"And I have found both freedom and safety in my madness, the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us. But let me not be too proud of my safety. Even a Thief in a jail is safe from another thief. "

Khalil Gibran (How I Became a Madman)

Lübnan Marunîleri / Yasin Atlıoğlu


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Syrian jets bomb border region with Lebanon- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Syrian warplanes were seen hovering above the border region before striking militant hideouts along the eastern frontier with Lebanon, the National News Agency said.
There were no reports of casualties or material damage.

Trapped UN peacekeepers clash with Syrian rebels in Golan: minister- Al-Akhbar

Philippine UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights clashed with Syrian rebels Saturday, Defense Minister Voltaire Gazmin said in Manila.
He said in an SMS statement to reporters that the Filipino troops had been "extricated" from one of their two positions but added that another group of Filipino soldiers "is now under attack."
He was referring to two positions on the Golan Heights where more than 70 Filipino troops had previously been surrounded by Syrian rebels.
The peacekeepers were besieged by rebels on Thursday but defied demands that they give up their weapons. On Friday Syrian fighters took 43 Fijian soldiers hostage on the Golan Heights.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Syria conflict: UN says more than 3m have fled war- BBC News

More than three million Syrians are now registered as refugees and the desperate crisis is only getting worse, the UN's refugee agency says.
The UNHCR says Syria is now "the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era" with almost half of all Syrians forced to flee their homes.
The majority of refugees have fled to countries neighbouring Syria, with most now seeking shelter in Lebanon.
More than 190,000 have been killed in Syria's three-year civil war.
Opposition groups in Syria have been fighting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad since his government violently suppressed protests against his rule in March 2011.
The situation has been worsened in recent months by the formation and advance of the Islamic State group, which now controls large swathes of Syria and Iraq.

Obama's no 'strategy yet' comment on ISIS in Syria sparks a political uproar- CNN

President Barack Obama has ignited fresh conservative criticism by saying "we don't have a strategy yet" for airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

Republicans immediately jumped on the President's comment during a news conference Thursday by saying it proved their longstanding complaint that his foreign policy failed to seriously respond to the terrorist threat from Sunni jihadists in the Syrian civil war.

Report: ISIS ‘waterboarded’ Syria captives- Al-Arabiya

While U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reiterated his condemnation of yet another crime by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Friday, the Washington Post reported that at least four Western hostages held by the militant group were waterboarded.
The hostages including murdered American journalist James Foley were waterboarded in the early part of their captivity in Syria, The Washington Post said Thursday.

Foley, whose recent execution at the hands of the extremists provoked revulsion, and the other kidnapped Westerners were waterboarded “several times,” the newspaper said, citing people familiar with their treatment.

Sources involved in trying to free the hostages have confirmed to AFP that waterboarding was used on at least one hostage.

Hezbollah: Libya responsible for neglecting Sadr’s case- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Hezbollah Friday blamed the Libyan governments that succeeded Moammar Gadhafi for neglecting the case of the missing Shiite Imam Musa Sadr.
“The crime of Imam Musa Sadr’s disappearance is the responsibility of the criminal that has committed it, whose page has been closed by history forever,” said the statement, in reference to the late Gadhafi.
“And [responsibility] also falls on the Libyan governments that succeeded the revolution in the country, who also have not taken any action yet,” added the statement, that was released prior to the 36th anniversary of Sadr’s disappearance.
Describing Sadr as the “Imam of resistance, dialogue, openness and moderation,” Hezbollah’s statement said his stands and principles were particularly needed nowadays.

Syrian Army Kills 15 Terrorists in Qalamoun, Advances in Jobar- Al-Manar

The Syrian army ambushed Friday a group of terrorists on Flita barrens in Qalamoun, killing 15 and injuring dozens of them, according to Al-Manar reporter.

The Syrian army units continued operations in Jobar and the areas surrounding it in eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside, destroying several tunnels with the terrorists inside and establishing control over building blocks, SANA reported.


