Reader’s links for Nov. 24 – 2015

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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

64 Replies to “Reader’s links for Nov. 24 – 2015”

  1. Illegal migrants: Deportation deal back on track, says EU official (tribune, Nov 24, 2015)

    “The European Union is said to have fixed a deportee deal with Islamabad, as a top official of the 28-nation bloc said on Monday that Pakistan would abide by the treaty and take back citizens deported from mainland Europe.

    The EU will also appoint its immigration officer for Pakistan in an effort to address the country’s concerns over deportation of its nationals.

    The development came days after Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Islamabad was suspending the readmission agreement it had signed with the EU in 2009 that allows European nations to repatriate illegal Pakistani immigrants and other nationalities who transited through Pakistan on their way to Europe.

    EU Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos met Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar to discuss Pakistan’s concerns on the accord. “We had friendly, frank and positive discussions with the Pakistani interior minister. And I think after the talks today … everything is back to normal,” Avramopoulos told reporters after the meeting.

    His statement implies that Pakistan will restore the readmission deal with the EU after it decided to appoint an immigration officer to be based in Islamabad to deal with the migration problems. However, a statement issued by the interior ministry would not explicitly say if Pakistan has agreed to take back its citizens being deported from Europe under the agreement.

    Last week, the interior minister said airlines returning deportees without Pakistan’s permission would be penalised. That raised concerns in Europe as the continent faces its biggest influx of migrants in decades, with a debate about possible security risks from the often unchecked flow of humanity thrown into sharp focus by the Nov 13 attacks in Paris.

    According to the interior ministry statement, Nisar made it clear that Pakistan would accept deportees accused of terror charges only if there was ‘clear and solid evidence’ against them. He told the EU commissioner that illegal immigrants must be deported in line with the readmission accord and immigration laws.

    Officials said Pakistan and the EU would evolve a ‘clear mechanism’ in order to ensure that deportees were sent back with proper procedure.

    Avramopoulos admitted that repatriation of illegal immigrants had to be done in a ‘decent way.’ He said around 2,100 illegal immigrants from Pakistan were ordered to go back in 2014. Of them, around 50% had returned on a voluntary basis, the EU official added.

    The EU commissioner dismissed fears in Muslim countries, including Pakistan, that in the wake of the Paris attacks, the West would get tough on Muslims living in Europe.

    “We must not generalise. Almost all of those who perpetrated the Paris terrorist acts were homegrown. They were born and brought up within Europe,” he argued. “Islam is not the enemy. Islam has contributed in a very considerable way to the global civilisation.”

    While conceding that there had been some backlash of the Paris attacks on the Muslims in Europe, Avramopoulos said the scale of the problem was not as such that ‘it should worry us.’ He said European nations had a long tradition of democracy and they would certainly fight all those forces spreading Islamophobia.

    An estimated 50,000 Pakistanis travel legally to Europe for work each year. Last year, about 21,000 living there without permission were ordered to return to Pakistan, according to EU statistics.

    Migrants from Pakistan, who often pay human smugglers to get to Europe, are given refugee status in less than 20% of cases, compared to about 60% of asylum seekers from war-torn neighbour Afghanistan, EU statistics show.

    Some European leaders are calling for tighter immigration controls over fears of Islamic State infiltration after the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people and wounded about 200.”

  2. Some European leaders are calling for tighter immigration controls over fears of Islamic State infiltration after the Paris attacks, which killed 130 people and wounded about 200. (tribune, Nov 24, 2015)

    “The mutual distrust that characterises Pak-Afghan relations cast its shadow on trade talks between the two countries on Monday as Islamabad refused to acquiesce to Kabul’s demands of allowing it throughway to New Delhi via the Wagah border.

    During the tenth session of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Islamabad, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his Afghan counterpart Eklil Ahmad Hakimi could only agree on a new framework to complete already agreed upon bilateral economic goals without achieving a breakthrough on border access.

    Officials in the Economic Affairs Division said Kabul had sought access to New Delhi for its trucks via the Wagah-Attari border crossing. But Islamabad, citing security issues, denied the request. In response, Afghanistan declined Pakistan’s request for access to the Tajikistan border….”

  3. Turkey ‘down Russian warplane on Syria border’ (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “Turkish warplanes have reportedly shot down a Russian military aircraft on the border with Syria.

    Russia’s Interfax news agency cited the Russian defence ministry as saying that a Su-24 had crashed in northern Syria, and that its two pilots had ejected.

    Turkish military officials said Turkish F-16s had shot down the plane after repeatedly warning its pilots that they were violating Turkish airspace.

    Video footage showed the plane crashing into mountains in Latakia province.

    Russia launched an air campaign to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government in late September…”

    • WATCH: Turkey shoots down Russian warplane (news24, video, Nov 24, 2015)

      “Ankara – Turkish media reports say Turkish jets have shot down a warplane that violated national airspace at the border with Syria.

