Reader’s links for Dec. 26 – 2015

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

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

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

About Eeyore

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

62 Replies to “Reader’s links for Dec. 26 – 2015”

  1. Obama administration tried to encourage Syrian coup — report
    Intelligence officials attempted to identify Syrian officers who could lead regime change against Assad in 2011, but effort failed, according to WSJ

    The Obama administration tried to encourage a military coup against the Syrian regime, utilizing a complex network of Syrian dissenters and international intermediaries in an effort to remove embattled President Bashar Assad in the early years of the country’s insurgency, an investigative report by the Wall Street Journal revealed early Thursday.

    According to the report, in 2011 as the Assad regime began a violent crackdown on protests in the county, US intelligence officials attempted to identify Syrian officers who would potentially lead regime change from within, on orders from above.

    “The White House’s policy in 2011 was to get to the point of a transition in Syria by finding cracks in the regime and offering incentives for people to abandon Assad,” a former senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal.

  2. AUSTRALIA – Man knocked unconscious in Brighton-Le-Sands ice cream shop brawl

    […]One man is described as being of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance, medium build, aged in his 20s, with short dark hair and facial stubble. At the time he was wearing a red shirt, black tracksuit pants, and white runners.

    The second man is described as being of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance, medium build, aged in his 20s, with short dark hair and facial stubble. At the time he was wearing light grey shorts, a grey/green T-shirt, and white runners.

    The third man is described as being of Mediterranean or Middle Eastern appearance , aged in his 20s, large build with short dark hair. At the time of the incident, he was wearing a blue T-shirt, black shorts, and highlighter yellow and green runners[…]

    [ Arabs ??? Muslims ??? ]

  3. China ‘expels’ French journalist over Uighur article (BBC, Dec 26, 2015)

    “China has effectively expelled a French journalist over an article she wrote that was critical of Beijing’s policy towards Muslim Uighers in Xinjiang.

    Beijing confirmed it would not renew press credentials for Ursula Gauthier, of the French news magazine L’Obs.

    It said an article she wrote about the unrest in Xinjiang supported “terrorism and cruel acts” that killed people.

    Ms Gauthier called the claims “absurd” and said Beijing was trying to “deter” foreign reporters in the country.

    If her press card is not renewed, Ms Gauthier cannot apply for a new visa, and will have to leave China by 31 December.

    She would be the first foreign journalist to be expelled since Al Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan in 2012.

    China blames the long-running unrest in western autonomous Xinjiang region on Islamist separatists, many of whom it says have foreign ties.

    But Xinjiang’s ethnic Uighurs, most of whom are Muslim, say Beijing’s repression of their religious and cultural customs is provoking the violence…”

  4. Islamic State conflict: Iraqi forces push deeper into Ramadi (BBC, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Iraqi forces have moved deeper into Ramadi, pressing an offensive to drive Islamic State militants from the city.

    Bombs and booby traps have been slowing their advance, army officials say.

    Troops and Sunni tribal fighters were about 500m (550 yards) from the main local government office.

    They have taken control of several districts since launching the operation five days ago. The mainly Sunni Arab city, about 55 miles (90km) west of Baghdad, was captured by IS in May.
    Its fall was seen as an embarrassing defeat for the army.

    Iraqi officials say troops have managed to enter Haouz area – one of the most important IS strongholds in the centre of Ramadi that includes the main offices of the Anbar province administration and the police directorate.

    Joint operations command spokesman Brig Yahya Rasool told Reuters news agency US-led coalition air strikes “helped detonate explosive devices and booby-trapped houses, facilitating our advance”.

    A police captain, Ahmed al-Dulaimi, spoke of “fierce battles” that had killed many IS militants…”

  5. Syria war: Yarmouk camp evacuation ‘on hold’ (BBC, Dec 26, 2015)

    “The expected evacuation of thousands of rebels from in and around Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus has been put on hold, reports say.

    Safety issues and the killing of a top rebel have been blamed for the delay.

    Militants and their families were due to be bussed to areas under the control of their respective groups, under a deal between rebels and the government.

    About 18,000 civilians have been trapped in Yarmouk by the fighting and a government siege since 2012.

    Islamic State (IS) militants took over parts of the camp earlier this year.

    They were pushed back by Palestinian militias and Syrian rebels after weeks of fierce fighting, and Yarmouk has since been divided into areas controlled by IS, the rival al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, and pro- and anti-government Palestinian militants.

