s security services.

Three Hamas police officers arrived at the home of Anan Abu Jameh in the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza last Friday. According to the family, the security forces went upstairs to his room, arrested him and then threw him out of the window of his room. He sustained a serious injury to his head and later died from his wounds in the hospital.

"They knocked on the door very hard and as soon as I opened it they said, 'We want Anan,’” said the father. He said he had asked to see a search warrant but was pushed aside by Hamas men who told him they will “do whatever we want.”

The 28-year-old had recently graduated from a local university with a degree in communications and journalism.

The incident led to an uproar among the local residents, who labeled Anan’s death as a "cold-blooded murder." The subsequent protests forced the Hamas police spokesman to make a statement, presenting a different version of events where the 28-year-old was arrested based on a warrant for his arrest.

The police did not specify what the victim was accused of, but claimed Abu Jameh tried to evade the arrest by jumping from his window onto the nearby tree, from where he fell and sustained fatal wounds.

Abu Jameh's family rejected the police’s account of events, calling it a gross lie. The family also added the police didn’t try to investigate the circumstances of their son’s death at any point.

During Abu Jameh’s funeral in Khan Younis a rare anti-Hamas demonstration erupted, with the participants chanting: “Hamas are murderers.”
Middle East: The Anti-Iran Revolution is Well Underway
Iran's attempts to expand its malign influence throughout the Middle East have suffered a severe setback as a result of the unprecedented anti-government protests that have erupted in Lebanon and Iraq in recent weeks.

The most obvious source of discontent in these two key Arab states has been the endemic corruption that has taken hold in both Beirut and Baghdad; in both countries, it has been the prime motivation in persuading tens of thousands of demonstrators to take to the streets.

The desire to end corrupt practices and force the governments in Beirut and Baghdad to undertake a radical overhaul of their respective countries' governments is, though, only part of the story.

The nationwide protests taking place in both Arab states are also driven by a burning desire to end Iran's blatant attempts to turn them into de facto fiefdoms of Tehran.

Iran's attempts to seize control of the political agenda in Lebanon dates back to the early 1980s, when Iran established its Hezbollah militia in the southern part of the country to launch a series of terrorist attacks against Israeli forces operating in the area. Since then, Hezbollah -- with Iran's backing -- has gradually extended its influence in the country to the point where Hezbollah is now widely recognised as Lebanon's most influential political organisation.

Seth J. Frantzman: U.N. slams bleeding Iraqi protesters for closing roads, harming oil supply
The Special Representative for the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq slammed protesters for closing roads and disrupting oil on its way to ports, raising the ire of Iraqis who wonder why the UN cares more about oil and roads than people’s lives. It came days after the UN Secretary-General visited Turkey and appeared open to a plan by Turkey to settle Syrian refugees in an area that 200,000 have been forced to flee from due to fighting, leading to questions about the overall UN blind-spot on suffering in the region.

Jeanine Hennis, a Dutch politician who serves as a diplomat and Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Iraq, tweeted on Wednesday that the protests in Iraq, where more than 200 protesters have been shot by security forces, are disrupting critical infrastructure.

“Also of grave concern. Responsibility of all to protect public facilities. Threats, closure of roads to oil installations, ports causing billions in losses. Detrimental to Iraq’s economy,” she wrote.

It was undermining fulfilling the protesters’ legitimate demands.

“Losses to whom?” wondered the Twitter account Mosul Eye, which is run by survivors of the ISIS occupation of Mosul. “Most young Iraqis have no work. The schools are bare. The hospitals are completely unsupplied. No electricity. No assurance of clean water.”
JCPA: Iran’s Strategy: Negotiate Using the Threat of Reneging on Its Commitments
Spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Behrouz Kamalvandi said Iran would begin transferring nuclear materials to the Fordow site on November 6, 2019, as part of its fourth phase of reneging on its nuclear agreement obligations. He made it clear that the nuclear agreement prohibited Iran from transferring any nuclear material to Fordow, “but Iran is in the process of transferring nuclear material to the site.” He added that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was updated that the transfer of nuclear materials – before being fed into centrifuges – would take place on November 6, 2019. The spokesman said that by the end of the week, Iran would provide reporters with more details on the nuclear issue.

On November 5, 2019, President Hassan Rouhani said that he instructed the AEOI to implement the fourth stage of moving away from Iranian commitments to the nuclear accord. He said that like the previous stages of Iranian violations of the nuclear agreement, these steps are “reversible,” and if the other nations that also signed the deal will fulfill their side of the agreement and restore Iran to their previous position (January 2017), then Iran will return to fulfill their commitments. Rouhani noted that the IAEA would be allowed to monitor their activities.

The Iranian president said that the facility in Fordow currently has 1,044 centrifuges in which uranium gas will be injected, in direct violation of the nuclear accord, where it was agreed that the centrifuges would be operated in a vacuum without being injected with gas. Under the agreement, Iran also pledged to drastically reduce the number of centrifuges at the Fordow enrichment site and banned uranium enrichment by 2031. At the same time, Rouhani made it clear that Iran continues to be committed to behind the scenes negotiations with several countries to resolve the crisis. Rouhani claims that Iran “had hoped to achieve results before taking these current measures, but that didn’t happen; No results were achieved, so we had to take this fourth step.”
IAEA accuses Iran of evading attempts to probe uranium production – report
The top inspector for the UN’s nuclear agency has reportedly accused Iran of evading attempts to gather information on Tehran’s uranium production at a warehouse that was flagged by Israel and where particles were found earlier this year.

Bloomberg, in a report Thursday, cited two officials as saying that Massimo Aparo told diplomats in a closed-door meeting in Vienna on Wednesday that the Islamic Republic was “evading attempts to discover the source of manmade and natural uranium particles detected at a warehouse in Tehran.”

The extraordinary meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s board of governors was convened by Cornel Feruta, the organization’s acting head, to discuss the latest concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, the report said.

In September, Reuters reported that traces of uranium were found at a facility in Tehran that was alleged by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be a “secret atomic warehouse.”

Iran has not provided an explanation for why uranium was found at the site to the IAEA, which is investigating the facility in the Iranian capital, the news agency reported at the time.
Top Iranian Official Targeted by New US Sanctions Is Wanted by Argentina for 1994 Bombing of AMIA Jewish Center
One of the nine top Iranian officials targeted by new US sanctions on Monday is wanted by the Argentine authorities for his alleged involvement in the 1994 terrorist bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in downtown Buenos Aires.

Ali Akbar Velayati was among the list of senior aides to the Tehran regime’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sanctioned by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in order to “block funds from flowing to a shadow network of Khamenei’s military and foreign affairs advisors who have for decades oppressed the Iranian people, exported terrorism, and advanced destabilizing policies around the world,” an OFAC statement said.

Velayati was Iran’s foreign minister at the time of the AMIA atrocity on July 18, 1994, when 85 people died and hundreds more were wounded when a van packed with explosives was driven into the Jewish organization’s main building in the Argentine capital. He was also alleged to have been present at a meeting of Iranian security officials in the city of Mashhad on Aug. 14, 1993, where the decision to bomb the AMIA building is understood to have been taken.

In July 2018, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral requested Velayati’s arrest by Russian authorities while he was on an official visit to Moscow. Velayati met with Russian President Vladimir Putin one day after Corral’s request was issued.

Judge Corral originally issued international arrest warrants in 2006 for Velayati and seven other Iranian and Lebanese operatives wanted in connection with the AMIA bombing. Corral also tried unsuccessfully to secure Velayati’s arrest under the same warrant in 2016, when the Iranian visited Singapore and Malaysia.

Mike Pompeo: Iran positioning itself for rapid nuclear break-out
Iran has positioned itself to rapidly break out into a nuclear power by resuming uranium enrichment at Fordow, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.

“Iran’s expansion of proliferation-sensitive activities raises concerns that Iran is positioning itself to have the option of a rapid nuclear breakout,” Pompeo said.

The biggest obstacle to build a nuclear weapon is stockpiling enough fissile material — highly enriched uranium or plutonium — for the core of a bomb. A central objective of the 2015 deal was to extend the time Iran would need to do that, if it chose to, to a year from about 2 to 3 months.

Tehran’s latest "nuclear escalations" reflect the regime’s intentions all along: to extort the international community into accepting its violence and terror while it undermines the sovereignty of its neighbors. Members of the international community who are rightly concerned with Iran’s latest attacks and provocations should imagine how Iran,” Pompeo said.

He called on the international community to supports sanctions against Iran.
MEMRI: Even As UK, France Acknowledge That Iran Is Violating The JCPOA, The Trump Administration, After Ostensibly Withdrawing From It, Continues To Preserve It – By Means Of Its Waivers For Civilian Nuclear Cooperation With Iran
On November 5, 2019, Iran announced that it was taking its fourth step to cut back on its obligations under the JCPOA nuclear agreement. This step includes reviving uranium enrichment at the Fordo nuclear facility and activating an array of advanced centrifuges that will enable it in future to double and triple its enrichment capability. In effect, Iran is systematically stripping the JCPOA of all meaning, ostensibly with the approval of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

France and Britain have issued a public response to this fourth step by Iran, saying for the first time that it is violating the JCPOA.[1]

Although the U.S., in May 2018, announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA,[2] it is in effect preserving it by continuing to grant significant waivers to the U.S. sanctions. These waivers allow some countries to help Iran develop its nuclear program under the heading of development for civilian needs – allowing Europe, Russia, and China to continue to uphold the agreement (see for example July 2019 statements on this matter by then-U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton on the continuation of the waivers[3]).

This report will set out the significance of this fourth step in Iran's withdrawal from its obligations under the JCPOA, as explained by two top regime officials, and will discuss the ramifications of the third step – the cancellation of the JCPOA's research and development timetable for it – for the development of Iran's nuclear program. These ramifications were previously discussed in a MEMRI report published in October.[4]

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

11/06 Links Pt2: US Jewish umbrella group slams Democratic hopefuls’ calls to leverage Israel aid; Jews lobby non-Jews to browbeat Jews – what do you call that?