44 Fijian Soldiers Held Captive by Rebels in Syria- ABC News

Forty-four Fijian soldiers working as U.N. peacekeepers remained captive to a militant group in Syria on Friday while 75 Philippine soldiers were in tense standoff with the rebels, according to the two Pacific nations.
Both nations remained hopeful the impasse could be resolved without bloodshed.
Fijian Commander Brig. Gen. Mosese Tikoitoga said he's been informed his soldiers are unharmed, although he hasn't been able to contact them directly. Philippines President Benigno Aquino III said that while the situation was tense, there was no reason to believe his troops faced immediate danger.
The events began Thursday morning on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, an area divided between Israel and Syria.
Tikoitoga said three vehicles filled with about 150 armed rebels converged on the Fijian camp at about 7:30 a.m.
He said the rebels demanded the Fijian soldiers leave within 10 minutes and insisted they board the rebel vehicles. The Fijians were then taken by the rebels to an unknown location. He said he's been told they were later transported back to their original post.

How would airstrikes impact Syria's humanitarian crisis?- CBS News

President Obama's impending decision over whether to launch military strikes in Syria to stop the spread of Islamic extremists is clearly complicated. The U.S. is no friend to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but in its efforts to stop the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the administration may choose to tacitly assist the Assad regime.

The political and security considerations in Syria are complex and troubling enough for the U.S. But as the administration weighs its options, it must also consider the devastatingly bleak humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

You Can't Understand ISIS If You Don't Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia- Huffington Post

BEIRUT -- The dramatic arrival of Da'ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed -- and horrified -- by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia's ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, "Don't the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?"
It appears -- even now -- that Saudi Arabia's ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite "fire" with Sunni "fire"; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da'ish's strict Salafist ideology.
Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan -- please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.
Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da'ish (ISIS) -- and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia's direction and discourse.

Ban, Security Council deplore detention of UN peacekeepers in Golan- UN News Centre

28 August 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council today strongly condemned the detention of United Nations peacekeepers serving in the Golan amid increased fighting in the area between Syrian Government forces and armed elements, and demanded their immediate release.
The 43 Fijian peacekeepers from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) weredetained by armed elements of the opposition in the vicinity of Al Qunaytirah, according to the world body.
Another 81 peacekeepers are currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban called for the immediate release of the detained peacekeepers, as well as for the immediate lifting of the restrictions on the movement of the Force.
The Security Council made a similar call in a press statement: “The members of the Security Council demanded the unconditional and immediate release of all the detained United Nations peacekeepers and called upon all parties to cooperate with UNDOF in good faith to enable it to operate freely and to ensure full security of its personnel.

U.S. seeks coalition against Islamic State, but military partners no sure bet- Reuters

(Reuters) - The United States is intensifying its push to build an international campaign against Islamic State jihadist fighters in Iraq and Syria, including recruiting partners for potential joint military action, Obama administration officials said on Wednesday.

Britain and Australia are potential candidates, U.S. officials said. Germany said it was in talks with the United States and other international partners about possible military action against Islamic State but made clear it would not participate.

"We are going to work politically and diplomatically with folks in the region," President Barack Obama told reporters on Thursday. "And we're going to cobble together the kind of coalition that we need for a long-term strategy as soon as we are able to fit together the military, political and economic components of that strategy."

Islamic State Expands: Up to 100,000 People Have Joined, Experts Say- Mashable

The Islamic State, the radical group which has cut a bloody path through Syria and Iraq in recent months, slaying civilians and security forces, and executing the American journalist James Foley on camera, has even more followers than previously believed, according to Iraqi security sources.

While western diplomats and other observers have estimated the number of militants number between 20,000 to 50,000, Hisham al-Hashimi, a security expert in Baghdad, said that the total membership of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria may now be closer to 100,000 members.


Experts: ISIS makes up to $3 million daily in oil sales- Al-Arabiya

Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are making an estimated $3 million a day by selling crude oil captured from Iraq and Syria in black markets, experts say.
ISIS militants have seized a number of oilfields in Iraq and Syria over the past few months, and are now selling crude oil to finance their self-declared “caliphate.”
Analysts suggest that oil from areas under ISIS control is being sold at less than half of its international prices.
Iraqi oil industry officials estimate that ISIS raises more than $2 million a day form crude oil sails.
But U.S. estimations suggest the militant group makes is cashing in about $3 million a day.