      The Dogan news agency quoting unnamed military officials said the plane was shot down on Tuesday. The agency said it crashed into Syrian territory close to the border with Turkey….”

    • Sick video emerges of Syrian rebels chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ over corpse of Russian pilot (express, Nov 24, 2015)

      “Filmed by rebels in Syria’s Turkman Mountains, the horrifying video shows dozens of men as the discover the bloodied and bruised body of one of the pilots, dressed in Russian military fatigues.

      The Russian Sukhoi Su-24 was downed by F16 Fighting Falcon jets belonging to Turkey, after it was warned 10 times in five minutes to leave Turkish airspace.

      The sickening footage shows armed Syria-Turkmen rebel soldiers as they cheer and shout “Allahu Akbar” – “God is great” as the man’s lifeless body lies slumped on the ground.

      It was said to be filmed by a rebel group operating in an area populated by Turkman – Syrian citizens, but ethnic Turks – and is the target of a current Syrian government offence, where President Bashar al-Assad’s troops are supported by Russian airstrikes.

      At the time, two pilots managed to eject from the jet and were seen landing with the help of parachutes.

      However the bodies of both pilots have now been recovered by Syrian rebels, who are fighting against al-Assad, according to reports….”

    • BREAKING: Second pilot found dead amid reports rescue helicopter also DOWNED (express, Nov 24, 2015)

      “A RUSSIAN helicopter has been downed while searching for the pilots who ejected from their burning jet after it was shot down this morning while flying over Syria, according to unconfirmed reports.

      The Russian helicopter had reportedly been scrambled to the crash scene to search for survivors after the jet was shot down following 10 warnings in five minutes to leave Turkish airspace, a Turkish military official has said.

      It comes as rebel forces said that bodies of both pilots have been recovered, Al Jazeera reported.

      The Russian jet was just over the Syrian border when it was downed by F16 Fighting Falcon jets belonging to Turkey, the Turkish official said.

      But the Russian Defence Ministry said the plane had not violated Turkey’s airspace and was flying at an altitude of 6,000 metres.

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has called an emergency meeting over the downing of the jet and unverified sources have claimed Russia is currently sending a warship across the Dardenelles from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean.

      NATO has announced it will be holding an extraordinary session at 4.30pm GMT after Turkey requested it following the incident….”

  4. Paris attacks: ‘Suicide bomb belt’ dumped on street (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “French police are examining what appears to be a suicide bomb belt dumped on a Paris street, 11 days after the attacks that killed 130 people.

    It is said to resemble belts used by the attackers and was found in a suburb which a suspect is thought to have passed through after the attacks.

    The US has issued a worldwide travel alert in response to the attacks.

    The Belgian capital Brussels remains on high alert. Schools and the metro will stay closed on Tuesday.

    They are due to reopen on Wednesday but the highest alert level will continue for at least another week.

    Authorities fear Paris-style attacks may be carried out in Brussels, where at least one Paris attacker lived. Prime Minister Charles Michel warned that the threat remained “imminent”.

    French President Francois Hollande is due to meet US President Barack Obama on Tuesday as he continues a busy week of international diplomacy during which he will meet all other permanent members of the UN Security Council…”

  5. Delivery of S-300 air defence systems to Tehran begins – ambassador (RT, Nov 23, 2015)

    “The delivery of Russian S-300 anti-missile rocket systems to Iran has started, Iran’s ambassador to Moscow said in an interview. Iran is getting one of the latest versions of the air defence complex.

    The delivery is underway, ambassador Mehdi Sanaei told Persian-language daily, Etemaad, as cited by Tasnim news agency.

    The news was not welcome in Washington, with US State Department spokesman Mark Toner reiterating the US stance on the issue in a briefing on Monday…”

  6. Deadly explosions at hotel hosting Egyptian judges in Arish (RT, Nov 24, 2015)

    “Two bombs have exploded near a hotel in Egypt’s volatile Sinai region, where election judges were staying. At least three people have been killed, including a policeman, and 12 injured, security and medical sources said, as cited by Reuters.

    The explosions in Arish come a day after the second round of a parliamentary election. The Army and police cordoned off the scene, while ambulances rushed there. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Reuters.

    A suicide bomber detonated the bomb in front of the Swiss Inn hotel in the city, a security source told the Vetogate news portal. Reuters cited security sources who said the terrorist attempted to drive his bomb-laden vehicle into the hotel before security forces opened fire, causing the car to explode…”

  7. ‘The who’s who of Australian jihad’: The faces of terrorism revealed… after one 19-year-old made chilling social media posts warning of local attacks and saying ‘their eyes will stare in horror’

    Read more:
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  8. EXPOSED: British muslim women secretly recruiting for ISIS and celebrating terror bombings (express, Nov 24, 2015)

    “The secret cell has invites-only meetings where members express their support for Islamic State and say God will destroy its enemies.