From Ian:

Noah Pollak: Leading Democrats Call for Conditioning Military Aid to Israel
The United States could have responded to Arab antagonism by following the European playbook and squeezed Israel for concessions. But American strategists realized the best way to stop the wars wasn't to make Israel feel less secure, but rather to make Israel less defeatable.

The U.S. military aid that started in earnest in the form of an emergency arms resupply during the 1973 war has been perhaps the single-most effective U.S. policy toward the Middle East in the past half-century. With America now in Israel's corner, the Arab states were compelled to abandon the fantasy of wiping the Jewish State off the map. That led to what had previously been unthinkable: Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, and Jordan followed in 1994.

Other benefits to the United States flowed from military aid to Israel: With the Jewish state now fielding advanced U.S. weaponry against Arab states, which were armed with inferior Soviet weapons, regional skirmishes were turned into devastating morale-killers for Moscow. In one air campaign in June 1982, Israeli-piloted F-15s and F-16s shot down 88 Syrian-piloted Soviet MiGs. Israel lost a single F-16. Battles like this clarified for the world which side was likely to prevail in the Cold War.

Today, Gulf Arab states are drawing closer to an increasingly powerful Israel, seeking protection from Iran—another way in which U.S. military aid, which maintains Israel's "qualitative military edge" in the region, is promoting American interests and decreasing the likelihood that the United States will be called upon to directly protect regional allies.

Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg did not acknowledge this history, or these strategic benefits. Since the progressive activists of the Democratic Party view Israel largely through the lens of the Palestinians, it was only a matter of time before they began to demand that all aspects of the U.S.-Israel relationship be subordinated to the politics of that issue.
US Jewish umbrella group slams Democratic hopefuls’ calls to leverage Israel aid
An umbrella group of more than 50 Jewish organizations from across the ideological spectrum condemned calls by Democratic presidential candidates to condition military aid to Israel on its approach to making peace with the Palestinians.

“We are deeply troubled by recent statements that would place conditions, limitations, or restrictions on the US security assistance provided to Israel, so vital for the defense and security of the country, the protection of essential US interests, and stability in the region,” Arthur Stark, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman/CEO, of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said in a statement issued Friday.

“This approach would harm American objectives in the Middle East and would undermine the ability of our key ally to defend itself against the threats it faces on all its borders.”

Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, along with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, recently have indicated a willingness to use American aid to force policy changes by Israel regarding the Palestinian conflict, including halting settlement construction.
U.S.-Israel Security Cooperation Is A Win-Win
Not a single American serviceperson needs to be stationed in Israel. Aside from training missions, there have been American soldiers stationed in Israel since 2009, only working with the American/Israeli co-designed X-band radar system — a deployment that helps the U.S. and Israel monitor threats from the east.

Israel’s missile defense capabilities — developed and produced in conjunction with American industry — not only protect Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah missiles, but protect the United States from emerging threats from North Korea and Iran. Various branches of the U.S. military have purchased a variety of Israeli-developed systems and participated in joint development of anti-tunnel defenses, the Arrow Missile Program, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Plane, THEL Laser Program, the Advanced Urban Combat Training Facility, as well as Iron Dome.

Israel has been a partner in U.S. and multi-lateral military exercises for years; interestingly, Israel and the United Arab Emirates flew together in one. Combined exercises have taken place on NATO territory, in the U.S., in Israel (where the Luftwaffe flew above Israeli territory, making a few people blink), and the Pacific Ocean. Not a single country has opted out due to Israel having opted in.

The two countries are drawn together by common values and common threats. The bipartisan support of our ally Israel has been a testament to those values, as well as to the practical recognition that the threats require cooperation in intelligence, technology, and security policy.

The volatility of the Middle East is unlikely to be constrained. The United States, desirous of removing its soldiers from the region even as it understands the risk attendant to a resurgent Russia and increasingly desperate Iran, is as much in need of capable allies now as it ever was. It would be a shame if rampant J Street politicization of the relationship were allowed to do damage.

MEMRI: Article On Muslim Brotherhood Website: Election Of A Gay U.S. President Will Lead To Pressure On Arab Countries To Permit Homosexuality; The Prophet Muhammad Ordered The Killing Of Homosexuals
In an October 7, 2019 article on the website of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Egyptian journalist and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) member Amer Shamakh wrote about the growing support for the LGBTQ community and same-sex marriage in the West, and in the U.S. in particular. Calling them "perversion" that is contrary to human nature and the monotheistic religions, he warned that if potential Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg became president, this would lead to a campaign of pressure on Arab countries to accept the LGBTQ community as normal, as it is perceived today in the West. Expressing concern that Arab leaders would capitulate to such pressure, he underlined that Islam views homosexuality as "one of the most loathsome deeds," that "Islamic law instructs that those who carry it out be killed by burning, being thrown from a high place, or stoning," and that the Prophet Muhammad himself even ordered that this be done.

Below are excerpts from Shamakh's article:
"After the world has experienced an extremist U.S. president who alarmed the world, especially the Muslims, with his madness and his strange decisions, it may in the future experience another [kind of] U.S. president: a gay one... The official U.S. candidate [sic] for the 2020 presidential election is 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg, a Democrat, who is currently mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He has been married for a year to his partner Justin, and the two have now declared that they want to start a family!

"This pervert wishes to gain the votes of his fellow [LGBTQ] Americans, whose number has increased many times over in [the past] 25 years. Surveys indicate that during this period the number of Americans who support homosexuality increased fivefold, the number of homosexuals in U.S. society rose from 3% in 1990 to 20% in 2014, and the number of those favoring marriage among these perverts rose from 11% in 1990 to 49% in 2014. This means that 20% of Americans are gay, and that 50% of Americans support the gay 20% and recognize them [as legitimate], in spite of their crime that contravenes human nature... and does not exist even among animals.
Tony Blair says Labour antisemitism is “killing the Party” but stops short of saying he won’t vote for Corbyn
Tony Blair has said that Labour’s antisemitism scandal is “absolutely killing the Party”, but stopped short of declaring that he would not vote for the Party in the coming election.

The former Prime Minister made the remarks at a dinner at the Board of Deputies, and said that he anticipates a “complete battle” in Labour between its moderate and radical wings.

Although Mr Blair expressed confidence that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would not win the election, when asked if he himself would vote tactically he replied: “I can’t”.

Mr Blair insisted that “there are really good Labour MPs that are standing in this election. People I know, people I’ve worked with. People who have stood up very strongly on antisemitism in the Labour Party and I want to see them supported.”

Left-wing antisemitism, Mr Blair explained, is “not limited to a few bad apples” but rather is a “phenomenon”, and complained about those who are “obsessed with a hatred of Israel”, noting that he is “having more reasonable conversations about Israel with some of the Arab states than I am back home with parts of the Left.”

Disgraced MP Chris Williamson barred from standing as a candidate in forthcoming general election
It understood that the disgraced MP, Chris Williamson, will not be permitted to stand as a candidate for the Labour Party in the coming general election in Derby North.

Mr Williamson is best known for baiting Jews by dismissing allegations of antisemitism as “proxy wars and bulls***” whilst supporting Labour activists like Marc Wadsworth and Jackie Walker who were expelled from the Party over their comments. He has been suspended by Labour three times (although the second suspension was overturned by the High Court).

He has been on suspension while his case is reviewed yet again by the Party, and it has now emerged that the Labour Party has barred him from standing in the general election as a candidate for the Party. Suspended members are usually unable to stand as candidates.

In an interview yesterday on LBC, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, refused to distance himself from Mr Williamson. When asked by host Iain Dale whether he wants Mr Williamson to be a candidate in the general election, Mr McDonnelll said that Mr Williamson’s case is currently under consideration and therefore he would not wish to say anything that might prejudice the case. To this Mr Dale responded: “the right answer to that question was ‘no’.”
Diane Abbott: Not all Jews think Corbyn is an anti-Semite
Boris Johnson’s election campaign has got off to a dismal start but it seems Labour is determined to catch up. Diane Abbott appeared on the Today programme this morning to discuss her party’s anti-Semitism problem. But Mr S isn’t convinced her defence will convince many voters that things are all OK:

Nick Robinson: Do you accept you haven’t done enough (to resolve the problem of anti-Semitism)?

Diane Abbott: ‘…it’s not every element of the Jewish community that believes Jeremy is an anti-Semite.’

NR: ‘Well every major Jewish newspaper says it, every major Jewish representative body says it.’

DA: ‘Yeah, well, the Hasidic community in Stamford Hill doesn’t say that…’

Hardly a vote-winning pitch to worried Jewish voters…
Gil Troy: Jews lobby non-Jews to browbeat Jews – what do you call that?
Thank you, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Bernie Sanders and J Street’s conventioneers. At J Street’s recent conference, they ended their charade. J Street is not the “pro-Israel, pro-peace” movement it long pretended to be; it’s the anti-occupation lobby, lacking nuance, balance and any ability to criticize Palestinians.

Sanders’ words brought a different clarity: Any Jew who donates to this bash-Israel-firster has no heart; any American who donates to this socialist-for-thee-but-not-for-me has no brain.

I’m responding to Sanders “as a Jew,” because he tried insulating himself from criticism by playing what the British novelist Howard Jacobson calls the “asaJew” card. “It’s going to be very hard for anybody to call me – whose father’s family was wiped out by Hitler, who spent time in Israel – an antisemite,” Sanders said. Don’t call him an antisemite, just a disloyal fool. He thrills antisemites like Ilhan Omar, who endorsed him, while emboldening murderous anti-Zionists leading Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

This American Jewish Corbynite is spearheading J Street’s campaign to browbeat Democratic candidates, demanding they use American aid to Israel as a battering ram, blackmailing Israel into making policy moves most Israelis have learned would harm them, their country and their region.

That follows the policy Ben-Ami championed at the conference: bullying candidates to buy into J Street’s occupation preoccupation of bullying Israel. Reducing the complicated, multidimensional Israel-Palestinian conflict to this simplistic “end the occupation” slogan makes as much sense as Republicans yelling “cut taxes” as an economic and social cure-all. Life is messier.

I know that doubting someone’s loyalty risks discouraging debate, but what else do you call it? Isn’t it disloyal for a Jew to emphasize his Jewishness as he urges non-Jews to blackmail the Jewish state to do things that would embolden Jew-haters and get many Jews killed?

