Second Turkish Gaza flotilla will have military escort, group says

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

Netanyahu’s dilemma: Back Obama’s save Hamas policy, or fight for its downfall with Egypt and Saudis

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

Kerry and Ban in truce bid to save Hamas from defeat. Israel holds reply. Cairo won’t amend truce proposal

Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN are pulling one way; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other; and Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are trying to manipulate the others.

Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi: Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire than ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”

Reported to be pushing for a long-term ceasefire, the UN Secretary went on to comment that it was impossible to go back to the situation that caused the conflict. He ruled out the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip as untenable. Continue reading

‘Dragonfly’ virus strikes U.S. power plants

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

Former NATO chief: ISIS ‘jihadists’ will target western nations next

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

Major U.S. city next target for Islamic terror

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

A new Turkish aggression against Syria: Ankara suspends pumping Euphrates’ water

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

Exclusive: Confidential source reveals to me what really happened in Benghazi

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

Erdogan: Turkey to normalize relations with Israel “within days”

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

Is Turkey planning to bypass global ammunition regime?

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

EU ‘to Extend’ Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan

The EU would extend the route for supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and its pipes will make their way further into Europe’s mainland, according to reports.

Russia’s Vedomosti, which cites sources from the European Commission, suggests that pipes could lead into France and Spain and this could increase the amount of Azerbaijani gas received from the Union.

According to the same EC representative, the prospects of importing from Turkmenistan and Iran are also on the agenda. Continue reading

World Bank Director: Turkey to Become Global Energy Hub

ISTANBUL — Turkey has a good chance to become an energy hub if it keeps the historical achievements it made in the last decade, Martin Raiser, country director for Turkey of the World Bank, said on Friday.

“Turkey has taken major steps in the past decade and nearly half of them was to implement independent regulatory institutions for strengthening the rule of law to improve business opportunities,” Raiser told Anadolu Agency during the International Energy and Environment Fair and Conference in Istanbul. Continue reading

Why Russia Needs Eastern Europe — And why Eastern Europe needs to be rid of Russia

(Click to enlarge) Russia’s border with Europe is the bloodiest place in the world.

 

Russia’s border with Europe is the bloodiest place in the world. Caught between the major powers of the West and the might of Russia, the region has seen some of the worst conflicts in history.

During World War II, roughly 17 million soldiers lost their lives in battles on the Eastern front. By way of comparison, in the West, fewer than four million soldiers died—including D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge and all the other battles we hear about more often. And these figures don’t include the huge number of civilians who lost their lives in the Battle of Stalingrad or the Siege of Leningrad, and other horrific clashes.

The numbers for World War i are also appalling; rough estimates indicate that 5 million soldiers lost their lives fighting on the Eastern front.

Conflicts between Europe and Russia are bloody and frequent. This history gives the context necessary to appreciate what is happening in Ukraine, and how Europe will react.

Continue reading

Briton drafts ‘Brexit’ blueprint: UK can join EFTA

Britain’s economy could grow by 1.3 billion pounds if it left the European Union due to less regulation and more trade with emerging economies, acccording to a British diplomat who dreamt up a blueprint for the country’s EU exit.

Britain’s free market Institute of Economic Affairs on Tuesday awarded a 100,000-euro prize to Iain Mansfield, a British diplomat based in the Philippines, who it decided had come up with the best proposal for a ‘Brexit,’ a British departure from the EU. Continue reading

Can Turkey Use Water to Exert Power Across the Middle East?

ISTANBUL — Turkey hopes to take a first step this year towards long-held ambitions to be a supplier of fresh water across the Middle East.

The first phase of a project to pump fresh water from the Anamur River in southern Turkey to the drought-stricken northern part of Cyprus is slated to be completed this year, according to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Turkish government in Ankara.

The 1.2 billion lira (Dh2bn) pipeline, which runs under the Mediterranean, is to bring 75 million cubic metres of water a year to Northern Cyprus, an isolated self-declared republic recognised only by Ankara.

The Turkish ministry for forests and water said in a statement that work will be finished by July 20, the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 military intervention in Cyprus. Several experts in Turkey said the Cyprus water project could be a first step for Ankara to boost its role as a regional power by providing water to Middle East countries.

“It is technically feasible,” Ibrahim Gurer, a hydrologist at Gazi University in Ankara, said. “And it’s possible not only for Cyprus, but also for other countries like Israel or even Libya. It is not a distant dream.” Continue reading