Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2015

The mysterious assassinations of Syria's Daraa

Twenty-two-year-old Montasser Abu Nabot, a correspondent for Al Jazeera, recovers in hospital after being attacked by unknown assailants in Daraa (MEE)

Abo Bakr al Haj Ali

A wave of assassinations and attempted killings in rebel-held Daraa has raised security concerns in the province, the only opposition-controlled stretch of war-torn Syria that enjoys a degree of day-to-day stability.

In the last three months, some 35 people have been shot and killed by unknown assailants, on streets and in villages far from the frontline, locals told Middle East Eye, some of whom were targeted themselves.

On the afternoon of 2 September, Judge Bashar Khaled al-Naimi, vice president of the opposition’s Court of Dar Al Adil in Houran and a prominent opposition figure, was shot by unidentified gunmen in the eastern countryside of Daraa as he was driving home from work.

Just over a week later, on 11 September, another well known opposition voice, 22-year-old Al Jazeera correspondent Montasser Abu Nabot, was…

The Collapse of Saudi Arabia is Inevitable

By Nafeez Ahmed

On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a “change” in leadership to fend off the kingdom’s collapse.

In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchy’s continued survival.

“We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself,” warned the letter.

Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner – and informed observers think such a prospect “fanciful” – the letter’s analysis of Saudi Arabia’s dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be th…

Central African Republic: The roots of violence

REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

The full report is currently available in: French.


Crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is longterm and characterised by sporadic surges of violence against a backdrop of state disintegration, a survival economy and deep inter-ethnic cleavages. Armed groups (including the anti-balaka and the ex-Seleka) are fragmenting and becoming increasingly criminalised; intercommunal tensions have hampered efforts to promote CAR’s national unity and mend its social fabric. Unfortunately, the roadmap to end the crisis, which includes elections before the end of 2015, presents a short-term answer. To avoid pursuing a strategy that would merely postpone addressing critical challenges until after the polls, CAR’s transitional authorities and international partners should address them now by implementing a comprehensive disarmament policy, and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation. If this does not happen, the elections risk…

Statement on the Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and the FARC

REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

The agreement on transitional justice reached by the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and publicly announced yesterday in Havana is a major breakthrough in the four-year peace talks. In effect, it anticipates the termination of the 51-year armed conflict. In an unprecedented personal meeting, President Juan Manual Santos and the FARC’s maximum leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (‘Timochenko”), agreed that a final peace agreement would be signed within six months.

The agreement establishes a “Special Peace Jurisdiction”, formed around courts that will be set up to try those considered to have been responsible for particularly the most serious and representative crimes committed during the conflict. Those who co-operate with this judicial system and acknowledge past wrongdoings would, if convicted, serve between five and eight years under special conditions that would in any case ensure effective restriction of thei…

Russia sends new arms to Syria amid speculation over its aims

By Maher al-Mounnes

Damascus - Syria said Tuesday it had received sophisticated new arms from Russia, including warplanes, and deployed them against jihadists, as signs grew of a major shift in the country's four-year conflict.

A senior military official told AFP Damascus had received a fresh batch of arms, including at least five fighter planes, while a monitoring group said there had been a marked increase in regime attacks on the Islamic State group.

The deliveries came amid a rapid Russian military build-up in Syria, with US officials saying Moscow had deployed 28 combat planes and begun drone flights in the country.

The war in Syria has taken on a new dimension in recent days as Moscow has moved to boost its military presence there, raising deep concerns in Washington.

The Syrian military official said the new warplanes had arrived Friday along with reconnaissance aircraft at a military base in Latakia province, the traditional heartland of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

An explosive document released by top social welfare organizations in Germany reveals evidence that migrants at a refugee camp in Hessen are raping women and children, while also allegedly forcing women into prostitution. The document was made public by LFR (Landesfrauenrat) Hessen, Der Paritätische Hessen, Pro Familia Hessen and the Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Hessischer Frauenbüros.It asserts that women and children at a migrant camp in Hessen are being sexually molested by Muslim “refugees” on such a regular basis that they are afraid to go to the bathroom at night and have to remain fully clothed when they sleep. Women who are not accompanied by men are considered easy prey, with some allegedly being forced into prostitution.
The groups behind the letter are calling for women and children to be segregated from male migrants. Infowars talked to German correspondent Alexander Benesch who translated the document and confirmed its content. “This is an open letter from a few big organi…

What if Americans Had Known in 2013 that U.S. rejected Syria Deal in 2012?

