Reader links for June 21 – 2015

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In order to preserve the flow of conversation about various posted items, and also in order to make it easier for visitors to find the list of related links being shared by other readers, regulars and interested parties in one place, each day a post is automatically created at a minute past midnight ET.

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

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

12 Replies to “Reader links for June 21 – 2015”

  1. Somalia jihadists al-Shabab launch Mogadishu attack (BBC, June 21, 2015)

    “The Somali jihadist group al-Shabab has carried out an attack in the country’s capital Mogadishu.

    A suicide car bomber and gunmen attacked a training centre for the national intelligence agency on Sunday morning.

    Government officials said that soldiers “foiled the attack” and at least three militants died.

    The militants have vowed to intensify attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Wednesday. Al-Shabab claims to have killed several intelligence officers inside the building, something the government denies.

    After the suicide bomb was detonated outside the training centre, gunmen reportedly stormed a civilian house that they had mistaken for the government facility.

    Interior ministry spokesman Mohamed Yusuf said security forces had successfully repulsed the attackers….

  2. Afghans counter Taliban offensive in northern Kunduz province (BBC, June 21, 2015)

    “Government forces in northern Afghanistan have launched a counter-offensive against the Taliban, after they took control of a key district.

    Chardara is just a few kilometres from the city of Kunduz, and a major road to the capital Kabul runs through it.

    A Taliban website showed militants parading around a well-fortified police post they had seized.

    The government says it has regained control of another northern district, Yumgan in Badakshan province.

    Chardara local official Muhammad Yusuf Ayubi told AFP news agency that the district had fallen to the Taliban after hours of fighting, adding that 12 soldiers had died and 17 were wounded….”

  3. Islamic State crisis: ‘Mines planted in Syria’s Palmyra’ (BBC, June 21, 2015)

    “Islamic State (IS) militants have planted landmines and explosives around the ancient Palmyra ruins, according to a group that monitors the war in Syria.

    Activists said it was unclear whether IS had laid the bombs to destroy the ruins or make the site secure from Syrian government forces.

    IS fighters seized the city, which is one of the most important historic sites in the Middle East, in May.

    Government forces are reported to be planning a bid to recapture the site….”

  4. Looks like some “next phase” of Mahoundian lawfare…

    Bradford family: Police ‘complicit in radicalising sisters’ (BBC, June 21, 2015)

    “UK police were “complicit” in the radicalisation of three sisters thought to be in Syria with their nine children, lawyers for the families say.

    Officers encouraged the Bradford women to contact their brother – believed to be fighting in Syria – with “reckless disregard” for the consequences, the lawyers told MP Keith Vaz in a letter.

    One mother said she left the UK due to “oppressive” surveillance, they added.

    West Yorkshire Police said it rejected the claims.

    Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: “We completely reject accusations that the police were complicit in the alleged grooming of the missing family or that we were oppressive to them.”

    Khadija, Sugra and Zohra Dawood and their children went missing on 9 June, and an Islamic State (IS) smuggler has since told the BBC they have reached Syria.

    In the letter to Mr Vaz – chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee – solicitors representing two of the women’s husbands, Akhtar Iqbal and Mohammed Shoaib, said they were “extremely disappointed” with the police’s handling of the case….”

    • Keith Vaz is a taqiyah grandeur expert to the nth degree.
      I despair that he has such a high profile.
      He is so insincere and obsequious.
      Yet he thrives.
      Such is British politics.

  5. Salafism shouldnt be a problem… They (e.g. the salafists) just desire to live like the pious Mahoundian ancestors did. Makes sense, right? lol

    Austere brand of Islam on rise in Europe, stirring concerns (yahoo, June 21, 2015)

    “PARIS (AP) — Its imams preach austere piety, its tenets demand strict separation of sexes — and some of its most radical adherents are heeding the call of jihad. Salafism, an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran, is on the rise in France, Germany and Britain, security officials say, with Salafis sharply increasing their influence in mosques and on the streets.

    The trend worries European authorities, who see Salafism as one of the inspirational forces for young Europeans heading to Syria or Iraq to do battle for the Islamic State group. Experts, however, point out that the vast majority of Salafis are peace-loving.

    In Germany, there are currently about 7,000 Salafis in the country — nearly double the 3,800 estimated four years ago, the Interior Ministry said last month. About 100 French mosques are now controlled by Salafis, a small number compared to the more than 2,000 Muslim houses of worship, but more than double the number four years ago, a senior security official told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. France does not do head-counts by religious practices or origins.

