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Showing posts from October, 2014

ISIS: the Useful Enemy Kobani Kurds Expose the Hypocrisy of the Coalition Against ISIS

By Ismael Hossein-zadeh

The dark force of ISIS is apparently an invincible and unstoppable war juggernaut that is mercilessly killing and conquering in pursuit of establishing an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In reality, however, it is not as out of control as it appears. It is, indeed, carefully controlled and managed by its creators and supporters, that is, by the United States and its allies in the regions—those who now pretend to have established a coalition to fight it! The U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and other allies in the region do not really need to fight ISIS to (allegedly) destroy it; all they need to do to extinguish its hellish flames is stop supplying fuel for its fire, that is, stop supplying it with funds, mercenaries, military training and armaments.

There are many ways to show the fact that, in subtle ways, ISIS benefactors control its operations and direct its activities in accordance with their own geopolitical interests. One way is to pay attention to its purport…

Syria blasts Turkey for allowing Iraqi Kurdish fighters safe passage to Kobani

A convoy of Kurdish peshmerga fighters drive through Arbil after leaving a base in northern Iraq, on their way to the Syrian town of Kobani ,October 28, 2014. (Reuters)

The first group of Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters has entered the besieged Syrian city of Kobani via a Turkish border crossing. Damascus has accused Ankara of “blatantly violating” Syria’s sovereignty by allowing the fighters to cross through Turkey.

"Minutes ago, about 10 members of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces entered [Kobani] through the border crossing between the town and Turkish territory," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday morning.

According to the British-based monitoring group, a convoy carrying Peshmerga fighters arrived near the Turkish town of Suruc on Wednesday night. They, in turn, made contact with other Kurdish fighters who had flown in earlier that day.

“The force is equipped with heavy guns including mortars, canons, rocket launchers, etc.,” the Guardian cites Safeen Diz…

1,000 per month: US airstrikes fail to stem tide of foreign fighters


Hundreds of US-led airstrikes and daily multi-million dollar military operations have failed to stem the tide of foreign fighters entering Iraq and Syria, who continue to pour in by their thousands, according to multiple reports.

“The flow of fighters making their way to Syria remains constant, so the overall number continues to rise,” a US intelligence official told the Washington Post.

Concrete changes might not be apparent for weeks the official said, noting the natural lag between the actual situation on the ground versus the scenario painted by analyzed intelligence.

With US intelligence estimating that 1,000 foreign fighters continue to enter Iraq and Syria every month, the Post estimates that their numbers now exceed 16,000. That figure eclipses the number of foreign fighters who took up arms in any analogous conflict over the past decades, including the Soviet military campaign in Afghanistan.

#US intel says that despite the ongoing airstrikes, 1,000 new foreign figh…

Dead or alive? Fate of iconic Kurdish female fighter ‘beheaded by ISIS’ wrapped in mystery

Female Kurdish fighter known as ‘Rehana’ (Image from Twitter user / @PawanDurani)

Reports about the beheading of a young female Kurdish warrior known as ‘Rehana’ who fought for Kobani and reportedly killed scores of jihadists have sparked controversy. Other reports by people who claim to have contacted her say she is alive.

A young girl, wearing military gear and holding a gun, has become an Internet sensation after a picture of her showing a victory salute went viral.

@NYDailyNews: "The sharp shooter #YPG worrier #Rehana "

— Siyar (@yabanciyork) October 28, 2014

The photo was posted on Twitter by Kurdish journalist Pawan Durani with a caption reading: “Rehana has killed more than 100 ISIS terrorists in Kobani".

On October 26, Rehana’s supporters were shocked by “unconfirmed” reports claiming that she had been kidnapped or executed by Islamic State jihadists, who may have beheaded her.

