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.
And the moderates have enough missiles, thank you USA. And more bullets than the Dutch army.
Before we forget, there are sane politicians in the US.
I can’t embed this so you have to watch the original.
Have to watch if you want to know anything about Syria.
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.
More here >> Paris Match
The sudden reversion of Washington to a ‘war on terror’ pretext for intervention in Syria has confused western audiences. For three years they watched ‘humanitarian intervention’ stories, which poured contempt on the Syrian President’s assertion that he was fighting foreign backed terrorists. Now the US claims to be leading the fight against those same terrorists.
Why Syrians support Bashar al Assad
By Tim Anderson
But what do Syrians think, and why do they continue to support a man the western powers have claimed is constantly attacking and terrorising ‘his own people’? To understand this we must consider the huge gap between the western caricature of Bashar al Assad the ‘brutal dictator’ and the popular and urbane figure within Syria.
If we believed most western media reports we would think President Assad has launched repeated and indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, including the gassing of children. We might also think he heads an ‘Alawi regime’, where a 12% minority represses a Sunni Muslim majority, crushing a popular ‘revolution’ which, only recently, has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists.
The central problem with these portrayals is Bashar’s great popularity at home. The fact that there is popular dissatisfaction with corruption and cronyism, and that an authoritarian state maintains a type of personality cult, does not negate the man’s genuine popularity. His strong win in Syria’s first multi-candidate elections in June dismayed his regional enemies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey; but it did not stop their aggression.
Read full article here >>
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).
Full article here >>>
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.
The attack took place shortly after the first stirrings of trouble in the southern Syrian city of Daraa in March 2011. Several old Russian-made military trucks packed with Syrian security forces rolled onto a hard slope on a valley road between Daraa al-Mahata and Daraa al-Balad. Unbeknownst to the passengers, the sloping road was slick with oil poured by gunmen waiting to ambush the troops.
Brakes were pumped as the trucks slid into each other, but the shooting started even before the vehicles managed to roll to a stop. According to several different opposition sources, up to 60 Syrian security forces were killed that day in a massacre that has been hidden by both the Syrian government and residents of Daraa.
Explains one Daraa native: “At that time, the government didn’t want to show they are weak and the opposition didn’t want…
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Just a reminder of something a lot of us said from the beginning.
I post this now because the same script seems to have been used in Ukraine. In both cases the “peaceful protesters” were armed and used their weapons first.
Full translation of Father Frans’s January 2012 report from Homs.
Report from Father van der Lugt on the Situation in Homs
We owe it to the citizens of Syria to be nuanced. Otherwise, their struggle is lost.
There are many people here that sincerely believe that we can go further with this [i.e. the current Syrian] government, that it is capable of implementing reforms (see the president’s latest speech) and that it is perhaps more democratic than possible replacements.
Most of the citizens of Syria do not support the opposition. Even a country like Qatar has stated this following an opinion survey. Therefore, you also cannot say that this is a popular uprising. The majority of people are not part of the rebellion and certainly not part of the armed rebellion. What is occurring is, above all, a struggle between the army and armed Sunni groups that aim to overturn the Alawite regime and take power.
From the start the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.
UPDATE: In some countries none of the below will load. As a work around you can use: http://126.96.36.199/index_eng.html
Maybe you have noticed that links on Twitter to the Syrian newssite SANA don’t open. This often happens on Twitter when people use the tweetbutton on the site. Problem is the link in the button points to http://www.sana.sy/eng/ while the siteadmin did not make an alias for the www. to the host sana.sy/eng/ .
This you get when pushing the tweetbutton:
So just remove the “www.” in the link and you will get this:
Push the tweet button and the link will work.
P.S. this is also a problem with other SANA links for example in the bio.
Een man die op twitter beweert dat hij de uit Almere afkomstige jihadist Khalid K. is, heeft een week geleden een foto gepost van zichzelf terwijl hij het afgesneden en bebloede hoofd omhoog houdt van een onbekende man.