By David Swanson

 In the United States it is considered fashionable to maintain a steadfast ignorance of rejected peace offers, and to believe that all the wars launched by the U.S. government are matters of "last resort." Our schools still don't teach that Spain wanted the matter of the Maine to go to international arbitration, that Japan wanted peace before Hiroshima, that the Soviet Union proposed peace negotiations before the Korean War, or that the U.S. sabotaged peace proposals for Vietnam from the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French. When a Spanish newspaper reported that Saddam Hussein had offered to leave Iraq before the 2003 invasion, U.S. media took little interest. When British media reported that the Taliban was willing to have Osama bin Laden put on trial before the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. journalists yawned. Iran's 2003 offer to negotiate ending its nuclear energy program wasn't mentioned much during this year's debate over an agr…


Mina is a small city located inside a low lying valley in the province of Makkh, in western Saudi Arabia, about 8 km to the east of the Holy city of Mecca. Inside the 20 square km valley, tents cover every open space, as far as the eye can see, neatly arranged, row after row. It is in these tents Hajj pilgrims stay overnight during the five days of each Haj season. For the rest of the year, Mina remains pretty much deserted. There are more than 100,000 air-conditioned tents in Mina providing temporary accommodation to 3 million pilgrims. The tents measure 8 meters by 8 meters and are constructed of fiberglass coated with Teflon in order to ensure high resistance to fire. Originally pilgrims brought their own tents which they would erect in the flat plains of Mina. After Hajj is over, the tents would be dismantled, everything packed and taken back. Then sometime in the 1990s, the Saudi government installed permanent cotton tents relieving pilgrims of the burden of having to carry thei…


"ISIS has threatened to flood Europe with half a million migrants from Libya in a 'psychological' attack against the West, it was claimed today.Transcripts of telephone intercepts published in Italy claim to provide evidence that ISIS is threatening to send 500,000 migrants simultaneously out to sea in hundreds of boats in a 'psychological weapon' against Europe if there is military intervention against them in Libya.Many would be at risk of drowning with rescue services unable to cope. But authorities fear that if numbers on this scale arrived, European cities could witness riots.Separately, the militants hope to cement their control of Libya then cross the Mediterranean disguised as refugees, according to letters seen by Quilliam the anti-terror group, reported by the Telegraph. Italian Minister for the Interior Angelino Alfano said on Monday that Libya was the 'absolute priority' and insisted there was 'not a minute to lose' for the internation…

US Banking Giant Citigroup Moves Massive Gold Reserves To Russia

By: Sorcha Faal

A curious Ministry of Finance (MoF) report circulating in the Kremlin today says that the Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has “accepted for protection” 3 million ounces of gold worth over $3.5 billon from US banking and financial services giant Citigroup along with a further nearly $100 billion in cash.

According to this report, 1.4 million ounces of this now protected gold in the vaults of the CBR were shipped directly from Venezuela after this past April’s complex agreement between that South American nation and Citigroup, with the remaining 1.6 ounces coming from various countries this banking and financial service giant has cut ties with in the past year and a half.

Of the 11 nations, including Japan, that Citigroup has cut ties with, this report explains, even in the face of Western sanctions Citigroup has refused to sever its Federation relationship with its chief financial officer, John Gerspach, simply telling the Obama regime “We are not leaving Russia”.

Citigroup it…

Russia-China energy deals worth more than $500bn by 2035 – Rosneft CEO

President and Chairman of the Board of JSC Rosneft Igor Sechin (R). © Mikhail Voskresensky / RIA Novosti

Energy deals between Russian oil major Rosneft and Chinese partners will be worth more than $500 billion in the next 20 years, according to Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.

"Taking into account mutual trade and the existing contracts, the total value of cooperation of our company [with Chinese partners – Ed.] through 2035 will amount to $500 billion at current prices," Sechin said during the Eastern Economic Forum on Friday.

Moscow and Beijing are negotiating an increase in Russian oil supplies to China, said the chairman of the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Wang Yilin.

"China currently imports 15 million tons of crude oil from Russia through a pipeline. Now we are working on building a separate pipeline to increase the supply of crude oil to China,” said Yilin.

He added that the two companies are cooperating and expressed hopes that the goal of increasing crude oil…

The ISIS Slave Girl Buyback Schemes

Thousands of Yazidi women have been enslaved by ISIS. Does paying their captors for their freedom fund the terrorist organization?

ERBIL, Iraq—In a crowded room in an undisclosed location in Northern Iraq, a Yazidi father is begging an American woman for money to buy back his daughters from the so-called Islamic State.

Via a translator the man says he has been in contact with a broker—a middleman used as a go-between from ISIS to grieving Yazidi families—who for a high fee will return his children after they were taken and sold as slaves among the jihadis just over a year ago in the ISIS blitz of Northern Iraq. The man is desperate and low on cash, and says he’s considered selling his truck to pay for the girls’ release.

In a haze of cigarette smoke and in between rounds of tea, the American, 66-year-old Amy Beam, tells him he shouldn’t sell his truck, but still needs to renegotiate with the broker. The asking fee is too high she says, and the Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children …

Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS

To take down the so-called Islamic State in Syria, the influential former head of the CIA wants to co-opt jihadists from America’s arch foe.

Members of al Qaeda’s branch in Syria have a surprising advocate in the corridors of American power: retired Army general and former CIA Director David Petraeus.

The former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been quietly urging U.S. officials to consider using so-called moderate members of al Qaeda’s Nusra Front to fight ISIS in Syria, four sources familiar with the conversations, including one person who spoke to Petraeus directly, told The Daily Beast.

The heart of the idea stems from Petraeus’s experience in Iraq in 2007, when as part of a broader strategy to defeat an Islamist insurgency the U.S. persuaded Sunni militias to stop fighting with al Qaeda and to work with the American military.

The tactic worked, at least temporarily. But al Qaeda in Iraq was later reborn as ISIS, and has become the sworn enemy of its parent organi…