    Government forces maintain checkpoints around the area preventing civilians from leaving…”

  6. Vienna: Police Step up Security Precautions After Tip (abcnews, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Police in Vienna say they have stepped up security precautions after a warning to several European capitals about the possibility of an attack using explosives or firearms between Christmas and New Year, but they see no need to call off any events.

    Vienna police said in a statement Saturday that the tip from an unidentified “friendly” intelligence service came in the days before Christmas. It said authorities also were given several names of potential attackers, but examination of that list and other investigations brought no “concrete further results” so far.

    Police spokesman Christoph Poelzl told the Austria Press Agency there was no concrete threat to a specific place at a particular time.

    Police say they are stepping up surveillance of places where crowds are expected to gather, including transport interchanges.”

  7. Syrian Rebel Group Appoints Successor to Slain Commander (abcnews, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Militant groups in Syria on Saturday mourned the death of a powerful rebel commander killed the previous day in an airstrike near Damascus — a high-profile assassination that may shift the balance of power in rebel-held suburbs of the country’s capital.

    Zahran Allouch, the head of the Army of Islam group, was killed in an airstrike that targeted the group’s headquarters during a meeting on Friday. He was instantly killed along with a number of commanders from the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham and the Faylaq al-Rahman groups.

    His death may also have contributed — at least partially — to a delay in the agreed-on pullout of thousands of militants and their families from neighborhoods on the southern edge of Damascus…”

  8. Japan says armed Chinese vessel enters Japan waters

    TOKYO (Reuters) – A Chinese coastguard vessel with what appeared to be gun turrets entered territorial waters claimed by Japan in the East China Sea, Japan’s coastguard said on Saturday, adding that it was the first such incursion by an armed Chinese vessel in the disputed area.

    The vessel was one of three that appeared in the waters off the disputed Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyus, shortly after 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT) and left Japanese-claimed waters about 70 minutes later, a Japan coastguard spokeswoman said.

    The vessel had first been sighted in the area on Tuesday afternoon and was sailing 29 km (18 miles) off one of the contested islands as of 9:00 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Wednesday, according to Japan’s coastguard.

    • China is going to keep pushing until there is a shooting war, the last time there was a shooting war between China and Japan China lost big time, they want revenge, and they want to fulfill the centuries long desire to conquer Japan.

      • Well, last time kamikaze ( divine wind i.e. typhoon) prevented Chinese (or rather Mongol) invasion fleet to conquer Japan. I hope this time they also will not succeed.

        • That was the first time not the last time, the last time was during WWII and if the US hadn’t been attacked Japan would have taken all of China.

          Given what the government of China is like you really don’t want them in Japan committing massacres, the people who committed the war crimes in WWII are dead and thanks to American occupation the Japanese culture has changed to the point they aren’t a danger to anyone that doesn’t attack them. The Chinese provocations and the US weakness is forcing them to turn to policies that could lead to Japan returning to the type of nation that invaded China in the 1930s. Do you want revenge of peace? You can’t have both.

  9. Trains resume following bomb on Cairo-Zagazig railway track (ahram, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Railway services have resumed on the eastern railway line between Cairo and Zagazig following repairs to damage caused by an improvised bomb planted on the track, MENA reported.

    The stoppage of services caused by the bomb lasted for a couple of hours.

    The improvised bomb exploded early Saturday on the eastern Cairo-Zagazig railway track causing damage without leaving any casualties, Al-Ahram arabic news website reported.

    The explosion brought train movement betwen Cairo and Zagazig to a halt.

    It is not known who planted the bomb, according to the head of Sharqiya security directorate Hassan Seif.

    Seif said that the bomb resulted in 50 centimetre length of fractures, and a hole of 35 centimetres.

    Explosives experts have been combing the area to ensure there are no other devices planted.

    Stoppages in railway services due to bombs have been common since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

    Meanwhile, the incident comes a day after Egypt’s Sharqiya governor, Reda Abdel-Salam, was sacked from his position by the cabinet Friday.”

  10. Parliament objects Russia’s contacts with Taliban (khaama, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Parliament on Saturday objected Russia’s contacts with Taliban calling it interference in Afghan affairs.

    While raising concerns over the contacts, parliamentarians said this is fight between two super powers and Afghans are not able to stand in rivalry.

    “There are concerns that Afghanistan might become a battle field for world powers,” said MP Sayed Mohammad Hassan, adding that “Fate of the people would resemble to that of Iraq and Syria.”

    Shinkay Karokhil, another Member of Parliament said Russia does not trust the government of Afghanistan. “That is why it has established contacts with Taliban,” she said.

    MP Zahir Sadat while directly criticizing the remarks of Zamir Kabulov said, “There are no good and bad among terrorists.”

