Reader links for Oct. 18 – 2015

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About Eeyore

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

68 Replies to “Reader links for Oct. 18 – 2015”

  1. Punjab govt warns of RAW plot to kill Nawaz (tribune, Oct 18, 2015)

    Law enforcement authorities tightened the security of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other high-profile personalities on Saturday in the wake of a provincial home department warning of an assassination plot by India’s Research & Analysis Wing (RAW).

    In a chilling notice issued on October 9, the Punjab home department stated that RAW, in collusion with some banned organisations, could hit important political personalities, including Premier Nawaz.

    The home department has directed the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to strengthen security of the premier and Hafiz Saeed, who heads the banned Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) – both of whom, according to the government, are likely targets. Among other likely targets are high-profile personalities, some of whom are part of the present government.

    In the wake of the security warning, all the LEAs are on high alert. The IG Office, CCPO, DIG Security, DIG Operations and other relevant sub-departments providing security to high-profile personalities have reviewed and reinforced their security plans for the premier in the federal capital of Islamabad, as well as the provincial capital of Lahore…”

  2. Uighur militants eliminated from Pakistan: Asif (tribune, Oct 18, 2015)

    “BEIJING: Pakistan has eliminated all members of the Uighur group of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) from its territory, but must remain vigilant to ensure they don’t return, the country’s defence minister said in Beijing on Sunday.

    China blames ETIM for carrying out attacks in its far western region of Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people, although many foreign experts doubt the group’s existence in a cohesive group.

    China, Pakistan’s only major ally in the region, has long urged Islamabad to weed out what it says are militants from Xinjiang, who are holed up in a lawless tribal belt, home to a lethal mix of militant groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda.

    “We believe they’re all eliminated,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters on the sidelines of a security forum.

    “I think there (were) a small number in tribal areas, they’re all gone or eliminated. There are no more there.”

    It is just as much in Pakistan’s interests as China’s to fight Uighur militants, Asif said, denying there was any difference of opinion between Beijing and Islamabad on Pakistan’s efforts to tackle the problem…”

  3. Sign of strained ties: Kabul stalls visa processing for Pakistani diplomats (tribune, Oct 18, 2015)

    “ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan is delaying the issuing of assignment visas to Pakistani officials posted in diplomatic missions on its soil, sources familiar with the issue told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

    “Pakistan had appointed Kamal Hussain as a commercial assistant for its embassy in Kabul, but he has not been issued a visa yet,” an official source said about the office which has been vacant since August. “Nine more cases of assignment visas for Pakistani officials have also been pending for months,” the source added.

    Afghanistan’s foreign ministry did not respond to a query sent to its official address but sources in the war-torn country voiced similar complaints…”

  4. Israel says more knife attacks thwarted, four Palestinians dead

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli authorities said four Palestinians had been shot dead and a fifth seriously injured in thwarted knife attacks on Saturday in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as tensions ran high after more than two weeks of unrest.

    Forty-one Palestinians and seven Israelis have died in the recent street violence, which was in part triggered by Palestinians’ anger over what they see as increased Jewish encroachment on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

    Israel says it is keeping the status quo at the holy compound, which is also revered by Jews as the location of two destroyed biblical Jewish temples.

    The Palestinian dead include attackers wielding knives and protesters shot by Israeli forces as they threw rocks. The Israelis were killed in random attacks in the street or on buses.

    In the latest attack, a Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli border policeman at the Qalandia crossing in the West Bank, a police spokesman said. The attacker was initially shot and wounded in the leg.

  5. Israel: Palestinians ‘Brainwashed With Hate’

    Palestinian children are being “brainwashed” with “incitement and hate”, according to an Israeli spokesman.

    Danny Danon, Israel’s new ambassador to the United Nations, is urging the Security Council to make a statement against what he described as “the incitement that fuels terror”.

    During his speech, Mr Danon held up a piece of card with a diagram of a human body entitled “How to Stab a Jew”, which he said was “an example of what Palestinian children are being exposed to day in and day out, in school, after school”.

    Sky News has been unable to verify Mr Danon’s claims, in which he said: “When a Palestinian child returns from school and opens (sic) the television, he doesn’t see Barney or Donald Duck, he sees murderers portrayed as heroes.

  6. East Jerusalem, Bubbling Over With Despair

    Mr. Abu Hamed, 44, is a lecturer at Hebrew University who runs two clinics in Israel’s health system, and lives in a comfortable home among Sur Baher’s tangle of crowded hills. The view from his balcony is of sprawling Jewish enclaves that he said were “built on our lands,” and the ugly barrier Israel erected that splits Sur Baher from the occupied West Bank.

    These days, he can also see the Israeli soldiers who have blocked two of the neighborhood’s exits and set up a checkpoint to search cars at the third, making the city’s psychic division all the more concrete.

    “You have a lot of evidence that you are not a human being,” Mr. Abu Hamed said. “The problem is the policy, because all the time as a Palestinian here you feel that they want to take you out of the city, you have a lot of problems that do not allow you to feel that you are part of the city. It’s killing from inside all the time.”

  7. More young French saying ‘au revoir’ to their homeland

    Paris (AFP) – Jessica caught the travel bug and never came back, Frederic wanted a bigger market for his start-up and Nicolas was just tired of the vexing daily grind in France that was eating away at his joie de vivre.

    So they left to Australia, New York or Canada, becoming part of the growing wave of young French citizens seeking a future elsewhere.

    The official statistics agency INSEE said this week that between 2006 and 2013, the number of French emigrating jumped from 140,000 a year to 200,000, 80 percent of them between 18 and 29 years old.

    In a globalised world the French have been slow to jump on the expat train that has long seen thousands of young Australians or Brits flit across continents and put down roots abroad.

    • Between Islam and Marxism France is becoming a third world hell hole, the ones that make ity to North America will be valuable assets in our fight to remain free.