Salam slams hostage crisis coverage as ‘shameful’- The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Tammam Salam launched a scathing attack at politicians and the media for “shamefully” politicizing the Arsal hostage crisis, warning that their irresponsible words and actions could further endanger the soldiers and policemen.
“There have been statements by some politicians and others that only result in tensions and do not help us in confronting the dangerous, imminent security threat that is facing the entire region ... and Lebanon,” Salam, surrounded by reporters, said Wednesday after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri to discuss the issue.
“These kidnapped soldiers are our sons ... because they headed to Arsal, placing their lives at risk, to confront this terror that has no religion, not for a certain group, sect or religion.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How Did The Taqba Airbase Fall To The Islamic State?- Al-Masdar News

Many reports have surfaced since the fall of Tabqa Airbase, including pictures by the Islamic State media depicting the capture and execution of Syrian Arab Army soldiers at the base. After thoroughly examining the events that took place on August 24th; it left a great deal of ambiguity for the author: why did reinforcements arrive and why did they evacuate the same troops the next day?
The information regarding Tabqa Airbase was not clear and the many reports issued by different news outlets had varying numbers of dead SAA soldiers. Some claimed as many as 500 soldiers were killed during the battle, others as low as 150. According to a source, 34 confirmed soldiers were killed prior to the capture of Tabqa Airbase; another 42 were killed during the evacuation, with 46 soldiers left at the airbase. The 46 were believed to have been summarily executed by Islamic State militants.
How did this happen?
According to a military source, the Syrian Arab Army Central Command deployed Special Forces on August 22nd to assist in securing the M-42 Highway leading to the city of Salamiyyah in the Hama Governate. The SAA was successful in ambushing the Islamic State in the southwest corner of the base, killing a large number of militants in the process.
After news of the SAA’s success; it is believed that Sheikh Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi ordered his men to abandon their posts in east Homs in order to reinforce troops at Tabqa Airbase. Soon, contingents from Deir ez-Zor and Homs poured into the Ar-Raqqa Governate, helping to reinforce the militants in the southeast corridor of the base.
The number of Islamic State fighters was overwhelming, with some reports indicating up to 2,000 militants besieged the airbase at one time. While, it is not confirmed, the Syrian Arab Army Central Command had two choices: evacuate the men from the airbase or stay and fight, risking the possibility of losing more soldiers. On this same day, Syrian State Television filmed the men at Tabqa Airbase, depicting high morale and strong fortifications. Perhaps, unbeknownst to them, the SAA troops were preparing for an early morning evacuation.
The Evacuation:
The plan was set in four waves, allowing for the men to evacuate safely and efficiently from Tabqa Airbase. Approximately 240 soldiers had successfully exited the base, heading west to Salamiyyah on the M-42. Violent firefights erupted during the third wave, as the Islamic State exposed a weakness in the SAA’s defenses on the eastern front. Many soldiers were unable to leave the base, forcing them to take up permanent positions to combat the large Islamic State contingents.

President al-Assad issues decree no. 273 on forming the new government- SANA

Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad issues decree no. 273 on forming the new Syrian
As per the decree, the government is formed as follows:
Dr. Wael Nader al-Halaqi, Prime Minister.
General Fahed Jassem al-Freij, Minister of Defense.
Walid al-Moallem, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister.
Omar Ibrahim Ghalawanji, Deputy Prime Minister for Services Affairs, Minister of Local Administration.
Dr. Mohammad Abdelsattar al-Sayyed, Minister of Religious Endowments.
Mansour Fadlallah Azzam, Presidential Affairs Minister.
Lt. Gen. Mohammad Ibrahim al-Sha’ar, Interior Minister.
Imad Mohammad Deeb Khamis, Electricity Minister.
Dr. Hazwan al-Waz, Education Minister.
Omran Ahed al-Zoubi, Information Minister.
Najm Hamad al-Ahmad, Justice Minister.
Hussein Arnous, Public Works Minister.
Ahmad al-Qadiri, Agriculture and Agrarian Reform Minister.
Sleiman al-Abbas, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister.
Dr. Ismail Ismail, Finance Minister.
Dr. Kinda al-Shammat, Social Affairs Minister.
Kamal Eddin Taameh, Industry Minister.
Bishr Riyad al-Yazigi, Tourism Minister.
Dr. Humam al-Jazaeri, Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade.
Dr. Mohammad Amer Mardini, Higher Education Minister.
Dr. Mohammad Ghazi al-Jalali, Communications and Technology Minister.
Dr. Kamal al-Sheikha, Water Resources Minister.
Dr. Hassan al-Nouri, Administrative Development Minister.
Mohammad Walid Ghazal, Housing and Urban Development Minister.
Dr. Khalaf Sleiman al-Abdullah, Labor Minister.
Dr. Ghazwan Kheir Bek, Transport Minister.
Dr. Nizar Wehbe Yazigi, Health Minister.
Hassan Safiye, Internal Trade and Consumer Protection Minister.
Issam Khalil, Culture Minister.
Dr. Ali Haidar, State Minister for National Reconciliation Affairs.
Dr. Nazira Serkis, State Minister for Environment Affairs.
Abdullah Khalil Hussein, State Minister.
Jamal Shaaban Shahin, State Minister.
Hassib Elias Shammas, State Minister.
Dr. Mohammad Muti’a Moayyad, State Minister.

