Reader’s links for May 21 – 2015

This post has all its contents in the comments. For the newest freshest videos and news stories of interest to the Counter-Jihad and the Geopolitics of Islam, please click comments and add to, or read what is posted there.

Some will be integrated into the day’s posts and others not. But this way we can keep a great news flow going without interfering with the conversations about the issues under the various essays and news items in the posts that will be presented throughout the day.

Thank you all for your informative and important contributions.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

55 Replies to “Reader’s links for May 21 – 2015”

  1. World Cup 2022: Qatar pledge on worker rights ‘mere PR stunt’ (CNN, May 21, 2015)

    “Amnesty International says world football governing body FIFA is failing to demonstrate any sort of commitment to ensuring Qatar 2022 is “not built on a foundation of exploitation and abuse.”

    In 2010 the Gulf state won the right to host the World Cup in 2022, but the decision to award the tournament to Qatar left it and FIFA with a number of headaches.

    Both Qatar and FIFA have been forced to answer allegations of poor working conditions and abuse of immigrant workers brought in to build the facilities for the World Cup, while questions have been raised about the bidding process — in which, also, Russia was awarded the 2018 tournament…..”

  2. The Latest on Rohingya: Australia Won’t Take in Migrants (abcnews, May 21, 2015)

    “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has ruled out Australia resettling any Rohingya refugees, warning that asylum seekers who take to boats must not be rewarded with a new life in a Western country.

    “Nope, nope, nope,” Abbott told reporters Thursday when asked if Australia would resettle any of the thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladeshis landing on shores of Southeast Asian countries.

    “We are not going to do anything that will encourage people to get on boats. If we do the slightest thing to encourage people to get on the boats, this problem will get worse, not better,” he added.

    Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention and is one of the world’s most generous countries on a per capita basis in taking in refugees, resettling 13,750 a year. But it refuses to accept asylum seekers who attempt to reach its shores by boat.

    “Our role is to do everything we humanly can to stop people smuggling and the best way to do that is to make it absolutely crystal clear that if you get on a leaky boat, you aren’t going to get what you want, which is a new life in a Western country,” Abbott said…..”

  3. Two jihadist leaders killed in Mali, says France (BBC, May 21, 2015)

    “French special forces have killed four jihadists, including two leaders, in a raid in north Mali, the French defence ministry says. One of those killed was Amada Ag Hama, suspected of the kidnapping and murder of two French journalists in 2013. He is said to be a commander of in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb….”

  4. Intern All Muslims In US: FBI’s Last Option To Fight ISIS?

    ‘… the officials who spoke to ABC News described a “panic” and “crisis” inside the FBI because the agency and the rest of the nation’s homeland security infrastructure are not built to deal with the non-stop flow of homegrown extremists and possible threats that mark the current environment within the U.S.

    ‘Another senior FBI official who was on the call with Comey and Johnson told ABC News of the domestic threat, “Every city has a subject or subjects of concern.” Speaking to reporters, Comey and senior leaders did not characterize the atmosphere as either “crisis” or a “panic” but acknowledged that the bureau if facing serious “challenges” because the system is stretched thin.’

  5. The slaughter of Palmyra’s citizens begins: First images emerge from Syrian city over-run by ISIS… and show rows of people beheaded as terror group celebrates freeing Islamists from state prison

    SIS execute a man with a BAZOOKA in shocking new video: Terror group blast prisoner after tying him to a post… then dance and cheer to celebrate as they take turns kicking the corpse

    Prisoner explodes into flames after being hit with rocket-propelled grenade

  6. Toronto: Uber may revolutionize the taxi industry, but one thing it won’t change is the Muslim desire to sexually assault female passengers:

    “Osamah Al-Mandalawi, 25, faces one count of sexual assault. He is scheduled to appear in Newmarket court on June 4.”

    This appears almost identical to a story from Britain I linked to some months ago (though I believe that was a conventional taxi).

    1) Muslim driver picks up group of (presumably inebriated) women from nightclub
    2)Driver drops off all but one woman.
    3) Once he has her alone, he sexually assaults the customer.