  8. Judge: Texas can deny birth certificates for U.S.-born children of some immigrants
    A federal judge ruled Friday that Texas officials can continue to deny U.S. birth certificates to the children of immigrants who cannot supply required identification because they entered the country illegally.

    Though children born in the United States are entitled by law to U.S. citizenship regardless of the immigration status of their parents, Texas authorities have been placing significant barriers to immigrants who have entered the country illegally and are seeking birth certificates for their U.S.-born children.

    In his ruling denying an emergency order sought by families, Judge Robert L. Pitman of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio said Texas officials can refuse to accept matricula consular cards, issued by Mexican consulates, as a form of identification to obtain birth certificates for U.S.-born children.

  9. Migrant backlog builds in Balkans after new diversion

    ERKASOVO, Serbia (Reuters) – A column of around 40 buses packed with migrants queued to enter Croatia from Serbia on Sunday, their passage to western Europe slowed by a new diversion through Slovenia as weather conditions worsen.

    Many had spent the night on the buses, wrapped in warm clothes and blankets against the autumn cold. They woke to dense fog.

    “This part of the trip has lasted 20 hours, and we’ve been here for almost 12 hours,” said Khair, 40, a former sales manager from the Syrian capital, Damascus. “What can we do? We’re here and we have to wait.”

    Hungary sealed its southern border with Croatia to migrants at midnight on Friday, forcing them west to fellow EU member Slovenia, a small former Yugoslav republic of two million people that also borders Austria.

  10. Indonesia’s Aceh to close churches after pressure from Muslim groups

    ACEH SINGKIL, Indonesia (Reuters)- – Authorities in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province said on Sunday several Christian churches would be shut down this week, just days after a mob burned down a church, killing one person and injuring several others.

    Tensions have been high among the ethnically and religiously diverse population of Aceh, raising the risk of further religious violence in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim population.

    The vast majority of Indonesians practise a moderate form of Islam and Aceh is the only province to adhere to Islamic Sharia law, putting it at odds with the rest of the country.

    Aceh was granted special autonomy as part of a 2005 agreement to end decades of separatist violence, which allowed it to implement Sharia law.

  11. Sudan sends ground troops to Yemen to boost Saudi-led coalition

    ADEN (Reuters) – A battalion of Sudanese troops arrived in Yemen’s southern port city of Aden on Saturday, military officials said, bolstering Saudi-led Arab forces trying to keep out the Iran-backed Houthis and curb the growing presence of Islamist militants.

    Aden, a strategic port and shipping hub, became the seat of the Yemeni government earlier this year after the Houthis, a clan from northern Yemen, seized the capital Sanaa and forced President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to the south.

    A military source in Aden said that 300 Sudanese soldiers and officers arrived by sea on Saturday. Their purpose was to “help maintain security for the city against the Houthis and Saleh,” the source said, referring to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose supporters have sided with the Houthis.

    Hadi escaped to Saudi Arabia as the Houthis, who follow the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam, advanced towards Aden in March. Prime Minister Khaled Bahah returned from exile after anti-Houthi fighters, backed by the Arab coalition, drove the Houthis and their allies out of the city in July.

  12. Support for Merkel’s bloc hits 2-1/2 year low on refugee angst

    BERLIN (Reuters) – Support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives has fallen to its lowest since May 2013, hurt by grassroots concerns about the ability of her government to handle a record inflow of refugees, a poll showed on Sunday.

    Germany, a favored destination for migrants, expects 800,000 to a million refugees to arrive this year. Many Germans feel the country cannot cope with the record influx.

    Last week, Merkel faced calls from some of her own conservatives to tighten Germany’s border controls and turn away refugees arriving from Austria – pressure she has resisted.

    But popular concerns are eroding support for her conservatives, who saw their support slip by one percentage point to 37 percent in a weekly survey by Emnid. As recently as mid-September, the conservative bloc enjoyed 41-percent support.

  13. Israel, U.S. signal military ties back on track after Iran spat

    TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Israel and the United States signaled on Sunday they were putting disputes over the Iran nuclear deal behind them, announcing resumed talks on U.S. defense aid for Israel as it hosted Washington’s top general and a joint air force drill.

    The allies had been looking to agree on a 10-year military aid package to extend the current U.S. grants to Israel worth $3 billion annually, which are due to expire in 2017.

    But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu froze those negotiations ahead of the July deal reached between Iran and world powers, which Israel deems insufficiently stringent and against which it had lobbied the U.S. Congress.

    “With the nuclear deal now moving ahead, Israel is also moving ahead, hoping to forge a common policy with the United states to address the continuing dangers posed by Iran,” Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, said in a Facebook post.

  14. U.S. confirms Iran tested nuclear-capable ballistic missile
    UNITED NATIONS | By Louis Charb

    The United States has confirmed that Iran tested a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon, in “clear violation” of a United Nations Security Council ban on ballistic missile tests, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

    “The United States is deeply concerned about Iran’s recent ballistic missile launch,” the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said in a statement.

    “After reviewing the available information, we can confirm that Iran launched on Oct. 10 a medium-range ballistic missile inherently capable of delivering a nuclear weapon,” she said. “This was a clear violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929.”

    The United States is preparing a report on the incident for the Security Council’s Iran Sanctions Committee and will raise the matter directly with Security Council members “in the coming days,” Power said.

  15. Turkey: Germany is on Turkish side in refugee crisis – Merkel

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel commended Turkey for coping with the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, despite “le$$” international a$$i$tance in comparison with other countries, during a joint press conference with Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, Sunday.

  16. Kurds Ask for Peace, Turkey Attacks

    Just after the bombing attack in Ankara, Turkish authorities said that the Islamic State (ISIS) was responsible. But in response, Turkish jets did not bomb ISIS; they bombed the Kurdish PKK, who are fighting ISIS.

    Where were the special forces and the police, so quick to shoot Kurds but not protect them? The police delayed medical help, and instead attacked with tear gas the people that were helping the wounded, in an effort to disperse them.