What weapons has Islamic State seized at Tabqa?- Channel 4

The militant group, which has declared parts of Iraq and Syria as its caliphate, fought over the weekend for control of the base, and on Wednesday released images of the battle, prisoners, the dead and of the spoils of war.
Whilst much of the world attention has been on Iraq, where Islamic State has advanced through large parts of the north of the country, in Syria the group has made strong advances – including towards the Turkish border.

Syrian rebels capture sole border crossing between Israel and Syria in Golan Heights- The Washington Post

 Syrian rebels Wednesday claimed control of the only border crossing between Syria and Israel, extending a series of gains in the strategically sensitive Golan Heights in recent days.
The capture of the crossing point is of greater symbolic than strategic significance for the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, given the decades-old state of war that has prevailed between Israel and Syria.
It does, however, consolidate rebel control over Syria’s border with Israel and potentially puts extremists on Israel’s doorstep. Al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra was among the rebel groups that participated in the battle for the crossing, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Syria conflict: Islamic State 'committed war crimes'- BBC News

Islamic State (IS) militants have committed "mass atrocities" in Syria and have recruited children as fighters, the United Nations says.
In a report, investigators say public executions are a "common spectacle" in areas run by IS, one of the groups fighting against Syria's government.
The report also accuses the Syrian authorities of using chemical agents in eight separate incidents this year.
The conflict between government forces and several rebel groups began in 2011.
Some 200,000 people have died since then.
'Horrific torture'
The UN report details abuses by the Syrian government and several of the armed groups fighting it. The report says the Syrian air force has used barrel bombs on civilian neighbourhoods.
"In some instances, there is clear evidence that civilian gatherings were deliberately targeted" by government forces, the investigators said.
"In government prisons, detainees were subjected to horrific torture and sexual assault."

Turkey's Syria exports surge after IS seizure- Today's Zaman

As the Islamic State (IS) continues to take swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, to the former have plummeted but exploded to the latter, raising concerns that Turkey's exports are falling directly into the hands of the dangerous yet effective insurgent group.
Exports to Iraq--formerly Turkey's second largest export partner after Germany—fell 46 percent last month year-on-year after falling 19 percent in June. The steep decline began after IS began to make major advances in Iraq, starting with the seizure of its second largest city of Mosul. Hundreds of trucks would cross the border from Turkey into Iraq but such trade has largely dried up after IS held 32 Turkish truck drivers hostage. The truckers were eventually released. Most of Turkey's exports to Iraq went to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north of the country.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekçi said earlier this month that $3 billion in exports to Iraq may be lost by year's end due to the instability and violence created by the advance of the IS, who have been targeting Iraqi Christians and Yazidis, both of whom are considered infidels by the IS.

Syrian rebels seize Golan crossing, Israeli soldier injured by stray fire- Al-Akhbar

Syrian rebels, including the Nusra Front, seized control of the Syrian crossing with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday, a pro-opposition monitoring group said.
"Al-Nusra Front and other rebel groups took the Quneitra crossing, and heavy fighting with the Syrian army is continuing in the surrounding area," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
He said at least 20 soldiers and four rebels were killed in the fighting for the crossing that began earlier on Wednesday.

