All posts by IranAware aka American Infidels

Only in the Islamic world could a zombie movie be classified as porn

Obama BFF Alert: Turkey fears a Kurdistan more than the Islamic State

Members of the Kurdish PeopleTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ‘zero problems with neighbours’ policy unravelled when the Syrian uprising erupted in March 2011. Not taking sides was itself a choice, and after Bashar al-Assad lied to the face of Erdogan’s foreign minister about his intention to murder unarmed protesters, Erdogan decided to get rid of Assad at all costs. Erdogan bet on trying to condition a Muslim Brotherhood-led post-Assad government in Syria.

Erdogan opened Turkey’s border to anyone who wanted to fight Assad, though Ankara had favourites. In 2012, the Free Syrian Army-branded rebels — nationalist, democratic, and essentially secular — were overwhelmingly dominant, yet Turkey (and Qatar) poured resources into strengthening Brotherhood-sympathetic rebel units. The March 2013 Turkey-PKK ceasefire led to signs of a working relationship with the PKK’s Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), at least to protect Turkey’s 565-mile border with Syria. That triangulation ended in the autumn of 2014. Many Kurds believe the open-border policy to the Salafiist jihadists was intended to thwart a Kurdish statelet in northern Syria. The Turkish bombardment that hit PYD positions on Monday and the evidence that Ankara’s turnaround on targeting ISIS and letting the US use its territory to do so was influenced by Syrian Kurdish territorial gains is not going to calm the suspicions Turkey supports Islamist extremists to block Kurdish autonomy.

Turkish support for Ahrar al-Sham — the most extreme Syrian insurgent group, with links to Al-Qaeda and a close battlefield alliance with Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra — is hardly a secret. Turkey flatly told the Americans that it regarded Ahrar and Nusra as reconcilable elements that could form a supportable post-Assad government. Turkish support for Ahrar could be seen in the fall of the city of Idlib in March to the Jaysh al-Fateh  insurgent coalition, which Ahrar effectively leads.

In a recent op-ed for The Washington Post, Ahrar’s foreign political officer made no mention of Turkey’s or Qatar’s support and instead said that the seamless reconstitution of Ahrar after its leadership was eradicated in a mysterious bombing last September testified to “the high level of institutionalism and professionalism” of the group and its “deep support […] within the local population.” But this isn’t true, according to Hassan Hassan, a fellow at Chatham House and co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. “The only reason Ahrar survived is because of Turkish logistical support and Qatari money,” Hassan told me.

Turkey’s support for Jaysh al-Fateh also confirmed the more serious allegation that Ankara was supporting Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, since Nusra is part of Jaysh al-Fateh. Nusra had clearly taken advantage of Turkey’s open-door policy on anti-Assad foreign fighters, and there had been plausible reports that Turkey’s support to Nusra was more direct — with Turkish intelligence shipping weapons to Nusra, for example.

The most electric allegation is that Turkey supports ISIS. While ISIS’s emergence in April 2013 sparked a bitter intra-jihadist feud in Syria, it had less effect on the networks — e.g. in the Balkans — bringing Salafist jihadists from all over the world to the Fertile Crescent, most of them through Turkey. This was also true for a time inside Syria. The ambiguity over ISIS’s status within Al-Qaeda until its expulsion in February 2014 allowed ISIS to capitalize on streams of Salafist funding, as did the lax environment Turkey provided for such fundraisers, who were pretty openly “camped out in hotels along the southeastern Turkish frontier,” as Jonathan Schanzer, of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, put it in testimony to Congress earlier this year. Funding intended for Nusra could thus, in 2013 and early 2014, easily go astray. But this could suggest confusion or benign neglect, rather than direct support from Turkey to ISIS.

When I asked Schanzer by email whether the oft-made accusation that a NATO Member State is supporting ISIS had any merit, he said: “If support is flowing to [Nusra], it is undoubtedly flowing to the other jihadi groups, too.” “Had Turkey done more to shut down its […] border with ISIS, there would be significantly fewer foreign fighters,” he added. “Had Turkey clamped down on the oil sales, antiquities smuggling, gun-running and cash transfers, ISIS would be significantly hobbled financially.” In short, ISIS is a lot stronger today than it would have been if Ankara had pursued a different policy.

Buttressing Schanzer’s findings, documents recovered after the US raid into Syria in May that killed ISIS’s ‘oil minister,’ Abu Sayyaf, provide the clearest evidence yet of “direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking ISIS members.” When ISIS smuggled oil from captured fields in eastern Syria, the majority went through Turkish buyers. One American official told the Guardian that even before all the data had been analysed, “the links [between ISIS and Turkey] are already so clear that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara.”

