Category Archives: Terrorism

Gun Used in Terror Attack on Mohammed Cartoon Contest Sold Through Operation Fast and Furious

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On May 4, 2015 Nadir Soofi and Elton Simpson drove from Phoenix to Garland, Texas to carry out a terror attack against conservatives hosting a Mohammed cartoon contest. When they arrived on scene, they were immediately shot and killed by police after opening fire outside the building.

It turns out Soofi purchased his gun under the Holder Justice Department’s Operation Fast and Furious back in 2010. As a reminder, Operation Fast and Furious was a program that ran from 2009-2010 in which federal agents purposely allowed the sale of thousands of weapons, including handguns, AK-47s and .50-caliber rifles, to known drug cartels. Agents deliberately allowed weapons to be trafficked and lost in Mexico. Now, Barack Obama’s bloodiest scandal has hit home once again. Richard Serrano at the LA Times has the incredible details:

Five years before he was shot to death in the failed terrorist attack in Garland, Texas, Nadir Soofi walked into a suburban Phoenix gun shop to buy a 9-millimeter pistol.At the time, Lone Wolf Trading Co. was known among gun smugglers for selling illegal firearms. And with Soofi’s history of misdemeanor drug and assault charges, there was a chance his purchase might raise red flags in the federal screening process.

Inside the store, he fudged some facts on the form required of would-be gun buyers. What Soofi could not have known was that Lone Wolf was at the center of a federal sting operation known as Fast and Furious, targeting Mexican drug lords and traffickers. The idea of the secret program was to allow Lone Wolf to sell illegal weapons to criminals and straw purchasers, and track the guns back to large smuggling networks and drug cartels.

Soofi’s attempt to buy a gun caught the attention of authorities, who slapped a seven-day hold on the transaction, according to his Feb. 24, 2010, firearms transaction record, which was reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. Then, for reasons that remain unclear, the hold was lifted after 24 hours, and Soofi got the 9-millimeter.

In other words, ATF and the FBI pushed through a shady gun sale that ultimately was used in a terror attack against Americans on U.S. soil.

Not surprisingly the FBI has been stonewalling information about Soofi’s firearm and the guns used during the Garland attack for months. They did the same when Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed by Mexican drug bandits in Arizona on December 15, 2010. The guns used in his murder were also sold as part of Operation Fast and Furious. More from Serrano:

A day after the attack, the Department of Justice sent an “urgent firearms disposition request” to Lone Wolf, seeking more information about Soofi and the pistol he bought in 2010, according to a June 1 letter from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, to U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.
Though the request did not specify whether the gun was used in the Garland attack, Justice Department officials said the information was needed “to assist in a criminal investigation,” according to Johnson’s letter, also reviewed by The Times.
The FBI so far has refused to release any details, including serial numbers, about the weapons used in Garland by Soofi and Simpson. Senate investigators are now pressing law enforcement agencies for answers, raising the chilling possibility that a gun sold during the botched Fast and Furious operation ended up being used in a terrorist attack against Americans.

Keep in mind not a single person involved in Operation Fast and Furious has been fired. In fact, many Department of Justice officials and ATF supervisors have been promoted. ATF agents who exposed the scandal, however, have faced extreme retaliation in addition to career and personal sabotage.

by Katie Pavlich

Demand the Iran n Bin Laden Documents

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By STEPHEN F. HAYES and WILLIAM KRISTOL

To paraphrase Lincoln, if we could first know where Iran is and whither Iran is tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it. To evaluate the Iran deal, we need, to the degree possible, to understand the Iranian regime, its nature and its history, its past and present behavior.

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Whither are they tending?

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The bad news is that the Obama administration doesn’t want us to have all the information available to judge that regime and its behavior. The good news is that Congress can insist the information be provided.

Here’s an important instance. We have been told by six current or former intelligence officials that the collection of documents captured in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound includes explosive information on Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda over the past two decades, including details of Iran’s support for al Qaeda’s attacks on Americans. Some of these officials believe this information alone could derail the deal. We haven’t seen it. But the American people should see it all before Congress votes on the deal in September.

“There are letters about Iran’s role, influence, and acknowledgment of enabling al Qaeda operatives to pass through Iran as long as al Qaeda did their dirty work against the Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, tells The Weekly Standard. “What Congress should demand is to see all the UBL [Osama bin Laden] documents related to Iran and all the documents related to intentions of AQ into the future—they are very telling.”