    MPs raised concerns after Zamir Kabulov, a Russian diplomat and President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Afghanistan pointed that they exchange information with Taliban regarding the terrorist group of Islamic State (IS) or Daesh.

    However, such contacts have been rejected by the Taliban.

    “We are having talks, but not about fighting ISIL. We want foreign forces out of our country, that is what we are talking about at the moment,” a Taliban spokesperson told Al Jazeera. “They [ISIL fighters] are a small bunch based only in Nangarhar (province) and are not a big or a strong group that we would be threatened with.””

  11. India arrests three university students on way to join IS in Afghanistan (khaama, Dec 26, 2015)

    “India has arrested three people who were on their way to join the terrorist group of the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in Afghanistan.

    A report published on Saturday by The India Times states that the three aspiring jihadists from Hyderabad, all final year students, were nabbed on their way to join Islamic state (IS) terrorist group in Afghanistan in an early-dawn operation jointly conducted by the Telangana police and Maharashtra Anti-terrorist squad (ATS) at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar international airport in Nagpur.

    According to the report, the suspects who are in their 20s, were supposed to board an Indigo flight to Srinagar from Nagpur airport after arriving here from Hyderabad a day before by road.

    Out of three, two were intercepted earlier also on their way to Afghanistan by the intelligence agencies.

    It further states that missing complaints were lodged at different police stations in Telangana state by the respective families after the students left home on Thursday. Telangana police had informed Maharashtra ATS after it came to fore that the men were heading to Nagpur to take a flight for Srinagar.

    Superintendent of police, ATS, Sunil Kolhe said that the operation was meticulously planned with the Telangana counterparts. “Maharashtra police handed over the men to Telangana special cell officers after nabbing them. Telangana police would conduct further interrogations,” said Kolhe.

    The three men have been identified as Abdul Wasim, Umar Hasan Farooqui and Majh Hasan Farooque, and they would be produced before Hyderabad court later on Saturday. The police is likely to seek their remand for custodial interrogations to unearth the links.”

  12. Russia’s Putin orders several counter-terrorism units to be set up on coasts

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered counter-terrorism operational headquarters to be set up in several coastal areas, the state-run RIA news agency quoted the Kremlin as saying on Saturday.

    The units are to be set in Kaspiysk on the Caspian Sea, Murmansk in Russia’s north-west and in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on Russia’s eastern coast, Interfax news agency said.

    Putin also ordered a similar operation to be set up in Crimea’s capital of Simferopol – the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

    (Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Louise Ireland)

  13. Yemen fighting persists outside rebel-held capital Sanaa (france24, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Yemeni loyalists killed at least 20 Iran-backed rebels on Saturday in a pushback against insurgents seeking to retake positions to the northeast of the capital they control, military sources said.

    “The Huthis (rebels) on Friday launched an offensive in the direction of Jabal al-Salb in Nihm” district of Sanaa province, “but were repelled on Saturday morning”, a loyalist commander told AFP.

    “At least 20 Huthis were killed” since Friday night, another military source said.

    He added that loyalists also died, but he did not give a death toll.

    Last week, pro-government forces captured the Jabal al-Salb area 40 kilometres (25 miles) outside Sanaa.

    Loyalists and the Saudi-led military coalition supporting them have sent troops, armoured vehicles and tanks to reinforce the district…”

  14. Scores dead in rebel assault in northern Syria: monitor (france24, Dec 26, 2015)

    “Fierce clashes in northern Syria between regime loyalists and rebels including Al-Qaeda fighters have left more than 70 dead, a monitoring group said Saturday.

    Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front launched the assault on Friday with a suicide attack against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    Fighting raged around the village of Bashkoy, which lies at a crossroads north of Aleppo city, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

    “Violent clashes followed the suicide attack, between the Syrian army and pro-regime militia on one side, and Islamist fighters on the other,” Abdel Rahman said

    At least 33 pro-regime fighters and 38 opposition fighters were killed, he added…”

  15. The Growing Food Fight over the Government’s Nutrition Guidelines

    Read more at:

    Have you heard? The GOP is declaring war on science again. In February, a government-appointed nutrition advisory panel said Americans should eat less sugar and red meat. It also suggested that environmental considerations should factor into a healthy diet, which livestock producers understood as an attack on their industry. Republicans in Congress think the guideline process is out of control and are now trying to rein in the panel. By their lights, nutrition scientists should concern themselves with nutrition — not sustainability. Critics say they’re pandering to special interests. The funny thing is: Both sides may be right. For decades, the government has advised Americans on what they should eat. The advice isn’t just advisory; it drives everything from school lunches and agricultural subsidies to marketing for those bowls of candy we call breakfast cereal. But the science behind this enterprise has always been shaky.

