Ignoring empty threats, Iran tightens its military noose around Israel

Hamas’ Saleh Arouri in Tehran.

 

Iran pressed ahead with its plans this week, regardless of the loud scorn and threats poured on Tehran from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Cairo and Washington.

On Friday, Oct. 20, less than two weeks after Saleh Arouri, Deputy Chief of the Hamas political bureau, approved an Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation agreement between his party and the rival Fatah, he was leading a large Hamas delegation to Tehran. Continue reading

Policy-Shaping Power in the Middle East (I)

BAGHDAD/ERBIL/BERLIN (Own report) – With its military intervention in Syria and Iraq, Germany is emerging as a “policy-shaping power in the Middle East,” according to a government advisor of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The intervention in Syria, decided last week, could, therefore, last ten years and could be accompanied by “long-term” efforts to “politically reorganize” the entire region, with the cornerstone being military units, equipped and trained by the German government, serving as ground troops for the war against the “Islamic State” (IS/Daesh). In Iraq, the militia of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq could take on this role, whereas Berlin only provides minimal support to the Iraqi government’s armed forces. Whereas the government in Baghdad has good relations with Iran and Russia, the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq is seen as loyal to the West. Having illegally remained in office beyond the August deadline in an insidious coup, the Regional Government’s President Masoud Barzani, with whom German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met yesterday, is responsible for the brutal repression of civil protests. Ultimately – and with Berlin’s military aid for his Peshmerga – Barzani may be able to proclaim “Iraqi Kurdistan’s” statehood.

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Turkey Refuses To Withdraw Troops From Iraq, Threatens To Slap Sanctions On Russia

Last Friday, Turkey invaded Iraq.

That sounds more dramatic than it actually was. Turkey sent around 150 soldiers and two dozens tanks to Bashiqa, just northeast of Mosul in what Ankara described as an effort to replace an existing contingent of around 90 troops that have supposedly been on a “training” mission with the Peshmerga for the better part of two years.

As we documented over the weekend, this is hardly the first time the Turks have entered the country.

However, the circumstances are quite different this time around. That is, this isn’t a anti-terror mission aimed at tracking the PKK. Over the weekend, we asked if Turkey was simply trying to protect lucrative oil smuggling routes run by both ISIS and the KRG. On Sunday, an angry Iraq gave Ankara 48 hours to withdraw the troops – or else.  Continue reading

Iraq Could Ask Russia for Help After ‘Invasion’ by Turkish Forces

The head of Iraq’s parliamentary committee on security and defense, Hakim al-Zamili, in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, said that Baghdad could turn to Moscow for help after Turkey had allegedly breached Iraq’s sovereignty.

Numerous reports suggest that on Friday Turkey sent approximately 130 soldiers to norther Iraq. Turkish forces, deployed near the city of Mosul, are allegedly tasked with training Peshmerga, which has been involved in the fight against Daesh, also known as ISIL. Continue reading

Does Germany have a new Middle East policy?

Violent conflicts are spreading throughout the Middle East. Germany is working with Egypt, supporting Saudi Arabia and delivering weapons to the peshmerga – but the government opposition in Berlin is critical.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has been in office for almost a year. Soon he’s due to visit Germany. In March, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel extended an invitation on behalf of Chancellor Angela Merkel. That marked a departure from the government’s earlier position that parliamentary elections in Egypt were a precondition for an official state visit by the president. Continue reading

Iraq crisis: ‘It is death valley. Up to 70 per cent of them are dead’

Two American aid flights have also made it to the mountain, where they have dropped off more than 36,000 meals and 7,000 gallons of drinking water to help the refugees, and last night two RAF C-130 transport planes were also on the way.

However, Iraqi officials said that much of the US aid had been “useless” because it was dropped from 15,000ft without parachutes and exploded on impact.

Handfuls of refugees have managed to escape on the helicopters but many are being left behind because the craft are unable to land on the rocky mountainside. There, they face thirst and starvation, as well as the crippling heat of midsummer.

Hundreds, if not more, have already died, including scores of children. A Yazidi Iraqi MP, Vian Dakhil, told reporters in Baghdad:

“We have one or two days left to help these people. After that they will start dying en masse.” Continue reading

Intel Official: Americans Have Joined Militant Group ISIS

Aiding and abetting terrorists/terrorism in forming a middle eastern Islamic caliphate, or pure ignorance? It’s rather difficult to make hundreds, if not thousands, of mistakes in a row solely out of pure ignorance, however, only time will tell.

ERBIL, Iraq (CBS News/CBSDC/AP) — The Sunni militant group in Iraq is a force roughly 3,000 strong and includes some Americans, a senior intelligence official told CBS News on Tuesday.

The majority of fighters in the group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, are of Iraqi and Syrian origin.

In all, up to 10,000 are fighting with the group, 3,000 in Iraq and another 7,000 in Syria, the intelligence official said. Between 3,000 and 5,000 are foreigners, though how many of those are in Iraq is difficult to assess. Continue reading