Derek Harvey, a former senior DIA official who has been described by several U.S. generals as the top intelligence analyst in government, helped run the exploitation team. He says,

The UBL treasure trove of information almost certainly contains extremely valuable, insightful information, and potentially explosive, that would illuminate the duplicitous Iran relationship with Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda writ large.

Michael Pregent, a member of the DIA team that examined the documents, confirmed some of the revelations about Iran. As he put it,

The documents indicate that Iran facilitated the safe passage of al Qaeda operatives, provided safe houses during travel, and had an agreement in place—a you-don’t-mess-with-us-and-we-won’t-mess-with-you clause. The guaranteed safe passage through Iran into Afghanistan and Pakistan could only have been carried out by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps operatives.

The bin Laden documents have long been the subject of a behind-the-scenes battle between the White House and elements of the intelligence community. After an initial scrub of the documents in the months after the May 2011 raid in Abbottabad, the Obama administration let them sit untouched for as long as a year. When officials at the DIA and Central Command requested access to the collection to extract intelligence and provide it to war fighters, they were initially denied. And soon after the team from DIA and CENTCOM was given limited access to the documents, they were ordered to stop their exploitation. What they did see was illuminating.

Among the most significant were documents that shed new light on the complicated relationship between Iran and al Qaeda. Even the Obama administration has acknowledged the relationship. In 2011, the administration designated six al Qaeda operatives who were responsible for what officials described as al Qaeda’s lifeline. The network was based in Iran. “This network serves as the core pipeline through which al Qaeda moves money, facilitators, and operatives,” according to the Treasury Department’s designation. In an interview with The Weekly Standard at the time, a senior Obama administration official involved in the designation said, “Without this network, al Qaeda’s ability to recruit and collect funds would be severely damaged.”

David Cohen, then undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence and currently the deputy director of the CIA, told The Weekly Standard the intelligence on Iran’s support for al Qaeda was incontrovertible. “There is an agreement between the Iranian government and al Qaeda to allow this network to operate,” Cohen said. “There’s no dispute in the intelligence community on this.” Those conclusions were based, at least in part, on the bin Laden documents.

Contacted about the status of al Qaeda’s Iran network earlier this spring, two intelligence officials confirmed that it was still functioning and still critical to al Qaeda operations. That’s not all.

We are told that one document fills in the picture of possible Iranian foreknowledge and complicity in the 9/11 attacks first raised in the 9/11 Commission report, published in 2004. According to the report, al Qaeda detainees in U.S. custody

described the willingness of Iranian officials to facilitate the travel of al Qaeda members through Iran, on their way to and from Afghanistan. For example, Iranian border inspectors would be told not to place telltale stamps in the passports of these travelers. Such arrangements were particularly beneficial to Saudi members of al Qaeda. Our knowledge of the international travels of the al Qaeda operatives selected for the 9/11 operation remains fragmentary. But we now have evidence suggesting that 8 to 10 of the 14 Saudi “muscle” operatives traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.

The 9/11 Commission detailed much of that travel and reported:

There is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers. There also is circumstantial evidence that senior Hezbollah operatives were closely tracking the travel of some of these future muscle hijackers into Iran in November 2000.

The commission concluded: “We believe this topic requires further investigation by the U.S. government.”

The Obama administration does not want the bin Laden documents released. To date, the administration has made public fewer than 150 documents out of more than a million, despite a statutory requirement to expedite the release of the collection. Remarkably, members of Congress, including those on the intelligence committees, do not have access to the documents. Republicans in Congress share the blame for this. With the admirable exception of Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republicans have shown little interest in the documents and what they tell us about al Qaeda and, in this case, Iran. That’s inexcusable, but it’s not too late.

The administration claims that the documents have been translated and exploited. We’re skeptical—and so are our sources. But if the administration is right, it should be able to find and release immediately all documents related to Iran.

Highly credible senior intelligence officials who have seen the bin Laden documents say that the collection includes important information about al Qaeda and Iran. The White House has consistently blocked the release of that information. It will take concerted action by the leadership of Congress—in particular, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr along with Chairman Nunes—to wring this information out of the administration.

Not to demand these documents—not to insist on having access to them despite all the administration’s protestations and obfuscations, not to allow the American people to understand the whole truth about the Iranian regime with which the administration has negotiated this agreement—would be an abdication of responsibility on the part of Congress that history would judge harshly.

