Reader’s links for Jan. 28 – 2016

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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

80 Replies to “Reader’s links for Jan. 28 – 2016”

  1. No room for autonomy seekers: Erdo?an (hurriyetdailynews, Jan 28, 2016)

    “Turkey’s president has blasted calls for autonomy for several southeastern towns populated mostly by Kurds in a speech in Ankara on Jan. 28, making clear that there would be no room for autonomy seekers.

    “It should be known that we will bring the whole world down on those who seek to establish a state within a state under the name of autonomy and self-governance,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an said Jan. 28 at the “All United for New Constitution” event at the ATO Congresium in the Turkish capital.

    A number of mayors and district mayors have appeared in court as they made statements calling for autonomy and leading figures from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, have been sued. Criminal investigations were launched against HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirta? and Figen Yüksekda? as they made statements on self-governance.

    “What do we say? One flag,” Erdo?an said, adding that no flag other than the Turkish flag could fly in the sky while noting that its color was red because of the martyrdom of innumerable soldiers for the integrity of the Turkish homeland.

    Dismissing autonomy calls made amid an environment of violence between Turkish security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants, Erdo?an said the same action would be taken against autonomy seekers as was taken before against followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, which leading figures from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdo?an and his inner circle accuse of forming and heading a purported terrorist organization…”

  2. I have no fear of the Russians, says alleged killer of Russian pilot (hurriyetdailynews, Jan 28, 2016)

    “Alparslan Çelik, the alleged killer of Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of the Russian jet downed by Turkey on Nov. 24, 2015 according to Moscow, has said he has “no fear” of the Russians, speaking to Do?an News Agency a day after he was seen attending a funeral in Istanbul.

    Commenting on reports that he was on the hit-list of Russia’s intelligence agency, Çelik said he “only has faith in God.”

    “When I went to the Turkmen Mountain about two-and-a-half years ago, I went with faith in God. It was He who gave our soul and it is He who takes it away. We are fighting there with this faith. Everyone’s day of death is already decided and mine is too … So I definitely do not have such fear. We will continue our struggle until our last soldier, our last breath and our last drop of blood,” he said.

    Çelik also spoke about the day when Turkish F-16s shot down the Russian SU-24 warplane near the Syrian border, prompting a diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Moscow.

    “It was the day when K?z?lda? [mountain] had just fallen [to the Syrian regime, supported by Russia]. It was Friday and we took action along with the morning prayers. We conducted an operation to retake K?z?lda? and as we were in the middle of the operation Russian warplanes came and bombed our operation line. The Russian warplane was shot down by Turkish F-16s, our brave pilots, while returning from the Turkish side,” he said.

    While praising the downing, Çelik complained about Turkey’s “insufficient support” to Turkmens in the region, demanding more “technological and arms-based support.”

    “We do not have armed power to respond to their technological weapons. Of course, Turkey provides weapons that work in hand-to-hand struggle, but we don’t have air defense systems and technological infrastructure. We only have an infrastructure that we built by our own means. What we want from the Turkish Republic is for it to give air defense weapons and to create better technological infrastructure for us,” he said.

    Regarding the latest situation in the region, Çelik said Russia had “taken almost all villages in the Bay?rbucak area” but Turkey had “remained silent” on Russian bombardments.

    “Today, many spots in Bay?rbucak have been evacuated under Russian bombardment and control of almost all our villages has passed to the Russians … Right now all villages, except border villages, have passed over to the control of the regime. Our border villages are under heavy bombardment. Around 15,000 people still live in these border villages,” he said.

    Çelik also vowed that local Turkmens would “never allow” the creation of a Kurdish corridor in northern Syria, claiming that both Russia and Germany had provided arms for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which he called a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Syria.

    “Both Europe and U.S. support the creation of a Kurdish corridor but we will say to our last breath that the Turkmen Mountain is the Gallipoli of the Mediterranean. We will never allow the Kurdish corridor planned by the PYD and the PKK as long as we maintain our existence there,” Çelik said.”

  3. ISIL militants open fire on Turkish soldiers near Syrian border (hurriyetdailynews, Jan 28, 2016)

    “Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) opened fire on Turkish security forces in the Karkam?? district of southeastern Gaziantep province, bordering Syria, on Jan. 28. No casualties were reported.

    Security forces were conducting mine detection and clearance works near the border when the ISIL militants opened fire. The soldiers immediately responded to the fire.

    No casualties were reported in the attack but a number of bullets hit the Karkam?? Municipality’s local service building, which was temporarily evacuated.