Jewish Orgs Claim ‘Trump Endangers Jews,’ Despite Synagogue Shooters Hating His Jewish Ties
On Wednesday, activists from two left-wing Jewish organizations, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action and IfNotNow, interrupted a speech by President Trump in Pittsburgh to blame him for the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue.

In a video posted by IfNotNow, a group primarily known for its boycott of Birthright trips, activists can be heard screaming, “Trump endangers Jews!” According to IfNotNow’s Facebook post, the activists disrupted Trump’s speech “one year after he incited the deadliest attack on Jews in US history.”

Tree of Life synagogue shooter Robert Bowers actually hated Trump because of his Jewish family and his perceived fondness for Jews. By blaming Trump for the attack on Jews, left-wing Jewish activists are actually—if one uses their logic—blaming the victim.

Social media posts by Bowers reveal that he despised Trump. His social media posts include deeply offensive slurs in reference to Jews, comments about how he has never voted for Trump nor owned “a maga hat,” and posts depicting Trump as being supposedly controlled by Jews:

These social media posts have been referenced by mainstream news outlets, although they have not prevented Jewish activists (and even Linda Sarsour) from blaming Trump for the shooting in their social media commentary. (h/t Comrade FAILexa, Communistan)

Jewish, Pro-Israel Groups Raise Alarm Over Upcoming Anti-Israel Event at University of Massachusetts
Eighty-four Jewish and pro-Israel groups signed an open letter to Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Kumble Subbaswamy raising alarm over an upcoming anti-Israel event that the letter charges will be a purely political and extremist gathering that should not have UMass sponsorship.

The missive addresses an event called “Criminalizing Dissent: The Attack on BDS & American Democracy.” The organizers say it will “address accelerating efforts by US political leaders, pro-Israel lobbying groups, and college and university administrators to silence, smear, and criminalize supporters of BDS, a nonviolent movement that aims to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing human rights abuses and its illegal 50-year occupation of Palestinian land.”

Among the slated speakers are political activist Linda Sarsour, academic Cornel West and BDS movement leader Omar Barghouti, all known for their vehement anti-Israel views.

The letter notes that a previous such petition was sent to Chancellor Subbaswamy regarding a similar event in May called, “Not Backing Down: Israel, Free Speech, & the Battle for Palestinian Rights,” to which the upcoming event bills itself as a “follow up.”

The May event featured Sarsour, along with other prominent anti-Israel figures Roger Waters and Marc Lamont Hill.

The letter said that past statements of these activists “draw on classic antisemitic tropes.”

An Open Letter to UMass Professors Who Support BDS
Below is an open letter to the faculty members who signed a pro-BDS letter to University of Massachusetts Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy:

We do not know whether you signed the letter because you are knowledgeable on the issue, or you are just trusting the colleague who encouraged you to “be one of the good guys” and sign. If you are of the latter, allow us to address you.

This is indeed about freedom of speech, and about both sides speaking. It is just the opposite of what the document you signed claims. It is not the Jews who are trying to shut down criticism of Israel. Only someone who knows nothing about Israel or is a dedicated enemy can say such a thing with a straight face. No country on the planet has so high a level of internal public critical discussion. Everyone criticizes Israel, including Israelis and Jews. What the Jews who support Israel find really offensive is the moral sadism of calling them Nazis or having people from far more prejudiced, if not racist, cultures call this astoundingly tolerant polity “racist.”

It is not the Jews who support Israel who are preventing discussions on what is going on in the Middle East or shutting down criticism of Israel; it is those who support the BDS movement, for whom any exchange with an Israel-supporter is considered unacceptable. It is not pro-Israel Jews who are pushing “cancel culture” with shouting and violence; it is BDS promoters. According to the BDS narrative, Israel is an irredeemable evil — like the Nazis or white supremacists — with whom no compromise can be made. As runs their chant: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Do you really think that Palestinian sovereignty over “every inch of the land” will bring freedom? For anyone? Even Muslims?
Ecstatic Ariel Gold Announces Acceptance into ISIS (satire)
Days after returning from Iran, Code Pink national co-director Ariel Gold announced on Twitter that she has also been accepted into the Islamic State to lead the country’s Jewish outreach program.

“I spoke to ISIS President Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi, and it turns out he has the exact same opinion about Jews and Israel as I do!” Gold tweeted. “And to think that some people call him anti-Semitic.”

Gold promised to “keep an open mind” as she met with ISIS leaders and toured the scattered remains of the once-vast caliphate. She even agreed to participate in the execution of a young Yazidi woman.

“This girl claims that she’s being executed because her burka didn’t cover her ankles, but al-Hashimi told me she’s, like, totally a Zionist,” Gold said.

Along with her excitement at the prospect of meeting ISIS leaders, Gold said that she is hopeful that her trip may lead to new opportunities.

“If ISIS really likes me, maybe I can also be a Bernie Sanders surrogate,” she said.
German journalist to be awarded prize for combating antisemitism
The European Janusz Korczak Academy will present Dr. Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Berlin-based media group Axel Springer SE and president of the Federation of German Newspaper Publishers, with a prestigious award on Thursday to recognize his efforts to combat antisemitism and preserve human dignity.

The Korczak Prize for Humanism is awarded biannually to individuals by the academy, founded by the Jewish Agency, for their outstanding contributions to advancing tolerance, human rights and the fight against racism and hatred.

Döpfner, the head of Germany’s largest publishing house, has been hailed for his vocal opposition to antisemitism in Germany and abroad, and his efforts to boost ties between Germany and the State of Israel.

In May, leading German daily newspaper Bild – the largest brand published by Axel Springer – printed a cut-out kippah on its front page. The move followed comments made by Germany’s government commissioner on antisemitism that Jews should sometimes remove their kippah in order to avoid racist attacks.

The ceremony in Berlin will be attended by Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, who is visiting Germany almost one month after an armed attack at a synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur and ahead of the 81st anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Herzog’s visit also follows the approval earlier this week of a decade-long strategic plan by the Jewish Agency to address rising antisemitism across the globe.
BBC’s UK reporting hindered by its own record on Gaza casualties
That will of course come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the BBC’s own track record on the subject. Over five years after that conflict there is still no evidence of the BBC having ever independently verified the civilian/combatant casualty ratios which it continues to promote.

Instead, as noted here in the past, the BBC quotes figures attributed to “the UN” which are in fact sourced from the controversial report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council more than a month before the conflict ended (originally headed by William Schabas) that was published in June 2015.

A close look at that report’s methodology shows that the Hamas-run “Ministry of Health in Gaza” is one source of the report’s data, together with the UNOCHA “Protection Cluster”. As has been noted here previously, that “Protection Cluster” includes political NGOs, some of which also have a financial relationship with UNOCHA.

And so, with the BBC having spent over five years amplifying casualty figures and debatable civilian/combatant casualty ratios supplied by Hamas and NGOs involved in ‘lawfare’ campaigning against Israel that were funnelled through a UN agency and subsequently promoted in a controversial and biased UNHRC report, it is hardly surprising that the corporation’s journalists are incapable of informing their domestic audiences that according to studies, a significant proportion of the Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge were terrorist operatives.

Also notable is the fact that although this BBC report is based on an article published by the Jewish Chronicle which notes Ms Sultana’s prior connections to the controversial advocacy group MEND (see p21 – 30 here), the BBC apparently did not consider it necessary to communicate that information to its ‘Coventry & Warwickshire’ audiences.
Haaretz Vs. Haaretz Are Reasons for Khalida Jarrar’s 2017 Arrest Classified
In recent articles, Haaretz has alleged that the reasons for the 2017 arrest of Khalida Jarrar, a former Palestinian lawmaker who was arrested again last week, are “still classified” despite the fact that Haaretz itself reported those very reasons at the time of the arrest. Most recently, a Nov. 4 page 2 print edition story by Jack Khoury entitled “Israel arrests PA J’lem Affairs minister for third time,” erred:

In February, Jarrar was released after 20 months of administrative detention without trial. The reasons for her previous arrest are still classified.

The identical error appeared in the Oct. 31 digital article entitled “Israel Arrests Ex-Palestinian Lawmaker, Only Eight Months After Her Release From Prison“.

In fact, the reasons for her previous 20 months of administrative detention, which lasted from July 2017 until February 2019, are not classified, and Haaretz itself has reported them.
Reuters Errs on Administrative Detention For 'Anti-Israel Activity'
A Reuters article today egregiously misrepresents administrative detention, erroneously asserting that it is mainly applied to "Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities," when in fact the Israeli practice applies in cases of suspected security offenses. The Nov 4. article ("Jordan says two citizens held in Israel to return 'before the end of the week'") errs:
Israel mainly uses “administrative detention”, or imprisonment without trial, against Palestinians suspected of anti-Israeli activities.

The identical error also appears in this earlier Oct. 29 article.

Israel does not mainly use administrative detention against Palestinians suspected of "anti-Israeli activities" generally. Rather, the measure may only be applied in cases of suspicion regarding security-related offenses.

Thus, B'Tselem, an NGO highly critical of Israeli government policies and activity in the West Bank, explains:
In the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem), administrative detention is carried out under the Order regarding Security Provisions. The order empowers the military commander of the West Bank, or another commander to whom the power has been delegated, to place individuals in administrative detention for up to six months at a time, if the commander has “reasonable grounds to believe that reasons of regional security or public security require that a certain person be held in detention”.
Latest Antisemitic Attacks in Borough Park Underline Grim Challenges Facing Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn
As the New York City Police Department announced on Tuesday that its hate crimes unit was investigating a series of attacks last Friday night against Orthodox Jews in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, a prominent leader of the community warned that the ongoing threat of antisemitic violence meant that “people in some neighborhoods are scared to leave their houses.”

Speaking to The Algemeiner on Tuesday, Rabbi Yaacov Behrman — the founder of the Brooklyn-based Jewish Future Alliance — said that the spate of attacks over the last two years against Orthodox Jews in the Williamsburg, Crown Heights and Borough Park neighborhoods were overwhelmingly perceived within the community as being spurred by antisemitic malice.