Deputy Hamas:.@browardsheriff makes excuses for why a leader of CAIR aka Hamas is his Deputy

Joe Kaufman//In response to this author’s article published in FrontPage Magazine last Friday about how CAIR leader Nezar Hamze is now a Deputy Sheriff at the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), Sheriff Scott Israel appeared on WFTL-Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman radio show to discuss the matter. On the show, Israel made a number of weak excuses as to why this has taken place. The following report will challenge these excuses, in an effort to expose this wrongdoing.

Since the beginning of this year, Sheriff Scott Israel has been hopping around from radical mosque to radical mosque, getting his smiling face photographed with a number of known Muslim extremists in South Florida. It turns out, during that time period, he has had his own Muslim extremist liaison to introduce him to those radical mosques, Nezar Hamze, the local head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and now Deputy Sheriff.

This past Friday, Sheriff Israel made an appearance on the Joyce Kaufman show, a popular local conservative radio program, to discuss the subject of Deputy Hamze and whether or not this author was right in stating that, due to Hamze’s background as a leader of a Hamas-associated group and other issues, he should not be eligible to serve as a Deputy Sheriff.

On the show, Sheriff Israel stated that Hamze’s application had been vetted, that “it was looked at from every angle that one would expect.”

But did those who were involved in the vetting process account for the fact that Hamze was at the time involved in a group widely known to be associated with terrorism, that group being CAIR?

CAIR was founded in June 1994 as being part of the American Palestine Committee, an umbrella organization acting as a terrorist enterprise run by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. Marzook is currently based in Egypt as the number two leader in Hamas. If it were not for Marzook, neither CAIR nor any of its local chapters would exist today.

One of CAIR’s siblings within the Palestine Committee was the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), then-U.S. financing arm of Hamas. When two federal trials took place against HLF, in 2007 and 2008, for the raising of millions of dollars for Hamas, CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department a co-conspirator for both. On its official website, under a photo of the World Trade Center in flames, CAIR had placed a link for its followers to donate funds directly to HLF. The link was perversely disguised as a fundraiser for victims of the September 11 attacks.

In a separate trial in 2007, federal prosecutors stated the following regarding CAIR: “Moreover, from its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists,” and “the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”

On Joyce Kaufman’s radio show, Sheriff Israel said that he was “very familiar with CAIR” and that he knew that CAIR was labeled a co-conspirator for the HLF trials, but he said that CAIR was “not listed on [sic] the FBI/Homeland Security as a terrorist organization.”

So what the Sheriff was saying is that, if a candidate for Deputy Sheriff is a leader of a group that is largely associated with a terrorist organization, such as Hamas – Hamas, a group incidentally that Hamze has repeatedly refused to denounce – but is not involved in the terrorist organization itself, he is still a potential candidate for the job.

At one point, Sheriff Israel said that the issue of CAIR shouldn’t even be part of the discussion regarding Hamze. He stated, “[T]his isn’t about CAIR. This isn’t about any organization. This is about the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Broward County.”

To the contrary, this is very much about CAIR and other troubling issues as well.

Another disturbing association of Hamze’s is his relationship with Miami Islamist Sofian Abdelaziz Zakkout. Zakkout, the Director of the American Muslim Association of North America (AMANA), is a devout follower of both Hamas and white supremacist David Duke. Zakkout’s Facebook page is littered with Hamas logos and photos of masked Hamas militants and Hamas leaders, as well as a number of links to David Duke interviews and videos. His YouTube page contains an image of Hitler and videos of Hamas militants building bombs and firing rockets.

Over a graphic of deceased Hamas leaders – including Hamas founders Ahmed Yassin and Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi – which Zakkout posted on Facebook this past February, he wrote the following violent threat in Arabic, “It is an obligation and it is mentioned in the Quran to defend the land and the population. It is an obligation to kill those who left our religion. It is an obligation to kill those who fight our religion and to intimidate our enemies and the enemies of the religion. Everything is from the Quran, not from me.” And he signed it, “Sofian.”

In July 2014, Zakkout organized a pro-Hamas rally held in Downtown Miami, where the crowd chanted loudly a number of anti-Jewish and pro-Hamas slogans. Zakkout is shown on video with a huge grin on his face, as his mob repeatedly screams, “We are Hamas.” The rally was co-sponsored by Hamze’s CAIR-Florida. Following the event, Zakkout wrote in Arabic on his Facebook page, “Thank God, every day we conquer the American Jews like our conquests over the Jews of Israel!”