    The security forces also beefed up security measures across the border after the incident and warned citizens to avoid the area targeted by the ISIL militants.”

  4. Thousands flee southeastern Sur district amid clashes (hurriyetdailynews, Jan 28, 2016)

    “Thousands of people fled the Sur district of Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbak?r province on Jan. 27 after authorities fighting outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants there expanded a 24-hour curfew to include five more neighborhoods.

    An Associated Press journalist on Jan. 27 witnessed more than 2,000 people leaving Sur as the expanded curfew was announced. People were seen moving bedding, heaters and washing machines on carts, pulling suitcases and carrying cages with their pet canaries.

    Mehmet Karatay, 55, said he moved to Sur in the early 1990s after clashes with the PKK spread to villages in the southeast.

    “I have 10 children,” Karatay said. “There are thousands of miserable people like me. Where will we be going from now on?” he asked as he left Sur.

    A statement from the local administrator’s office for Sur said the curfew – which bars residents from leaving homes and observers or journalists from entering to monitor the fighting – was enlarged to enable the security forces to “restore public order” in neighborhoods where the militants had dug trenches and set barricades and explosive devices.

    Meanwhile, three soldiers were killed in an attack in Sur, which has been under a curfew since December as the security forces battle PKK militants. Do?an News Agency reported heavy fighting in Sur, where the military says at least 134 militants have been killed since December.

    Authorities have been imposing curfews in towns and districts to flush militants from urban areas in Turkey’s southeast since the collapse of a peace process with the PKK in July. The Turkish Human Rights Foundation says at least 198 civilians, including 39 children, have died in combat areas under curfew since August.

    Legislators from Turkey’s Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said on Jan. 27 that more than 20 people wounded in the conflict were awaiting medical care, trapped for the past three days in the basement of a building in the town of Cizre, which is also under curfew. Leyla Birlik, deputy for ??rnak province where Cizre is located, said five other people had died in the basement and their bodies had not been removed.

    Turkey’s Health Ministry said on Jan. 27 authorities were unable to send ambulances to the location citing ongoing attacks by the militants as well as the trenches, the barricades and land mines in the town. It said authorities had asked that the wounded be transported to a safe area that ambulances have access to and claimed that the wounded or their relatives were refusing to cooperate.

    On Jan. 27, Human Rights Watch raised concerns over the civilian casualties, faulting the government for not releasing numbers or facilitating urgent medical evacuations for trapped civilians.

    “Many people have died in circumstances which are extremely difficult to scrutinize because of the curfews” and a broader crackdown on the media, said HRW senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair-Webb.

    Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmu? told parliament on Jan. 26 the security forces were taking utmost care to “distinguish between the terror organization and the civilians and to ensure that the battle is being waged within the rule of law.””

  5. Turkish gov’t to build 39 new military security posts, mostly in southeast (hurriyetdailynews, Jan 28, 2016)

    “A cabinet decision designating locations for 39 new fortified military installations has gone into force, with a majority of new security posts to be built in southeastern Turkey, which is currently scene to violent clashes between the security forces and outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants.

    The cabinet’s related decision for the immediate nationalization of 39 sites in 10 provinces went into force after being published in the Official Gazette on Jan. 28.

    Of the 39 security stations, 21 will be built in ??rnak, five in Mardin, three in Bingöl, one in Hakkari and four in downtown Diyarbak?r and its districts.

    One post will also be built in the western province of Ayd?n, the capital city of Ankara, the eastern provinces of Erzurum and Kars, and the southern province of Mersin.

    Southeastern Turkey has endured some of its worst violence in two decades after a two-year de facto ceasefire between the security forces and the PKK collapsed in July, reviving a conflict that has killed 40,000 people since 1984.

    As of Jan. 27, authorities widened a curfew in Diyarbak?r and hundreds of locals, including children and the elderly, fled curfew-hit areas of Diyarbak?r’s Sur district as gunfire and blasts resounded and police helicopters flew overhead, a Reuters witness said. Some people were crying as they carried away possessions.

    In July, when the PKK’s umbrella organization, the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), declared that it had ended “ceasefire,” it said Turkey’s building of barracks, dams, and roads for military purposes had violated the truce and warned it would target “all the dams” in the country’s southeast.”

  6. Willing to review blasphemy law, says CII chief (tribune, Jan 28, 2016)

    “The head of a powerful religious body said on Thursday he is willing to review Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws that critics say are regularly misused and have led to the deaths of hundreds, to decide if they are Islamic.

    Pakistan’s religious and political elites almost universally keep clear of debating blasphemy laws in a country where criticism of Islam is a highly sensitive subject.