    In Britain the numbers are on the rise, too. Seven percent of Britain’s 1,740 mosques are run by Salafis, according to Mehmood Naqshbandi, an expert on Britain’s Muslims and counter-extremism adviser to the British government who keeps a database of the various currents of Islam in Britain. He says those numbers are steadily growing, especially among young people — and that a quarter to half of British Muslims under 30 “accept some parts or all of the Salafi theology.”

    Today, the Internet is largely seen as the main route for youth to quickly radicalize. But radicalization can be cultivated in places where Muslims socialize, like mosques. And there, said the French security official, it is Salafis who are considered the principle purveyors of radical ideology.

    Experts say Salafis in France have been waging a campaign of stealth to take over mosques. First they develop a following, then begin criticizing the imam in order to win control over the faithful, security officials and moderate Muslims say. Youth and converts to Islam are considered the most vulnerable to such messages.

    Experts of Islam divide Salafis into three groups: the traditional brand of “quietists” who eschew politics; those who become politicized; and the hardcore worshippers who follow the call of jihad.

    Today, Salafism has become a buzzword for danger. In Germany, authorities consider all Salafis as extremists, and security officials in Europe believe there is a direct line from the peaceful version to the version that embraces jihad — and risks tempting the fragile into fanaticism.

    “The bridge is short,” said Alain Rodier, a former intelligence officer who is now a terrorism specialist.

    Salafism, in principle, should not be a cause for concern, said Naqshbandi, the British expert. But, he said, the very simplicity of its message means anyone can warp it to his own ends.

    “People who want to pursue militant political Islam have a set of tools available … which they can twist to argue their case,” Naqshbandi said. He called the Islamic State group, which champions Salafism, the prime example of how the theology can be abused.

    Those who practice Salafism — which comes from the word “salafs,” or ancestors — seek to emulate the Islam of the prophet Muhammad and his early followers, which they consider the purest form of the religion. Salafis, who are Sunni Muslims, are easily identifiable. Men wear beards and robes above the ankle and women often cover their faces.

    A mosque outside Lyon won an unusual case last week against a Salafi worshipper taken to court after months of tension. Faouzi Saidi, 51, was convicted of troubling public order inside a house of worship and fined. He admitted to criticizing the imam for what he claimed were theological lapses, but claimed he only once held “parallel prayers” in a corner with a group of followers.

    The case was thought to be the first in France by Muslims against a Muslim invoking a 1905 law to guarantee secularism — used by the government to pass bans on headscarves and face-covering veils.

    France has worked to put a safety ring around Islam since deadly January terror attacks in Paris, seeking to stifle the spread of extremism in areas considered fertile terrain. Authorities have notably started taking down Internet sites that glorify terrorism and are pressing ahead with a training program to instill imams with French values.

    Critics say police often infringe upon the freedom of worship in their mission to monitor Salafi extremists. “It would be naive to think there is never a risk,” said Samir Amghar, a specialist on Salafism. But to consider that every sign of ultraconservative Islam presents a danger “risks stigmatizing a large majority of Muslims.”

    And some Salafis say that the common image of their lives as being one of rigid worship — with no enjoyment — is a myth.

    Olivier Corel, a Salafi who reportedly figured in the religious life of Mohammed Merah — who killed three children, a rabbi and three paratroopers in 2012 — went skiing with his wife in the Pyrenees in January.

    “We have fun. We have fun. We have fun,” his wife told the AP by telephone, before hanging up.

    Rachid Abou Houdeyfa, a Salafi imam in the western French city of Brest known for his You Tube sermons of do’s and don’ts, created one video showing himself and a buddy in a pleasure boat and titled it “Can One Have Fun?”

    “We’re going swimming,” he said before diving into the water…”

  6. Lebanon arrests two after prison torture video

    Two prison guards accused of torturing inmates inside a prison in Lebanon have been arrested, the justice minister told reporters on Sunday, a day after videos of prisoners receiving harsh beatings sparked uproar in the country.

    “The criminals will be punished,” Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said during a news conference, vowing that anyone who is proven to have participated or covered the crime will be “subject to arrest.”

    He added: “I pledge to pursue the investigation until the last perpetrator is in custody.”

    Rifi, who asked Public Prosecutor Judge Samir Hammoud to make immediate investigation over what had happened, also asked families of the prisoners to join for a protest at 10:30 pm (local time) Sunday in al-Nour square in the northern city of Tripoli.