In August 2013, at another CAIR-Florida sponsored event that was run by Zakkout, which was advertised as a rally to stop bloodshed and violence in Egypt and Syria, participants were featured wearing t-shirts and holding signs displaying the Muslim Brotherhood four-finger ‘Rabaa’ logo on them. One rally goer held up a photo of jailed Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and the logo have been banned by the Egyptian government for respectively being an institution and a symbol of terrorism.

Hamze and Zakkout have taken a number of photos together. One, which was posted by Zakkout on his Facebook page in February 2014, shows the two smiling with their arms around each other, with a caption that reads, “AMANA and CAIR united at ICNA event.”

ICNA or the Islamic Circle of North America has been involved in the financing of both Hamas and al-Qaeda and has used the web to promote a number of terrorist groups, including Hamas, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Taliban. ICNA conducts annual functions along with the Muslim American Society (MAS), a group that has been named (along with CAIR) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government list of international terrorist organizations.

In August 2006, ICNA’s main charity, ICNA Relief, was the top donor and partner to Pakistani charity Al Khidmat Foundation (AKF), at the same time AKF took a delegation to Damascus, Syria to hand deliver nearly $100,000 to then and current global Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal. Mashal thanked the group and said Hamas would continue to wage “jihad” (war) on the “Zionist yoke” (Israel). ICNA Relief continues to work directly with AKF overseas.

Photos show Hamze volunteering for ICNA Relief, in December 2013.

In 2012, Hamze began meetings at the Broward Sheriff’s Office and elsewhere under the guise of a group called Florida Muslim Congress, inviting into the Sheriff’s premises Zakkout and other South Florida Islamists to meet with the BSO but more like infiltrate the BSO. The group’s stated goal was “to help ordinary citizens understand terrorism laws and avoid being accidentally linked to extremists” (i.e. extremists such as themselves). The group was established during former Sheriff Al Lamberti’s tenure and continued with the blessing of Sheriff Israel.

Both Hamze’s group CAIR and Zakkout’s group AMANA share the same legal advisor, Muslim convert Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, who has also attended the Florida Muslim Congress meetings.

During the radio show, Sheriff Israel made the false comparison between a drug counselor, who used to be an addict, and Hamze. He stated, “It has been proven that the best drug counselors in the world are actually former addicts, who can relate, who can understand. So if you want to get these guys in a specific community, isn’t it the best thing to get people – tried and true people – who belong to that community, who that community will believe in?”

The reason why this is a false comparison is because Hamze never left his radical Islamic life. He is still a leader of CAIR, a group that tells Muslims suspected of criminal activity not to talk to the FBI. Hamze is the Regional Operations Director of CAIR-Florida. He still attends radical conferences. And he obviously has not broken ties with his friend Zakkout.

Nezar Hamze associates with Muslim extremists, and he is one himself. As such, contrary to what Sheriff Israel claims, Hamze will most likely either tip his friends off to any pending investigations or arrests or, at the very least, look the other way.

Sheriff Israel told the radio hostess that he “absolutely” knows the difference between radical Islam and ordinary Muslims, but nothing could be further from the truth.

In 2015 alone, Israel has been photographed with Zakkout; with Maulana Shafayat Mohamed who has been thrown off different Broward County boards for his bigotry against homosexuals; with attorney Khurrum Wahid who represents high-profile al-Qaeda terrorists and has himself been placed on a terror watch list; and with Abdur Rahman al-Ghani who is quoted as saying “Zionist/Israelis… are demonic and the most evil on earth” and “Allah has decreed we will overtake the world in numbers” and posted on Facebook that the CIA should be “wiped-out.”

On the radio show, Sheriff Israel also took the opportunity to play the ‘race card.’ He said that “as Sheriff, I have to be reflective of Broward County… We don’t discriminate. As a Jew, I don’t want to be discriminated against. We’re a color-blind organization. We make sure we treat people with dignity and respect.”

Neither this author nor the radio talk show hostess, who interviewed the Sheriff, ever stated that he should discriminate against Muslims. That said, Nezar Hamze is a leader of a group that is closely linked to the terrorist organization Hamas, the same Hamas that Hamze has, in the recent past, refused to denounce. As well, Hamze has associated and continues to associate with those who support terror and bigotry.

Refusing to hire someone like Hamze or releasing someone like Hamze would clearly not be a case of anti-Muslim discrimination. It is simply common sense.