Turkey’s problem now, having ostensibly recognized that ISIS is a menace, is that when ISIS brags, “If they close the borders we will cause civil and economic chaos,” it is not an empty threat, as the suicide bombing in Istanbul in January 2015 demonstrated. Turkey has evidently known about some of ISIS’s sleeper cells for some time, but it can’t know about them all and they could devastate Turkey’s tourist industry — which provides 4.6 percent of its GDP directly and much more indirectly — or even cause wide-scale internal strife in Turkey where the flow of Syrian refugees has upset the fragile sectarian balance in the east.

What Turkey intends with the attacks on ISIS is uncertain. Without Turkey, the anti-ISIS coalition is fundamentally hollow, but Turkey is very unlikely to have altered its (correct) analysis that Assad must go before ISIS since Assad is the premier spur to Islamist militancy. More likely, Turkey has been spooked by the PYD’s gains along its border — enabled by US airstrikes — and has determined to take a larger hand in deciding who replaces ISIS in these areas, while procuring tacit US approval for a wider campaign against the PKK. Put simply, Turkey fears a Kurdish state more than the Islamic State, and unless these airstrikes are accompanied by moves to shut down the cross-border networks that have kept ISIS financially afloat, they are something more like enforcing a redline on ISIS’s behaviour, and perhaps also an attempt at strategic messaging.

Turkey’s government justly feels aggrieved at Western policy over Syria. Erdogan got out way in front of his population in calling for Assad’s downfall and had a right to expect collective NATO action after Assad shot down a Turkish jet in June 2012. The feeling in Ankara that they have been left holding the bag is essentially true, and the anger in Turkey that the US is increasingly aligned with Assad is understandable. But the methods Turkey adopted in its go-it-alone anti-Assad policy after the US stopped trying to topple Assad mean that when Turkey claims to be a victim of terrorism after incidents like the Suruc massacre by ISIS on 20 July, this is at best half-true. The victims of what would be called, if it happened to Westerners, ‘blowback,’ are the Turkish people.

Kyle Orton is a Middle East analyst. He tweets @KyleWOrton

My friends went on vacation and all I got was this stupid ISIS flag

ISIS

In Northern Iraq, the Islamic State has taken on a new business venture: selling souvenirs.

Visitors to the city of Mosul can now take home cheap ISIS memorabilia from their trip. Images appearing on Arabic social media on Sunday showed a souvenir shop filled with standard tourist paraphernalia such as ISIS flags, “Jihadi-John” hats as well as t-shirts and bags emblazoned with the now infamous ISIS symbol.

To complete the look, tourists can also purchase AK47 assault riffles, sniper scopes, ammunition belts, bullets and daggers. Additionally, sitting amongst the various gun accessories, the store also has available an ISIS style execution sword as seen in various ISIS beheading videos.

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, came under ISIS control in the summer of 2014. So far no government or Shi’ite paramilitary ground forces have attempted to retake the city, though air-strikes by US-led coalition warplanes have hit positions and strategic assets held by the Islamic State near the city.

http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/ISIS-Threat/My-friends-went-on-vacation-and-all-I-got-was-this-stupid-ISIS-flag-410303

Hezbollah: Nasrallah tightening security for fear of ISIS assassination attempt

Hassan Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah is tightening security procedures for fear that Islamic State and the al-Qaida-affiliated group Nusra Front will try to assassinate him, the London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Tuesday.

The Hezbollah chief is reportedly concerned that the radical Sunni Islamist rivals would seek to punish him for aiding forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in the five-year civil war.

According to the report, Nasrallah has solicited the services of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which has supplied the training for the Hezbollah leader’s personal bodyguards.

Nasrallah is reportedly holed up in a network of tunnels dug underground in south Beirut. In accordance with the new measures, only six guards have access to the Hezbollah chief.

The report also claims that Nasrallah has his food delivered to him from Tehran, allegedly for fear of poisoning.

https://iamiranaware.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Kurds, Palestinians and Double Standards

Joseph Puder//The Washington Post headline on June, 2, 2015, read: “Obama Makes an Impassioned Case for a Palestinian State.” While President Obama and his administration are eager for the establishment of another unstable and likely terrorist Arab (there are 21 Arab states, and Palestine is the 22nd) state called Palestine, they have largely ignored if not betrayed the Kurds in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. The Kurds are one of the largest national groups globally without a state of their own, and they are yearning for one independent Kurdish state. Justice for the Kurds, it seems, is subjected to the whims of Shiite-Muslim Iran, Sunni-Muslim Turkey, and the Iraqi Shiite-Arab government in Baghdad. The Obama administration, it appears, will not act on its own to correct an injustice done to the Kurdish people 92 years ago at the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. The administration has cast a blind eye on the oppression the Kurdish people have endured under the regimes in Tehran, Ankara, Baghdad, and Damascus.