    “The PKK ceasefire means nothing for us. The operations will continue without a break.” — Senior Turkish security official.

    “Ankara is the capital of Turkey. If a bird flies here, the state knows about it. … There was a rally of 100,000 people but no security precautions were taken. Look at their own rallies: the security precautions start 10 streets away.” — Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the Kurdish HDP Party.

    Many massacres have been carried out against the Kurds. None of the perpetrators has ever been punished — in those massacres, the planners were the state authorities themselves.

    • Swiss Nationalist Party on Track to Win, Projections Say (abcnews, Oct 18, 2015)

      “Early projections for the national broadcaster show that a nationalist party will come out ahead in Swiss legislative elections amid concerns about migration.

      RTS Television says the national Swiss People’s Party collected 28 percent of the national vote, and appears set to add 11 seats — for a total of 65 in the 200-seat lower house of parliament. The leading free market party and the smaller Christian Democrats also gained ground.

      That largely matched pre-election poll estimates. But in one surprise, the Social Democrats — the country’s second-largest party — lost support. Other smaller centrist parties and two Green movements also retreated, as had been expected.

      The People’s Party has seized on concerns about migration to Europe, which pre-race polls suggested was the leading issue in voters’ minds.”

    • Slovenia rejects Croatia request to send 2nd train on Sunday, and says it will only accept 2,500 refugees per day from now on

      BBC – Migrant crisis: Slovenia sets limit of 2,500 people a day

      Slovenia will only allow 2,500 migrants to cross its borders daily – half the number neighbour Croatia has asked for.

      Interior Ministry Secretary of State Bostjan Sefic said Slovenia could not accept Croatia’s request to take 5,000, because Austria’s daily limit is 1,500.

      Most migrants – many from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq – are crossing Croatia and Slovenia to reach western Europe.

      The limitation on numbers has led to a build-up of migrants and refugees on Croatia’s border with Serbia.

      Around 40 buses of people were backed up in Serbia on Sunday, and tempers flared between frustrated migrants and overstretched police officers.

      “We are waiting here four hours on the bus,” Muhammad Samin from Afghanistan told the Associated Press. “The weather is too cold. We wear lots of shirts. The children are also in the cold. No food.”

      There are also reported to be 4,000 migrants waiting at a reception centre in the east Croatian town of Opatovac, hoping for an onward journey towards Slovenia.

      The migrants have already spent weeks walking from Turkey, via Greece, Macedonia and Serbia.

      Mr Sefic told a news conference that Slovenia “cannot accept unlimited numbers of migrants if we know that they cannot continue their journey”.

      “Croatia asked us to accept 5,000 migrants per day, but Austria told us they can accept at maximum 1,500,” he said.

      He said Slovenia had to turn down a request by Croatia on Sunday to send it a second train of migrants.

      The UN’s refugee agency says about 4,000 migrants crossed into Slovenia on Saturday. By Sunday morning, Austria said it had allowed through around 1,000 people.

      Slovenia became the main route for migrants after Hungary closed its borders to them on Friday night, citing security concerns.

      • Migrant crisis: Slovenia sets limit of 2,500 people a day (BBC, Oct 18, 2015)

        “Slovenia will only allow 2,500 migrants to cross its borders daily – half the number neighbour Croatia has asked for.

        Interior Ministry Secretary of State Bostjan Sefic said Slovenia could not accept Croatia’s request to take 5,000, because Austria’s daily limit is 1,500.

        Most migrants – many from Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq – are crossing Croatia and Slovenia to reach western Europe.

        The limitation on numbers has led to a build-up of migrants and refugees on Croatia’s border with Serbia…”

  17. Israel Must Deport the PLO

    by Daniel Greenfield

    […]There’s only one thing left for Israel to do. It’s time to deport the dictator, who barely controls half the population that he claims to represent, his 1,000 member presidential guard, his 57,000 member Presidential Security Force and the rest of his 150,000 employees who get paid retirement at fifty and many of whom have not reported to work since 2007.

    It’s time to deport them all.

    America, Europe and Japan have spent billions of dollars paying the salaries of terrorists who don’t even bother pretending to work. Last year their salaries amounted to around $2 billion. Those who do work spend time processing the $130 million a year that the PLO pays to convicted terrorists in Israel.

    […]Deport the Fatah members who have used billions in foreign aid to build themselves a corrupt terrorist empire with fake jobs and foreign aid. Deport the government Imams who screech on its television shows for war with the Jewish “descendants of apes and pigs.” Deport the Palestinian Authority’s terrorist media corps that celebrates every brutal act of Muslim terror and casually calls for genocide.

    Deport them all.

    […]Get rid of them all.

    Deport the terrorists, deport their leaders, deport their flunkies, deport their economic advisers who figure out new ways of funneling foreign aid into Swiss bank accounts, deport the police who double as terrorists and deport the paid stone throwers. Deport the entire PLO and Hamas terrorist infrastructure to any country that is stupid enough to take them.

    Maybe Cyprus or Tunisia will take them back. Or maybe Japan, which has spent hundreds of millions on funding the PLO, wants them. If not, how about Norway, which made this mess? We know the Saudis and Kuwait doesn’t want them, no matter how much noise they make about their “suffering”.[…]

    on this page :

  18. BREITBART – UK – 84 Bishops Demand Britain Takes In 50,000 Migrants From Syria

    A group of 84 bishops have written to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to allow more Syrian refugees to settle in Britain, a published letter showed.

    The call comes days after 300 senior lawyers, former law lords and retired judges described Cameron’s offer to take 20,000 Syrian refugees over five years as “too low, too slow and too narrow”.

    The Church of England bishops called on Cameron to accept 50,000 over five years, in a letter initially sent privately in September but made public following a “disheartening” lack of response from Cameron.

    “As the fighting intensifies, as the sheer scale of human misery becomes greater, the government’s response seems increasingly inadequate to meet the scale and severity of the problem,” said Bishop of Durham Paul Butler, speaking on behalf of the bishops.