"United Military Command for East Ghouta"- Youtube

At least six major FSA battalions operating in the outskirts of Damascus announced Wednesday in a videotaped conference the formation of the “United Military Command for East Ghouta,” to coordinate efforts and break the siege imposed on the Damascus suburb since early 2013.

IS militants execute soldiers, take hostages at Syria base- Al-Alam

The so-called Islamic State militants have executed Syrian army soldiers and are holding a group hostage after capturing an air base in northeast Syria at the weekend, pictures posted on social media by supporters show.

The so-called Islamic State, an offshoot of al-Qaeda, stormed Tabqa air base near Raqqa city on Sunday after days of fighting with the army that cost more than 500 lives, according to monitoring group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Tabqa was the army’s last foothold in an area otherwise controlled by the militants, who have seized large areas of Syria and Iraq. The United States has carried out air strikes on the group in Iraq and is considering its options in Syria.

In one picture posted online, a group of militants in balaclavas are seen gunning down at least seven kneeling men identified as army personnel. It was not possible to immediately confirm the authenticity of the images.

Other photos showed groups of eight to 10 soldiers taken hostage, some with face wounds and three identified as officers. The photos appeared to show at least two dozen hostages.

See more at: http://en.alalam.ir/news/1627004

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Syria War Planes Hit Jihadist Sites in Deir Ezzor- Naharnet

Syrian war planes carried out a series of air raids Tuesday on positions held by the Islamic State jihadist group in eastern Deir Ezzor province, an NGO and state media said.
"Syrian army forces targeted headquarters and warehouses storing weapons and ammunition belonging to the terrorist group known as the Islamic State... destroying them completely," Syria's state news agency SANA reported.
The agency added that the army had also targeted groups of IS members, "killing large numbers of them."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said the Syrian army had carried out at least 12 strikes across the oil-rich province.
"It's the first time since the Islamic State took control of most of Deir Ezzor that warplanes have carried out such intensive and pinpoint raids against Islamic State positions in the region," Observatory director Rami Abdul Rahman said.
At least seven civilians were killed in the raids, along with an unspecified number of jihadists, the monitoring group added.
Among the targets of the raids was a training camp in the west of the province, Abdul Rahman added.

AP sources: US surveillance planes fly over Syria- The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — The U.S. has begun surveillance flights over Syria after President Barack Obama gave the OK, U.S. officials said, a move that could pave the way for airstrikes against Islamic State militant targets there.
While the White House says Obama has not approved military action inside Syria, additional intelligence on the militants would likely be necessary before he could take that step. Pentagon officials have been drafting potential options for the president, including airstrikes.

American Fighting for ISIS Is Killed in Syria- The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Like many teenage boys who grew up in the Midwest in the 1990s, Douglas McAuthur McCain was a fan of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and loved to play basketball.

But as he grew older, he lost interest in basketball as he shuttled between two suburban Minneapolis high schools. He never graduated, and in his late teens, he began to have run-ins with the law. In the decade that followed, he was arrested or cited nine times on charges including theft, marijuana possession and driving without a license.

Mr. McCain moved back and forth from Minneapolis to San Diego and then abroad. Officials now know he ended up in Syria, where three days ago, Mr. McCain became the first American to die while fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He was 33.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Turkey protest in Istanbul over Syrian refugees- BBC News

Hundreds of people have clashed with Turkish police in Istanbul during a protest against the rising number of refugees from Syria.
Businesses were attacked, windows broken and a car overturned in the western suburb of Ikitelli, on the European side of the city.
Youths shouted anti-Syrian slogans and Turkish media said five people were taken to hospital.
As many as 1.2 million Syrians have gone to Turkey to escape the civil war.
Riot police moved in to halt the unrest on Sunday evening.
An estimated 300 people were said to have taken in the violence, some of them armed with sticks and knives.
The large number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has heightened tensions in some cities, particularly in the east.
But Syrian refugees are very visible in Istanbul, Turkey's biggest cities, and many resort to begging.
The UN says it has 822,000 refugees registered in Turkey although the government in Ankara says the number is far higher.