    The group have been caught on camera attacking “filthy Jews” and telling young women that Britain is at war with them and their fellow Muslims.

    One of the meetings, some of which have young children present, took place at a publicly funded community centre – and the centre’s management had no idea what was happening.

    One of the group’s chief members is a woman known by the Twitter name Umm L, but whose real name is Rubana, who set up the woman’s wing of the now banned al-Muhajiroun.

    The mother-of-four shares a home with a known extremist who is a leading member of a banned organisation.

    In a secretly filmed talk, she says “good times have already begun” because of the so-called Islamic State’s “caliphate”.
    She said: “It’s not the first time nations have plotted against the believers.

    “It’s not the first time the alliance has been formed like they have now with this coalition against the Khilafah [Islamic State]. But Allah one by one he will destroy them.”

    Another woman, Umm Saalihah, who shared an address with Mohammed Shamsuddin, who has been arrested on suspicion of encouraging terrorism, praised jihadists at a meeting.

    And another member Umm Usmaan has tweeted: “Go to Sham [Syria] for it is the best of Allahs lands on earth.”

    Nazir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said of Umm L’s reference to the terror group: “She does more than support them, she’s saying that the so-called Islamic State is the Caliphate, and by supporting them, she is potentially committing a criminal offence.

    “It’s more than worrying, it’s extremely dangerous when you’re having that conversation. There are young people in the room, there are children in the room, there are women and we’ve got several examples of women who’ve taken their whole families, to Syria and Iraq.”

    On Saalihah’s lecture, he said: “Without any context that she’s – she’s attached to her statements she is clearly sympathetic, more than sympathetic to the so-called Islamic State. “She’s presenting that as the only show in town, and that if you are a Muslim then that’s what you should aspire to, and that is extremely dangerous.”…”

  9. Italy: 40 refugees detained after police raid on refugee centre

    Around 40 refugees from North Africa, Eritrea and Ethiopia have been taken to Italy’s central immigration office in Rome, Tuesday, following a surprise police raid on a refugee reception centre.

  10. France: Hundreds Of Raids And Arrests Since Paris Attacks

    French interior minister says more than 1200 raids were conducted since declaring state of emergency on Nov. 14.

    French police have conducted 1233 raids since declaring the state of emergency on Nov. 14 following Paris’s deadly attacks, said French Interior Minster Bernard Cazeneuve on Tuesday.

    Cazeneuve told French lawmakers the raids led to 165 arrests, of which 124 were placed under police custody, and the seizure of 230 weapons.

    “Almost half of the 230 weapons seized were long firearms and war weapons, which reflects the effectiveness of the raids,” said Cazeneuve in the weekly question-and-answer session at the National Assembly.[…]

    Moreover, the French capital and the city of Rennes, northwestern France, were hit by several false alarms on Tuesday.

    Paris’s Place de la Republique was evacuated and several metro lines were partially suspended.

    In Rennes, another false alarm occurred after an anonymous caller said there was a bomb at the central town square, also called Place de la Republique.

  11. France, Germany propose 10 billion euro fund for refugee crisis

    France and Germany are proposing a 10 billion euro ($10.65 billion) fund to help tackle the refugee crisis facing Europe, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday at an event in Berlin.

    Macron said other European countries could join in the fund.


  12. UK bomb plotter sentenced to 40 years in US jail (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “A Pakistani man extradited from the UK to the US has been sentenced to 40 years in jail for plotting attacks in several countries.

    Abid Naseer, 29, was sentenced by a federal judge in New York.

    US authorities said he had been part of a plot to attack Manchester, New York City and Copenhagen.

    In March, a jury found him guilty of providing material support to al-Qaeda and conspiracy to use a destructive device.

    Naseer was arrested in the UK in 2009 along with 11 other men suspected of planning an attack on a shopping mall in Manchester.

    No explosives were found but the men were ordered to leave the country. Mr Naseer avoided deportation after a judge ruled it was likely he would not be safe if he returned to Pakistan.
    UK officials arrested him again in 2010 at the request of US prosecutors.

    In 2013 he was extradited to the US, where prosecutors argued Naseer was part of a broader al-Qaeda conspiracy to attack various Western locations, including the New York subway system and a newspaper office in Copenhagen, Denmark.

    The US Department of Justice said the plots were “directed by and co-ordinated with senior al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan”.

    Evidence at Naseer’s trial included a document found in the raid of the Bin Laden compound and MI5 officers testifying in wigs…”

  13. TUNISIA – At least 11 dead in attack on Tunisia military bus

    At least 11 people were killed on Tuesday after an explosion hit a bus carrying Tunisian presidential guards along a major street in the centre of the capital Tunis.

