BERLIN/BAGHDAD (Own report) – Western aggressions in the Middle East and support from the West’s important regional allies have facilitated the rise of the terrorist organization, the “Islamic State” (IS), as observers point out. According to an expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), the IS predecessor, “Al-Qaida in Iraq,” was able to develop into a “powerful organization” only after the US led aggression against Iraq (“liberation from Saddam”). Not until the chaos provoked by the war in Syria, which Germany also helped fuel (“liberation from Assad”) was the IS predecessor the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) in a position to conquer and control whole regions and set up a power base for its further expansion. IS could not have reached its current strength without the financial and logistical support furnished by Saudi Arabia and Turkey, two close allies of the West. The SWP reports that there are even “indications” that “the cross-border traffic between the IS-controlled territory in Syria and Turkey” is still “considerable” – thus also, presumably, the transport of supplies. Meanwhile Western governments are preparing a “long military operation” against IS. Continue reading
A Russian newspaper has published an article suggesting that the Kremlin-favoured South Stream gas pipeline could drop Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovenia for its route, and instead reach its final destinations, Italy and Austria, through Turkey and Greece.
On Monday (18 August), Russian business newspaper Vzglyad published an article by journalist Oleg Makarenko, claiming that Gazprom has a “plan B” in case Bulgaria continues to obstruct the construction of the South Stream pipeline.
A caretaker government in Sofia, which took office on 6 August, has frozen the construction of South Stream, following clear indications from Brussels that the EU executive would impose infringements on Bulgaria, unless the country re-negotiates its bilateral agreement with Russia for the construction of the pipeline, which is in breach of EU law.
The last 3 months have seen Russia’s “de-dollarization” plans accelerate. First Gazprom clients shift to Euros and Renminbi, then the UK signs currency swap agreements with China, then NATO ally Turkey cuts ties and mulls de-dollarization, Switzerland jumps in the currency swap agreements, and BRICS create their own non-US-based funding vehicle, and then finally this week, Russia’s oligarchs have shifted cash holdings to Hong Kong. But this week, as RT reports, Russian and Chinese central banks have agreed a draft currency swap agreement, which will allow them to increase trade in domestic currencies and cut the dependence on the US dollar in bilateral payments. ““The agreement will stimulate further development of direct trade in yuan and rubles on the domestic foreign exchange markets of Russia and China,” the Russian regulator said. Continue reading
Turkish leader slams Israel before hundreds of thousands of supporters; opponents accuse Erdogan of ‘populist’ rhetoric ahead of historic election.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel on Sunday of deliberately killing Palestinian mothers and warned it would “drown in the blood it sheds”, pulling foreign policy to center stage as a presidential race enters its final week.
Addressing hundreds of thousands of supporters at his biggest rally so far ahead of the Aug. 10 election, Erdogan again likened Israel’s actions to those of Hitler, comments that have already led Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accuse him of anti-Semitism and drawn rebuke from Washington. Continue reading
For two weeks, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad have been battling for control of the Shaar gas field, one of Syria’s largest, near the landmark city of Palmyra. On July 19, it was reported that the Sunni militant group had killed 270 regime fighters, taking control of the field in what was reportedly one of the conflict’s deadliest 48-hour periods to date.
As ISIS steams further into Syria, analysts say a significant portion of its financial resources come from the crude oil it sells on the black market; accordingly, oil fields have become prime targets in the fight. So do gas fields like Shaar, where disruption of lines lead to electricity shortages and power cuts in regime-controlled areas as far as Damascus. Continue reading
(CNN) — Fighters with the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria reached the triangle border between Iraq, Syria and Turkey, it said in a message posted on Twitter on Sunday.
ISIS took control of Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam on Iraq’s Tigris River, which provides power to the city of Mosul about 50 kilometers (31 miles) to the south, the commander of the Peshmerga Kurdish fighters who had been defending the facility said Sunday.
The dam workers remained inside the facility, which fell after a 24-hour battle, Lt. Col. Herash said. Continue reading
Turkey has been on the anti-Israel bandwagon for quite a long time. However, the radicalized nation is now openly provoking war.
The Turkish pro-Palestinian organization IHH announced that its second Gaza flotilla will be launched soon – and will be afforded protection by the Turkish Navy, Israel’s NRG reported on Sunday.