Finally, during the interview, Sheriff Israel tried to shift potential blame for the hiring of Hamze to the previous Sheriff, Al Lamberti. At the beginning of the interview, he stated, “Deputy Hamze – this is very important – was first hired as a police cadet by former Sheriff Al Lamberti. He met this guy. He hired him. He paid for him to go through the police academy up in Palm Beach County.” And later, he stated, “And the Sheriff that I defeated brought him to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, so it wasn’t somebody that we went out and recruited.”

However, Sheriff Israel admitted, during the interview, that he personally hired Hamze to be Deputy Sheriff. He stated, “He Graduated from the police academy and applied for the Broward Sheriff’s Office. At the time he applied for the Sheriff’s Office, I had soundly defeated Lamberti; I was the Sheriff of Broward County, and I dealt with the application.” He later stated, “I approved his hiring.”

In the hiring of Hamze, while it never should have taken place, it matters little now whose fault that was. What matters now is that this wrong gets rectified.

CAIR leader Nezar Hamze is an Islamic extremist who cavorts with radical Muslim individuals and organizations. He should not be wearing a law enforcement uniform or badge, and he certainly should not be permitted to carry a gun. He should instead be investigated for his leadership in a group that is connected to terrorists overseas.

To allow him to continue to serve in the Broward Sheriff’s Office is an embarrassment and affront to the great institution of law enforcement and a threat to local and national security.

He must be removed from his position immediately.

If you wish to contact Sheriff Israel to discuss this matter, you can do so by sending an e-mail to: ask_the_sheriff@sheriff.org, or you can call the Broward Sheriff’s Office, at 954-764-4357. Please be respectful in any and all communications with this office.

Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.

Obama BFF’s in Turkey Uses ISIS as Excuse to Attack Kurds

  • It appears as if the Turkish government is using ISIS as a pretext to attack the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).
  • Turkey just announced that its air base at Incirlik will soon be open to coalition forces, presumably to fight ISIS. But the moment Turkey started bombing, it targeted Kurdish positions in Iraq, in addition to targeting ISIS positions in Syria.
  • In Turkey, millions of indigenous Kurds are continually terrorized and murdered, but ISIS terrorists can freely travel and use official border crossings to go to Syria and return to Turkey; they are even treated at Turkish hospitals.
  • If this is how the states that rule over Kurds treat them, why is there even any question as to whether the Kurds should have their own self-government?

Turkey’s government seems to be waging a new war against the Kurds, now struggling to get an internationally recognized political status in Syrian Kurdistan.

On July 24, Turkish media sources reported that Turkish jet fighters bombed Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) bases in Qandil, in Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria.

Turkey is evidently unsettled by the rapprochement the PKK seems to be establishing with the U.S. and Europe. Possibly alarmed by the PKK’s victories against ISIS, as well as its strengthening international standing, Ankara, in addition to targeting ISIS positions in Syria, has been bombing the PKK positions in the Qandil mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan, where the PKK headquarters are located.

There is no ISIS in Qandil.

As expected, many Turkish media outlets were more enthusiastic about the Turkish air force’s bombing the Kurdish militia than about bombing ISIS. “The camps of the PKK,” they excitedly reported, “have been covered with fire.”

It appears as if Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is using ISIS as a pretext to attack the PKK. Ankara just announced that its air base at Incirlik will soon be open to coalition forces, presumably to fight ISIS, but the moment Turkey started bombing, it targeted Kurdish positions. Those attacks not only open a new era of death and destruction, but also bring an end to all possibilities of resolving Turkey’s Kurdish issue non-violently.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that

“a second wave operation against Daesh [ISIS] in Syria was started. Just after that, a very comprehensive operation was carried out against the camps of the terrorist organization PKK in northern Iraq. I am glad that the targets were hit with great success. We have given instructions to start a third wave operation in Syria and a second wave operation in Iraq.”

The “great success” of the Turkish military has brought much damage and injury to even Kurdish civilians — including children. The Kurdish newspaper Rudaw reported that two Kurdish villagers in Duhok’s Berwari region were carried to hospital in the aftermath of a Turkish artillery bombardment in the Amediye region. One of the victims was 12 years old. The second victim lost a leg in an airstrike. Four members of the PKK were killed and several others were injured.