    “It is disheartening that we have not received any substantive reply despite an assurance from the prime minister that one would be received.”

    Anglican leader Justin Welby, who has offered to host one or two refugee families on the grounds of his London residence, was not among the signatories.

    In their letter, the bishops said they would work with their congregations to welcome and house refugees, and proposed a National Welcome and Resettlement Board to manage the effort.

    Resettling 50,000 refugees “would bring us into line with comparable commitments made by other countries,” they added.

    Cameron says Britain is already the second-largest aid donor to victims of the Syrian conflict, and his Conservative government is under pressure to stem immigration.

    Tensions over Europe’s migrant crisis are mounting, as thousands of refugees continue to embark on desperate journeys to the continent while leaders bicker over who should accept them.

  19. the right scoop – OBSCENE: Biden demands Europe ‘PROTECT’ MUSLIMS while accepting Christian award!!

    Biden says he’s taken up Greek Orthodox case with Turkish leaders, and says Greece must protect and respect Muslims.

    He’s accepting an award from the Orthodox church, that has been historically devastated by Muslim aggression, and he says that the West has to protect MUSLIMS!? Just amazing.

    But it gets worse:

    Biden condemns “barbarous murderers” of ISIL for twisting the Koran to justify slavery and rape as religious tactics of war.

    Weird that so many atrocities and human rights violations are made apart from ISIS, in Muslim countries that have nothing to do with their “perversion” of the Koran.

    The Orthodox church should be ashamed of lending any credibility to this criminally negligent administration that continues to look the other way as Christians are wiped out in the Middle East.
    video : Joe Biden Speech after receiving the Athenagoras Human Rights Award 10/17/15 (62 min)

  20. UK BIRMINGHAM – Muslim ‘holy man’ jailed for sickening sex attack on young woman during ‘naked healing ritual’

    Syed Shah, 29, was branded a “very dangerous sexual predator” after he was sent to prison this week

    This week at Birmingham Crown Court he was jailed for two years and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.

    Married Shah is a self-professed Islamic faith healer.

  21. US strike in Syria ‘kills senior al-Qaeda militant’ (BBC, Oct 18, 2015)

    “The US says it has a killed a senior member of a group of al-Qaeda veterans called the Khorasan Group in an air strike in north-western Syria.

    A Pentagon statement said the strike killed a Saudi national called Sanafi al-Nasr.

    The statement said he had funnelled money and recruits to Al-Qaeda and had helped its “operations in the West”.

    Some reports of deaths of leaders in the Khorasan Group have turned out to be false.

    In July the US said it had killed the leader of the group, a Kuwaiti called Muhsin al-Fadhli. He had previously been reported killed in 2014.

    The Pentagon said Sanafi al-Nasr had “moved funds from donors in the Gulf region into Iraq and then to al-Qaeda leaders”.

    “He organized and maintained routes for new recruits to travel from Pakistan to Syria through Turkey,” it went on…”

  22. Carson: Declaring Energy Independence Would Have Turned Over bin Laden in Two Weeks (abcnews, Oct 18, 2015)

    “GOP presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson remains steadfast in his assertion that if the United States had declared its intention to achieve energy independence after the September 11th terror attacks, modern Arab governments would have turned over Osama bin Laden within two weeks.

    “I think they would have been extremely concerned about what the ramifications of that would have been,” Carson said on ABC’s “This Week.” “And I believe they would have been considerably more cooperative.”

    Carson is the only major Republican candidate who opposed President Bush’s decision to invade Afghanistan after 9/11. During the second GOP primary debate in September, the retired neurosurgeon said Arab nations “would have turned over Osama bin Laden and anybody else you wanted on a silver platter within two weeks” if the U.S. declared that within five to 10 years it would become petroleum independent…”

  23. Syria Activists Say 4 Civilians Killed in Intense Airstrikes (abcnews, Oct 18, 2015)

    “Russian and Syrian warplanes pounded targets in central and northern Syria, killing at least four civilians Sunday as ground troops battled insurgents and seized new territory, activists and the government said.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and activist news platform Syrian Revolution Talbiseh said warplanes believed to be Russian targeted mourners at a funeral in Homs province’s al-Ghanto village, killing four civilians. Homs-based activist Bebars al-Telawy said the civilians were burying a man who died from wounds sustained a day earlier when the planes struck.

    Al-Ghanto, the town of Talbiseh and other areas north of the city of Homs were pounded with more than a dozen airstrikes Sunday, including government helicopters dropping barrel bombs in the village of Ter Maela, the activists said.

    The state-news agency SANA reported army troops began a ground offensive in the area…”

  24. The Latest: Several Wounded in Israel Bus Station Shooting (abcnews, Oct 18, 2015)

    “… Israeli police say several Israelis are wounded in a suspected shooting attack at a bus station in southern Israel.

    Police spokeswoman Luba Samri says shots were heard coming from the bus station in Beersheba on Sunday. She says an attacker has been killed.

    Eli Bin, the head of Israel’s rescue service MDA, told Israeli Channel 2 TV that five people were wounded in the incident.

    Israeli media reported there may have been more than one attacker and they may have been armed with knives….”

  25. POLAND – Migrants may bring epidemics, warns Polish president

    Warsaw (AFP) – Poland’s conservative President Andrzej Duda on Sunday said his government should take steps to protect its citizens if it took in migrants as they could bring “possible epidemics”.

    The statements are potentially embarrassing for former Polish premier Donald Tusk, who is now the EU president, and who has criticised the growing trend among European nations to erect new barriers to keep out refugees from Syria and elsewhere.

    Duda said if the government was ready to accept migrants it should take measures “to ensure that Poles are well protected against epidemiological risks”.

    “The security of citizens is the most important question… financial and physical security as much as health,” Duda told the TVN24 channel.

    His comments echo those of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the populist Law and Justice party of which Duda is a member.

