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Showing posts from May 27, 2016

As forces advance towards Raqqa, families hope for return of abducted relatives

DOHUK, Kurdistan Region— The families of those kidnapped by the Islamic State (ISIS) militants anxiously wait and hope for the safe return of their loved ones after US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a broad offensive to retake the key ISIS bastion of Raqqa where most of the abducted Yezidis have been taken.

Many of the restless families say that their kidnapped relatives are still safe in Raqqa and hope the operation would finally bring them back to their families.

“All my three younger sisters are still alive,” says Hanifa Abbas, a Yezidi woman who managed to escape ISIS captivity in Syria last year. Her relatives, including an 11-year-old sister, were abducted in their hometown of Shingal in Iraqi Kurdistan two years ago.

Hanifa says that her sisters have contacted her over the past days to inform her of their safety and whereabouts.

Despite being in confinement, many of the abducted Yezidis manage to contact their families in the Kurdistan Region often hoping to be rele…

Pentagon: US soldiers wearing YPG patches ‘common practice’

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – At least one of the US special forces soldiers advising the Kurdish-led Syrian alliance fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) was photographed wearing the insignia of the Kurdish Protection Units (YPG), which the Pentagon says is common practice under such circumstances.

“Special operations forces, when they operate in certain areas, do what they can to, if you will, blend in with the community to enhance their own protection, their own security,” explained Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook on Thursday.

The photos, taken by an AFP photographer on the scene, showed the Americans along with the YPG fighters in a pickup truck near the village of Fatisah, some 30 miles north of Raqqa.

The US has at least 300 Special Forces advisers in Syria’s Kurdish-majority northeast where they have been advising the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a coalition of Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen forces.

The YPG is the dominant force within the group.

The SDF is the most effective group the US …

How the World Ends Baiting Russia Is Not Good Policy

By Philip Giraldi

Last week I attended a foreign policy conference in Washington that featured a number of prominent academics and former government officials who have been highly critical of the way the Bush and Obama Administrations have interacted with the rest of the world. Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago was on a panel and was asked what, in his opinion, has been the most notable foreign policy success and the most significant failure in the past twenty-five years. The success was hard to identify and there was some suggestion that it might be the balancing of relationships in strategically vital Northeast Asia, which “we have not yet screwed up.” If I had been on the panel I would have suggested the Iran nuclear agreement as a plus.

As for the leading foreign policy failure there was an easy answer, “Iraq” which was on everyone in the room’s lips, but Mearsheimer urged one not to be so hasty. In reality the Iraq disaster has killed hundreds of thousands, ha…