    The videos, which surfaced on YouTube Saturday, showed a dozen prisoners in Roumieh prison squatting on a floor with their hands tied behind their backs.

    After being severely beaten with green batons, the security forces were also heard cursing at the prisoners.

    A statement from the families of the prisoners said their men were not only stripped from their clothes for days but the pounding blinded some of the prisoners, broke bones, and dislocated shoulders.

    Sources told Al Arabiya News that the video goes back to more than one month ago when the prisoners staged a riot on April 30.

    At the time, the interior minister rebuked accusations that the mutiny was related to Sunni prisoners and blamed the prison’s limited capacity of 2,500, which in reality has more than 7,000 inmates.

    Meanwhile, pro-Islamist Twitter pages also identified the prisoners as Sheikh Omar Atrash from the northeastern border town of Arsal, Qatibah al-Asaad from the Lebanese border area of Wadi Khaled and Wael al-Samad from the Dinnieh town of Bakhoun in north Lebanon.

    Wadi Khaled, Arsal and Tripoli are among areas that had experienced emergence of Islamist organizations and movements.

    The uprising in Syria had fuelled intense clashes in neighboring Lebanon, which also transformed Tripoli to be stronghold of Sunni Islamists who are against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s attacks on their Sunni counterparts in the neighboring country.

    Meanwhile, critics said the videos show the prevalence of torture at Lebanon’s largest prison.
    ‘Law must prevail’

    Rifi’s advisor, Asaad Bashareh, reiterated the minister’s assurances.

    He told Al Arabiya News Channel that Rifi has took legal measures to find out what happened and to unveil identity of the culprits.

    “Lebanon at the end is a country of law and institutions and these measures taken are not only to clarify for the public over what had happened but for law to prevail,” he said.

    He added it is “embarrassing” and “shameful” for such violations to take place, and it is important to punish those people.

    The advisor also repeated that the prison cannot take 7,000 inmates as its capacity does not allow, and urged for the building of a new prison.

  7. Morsi negotiated truce… Riiiiight… But before that he instigated war. Some of course claim it was just rhetoric. 😉

    Egypt Names Ambassador to Israel After Nearly 3 Years (abcnews, June 21, 2015)

    “Egypt has named a new ambassador to Israel nearly three years after it had recalled the last one at the outset of the 2012 Israeli offensive in Gaza.

    A statement released Sunday said President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi named ambassador Hazem Khairat as part of a regular reshuffle of Egypt’s diplomatic corps. Khairat replaced Atef Salem Al-Ahl, who was in his post for less than a month in late 2012.

    Islamist President Mohammed Morsi recalled Al-Ahl to protest Israel’s offensive. But Morsi played a key role with the United States in negotiating a truce, making him the first Muslim Brotherhood leader to mediate between Israel and Gaza’s Islamist rulers.

    El-Sissi has kept good ties with Israel since he came to office after ousting Morsi. Relations have been strained with Gaza’s rulers.”

  8. NYT – Cables Released by WikiLeaks Reveal Saudis’ Checkbook Diplomacy

    It seems that everyone wants something from Saudi Arabia.

    Before becoming the president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi wanted visas to take his family on a religious pilgrimage. A Lebanese politician begged for cash to pay his bodyguards. Even the state news agency of Guinea, in West Africa, asked for $2,000 “to solve many of the problems the agency is facing.”

    They all had good reason to ask, as the kingdom has long wielded its oil wealth and religious influence to try to shape regional events and support figures sympathetic to its worldview.

    These and other revelations appear in a trove of documents said to have come from inside the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and released on Friday by the group WikiLeaks.

    While the documents appear to contain no shocking revelations about Saudi Arabia, say, eavesdropping on the United States or shipping bags of cash to militant groups, they contain enough detail to shed light on the diplomacy of a deeply private country and to embarrass Saudi officials and those who lobby them for financial aid. And they allow the curious to get a glimpse of the often complex interactions between a kingdom seen by many as the rich uncle of Middle East and its clients, from Africa to Australia.

    In a statement carried by the Saudi state news agency on Saturday, a foreign ministry spokesman, Osama Nugali, acknowledged that the documents were related to a recent electronic attack on the ministry.

    He warned Saudis not to “help the enemies of the homeland” by sharing the documents, adding that many were “clearly fabricated.” Those who distribute the documents will be punished under the country’s cybercrimes law, he said.

    Mr. Nugali also struck a defiant tone, saying the documents were essentially in line with the “state’s transparent policies” and its public statements on “numerous regional and international issues.”