#Breaking: #ISIS claims to have beheaded young #Kurdish#heroine

The New York Times’ Impressive Collection of Iraq/Syria Maps

As long-time readers of GeoCurrents may have noted, I have rather mixed feelings about the New York Times. I am often critical of Times articles and columnists, and I find the newspaper’s coverage of world events too spotty and incomplete to be satisfying. But I also start off every morning with the print edition, and I can’t imagine doing otherwise. Sometimes I find the Times truly impressive. A case in point is a current on-line series of maps, photographs, and satellite images called A Visual Guide to the Crisis in Iraq and Syria. I have reproduced a few of the images here — the rest are worth a look as well.

A few words are in order about why I chose these particular images, even though several of them are out of date. In regard to “A Closer Look at Mt. Sinjar,” the detail is simply astounding: one dot for every vehicle! TheTime’s hybrid map-satellite-images, such as “Encroaching on Baghdad,” are innovative, informative, and visually arresting. A somewhat similar map, “U.S. Strike…

Michael Izady’s Amazingly Detailed Map of Ethnicity in Syria (and the Syrian Armenians)

Most maps that show the distribution of ethnic groups within particular countries are relatively simple, depicting a few discrete populations within large, contiguous blocks of territory. The distinguishing characteristics of such groups are rarely specified. A good example of such a useful yet overly simplified map is the Washington Post’sportrayal of Syria posted here. This map reduces the complex mosaic of Syria to three groups, two based on religion (Sunni and Alawite) and the other primarily on language (Kurd). But as most Syrian Kurds are Sunni Muslims, the portrayal is somewhat misleading. A better key would have labeled the tan color as indicating the distribution of Sunni Arabs, although in actuality many non-Arab (as well as non-Muslim) communities are scattered across this large swath of Syrian territory.

But an internet image search of “Syria ethnicity map” returns a sizable number of far better maps that depict vastly more intricate patterns. As it turns out, most of thes…

Syrian army leaders 'slaughtered' as Isis and Nusra Front militants storm Idlib

In a major setback to President Assad, the second city – Idlib – narrowly escapes falling to jihadists as rebels storm provincial governor’s office and set about executing senior regime officers. Archive image of Idlib province


Syria almost lost its second city to the jihadists of Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra last night when hundreds of fighters stormed into the provincial capital, Idlib, captured the newly installed governor’s office and began beheading Syrian army officers.

By the time government troops recaptured the building, at least 70 soldiers – many senior officers – had been executed, leaving one of the oldest cities in Syria in chaos. “They were slaughtered,” a message to Damascus said before the army was able to declare Idlib saved.

The eastern city of Raqqa has been in the hands of Isis for months, but Idlib lies strategically placed between Aleppo and the coastal city of Latakia – both of which are still held by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Idlib’s fall wou…

Caucasus Emirate Leadership Adopts ‘Terror 2.0’ Tactics

The new Emir of the self-proclaimed Caucasus Emirate (CE), located in Russia’s North Caucasus region, is making changes to the modus operandi of the organization. Ali Abu Muhammad (Aliaskhab Kebekov) was originally appointed as qadi, or senior Islamic judge, in October 2010. After the death of Doku Umarov in September 2013, the group appointed Abu Muhammad as Emir in March 2014 (apparently, it had taken the group some time to confirm the death of Umarov). In recent media releases, Abu Muhammad has given notice of a number of new policies, and provided official comment on several pressing issues for the insurgency.

In one of his earlier releases, Abu Muhammad calls on fighters to engage in the conflict on a political, economic, and informational front – not just the military one. In relation to this, he admits that the insurgency cannot simply take every person who wants to join, especially those who are not physically fit. He has asked aspiring fighters not to attempt to make their way…

Three International Water Conflicts to Watch

Patrick Johnson

China-India: The Brahmaputra River

The Brahmaputra River is a 2,900 km river that originates in Tibet and flows through India’s Arunachal Pradesh state before merging with the Ganges and draining into the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. It is considered an important resource in all three countries that it flows through: for energy-hungry China, it provides hydroelectricity; and for India and Bangladesh, a key agricultural lifeline in otherwise overpopulated and arid region.