    Security and presidential sources said the explosion was an attack, adding it was not immediately clear whether it was a bomb or an explosive fired at the bus as it travelled along Mohamed V Avenue.

    Ambulances rushed from the scene and security forces quickly sealed off the area.

    Tunisia has suffered two major attacks this year targeting its tourism industry. A gunman killed 38 foreigners at a beach hotel in June and in March, gunmen killed 21 tourists in an attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

    Islamic State claimed both attacks.

    The army has also been fighting against another Islamist militant group in the mountains near the Algerian border. Militants have hit checkpoints and patrols in rural areas in the past.

  14. FOX News – Emails show DOD analysts told to ‘cut it out’ on ISIS warnings; IG probe expands

    By Catherine Herridge

    Analysts at U.S. Central Command were pressured to ease off negative assessments about the Islamic State threat and were even told in an email to “cut it out,” Fox News has learned – as an investigation expands into whether intelligence reports were altered to present a more positive picture.

    Fox News is told by a source close to the CENTCOM analysts that the pressure on them included at least two emails saying they needed to “cut it out” and “toe the line.”

    Separately, a former Pentagon official told Fox News there apparently was an attempt to destroy the communications. The Pentagon official said the email warnings were “not well received” by the analysts.

    Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.

    The former Pentagon official said there were “multiple assessments” from military intelligence and the CIA regarding the “rapid rise” of ISIS in Iraq and North Africa in the year leading up to the group’s territory grab in 2014.

    Similar intelligence was included in the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB – the intelligence community’s most authoritative product — during the same time period. Yet the official, who was part of the White House discussions, said the administration kept “kicking the can down the road.” The official said there was no discussion of the military involvement needed to make a difference.

    The IG probe started earlier this year amid complaints that information was changed to make ISIS look more degraded than it really was.

    Among the complaints is that after the U.S. air campaign started in August 2014, the metrics to measure progress changed. They were modified to use measures such as the number of sorties and body counts — a metric not used since the Vietnam War — to paint a more positive picture.

    Critics say this “activity-based approach” to tracking the effectiveness of strikes does not paint a comprehensive picture of whether ISIS is being degraded and contained.

    The New York Times first reported on Sunday that the IG investigation was expanding and adding more investigators, and that the office had taken possession of a trove of documents and emails as part of that probe.

    Asked about the report, House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Sunday that his committee and others are involved in the investigation.

    “We heard from a lot of whistle-blowers and other informants who have given us information. And not just … related strictly to the latest allegations,” Nunes said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

    Citing the renewed focus on ISIS after the Paris terror attacks, he added: “So the president, to have a successful strategy, is going to admit that they’ve got it wrong and they need to relook at a larger strategy that deals with north Africa, the Middle East, all the way over to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and then work closely with our NATO allies with what appears to be a command and control structure that ISIS has created successfully in Europe.”

    President Obama, speaking at a press conference in Malaysia over the weekend, said he expects to “get to the bottom” of whether ISIS intelligence reports were altered – and has told his top military officials as much.

    “One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story,” Obama said Sunday. “I believe that the Department of Defense and all those who head up our intelligence agencies understand that, and that I have made it repeatedly clear to all my top national security advisers that I never want them to hold back, even if the intelligence or their opinions about the intelligence, their analysis or interpretations of the data contradict current policy.”

    At the same time, he said, “As a consumer of this intelligence, it’s not as if I’ve been receiving wonderfully rosy, glowing portraits of what’s been happening in Iraq and Syria over the last year and a half. … [I]t feels to me like, at my level at least, we’ve had a pretty clear-eyed, sober assessment.”

    The president’s call for a thorough investigation was greeted with cynicism by those involved in the 2014 intelligence assessments, since the administration did not act on the earlier raw intelligence that painted a dire picture of developments, especially in Iraq.

  15. AFGHANISTAN – Two U.S. Soldiers Captured Following Downing of U.S. Helicopter in Afghanistan

    A Taliban-affiliated Twitter account in Afghanistan reported of a downed U.S. helicopter and the capture of two U.S. soldiers.

    After Helicopter Crash, Taliban Capture Afghan Soldiers, Possibly US Military Personnel

    The helicopter was flying from Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, to Faryab when it performed an emergency landing in Pushtun Kot district at around 3 p.m. local time, according to Afghan press reports. The Taliban claimed that it shot down the helicopter.

    The State Department and Department of Defense could not be reached for comment about the reports of U.S. soldiers being among those captured by the Taliban Tuesday.

  16. Germany to start deporting asylum seekers to western Balkans

    BERLIN, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Germany will this week start deporting asylum seekers from the western Balkans whose applications have been unsuccessful, government sources told Reuters on Tuesday.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel is under growing pressure from her own conservatives for allowing hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, most of them refugees from Syria or Iraq, to enter Germany with few if any checks, overwhelming local authorities.