    Even rumours of blasphemy have sparked rampaging mobs and deadly riots. But Muhammad Khan Sherani, chairman of a body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, told Reuters he was willing to reopen the debate and see whether sentences as harsh as the death penalty were fair.

    “The government of Pakistan should officially, at the government level, refer the law on committing blasphemy to the Council of Islamic Ideology. There is a lot of difference of opinion among the clergy on this issue,” Sherani said in an interview at his office close to Pakistan’s parliament.

    “Then the council can seriously consider things and give its recommendation of whether it needs to stay the same or if it needs to be hardened or if it needs to be softened,” Sherani, dressed in a traditional black robe, said.

    Sherani, who has hit the headlines in recent weeks after his council obstructed a bill to deter child marriages, did not disclose his own position.

    Pakistan’s blasphemy laws mandate the death penalty, although no sentence has been carried out. Critics say the law is abused in poor, rural areas by enemies falsely accusing others to settle personal scores. Presenting evidence in court can be considered a new infringement, so judges are reluctant to hear cases. Those acquitted have often been lynched.

    Salmaan Taseer, a prominent liberal politician, was killed by his own bodyguard in 2011 after he had championed the cause of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the law.

    One for the women: Civil society demands Centre to abolish CII

    Sherani, a member of parliament representing Pakistan’s largest Islamist party, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, for some embodies Pakistan’s struggle to balance modern, democratic ideals with pleasing conservative religious bodies demanding the imposition of strict Islamic law.

    In recent years his 54-year old council has ruled DNA cannot be used as primary evidence in rape cases, and supported a law that requires woman alleging rape to get four male witnesses to testify in court before a case is heard. His members’ decision this month to block a bill to impose harsher penalties for marrying off girls as young as eight or nine has angered human rights activists.

    Senators have since debated whether the council, in its current form, is right for the modern democratic Pakistan that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said his country must represent. Sherani, head of the council since 2010, defended its recommendations, saying it was his job, as mandated by the constitution, to ensure the laws of the land were in line with Islam.

    The council’s advice is not binding. “The state should only be concerned up until a point with the question of marriage,” he said.

    “After reaching the age of maturity (puberty) the child has the right to reject a union.” Three percent of girls in Pakistan are married before they turn 15 and 21 percent before age 18, according to UNICEF. Sherani said there were many un-Islamic laws on the statute book that he was advising the government to overturn, including presidential pardons for a murderer. Many of Pakistan’s problems, including violence against religious minorities, were the result of the government failing to be sufficiently Islamic and instead pandering to the West, he said.

    Women not required to cover faces, hands and feet under Sharia: CII

    “Pakistan’s present government is a defender of the interests of the West,” Sherani said. “Don’t equate what the government thinks to what Islam is.””

  7. Four police personnel gunned down in Quetta (tribune, Jan 28, 2016)

    “Four police personnel were killed in Quetta as unidentified armed men open fired at them in Satellite Town on Thursday.

    The personnel were sitting inside the room of a mini gas station, situated on Munir Mengal road of the town when four unidentified attackers barged in and opened indiscriminate fire at them, said SSP Operations Waheedur Rehman.

    Twenty-five rounds of 9MM pistol were also recovered from inside the room of the gas station, he added.

    As a result, three of the personnel were killed on the spot while a fourth succumbed to his injuries later.

    The deceased were identified as constables Abdul Nafaay, Inyatullah and Sadiq.

    Heavy contingents of police and other law enforcement agencies rushed to the scene and cordoned the area.

    The deceased and the injured were shifted to the Civil Hospital, Quetta.

    This was the fifth targeted attack on police in Quetta since the beginning of the year as at least 19 police personnel were killed within a month in numerous incidents of targeted killings and suicide attacks.

    Earlier this month, unidentified armed men killed two police personnel on Sariab road in Quetta.

    Meanwhile, the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the attack…”

  8. VICE NEWS – Dunkirk’s Migrant Crisis: Breaking Borders

    As Europe continues to struggle with the worst refugee crisis since World War II, those who seek a better life in the UK often end up in camps in northern France, such as the migrant ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais.

    But not far from the Jungle lies another makeshift camp just outside the French city of Dunkirk, which is home to at least 2,500 refugees and migrants living in squalor. Bad weather conditions have turned the camp into a muddy bog, making life increasingly difficult for the families and young children who reside there.

    The French government has agreed to set up new facilities to house migrants and refugees in Dunkirk, yet agencies offering aid to the residents of the camp have described conditions as deplorable and inhumane. Restrictions on what aid agencies can bring into the site, such as construction materials, have hampered efforts to improve conditions.