    Read more at:

    • That’s a very good article and, I believe, makes a very good point. The food police are totally political and have long ago made up their minds about certain orthodoxies that simply are not true. The main disservice these lies cause is to mislead the American public into thinking that the reason there is an obesity epidemic is because of the Big Macs and the Quarter Pounders with Cheese, when in fact it is the french fries and the sodas that are doing the damage. They seem to be on a mission to move everybody toward vegetarianism rather than to necessarily be more healthy. They hate protien and love vegetables, hate fat but are OK with rice, potatoes, and pasta. It’s probably costing lives by the thousand, when you think about it, and it’s all total BS.

      I think it’s probably based on the fact that the typical cattle rancher is usually more of a Republican/John Wayne type than Democrat/Harry Reid, so the lefties hate their guts and wants to drive them to ruin. Simple as that…

      • That plus the fact that the left is in love with all cultures that aren’t based on Western European values, the food police have been strongly influenced by the new age religion with their Jainest influence about how all live is of equal value. The strict followers of Jain (a Hindu god) have been known to use a broom to sweep the path in front of them so they don’t accidentally step on an insect. Others who do have a nasty political agenda are using the food police to do all of the damage to our economy they can, and as you say try and take money from people who donate to the Republicans.

    • This is now a situation where thousands of people need to keep their jobs.

      If you live long enough you will find that excessive drinking while pregnant and smoking are the only two things one should avoid. Other than that, if you want to be fat eat a lot of junk food. If you don’t want to be fat then moderate your junk food intake.
      End of lesson. (may I have my multi-million grant now?)

  16. China expels French reporter who questioned terrorism

    BEIJING (AP) — China said Saturday that it will not renew press credentials for a French journalist, effectively expelling her following a harsh media campaign against her for questioning the official line equating ethnic violence in China’s western Muslim region with global terrorism.

    Expecting the move, Ursula Gauthier, a longtime journalist for the French news magazine L’Obs, said late Friday night that she was prepared to leave China.

    Once she departs on Dec. 31, she will become the first foreign journalist forced to leave China since 2012, when American Melissa Chan, then working for Al Jazeera in Beijing, was expelled.

    “They want a public apology for things that I have not written,” Gauthier said. “They are accusing me of writing things that I have not written.”

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Gauthier was no longer “suitable” to be allowed to work in China because she had supported “terrorism and cruel acts” that killed civilians and refused to apologize for her words.

    “China has always protected the legal rights of foreign media and foreign correspondents to report within the country, but China does not tolerate the freedom to embolden terrorism,” Lu said in a statement.

    Gauthier on Saturday called the accusations “absurd,” and said that emboldening terrorism is morally and legally wrong. “I should be legally persecuted if that’s the case,” she said.

    “All this is rhetoric,” Gauthier said. “It’s only meant to deter foreign correspondents in the future in Beijing.”

    In a statement Friday, the French foreign ministry said: “We regret that the visa of Madame Ursula Gauthier was not renewed. France recalls the importance of the role journalists play throughout the world.”

    The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said the accusation that Gauthier supports terrorism “is a particularly egregious personal and professional affront with no basis in fact.” It said it was “appalled” by the decision, and expressed concerns that Beijing was using the accreditation and visa process to threaten foreign journalists.

    “The FCCC views this matter as a most serious development and a grave threat to the ability of foreign correspondents to work in China,” it said in a statement.

    The fallout began with Gauthier’s Nov. 18 article, shortly after the attacks in Paris. She wrote that Beijing’s proclaimed solidarity with Paris is not without ulterior motives, as Beijing seeks international support for its assertion that the ethnic violence in its Muslim region of Xinjiang is part of global terrorism.

    Gauthier wrote that some of the violent attacks in Xinjiang involving members of the minority Uighur community appeared to be homegrown, with no evidence of foreign ties — an observation that has been made by numerous foreign experts on security and on Xinjiang’s ethnic policies and practices.

    Advocacy groups have argued that the violence is more likely to be a response to Beijing’s suppressive policies in Xinjiang.

    Beijing blames the violence on terrorism with foreign ties. Amid a counterterrorism campaign, a Xinjiang court last year sentenced a Uighur scholar critical of China’s ethnic policies in Xinjiang to life in prison. This month, a Beijing court convicted a prominent lawyer of fanning ethnic hatred based on his comments that Beijing should rethink its Xinjiang policies.