Shortly after military operations against the PKK started, access to the websites of pro-Kurdish newspapers and news agencies was denied “by decree of court.” These websites — including Fırat News Agency (ANF), Dicle News Agency (DIHA), Hawar News Agency (ANHA), Ozgur Gundem newspaper, Yuksekova News, Rudaw and BasNews — are still blocked in Turkey.

ISIS, meanwhile, has not so far made any statement regarding Turkey’s so-called bombings of ISIS in any of its media outlets.

Had the Turkish military attacked the PKK alone, and not in addition to attacking ISIS, it would probably have received widespread international condemnation. So to add “legitimacy” to its attacks against the Kurdish PKK — whose affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing, the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) have been resisting ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups since 2013 — Turkey declared that it will also attack ISIS. This would give it cover for its attacks against Kurdish fighters.

In 2014, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the plan he wanted to carry out in Syria and Iraq: “The problem in Syria should be taken into account. Iraq too should be considered similarly. Moreover, there needs to be a solution that will also deal with the Syrian wing [PYD] of the separatist terrorist organization [PKK].”

The AKP government, dissatisfied with the results of last month’s parliamentary elections, also seems to want to hold new elections, to push the mainly Kurdish HDP Party below the required 10% threshold, and thus force them out of parliament. Perhaps the government thinks that bombing the PKK will generate Turkish nationalist enthusiasm that will work in the AKP’s favor to help it regain a majority in early elections.

Apparently, Turkey does not need Kurdish deputies in its parliament. Apparently, the state prefers to slaughter or arrest the Kurds — as it has done for decades. Why hold talks and reach a democratic resolution when you have the power to murder people wholesale?[1]

Sadly, Turkey has preferred not to form a “Turkish-Kurdish alliance” to destroy ISIS. First, Turkey has opened its borders to ISIS, enabling the growth of the terrorist group. And now, at the first opportunity, it is bombing the Kurds again. According to this strategy, “peace” will be possible only when Kurds submit to Turkish supremacism and abandon their goal of being an equal nation.

In the meantime, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish minister of foreign affairs, said that the Incirlik air base in Turkey has not yet been opened for use by the U.S. and other coalition forces, but that it will be opened in the upcoming period.

Kurdish forces, therefore, are the only forces that are truly resisting the Islamic State.

They have been repressed by Baghdad and murdered by Turkey and Iran.

If this is how the states that rule over Kurds treat them, why is there even any question as to whether the Kurds should have their own self-government?

As a result of the ISIS attacks in the region, the Kurdish PKK — as well as its Syrian Kurdish affiliate, Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) — have emerged as the America’s most effective battlefield partners against ISIS. Ever since ISIS became a major force in Syria, the U.S. has apparently relied heavily on YPG to stop ISIS from advancing. According to Henri Barkey, a former State Department specialist on Turkey, “The U.S. has become the YPG’s air force and the YPG has become the U.S.’s ground force in Syria.”

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Attacks on the Kurds were already under way last week. On July 20, a bomb attack in the Kurdish town of Suruc (Pirsus) in Turkey killed 32 people during a meeting of young humanitarian activists, who were discussing the reconstruction of the neighboring Kurdish town of Kobane.

The scene of the suicide bombing in Suruc, Turkey. An ISIS suicide bomber murdered 32 people and wounded more than 100 others in a July 20 attack on Kurdish humanitarian activists. (Image source: VOA video screenshot)

The blast took place while the activists were making a statement to the press in the garden of a cultural center. At least 100 others, mostly university students, were wounded. (Graphic video of the explosion)

The suicide bomber was identified through DNA testing, according to reports in the Turkish news media. Seyh Abdurrahman Alagoz was reportedly a 20-year-old Turkish university student, recently returned from Syria, and believed to have had ties to ISIS.

Alagoz targeted a meeting 300 secular activists, members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF), who gathered at a cultural center in the province of Urfa, opposite the Kurdish town of Kobane in Syrian Kurdistan. As part of an effort to rebuild Kobane, they were preparing to provide aid, give toys to the children there and build a hospital, school, nursery, children’s park, library and a memorial forest for those who had lost their lives in Kobane.

“Work on the building of hospitals and schools needs to be done,” Oguz Yuzgec, the co-president of the federation, said before the explosion. “One of the things we will do is to build a children’s park in Kobane. We will name it after Emre Aslan, who died fighting in Kobane. We are collecting toys. We will participate in the construction of the nursery that the canton of Kobane is planning to build. We have the responsibility of helping the nursery function. We need everybody who knows how to draw and can teach children.”