    It’s like they have some Arabic chatroom where they share best practices.

  7. Muslim schoolgirl, who famously converted to Christianity on Facebook and ran away from her Ohio home, reveals how ten years on she’s still estranged and living in fear of honor killing by family or fanatics
    Fatima Rifqa Bary fled her parents’ home at age 16 and traveled 1,000 miles by bus to seek refuge in Florida
    She claimed her father threatened to kill her for secretly converting from Islam to Christianity
    Bary was eventually returned to Ohio, where soon after she was diagnosed with rare uterine cancer, but survived
    Bary, now a 22-year-old college student, penned new memoir titled Hiding in the Light: Why I risked Everything to Leave Islam and Follow Jesus
    Six years on, Bary still lives in undisclosed location and fears for her life

  8. Turkish intelligence helped ship arms to Syrian Islamist rebel areas-court documents

    ADANA, Turkey, May 21 (Reuters) – Turkey’s state intelligence agency helped deliver arms to parts of Syria under Islamist rebel control during late 2013 and early 2014, according to a prosecutor and court testimony from gendarmerie officers seen by Reuters.

    The witness testimony contradicts Turkey’s denials that it sent arms to Syrian rebels and, by extension, contributed to the rise of Islamic State, now a major concern for the NATO member.

    Syria and some of Turkey’s Western allies say Turkey, in its haste to see President Bashar al-Assad toppled, let fighters and arms over the border, some of whom went on to join the Islamic State militant group which has carved a self-declared caliphate out of parts of Syria and Iraq.

    Ankara has denied arming Syria’s rebels or assisting hardline Islamists. Diplomats and Turkish officials say it has in recent months imposed tighter controls on its borders.

    Testimony from gendarmerie officers in court documents reviewed by Reuters allege that rocket parts, ammunition and semi-finished mortar shells were carried in trucks accompanied by state intelligence agency (MIT) officials more than a year ago to parts of Syria under Islamist control.

    Four trucks were searched in the southern province of Adana in raids by police and gendarmerie, one in November 2013 and the three others in January 2014, on the orders of prosecutors acting on tip-offs that they were carrying weapons, according to testimony from the prosecutors, who now themselves face trial.

    While the first truck was seized, the three others were allowed to continue their journey after MIT officials accompanying the cargo threatened police and physically resisted the search, according to the testimony and prosecutor’s report.

    President Tayyip Erdogan has said the three trucks stopped on Jan. 19 belonged to MIT and were carrying aid.

    “Our investigation has shown that some state officials have helped these people deliver the shipments,” prosecutor Ozcan Sisman, who ordered the search of the first truck on Nov. 7 2013 after a tip-off that it was carrying weapons illegally, told Reuters in a interview on May 4 in Adana.

    Both Sisman and Takci have since been detained on the orders of state prosecutors and face provisional charges, pending a full indictment, of carrying out an illegal search.

    The request for Sisman’s arrest, issued by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) and also seen by Reuters, accuses him of revealing state secrets and tarnishing the government by portraying it as aiding terrorist groups.

    Sisman and Takci deny the charges.

    “It is not possible to explain this process, which has become a total massacre of the law,” Alp Deger Tanriverdi, a lawyer representing both Takci and Sisman, told Reuters.

    “Something that is a crime cannot possibly be a state secret.”

    More than 30 gendarmerie officers involved in the Jan. 1 attempted search and the events of Jan. 19 also face charges such as military espionage and attempting to overthrow the government, according to an April 2015 Istanbul court document.

    An official in Erdogan’s office said Erdogan had made his position clear on the issue. Several government officials contacted by Reuters declined to comment further. MIT officials could not immediately be reached.

    “I want to reiterate our official line here, which has been stated over and over again ever since this crisis started by our prime minister, president and foreign minister, that Turkey has never sent weapons to any group in Syria,” Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Wednesday at an event in Washington.

    Erdogan has said prosecutors had no authority to search MIT vehicles and were part of what he calls a “parallel state” run by his political enemies and bent on discrediting the government.

    “Who were those who tried to stop MIT trucks in Adana while we were trying to send humanitarian aid to Turkmens?,” Erdogan said in a television interview last August.