The Brahmaputra River is particularly important to the agricultural industry in India’s Assam plains, and worries have arisen recently regarding a series of hydroelectric plants that China is in various stages of construction on its Tibetan plateau. Some experts believe that these projects will reduce the flow of the Brahmaputra in India, compounding an already tenuous water situation in the affected areas.

While there is no comprehensive bilateral treaty in place for the sustainable management of the Brah…

Churkin: Thousands of deaths, a million homeless could have been avoided in Ukraine

A Donetsk bus stop, which was destroyed by a Ukrainian military artillery attack.(RIA Novosti / Gennady Dubovoy)

The result of the postponed Ukraine EU association agreement has been “thousands of lives lost and almost a million left homeless,” Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin said. He also said that warnings from Russia almost a year ago were ignored.

Churkin said at the very start of the conflict that Russia had warned that all parties needed to be included in talks and the rights of all had to be respected, no matter which region they came from. With his pleas not heeded, a vast humanitarian catastrophe has taken place in the eastern part of Ukraine.

“What do we have today? Today Kiev and Brussels have returned to the position, which they needed to start with: suspend the association talks with the EU, which is exactly what the toppled President Viktor Yanokovich wanted,” said Russia’s Ambassador to the UN. “Due to a year of decisions, thousands of people have died, almos…

'Party of War’ Winning Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections: DPR Prime Minister

"Party of war" rather than the "party of peace" winning Ukrainian parliamentary elections: DPR Prime Minister said© REUTERS/ Sergei Karpukhin

The so-called "party of war" is winning the Ukrainian parliamentary elections, the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) is not ruling out the resumption of hostilities, said the DPR Prime Minister Aleksander Zakharchenko.

"According to the first results of the elections, the winner is rather the "party of war" than the "party of peace." Yatsenyuk, Turchynov, Lyashko and Poroshenko himself – all these politicians backed military actions against us," Zakharchenko told reporters on Sunday.

Zakharchenko added that the DPR expects Kiev to take a tough stance against the People's Republic. "The ceasefire that we discussed since September 5 was used by Kiev for troops repositioning, getting fresh forces and new weapons," Zakharchenko said.

Early parliamentary elections…

Direct Democracy The Kobani Riddle

By Pepe Escobar

The brave women of Kobani - where Syrian Kurds are desperately fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh - are about to be betrayed by the "international community". These women warriors, apart from Caliph Ibrahim's goons, are also fighting treacherous agendas by the US, Turkey and the administration of Iraqi Kurdistan. So what's the real deal in Kobani?

Let's start by talking about Rojava. The full meaning of Rojava - the three mostly Kurdish provinces of northern Syria - is conveyed in this editorial (in Turkish) published by jailed activist Kenan Kirkaya. He argues that Rojava is the home of a "revolutionary model" that no less than challenges "the hegemony of the capitalist, nation-state system" - way beyond its regional "meaning for Kurds, or for Syrians or Kurdistan."

Kobani - an agricultural region - happens to be at the epicenter of this non-violent experiment in democracy, made possible by an arrangement early on during the Sy…

Germany could be home to 7,000 Muslim extremists by Christmas


German authorities fear there could be as many as 7,000 Muslim extremists in the country by the end of the year. Disenfranchised youths are particularly vulnerable to being recruited, while there are around 450 German extremists in Syria and Iraq.

The extremists all follow the strict interpretation of Islam known as Salafism and believe that jihad is a legitimate tool in their fight against the West, which they believe is an enemy of Islam. Hans-Georg Maassen, who is the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency,told rbb-Inforadi that there are currently around 6,300 Islamic extremists in Germany, but this figure could rise to as many as 7,000 by the end of the year, AP reports.

There has been a steep rise in the number of Germans attracted to fundamentalist Islam. Three years ago there were only in the region of 3,800 followers of Salafism in the country, which then rose to 4,500 in 2012.