Mazlum Demirtas, a survivor of the attack, said: “The main one responsible for this incident is the state of Turkey, the AKP fascism, the AKP dictatorship. … It attacked us with its gunmen and gangs. Since yesterday, parents have been collecting the dismembered body parts of their children. They are trying to identify the dismembered bodies. This is called fascism, inhumanity and barbarity.”

Pinar Gayip, another survivor of the attack, said in a telephone interview on the pro-government Haberturk TV that, “Instead of helping the wounded, the murderer-police of the murderer-AKP threw tear gas at the vehicles with which we carried the wounded.” She was taken off the air.

All across Turkish Kurdistan, there were protests condemning the massacre and the government’s alleged involvement in it. Police in Istanbul used plastic bullets and water cannons against people who gathered to remember those murdered in Suruc.

The Turkish authorities briefly blocked access to Twitter last Wednesday to prevent the people from viewing photos of the bombing in Suruc. Officials admitted that Turkey had asked Twitter to remove 107 URLs (web addresses) with images related to the bombing; before the ban, Twitter had already removed 50.

Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Party (HDP), said that state surveillance activities were intensive in Suruc, and that the intelligence service was recording the identity of everyone traveling to and from Suruc.

As Demirtas’s own convoy had recently not been permitted to enter Suruc, he emphasized the extent of state surveillance in the town, and said that nobody could argue that someone could have managed to infiltrate the crowd and carry out the suicide attack without state support.

“Today, we have witnessed in Suruc yet again what an army of barbarity and rape, an army that has lost human dignity, can do,” Demirtas said. “Those who have been silent in the face of ISIS, who have not dared even raise their voice to it, as well as the officials in Ankara who threaten even the HDP every day but caress the head of ISIS, are the accomplices of this barbarity.”

In the meantime, Mehmet Gormez, the head of the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), announced on its Twitter account that the perpetrators of the Suruc attack do not have religion.

However, three days before the massacre in Suruc, about 100 Islamists — alleged to be ISIS sympathizers — had performed mass Islamic Eid prayers in Istanbul. They demanded Islamic sharia law instead of democracy. ISIS sympathizers had performed the same Eid prayers at the same place the year before, as well.

Over the border in Syrian Kurdistan, shortly after the blast in Suruc, a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at a checkpoint in Kobane. Two Kurdish fighters were killed in the explosion, according to Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Last month, a deadly blast hit the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir in Turkey, during an election rally of the pro-Kurdish HDP that was attended by tens of thousands of people. Just before the HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas was going to speak, two bombs exploded at different places. Four people were killed, and more than 100 people are estimated to have been wounded. One of the wounded, Lisa Calan, 28, a Kurdish art director from Diyarbakir, lost both legs in the explosion.

As the wounded were being carried to hospitals, police used tear gas against people trying to run from the area in panic

The bomber was reported to be a member of ISIS.

* * *

In Turkey, millions of indigenous Kurds are continually terrorized and murdered, while ISIS terrorists can freely travel and use official border crossings to go to Syria and return to Turkey; they are even treated at Turkish hospitals. Emrah Cakan, for instance, a Turkish-born ISIS commander wounded in Syria, got medical treatment at the university hospital in Turkey’s Denizli province in March.

The Denizli governor’s office issued a written statement on 5 March:

“The treatment of Emrah C. at the Denizli hospital was started upon his own application. The procedural acts concerning his injury were conducted by our border city during his entry to our country and they still continue. And his treatment procedures continue as a part of his right to benefit from health services just like all our other citizens have.”

The “compassion” and hospitality that many Turkish institutions have for ISIS members is not even hidden. The silence of the West is mystifying and disappointing.

The U.S. government cooperates with oppressive regimes — including the terrorist regime of Iran, under which Kurds are forced to live — to the detriment of the Kurds, to the detriment other persecuted peoples, and to the detriment of the future of the West.

Many Middle Eastern regimes are ruled by Islamist, often genocidal governments — so there is not much to expect from them in terms of human rights and liberties.

The Kurds need real support, real arms and real recognition. Otherwise, there does not seem to be much difference between the dictatorial, genocidal Middle Eastern regimes and the West, which used to represent democracy and freedom.

Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.


[1] The so-called “peace process” was reportedly started in 2012 and through it, Kurds and the Turkish government were to resolve the Kurdish issue through negotiations.)

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

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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