    “Parallel judiciary and parallel security … The prosecutor hops onto the truck and carries out a search. You can’t search an MIT truck, you have no authority.”


    One of the truck drivers, Murat Kislakci, was quoted as saying the cargo he carried on Jan. 19 was loaded from a foreign plane at Ankara airport and that he had carried similar shipments before. Reuters was unable to contact Kislakci.

    Witness testimony seen by Reuters from a gendarme involved in a Jan. 1, 2014 attempt to search another truck said MIT officials had talked about weapons shipments to Syrian rebels from depots on the border. Reuters was unable to confirm this.

    At the time of the searches, the Syrian side of the border in Hatay province, which neighbours Adana, was controlled by hardline Islamist rebel group Ahrar al-Sham.

    The Salafist group included commanders such as Abu Khaled al-Soury, also known as Abu Omair al-Shamy, who fought alongside al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. Al-Soury was killed in by a suicide attack in Syrian city of Aleppo in February 2014.

    A court ruling calling for the arrest of three people in connection with the truck stopped in November 2013 said it was loaded with metal pipes manufactured in the Turkish city of Konya which were identified as semi-finished parts of mortars.

    The document also cites truck driver Lutfi Karakaya as saying he had twice carried the same shipment and delivered it to a field around 200 metres beyond a military outpost in Reyhanli, a stone’s throw from Syria.

    The court order for Karakaya’s arrest, seen by Reuters, cited a police investigation which said that the weapons parts seized that day were destined for “a camp used by the al Qaeda terrorist organisation on the Syrian border”.

    Reuters was unable to interview Karakaya or to independently confirm the final intended destination of the cargo.

    Sisman said it was a tip-off from the police that prompted him to order the thwarted search on Jan. 1, 2014.

    “I did not want to prevent its passage if it belonged to MIT and carried aid but we had a tip off saying this truck was carrying weapons. We were obliged to investigate,” he said.

  9. President Obama tells @TheAtlantic US isn’t losing fight against Islamic State; says Ramadi, Iraq, fall ‘was a tactical setback’ but has ‘been vulnerable for a very long time’

    ‘Look … It’s My Name on This’: Obama Defends the Iran Nuclear Deal

    In an interview, the U.S. president ties his legacy to a pact with Tehran, argues ISIS is not winning, warns Saudi Arabia not to pursue a nuclear-weapons program, and anguishes about Israel

    “No, I don’t think we’re losing,” he said. He went on to explain, “There’s no doubt there was a tactical setback, although Ramadi had been vulnerable for a very long time, primarily because these are not Iraqi security forces that we have trained or reinforced. … [T]he training of Iraqi security forces, the fortifications, the command-and-control systems are not happening fast enough in Anbar, in the Sunni parts of the country.” When I asked about the continuing role Iraq plays in American politics—I was making a reference to Jeb Bush’s recent Iraq-related conniptions—Obama pivoted from the question to make the argument that Republicans still don’t grasp key lessons about the Iraq invasion ordered 12 years ago by Jeb’s brother.

    video –Richard Engel on Obama’s Strategy Against Islamic State: The Definition of Stupidity

  10. Russia: Putin and Iraqi PM discuss IS advances in Iraq

    Iraqi PM urges Russia to boost role in fighting IS

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Thursday urged the Russian leadership to boost its involvement in the fight against the Islamic State group, with Moscow pledging to supply weapons.

    On a visit to Moscow, Abadi warned Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that terrorism is spreading, days after IS fighters seized the strategic Iraqi city of Ramadi, dealing a major blow to the government.

    “Terrorism is not limited to our country,” he told Putin. “We hope that today’s visit helps continuing support and strengthening cooperation in battling terrorism not just in Iraq but the whole region.

    Putin said the two countries have a “large agenda,” including in defence cooperation, though no details of specific deals were announced in tbe course of the meetings.

    Speaking to journalists on the sidelines, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged full support by Moscow and said it is ready to deliver weapons to Iraq.

    “We will try to satisfy all possible demands to the maximum, so that their defence capability and ability to oust IS and other terrorists from their territory is guaranteed,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian agencies.