“People’s feelings are important, and the community sees this as antisemitic,” Berhman said. “There are these constant attacks on Jewish individuals in which no money is stolen, and where there seems to be no motivation other than to attack Jews.”

The latest incidents were registered last Friday night, with three separate attacks in Borough Park that involved the same passenger car over a five-block radius. Security cameras captured each incident, in which several men jumped out of the car to chase Jewish men and boys. In one incident, a Jewish man was punched and beaten after the group pinned him against another vehicle with their car.

More than half of the hate crimes reported in New York City this year have been antisemitic in nature, with over 150 incidents targeting Jews — a rise of 63 percent in the previous year, according to figures released by the NYPD in September.
Synagogue President: Gun-Free Zones Are 'Asinine'

German Far-Right Leader Stirs Controversy With Antisemitic ‘Judas’ Tweet Aimed at Popular Musician
A leading parliamentarian with the far-right “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) party faced heavy criticism on Monday after he deployed a notorious antisemitic trope in a social media attack on one of Germany’s top recording artists.

Several politicians are demanding the resignation of AfD representative Stephan Brandner from his role as chair of the Legal Committee of the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, following a tweet last Thursday in which he invoked the Biblical figure of Judas Iscariot — according to Christian tradition, the disciple who betrayed Jesus to the Roman authorities in exchange for financial gain, while remaining a devout Jew. The representation of Judas as emblematic of inherent Jewish deceitfulness became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Brandner’s tweet was aimed at one of Germany’s most popular musicians, Udo Lindenberg, who was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Oct. 2 by the German government. Known for his opposition to the former Soviet satellite regime in East Germany, Lindenberg has more recently voiced concerns about the growing appeal of the far right.

In a Facebook post commenting on the surge in support for the AfD in regional elections last month, Lindenberg wrote, “Do you not see the same old-new slogans on the walls of the houses?” In the same post, he described Björn Höcke — one of the AfD’s most influential regional leaders — as “a real fascist, resurrected from the ruins and facing towards the Nazis.”

In his condemnation of Lindenberg, Brandner asserted that the medal presented to the singer was reminiscent of Judas’s financial gains from his betrayal of Jesus.
Antisemitic hate crimes in Sweden rise by 53% to all-time record high
The number of anti-Semitic hate crimes recorded in Sweden rose to a record high last year, jumping 53 percent over the 2016 figures, government statistics show.

The 2018 report, which the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention published Thursday, listed 280 anti-Semitic hate crimes that year compared to 182 in 2016. The latest numbers are the highest on record since at least 2006, when the Council began collecting aggregated data.

Overall, the number of hate crimes with a racist or xenophobic motive rose by 69 percent over 2016 in Sweden to 4,865 cases last year, the report stated.

The council decided not to publish hate crime figures for 2017 without explaining the decision. In one attack from 2017, the Jewish assembly synagogue in Gothenburg was firebombed by approximately 10 men protesting Israel’s policies.

Anti-Semitic motives represented the largest increase from 2016 in hate crimes and was the largest hike in anti-Semitic crimes on record, the report said.

Anti-Semitic attacks accounted for 4 percent of all hate crimes in 2018. The Jewish population of 20,000 comprises approximately 0.2 percent of Sweden’s population.
Anti-fraud unicorn: Israel's Riskified raises $165m. in funding round
Tel Aviv-based fraud prevention start-up Riskified became the latest Israeli “unicorn” on Tuesday, raising $165 million in funding at a valuation exceeding $1 billion.

A “unicorn” refers to start-ups reaching or exceeding a $1b. market valuation.

Led by global growth equity firm General Atlantic, Riskified says the Series E funding round will enable the company to scale business domestically and internationally, in addition to expanding its range of products.

Other investors included Fidelity Management & Research Company, Winslow Capital Management and previous backers of the company.

Founded by Eido Gal and Assaf Feldman in 2012, Riskified is described as the pioneer of chargeback-guarantee fraud prevention – a solution in which every transaction approved by Riskified carries a full, money-back guarantee for the merchant in case of a fraud-related charge-back.

By precisely distinguishing legitimate purchases from fraud based on machine-learning from 500,000 daily transactions, Riskified protects merchants and ensures that customers do not see their payments incorrectly rejected at the online checkout.
UAE said readying to open doors to Israeli tourists, starting with 2020 Expo
The United Arab Emirates intends to allow Israeli tourists to freely visit the country and is engaged in high-level talks with Israeli authorities to put the policy into practice, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper reported Wednesday.

Israelis will initially be allowed to enter the UAE so that they can attend the Expo 2020 world fair in Dubai, which will include an Israeli pavilion. However, Expo and UAE sources confirmed to the paper that the intention is to leave the door open to Israeli visitors even after the exhibition closes.

Israel has no diplomatic ties with the UAE, though relations between the countries have quietly warmed over shared concerns about Iranian aggression in the region. Senior Israeli ministers have openly visited the country and in 2018, Israel’s national anthem was played at a judo tournament in Abu Dhabi when its team member won a gold medal.

Mohamed Khater, assistant director for tourism development in Ras Al Khaimah, a UAE emirate, confirmed that Israelis will be allowed to visit the Expo.

“I believe, God willing, they will come to visit also after the exhibition,” he said. “Already now hundreds of Israelis trickle into the country and we will be glad to host all of them.”

Israelis can currently visit the UAE if they have a foreign passport or with Israeli travel papers after getting a special entry permit.
US gives large grant to Jerusalem soccer program for Israeli, Palestinian kids
More than a year after the US administration announced drastic funding cuts to programs benefiting Palestinians, the US Embassy in Jerusalem gave a handsome grant for a project bringing Jewish and Arab children living in the capital together to play soccer.

The Hapoel Katamon Neighborhood League, in which kids from both the western and eastern part of the city participate, is “in harmony” with Washington’s vision for peace, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told The Times of Israel.

It will receive a one-time payment of $200,000, according to embassy officials.

“This year, 51 teams from 25 different schools will take part in the project, involving more than 750 boys and girls and 26 coaches from all sectors of society — religious and secular Jews, Muslims and Christians, representing the diversity of Jerusalem,” the US embassy said in a statement.

“The US Embassy views sports and educational activities as vital tools for building bridges between different communities and promoting a just, equal and shared society.”
Israeli tourism rises 10% compared to 2018
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, approximately 447,100 tourist entries were recorded in October 2019, (the month when most of Jewish holidays fell in 2019) 7.9% less than October 2018 and 4.9% more than October 2017.

In the period of January – October 2019, 3.7 million tourist entries were recorded, compared to 3.4 million recorded in the same period last year, an increase of 10%.

In September, there was an increase of 44% in tourist entries on September 2018 (when most of the Jewish holidays fell in 2018). Therefore, in order to take into account, the period of the Jewish holidays, the two-month period should be calculated together.

In September-October 2019, 852,100 tourist entries were recorded, as opposed to 767,200 in the same period last year, an increase of 11%.

Revenue from incoming tourism in October stood at $643 million (about NIS 2.3 billion) and, since the beginning of the year, at $5.371 billion (about NIS 19.3 billion).

According to the Israeli Tourism Ministry, there has been a 10% increase in tourist entries to Israel since the start of the year compared to the same period last year.
George Clooney Set to Narrate New Documentary on the Late Israeli President Shimon Peres
Los Angeles film director Richard Trank has released a new film that chronicles the life and legacy of Israel's former president and prime minister Shimon Peres. Trank's film "Never Stop Dreaming", narrated by George Clooney, tells the life story of Shimon Peres from his childhood in Poland to becoming a key figure in Israel's establishment. The film focuses on his milestone achievements that include helping build up Israel's military and nuclear program, his entry into parliament, and his leadership role in the Labor Party through his election as prime minister in 1984.

Yad Vashem receives Torah scroll saved during Kristallnacht
A family Torah scroll that was saved from destruction in Ansbach, Germany during Kristallnacht was handed over to the Yad Vashem memorial and museum by the granddaughter of its owner.

The Torah scroll belonged to Dr. Ludwig Dietenhofer, "an industrialist who was active in Ansbach community life," according to Yad Vashem. Dietenhofer, who lived alone at the time because his children had all moved out of Germany, "held several public positions in the city, including as a member of the city council and head of the Jewish Community Committee."

Dietenhofer, a Zionist, planned to move to British-held Palestine and help build an independent Jewish state, and ultimately made it there shortly after Kristallnacht, or "Night of Broken Glass," when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.
Ludwig Dietenhofer and his wife / Credit: Yad Vashem Archives

During the fateful night on Nov. 9-10, 1938, Nazis killed at least 91 people, burned down hundreds of synagogues, vandalized and looted 7,500 Jewish businesses and arrested up to 30,000 Jewish men, many of whom were taken away to concentration camps.

Dietenhofer, who realized even before that night that Nazi persecution of the Jews was escalating, made sure that the Torah scroll would be spared and taken to a safe place several days in advance.

"On 27 October 1938, a tear gas bomb was thrown into the synagogue in Ansbach during prayer time, and the congregants were forced to stop praying," Yad Vashem noted on its website. "In November 1938, shortly before Kristallnacht, Ludwig was summoned to an urgent meeting with the Ansbach Chief of Police. The police chief, a friend of Ludwig's, warned him about the approaching riots, the anticipated synagogue conflagrations and physical violence, and urged him to leave the country as soon as possible."

Dietenhofer accepted that advice and took the Torah scroll, which had been donated to the synagogue by his family and used for multiple generations.

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.

11/06 Links Pt1: PA: Dead ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi was a US “pawn” and Israel and ISIS are “twins”; Israel says UNRWA chief’s stepping aside shows ‘deep’ change needed; Arab Spring 2.0

From Ian:

David Singer: Rabin’s Policies Can Help Break Gantz-Netanyahu Deadlock
The prospect of a third election in Israel within twelve months looms large – should Blue and White leader Benny Gantz be unable to form a Government of National Unity within the next two weeks.

To break the current deadlock Gantz needs at least nine members to defect from the voting bloc of 55 seats led by Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Gantz’s cause could be considerably advanced were he to publicly endorse the policies pursued by the late Prime Minister – Yitzchak Rabin – who was assassinated on 4 November 1995.