    The party is widely tipped to win legislative elections due on October 25.

    Kaczynski had spoken of “cholera in the Greek islands” and “dysentery in Vienna” and accused migrants of “bringing in all kinds of parasites which are not dangerous in their own countries but which could prove dangerous for the local populations” in Europe.

    Speaking outside a refugee centre, Kaczynski had also asked the centrist government of Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz to clearly spell out how it planned to “protect” Polish citizens.

    These comments were widely criticised by both centrist leaders and the media which likened them to hate speech and said they were reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. The Nazis had accused Jews of carrying typhus.

    Poland had long been reluctant to take in migrants but finally agreed to accept about 5,000 of the 120,000 people to be shared out between the 28-member EU, up from an initial 2,000.

    More than 630,000 people fleeing war and misery in the Middle East and Africa have landed on Europe’s shores this year.

  26. Sanctions to remain until Iran implements nuclear deal, says Steinmeier (DW, Oct 18, 2015)

    “German FM Steinmeier says sanctions on Tehran will remain until Iran shows it is implementing a recent nuclear deal. The remark follows the Guardian Council’s ratification of the deal, effectively making it Iranian law.

    During a diplomatic tour of the Middle East, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Sunday that sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program will remain in place until Tehran implements the agreement.

    “That definitely won’t be the case before the end of January,” Steinmeier told reporters on the first day of the nuclear deal’s implementation…”

  27. Syria: Religious leaders thank Russia for military action

    The representatives of the religious communities of Syria thanked Russia for the participation in the country’s conflict during a meeting in Damascus on Sunday. The meeting was attended by the Russian Ambassador to Syria Alexander Kinschak, the Mufti of the Syrian Arab Republic Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun and Syrian Minister of Awqaf Abdul Sattar al-Sayed.

  28. Switzerland – Four Iraqis charged in alleged Swiss ISIS cell

    Swiss authorities have charged four Iraqi nationals with planning a terrorist attack in Europe on behalf of the Islamic State group.

    Though details of the planned attack were sketchy, Switzerland’s attorney general confirmed on Friday that IS “was to claim responsibility (for) these plans if successful”.

    The four Iraqis, ranging in ages from 29 to 34, face charges of participating in or supporting a criminal organisation and preparing a terrorist attack. They also are accused of multiple counts of depicting violence and illegally staying in the country.

    “Given the international dimension, various countries are affected by this case,” authorities said in a statement. “The Office of the Attorney General is accordingly in contact with the law enforcement authorities of various states. The cooperation with the US Department of Justice is particularly close.”

    The cooperation marks the first time that Swiss and US officials have activated a 2006 treaty that calls for establishing joint investigation teams in the fight against terrorism.

    Police first arrested three of the four Iraqis, ranging in age from 29 to 34, in northeastern Switzerland in March and April 2014. They have been in custody since then. The criminal investigation expanded to include a fourth Iraqi in July 2015.

    He is suspected of traveling to Syria to bring radio equipment to IS, the attorney general’s office said, and of trying to hide his Facebook connections to a high-ranking IS member.

    Intercepted calls

    After a Western counterpart intercepted the suspects’ phone calls, the tips went to the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service, which then alerted the Federal Criminal Police.

    The three Iraqis who were initially arrested had allegedly helped about 40 jihadists in Switzerland travel to join IS in the regions it controls within Syria and Iraq. They also allegedly tried to obtain toxic gas and explosives to mount attacks.

    Swiss investigators have been working on the case with US and other European authorities.

    One of the four men had joined a predecessor organisation of IS in 2004 and made contacts in Syria in 2011 with the Syrian branch of IS that included another one of the suspects, the attorney general’s office said.

    “After entering Switzerland at the beginning of 2012, he maintained contact with this group and forged plans for attacks with another accused and a third party who was to travel to Switzerland from abroad,” the statement said.

    “The three accused individuals also aided and abetted smuggling further IS followers to Europe, assumed coordination tasks, disseminated propaganda for the actions of the terrorist organisation, gave instructions and also provided operative advice amongst other things,” it said.

  29. Pakistan cautions US against tipping South Asia balance (tribune, Oct 18, 2015)

    “As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif prepares for his visit to the United States, his top foreign policy aide has called upon the administration of President Barack Obama not to take steps that might aggravate the strategic imbalance in the South Asian region.

    Speaking in BBC Urdu show ‘Sairbeen’, Sartaj Aziz, the prime minister’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, said Pakistan had no issues whatsoever with Washington’s diplomatic relationship with New Delhi.

    “However, at a time when Pakistan’s relations with India are tense, it [the United States] should at least try not to increase the strategic and traditional imbalance [of power] to the extent that it might pose a threat to the integrity of the whole [South Asian] region,” he added…”

  30. Iraqi forces advance against ISIS on three fronts (ahram, Oct 18, 2015)

    “Iraqi forces advanced on three fronts against the Islamic State group Sunday, flushing out pockets of resistance in and around Baiji and closing in on Ramadi and Hawijah, officers said.
    Iraqi security and allied paramilitary forces last week launched a broad offensive on Baiji, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) north of Baghdad.

    The city and nearby refinery — the country’s largest — have been one of the worst flashpoints since IS launched a sweeping offensive across Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland in June 2014.

    Anti-IS forces, including thousands from the Popular Mobilisation (Hashed al-Shaabi) force that includes many Tehran-backed Shiite militias, have reconquered most of Baiji and its surroundings.

    “They are still combing some neighbourhoods of Baiji, including Tamim to the west and the market area in the centre,” a police brigadier general said.

    “There are still a few IS members in there,” he said.

    “The security forces and Hashed forces took up positions to take control of some neighbourhoods in Baiji, searching for bombs and booby-trapped houses,” an army major general said.

    He described the latest advance in the Baiji area as “the biggest victory since 10th of June 2014”, when IS made massive territorial gains with a lightning offensive that saw Iraq’s federal forces collapse completely.

