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Showing posts from December 8, 2015

Iraqi PM asks NATO to "use authority" to urge Turkish withdrawal from N. Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has asked NATO to "use its authority" to urge alliance member Turkey to withdraw its troops immediately from northern Iraq, according to a statement posted on his website on Tuesday.

"NATO must use its authority to urge Turkey to withdraw immediately from Iraqi territory," Abadi said in the statement, posted after the expiry of a 48-hour deadline for a withdrawal of the troops set by the Baghdad government.

Abadi spoke with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by telephone, the statement added.

Report: ISIS training fighters to fly commercial aircraft in Libya

Arabic media report claims the terror group, which has taken nearly complete control of the Mediterranean city of Sirte in Libya, is training pilots on large simulators brought in from abroad.

The Islamic State is reportedly training its fighters in Libya using civilian aviation simulators, Libyan military officials told Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat on Wednesday.

The training was being conducted in the city of Sirte, which has been under ISIS control for a several months. An estimated 3,000 ISIS fighters are currently based in Libya.

ISIS in Libya

According to the sources, ISIS was using at least one flight simulator, the source of which was unknown. "The simulator is about as large as a small car, and simulates every facet of flight including air-to-ground communications," the sources said.

The officials initially believed that ISIS had attained the simulator during the looting of former Gaddafi airfields, but were later made aware that the simulators were new. This means t…

SIS may have seized weapons from interdicted shipment to Hamas

Weapons that survived an Egyptian strike on an arms convoy heading to Gaza may have reached the Islamic State's Sinai affiliate and used in a massive operation against Egyptian forces.

Hamas believes a shipment of arms to Gaza that was interdicted by Egypt could have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State, Ynet has learned.

A recent major-scale Egyptian operation to thwart the smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip may have had an unintended consequence.

A few days after the operation against a convoy of Gaza-bound arms, fighters in Sinai from Ansar Beit al Maqdis, a group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State nearly a year ago, mounted a large scale attack against Egyptian security forces in the peninsula using weapons similar to those seen in the shipment.
ISIS in Sinai fires at Israeli communities during protective edge

The Hamas leadership believes that ISIS seized the weapons that remained intact after the Egyptian strike on the weapons convoy, having told Hamas that …

New Mossad chief: Netanyahu's real foreign minister

Analysis: The prime minister's decision to appoint his national security advisor, Yossi Cohen, as the secret service's new director reflects his clear preference for secret relations with countries that have no official diplomatic ties with Israel and with foreign intelligence communities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the right decision in appointing Yossi Cohen, his national security advisor, as the 12th Mossad chief. His choice reflects a clear preference in Israel's national security field.

Many members of the secret service arrived at Cohen's home Monday evening to congratulate him. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan described the appointment of the man who had served as his deputy as "very good." Cohen's mother told Ynet, "We are so excited and happy and hope for the best. We hope our dear son will succeed for the sake of all the people of Israel."

Standing outside his home in Modiin, Cohen said: "I would like to thank the prime min…

Iran Has “Irrefutable Evidence” Of Turkey’s Role In ISIS Oil Trade

When Turkey shot down an Su-24 near the Syrian border late last month, the world held its collective breath. Everyone was asking themselves the same question: “How will Putin respond?”

The fear was that Moscow would retaliate militarily. After all, Putin isn’t exactly known for backing down from a fight. Of course an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on the entire alliance and so, it appeared that the world might have witnessed a Franz Ferdinand moment, if you will.

But Putin had an ace up his sleeve.

Rather than sending a couple of Tupolev Tu-95 Bears to Ankara, Moscow unleashed a propaganda campaign aimed at exposing Turkey’s role in facilitating Islamic State’s lucrative oil trade. It was almost as though Putin was just waiting for Turkey to give him an excuse. Just hours after the Russian warplane crashed, Putin accused Turkey of buying ISIS oil on the way to calling Erdogan a “backstabber”. Adding insult to injury, he said all of that while sitting right next to Jord…

Assad Slams US Bombing Of Government Troops As Turkey Accuses Russia Of Violating Montreux Treaty

On Saturday, the Russian warship Caesar Kunikov passed through the Bosphorus Strait.

On deck, a soldier could be seen wielding a rocket launcher:

“For a Russian soldier to display a rocket launcher or something similar while passing on a Russian warship is a provocation,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, adding that if Turkey “perceives a threat” Ankara “will give the necessary response.”

It’s not clear what the “necessary response” is to the brandishing of a shoulder surface-to-air missile on the deck of a ship, but for those who might have missed it, the Bosphorus is one of Turkey’s only trump cards when it comes to countering the Russians who at this point seem determined to permanently impair Ankara’s international reputation by implicating Erdogan in Islamic State’s lucrative cross-border oil trade.

Closing the strait would mean cutting one of Moscow’s key supply routes to Latakia, which would in turn force The Kremlin to either take a longer sea route or resupply the …

U.S.-Led Air Strikes Targeting ISIS Kill 26 Civilians in Syria, Activists Say

Monitoring group says coalition led by Washington most likely to blame

At least 26 Syrian civilians were killed Monday in an air strike suspected to have been conducted by the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a monitoring group has said.

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike on the village of al-Khan in Hasakah province killed only civilians, including seven children.

A U.S. military spokesperson said reports of the civilian casualties would be taken “seriously” and if deemed credible the incident would be investigated.

In a separate incident, the Syrian government has accused the coalition of targeting a military camp Sunday in the country’s eastern Deir al-Zour province, killing three soldiers, reports the BBC. Syria’s Foreign Ministry condemned the exercise as one of “flagrant aggression.”

But the U.S. has denied that the coalition’s forces had carried out strikes in the area around the camp.

NATO’s Absurd Denials Amid Acts of War in Syria

By Finian Cunningham

 In two weeks we have seen two apparent acts of war by the US-led NATO military alliance in Syria. First, the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian warplane inside Syrian airspace; now this week the Syrian army is hit in a deadly airstrike.
Despite absurd denials, the grim conclusion is that NATO is at war in Syria.

The Syrian government is unequivocal about the latest incident. Damascus issued a condemnation to the UN Security Council on Monday over what it says is “a flagrant act of aggression” by the US military coalition. Early reports say three Syrian soldiers were killed and over a dozen others seriously wounded when an army base was blasted in the Deir Ezzor eastern province. Four US-led coalition warplanes were apparently involved in the attack, firing nine missiles at the base.

However, Colonel Steve Warren, spokesman for the US coalition, was quoted by various media outlets denying that NATO aircraft carried out the raid. Warren claimed that coalition fighter jets…