    Abadi is on a diplomatic drive to rally support for tackling IS, travelling to Washington last month where he asked President Barack Obama to step up a US-led air campaign against the jihadists and boost defence aid.

    He is now taking the same message to Moscow, where `bhe compared the battle with IS to Russia’s struggle against Nazi Germany` 70 years ago.

    “In a joint effort, we will be able to have victory over these new forces, similar to those that you overcame in the past,” he told Medvedev.

    “We highly value relations with Russia and think they have a lot of potential,” Abadi declared.

    “We understand that the threat of terrorism is enveloping not just Iraq but the neighbouring countries,” Abadi told Medvedev in remarks translated into Russian.

    “It evolves and takes new shapes, and we understand perfectly well that it requires heightened attention from Russia. We expect more active cooperation in this direction,” he added.

    Russia last year delivered Mi-28 attack helicopters to the Iraqi military for use against the insurgents.

    “We are glad to support and advance cooperation with Iraq at the government level,” said Medvedev.
    Russia offers military aid to Iraq during PM visit

    Russia offered visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi military and other aid on Thursday to help push back Islamic State militants who have made further sweeping gains in both Iraq and Syria this week.

    The advances by IS, which captured the Iraqi city of Ramadi last weekend and on Thursday was tightening its grip on the historic city of Palmyra in neighboring Syria, have exposed the shortcomings of Iraq’s army and the limitations of U.S. air strikes.

    In going ahead with his visit to Moscow despite the worsening security crisis, Abadi said he had wanted to underline the importance of his country’s ties with Russia, adding that he had disregarded “certain forces” advising him to cancel the trip.

    “We are expanding cooperation in the area of military technology,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the start of talks with Abadi in the Kremlin, hailing Iraq as an “old and reliable partner in the region”.

    “Our relations are developing very successfully … Our companies are working in your country and we are talking of investments in the order of billions of dollars,” Putin added, without elaborating.

    Russian companies were involved in the Iraqi economy for decades during the rule of Saddam Hussein and strongly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 which ousted the dictator and ushered in a prolonged period of turmoil.

    Earlier on Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would make every effort to help Iraq defeat Islamic State, whose capture of Ramadi last weekend was the most significant setback for the Baghdad government in a year.

    “We are focused on developing ties in all spheres, including military-technical cooperation, economic cooperation and cooperation in the oil and gas sector,” Abadi said.

    Weak global oil prices have prompted Russia to seek closer ties with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Iraq is a member.

    Russia, one of the world’s biggest non-OPEC oil producers, is scheduled to hold consultations with the group ahead of an OPEC policy-making meeting in Vienna next mont

  11. Icelandic mosque closed by Venice authorities?

    The Icelandic pavilion at the Venice Biennale, a work called The Mosque by artist Christoph Büchel installed in a a deconsecrated 10th century church has been shut by Venetian officials, according to Venetian newspaper La Nuova.

    According to the newssite, the decision was made today and is effective immediately. Reasons for closing the pavlion are cited as the use of the pavilion as a place of worship and overcrowding.

    Venetian authorties had demanded all papers regarding the exhibit, especially concerning the deconsecration of the church. and said that if the documents weren’t satisfactory the pavilion would be closed.
    in Italian :

    Divieto di culto e troppi visitatori
    Il Comune chiude la chiesa-moschea


  12. MEMRI TV –Libyan Cleric Justifies Beheadings and Body Mutilation “to Strike Terror in the Heart” of the Enemy

  13. Nicaragua Denies Entry to French Cartoonist

    Nicaraguan officials denied entry to a French cartoonist who had been scheduled to speak on a panel paying homage to the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, though the reason remained unclear Wednesday.

    Cartoonist Julien Berjeaut said he had been scheduled to participate on a panel called “Humor against barbarity, homage to Charlie Hebdo and freedom of expression” on Tuesday evening at a conference in Managua. Instead, the event played a video from the cartoonist, known as Jul, in which he said the government apparently did not want him to attend.