    In her article, Gauthier focused on a deadly mine attack in a remote region of Xinjiang, which she described as more likely an act by Uighurs against mine workers of the majority Han ethnic group over what the Uighurs perceived as mistreatment, injustice and exploitation.

    The article quickly drew stern criticism from state media and China’s government.

    The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized Western media for using double standards in reporting on the violence.

    “Why is terrorism in other countries called terrorist actions, but it turns out to be ethnic and religious issues in China?” ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing on Dec. 2.

    By then, state media had launched an abusive and intimidating campaign against Gauthier, accusing her of having deep prejudice against China and having hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.

    On Friday, Gauthier said that the Foreign Ministry demanded her to apologize for “hurting Chinese people’s feelings with wrong and hateful actions and words,” and to publicly state that she recognizes that there have been terrorist attacks in and outside Xinjiang.

    She said she was also asked to distance herself from any support group that presents her case as infringement of press freedom in China.

    • China was our friend in WWII in this war they are going to be our enemy and Italy and Japan will be or friend and not enemies. Your guess is as good as mine on which side the German and French governments are going to join.

  17. ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi Releases First Audio in 7 Months – Threatens Attacks on Israel, US

    ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released a new audio today.

    The ISIS leader warned Israel that the terror group is getting “closer every day.”

    This is Baghdadi’s first audio release in 7 months.

    Baghdadi threatens attacks on Israel, US, EU and Russia.

    The Telegraph -Islamic State leader Baghdadi goads West in rare audio statement

    In what is believed to be his first public message in seven months, Isil chief warns Israel attacks are imminent

    The leader of Islamic State has released an alternative Christmas message goading the West, saying the do not dare send troops to their territory.

    In a rare audio statement – his first in seven months – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said Western countries have “learned from” previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “Crusaders and Jews don’t dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said in his 23-minute statement.

    The leader, who has rarely been pictured and has not been heard from since he was believed to have been injured in an airstrike by Iraqi forces in October, Russian or US-led airstrikes had failed to weaken the group, which was only “expanding and getting stronger”.

    “Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets,” he said.

    He also called on Saudi citizens – the biggest contributor to Isil ranks – to “rise up” against their government as he dimissed the kingdom’s newly formed Muslim coalition against the caliphate.

    He also said Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) would soon be in Palestine to establish an Islamic state there. “Jews, soon you shall hear from us in Palestine which will become your grave,” the voice, purporting to be Baghdadi, is heard saying.

    “The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it,” he says in the recording. “Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it… The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day.”

    Baghdadi had reportedly been seriously injured in a Iraqi airstrike in October.

    The leader is thought to constantly move between Isil’s strongholds of Raqqa, northeastern Syria, and Mosul, in Iraq, in a bid to avoid airstrikes.

    In the statement titled “Wait for we as well are waiting with you”, Bagdadi boasted that the group had fought off advances in both Syria and Iraq.

    On Saturday, however, Isil suffered a major blow after a US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurds and Arab rebel groups, backed by coalition planes, captured a dam from its fighters, cutting a main supply route of the militants across the Euphrates.

    Colonel Talal Selo said the rapid advance overnight by thousands of troops from the Democratic Forces of Syria had brought the dam, 15 miles upstream from the militants’ de facto capital Raqqa, under their control on Saturday afternoon.

    Since the US-backed alliance was formed last October, its fighters have opened several major offensives against Islamic State with the ultimate goal of capturing Raqqa.

    • IS Leader Says ‘Caliphate’ Well, Mocks Saudi-Led Alliance (abcnews, Dec 26, 2015)

      “The Islamic State group on Saturday released a new message purportedly from its reclusive leader, claiming that his self-styled “caliphate” is doing well despite an unprecedented alliance against it and criticizing the recently announced Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism.

      In the 24-minute audio, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said airstrikes by the international coalition only increase his group’s determination and resolve. The message was al-Baghdadi’s first since May, and comes amid battlefield setbacks that IS has recently faced.

      Meanwhile, a U.S.-backed coalition of rebels in Syria — including Syrian Kurdish, Arab and Christian groups — captured a major dam on the Euphrates River from the Islamic State group as part of the coalition’s march on IS-held areas in northern Syria.

      The coalition, known as Syria Democratic Forces, announced earlier this week a new offensive aimed at cutting supply lines between IS strongholds in the country’s north. The SDF said it seized the Tishrin Dam, which supplies much off northern Syria with electricity, on Saturday.

      An SDF spokesman told AP earlier this week that his forces are also trying to cut the supply lines between the Islamic State’s de-facto capital of Raqqa and the group’s stronghold of Manbij in northern Syria.