    Since they launched a counter-attack last year, government and allied forces have retaken all areas south of Baghdad and others north of the capital, including the city of Tikrit.

    The government forces pushed past Baiji on the main road leading north to Mosul, cutting off IS fighters holding the city of Hawijah, east of the Tigris river.

    Army and police, backed by hundreds of Sunni tribal fighters incorporated into the Hashed al-Shaabi, began an operation Sunday aimed at surrounding Hawijah.

    “The operation started in two areas, one west of Kirkuk around Al-Fatha and the other south of Kirkuk near Allas oil field,” a major general said.

    The Kurdish peshmerga forces were not directly involved in this operation but they have mande progress of their own in recent weeks, pushing southwest from Kirkuk, which they control.

    A security coordination meeting between federal and Kurdish forces and politicians was held in Kirkuk Sunday, governor Najmeddin Karim said.

    Iraqi forces also continued to tighten the noose around Ramadi, the capital of the western province of Anbar, which IS captured in May this year.

    Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service is leading operations around Ramadi, with backing from the security forces, Sunni tribesmen opposed to IS and US-led coalition air strikes.

    “Albu Farraj neighbourhood is under full control now. The city of Ramadi is completely isolated from the northern side now,” said Major General Ismail Mahalawi, from Anbar Operations Command.

    A coalition spokesman said last week the number of IS fighters still inside Ramadi was estimated at 600 to 1,000.”

  31. Russian intervention in Syria upsets all calculations on the ground: Syrian opposition (ahram, Oct 18, 2015)

    “As Russian forces sustained their aerial strikes on targets in Syria, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on 12 October that Russian aerial reconnaissance flights and satellites are searching for new Islamic State (IS) infrastructure targets to be destroyed later.
    Konashenkov said that Russian Sukhoi Su-24M and Su-34 bombers and Su-25SM assault aircraft carried out the air strikes in the provinces of Homs, Hama, Latakia and Idlib, with Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets providing air escort for the assault groups.

    The Sukhoi Su-30 fighters were included in the air group of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria only days before.

    The defence ministry spokesperson said that in recent days terrorists have been making “frantic efforts to pull weapons, munitions and fuel from Raqqa province to the line of engagement with the Syrian army” as a result of the Russian bombardment. He reported that a guided KAB-500 air bomb delivered by a Su-24M bomber completely destroyed an underground command headquarters in Hama.

    He added that on 12 October Russian experts were to undertake a follow-up patrol aboard an Antonov An-30B reconnaissance plan, passing through Turkish airspace and using Diyarbakir and Eskisehir airports in accordance with the open skies agreement.

    Washington, too, entered the scene, with an airdrop to opposition fighters in the areas where Russia has been staging its raids. The spokesman for US Central Command (Centcom) announced on Monday that the US had airdropped munitions in northern Syria to opposition fighters engaging IS forces.

    The “successful” air operation carried out by the coalition provided munitions to Syrian Arab groups, the officials responsible for which were subject to appropriate screening operations by the US, said Colonel Patrick Ryder.

    Syrian opposition leaders confirmed that the US informed the opposition that new weapons were on their way to help them mount a joint assault with their Kurdish allies against the city of Raqqa which is controlled by IS.

    In an interview with Al-Ahram Weekly, Qassem Al-Khatib, a member of the Syrian opposition coalition, said that the group opposes Russian intervention in Syria, saying that it has upset all their calculations on the ground.

    “We, as representatives from the spectrum of the Syrian opposition, came to Cairo for the conferences on 1 and 2 October in which we announced our condemnation of the violence, because over the past four years — and we are now in the fifth year — we have reached the conviction that a military solution is impossible,” said Al-Khatib.

    “Therefore, the political solution is what can lead us to the road of a solution to the current worsening crisis. We went to Moscow with the same team and met with Mr Lavrov … We told [him] that we have an opportunity for a political solution and that we hoped that this would be the forthcoming course. But we were then surprised by the Russian military intervention in Syria, which we reject.”

    What is the coalition’s assessment of the impact on the ground of the Russian intervention?

    “We had no prior knowledge of the matter, but we were not totally surprised. Today, Russian intervention has made things much more complicated at many levels since their intervention is not against IS as they claim.

    “In fact, to the contrary, the Russian strikes are targeting the Free Army on the Syrian coast and in the areas of Hama, Homs and Aleppo, rather than Deir Al-Zor and Raqqa where IS is embedded. The Russians’ concept of military intervention in Syria is to protect and entrench Bashar Al-Assad.”

    In light of the new de facto realities imposed by Russian intervention, how would the coalition handle these in the future? Would it consider a Geneva 3 conference in which Al-Assad is a part of the political solution?

    “Never. Al-Assad cannot be part of the solution in the interim phase. We have no objection to going to a Geneva 3, and we have the Cairo Document, which forms groundwork for a political solution and to which we remain committed. But we cannot accept Al-Assad after the dozens of thousands of lives that were lost, the more than a million and a half people that were displaced, and the destruction of Syria.”

    Russia triggered a sharp division regionally and internationally. What actions does the coalition envision in light of the new realities Russia has created in the battle arena?

    “We will act together with our friends, the Syrian people. Yes, the international community has become divided on the cause. Some parties announce their positions frankly, others make it known beneath the table. We have actions with the French and actions with Saudi Arabia and there are communications with international institutions concerned with the issue.”

    What about Egypt, which recently announced its support for the Russian strikes?

    “Yes, that is Egypt’s position from the standpoint of its particular interests. However, I believe that Egypt is with us when we seek a political solution. The problem is with Russia, which has become a party to the crisis instead of proposing a just solution.”

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, have officially softened their stances on the Russian intervention. Saudi Defence Minister Mohamed Bin Salman Al-Saud met with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Sunday on the sidelines of a Formula-1 race.

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir stated that Riyadh is keen to improve relations with Moscow and reach common ground that will safeguard the unity of Syria. He added: “Riyadh, in its perspective on ways to resolve the Syrian crisis, still insists that the Syrian president must leave and continues to support the moderate Syrian opposition.”