Speaking in late August in Berlin, Maassen said young Muslims are attracte…

Sweden Ends Submarine Search, Closing Book on Intrigue-Tinged Episode

“The Hunt for Reds in October” — as the search for a mysterious submarine in Swedish waters has been termed — is over, at least for now.

The Swedish authorities said Friday that a military team that had included minesweepers, helicopters and ships had been called off after a weeklong search for a vessel that never materialized.

“The hunt is over, and now the time has come to analyze what happened,” said Ingela Nilsson, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Defense Ministry. “Everyone in Sweden has been talking about the hunt, and people were proud to see our military can conduct a large operation like this.”

At a time of rising East-West tensions, fanned by Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, the search was the biggest mobilization of its kind in Sweden since the end of the Cold War. Some ground forces will remain on alert, Ms. Nilsson said.

Signs of a possible vessel in the Stockholm archipelago were first detected on Oct. 17, and Swedish officials said they suspected that a foreign subm…

U.S. Commander Sees Key Nuclear Step by North Korea

WASHINGTON — The top American military commander in South Korea said on Friday that he believed North Korea had most likely completed its yearslong quest to shrink a nuclear weapon to a size that could fit atop a ballistic missile. His assessment, if correct, could change American calculations about the vulnerability of the United States and its allies, and the North’s ability to sell nuclear weapons to others.

At a Pentagon news conference, Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti cautioned that the North had not yet tested a miniaturized weapon, and for a weapon “that complex, without it being tested, the probability of it being effective is pretty darn low.” But he made clear that based on all he had learned, “they have the capability to have miniaturized the device at this point.”

That has long been a disputed question. For years, American intelligence agencies have been scouring the evidence — from satellite photographs, human spies, intercepted calls and computer transmissi…

‘Global media control allows US to sell black for white’: Putin’s key Valdai quotes

24 October 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at the wrap-up session of the 11th Meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi (RIA Novosti / Sergey Guneev)

Vladimir Putin criticized the West for "sawing at branches" with sanctions against Russia and releasing a "genie in a bottle" with color revolutions. RT looks at the Russian President's five best quotes from his speech in Sochi.

Vladimir Putin also lashed out at the United States for destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains. The Russian President understands that there is a need to change the systems in place within international relations, but according to him:
"The US has been destabilizing the world order of checks and balances for its own gains."

He added that the US, as perceived winners of the Cold War, is trying to create the world “for their own gains," which has weakened global and regional security. Any country that does not agree with Washingto…


Vladimir Putin does a rare livestream event with Russia Today and unloads upon the ‘New World Order’. With the leader of a major power unleashing upon what was once called a ‘conspiracy theory’, will Americans sit up and take notice or continue in their slumber? Fortunately, there are many who are paying attention and Putin promises to speak bluntly and to speak truthfully here within: We need some harsh and blunt conversation, we are told, as the world is rapidly changing, everyone can see it, and it’s becoming much more dangerous for us all Putin warns.

Will this world that is evolving around us be a world of NEW rules, or NO rules? As long as individual liberty lives on forever, and governments across the world CORRECTLY return to their ONLY TRUE role as humanity’s subservient servants, this ‘new world’ will be a world we can ALL live peacefully within.

The Battle for Palestine

By William R. Polk

What we call the “Palestine Problem” is really a European Problem. No European society treated Jews as full members, and most have ugly records of anti-Semitism. Even relatively benign Western governments exploited, segregated or banished Jews (and such other minorities as Gypsies, Muslims and deviant Christians). Less benign governments practiced pogroms, massacres and expulsions. European history reveals a pervasive, powerful and perpetual record of intolerance to all forms of ethnic, cultural and religious difference.

Jewish reaction to the various forms of repression was usually passivity but occasionally flight interspersed with attempts to join the dominant community.

When Jews were attacked by Christian mobs during the Crusades, they suffered and tried to hide; when they were thrown out of such medieval cities as Cambridge, they fled to new refuges; when they and the Muslim Arabs were forced out of Spain in 1492, most found refuge in Muslim countries which were…