      The SDF, dominated by the main Kurdish militia in Syria known as YPG, or People’s Protection Units, has become a main force in fighting IS.

      The Islamic State group has come under pressure in Syria and Iraq, where it has declared its self-styled Islamic caliphate on territory that the militant group controls. It lost the town Sinjar in Iraq last month, and areas across the border in Syria at the same time. Iraqi government troops are also advancing in the Islamic State-held city of Ramadi, the provincial capital of the sprawling Anbar province, Iraq’s Sunni heartland.

      Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition and Russia in Syria have also destroyed Syrian oil facilities and killed several IS leaders in recent weeks.

      “It is unprecedented in the history of our Ummah (Islamic nation) that all the world came against it in one battle, as it is happening today. It is the battle of all the disbelievers against all the Muslims,” al-Baghdadi said.

      He said the U.S.-led alliance does “not scare us… nor do they scatter our resolve because we are the victors in any event.”

      Al-Baghdadi also taunted the United States for not putting boots on the ground. “They do not dare to come, because their hearts are full of fear from the mujahideen,”or holy warriors, he said.

      “America and its allies dream of destroying the caliphate through their proxies and henchmen, and whenever an alliance of theirs fails or a tail is cut, they hasten to establish another, until they recently declared the Salouli (Saudi) alliance that was falsely called Islamic,” al-Baghdadi added.

      If the Saudi-led alliance was truly Islamic, then it would fight the Syrian army and its Russian “masters,” as well as Shiites and Jews, al-Baghdadi said.

      In mid-December, Saudi Arabia announced the new, 34-member alliance against terrorism, to be based in the kingdom’s capital, Riyadh. But Shiite powerhouse Iran is not part of the new coalition; neither are Iraq and Syria, whose forces are battling to regain ground from the Islamic State group and whose governments are allied with Tehran.

      In the audio, al-Baghdadi also warned nations taking part in the war against IS by saying: “We promise you, God permitting, that whoever participates in the war against the Islamic State will pay the price dearly.”

      He threatened Israel by saying, “we haven’t forgotten you” and “we are getting closer to you” every day. To Israeli Jews, he said that they “will hide behind trees and stones” from the IS.

      He also urged Muslims world over to join the IS fight, saying it is their Islamic duty to rise up everywhere.

      The authenticity of the audio could not be independently confirmed but it was posted on IS-affiliated websites and Twitter as past IS messages. Also, it was produced by the al-Furqan Media Foundation, IS media arm.”

  18. New Corsica protest day after Muslim prayer hall attacked

    Ajaccio (France) (AFP) – Dozens of angry Corsicans staged a fresh protest on the French Mediterranean island on Saturday, a day after demonstrators vandalised a Muslim prayer hall and trashed copies of the Koran after an assault on firefighters.

    As condemnation poured in from Muslim authorities and French officials over Friday’s anti-Arab protests, around 100 demonstrators shouting “We’re still here” turned out in the same low-income neighbourhood of the capital Ajaccio where the Christmas Day violence took place.

    Despite a heavy police presence, one demonstrator managed to smash three glass entrance doors in the Jardins de l’Empereur housing estate perched on an Ajaccio hillside as protesters shouted “This is our home!”.

    Like the demonstration that ended in trouble the previous day, the protest aimed to denounce violence against police and firefighters on the estate.

    Two firefighters and a police officer were wounded in the neighbourhood overnight on Christmas Eve after a fire was “deliberately lit … to ambush police and firefighters”, said regional official Francois Lalanne.

    A firefighter at the scene said hooded youths who attacked the officers shouted at them: “Scram, Corsicans, you’re not at home here!”

    On Friday afternoon, 600 people had gathered in front of police headquarters in Ajaccio in a show of support for the police and firefighters. But some 300 broke away to head for the housing estate.

    Shouting “Arabs get out!” or “This is our home!”, the group smashed a Muslim prayer room, partially burning books including copies of the Koran, said Lalanne.

    French Prime Minister Manuel Valls wrote on Twitter that the break-in was “an unacceptable desecration”, while also condemning the “intolerable attack” on the wounded firefighters.

    Anouar Kbibech, president of the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), said he had learnt of the mosque attack and the burning of “several copies of the Koran” with “distress”.

    French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attack on the Muslim prayer hall showed signs of “racism and xenophobia”.