U.S. policy has handed over veto power on economic and military aid for the Kurds to the Shiite prime ministers of Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki and Haider al-Abadi. Baghdad appears to be the clearing house for weapons shipments to the Kurds who have gallantly stopped the Islamic State (IS) onslaught throughout northern Iraq. The Kurds, equipped with defensive arms were able to defeat IS, yet, the well-equipped, predominantly Shiite Iraqi army shamelessly retreated from the advancing IS forces that reached as far as the Baghdad suburbs. In the process, the Iraqi army abandoned its U.S. supplied arms that now make up a large part of the IS arsenal.

Considering that the Islamic Republic of Iran has the overriding influence in Baghdad, not the U.S., it begs the question as to why the U.S. won’t arm the peshmerga Kurdish forces directly with modern and offensive arms, to enable them to defeat IS. Currently, the Kurdish forces lack heavy arms such as tanks and artillery, not to mention air power. Since the Kurds have proved themselves in fighting IS, they deserve U.S. support much more than the hapless Iraqi army.

A significant political issue has loomed large in the relationship between Baghdad and Erbil. It is Article-140 of the Iraqi constitution, and it has to do with rights to Kirkuk, historically a Kurdish city. Saddam Hussein expelled more than 37,726 Kurdish families from Kirkuk and replaced them with Arabs. The Obama administration has sided with Baghdad on this issue. Article-140 lays down a clear road map to define the final boundaries of the territory to be administered by the KRG. The excessive delay in implementing this article is the primary cause of tension and administrative problems in the so-called disputed areas. These are areas that suffered severely from ethnic cleansing and community destruction under the former (Saddam Hussein) regime.

Failure to implement Article-140 is also in violation of the policy the Iraqi government announced in June, 2006. The Iraqi Prime Minister then stated that “the government will be committed to implement Article-140 of the Constitution which is based on Article-58 of the ‘Law of Administration for the State of Iraq’, also known as the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).”

The Article specifies three phases for implementation that includes normalization, a census, and a referendum on Kirkuk and other disputed areas. “The government was to start by taking appropriate steps for the normalization phase, including rejoining detached districts and sub-districts to Kirkuk governorate, and completing this phase no later than 29 March 2007. The census phase was to be completed by 31 July 2007, and the referendum phase by 15 November 2007. The overall question is, thus, why hasn’t the Iraqi federal government met its commitments? Since 2003, successive Iraqi governments have failed to implement this constitutional article.”

The Obama administration has sent Brett McGurk, (deputy special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL) to “arbitrate” the issue of Kirkuk and the adjunct areas, but the U.S., wary of upsetting the Shiite-led Iraqi government, and more importantly, their Iranian overlords (lest they turn away from negotiations on the nuclear issue) has been decidedly pro-Baghdad. This may be one of the reasons why the Administration has failed to provide arms to the pro-American Kurds.

Last August, IS shifted the brunt of its firepower against Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The reluctant President Obama inexplicably wavered a while before approving airstrikes against IS. Still it was the heroic stand of the Kurdish peshmerga forces that halted the IS advance with the help of U.S. air power.

Ankara, much like Baghdad and Tehran is concerned with Kurdish self-determination. Turkey is worried about the rise of a strong Kurdish entity in Syria under the leadership of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which seeks to do in Syria what the KRG has done in northern Iraq, namely becoming an internationally recognized autonomous region. Ankara fears that its own discriminated and abused Kurdish minority might seek detachment from Turkey and join southeastern Turkey with the other autonomous Kurdish regions. It is for this reason that Turkey’s President Erdogan allowed the Kurds in Kobani to bleed while Turkish tanks stood by. The Kurds of Kobani, helped by U.S. airpower, ultimately triumphed over the IS barbarians.

Sherkoh Abbas, President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria (KNA-S), in a conversation with this reporter, addressed the following message to Washington. “The Kurds are the natural allies of the U.S. and western democracies.  Moreover, they are the boots on the ground. We are fighting in Syria and Iraq on behalf of humanity against the evil force known as IS (or ISIL). The U.S. administration needs to support us by providing the Kurds political recognition and military aid.  U.S. aid, however, should be direct, and not via hostile entities such as Iran, Iraq, and Turkey.  The U.S. should extend the No-Fly Zone to the Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq; this would allow the Kurds to protect all the minorities and refugees from throughout war-torn Syria. It would also deny ISIL re-supply lines from Turkey.”