    VICE News reports from the camp, speaks with one family that fled from Iraq to escape the threat of the Islamic State, and meets a young child who hopes to receive an education.

    • The reporter never gets around to asking why they must get to the UK
      What is the problem with settling in France in order to get out of the hell hole they are currently living in?
      I’m pretty sure I know the answer. I wonder if the young girl knows why her parents are putting her through this.

  9. CANADA – CBC – Teacher reprimanded for calling Muslim student ‘Taliban’

    Matthew Shaun Pell also agreed to take a course on ‘Building Cultural Intelligence’ in the workplace

    A Vancouver Island high school teacher has been reprimanded for repeatedly referring to a Muslim student as ‘Taliban” in front of other students.

    According to a consent resolution agreement posted by B.C.’s Commissioner for Teacher Regulation, Matthew Shaun Pell also made “comments such as ‘don’t make her angry otherwise she’ll bomb you’ or ‘she’s going to blow everything up.'”

    The incidents happened in 2014 in Pell’s Grade 11 math class in the Sooke school district.

    The student’s family background was Middle Eastern and Muslim.

    “Pell’s comments made Student A and her classmates, feel very uncomfortable,” the consent resolution reads.

    The Sooke district issued Pell a warning letter in May 2015. The teacher regulation branch released their decision this month.

    According to the agreement, Pell admitted that his actions constituted professional misconduct.

    He has also agreed to complete a course called Building Cultural Intelligence in Your Workplace by the end of June 2016.

  10. Revealed: Secret details of Turkey’s new military pact with Qatar (middleeasteye, Jan 27, 2016)

    In December 2015, Turkey announced, to the surprise of many, that it planned to establish a military base in Qatar. Behind the scenes, the agreement was about forming a major strategic alliance.

    After a 100-year hiatus, Turkey is militarily back in the Gulf and ramping up its presence overseas. In January, Ankara announced that it would also establish a military base in Somalia.

    Specific details about the Qatar agreement, which Turkey described as an alliance in the face of “common enemies”, remain scant, but Middle East Eye has acquired copies of the agreements, as well as further details, which include a secret pledge by Ankara to protect Qatar from external threats.

    A long time coming?

    Turkish-Qatari defence and military agreements go back nearly a decade. In 2007, Ankara and Doha signed a defence industry cooperation agreement, and in 2012, signed a military training agreement.

    In March 2015, the Turkey-Qatar Military Cooperation Agreement was passed by the Turkish parliament, but the negotiations to create an overarching comprehensive agreement were still ongoing. Only in July 2015, according to France-based Intelligence Online, did the Qatari Emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, first tell the Saudi king about the true extent of the agreement. Under the agreement, about 3,000 Turkish troops, air and naval units, as well as special forces are to be based in Qatar for training and joint exercises. The two countries also promised greater bilateral cooperation between intelligence services.

    Riyadh reportedly welcomed the deal to help counter Iran’s growing regional influence as Turkey’s military’s presence will bring additional foreign muscle in the Gulf, joining the United States’ Al Udeid air base in Qatar, the French naval base in Abu Dhabi, and the US and British naval bases in Bahrain, among others.

    But the move was not unanimously accepted in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). When Abu Dhabi got wind of the agreement in the wake of the 35th GCC summit in December, it was not viewed positively, with the Emirates fearing stronger Turkish-Qatari ties could reverse the regional fortunes of the down-on-its-heels Muslim Brotherhood.

    A comprehensive agreement

    According to the news outlet Intelligence Online, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati – MIT) made multiple trips to Doha in December to cement a secret pledge that Ankara would protect Qatar from external military threats. In return, Doha would help offset Ankara’s strained relations with Moscow following Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet. Qatar would shore up the Turkish economy due to the loss of Russian tourists – estimated at some $3bn – as well as provide gas export guarantees if Moscow turns off the taps.

    While the economic assistance is a typical sweetener by Gulf states securing bilateral agreements, it is the defence pledge that is of greatest significance. Whether the pledge has been actually signed has not been reported outside of Intelligence Online. There is no mention of it in the comprehensive agreement that was signed in December, but talks are reportedly ongoing.

    “Turkey and Qatar are in the process of devising a possible ‘Status of Forces Agreement’. In the deliberations that are said to be under way, the two sides would have discussed the incorporation of a casus foederis [“case for the alliance”] clause in the agreement,” said Dr Eyup Ersoy, an international relations expert at Turkey’s Bilkent University….”