    Speaking by phone from El Salvador late Wednesday, Berjeaut said he had done freelance work for many outlets over the years, including Charlie Hebdo several years ago.

    About 10 days ago he was informed that the Nicaraguan government would not allow him to enter the country if he arrived, he said. Berjeaut said he was not given a specific reason, but he did not believe it had anything to do with his work as a cartoonist or the panel he was scheduled to speak on.

    The director of Nicaragua’s immigration agency was not immediately available to comment. France’s ambassador in Nicaragua, Antoine Joly, said he did not know why Berjeaut was barred.

    In January, a terror attack in Paris on the offices of Charlie Hebdo killed 12 people. The magazine had lampooned religions and used depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

  14. CANADA – Arrests of ten young people at Montreal airport renew scrutiny of Muslim teacher

    The arrest of 10 young people who tried to leave Montreal to join jihadist groups has renewed scrutiny of Adil Charkaoui, a Muslim teacher and one-time terror suspect with ties to some of the youth.

    The Parti Québécois used the National Assembly’s cover of immunity against lawsuits Thursday to say aloud what Mr. Charkaoui’s anti-Islamist critics have hinted for months: PQ member Agnès Maltais directly accused Mr. Charkaoui of indoctrinating more than 20 Montreal youth who have left Quebec or were stopped by police as they tried to join the Islamic State.

    Ms. Maltais called Mr. Charkaoui a “merchant of hate” and demanded the Liberal government intervene with the Muslim community centre he leads, the Islamic Community Centre of Montreal East. She did not say what, exactly, the government should or could do.

    Each time Quebec youth try to leave “there is one point in common, one individual, Adil Charkaoui,” Ms. Maltais said. “What is going on at that centre? What is Adil Charkaoui telling the children who attend? How is it that children who attend his centre and hear his teaching have a sudden desire to join the Islamic State?”

    Reached Thursday, Mr. Charkaoui referred to his Facebook page where he left a short message: “With her irresponsible speech, Ms. Maltais is acting as an agent of radicalization, as the PQ has since 2013” when it proposed a Charter of Values aimed at limiting religious expression in Quebec’s public service.

    Early this year, a group of seven Quebec youth travelled to Turkey and then joined jihadist forces, according to federal officials. In that case, two of the youth were said to have attended lectures by Mr. Charkaoui. In the case of the 10 arrested last weekend at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport, one of the youth is reported to have been enrolled in community-centre courses. All 10 are said to be 18 years of age and under. An 11th person was arrested at his Montreal home on the weekend.

    Public Security Minister Lise Thériault replied to Ms. Maltais that the National Assembly is no place to hold a trial and refused to single out anyone, saying “90 per cent of these youth are radicalized on the Internet from the comfort of their own home.”

    Mr. Charkaoui has repeatedly denied any role in radicalizing the youth and said he barely knew the one-time students. In a series of recent interviews with The Globe and Mail, he said he is the victim of a witch hunt. “It’s a new form of McCarthyism,” he said. “It’s this social climate that is radicalizing people. Instead of telling Muslims they are partners, they are telling them they are suspects.”

    Ms. Maltais’s accusation ignored a second connection many of the young alleged jihadists share: At least 11 of them are known to have attended Maisonneuve College, the junior-college part of Quebec’s CEGEP system that most teenagers attend after high school.

    The college issued a statement Wednesday saying “the indoctrination of these youth has taken a turn we could not anticipate. We must act within the limits of our sphere of activities. Our students live in a world far beyond our walls and it is increasingly clear recruitment is largely taking place through their social-media activities.”

    Mr. Charkaoui, a teacher, youth leader and anti-Islamophobia activist, has a checkered past including alleged links to terrorism that have made him a target of suspicion in Quebec. Born in Morocco, he arrived in Canada in the 1990s and was arrested in 2003 under an immigration security certificate amid suspicions he had attended an Islamist training camp in Afghanistan and other unproven allegations.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport to speak about previously announced plans to boost security programs to counter the terrorist threat. Mr. Harper expressed sympathy for families dealing with youth extremists but shifted to a harder line.