Rabin made his intentions very clear in his last speech to the Knesset on 5 October 1995 when presenting the 300 page “Israeli - Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip” (Oslo Accords) for approval:

“Members of Knesset,

“We are striving for a permanent solution to the unending bloody conflict between us and the Palestinians and the Arab states." In the framework of the permanent solution, we aspire to reach, first and foremost, the State of Israel as a Jewish state, at least 80% of whose citizens will be, and are, Jews.

"At the same time, we also promise that the non-Jewish citizens of Israel – Muslim, Christian, Druze and others – will enjoy full personal, religious and civil rights, like those of any Israeli citizen. Judaism and racism are diametrically opposed.

"We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

"We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

Rabin – then Defence Minister – had stated on May 27, 1985:

“The Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the Jordan River there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees. One tiny State between Israel and Jordan will solve nothing. It will be a time bomb.”

Supporting Rabin’s policies would stand Gantz in good stead as he seeks to form a Government of National Unity and – failing that – in any upcoming election that would hopefully end Israel’s current precarious political situation.

PMW: Dead ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi was a US “pawn” and Israel and ISIS are “twins” - according to the PA
While most of western society saw the death of ISIS leader and arch-terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi as a positive development in the war on terrorism, the Palestinian Authority chose to outrageously claim that Al-Baghdadi was a US "pawn" and ISIS a US creation - a terror organization only paralleled by Israel.

Muwaffaq Matar, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the official PA daily, presented a venomous PA manifest against the US:
"They [the US] killed their pawn, who they planted in the open borderless territories of Iraq and Syria after they created an organization-state of barbarity, terror, and racism, for which they chose the name 'the Islamic State.'" [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Oct. 29, 2019]

But dealing with ISIS is not enough as it only amounts to "cutting off the tail of the monster," Matar stated, arguing that the monster's head - Israel - is yet to be fought:
"[The elimination of Al-Baghdadi] was tantamount to a strong blow that has cut off the tail of the monster of terror. However, this monster has a head, and in it is a brain that is capable of growing a different tail and wings... The occupation, settlement, terror, racism, crimes against humanity, and rebellion against UN laws and conventions have a state. They named it 'Israel' and established it on the land of Palestine, which is the Palestinian people's historical and natural right."

Comparing Israel to ISIS, Matar stated that in practice ISIS and Israel are identical:
"This [ISIS] is an organization that, in regard to its crimes, there is nothing similar to it in the modern history of the region except for a defective, colonialist, settling, occupying, and racist state for which they chose the name 'the State of Israel.' The heads of large states in the world have said that the elimination of Al-Baghdadi is not the end of ISIS' terror - and this is correct! - but not one of them referred to their responsibility and their state's responsibility to drain the greatest, deepest, and most dangerous swamp of terror for the region and the world: the defective and racist State of Israel. We know... that the Muslim Brotherhood organization... is essentially a twin of the Zionist movement."
MEMRI: Chicago Islamic Scholar Omar Baloch: Israel Arms And Trains ISIS, Uses It To Destabilize The Region, Advance Its Plans For 'Greater Israel,' Alienate Muslims From Concepts Of Jihad, Islamic State
Chicago Islamic Scholar Omar Baloch said in a video he uploaded to his YouTube channel on September 11, 2019 that Islamic State (ISIS) is now fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan because "you will always find ISIS in places that are running a Zionist agenda [for] Greater Israel." He said that Israel created ISIS in order to weaken Muslims by alienating them from ideas like an Islamic state, Jihad, and Muslim unity, without which he said Islam would not be the same. Showing pictures of ISIS fighters, Baloch said that the weaponry, uniforms, and training that ISIS has are evidence that it is trained and armed by Israel, and he predicted that Israel will use ISIS to destabilize Pakistan and Kashmir. He added that Israel is "working on Kashmir" by means of India's actions in the region and that Israel intends to do to the Kashmiris what it did do to the Palestinians.

According to the Facebook page of the Furqaan Institute of Quranic Education (FIQE), Sheikh Omar Baloch was born in Chicago and is the scholar in residence at the Al-Furqaan Foundation, of which FIQE is a division. The Facebook page also says that Baloch studied at Georgetown University, at Al-Azhar University in Egypt, at Jamia Thul Ahlul Hadith in Pakistan. For more about Sheikh Omar Baloch, see MEMRI TV Clip No. 7053 Illinois-Based Sheikh Omar Baloch: Islamic Relief Organizations Should Promote the Caliphate as the Long-Term Solution to Humanitarian Problems.

"You Will Always Find ISIS In Places That Are Running A Zionist Agenda, The Agenda For Greater Israel"

Sheikh Omar Baloch: "All of a sudden, guess what? ISIS is in Afghanistan and ISIS is killing Taliban.
"You will always find ISIS in places that are running a Zionist agenda, the agenda for Greater Israel."

NGO Monitor: Key Takeaways from the Supreme Court’s Omar Shakir (HRW) Decision
Like the lower court, the Supreme Court paints a clear picture of Shakir’s BDS activism, from when he founded a pro-BDS student group in 2006 through his present employment at HRW. During this time, he has been a consistent and ardent supporter of BDS (see NGO Monitor’s extensive material submitted in its filings and which was cited in the courts’ decisions). In the words of Justice Yael Wilner (in a short addendum to the main decision), “The statements [made by Omar Shakir and presented] above are definitely calls to boycott entities that operate in Israel and Judea and Samaria, only because of their connection to Israel or an area under its control — each one (statement) individually, all the more so when taken together. It seems to me that there cannot be a substantive argument about this.”

Pro-BDS activists often use the rhetoric of “human rights” and “international law” to justify their discriminatory campaigns, but such rhetoric does not legitimize the boycotts. The Entry into Israel Law, Amendment 28 (2017) applies specifically to boycott calls that are based on a company’s connections to Israel or an area under its control, not to circumstances when the company in question has undertaken problematic activities.

Even though the judges recognize there can be gray areas, Shakir’s activity unquestionably falls within the criteria of the law. Shakir rejects in total the presence of Israeli entities in the West Bank, and his calls for BDS are in opposition to their identity as Israelis, not because of any specific human rights violation.

Contrary to claims from Shakir’s lawyers and Amnesty International (which joined the case in an amicus capacity), denying Shakir’s work visa will not adversely affect human rights NGOs that want to send representatives to Israel to criticize Israel’s policies. This is because Shakir’s involvement in BDS is so egregious.

The Court firmly rejected a key argument from Shakir’s lawyers. They tried to argue that Shakir’s personal BDS activity ended upon his employment at HRW, at which point all his expressions should be attributed to HRW as an organization. Since HRW is not on the Israeli government’s list of “BDS organizations,” Shakir’s activity as an HRW employee should be granted “immunity” from the Entry into Israel Law. In sharp contradiction, the Court determined that he is responsible for his public statements, especially those on his private Twitter account.
Shakir’s BDS is insufficient to trigger a listing of HRW as a “BDS organization” because HRW is a large international NGO with myriad activities having nothing to do with Israel. This is not a reflection on Shakir’s status as a BDS activist or HRW’s anti-Israel advocacy.
Honest Reporting: No Room For BDS Within Human Rights
Omar Shakir is Human Right's Watch (HRW) representative for Israel and Palestine. HRW is notorious for appointing anti-Israel staff and after a long investigation, Israel's Supreme Court have denied Shakir's visa extension. They have asked him to leave the country due to his clear involvement with Boycott movement against Israel.

Israel's law of denying entry to those that are involved with the hateful BDS movement is controversial, but the one thing that everyone is certain of: there is no room for BDS within human rights.

UK Paper Fails to Challenge the Lies of HRW’s Omar Shakir
The Guardian is adept at amplifying, and failing to critically scrutinize, the unsubstantiated claims and accusations of anti-Israel NGOs, and its recent article about the Israeli Supreme Court decision on Human Right Watch (HRW)’s regional director Omar Shakir — a longtime BDS activist — follows this pattern.

First, as we predicted in a tweet before the article by Oliver Holmes (“Israel can deport Human Rights Watch official, court rules,” Nov. 5) was published, the piece uncritically cites Shakir’s unhinged response to the court’s decision:
Shakir wrote on Twitter that if he was kicked out, Israel would join the ranks of Iran, North Korea, and Egypt in blocking access to Human Rights Watch staff. “We won’t stop. And we won’t be the last,” he said.

The truth is that democracies all over the world reserve the right to deny entry to those seen as intent on harming the state. Moreover, there are in excess of 350 NGOs (such as HRW) operating freely in Israel, even those who continually delegitimize the country, support BDS, and even reject Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

The denial of a work visa to one employee of one of these NGOs — after careful consideration by the country’s internationally respected Supreme Court — wouldn’t even minimally change the democratic nature of Israel. The human rights organization Freedom House continually ranks Israel as the only truly free and democratic country in the region, and the suggestion that this status will change due merely to the Supreme Court’s decision on Shakir’s work visa is risible.

In a subsequent paragraph in the article, Holmes makes the following claim about the broader effort by Israel to fight BDS — a movement, let’s remember, whose leaders oppose the continued existence of a Jewish state:
BBC News report uncritically amplifies political NGO’s talking points
On the afternoon of November 5th the BBC News website published a report on its ‘Middle East’ page which was presented to audiences with a ‘halo effect’ reference to a “rights activist”.

The report itself (tagged, inter alia, ‘human rights’) is headlined “Israel court rejects Human Rights Watch activist’s deportation appeal” and the caption under the photograph at the top of the article reads:
“Omar Shakir said he had not called for a boycott of Israel during his time at Human Rights Watch”

Obviously the BBC did not fact-check that claim from the person it had already flagged up as a “rights activist” (i.e. good) before amplifying it.

Had it done so, it would know that analysis of Tweets sent from Shakir’s personal Twitter account between June 2018 and February 2019 by NGO Monitor shows that 16% of those Tweets focused on BDS campaigns against and TripAdvisor and additional Tweets supported a UN “blacklist” of businesses operating in Judea & Samaria.