    To help ease the crisis, her government has repeatedly said it wants to speed up both the processing of asylum applications and the deportation of failed applicants.

    The government sources said Berlin had reached an agreement with Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro to allow it to repatriate asylum seekers whose identification papers had expired or been destroyed.

    Many asylum seekers destroy their passports upon arrival in their destination country, one of the reasons why Germany has been able to deport only about 30 percent of rejected asylum seekers.

    In September, Germany declared Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro “safe”, meaning that their citizens, like those of neighbouring Serbia, Bosnia and Macedonia, would automatically be ineligible for asylum.

    Germany has identified some 150,000 asylum seekers from the region whom it wants to deport, and Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro have now agreed to recognise Germany’s identification procedure and its temporary travel document, or “laissez-passer”.

    The government also wants to be able to deport applicants from Pakistan and several African countries using this document.

  17. Paris attacks: Warrant issued for new suspect Mohamed Abrini (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “A Belgian judge has issued a European and international arrest warrant for a man named as Mohamed Abrini, 30, in connection with the Paris attacks.

    Prosecutors say two days before the attacks, Abrini was seen driving a car with suspect Salah Abdeslam at a petrol station on the motorway to Paris.

    The Renault Clio was later used in the attacks, prosecutors say.

    Salah Abdeslam is currently the subject of an international manhunt after the attacks which killed 130 people.

    Belgian prosecutors say they have also partially identified two other men who have been taken into custody…”

  18. Swedish men charged with ‘terrorist murders’

    Two men from the western Sweden city of Gothenburg have been charged with terrorist offences, including murder, that are alleged to have taken place in 2013.

    According to the indictment, the men, who are 30 and 32 years old, are suspected of murdering two men by cutting their throats. The alleged crimes took place in an industrial area north of the Syrian city of Aleppo.

    A letter from the chief prosecutor, Agnetha Hilding Qvarnström, explains that there is “very convincing evidence” that the men committed these murders. The evidence includes extensive photography of the crime, material which suggests that the men “expressed joy at their actions”.

    “The act was intended to harm the state of Syria and terrify the population, hence the charge of terrorist offences. The challenge is to fully elucidate whether these men were part of an armed group and acted within the framework of the armed conflict or not,” said Hilding Qvarnström.

  19. FRANCE – Roubaix: Several wounded as hostages taken in French town

    Several people have been wounded in an ongoing hostage situation in the northern French town of Roubaix

    A hostage situation is reportedly unfolding in the northern French town of Roubaix, near the Belgium border.

    Several people have been taken hostage and are reportedly suffering from gunshot wounds, according to Reuters and Agence France-Presse, citing local medical services.

    Roubaix is located in the Belgium border and about 120km from Brussels.

    It’s unclear whether the possible hostage situation is connected to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.

    The Belgian capital is on lockdown for the fourth consecutive day as police hunt for fugitive suspects connected to the Paris attacks earlier this month,

  20. Syrians who entered Honduras illegally ask for asylum (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “Five Syrians who entered Honduras on forged Greek passports have requested asylum, Honduran officials have said.

    They were arrested last week on arrival at Toncontin airport in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, from where they planned to travel to the United States.

    Their arrest came just days after the attacks in Paris and raised concerns in the US that Islamist militants could be trying to enter the country illegally.

    They have been charged with falsifying documents.

    They were arrested after Greek diplomats were called to the airport terminal and found the five did not speak any Greek…”

  21. Somali pirates attack Iranian and Thai vessels (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “Pirates have attacked two foreign fishing trawlers off Somalia’s coast, seizing the crew of one of them, maritime experts and residents say.

    A Thai trawler managed to escape, following a failed attempt on Monday to hijack it in waters off central Somalia, residents told the BBC.

    Pirates had seized an Iranian-flagged vessel’s 15 crew after an attack in northern Somalia, officials said.

    Ships and their crew are mostly held for ransom in Somalia…”

  22. Algeria fire at camp for migrants in Ouargla kills 18 (BBC, Nov 24, 2015)

    “A fire has killed at least 18 people in a camp for African migrants in Algeria, the emergency services have said.

    At least 35 people were also injured at the camp, which is housing about 650 people mostly from Niger and Mali, in Ouargla, 800km (500 miles) south-east of the capital, Algiers.

    The cause of the fire, that began at about 02:00 GMT, is being investigated.

    A Red Crescent official told the AFP news agency that it was believed an electrical fault was to blame.

    “A short circuit triggered the explosion of a heater and the fire,” Saida Benhabiles said.

    Twenty-seven people were still receiving treatment in hospital, she added.

    The nationalities of those who died is not yet known.

    Many African migrants head to Algeria, using it as transit stop as they attempt to reach Europe.