  11. VoA – Pentagon: US Forces in Libya, Looking for ‘Worthy’ Partners

    WASHINGTON — U.S. military forces are on the ground in Libya looking for potential partners in what could soon be an expanded campaign against the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

    “There have been some U.S. forces in Libya trying to establish contact with forces on the ground,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters Wednesday. “Get a better sense of who the players are, who might be worthy of U.S. support and support from some of our partners going forward.”

    Cook described the U.S. contingent as a small group, adding they were in Libya “at the concurrence of Libyan officials.”

    While not the biggest fighting force in Libya, IS has been growing stronger there in recent months, cementing its hold on the city of Sirte and surrounding areas.

    Growing threat in Libya

    A U.S. official familiar with the intelligence recently told VOA about 500 key IS officials and fighters who left Syria and Iraq during the last several weeks of 2015 and moved to Libya in what appeared to be a calculated move.

    Western officials estimate IS may now have upwards of 5,000 fighters in Libya.

    “This is a situation that does cause us concern, and we’re considering what our options might be going forward should that threat, ISIL, become an even bigger threat,” Cook said, using an acronym for the terror group.

    Cook’s comments come just days after the top U.S. military officer warned the Islamic State in Libya posed a pressing regional threat.

    “You want to take decisive military action to check ISIL’s expansion and at the same time you want to do it in such a way that’s supportive of a long-term political process,” Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a small group of reporters Friday.

    “My perspective is we need to do more,” Dunford added, saying key decisions about U.S. involvement in Libya could come within a matter of weeks.

    The U.S. has already shown a willingness to strike IS in Libya, killing Abu Nabil, believed to have been the top IS leader in Libya, in an airstrike this past November.

    Training ground

    Islamic State has long used Libya as a training ground for fighters destined for Syria and Iraq, but increasingly it has become part of the terror group’s expansion plans.

    “It now is a destination,” Levantine Group security analyst Michael Horowitz said. “The local branches of ISIS have spared no efforts to promote Libya as a land for jihad.”

    Like in Syria and Iraq, the terror group has taken advantage of large tracts of ungoverned spaces as well as political turmoil.

    “The current fragmentation between and within rival Libyan political camps is also helping ISIS to grow by eroding trust and legitimacy in Libyan politics and politicians as a whole amongst a large swath of the Libyan population, especially the youth,” according to Jason Pack, a researcher of Middle Eastern History at Cambridge University and president of

    Despite the presence of U.S. special forces on the ground in Libya, the Pentagon rejected the notion of sending traditional U.S. forces, or “boots on the ground,” to Libya.

    “Right now, that’s not something that’s under consideration,” said spokesman Cook.

    • LIBYA – War on Isis: Mystery sniper believed to have assassinated 3 Daesh chiefs in 10 days

      Islamic State (Isis) commanders fighting in Libya are thought to have been targeted by a lone sniper, who has killed 3 high-level jihadis in just 10 days. As Daesh (IS) extremists gain ground in the war-torn north African country, a sharpshooter is said to be at work in the city of Sirte, systematically picking-off IS commanders one-by-one.

      And, according to local media in the former Muammar Gaddaffi-stronghold, IS are now sweeping the city hunting for the marksman, dubbed on social media as the ‘Daesh hunter’. The coastal city has been overrun by the terror group, who now roam the streets freely.

      Online discussion has centred on the theory that the sniper is a lone gunman from the nearby city of Misrata. But US operatives are thought to be active in the area and a number of US air strikes have killed IS militants in the area.

      One eye witness told the al-Wasat website: “A state of terror prevailed among the Isil (Islamic State) ranks after his death. They randomly shot in the air to scare inhabitants, while searching for the sniper.”

      The first to be shot was Hamad Abdel Hady, a Sudanese national working for the newly-established Sharia court, was killed by a sniper’s bullet outside a hospital earlier this month. Up next was Abu Mohammed Dernawi, who was killed on January 19 near his home in the city, according to local media.

      And most-recently an assassin allegedly shot and killed Abdullah Hamad Al-Ansari, an IS commander from southern Libyan city of Obari, who was shot dead on January 23 as he left a mosque in three city. All three of the killings are hard to verify because of the secretive nature of Islamic state in North Africa.

      Libya has been in a state of political turmoil which has led to bloodshed and chaos, following the death of its dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. This paved the way for the entry of the IS into the country in 2014.

      But on 25 January, Libya’s recognised parliament, the House of Representatives based in Beida, rejected a proposed UN-backed unity government, leaving plans for an international intervention against the IS in an uncomfortable limbo.

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