45% of the BBC article’s word count is devoted to uncritical amplification of talking points from Omar Shakir (including a link to a Tweet) and his employer ‘Human Rights Watch’, including the following claim:
Updated Reuters Falsely Reports That Israel Has Criminalized BDS
In an article yesterday about the ruling by Israel's High Court to uphold the government's decision not to renew the visa of Human Rights Watch's Omar Shakir on account of his ongoing anti-Israel BDS (boycott, divest, sanctions) activity, Reuters incorrectly reports that Israel has "criminalized" BDS.
In "Israel's top court upholds deportation of Human Rights Watch official," Jeffrey Heller erroneously reports:
Israel says [Shakir] supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement which it has criminalized.

It has lobbied Western powers to follow suit, and Shakir’s case was a test for its anti-boycott legislation.

Israel's anti-BDS legislation treats calls for BDS as a civil, not criminal offense. Specifically, the 2011 "Law for Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel Through Boycott," as amended by the Supreme Court, allows businesses that have suffered economic harm as a result of such boycotts to sue for civil damages. There is no criminal component.

UPDATE, 8 am EST, Nov. 6: Reuters Corrects
In response to communication from CAMERA, Reuters commendably corrected the article to make clear that promotion of BDS in Israel is a civil matter, not criminal.
INSS: Russia in the Middle East: A Higher Gear or Media Buzz?
Recent weeks have featured Russia's expanded diplomatic activity in the Middle East following its longstanding involvement in the Syrian civil war. With the reduced U.S. military presence in northern Syria, the image of Russia as the leading power in the region was strengthened.

To what extent does this image of Russia reflect reality? Russia's intensive diplomatic activity in the region reflects Moscow's desire to fill the breach left by the U.S, but it does not represent a change in the balance of power between the global powers in the region. The U.S., should it choose to do so, still has the ability to challenge Moscow and upset Russia's achievements in almost every part of the region.

Russian analyst Fyodor Lukyanov, echoing the official position, stressed that Russia does not view the situation in Syria as a zero sum game with the U.S.

The political process to resolve the conflict in Syria, which was resumed on Oct. 30 in Geneva, is not under Moscow's control. The Russian attempt (2017-2019) to promote a resolution in cooperation with Turkey and Iran through the Astana Process did not succeed, and Moscow is now forced to return to the Geneva track, which is under UN control, and over which the West has veto power.

The U.S. still holds very strong cards in Syria - territorial (most of the Kurdish zone and the al-Tanf region); political (veto rights over the Geneva process); military deterrence; and economic (sanctions and preventing aid for rebuilding Syria). Beyond Syria, Russia at this stage has limited influence on regional states. U.S. allies in the Middle East are not rushing to the Russian side.
Russia captures advanced Israeli missile interceptor in Syria - report
An advanced Israeli surface-to-air missile that was fired from the David's Sling (formerly known as the Magic Wand) missile system was given to Russia by Syria, when it was found intact after the rocket did not explode on contact, according to Russian media sources.

The rocket was reportedly fired on July 23, 2018, and Syrian forces that were dispatched to the scene found the missile intact after it sustained minor damage from impact. The missile was then taken to a Syrian-Russian base where it was transferred to Moscow for further research.

David’s Sling was developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and American defense contractor Raytheon. The system is designed to intercept enemy planes, drones, medium- to long-range rockets and cruise missiles and the newest generation of tactical ballistic missiles at low altitude.

The system forms the middle layer of air defense systems between the Iron Dome and the Arrow 2 and Arrow 3 missile defense systems.

Russian media reports quoted Chinese news agency Sina saying that the missile was taken by Russia for “reverse engineering.”
Israeli Deputy FM: We have sent humanitarian aid to Kurds
Israel will help the Kurds in any way it can, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in the Knesset on Wednesday.

The deputy foreign minister added that she cannot go into detail about how Israel aids the Kurds, because doing so can hurt their cause.

“Israel has received many requests for aid in diplomatic and humanitarian matters. We are aiding them in various channels,” Hotovely said, in response to a motion to the Knesset’s agenda on the situation of the Kurds in Syria.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry has helped non-governmental organizations send humanitarian aid to the Kurds.

Hotovely recounted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “condemned the Turkish invasion of northern Syria and warned against ethnic cleansing of the Kurds,” and that Israel conveyed “our truth about the Kurds in a continuing dialogue with the US.”

Israel’s support for the Kurds is based on “historic ties… [and] shared and varied interests,” she added. “There are many Kurdish Jews in Israel who maintained ties with their place of origin. Kurds are a moderate and pro-Western factor in the Middle East.”
Israel says UNRWA chief’s stepping aside shows ‘deep’ change needed
Israel called on the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees to release in full its findings of alleged mismanagement at the organization, following an announcement that its leader was taking an indefinite leave of absence.

The agency, known as UNRWA, said Wednesday the findings of a probe into alleged abuses of power among top management “relate specifically to the commissioner general” Pierre Krahenbuhl.

The Foreign Ministry said reports on alleged mismanagement at UNRWA lend credence to its criticism of the agency and called for a full release of the probe’s findings.

“The reports reinforce Israel’s claims that a deep and fundamental change is needed in the agency’s operating model,” it said in a statement.

The ministry charged that under Krahenbuhl, UNWRA has become more politicized, “the deficit has ballooned” and the agency’s model was increasingly unsustainable.

“The suspension of Krahenbuhl is a first step in a long process needed to eliminate corruption, increase transparency and prevent politicization in the agency,” it said.

It also called on donor states to consider a new operating model for UNRWA and said recent events showed the agency’s mandate should not be automatically renewed three years from now.

Two Jordanians Detained by Israel Return Home After Handover Deal
Two Jordanians, whose detention without charge by Israel led Jordan to recall its ambassador, returned home on Wednesday in a handover deal that defused a diplomatic crisis, officials said.

Hiba Labadi, 24, was arrested in August after crossing into the West Bank to attend a family wedding. She subsequently went on a hunger strike and was hospitalized after her health deteriorated.

Separately, Abdul Rahman Miri, 29, was arrested in September after he also entered the West Bank to visit relatives.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Monday the two would return to Jordan “before the end of the week” without saying how their release had been secured.

Safadi however said King Abdullah had ordered the government to do everything necessary to bring them back “whatever that may cost.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the handover was agreed after talks between Israeli and Jordanian security chiefs. It said Jordan’s ambassador would return to his post “in the coming days.”
The Coming Collapse of Lebanon Is a Crisis for Israel
It is imperative that the United States and Israel’s other allies ensure that Lebanon does not become another Afghanistan — a terror group masquerading as a state. This is a real danger now, and Israel is gravely imperiled by it. America — and all well-meaning peoples — must continue to isolate Hezbollah and its slave government in Lebanon until sanity and civilization return to “the Paris of the Middle East.”

The government and infrastructure of Lebanon are dominated by the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah, which has already dispatched gangs of thugs to drive masses of demonstrators from the streets of major cities like Beirut and Tyre. The government of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri has resigned due to enormous street protests over his utter mismanagement and corruption.

Israel should be worried, because Hezbollah, with its economic and political power threatened, could lash out at its neighbor to the south as a unifying distraction for its outraged citizenry. A repeat of Hezbollah’s terror-missile war of 2006 would be a far more lethal version of that earlier conflict, which aimed to eradicate the “Zionist entity” on Lebanon’s southern frontier.

Since Hezbollah is a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran and Iran’s terrorist Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran can be expected to play a key role in Lebanese affairs at this critical juncture. And where Iran gets involved, Israel becomes the ultimate target.
Israeli and Palestinian firefighters practice saving lives together
Israeli and Palestinian firefighters took part in a joint fire-fighting exercise in Rishon Lezion on Tuesday, according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The exercise, held at the Rishon Lezion Firefighting and Rescue School and led by the head of the facility, trained the visiting Palestinian firefighters to handle a number of various real-life situations using a simulator. The Israeli firefighters were trained to speak Arabic throughout these life-threatening situations.

Within the scenarios practiced, the joint exercise included real-life situations such as dealing with fires inside buildings and vehicles, as well as efficient ways to rescue casualties or those in need from blocked or closed off areas.

In part of the blossoming professional relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli commissions, the commander of the Palestinian Civil Defense met with the commissioner of the Israeli Fire and Rescue Authority in the commissioner’s office to discuss firefighting innovations, future collaborations and the importance of the joint work between the two governments.

“The close cooperation between Israeli firefighters and Palestinian firefighters is of great importance in the field,” civilian officer Lt.-Col. Samir said. “Thanks to the combination of forces, we have the ability to work together to improve the skills and the proficiency of both Israeli and Palestinian firefighters alike. This collaboration has yielded fruit in the past and continues to bring positive results every time. Therefore, we will continue to work in order to strengthen and improve it, with a clear purpose – to save human lives together.”
Fatah Official Says PA Chief Abbas, Soon to Turn 85, Won’t Run for Re-Election
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will not run for re-election, senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub told Palestine TV on Monday.

Rajoub’s announcement contradicted Hussein al-Sheikh, who recently said that Abbas is Fatah’s only candidate in the next presidential election.

“President Abbas is the only candidate of Fatah and honorable Palestinians,” stated Sheikh.

“Let us make him the sheikh of the tribe and the spiritual father of the democratic process,” said Rajoub. “In two months, President Abbas will celebrate his 85th birthday.”

In a speech in September at the annual UN General Assembly, Abbas said he will call for “general elections” in the West Bank, Gaza and eastern Jerusalem.

Abbas is currently in the 14th year of a four-year term.

A date for the Palestinian elections has yet to be determined.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad reject Abbas’s terms for Palestinian elections
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have rejected Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s terms for holding elections for the PA's parliament and president, Ynet reported on Wednesday.

The chairman of the Palestinian Central Elections Commission (CEC), Hanna Nasir, arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday for talks with leaders of Hamas and other Palestinian factions on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s plans to hold parliamentary elections in the coastal enclave, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to Ynet, Hamas and PIJ, which are not members of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, rejected the clause stating that the elections must be held in accordance with the Election Basic Law, which requires recognizing the agreements signed by the PLO to be able to run.

The organizations require a meeting between the factions to define the terms for new elections; only after a consensus is reached, a presidential order for elections would be issued.