President Assad's adviser tells Newshour Syria should be in international coalition to fight ISIS- BBC World Service Radio

Once considered a significant regional power in the Middle East Syria has become a weak and divided battleground split on many levels. At its simplest its a three way fight now - there are those who fight in the name of their version of Islam; of their version of democracy and those who fight for the government. President Assad's advisor, is Bouthaina Shaaban. On the line from Damascus, Newshour's Owen Bennett-Jones asked for her assessment of the situation


Nusra Threatens Force to Free Prisoners, Says Troops Fate at Stake if Hizbullah Attacks Qalamun- Naharnet

Al-Nusra Front threatened Monday to use force to “liberate” its prisoners in Lebanon's jails, warning that the fate of the captive Lebanese security personnel would be at stake should Hizbullah wage an attack on the Syrian Qalamun region.
“Hizbullah is preparing an assault on Qalamun to obstruct the negotiations to release the captive security personnel who are in our custody,” a high-ranking Nusra leader told Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.
He warned that any such scenario would lead to the hostages' “death.”
“We kept the captive security personnel in Arsal until we withdrew to Syria,” the Nusra militant noted, adding that “honest negotiations” are “the only solution.”

British Intelligence Say They’re 'Very Close' to Identifying James Foley’s Killer- Newsweek

Agents working with British intelligence think they have correctly identified "Jihadi John," the Islamic State member who killed American photojournalist James Foley. The Telegraph reports that MI5 and MI6 have been utilizing voice recognition technology to identify the IS member, who spoke with what is believed to be a south London accent in the video.
Peter Westmacott, British ambassador to the United States, said that jihadi threats would likely not cease even if Foley’s killer is eventually caught. Westmacott said that of the 70 people the UK has picked up in the past year for terrorism-related Syria and Iraq crimes, a handful were found with instructions to act out “very specific” terrorist missions in Great Britain. Westmacott also warned that the burgeoning fight against IS might escalate further threats against the United States, the UK and others in the future.

Obama'ya IŞİD'e karşı harekete geçmesi çağrıları artıyor- WSJ

WASHİNGTON- ABD Başkanı Barack Obama, kendi ülkesi ve Ortadoğu'da IŞİD'e karşı saldırılarını artırması yönünde baskıyla karşılaşırken, kendi partisi içinde ve Avrupa müttefikleri arasındaki isteksizlik de göze çarpıyor.
Obama'nın mücadeleyi genişletmeye karar vermesi hâlinde Suriye'ye hava saldırılarına ilişkin değerlendirmelerde öne çıkan seçeneklerin etkisi sınırlı. Suriye'ye saldırı için öne çıkan seçenekler, IŞİD'in Amerikalıları tehdit etmesine ve Irak'taki birliklerine destek vermesine imkan veren hamlelerinin önlenmesini öngörüyor. Yetkililer, IŞİD'i ortadan kaldıracak ve Suriye'deki büyük savaş gücünü yok edecek bir plan beklentilerini önemsemiyor.
IŞİD'in Suriye'deki kazanımları ve geçtiğimiz hafta ABD'li bir gazeteciyi infaz etmesini değerlendiren Cumhuriyetçiler, daha agresif bir duruşa yönelik çağrılarını artırdı. ABD ordusu pazar günü Irak'ta iki hava saldırısı daha düzenlediklerini açıklarken, ABD'deki Cumhuriyetçiler, Suriye'de hava saldırıları yapılmasını da kapsayan daha kararlı bir askeri operasyon çağrısında bulundu.

Al-Moallem: Syria prepared to cooperate and coordinate to combat terrorism as per resolution no. 2170- SANA

