Oil produced from fields under the control of the Islamic State group is at the heart of a new investigation by al-Araby al-Jadeed. The black gold is extracted, transported and sold, providing the armed group with a vital financial lifeline.
But who buys it? Who finances the murderous brutality that has taken over swathes of Iraq and Syria? How does it get from the ground to the petrol tank, and who profits along the way?
The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five million civilians.
Paris Match: Mr. President, three years into this war, and considering how things have turned out, do you regret that you haven’t managed things differently at the beginning, with the appearance of the first signs of the revolution in March 2011? Do you feel that you are responsible for what happened?
Bashar el Assad: Even in the first days of the events, there were martyrs from the army and the police; so, since the first days of this crisis we have been facing terrorism. It is true that there were demonstrations, but they were not large in number. In such a case, there is no choice but to defend your people against terrorists. There’s no other choice. We cannot say that we regret fighting terrorism since the early days of this crisis. However, this doesn’t mean that there weren’t mistakes made in practice. There are always mistakes. Let’s be honest: had Qatar not paid money to those terrorists at that time, and had Turkey not supported them logistically, and had not the West supported them politically, things would have been different. If we in Syria had problems and mistakes before the crisis, which is normal, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the events had internal causes.
Paris Match: Your army is blamed for its excessive use of force during this war. Why are civilians shelled?
Bashar el Assad : When a terrorist attacks you with weapons, how do you defend yourself and your people, with dialogue?! The army uses weapons when the other side uses them. For us in Syria, it is impossible to have our objective as shelling civilians. There’s no reason to shell civilians. If we are killing civilians, in other words killing our people, fighting terrorists at the same time, and fighting the states which stand against us and which support terrorists, like the Gulf countries, Turkey, and the West, how could we stand for four years? If we haven’t been defending the people, we wouldn’t have been able to stand all this pressure. Consequently, saying that we are shelling civilians doesn’t make any sense.
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On April 24, 1915 the Turkish genocide of Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians began very simply, without pomp and circumstance. “We have made a clean sweep of the Armenians and Assyrians of Azerbaijan.” Those were the words of Djevdet Bey, the governor of Van Province in Ottoman Turkey, who on April 24, 1915 lead 20,000 Turkish soldiers and 10,000 Kurdish irregulars in the opening act of the genocide of Assyrians, Armenians and Pontic Greeks. In three short years, 750,000 Assyrians (75%) would be killed, 1.5 million Armenians and 500,000 Greeks.
On April 24 Assyrians, Greeks and Armenians will commemorate the 99th anniversary of the genocide with vigils, church services, lectures, demonstrations and personal reflection.
Much progress in recognizing the genocide has been made throughout the world since 1915. Many states officially recognize the Armenian genocide. Australia and Sweden have officially recognized the Assyrian genocide — called Seyfo (sword) in Assyrian. The International Genocide Scholars Association Officially Recognized the Assyrian and Greek Genocides (AINA 2007-12-15
But recognition for the genocide by the most important country has not been made. Turkey has not only denied the genocide, but has actively worked to block its recognition throughout the world. In February, 2013 the Turkish EU minister Egemen Bagis compared the Assyrian genocide with the act of masturbation (AINA 2013-02-26).
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LONDON — LAST week, President Obama virtually declared war on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But it is hard to reconcile the seemingly urgent need to confront the threat posed by this organization with the chosen means of doing so.
By opting to support the “moderate” Syrian opposition and running the risk of an open confrontation with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the West appears to be primarily appeasing Arab Persian Gulf allies that have turned the overthrow of Mr. Assad into a policy fetish that runs against any rational calculation of how to defeat Islamist terrorism.
The persistent belief in Western policy circles that there is a “moderate opposition” in Syria — reiterated at the close of a NATO summit meeting in Wales on Sept. 5 — warrants serious scrutiny. The very notion of a “vetted” opposition has an absurd ring to it. It assumes that moderation is an identifiable, fixed element that can be sorted out from other, tainted characteristics. It further presumes that the vetting process will not stain those being vetted. It takes as a given that Western-backed opposition will prevail and in turn provide the basis for a happier and better Syria.
There is little to support any of these beliefs. The most effective forces on the ground today — and for the foreseeable future — are decidedly nonmoderate. This is not primarily because the West has let down the Syrian opposition, but because the conflict now sweeping through the Levant is grounded in elements that have little to do with the presumed struggle between moderation and extremism.
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The following is an interview of Osama bin Laden’s personal guard, Nabil Na’eem Abul Fattah. Na’eem tells Lebanon’s Asian News Agency in an interview that not only is the leader of Al-Qaeda, his former colleague Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a US double agent working on behalf of the interests of Washington, but that the leader of Jabhat Al-Nusra is a US agent fighting inside Syria.
Narmeen Saleh read her testimony at a parliamentary meeting in London held on Tuesday 11 March 2014, No Woman is Safe, organised by Tadhamun, Iraqi Women’s Solidarity, on Iraq’s female prisoners. This is a slightly edited version of the original statement.
My name is Narmeen Saleh Al-Rubaye. I am a 27-year old Iraqi born Swedish national. I am the mother of 8-year old Zainab…
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Almost three years after the Arab Spring began its region-wide sweep – ostensibly in search of democratic change – scant attention has been paid to one of its most dangerous consequences: the fraying of borders.
Weapons, militias, foreign Special Forces, smugglers, gangs and crooks now regularly traverse borders from the Levant to the Maghreb to the Persian Gulf. And these territorial infractions across Yemen, Libya, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and other states will inhibit prospects for “democracy” more than any single development in the region.
The logic? Very simply, this: If you don’t have territorial integrity, you don’t have a “state.” If you don’t have a state, you cannot build institutions. If you don’t have institutions, you will never have representative government.