Abbas added, “The P5+1, providing Iran with sanctions relief, would enable the Ayatollahs to increase their support for the Assad regime and Hezbollah in Syria.  By supporting the Kurds the U.S. will thus reduce the influence of Iran in Iraq and Syria.  In fact, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) has taken over the Kamishly International airport in northeastern Syria to be used as a base for the Iranian al-Quds forces, and for Hezbollah’s direct flights from Lebanon. At the same time, chemical weapons have been deployed by ISIL against Syrian Kurds. The growing influence of Iran in Syria, and the spread of ISIL terror and brutality run counter to the interests of the Kurds, the U.S. and the west, as well as Israel.”

It has become an Obama administration’s imperative to keep Iraq and Syria as undivided unitary states, despite the fact that these states are artificial creations of the colonial powers. Yet, this policy is inconsistent with its efforts to force Israel to vacate the strategic defenses of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) to create a Palestinian State. If indeed the privileged (the Palestinians have had multiple opportunities to create a state but chose war and terror against Israel) Palestinians should have a state, the Kurds certainly deserve statehood much more.

Obama BFF Turkey caught playing with ISIS

Turkish air strikes in Syria last week signalled a new phase in a conflict that has left its bloody mark on every country in the region. But will the Turks now agree to US demands to cease all clandestine dealings with Islamic State?
Demonstrators march suicide bomb
Demonstrators march with a poster showing the faces of victims of the July 22 suicide bomb attack Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

When US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.

The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.

As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world.

The estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenues that was thought to have flowed into Isis coffers over at least six months from late 2013 helped to transform an ambitious force with limited means into a juggernaut that has been steadily drawing western forces back to the region and increasingly testing state borders.

Across the region, violence has been spreading across borders, scattering huge numbers of refugees and contributing to the turmoil in neighbouring regimes. Few countries – from Turkey to Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Israel – remain unscathed by the tide of chaos spreading out from Syria.

Despite one year of air strikes aimed at crippling the group’s spread, Isis remains entrenched in northern and eastern Syria, in control of much of western Iraq and camped on Lebanon’s eastern border. Its offshoots are gathering steam in north Africa and now, more than at any time since the latest incarnation of Isis emerged, its leaders claim to be positioning the group for strikes well outside the territory that it now controls.

In the wake of the raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, suspicions of an undeclared alliance have hardened. One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now “undeniable”.

“There are hundreds of flash drives and documents that were seized there,” the official told the Observer. “They are being analysed at the moment, but the links are already so clear that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara.”

On Thursday, nearly one year into the US-led air campaign against Isis, Turkey dropped its opposition to entering the fray, dispatching fighter jets to its border from where they fired rockets at Isis targets just inside Syria. The attacks were a response to a suicide bombing in the southern province of Suruc, which killed 32 people, and an earlier cross-border attack that killed a Turkish soldier.

The attacks were the first to be blamed on Isis and led to a strong backlash among some sections of Turkish society, where unease at Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance towards the insurgency was already running high. Turkey also said it would allow its Incirlik air base to be used as a staging point for attacks against Isis – backing down from its earlier insistence that some form of safe haven first be established inside Syria, in which refugees and mainstream opposition fighters could safely move.

Throughout much of the chaos that has enveloped Syria, which started as an insurrection against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and has been partly subsumed by the Isis brand of global jihad, Erdogan has insisted that the Syrian leader’s crackdown has been a rallying call for the jihadis and must be dealt with before Isis can be countered.

However, Turkey has openly supported other jihadi groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, which espouses much of al-Qaida’s ideology, and Jabhat al-Nusra, which is proscribed as a terror organisation by much of the US and Europe. “The distinctions they draw [with other opposition groups] are thin indeed,” said the western official. “There is no doubt at all that they militarily cooperate with both.”

European officials have regularly said they have gained no traction trying to raise either organisation with Ankara and have long been warned off trying. Isis, though, has gradually been recognised as a force that can no longer be contained or managed. “We can talk about them now,” said a European official in Ankara. “As long as we describe them as ‘those who abuse religion’.

“This isn’t an overhaul of their thinking. It’s more a reaction to what they’ve been confronted with by the Americans and others. There is at least a recognition now that Isis isn’t leverage against Assad. They have to be dealt with.”