De foto is gruwelijk en is zichtbaar onder aan deze blog entry. U dient dus eerst even goed na te denken of u het aankunt om naar beneden te scrollen en de foto te bekijken.
Deze informatie werd me vanavond meegedeeld door Pieter van Ostaeyen, een Arabist die veel onderzoek doet naar radicale Islamisten. Van Ostaeyen’s twitter-handle is: @p_vanostaeyen. U doet er goed aan om hem te volgen.
Het verhaal begint als volgt:
Volgens dit artikel op de website van de NOS (http://nos.nl/artikel/424360-irakees-uit-almere-vecht-in-syrie.html) vecht er een jihadist uit Almere mee in Syrië. Deze jihadist zou Khalid K heten. Hoe kennen we de naam van Khalid K? Wel, hij heeft in…
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Aired on BBC Arabic in April 2012 (SUBBED)
Text copy/ paste from the source:
On 23.March.2011, the Syrian National TV broadcast a video-report about seized weapons in “Al-Omari” mosque in the city of Daraa, just a few days after the beginning of the unrest.
At that time, the entire world accused the Syrian government of fabricating the report. However after more than one year, here they are admitting that the terrorists of Daraa stored weapons in “Al-Omari” mosque. BBC held an interview with “Anwar Al-Eshki”, a Saudi Ex-Military (Major General) and now president of “Center for Strategic studies” in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He reveals information about the first days in the Syrian crisis, and he even confirms his connections with the leader of the so-called “Free Syrian Army”. They have become so rude and confident, so they admit everything publicly.
The blind sheikh mentioned here is “Ahmad Al-Sayasinah”, he used to incite the people against the government. He was arrested by the Syrian security and released later. He left to Jordan then Saudi Arabia. </end of copy & paste>
SANA (report is offline but I found a small piece of text about the event on a none english website and tried to translate it) reported at 23.March 2011 that “On wednesday morning an armed group attacked an medical team near the “Al-Omari Mosque” in Daraa. They killed the doctor, a paramedic and the driver. They also killed a member of the security forces….the stored weapons are among others handgrenades, machine guns and Kalashnikovs.”
Extremist Islamic rebels who overran a village in central Syria populated by the Alawite minority have killed at least 40 people, activists said Monday.
The report on the attack on the village of Maan in the central Hama province came as the Syrian Red Crescent was trying to get a cease-fire in the besieged city of Homs extended so it could deliver more aid and evacuate more people from the area.
Half of the victims in the attack, which occurred on Sunday, were civilians, including women, while the other half were village fighters defending their homes, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Syrian state media described the attack as a “massacre” perpetrated by terrorists, a term the government uses for rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.
Islamic extremists, including foreign fighters and Syrian rebels who have taken up hard-line al-Qaida-style ideologies , have played an increasingly prominent role among the rebel fighters fighting forces loyal to Assad, who is a member of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
International mass media paint the situation in Syria as a never-ending Sunni-Shia feud and hatred towards President Assad. But somehow they keep silent on how thousands of Sunnis have found friends in the Shia-dominated Lebanese regions.
Instead, they say Sunni support for Syrian government is a result of Assad propaganda.
The Sunni refugees from Syria prove the international media wrong. Their experience shows that the Shia treat Sunnis as friends, while foreign militants stoke religious hatred and bring along nothing but devastation.
None of the refugees I talked to was a civil servant. All these people’s homes and lives were destroyed by the war.
Some had initially sympathized with the revolution, but as things went on, they changed their minds. Propaganda tells them to despise the Syrian government and the Shia, and to welcome the rebels, their liberators. But these people see the Syrian army as liberators and they are thankful to the Shia.
“Of course our relations with the Shia are good – how else can it be given that we have fled to join them?”
Nine months ago Khadijah Zahra, 35, fled from Bustan al-Qasr, an Aleppo suburb, with four kids. Her husband was waiting for her in Lebanon, in the north of Bekaa village, a Shia territory.
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