    “We have a beautiful country, a country that is democratic, free, open, tolerant. There is no excuse, no reason for a Canadian to become a jihadist or a terrorist. It’s unacceptable in our country,” he said.

  15. Morocco -Rabat Expresses Discontent over London’s Deportation of Terrorism Convict

    Rabat – The Moroccan Interior Minister expressed to his British peer Morocco’s discontent over the decision of Great Britain to deport a Moroccan terrorism convict, the ministry said on Thursday.

    The individual, deported Wednesday from Great Britain where he had served prison for terrorism-related charges, set fire in his family’s house in Rabat, and refused to surrender to police, threatening them with an edged weapon, the ministry said in a statement.

    According to the ministry, the British authorities have not mentioned the dangerousness of this person, insisting to keep him free, which jeopardizes other people’s lives.

    video – Moroccan terrorist returns from Britain sets fire to his parents’ home in Rabat and threatens to commit suicide

  16. Russia closes NATO supply corridor to Afghanistan

    The Russian government has closed down a key military transport corridor that allowed the U.S. and its NATO allies to supply forces serving in neighboring Afghanistan.

    The transit route, used by NATO for non-lethal cargo since 2008 and for military shipments since 2010, has been cited by the Obama administration as evidence that Washington and Moscow can still find areas of common ground despite sharp differences over Ukraine and tensions along Russia’s border with NATO countries in Eastern Europe.

    Several Russian news agencies reported that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the resolution closing down NATO’s access late last week, and an official notice was made public on Monday. The official reason was that the U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S.-led military mission into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks expired in December 2014, even though an estimated 12,500 international forces remain stationed in Afghanistan and Taliban attacks against the government have increased in recent weeks.

    The Russian transit route proved vital to U.S. and allied forces during some of the heaviest fighting of the Afghan conflict, as the alternative access through Pakistan was hampered by attacks from the Taliban and by regular diplomatic flare-ups between Washington and Islamabad. The use of the Russian transshipment hub at Ulyanovsk has dwindled substantially in recent years, but carried heavy political symbolism for both sides.

    Russian observers said there was a clear political element to Mr. Medvedev’s order, in light of Russian unhappiness with Western sanctions over Ukraine and Crimea and suspicions that NATO’s presence in Afghanistan is being extended indefinitely.

    Military analyst Victor Murakhovsky, editor of Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, told the website Russia Beyond the Headlines that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin was taking a “demonstrative step” in ending the supply mission through its territory.

    Moscow, he claimed, still hoped to cooperate with the West in the global war on terror, but “it turns out that NATO has gone so far that it does not want to cooperate even in this area.”
    Russia bans NATO military transit to Afghanistan

    The Russian government prohibited the NATO forces from supplying Afghanistan with military equipment through Russian territory.

    A special order has been issued by the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Monday.

    The document revoked the previous decree on NATO cargo transit to Afghanistan. NATO had been allowed to deliver military hardware and equipment via rail, motor vehicles, and through Russian airspace as well.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry Lavrov has been ordered to inform all the countries involved.

    Transit of military cargo to Afghanistan through Russia was permitted after a 2001 UN Security Council resolution. The document established an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, and called on all countries to support the NATO-led security mission. In 2008 Russia signed a decree allowing ISAF cargo to pass through its territory.

    In 2014, though, Washington declared the military operation in Afghanistan being over. The US-led coalition has pulled out most of its forces and the Afghan military has assumed full responsibility for national security. However, while the 2001 resolution has been terminated, some 13,000 ISAF troops will remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2016 to oversee local forces and provide training on counter-terror operations.??

  17. There is a CCTV video on the net someplace on the shoot out at twin peaks restaurant Waco. I’m not sure where it is i know you can download it. I would seem the restaurant owner gave a copy of the tape to the police and to AP news.

    It would seem there is a big question on the involvement of the police on this.

    Here is a story about that video:

  18. Macedonia’s Muslim uprising seen as flashpoint in East-West energy war

    SKOPJE, Macedonia – A bloody confrontation this month between Macedonian police and Albanian Muslims has touched off widespread protests and threatens to ignite a geopolitical powder keg whose effects could be felt well beyond the impoverished Balkan nation, warn analysts.