    President Putin, for his part, said that the Russian intervention aims to pave the way to a political solution.

    The UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has cautioned that the Syrian state could collapse. Military escalation could lead to “partition, which de facto is already being seen as a possibility,” he warned in a news conference in Geneva.

    He added: “At the same time, the situation could move into a toxic type of cocktail, a combination of a creeping Afghanistan with shades of Libya and Somalia.””

  32. Why Russia Faces Another Islamic Terror Front: Afghanistan (nbcnews, OCt 18, 2015)

    “MOSCOW — All eyes are on Russia’s expanding military operation in Syria, but it is not the only place where President Vladimir Putin appears to be expecting trouble from terrorists.

    Russia last week sent gunships to its biggest overseas military base — which is located in the ex-Soviet state of Tajikistan, close to the Afghanistan border.

    The boost in firepower, along with the Taliban’s recent advances in Afghanistan, has stoked fears that Central Asia — a impoverished and predominantly Muslim region — may become a second front for jihad.

    “The situation there [in Afghanistan] is close to critical,” Putin said Friday at a meeting with Central Asian leaders near Moscow, according to the Kremlin’s website.

    “Various terrorists are gaining influence and don’t hide their plans for further expansion.” Russia has a painful track record in Afghanistan.

    The decade-long Afghan war in the 1980s cost Moscow 15,000 lives and sped up the collapse of the Soviet economy — all without accomplishing the goal of propping up Afghanistan’s then-Communist government.

    The Taliban — which itself was born in the struggle to expel the Soviet army during the occupation —returned to the international spotlight in late September after mounting its most successful offensive since 2001, briefly capturing the major Afghan city of Kunduz.

    The city was later retaken by the Afghan army, aided by U.S. airstrikes, but Russia subsequently deployed gunships across the border in Tajikistan to strengthen its base, which hosts more than 6,000 soldiers.

    The 201st Gatchinskaya Military Base, founded in 2004 and occupying three strongholds across Tajikistan, is designed to thwart a possible Taliban breakthrough into post-Soviet Central Asia, according to Simon Saradzhyan, a global security expert at Harvard’s Belfer Center.

    Taliban inroads in the former Soviet Union have been a growing concern in Moscow, and the movement’s recent success, along with the rise of ISIS, has underscored the threat.

    Hundreds of people in Tajikistan and neighboring Uzbekistan are reported to be fighting for ISIS, with more attending its training camps in Syria.

    The Taliban has longstanding ties with Muslim extremists in post-Soviet territories including Russia’s own predominantly Muslim regions of Tatarstan and Bashkortostan.

    ISIS has declared it wants to include these Russian provinces in its self-declared “caliphate.”

    A worst-case scenario envisages thousands of new recruits for the global jihad and even Islamist uprisings or a new wave of terrorist attacks in Russia, which is only separated from Central Asia by a porous and poorly-guarded border.

    Security experts told NBC News the Taliban does not have the strength to make incursions on former Soviet territories.

    “I don’t see the Taliban cavalry charging north through mountain passes,” said Alexei Malashenko of Carnegie Moscow Center. However, Omar Nessar, who heads the Moscow-based Center for Contemporary Afghan Studies, said the Taliban may simply be waiting for the warmth of spring before acting. “They are definitely preparing for something in the north,” he said.

    Defense officials in Moscow said Thursday that Russia may act to control the entire border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

    Another concern for Moscow is a possible alliance between ISIS and the Taliban, experts agreed. Despite the common goal of jihad, the two movements have been battling each other in Afghanistan.

    But Saradzhyan and Nessar agree that a loose alliance between the two is possible.

    There are already between 2,000 and 3,000 ISIS fighters in Afghanistan and their numbers are growing, according to the Russian General Staff. But a more fundamental reason to expect militant trouble north of Afghanistan is the policies of local leaders.

    Post-Soviet states in Central Asia are ruled by secular dictators who brook no independent groups of influence, including religious opposition.

    Tajikistan, in particular, has mounted a crackdown on the Muslim faithful, last month disbanding the country’s sole moderate Islamic party.

    Experts expect that the suppression on believers will push many Muslims toward radical Islam.

    “[Tajik President Emomali] Rakhmon is digging his own grave,” Malashenko said.

    Even Tajik elites are radicalizing under pressure. In May, chief of the Tajik police special forces, Gulmurod Khalimov, defected to ISIS citing oppression against Muslims.

    In September, Deputy Defense Minister Abdukhalim Nazarzoda dodged arrest and left for the mountains, leaving dozens of slain police and army troops in his wake.

    He was a prominent Islamist warlord in the bloody Tajik civil war in the 1990s that left between 50,000 and 100,000 dead.

    Islamists were incorporated into government structures after the war — but now Rakhmon is purging them as possible threats to his power.

    “This is part of the global arc of instability. A ‘second Islamist front’ in the region is quite feasible,” Saradzhyan of Harvard’s Belfer Center said.

    However, he predicted that Russia will avoid another war as long as it can.

    “The Russian military is already involved in Ukraine and Syria, and then there is the Afghan syndrome,” he said, referring to Russia’s own lost war in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    “And any active involvement or preemptive strikes in Central Asia will only stir the fighting.””

  33. IS release videos praising Palestinian stabbing attacks

    ‘A victory is coming to the Mujaheddin of al Aqsa, you are the ones who start but we will continue it’

    The media wing of the Islamic State released two videos Sunday in support of the wave of stabbing attacks carried out by Palestinians attackers against Israelis in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

    The first video, titled “Project Behead the Jews” stated that the current situation on al-Aqsa is “dangerous.” Accusing the Jews of destroying it by spending $2 million towards the “Judaisation of Jerusalem,” excavating tunnels under the al-Aqsa mosque and stealing Islamic documents.