As Turkey wrestles with a new posture, Isis is entrenched along a swath of its southern border extending from its main border crossing with Syria at Killis to Hasakah in eastern Syria. Isis has reinforced its arc in the area in an attempt to safeguard the gateway to its self-declared caliphate, which remains its only viable supply line of people and merchandise.

The oil-smuggling operation run by Abu Sayyaf has been cut drastically, although tankers carrying crude drawn from makeshift refineries still make it to the border. One Isis member says the organisation remains a long way from establishing a self-sustaining economy across the area of Syria and Iraq it controls. “They need the Turks. I know of a lot of cooperation and it scares me,” he said. “I don’t see how Turkey can attack the organisation too hard. There are shared interests.”

The Isis member said the US-led air campaign had done almost nothing to change the extent of the group’s reach, which still includes most of eastern Syria and western Iraq, where Iraq’s security forces, led by Shia militia groups, have been unable to claw back losses since the fall of Ramadi in May.

On the Syrian-Lebanese border, however, the farthest west that Isis operates, a protracted battle with Hezbollah and Syrian troops is gradually tipping in favour of the Shia militant group. Hezbollah has led the push against Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra, who have been entrenched in the town of Zabadani, west of Damascus – a fight well inside Syria, which it says is necessary to protect Lebanon’s porous border.

“We are at a phase in this war where things that have been in the shadows for a long time are now being exposed to daylight,” said the western official. “Hezbollah is dominant in the west of Syria, and the Turkish role, however you wish to define it, is also becoming clearer. This is an important time for them. Will they now see Isis as a threat to their own sovereignty? Assad played with Isis and lost. The Turks will, too. A lot of damage has been done from this.”

Jerusalem, Israel: 2nd Jew Arrested for Calling Mohammed a Pig

Gazan Hamas-supporters on Temple Mount

Gazan Hamas-supporters on Temple Mount
Sliman Khader/By Ari Yashar

Jerusalem district police arrested a Jewish youth on Monday for his “crime” recorded on video the day before, when he said while leaving the Temple Mount that “Mohammed is a pig,” in reference to the founder of Islam.

The youth was arrested on Monday morning after arriving at the Kotel (Western Wall), and was brought in for interrogation.

The arrest made for making the statement – made all the more surprising given the ongoing open calls for violence by Arabs against Jews at the site which is the holiest in Judaism – comes after 20-year-old Avia Morris was arrested last Friday for saying “Mohammed is pig” when faced by hostile Arab women hurling threats at her on the Temple Mount.

Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is representing the youth, said, “it isn’t clear if the Jerusalem police don’t understand or don’t want to understand the decisions of the court.”

“Instead of arresting the Arab rioters who make provocations and incite against Jews on the Temple Mount at all times, they choose to arrest precisely the side coming under attack,” he charged.

Ben-Gvir’s statement comes after Arab mobs violently rioted on the Mount on Sunday for the Tisha B’Av fast day mourning the destruction of the First and Second Temples at the site.

In making the arrest Monday, police said they would not allow provocations and disturbances to public order by both Jews and Muslims at the site – even though in the case of Morris, she and other Jews were arrested while the Muslim women who provoked the standoff by surrounding the Jews and shouting “Itbach al-Yahud” (slaughter the Jew) were not arrested.

“Don’t remain silent”

Morris told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that she visited the Temple Mount last Thursday as part of a group with women and babies, and “throughout the walk, for about 40 minutes, we were surrounded by dozens of Arabs screaming at us and following us – they shouted ‘Itbach al-Yahud’ (slaughter the Jews), Allah Akbar (Allah is greater) and made the ISIS (Islamic State) gesture.”

She revealed that police let the Arab women freely curse and approach the Jews, and furthermore the police threatened the Jews, saying “if we were to say one word they would take us down from the Mount and arrest us.”

“They did not stop their attempts to hurt our feelings and to try to insult Judaism – at one point, after more than an hour of provocations and humiliations, I decided to respond,” she recounted. “Only after we began to respond and I said, ‘Mohammed is a pig’ – then the police distanced them from us, suddenly they were able to keep them at bay.”

Radical leftists filmed the exchanged and gave the footage to the police, who arrested Morris at her home in the Binyamin area just north of Jerusalem right before Shabbat. In court they claimed Morris provoked the riot, but the judge overruled the claims after the whole video was presented. Nevertheless, she was given a temporary ban on entering Jerusalem’s Old City.

“It is impossible to remain silent over humiliation of the Jews on the Temple Mount, and the incitement to murder against us,” she said. “When we accept it, the police chief does not address it. Only if we begin to respond back will the police know how to silence them.”

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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