    More than 20 people, including eight police officers, were killed in the May 9 police raid and ensuing riots in the northern city of Kumanovo’s ethnic Albanian neighborhoods, where Skopje officials say Muslim groups are training terrorists and seeking to secede. On Sunday, tens of thousands of protesters waving Macedonian and Albanian flags marched in Skopje in a powerful show of ethnic unity against a reeling and scandal-scarred government. Experts say the raid and ensuing protests could imperil the regime of Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.

    “If the conflict escalates in Macedonia, it could produce a domino effect, transferred to the Balkans, or the other former Yugoslav republics in which the security situation is bad,” said Ivan Babanovski, a former Macedonian intelligence officer and a professor at Skopje’s Faculty of Security.

    World powers — including the U.S., Europe, Russia and Turkey — are monitoring the complex situation closely, issuing warnings and pointing fingers

    Russia, thwarted repeatedly by the West in its bid to pipe natural gas to Europe, has settled on the so-called “Turkish Stream,” a route that passes through Turkey and Macedonia. Moscow suspects the U.S. and Europe, opposed to its plans to supply energy to Europe, is fomenting unrest in a bid to change the Russia-friendly regime of Gruevski and scuttle the pipeline.

    The U.S. has been lobbying Greece to support an alternative pipeline project that would receive gas from Azerbaijan rather than Russia.

    The West denies playing a role in the uprising, which, coupled with political scandals involving secret audio of Gruevski and resignations of government officials, has Moscow fearing a replay of last year’s toppling of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

    Yanukovych’s ouster ended one version of Russia’s pipeline plan/b>, and Bulgaria was later pressured by the West to block an alternative that would have passed through its territory. The current plan would be to pipe Russia’s natural gas under the Black Seat, through northwestern Turkey and to a hub in Greece, from which pipelines leading to southern Europe would extend, including a key segment running through Macedonia.

    “Macedonia is the weakest link in Turkish Stream that needs to go through Russia, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary,” Macedonian military analyst Miroslav Lazanski told “Here it is most easily cut.”

    Russian leaders, as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, say Macedonia’s Albanian Muslims are being used in a bid to undermine the pro-pipeline government in Skopje. Erdogan warned that heavy-handedness in putting down protests could lead to more regional religious conflict.

    Meanwhile, Skopje is scrambling to put the incident behind it and show the world that Macedonia, a poor, landlocked Balkan country of 2 million, is safe for investment.

    “The terrorist incident on Saturday and Sunday is certainly a one-off isolated incident,” Viktor Mizo, CEO of the Macedonian Free Zone Authority, told Emerging Markets. “We do not foresee, and don’t expect, any influence on normal activity in the Macedonian economy, nor on the plans of foreign investors in our country.”

    The European Union’s delegation to Macedonia and the U.S. Embassy in Skopje issued a joint statement following the violence in Kumanovo urging calm.

    “We also hope that this will be the moment in which the country’s leaders will engage together in dialogue on all issues facing the country, including the long-running political crisis and the necessary reforms,” said the statement.

    While protests in the capital have been peaceful, Muslim separatists have vowed to avenge the deadly raid. And Gruevski pledged to deal swiftly with any coming violence.

    “If I back down it would be a cowardly move,” he told pro-government Sitel TV. “I’ll face down the attacks.”
    Macedonia: Drone captures HUGE anti-gov protest in Skopj

  19. The Right Scoop – Turkey Prime Minister Declares the Jews Defiled Jerusalem, Vows To Reclaim Jerusalem’s Temple Mount To Be Ruled By The Revived Ottoman Empire

    The Turkish Anadolu Agency reported today that Erdogan’s henchman, Turkey’s Prime Minister, has made a promise today to his people that if they elect him next month that he promises to soon liberate Jerusalem

    After vowing to retake Jerusalem if elected, Davutoglu stressed that his country “cannot be an ally or friend of those who desecrated the Al-Aqsa Mosque with their boots” referring to Israelis who had to thwart demonstrations. By this Davutoglu is accusing Israel of desecrating the Temple Mount since it is an abomination in Islam for anyone to enter holy ground unless they are barefooted.

    more on this page :


  20. Nigerian army ‘relocates’ 260 Boko Haram survivors (BBC, May 21, 2015)

    “The Nigerian army has relocated at least 260 women and children recently rescued from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram, officials say.