    More than 60,000 documents have been released so far, with WikiLeaks promising more to come. They include identification cards, visa requests and summaries of news media coverage of the kingdom. The most informative are diplomatic cables from Saudi embassies around the world to the foreign ministry, many of which are then passed along to the office of the king for final decisions.

    Many of the cables are incomplete, making it hard to determine their date and context, and very few indicate which requests were approved by the king and ultimately carried out. Most documents focus on a turbulent period in the Middle East, beginning after the popular uprisings that toppled Arab leaders in 2011 and continuing through early this year.

    Clear in many of the documents are efforts by Saudi Arabia, a Sunni power, to combat the influence of Shiite Iran, its regional rival, as well as Iranian proxies like Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militant group and political party.

    Cables about Iraq suggest efforts to support politicians who opposed Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, then the Shiite prime minister of Iraq, who was close to Iran. One said the kingdom had given 2,000 pilgrimage visas to Mr. Maliki’s chief rival, Ayad Allawi, to distribute as he saw fit.

    Another cable from the Saudi Embassy in Beirut relayed a request by a Christian politician, Samir Geagea, for cash to relieve his party’s financial problems. The cable noted that Mr. Geagea had stood up for the kingdom in news media interviews, opposed the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad and had shown “his preparedness to do whatever the kingdom asks of him.”

    A spokesman for Mr. Geagea did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

    “Are there just more Lebanese begging Saudis for money or does my timeline skew toward Lebanon?” wrote one Twitter user, Laleh Khalili, noting the frequency of such requests from Beirut.

    Other cables show Saudi Arabia working to maintain its regional influence. One accused Qatar, another Persian Gulf state known for oil wealth and cash-based diplomacy, of stirring up trouble in Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor, by backing a rich politician to the tune of $250 million.
    And a few cables implied that Saudi leaders had negotiated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, a longtime Saudi ally. One document said a leader in the Brotherhood had said the group could ensure that Mr. Mubarak would not go to prison in exchange for $10 billion.
    But a handwritten note on the document said paying “ransom” for Mr. Mubarak was “not a good idea” because the Brotherhood could not prevent his incarceration.

    The documents also indicate concerted Saudi efforts to shape news media coverage, both inside and outside the kingdom.

    One cable suggested that the government pressure an Arab satellite provider to take an Iranian television station off the air. In another cable, the foreign minister suggests that the provider use “technical means to lessen the Iranian broadcast strength.”

    Other documents suggest intervention at the highest levels to shape domestic media coverage in a way that suits the rulers.

    In an early 2012 cable marked “top secret and urgent,” King Abdullah told top ministers about new talks between the kingdom and Russia over the crisis in Syria and asked them to “direct the media not to expose Russian personalities and to avoid offending them so as not to harm the kingdom’s interests.”
    Missing from the documents is any evidence of direct Saudi support for militant groups in Syria or elsewhere.

    Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer now at the Brookings Institution, said that while considerable evidence of such programs exists, they are handled by the kingdom’s intelligence services, and the foreign ministry is often “not in the loop.”

    “That allows the Saudis to have plausible deniability and to liaison with other intelligence services aiding the rebels,” he said.
    Some found the documents underwhelming, noting that similar activities are carried out by many countries, including the United States.

    “There is not really something shocking that compromises Saudi security,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political science professor in the United Arab Emirates, who had read about 100 cables.

    Everyone knows that Saudi Arabia practices checkbook diplomacy, he said, adding that it now had to compete for clients with other rich states, like Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

    One surprise in the documents, he said, is that the former Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, had to seek the permission of the king before proceeding with even minor matters.

    “It seems that the king is the king in Saudi Arabia, no matter how princely you are,” Dr. Abdulla said.

    Other surprising finds showed up in the WikiLeaks’ net.

    The Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram, known for shocking conservative Muslims with her sexy music videos, received a visa and visited a Saudi prince inside the kingdom despite instructions that all visas for artists and singers be preapproved by the Interior Ministry, according to the documents.

    The foreign ministry branch in Mecca responded that Ms. Ajram had received the visa to travel with her husband and had come on a personal visit, not in her capacity as an artist.

    Also in the cache was an email to a foreign ministry official from a technology company called StarLink, whose website says it is a “trusted security adviser.”

    Reached by phone, the company’s business development manager, Mahmoud Odeh, confirmed that StarLink had provided computer security services to the Saudi government.

    When asked what he thought of the leaks, Mr. Odeh hung up.

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