A Palestinian parliamentary election was last held in 2006. The following year, Hamas carried out a violent takeover in the Gaza Strip and has been in power in the coastal enclave ever since.
Abbas bans child marriage, with some legal exemptions
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a decision barring Palestinian teenagers from marrying before they turn 18 years old, unless they receive an exemption from a religious court and a top legal official.

The official PA news site Wafa reported earlier this week that Abbas made the decision, but did not say when.

In the West Bank, Palestinian law previously mandated that a female must be 15 years old and a male 16 years old to be eligible to marry, according to Suna Nassar, the PA Women’s Affairs Ministry’s legal adviser. Comparatively, in the Gaza Strip, it had held that a female must be 17 years old and a male 18, she said in a phone call.

The PA controls the West Bank, whereas Hamas rules Gaza. Hamas has not said publicly whether it will enforce Abbas’s decision.

A 2018 PA Central Bureau of Statistics report found that 10.8 percent of women in 2017 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip aged 20-24 had married before turning 18.

In contrast, the report determined that in 1997, 30.3% of women in the West Bank and Gaza who were then between 20 and 24 married before reaching 18.

Hamas Relying on Qatari Funds in Gaza Strip
Qatar warned Hamas, the Palestinian militant group running the Gaza Strip, that it could cease providing funds and aid to the area in 2020. This warning, as Middle East Monitor reports citing Hezbollah-linked Al Akhbar newspaper, came from Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Emadi. El-Emadi reportedly told Hamas and other Gaza factions that Doha had complications with renewing the funding.

Arab Spring 2.0
Moreover, what makes the demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq unique and gives them historical dimension is that they cross the sectarian, religious and party lines, and demand a change in the structure of government, which currently perpetuates these divisions and prevents unity.

This is unheard of for Lebanon, where political power is divided according to the prominence of the various sectors in society, or for Iraq, where the majority of the population is Shiite. In both countries, protesters have made it clear that they would not settle for the mere resignation of the prime minister (Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri has already resigned), nor with reforms that would preserve the current and corrupt system of power.

Although economic hardship and the desire to eradicate corruption are the main issues driving the demonstrations in Lebanon and Iraq, Tehran is up in arms over them. Both countries are of paramount importance in the process of "exporting" the Iranian revolution, both play a key role in repelling external attacks on Iran, and both are used as the base of operations from which Iran can use proxies to attack potential enemies.

In Lebanon, this task falls to Hezbollah and in Iraq, it is the work of pro-Iranian militias. Therefore, any threat to the internal stability in Iraq and Lebanon could undermine Iran's security and military strategy.

Tehran is also concerned that the Iranian people may catch the protest "bug," as they did in 2009 and in 2017.

The prospect of the second round of the Arab Spring in Lebanon and Iraq being more successful than its predecessor is unclear. Replacing the political system in Arab countries is no simple matter, and rulers do not give up their seats easily. But the Iranians already feel threatened by this – just as much as they feel threatened by the devastating economic sanctions the US has imposed on them.

It may very well be that Tehran's decision to renew uranium enrichment sought to distract from the internal problems of the protests in Iraq and Lebanon are creating for it. The ayatollahs much prefer the Iranian people focus on the "real" enemy that on their own plights.
FIFA: Iraq 'unsafe' to host World Cup qualifying matches
FIFA says Iraq is not safe enough to host World Cup qualifying games against Iran and Bahrain.

FIFA says it asked the Iraq soccer federation "to nominate a neutral venue" for the matches on Nov. 14 and 19.

The games were to be played in Basra, the southern city which hosted Iraq's return last month to playing competitive games at home.

Iraq has rarely staged home games since the 1980s because of security concerns.

Turmoil in Iraq in recent weeks has been fueled by economic problems and dissatisfaction with Iran's political influence on its neighbor.
Iran shaves weeks off breakout time, but isn’t tearing up nuclear pact yet
The ongoing game of brinkmanship between Tehran and Washington has entered a new, potentially dangerous level, with Iran restarting uranium enrichment at its Fordo nuclear facility and also announcing it was raising the level of this enrichment, up to five percent.

These two decisions represent a distinctly shocking and provocative move by the Islamic Republic, but they also remain easily reversible, experts say, as Iran attempts to bully its way toward financial relief while keeping just shy of prompting European countries to call for a so-called snapback of broader international sanctions.

The transformation of the Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant, which is buried deep under a mountain in Iran’s Qom district, from a uranium enrichment facility to one used for other, non-nuclear purposes was a key provision of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The heavily fortified Fordo was originally built and operated in secret by Iran, until it was exposed by Western intelligence services, including Israel’s, and ultimately acknowledged by Tehran in 2009 to great international criticism. The facility is widely regarded as having been built for the explicit purpose of producing highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons far enough underground that it couldn’t be destroyed in a military strike.
US accuses Iran of ‘nuclear extortion’ as Tehran expands enrichment at key plant
The United States accused Iran on Tuesday of “nuclear extortion” and vowed no let-up in pressure after the clerical regime said it would resume uranium enrichment at the key Fordo plant.

“Iran has no credible reason to expand its uranium enrichment program, at the Fordo facility or elsewhere, other than a clear attempt at nuclear extortion that will only deepen its political and economic isolation,” a State Department spokesperson said.

“We will continue to impose maximum pressure on the regime until it abandons its destabilizing behavior, including proliferation-sensitive work.”

The comments came hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to “never let Iran develop nuclear weapons.”

”Iran expands its aggression everywhere. It seeks to envelop Israel. It seeks to threaten Israel. It seeks to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said at an event in Jerusalem.

Iran has regularly threatened to destroy Israel, and has developed ballistic missiles believed in the West to be intended to carry nuclear warheads in the future.
Macron: With new centrifuge operation, Iran is withdrawing from nuclear deal
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said Iran’s decision to resume enrichment activity at a nuclear facility meant it had withdrawn from the troubled 2015 nuclear agreement with major powers.

Iran on Wednesday said it had begun inserting uranium gas into over 1,000 centrifuges at the Fordo nuclear facility, which under the JCPOA pact had turned into a research facility with no active enrichment.

“I think that for the first time, Iran has decided in an explicit and blunt manner to leave the JCPOA (nuclear) agreement, which marks a profound shift,” Macron said at a news conference during a trip to Beijing, according to a Reuters report.

Macron called the developments a “profound change” from Tehran’s previous position and a “grave” move.

“I will have discussions in the coming days, including with the Iranians, and we must collectively draw the consequences,” Macron said.
Iran briefly held IAEA inspector, seized travel documents - diplomats
Iran briefly held an inspector working for the U.N. nuclear watchdog in the Islamic Republic and seized her travel documents, diplomats familiar with the agency’s work said on Wednesday, with some describing it as harassment.

The incident appears to be the first of its kind since Tehran’s landmark deal with major powers was struck in 2015, imposing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.

Hours after Reuters reported the incident, Iran confirmed that it had prevented an inspector from accessing its Natanz site - the heart of its uranium enrichment program - last week, because of a concern that she might be carrying “suspicious material”, according to the Fars news agency.

The episode comes at a time of heightened friction between Iran and the West, with Tehran breaching the deal’s restrictions step-by-step in response to Washington’s withdrawal from the deal and renewed sanctions. The International Atomic Energy Agency is also in transition, with a new chief taking over next month.

The incident is due to be reported on at a meeting of the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors on Thursday convened at short notice to discuss “two safeguards matters” not specified in the agenda, which was circulated on Monday.
How Tehran Is Surviving U.S. Sanctions
A year ago, the U.S. kicked off a "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. After withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, in November it reimposed a raft of economic sanctions squeezing Iranian oil exports and curtailing the country's access to the international financial system.

Iran expected that other parties to the nuclear deal would help shore up its economy. But European governments could not force private companies to defy U.S. sanctions. Nor did other friendly governments - China, Russia, and India - pick up the slack. They face little pressure from the oil market to go out on a limb for Iran. Global demand is slowing, supply is abundant, and prices are low - so why risk U.S. sanctions to buy Iranian oil?

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank predict that Iran's economy will rebound from a recession to near zero percent growth in 2020. Iran's fluctuating currency, the rial, has stabilized. The Iranian economy stays afloat in part because it is diversified. In 2017, crude oil accounted for 43% of Iranian exports, so Iran's service, agricultural, and non-oil industrial sectors were able to cushion the blow from the collapse of oil revenues under sanctions.

Moreover, the government can draw upon its $100 billion of reserves to cover any gaps and to ensure the continued strong social spending that Iranians expect.
2 Iranians accused of spying on Jewish, Israeli targets in US plead guilty
Two Iranians who were charged with collecting information on Israeli and Jewish targets in the US and on opponents of the Iranian regime have pleaded guilty to acting on behalf of Tehran, the US Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Ahmadreza Mohammadi-Doostdar, 39, a dual US-Iranian citizen, and Majid Ghorbani, 60, an Iranian citizen and resident of California, were arrested last year.

“The Iranian government thought it could get away with conducting surveillance on individuals in the United States by sending one of its agents here to task a permanent resident with conducting and collecting that surveillance,” said Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.

Doostdar is scheduled to be sentenced on December 17 and Ghorbani will receive his sentence on January 15.

As part of his plea, Doostdar admitted he traveled to the United States from Iran on three occasions to meet with Ghorbani and to convey directions for Ghorbani’s activities on behalf of Iran.
BBC News mantra on ‘peaceful’ Iranian nuclear programme returns
Iran’s latest breach of the 2015 JCPOA was portrayed by the BBC as “rolling back another commitment” in the opening line of an article headlined “Iran nuclear deal: Uranium enrichment to resume at underground facility” which appeared on the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on November 5th.

As is inevitably the case in BBC reporting on that deal and Iran’s nuclear programme, audiences were told that:

“Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.”

The BBC knows that in December 2015 (after the JCPOA had already been agreed) the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA – produced a report which stated that:

“…the agency “assesses that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place” up to 2009.”

The BBC also knows that in April 2018 Israel revealed documents from Iran’s nuclear archive which raised new issues. Nevertheless, it once again chose to amplify Iranian propaganda but not to inform readers of those relevant parts of the story.
PreOccupiedTerritory: Iran Defends Imperialism As Bulwark Against Imperialism (satire)
Officials in the Islamic Republic of Iran explain the country’s virtual takeover of Iraq and Lebanon, as well as its use of puppet militias and proxy forces in Syria and Yemen, among others, as a defense against Western efforts to take over Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and other Middle East states, regime sources reported today.