    Numbers have increased since Libya plunged into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled long-term leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.”

  23. The Latest: UN Chief: Profiling Migrants Infringes Rights (abcnews, Nov 24, 2015)

    “… U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has raised serious concerns about Balkan nations that have recently imposed border restrictions on migrants, stressing that profiling asylum seekers on the basis of nationality “infringes the human right of all people to seek asylum.”…”

  24. Sweden tightens asylum rules in bid to force EU action (reuters, Nov 24, 2015)

    “Sweden will introduce tighter border controls and asylum rules, in a bid to reduce the number of asylum seekers reaching the country and force other EU states to take in more refugees, the government said on Tuesday.

    Sweden expects up to 190,000 asylum seekers to reach its borders this year and says its reception system cannot cope.

    “The situation is untenable,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a news conference. “Now, to put it bluntly, more people will have to seek asylum and get protection in other European countries.”

    Neighboring Norway said later on Tuesday it will also strengthen border controls….”

  25. French jets destroy an Islamic State command center in Iraq: official (reuters, Nov 24, 2015)

    “French warplanes destroyed an Islamic State command center at Tal Afar, some 45 kilometers west of Mosul in Iraq, a French official said on Tuesday.

    “We hit an Islamic State command center at Tal Afar,” the official said during President Francois Hollande’s visit to meet his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama in Washington.

    “The target was destroyed.”

    The Rafale fighter jets took off from the Charles De Gaulle aircraft carrier earlier in the day, the official said”

  26. Paris Ringleader Planned Another Attack on Major Business District for Days Later, Prosecutor Says (abcnews, Nov 24, 2015)

    “The suspected ringleader of the deadly Paris terror attacks planned to strike again on a major business district in the city’s metropolitan area just days later, Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins said today.

    Suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed in a police raid, and anther suspected attacker, found dead in a Saint-Denis apartment, were planning to attack French business district La Defense, northwest of the city, on Nov. 18 or Nov. 19, Molins said today.

    Molins also released further details on the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that left 130 dead, including how Abaaoud and another man came back to the scene of the attacks later that night.

    Abaaoud’s cellphone was traced to the 10th, 11th and 12th Districts while the hostage situation at the Bataclan concert hall continued, Molins said.

    Molins also shed light on the role of suspected attacker Salah Abdeslam, who remains at-large, saying he was “likely” the driver for the team that attacked the Stade de France soccer stadium.

    The prosecutor also said that there were at least nine attackers, more than the eight originally believed to be involved.”

  27. Closed air over Kurdistan. The direction of Russian attacks.

    Sunday, late evening of 22 of November ,Iraqi authorities closed the airspace over Iraqi Kurdistan , explaining this move by their concern for the safety of passengers in connection with the planned Russian operations . This information helps us to reflect and raises a number of questions – writes Witold Repetowicz for Defence24.

    Kurdish airports in Erbil and Sulaiman were closed for at least 48 hours. It is worth noting that air traffic control does not belong to the Kurdistan Regional Government, but to the administration in Baghdad, which is also one of the main points of contention between Baghdad and Erbil. Officially, some Kurdish media reported that the closure was at the request of the central government in connection with the planned Russian air force operations whose aim is Syria. Neither the earlier bombardment, nor the launching of cruise missiles Kalibr-NK, which also took place a few days before the closure of the airspace have lead to such decision. On November 23 airport authorities in Erbil added, that they meant Russian flight ceiling will be lower than 30 thousands feet (and therefore it will reflect on all takeoffs and landings). Flights to and from southern Iraqi airports, including Baghdad, are continuing, but the airplanes flying over Kurdistan can not go below 30 thousands feet.

    The airport authorities in Erbil acknowledged that they have learned about that decision couple of hours before it was brought into life . In addition, it is claimed that the deadline for the closure of airspace may be extended , which indeed seems logical , given that Russia only seems to start its intervention in Syria. It is doubtful that any Kurdish authorities, including Kurdish military one were informed beforehand. It should be mentioned that in the fight against Islamic State Iraq enjoys support from the US Air Forceand it also participates in the anti-terrorist coalition created by Russia, whose members are Syria, Iran and Hezbollah . The Kurds , however, are not part of this coalition .

    The closure of airports Kurdish for two days mean serious problems for civil aviation. The airport in Erbil handles more than 4 thousand passengers per day and several airlines use the airport , providing , among others, direct connections with Europe. Apart from these passenger flights airports also operate cargo flights from Turkey and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula . These flights from Turkey and Gulf countries initially met with opposition from Baghdad. Therefore, in Kurdistan there were rumors that the closure of airports is the next installment of economic war between Baghdad and Erbil ( the dispute over the budget and trade oil ) , but such an explanation seems doubtful .