Damascus, SANA – Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, said that Syria is prepared to cooperate and coordinate on the regional and international levels to combat terrorism as per Security Council resolution no. 2170 within the framework of respecting Syria’s sovereignty and independence.
In a press conference on Monday, al-Moallem said that Syria welcomes resolution no. 2170 and is committed to it, despite the fact that this decision came late, noting that the consensus at the Security Council on combating terrorism is in line with Syria’s calls for drying up the sources of terrorism and facing the risks of its spread to neighboring countries and beyond.
He said that terrorism can only be combated through perseverance, comprehensiveness, and the efforts of all countries, noting that the Security Council resolution is binding for all sides.
The Minister called for putting a stop to the instigation and funding of terrorism, as well as calling for refraining from facilitating the movement of terrorists.
Al-Moallem said all neighboring countries must pay attention to the danger threatening the region out of concern for their own national interests, and they must cooperate to combat terrorism, adding that it’s in the best interest of Turkey and its people to reconsider its foreign policies because terrorism knows no borders.
He said that combating terrorists is carried out through serious political work to dry up its sources, cooperation with the Syrian government, and joint international work, not through transgression against countries’ sovereignty, asserting that any breach of Syrian sovereignty by any side constitutes an act of aggression.
Al-Moallem said that the Syrian and Russian positions on combating terrorism are in total concordance, stressing that those who want to cooperate with Syria in combating terrorism must be honest and serious, and that they must also relinquish double standards.

Syria ready to work with any state to fight Islamist militants- Reuters

(Reuters) - Syria said on Monday it would cooperate in any international efforts to fight Islamic State militants in the country, after Washington signaled it was considering extending the battle against the group into Syrian territory.
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, whose government has been shunned by the West, presented his country as a vital partner in the war against Islamic State that has seized wide areas of Syria and Iraq.
"Syria, geographically and operationally, is the center of the international coalition to fight Islamic State," Moualem said in a televised news conference. "States must come to it if they are serious in combating terrorism," he added.

Asked about the prospect of U.S. air strikes against Islamic State inside Syria, Moualem said his government was ready to cooperate with any country fighting militants. But any air raids mounted without Damascus's approval would be viewed as hostile acts. "Anything outside this (cooperation) is considered aggression," he said.

Silence on Berri-Jumblat Presidential Initiative to 'Guarantee its Success'- Naharnet

Speaker Nabih Berri has stayed mum on efforts he is exerting along with Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat to resolve the presidential deadlock.
Local newspapers quoted Berri as saying on Monday that he “cannot talk about any possible progress to guarantee the success of the work we are doing.”
He said, however, that the efforts exerted by him and Jumblat are aimed at reaching a “settlement on the presidency.”
Lebanon has been without a head of state since May when President Michel Suleiman's six-year term ended amid the failure of the rival MPs to find a successor.
Asked by his visitors about a draft-law proposed by the Change and Reform bloc to make a constitutional amendment to have direct presidential elections, Berri said: “This suggestion can only be made during the ordinary legislative session.”

Sunday, August 24, 2014

An obvious first step – close the jihadis' highway (Patrick Cockburn- The Independent)

The murder of the US journalist James Foley by a British jihadi has reignited the barren debate in Britain about new government powers to tackle extremist Islamic groups. Dubious counter-terrorism specialists, the exact nature of their expertise frequently elusive, speak of the effectiveness of new controls in thwarting actual or potential jihadis. Much of what is said is irrelevant to the real circumstances in which Muslims leave Britain or other foreign countries to fight in Syria and Iraq. The discussion, driven by politicians responding to media hysteria, produces a sort of intellectual fog in which effective measures that can be taken swiftly disappear from view.


ISIS Tightens Its Grip With Seizure of Air Base in Syria- The New York Times

BAGHDAD — Extremist fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria seized a military base in northern Syria on Sunday from forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, further solidifying control inside their self-declared Islamic state spanning the Syria-Iraq border.

The fall of the Tabqa air base followed the group’s seizing of two other Syrian military bases and gave it effective control of Raqqa Province, which abuts the Turkish border and whose capital city, Raqqa, has long served as the group’s de facto headquarters.


ISIS Fights for Control of Syrian Regime's Last Stronghold in Raqqa- ABC News

For weeks, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has launched offensives against the Taqba Air Base in Raqqa, the Syrian regime's last remaining military point in the province – which is now largely controlled by ISIS.
Taqba has strategic value for both sides. For the Syrian army, it provides a base from which to launch strikes against key ISIS targets in nearby Raqqa city – part of a promise made my President Bashar al-Assad to take it back from the Sunni extremist group. For ISIS, it would both yield a bounty of weapons and equipment, and eliminate the regime air threat against its flagship city.