Representatives of various government ministries and the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told journalists Wednesday that the territorial integrity and political independence of countries in the region are sacrosanct, and require Iran’s protection from what they characterized as a US-led effort to exert effective control over them, protection that Iran provides in the form of taking them over and exerting effective control.

“Satanic Western imperialism will not succeed,” warned Deputy Minister of Defense Mohtin Yorai. “To counter the threat of the evil machinations of the Great Satan and its minions we have already assumed de facto control of the governments of Iraq and Lebanon, and are working to establish similar arrangements elsewhere. In the same vein we offer material and financial support to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other groups waging a similar fight. The Zionists and their allies will fail in their campaign to subjugate and rule the region because we will do so first.”

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Unpacking the PACBI Excuse (Divest This!)


Last time, I pointed out the various excuses the boycott-Israel crowd uses when forced to confront their clear double-standard on human rights stances (i.e., Israel deserves to be boycotted for building a fence to keep suicide bombers from its cities, but Syria and China should not be boycotted since they merely killed 3-500,000 or 70,000,000 of their own people).
As noted, most of these excuses have the distinction of being both transparently self-serving and unbelievably lame. But one “reason,” the one claiming that the call to boycott Israel wells up from Palestinian civil society and is thus unique, begs for a more careful review.
The claim that BDS is a response to boycott calls originating from people in the region is based on the 2004 Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (or PACBI). Whenever Naomi Klein or some other boycott advocate talk about a boycott call endorsed by over 200 Palestinian civic organizations, the groups on the list of original PACBI signatories is what they’re talking about.
Within that original list of participating organizations (which I can no longer find now that PACBI has been folded under a general BDS Web umbrella), 10-15% of the signatories were identified as originating outside Israel, the West Bank or Gaza, including over 20 organizations from surrounding countries (13 from Syria, 6 from Lebanon and 2 from Jordan) and another 9 from Europe or North America. Now it may be that some of these (as well as some of the organizations not identified by location) are refugee or Diaspora groups.  But given the large Syrian contingent on PACBI’s original roster, the notion that we’re talking entirely about un-coerced volunteers becomes shaky.
Second, as the name implies PACBI stands for an academic and cultural boycott (the least popular form of BDS, by the way), meaning those who signed up in 2004 were not necessarily joining a movement for wholesale economic isolation of the Jewish state. So those claiming that PACBI is the origin for broad-based BDS activities may be putting words into the mouths of Palestinian agricultural, medical and industrial unions/organizations, many of whom may not be that excited about economic boycotts that punish them as well as Israel.
On more meatier matters, the first group that topped the list of “Unions, Associations, Campaigns” supporting the PACBI boycott call is the Council of National and Islamic Forces in Palestine, a coalition that includes Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and some of the more violent sub-sets of Fatah. Call me crazy, but I suspect that it’s much easier for this Council to get the Palestinian Dentist’s Association (also a PACBI signatory) to agree to its requests that vice versa.
The potential that the PACBI boycott call arises from coercion within Palestinian society (vs. being a consensus welling up from the grass roots) also points out an interesting paradox. The claim that Israel uniquely deserves the BDS treatment is, to a certain extent, based on Israel supposedly being exceptional with regard to its level of human rights abuses (vs. Iran, China, North Korea, etc.). And yet the members making up PACBI can only be seen as legitimately representing Palestinian civic society if Israel’s “repression” does not extend to eliminating such civic space in both Israel and the West Bank.
Like the claim that Israel is inflicting a “Holocaust” on a Palestinian population that is simultaneously experiencing a population explosion, the very existence of PACBI demonstrates that the level of repression found in countries ignored by BDS activists (Sudan, Saudi Arabia, etc.) does not exist in Israel. And thus we are led back to the conclusion that the best way to avoid being a target of alleged “human rights” activists pushing boycott, divestment and sanction is to actually be a repressive dictatorship that crushes civic society rather than letting it exist to sign boycott petitions.
Finally, a note on dates. PACBI, as stated on their own Web site, made its “plea” for academic BDS in 2004, years after divestment programs originating at the 2001 Durban conference were well underway in North American and European universities, unions, churches and municipalities. In other words, the PACBI call was the result of the success BDS was seeing between 2001-2004, and being the result it could not have simultaneously been the cause.
Time travel underlies much of the BDS project, as is underlies much of what passes for analysis of the Middle East. My favorite example of this is the projection of today’s US support for Israel (which didn’t really kick into high gear until the 1970s) back to 1948 and beyond in hope of finding a US-Zionist conspiracy going back to before the founding of the Jewish state.
If ignorance is bliss, then the folks behind the PACBI excuse for BDS are either the happiest people on earth, or at least the most manipulative.

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11/05 Links Pt1: ‘I like your frame on this’: Warren nods as supporter claims US backs 'genocide in Palestine'; It’s Time to Close Down UNRWA; Israel’s Supreme Court rules HRW Director can be deported over BDS

From Ian:

‘I like your frame on this’: Warren nods as supporter claims US backs 'genocide in Palestine'
Elizabeth Warren nodded along with an attendee at her town hall event while he claimed the American military supported genocide.

The Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential hopeful took questions from the crowd in Grinnell, Iowa, on Monday, with one attendee saying, “Right now, the United States is bombing at least seven countries. We support genocides in Palestine and in Yemen. The U.S. military is actually the biggest polluter of any organization in the world.”

He continued, “United States sanctions on Venezuela caused over 40,000 deaths, and we also have sanctions on many other countries like Iran, North Korea, and you can name many more.”

The attendee asked Warren, “I’m wondering, as president, will you stop U.S.-supported murder, whether it’s through sanctions, arms support, or boots on the ground?”

Warren responded, “I like your frame on this.”

Republican Jewish group’s campaign slams Democrats as a ‘disgrace’ — in Yiddish
The Republican Jewish Coalition on Sunday launched a $10 million campaign — an unprecedented amount in partisan Jewish advertising — with online ads depicting 2020 Democratic US presidential candidates as a “disgrace.”

Videos titled “Shanda,” Yiddish for “disgrace,” blast the Democrats for saying they would consider reducing aid to Israel.

“The radical Left has taken the reins of the Democratic Party, and their policy proposals will devastate our national security, our alliance with Israel, our economy, and our health care system,” Matt Brooks, the RJC’s executive director, said in a statement announcing the release of the 15- to 30-second ads.

The placement of the videos on Facebook, YouTube and other media will cost $50,000. Brooks confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency a report in Axios that the RJC had budgeted $10 million for its 2020 efforts.

In the spots, “leading Democrats” are accused of “turning their back” on Israel. They show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is Jewish.

It’s Time to Close Down UNRWA
UNRWA’s top official, Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl, was accused of appointing as an adviser a woman with whom he was romantically involved. The pair traveled on business class flights across the globe. Deputy Commissioner-General Sandra Mitchell was accused of bullying and of manipulating the system to find a well-paid job for her spouse, Robert Langridge, who was promoted. Chief of Staff Hakam Shahwan was accused of behaving like a thug, placing people loyal to him in positions of power, and lobbying to take over UNRWA operations in Jerusalem.

Perhaps not surprisingly in view of the above, the agency has adopted a culture of secrecy about itself. It employs about 30,000 people (compared to the UNHCR’s 11,000 for the rest of the world’s 17 million refugees and displaced persons). Most of its staff are Palestinians and many are known members of Hamas (indeed, Hamas membership helps one get a UN job). Peter Hansen, UNRWA’s former Commissioner-General (1996–2005), admitted in an interview with CBS that there are Hamas members on the UNRWA payroll. For example, the chairman of UNRWA’s Palestinian workers’ union, Suhail al-Hindi, is a member of Hamas’ new political leadership.

Retired IDF Col. Yoni Fighel, a former military governor in the territories, notes that as long as UNRWA employees are members of Hamas, they are going to pursue the interests of that organization within the framework of their job.

The agency was threatened with closure after the Trump administration implemented severe cuts following reports that proved rockets had been hidden inside UNRWA schools. UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who sat on the ethics findings for months, claims he is “committed to acting swiftly on the corruption allegations.”

The UN originally made clear that UNRWA’s mandate would be short-term, indicating that the refugee issue should be solved expeditiously through repatriation or resettlement. In the words of former UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie, “The refugees will lead an independent life in countries that have sheltered them. Except for the ‘hardcore’ cases, the refugees will no longer be maintained by an international organization as they are at present. They will be integrated into the economic system of the countries of asylum and will themselves provide for their own needs and those of their families.”

Palestinian residents of Arab states — all of whom are considered refugees by UNRWA — should become citizens of those states, as they are in Jordan.

Israel’s Supreme Court rules HRW Director can be deported over BDS
In a landmark anti-BDS ruling the High Court of Justice has paved the way for Israel to deport Human Rights Watch’s local director Omar Shakir for his support of boycott activity against Israel.

Human Rights Watch is weighing an appeal to a larger judicial panel of the verdict by a three judges. If not appeal is lodged, Shakir could be asked to leave the country within 20-day.

The ruling is a victory for those who hold that advocates of the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment Movement are acting against the state and are not engaged in legitimate criticism of Israel. Opponents view it as part of a movement to suppress human rights advocacy in Israel.

Shakir, who is a US citizen, immediately tweeted that if the HCJ decision is upheld, Israel will “join ranks of Iran, N Korea & Egypt in blocking access for @hrw official. We wont stop. And we wont be the last.”

Minister for Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan [Likud] expressed his satisfaction over the verdict.

"I applaud the decision of the Supreme Court that accepted my Ministry and the Interior Minister's position that a work visa should not be given to a foreign boycott activist who wants to harm Israel and its citizens," he said in a statement.

"Omar Shakir is a BDS activist who took advantage of his stay in Israel to harm it, something no sane country would allow. Israel sees great importance in the activities of real human rights organizations, granting hundreds of visas every year to human rights activists. HRW is welcome to appoint another representative in Israel in place of Sh