The group’s chairman told local Turkish media that the mission, titled ‘Freedom Flotilla II,’ was in the process of finalizing the legal paperwork needed to commence on the trip, and would embark as soon as it got the necessary permissions. Continue reading
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entangled himself Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27, in the net he had cast to blur the effect of the unanimous decision by the security-political cabinet of Friday to turn down the ceasefire proposals proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The two diplomats and their partners, a brace of European ministers and Qatar and Turkey, who met in Paris to concoct a peace framework for Gaza, were privately dubbed by wags in Jerusalem the “Save Hamas Squad.”
Netanyahu tried to present the flat cabinet “no” to the ceasefire as a “no, maybe.”
His purpose was to leave an opening for the US and UN to ginger up their pro-Hamas framework for ending hostilities in the Gaza Strip by incorporating elements that Israel’s security needs half way. If that was done, Israel, he indicated, would be amenable to joining lengthy ceasefire accords with Hamas, or even making unilateral halts in violence. Continue reading
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Gendarmerien are police forces, although they take on tasks of internal security. In contrast to the police but they are subordinated to the ministries of defense. Used in the interior they are under the authority of the Interior Ministries. They are described as “robust police issues” because they have a better weaponry, armored vehicles and military training. Therefore, they can also be used on the edge of military hostilities. There they are under the command of the responsible Department of Defense.
The EGF was originally planned around the turn of the millennium by Italy and France as EU force. Several Member States, including Germany, but had objections to such a paramilitary unit. The governments in Rome and Paris stuck to the plan and eventually founded the EGF as a multilateral, independent of EU unity. According to its statutes, the capabilities of NATO, the OSCE, the UN and the EU can be borrowed. In the foreground, however, are inserts of the European Union. Continue reading
WASHINGTON – U.S. and European energy companies have become the target of a “Dragonfly” virus out of Eastern Europe that goes after energy grids, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipelines operators and energy industrial equipment providers.
Unearthed by the cyber security firm Symantec, Dragonfly has been in operation since at least 2011. Its malware software allows its operators to not only monitor in real time, but also disrupt and even sabotage wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants – all with the click of a computer mouse.
The attacks have disrupted industrial control system equipment providers by installing the malware during downloaded updates for computers running the ICS equipment. Continue reading
What we’re seeing is another wedge being placed between the Assad regime and the public with the aim of hastening the collapse of the leadership.
The Turkish government recently cut off the flow of the Euphrates River, threatening primarily Syria but also Iraq with a major water crisis. Al-Akhbar found out that the water level in Lake Assad has dropped by about six meters, leaving millions of Syrians without drinking water.
Two weeks ago, the Turkish government once again intervened in the Syrian crisis. This time was different from anything it had attempted before and the repercussions of which may bring unprecedented catastrophes onto both Iraq and Syria.
Violating international norms, the Turkish government recently cut off the water supply of the Euphrates River completely. In fact, Ankara began to gradually reduce pumping Euphrates water about a month and half ago, then cut if off completely two weeks ago, according to information received by Al-Akhbar. Continue reading
I was seated beside someone who personally knew one of the men who was there on the roof in Benghazi. This person was excited to share with me the “ground truth” of what happened September 11, 2012.
My seat mate drew schematics to orient me to the “time and spacing” and the direction of the attack. I learned about the repeated orders to the men at the CIA annex to stand down and do nothing — thank God two of them, Glenn Doherty and Ty Woods, lived up to their code of honor and ran to the sound of the guns, resulting in their loss of life — but the preservation of life for others, their fellow Americans. Continue reading
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is prepared to normalize ties with Israel within days or weeks after counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for a deadly raid in 2010.
Erdogan, speaking on US broadcaster PBS late Monday, said US President Barack Obama was instrumental in arranging a phone call between the leaders of Israel and Turkey, once intimate allies, but who have been at odds since a 2010 Israeli assault on a Gaza-bound flotilla of aid ships in which soldiers shot dead nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists.
Officials said the two government in recent weeks have been narrowing the gap between them by overcoming sticking points including the amount of compensation to be paid to Turkey.
Erdogan said the issue has been resolved. Continue reading
The Turkish technology and industry minister’s suggestion that the country will attempt to produce its own ammunition has caused concern among some NATO partners that the move could contravene an international treaty
Western diplomats and military officials remain puzzled over remarks by a Turkish minister that Turkey is set out to produce unspecified types of ammunition and thus circumvent foreign suppliers’ potential sales blockades.
In a recent speech, Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işık said Turkey would launch a “national” factory this year to produce its own “warheads, airplane bombs and plastic explosives.”
He said the new factory would end Turkey’s dependence on foreign suppliers of this type of ammunition. Continue reading