    He also condemned the assault on law enforcement and safety officers in Corsica, saying he hoped “the authors of the violence would be identified and arrested as soon as possible.”

    video : ( Ajaccio yesterday )

  19. German foreign minister says Saudi Arabia key to fight Islamic State

    BERLIN – Saudi Arabia has a central role in fighting Islamic State as it can help eliminate the ultra-hardline militant group’s ideological breeding ground, Germany’s foreign minister was quoted by newspapers in the Funke Medien Gruppe as saying.

    Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s comments were the latest in a series of mixed messages from the German government about Saudi Arabia and the role it plays in the Middle East and in relation to militants.

    Earlier this month, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel urged Saudi Arabia to stop supporting religious radicals, reflecting concern among some Berlin lawmakers about the funding of militant mosques by the world’s biggest oil exporter.

  20. IT BEGINS: First Wave of Obama’s Syrian ‘Refugees’ Invade South Carolina – See more at:

    State Dept.: ‘Our program is continuing and it’s all legal’

    (Greenville Online) – Syrian refugees are being settled in South Carolina, despite a request from Gov. Nikki Haley that they not be placed in the state because of security concerns.

    According to the state Department of Social Services, which manages and administers federal funding for refugee programs, earlier this month one pair of Syrians was settled in the Midlands through Lutheran Services Carolinas, a private resettlement agency in the state that assists refugees, and more Syrians are on their way.

    “The Department of Social Services has been notified by Lutheran Services Carolinas that another family from Syria has been approved for resettlement in the State,” DSS spokeswoman Karen Wingo told The Greenville News. “However, the Department does not have any additional information at this time regarding their estimated date of arrival or planned location of placement.”
    – See more at:

  21. Kurdish Militant Group Claims Blast at Istanbul Airport (abcnews, Dec 26, 2015)

    “A Kurdish militant group has claimed responsibility for an attack at Istanbul’s second airport that killed a cleaner, and threatened more assaults.

    In a statement posted on its website Saturday, the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons — an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK — said it attacked Sabiha Gokcen Airport with mortar guns.

    It said the Dec. 23 attack was in retaliation for the government’s stepped-up military operations against the PKK.

    Turkish authorities have not disclosed the cause of the pre-dawn explosion at the airport, which also injured another cleaner and damaged three planes, saying it is still under investigation.

    Turkish security forces last week launched a large-scale operation to rout militants linked to the PKK in mostly Kurdish districts. More than 180 rebels were killed.”

  22. Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem greeted in Bethlehem by hail of stones
    PA reportedly arrests 16 ‘Salafi radicals’ who were planning to carry out terror attack against tourists celebrating Christmas

    The car taking Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, head of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, was struck Friday, Christmas Day, in Bethlehem by rocks thrown by Palestinian rioters.

    None of the passengers in the patriarch’s vehicle was injured in the incident, but his car sustained damage, according to a Ynet news report.

    Clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinian demonstrators erupted following his departure from the city, known as the birthplace of Jesus, the news site said.

  23. Germany: One dead, 3 injured in Berlin gun attack

    “Today at around 1:10 pm, four men were attacked in the street by unknown perpetrators, who shot and stabbed them. One of the men suffered such heavy injuries that he died on the way to the hospital. The homicide division is conducting forensic investigation at the scene of the crime. There is a lot of evidence that is yet to be investigated, including many potential eyewitnesses, people passing by or looking out of the window. We are questioning them at the moment and hope to get a complete picture of what happened.”

    Die Männer sollen aus dem früheren Jugoslawien stammen

  24. A Mosaic “Pick”. Their intro to a fine essay in First Things:

    Reflecting on his own campus career as a conservative Catholic dissident, Matthew J. Franck examines the intellectual roots of protests at Yale, Harvard, the University of Missouri, and elsewhere. He locates them in failures of the humanities and social sciences, which have abandoned the quest for truth:

    [T]ruth, as an inter-subjective possibility where minds can meet, has been sent packing from the contemporary university, and “commitment” to what is true “for me” has taken its place.

    Unlike argument, passionate commitment seeks no interlocutor, no partner in pursuit of knowledge or of the good. It requires the dutiful listener, obsequiously acquiescing in demands, giving way to one after another until the passion is spent and anger mollified—for now. Passionate commitment is willing to shriek obscenities, and thus prides itself on its authenticity. Since it usually gets its way, why shouldn’t it?

    The professors and administrators who have lately been flummoxed by student protesters should reflect on the extent to which they are now on the receiving end of lessons they themselves have spent years teaching.

    • Merkel leads us helplessly into chaos. The state under the rule of law finds itself in danger. In the refugee crisis the chancellor made it (i.e. state under the rule of law) partially inoperative, the administration has been malfunctioning for weeks. A guest contribution by a former Senator of the Interior in Berlin (city)….