    Muslims fear Israel is seeking to change the status quo regarding Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, located in east Jerusalem, a site sacred to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount. Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray there to avoid provoking tensions.

    The recent wave of violence has led to the deaths of 8 Israelis and 41 Palestinians, including 20 terrorists. Most of the attackers have been young Palestinians wielding knives who are believed to be acting on their own.

    With the image of 18 year-old Hadil al-Hashlamoun, who was killed in the West Bank city of Hebron by an Israeli soldier on September 22nd, the voice of what is believed to be Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS, is heard saying “we will have our revenge.”

    It is not entirely clear from the video if al-Bagdhadi is indeed referring to al-Hashlamoun.

    The second video, entitled “Message to the Mujaheddin in Jerusalem,” shows a number of unmasked Islamic State militants praising the attacks and calling on other Palestinians to follow suit.

    “I recommend that you take the path of Jihad, which God tells you to follow, I bless this jihad against the Jews. Strike fear in their hearts, they are the enemies of God,” said one young fighter.

    “A victory is coming to the mujahedin of al Aqsa from above, you are the ones who start but we will continue it,” said another young militant brandishing an American-made automatic rifle.

    “The mujahedin of Beit al Maqdis have struck fear in the hearts of the Jews and their children,” said another militant, referring to the Temple Mount complex. “You should know that Jihad in the name of Allah (god) is the only legal way to defeat the enemies of Islam. Let your fight be in the name of Allah and not for the interests of parties who have special interests. The ones who are blessed are the ones who fight in the name of Allah.”

    Another older militant directing his message to “all the Muslims of al-Quds,” said that there is “no difference between Hamas and Fatah. Both only care about their own interests and some are even agents of the crusaders and the Jews. Hurry up and save your brothers, don’t wait for the Arab leaders to help you.”

    The last video released by the group which discussed Palestinians was in July where they accused Hamas of being insufficiently stringent about religious enforcement.

    “Eight years they control the territory, and have yet to enforce one Islamic teaching,” the IS speaker said in the video. “We will uproot the state of the Jews (Israel) and you and Fatah, and all of the secularists are nothing and you will be over-run by our creeping multitudes,” a masked IS member said in the video message.

    “The rule of Sharia (Islamic law) will be implemented in Gaza, in spite of you. We swear that what is happening in the Levant today, and in particular the Yarmouk camp, will happen in Gaza,” he said.

    Israeli authorities know of at least 30 Arab Israelis who have made their way to Syria to fight for jihadist groups against Assad’s regime, but that only a few joined IS.

    In 2014, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon declared IS an illegal organization.

    Authorities broke up the first known case of an IS plot in Israel in early October, indicting seven Israeli-Arabs on charges of belonging to an IS cell planning to attack military targets.

    According to a statement released by the police, the defendants had been in contact with Israeli citizens who had already joined IS in Syria who encouraged them to illegally purchase weapons and learn how to use them in order to carry out an attack.

    The defendants were charged with unlawful contact with a foreign agent, weapons violations, including arms trafficking and conspiracy to commit a crime.

    In June six Bedouin men, including four school teachers, were arrested by Israeli security forces for purportedly supporting IS.

    Arab Israelis number around 1.4 million, just over 20 percent of Israel’s population.

    They are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who remained on their land when the Jewish state was established in 1948.

  34. Israel summons French ambassador over Temple Mount proposal

    France’s ambassador to Israel, Patrick Maisonnave, was summoned by Israel’s Foreign Ministry for Monday morning, French and Israeli diplomatic sources said.

    The summoning was over France’s proposal to deploy international observers to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected out of hand.

    “Israel cannot accept the French draft resolution at the United Nations Security Council,” Netanyahu said.,7340,L-4713113,00.html

    Netanyahu slams French proposal for foreign observers in Jerusalem

    Kerry to meet with Abbas in Amman; Israeli envoy says US claim that settlements fuel violence is ‘foolish’

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel rejects France’s draft for a UN Security Council statement calling for international observers to be deployed on the Temple Mount, the flashpoint site holy to both Muslims and Jews.

    “There is no mention of Palestinian incitement and Palestinian terrorism,” Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting. “We’ve already seen what happens in holy sites in the Middle East when extreme Muslims destroy each other’s mosques, Christian sites, heritage sites, Jewish sites,” he said.

    “Israel is not the problem on the Temple Mount; it’s the solution,” Netanyahu added. “We maintain the status quo. We are the only ones doing so and we will keep doing it in a responsible and serious manner. There hasn’t been any change in the status quo – except for an attempt by some people – organized by Islamic groups in Israel, as well as extremist elements – to place explosives in mosques and attack Jews from within the mosques,” he said.

    France is pushing for a presidential statement on behalf of the UN Security Council that calls for the deployment of international observers to Jerusalem’s holy sites, notably the Temple Mount, to ensure the status quo is maintained, Le Figaro reported on Saturday, citing French diplomats.[…]

  35. Friends of ex-BBC journalist, 50, found hanged in Turkish airport toilets say it is ‘impossible’ she committed suicide after missing flight to Iraq (dailymail, Oct 19, 2015)

    “Friends of a former BBC journalist found hanged in a toilet cubicle at a Turkish airport say it is ‘impossible’ she committed suicide and allege she was murdered.

    Former BBC journalist Jacky Sutton, 50, had travelled from London Heathrow to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, but is believed to have failed to make it onto her next plane to Erbil.

    She then appeared distressed after being told by airline staff that she would have to buy a new ticket – and was later found in the toilets by three Russian passengers, according to local media.

    Ms Sutton had arrived in Istanbul on Turkish Airlines flight TK-1986 at about 10pm local time on Saturday night, and was then due to fly to Erbil at about midnight, it was reported.

    But Iraqi journalist Mazin Elias, who had worked with her, said it was ‘impossible’ that she committed suicide, alleging that ‘someone killed Jacky’.

    He also thought it extremely unlikely she would have missed her flight…”

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