    They were taken from a camp in the north-eastern city of Yola and flown to an unspecified military facility.

    The women will receive medical help and support as part of their rehabilitation process, the BBC has learnt.

    The government is said to be worried that some women may have been radicalised while in captivity.

    Camp officials said there were suspicions some of the women had been communicating with militants.

    They will be housed at the military facility under the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Programme which is part of the government’s so-called “soft approach” to combating terrorism….”

  21. Russia Warns Apple and Google Over Extremist Literature

    Russian prosecutors have demanded that the country’s media watchdog block access to sections of Apple’s App Store and Google Play that allow Russian users to download the works of Adolf Hitler and Islamic writer Sa’id bin Ali bin Wahf Al-Qahtani, the Izvestia newspaper reported Thursday.

    The move follows months of bluster by the watchdog, Roskomnadzor, over the hawking of “extremist” material to Russians by foreign Internet companies. But this time the threat is backed by a court decision that requires Roskomnadzor to act, Izvestia said.

    If implemented, the blockages would be the first time Russian authorities have restricted access to the App Store and Google play platforms, the report said.

    The decision by the Stavropolsky region court came into force May 20 and banned the circulation of Hitler’s manifesto “Mein Kampf” and two tomes of Al-Qahtani’s “Hisnul Muslim” (Fortress of the Muslim) in Russia.

    “The appearance of this content on popular Internet stores is barbarity,” Izvestia quoted Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky as saying.

    The watchdog appeared Thursday to be seeking a peaceful resolution. Ampelonsky told the BBC’s Russian service that Roskomnadzor had sent Apple and Google letters asking them to remove the literature to avoid being blocked.

    “They still have time to delete the content,” he said.

    Earlier this week Izvestia reported that Roskomnadzor had threatened Google, Facebook and Twitter with fines and bans unless the companies comply with Moscow’s demands to block content it deems extremist and to share information about online traffic on individual pages.

    REUTERS – Russia warns Google, Twitter and Facebook on law violations

    Russia’s media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said on Thursday they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules.

    Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three U.S.-based Internet firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship.

    “In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation,” said Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky.

    He added that, because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.

    To comply with the law, the three firms must hand over data on Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day, and take down websites that Roskomnadzor sees as containing calls for “unsanctioned protests and unrest”, Ampelonsky said.

    Putin, a former KGB spy, once described the Internet as a project of the CIA, highlighting deep distrust between Moscow and Washington, whose ties are now badly strained.

    He promised late last year not to put the Internet under full government control, but Kremlin critics see the Internet laws as part of a crackdown on freedom of speech since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012.

    A law passed last year gives Russian prosecutors the right to block without a court decision websites with information about protests that have not been sanctioned by authorities.

    Under other legislation, bloggers with large followings must go through an official registration procedure and have their identities confirmed by a government agency.

    Facebook says it responds to government data requests about its users that comply with company policies and local laws and meet international standards of legal process.

    A company website that publishes statistics on how Facebook handles data requests shows it rejected both of two Russian government requests for information on its users last year. In contrast, it produced some data in response to nearly 80 percent of over 14,000 requests made by U.S. courts, police and government agencies in the second six months of 2014.

    Twitter had a similar response rate in the United States but rejected 108 Russian government requests in the second half of last year, according to data on the company’s government Transparency Report site.

    In its semi-annual Transparency Report, Google said it provided some information on users in response to 5 percent of 134 Russian government requests made in the second half of 2014 — again far less than in the United States. The company says it complies with requests that follow accepted legal procedures and Google policies.

    “We realize they are registered under U.S. jurisdiction. But I think in this case they should demonstrate equal respect to national legislation,” Ampelonsky said.

    If the companies do not pay more attention to Russian government requests for data, he added, “we will need to apply sanctions”.

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