      This is quite an interesting article to read. This guest contributor comes from the (political) left, however, surprisingly sounds very honest, describing a whole plethora of problems (as observed, as expected in the near future). Translating this article should be quite a valuable contribution to the cause. German friends and fans should look into this…

  25. Yahoo News – Czech leader calls migrant wave in Europe an ‘organised invasion’

    Prague (AFP) – Czech President Milos Zeman, known for his anti-migrant comments, on Saturday called the current wave of refugees to Europe “an organised invasion”, and that young men from Syria and Iraq should instead “take up arms” against the Islamic State group.

    “I am profoundly convinced that we are facing an organised invasion and not a spontaneous movement of refugees,” said Zeman in his Christmas message to the Czech Republic released Saturday.

    He went on to say that compassion was “possible” for refugees who are old or sick and for children, but not for young men who in his view should be back home fighting against jihadists.

    “A large majority of the illegal migrants are young men in good health, and single. I wonder why these men are not taking up arms to go fight for the freedom of their countries against the Islamic State,” said Zeman, who was elected Czech president in early 2013.

    He added that their fleeing their war-torn countries only serves to strengthen the IS group.

    The 71-year-old evoked a comparison to the situation of Czechs who left their country when it was under Nazi occupation (1939-1945) in order to “fight to liberate the country and not to receive social benefits in Great Britain.”

    It’s not the first time Zeman has taken a controversial stance on Europe’s worst migrant crisis since World War II.

    In November, the left-winger attended an anti-Islam rally in Prague in the company of far-right politicians and a paramilitary unit.

    The country’s Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, who has previously criticised the head of state’s comments, said Zeman’s Christmas message was based “on prejudices and his habitual simplification of things.”

    A recent survey showed that nearly 70 percent of Czechs oppose the arrival of migrants and refugees in their country.


    Deutsche Welle Czech president Zeman says refugee wave is ‘organized invasion’

    Czech President Milos Zeman has compared the refugees arriving to Europe with the Trojan horse, and called the influx an ‘organized invasion.’ His comments were met with outrage.

    In his Christmas message, Czech President Zeman warned against welcoming asylum seekers and described the European culture of hospitality as naïve.

    “I am profoundly convinced that we are facing an organized invasion and not a spontaneous movement of refugees,” he said in the speech broadcast on Saturday.

    The 71-year old president also compared the refugees to the Czech nationals who left their country during the Nazi occupation, saying that the Czechs intended to “fight to liberate the country and not to receive social benefits in Great Britain.”

    “A large majority of the illegal migrants are young men in good health, and single. I wonder why these men are not taking up arms to go fight for the freedom of their countries against the Islamic State,” said Zeman, who was elected head of state in early 2013.

    The Czech president is known for his anti-immigrant attitude. In November, he attended an anti-Islam rally in Prague along with far-right politicians and a paramilitary unit.

    Earlier in the year, he warned that the refugees might bring terrorism and infectious diseases to Europe.

    Majority opposing the influx

    In his Christmas message, Zeman also invoked a comparison to the Trojan war and the mythical prophetess Cassandra.

    “Sometimes I feel like Cassandra, warning the Trojans not to bring the horse into the city,” he said.

    In response, the country’s prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said Zeman’s address was based “on prejudices and his habitual simplification of things.”

    Only a small number of refugees passing through have chosen to stay in the Czech Republic, with the majority heading to Germany and other, richer EU members. Some activists have accussed the government of purposfully treating the newcomers badly, in order to fright the refugees away.

    According to a recent survey, almost 70 percent of Czechs oppose the arrival of migrants and refugees in their country.

  26. Cause of fire at Houston mosque is suspicious

    HOUSTON – An ATF spokesperson has confirmed the cause of a two-alarm fire at a southwest Houston mosque does appear to be suspicious, because the fire had multiple points of origin.

    Investigators said they are looking through surveillance video to see if cameras captured a potential suspect.

    Firefighters with the Houston Fire Department initially responded to the fire at the mosque Friday afternoon.

    The fire was put out shortly after crews arrived on the scene and no injuries were reported.

    There is no word on the amount of damage to the mosque, but officials said several other businesses in the shopping center were damaged by the heavy smoke.

    A co-owner of the shopping center said there was a prayer service held at the mosque Friday afternoon at 1 p.m., but it was over about an hour before the fire broke out.

    The mosque is located at 11226 South Wilcrest near Belfort. Prayer services were moved to a nearby banquet hall Friday night.

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