(Reuters) – Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has been spying on Turkey for nearly four decades, Focus magazine said on Saturday in a report which could raise tensions further between the NATO allies.
The details about the duration of possible surveillance and on the decision-making surrounding it go further than first reports earlier this week.
Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador in Ankara on Monday after media reports that Berlin had identified Ankara as a top target of surveillance in a government document from 2009 and had been spying on Turkey for years.
Focus magazine said the BND intelligence agency had been spying on Turkey since 1976 and that German government under the then Social Democrat chancellor Helmut Schmidt had expressly approved the step.
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
Damning evidence has emerged of US President Barack Obama’s dismissal of Israel’s position in favor of supporting the position of Hamas and its allies during ceasefire talks.
A “senior US official” leaked an audio recording of a telephone conversation between Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to Channel One. In it the 35-minute conversation, which took place on Sunday, the US President appears downright hostile at points, and even cuts off Netanyahu in the middle of his protestations over a one-sided truce proposal which would have seen Hamas receive all its key demands, but that Israel ultimately rejected.
The following is an excerpt of the conversation, published in Hebrew by Channel One:
Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities – particularly airstrikes. 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
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
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wasn’t joking when he said “I’ll see you in New York“, either.
A former NATO commander warned Monday that it was “only a matter of time” before a Sunni insurgent group that has captured parts of Iraq and Syria turns its attention to attacks in Europe.
Retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis urged U.S. and European allies to do more to prevent jihadists with western passports from returning home to stage terror attacks.
“As [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] ISIS consolidates its position across the Syrian and Iraqi divide, NATO must realize that it is only a matter of time before a wave of EU-passport-bearing jihadists will be headed back home to wreak havoc,” Stavridis said in an op-ed for the Atlantic Council.”Those AK-toting fundamentalists are a bit busy at the moment destroying two Shiite/Alawite regimes in Iraq and Syria, respectively, but the eye of Sunni extremism will inevitably turn its attention to the capitals of Europe,” he wrote. Continue reading
ISIS militants not planning to stop in Iraq
WASHINGTON – Beyond Iraq, what is the intent of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria?
There appears to be short- and long-term goals, with a hint of those intentions in the name ISIS has chosen for itself.
Its real name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, meaning Greater Syria.
ISIS, morphing from the Islamic State of Iraq before it was excommunicated from al-Qaida central in Pakistan last year for its extreme Wahhabi brutality, appears to have intentions of re-creating Greater Syria into an Islamic caliphate, subject to strict Shariah law. Continue reading