    However there was no information about an intensification of Russian operations on Monday, 23 of November . Meanwhile, the above decision suggests that the existing launch site of Russian bombers , in particular their air base in Latakia , are no longer sufficient . This decision could also indicate that Russia has decided to further expand the scope of its raids in Syria.
    It is worth rmontioning that so far the main success of two months of Russian intervention in Syria was to enable the Syrian Army Air Base unlock Kweiris , east of Aleppo, besieged for two years by the Islamic State . In this context, the initial criticism of Russia seems rather paradoxical. IThe initial criticism alleged that the main objective of the intervention is not the Islamic State , but other rebels ( mainly jihadists from an Nusra , Ahrar al Sham , or Jaish al Fath) . However, it is the current direction of the Russian offensive that should arouse the concern of the West.

    After the attack in Paris Russia apparently opted for its full engagement in Syria. The apparent reason for the “change of heart” was Metrojet 9268 plane crash, which killed 224 people, mostly Russian tourists. After the initial assertion that it was a technical defect, Russia acknowledged that the cause was a terrorist act on the part of the Islamic State, declaring they will make an “adequate response”. Similarly, at similar time and based on the same motivation, there has been intensification of French and Russian raids against Islamic State targets. This time, however, Russia began to bomb the positions of the IS in Raqqa, which is far beyond the scope of operations of Assad’s land forces supported by Russians. Meanwhile Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that is, a coalition of Kurdish troops whose backbone are fighters from YPG / YPJ , are preparing the offensive on the “capital” of the IS . Although these troops haven’t been fighting with the forces of the Assad regime for a long time and do not plan to do it in the near future, but they do not recognize the coalition formed by Russia with the participation of Assad as their allies. They cooperate with the United States,although Turkey does its best to destroy the alliance, and Russia is just waiting to take the place of the United States and take control over northern Syria.

    After the liberation of Al Hawle, west of Hasaki, the SDF can potentially continue its offensive against the Islamic State in three directions. First direction is a region of Al Shaddadi south of Hasaki, the final part of the province, which remains under the control of IS. Since these are sparsely populated areas, the operation should not cause major problems, although there is no certainty whether it will start soon, or only in the spring. The second direction is offensive aiming at Raqqa, and the third aims at crossing the Euphrates to connect the canton of Efrin with Kobane. The latter direction causes nevertheless categorical opposition of Turkey, which threatens military intervention in this case. (Which in reality means open support of Islamic State by a member of NATO). However, in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojawa) there are saying that the United States gave the green light for crossing the Euphrates by the SDF, subject to prior liberation Raqqi. It would also have economic significance for the Kurds, because next to Raqqi al Thawra is a power station which supplies the entire northern Syria. There are also information about the early evacuation IS from al Sheddadi, as well from Raqqi to Mosul, but some sources close to the command of YPG also noted that YPG HQ conducts disinformation operations, to deepen uncertainty and chaos in the ranks of the enemy. Accordingly, although the offensive in the Raqqa is expected by January, there is no absolute certainty about the timing.

    Russian actions could accelerate this offensive. After winning the Kweiris the Syrian army is slowly moving east towards the town of Deir Hafir , located south of the Manjib and al Bab, main cities in this part of Aleppo which are in the hands of IS. These towns are however also of interest to the SDF .

    Closing the skies over Kurdistan indicate that Russia intends to take actions in Syria also from the Eastern direction. Their aim will probably be northern Syria – the provinces of Deir el-Zor and Raqqa . On Monday November 23 the Syrian army recapture the town of Mahin and Hawwarin , which were suddenly lost three weeks ago , and also trying to recapture Palmyra . If these actions are successful , in addition to taking control of the oil fields in the region , the recapture potentially opens the way to Deir el-Zor . However, it seems more likely that these actions are an attempt to forestall the capture of part of the west ( or north -west ) Aleppo and the southern part of the Raqqa province by US troops supported by the SDF .

    It is worth mentioning that the willingness to participate in the offensive on the Raqqa was also declared by the Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani . It is not known how this declaration will be received by the SDF , given the unwillingness of Syrian Kurds to admit Barzani Peshmergas to the Rojawa territory .

    Longer time of blockade of airspace over Erbil and Sulaiman can cause serious problems in Iraqi Kurdistan . It can also paralyze US operations in northern Iraq . It should also be noted that still other air force is using this airspace — the Turkish air force which are bombing PKK bases.

    Witold Repetowicz,zamkniete-niebo-nad-kurdystanem-skad-i-co-atakuja-rosjanie

    • Thank you, Kathy, for your selection and translation of articles like these. It’s a whole angle that’s otherwise obscure to our mainly western eyes and ears.

    • Closing the skies over Kurdistan indicates that Russia intends to take actions in Syria also from the Eastern direction. Their aim will probably be northern Syria – the provinces of Deir el-Zor and Raqqa

      => This map from Liberty Unyielding shows graphically how Russia’s expanding its operating capability. Putin doesn’t intend to be tethered to the western approach from his base off Latakia. See the big red swoop from the east.

      • Monster long-range bombers are coming in from the east, i.e. Russian territory. No need to say please or thank-you.

        Russian Air Force heavy bombers made their first appearance over Syria yesterday night.

        It looks like Moscow stepped up its military effort in Syria even before the intention to intensify the air strikes was announced by Putin on Nov. 17.

        As initially reported by Reuters, a US official has confirmed that Moscow has conducted a significant number of strikes in Syria using both sea-launched cruise missiles and long-range bombers.
        [T]he long-range bombers the Russian Air Force has used against ground targets in Syria early in the morning on Nov. 17 were Tu-22M Backfire strategic bombers.

        The aircraft were allegedly launched from Mozdok airbase, in Ossetia, where as many as 6 Tu-22s were spotted on a recent deployment.

        Remains of a KH-555 missile wreck were found in Syria: considered that this type of air-launched missile is mainly carried by Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers….


    The above is from Real Time with Bill Maher from a few days ago. The three things to remember are:

    1) Chrystia Freeland is a minister.

    2) She is also a Rhodes scholar.

    3) She is also a Harvard graduate.

    She is spouting this crap.

    Has anyone done a breakdown yet on just how much the Liberals gained from the Muslim vote? The Muslim voter turnout in October was apparently much larger than it’s ever been before.

    I guess it could be worse. Freeland could have been made Minister of Public Safety.

  29. Hungary detains group heading to capital with explosives, finds bomb lab

    Hungarian anti-terrorist police last week detained four people heading to the capital with explosives in their car, and found a bomb-making laboratory set up for a mass killing, the unit’s chief said on Tuesday, declining to rule out a link to Islamist militants.

    Security has been tightened for senior officials entitled to “top protection”, the Counter Terrorism Centre said in a statement.

    The center’s director general, Janos Hajdu, said the suspects had been detained last week as police stepped up investigations that touched on the security of these officials, whom he declined to name.

    After the suspects in the car were detained, a subsequent house search revealed a bomb-making laboratory with “explosives and devices that were suitable for killing people to the utmost extent”, Hajdu told the state television channel M1.

    He said police had also caught two other people with submachine guns, ammunition and silencers in their car, and that it was not clear whether the two groups were connected.

    Asked whether the suspects had jihadist links, he said: “Let me reply to that in the next few days.”

    Hajdu declined to disclose the suspects’ identities, nationalities or presumed motives, but added that the case had an international dimension.

    Much of western Europe has been on high alert since Islamist militants killed 130 people in coordinated attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that were claimed by Islamic State, and the Belgian capital Brussels has been in lockdown for several days because of fears that another attack is imminent.

    Counter Terrorism Centre officials were not immediately available for further comment.

    M1 said two of the suspects had been formally placed under arrest, and a court would decide on the others on Wednesday.

  30. Kerry: Palestinian attacks are ‘acts of terrorism’ that must be condemned (reuters, Nov 24, 2015)

    “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday described a wave of Palestinian knife and car-ramming attacks as terrorism that must be condemned as he held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on how to end the violence.

    The bloodshed has been fueled by Muslim agitation over increased Jewish visits to East Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound – Islam’s third holiest site and also revered by Jews as the location of two biblical-era temples.

    The Palestinians are also frustrated by the failure of decades of peace talks to deliver them an independent state….”

  31. DAILY MAIL – Landlord who provided a hideout to Paris jihadis is swept to court before dawn by heavily-armed police where he is expected to be the first person charged with helping them

    Jawad Bendaoud is set to appear before an anti-terrorism judge in Paris
    He admitted lending his Paris apartment to ringleader of terror attacks
    Bendaoud was swept into the court building by heavily armed police
    Was taken from cell at dawn and is expected to be remanded in custody

    […]convicted killer and notorious gangland leader who has amassed 13 criminal convictions since 2010.

    […]In November 2008, Bendaoud was convicted at Bobigny criminal court for ‘deadly assault and wounding causing accidental death’ after killing his ‘best friend’, a 16-year-old identified as David.

    The attack happened on Boxing Day, December 26, 2006, on the Rue de Corbillion in St-Denis – exactly the same street where last Wednesday’s counter-terrorism raid happened.

    The pair had a violent argument, which ended in fighting, and David ended up being cut in the throat by the meat knife.

    When Bendaoud was released from prison, David’s mother said Bendaoud ‘risked hurting other victims’.

    Bendaoud was released in September 2013, and soon became ‘the boss’ of Rue Corbillon.

    Not only was he linked to drug deals, but he was the ‘strong man’ who ‘sorted out’ tenants who could not pay their rent, according to local.[…]

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