Reader’s links for Feb. 7 – 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

59 Replies to “Reader’s links for Feb. 7 – 2016”

  1. Every 96 minutes a UK woman suffers female genital mutilation – and there could be MORE (express, Feb 6, 2016)

    “CASES of female genital mutilation (FGM) are being reported to health authorities in the UK at a rate of one case every 96 minutes, and experts say it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    Official figures released to mark International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM show 5,484 women were victim of the “barbaric” practice between October 2014 and September 2015.

    And campaigners expect there are actually more cases going unreported, with the stigma attached to the “horrific” operation potentially preventing thousands more victims from coming forward.

    Data provided by The Health and Social Care Information Centre revealed medical professionals had recorded 1,385 FGM cases in England between July and September alone…”

  2. Carer arrested after battling IS forces in Iraq: 22-year-old questioned over suspected terror offence after landing in Heathrow following ten-month deployment (dailymail, Feb 7, 2016)

    “A British man who spent ten months in Iraq fighting Islamic State was arrested on his return home.
    Aiden Aslin, a care worker from Newark, was held for 30 hours after officers boarded his plane at Heathrow, where members of his family were eagerly awaiting his arrival on Wednesday.

    But the 22-year-old was immediately taken to Nottinghamshire Police headquarters for questioning over a suspected terrorism offence.

    His family and local MP, however, point out that like many British volunteers, Mr Aslin was fighting alongside a Kurdish unit, the Lions of Rojava, who have shown huge bravery in taking on IS.

    Criticising the police, his grandmother, Pamela Hall, said: ‘We just wanted to wave to him but we weren’t allowed to, and that felt inhumane…”

  3. Rise in number of suspected militants blocked from leaving Australia (straitstimes, Feb 7, 2016)

    “SYDNEY (AFP) – The rate at which suspected militants are being blocked from departing Australia has doubled in the past year, a report said Sunday (Feb 7), amid a government crackdown of its nationals travelling to Iraq or Syria to fight.

    There were 312 people pulled off planes in the seven months to the end of January, compared to 336 in the almost 12-month period before that, Sydney’s Sun-Herald newspaper reported.

    The immigration department confirmed the figures to AFP but it was not clear how many of the suspected militants stopped from leaving the island continent were actually heading to the Middle East to fight, and some were eventually allowed to resume their journey.

    “In some cases, a person who was ‘offloaded’ may be allowed to continue with their travel plans if they are no longer considered a risk,” an immigration spokesman added in a statement.

    Canberra has been increasingly concerned about its citizens fighting with terrorist organisations such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), saying some 120 Australians had left the country to join such groups.

    Another 160 are actively supporting extremist organisations at home through financing and recruitment, the government has said.

    Under sweeping counter-terrorism measures aimed at blocking militants from going overseas, Australia introduced laws in late 2014 that would see anyone who heads to nominated areas face up to 10 years’ jail.

    Iraq’s second city Mosul and the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria have so far been added to the nominated areas list.”

  4. Anti-Islam groups rally across Europe; clashes in Amsterdam

    DRESDEN, Germany (AP) — Protesters rallied against Islam and immigration in several European cities Saturday, sometimes clashing with police or counter-demonstrators amid growing tensions over the massive influx of asylum-seekers to the continent.

    Riot police clashed with demonstrators in Amsterdam as supporters of the anti-Islam group PEGIDA tried to hold their first protest meeting in the Dutch capital. Only about 200 PEGIDA supporters were present, outnumbered by police and left-wing demonstrators who shouted, “Refugees are welcome, fascists are not!”

    Dutch riot police detained several people as officers on horseback intervened to separate the two groups of demonstrators. It was not immediately clear how many people were detained.

    In Germany, up to 8,000 people took part in a PEGIDA rally in Dresden, according to the independent group Durchgezaehlt, which monitors attendance figures. Up to 3,500 people took part in a counter-demonstration on the other side of the Elbe River that divides the city, it said.

  5. Germany’s Catholic Church calls for ‘reduction’ in refugeesThe German Catholic Church called for a reduction in the influx of refugees arriving in Germany, saying the country cannot take in “all the world’s needy,” according to an interview published Saturday.

    Germany has been struggling to cope with 1.1 million asylum seekers that arrived in 2015 and Berlin has not yet given an official estimate for how many it expects this year.

    “As a church we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, told the Passauer Neue Presse daily.

    Germany cannot “take in all the world’s needy,” Marx added.

    The question of how to respond to the migrant crisis, he asserted, should not solely be a matter of “charity but also reason.”

    However, Marx also expressed concern at a rise in xenophobia in Germany amid the worst refugee crisis that Europe has known since World War II.

    A recent example came when Germany’s eurosceptic right-wing populist AfD party suggested last week that police “if need be” should threaten to shoot migrants seeking to enter the country.

  6. North Korean rocket puts object into space, angers neighbors, U.S.

    Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North satellite image of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in North Korea
    Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North satellite imagery from February 4, 2016 shows the Sohae Satellite Launching Station in North Korea in this image released on February 5, 2016. REUTERS/Airbus Defense & Space and 38 North/Handout via Reuters

    February 7, 2016

    By Ju-min Park and Jack Kim

    SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Sunday carrying what it called a satellite, but its neighbors and the United States denounced the launch as a missile test, conducted in defiance of U.N. sanctions and just weeks after a nuclear bomb test.

    The U.S. Strategic Command said it had detected a missile entering space, and South Korea’s military said the rocket had put an object into orbit.

    North Korea said the launch of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-4, named after late leader Kim Jong Il, was a “complete success” and it was making a polar orbit of Earth every 94 minutes. The launch order was given by his son, leader Kim Jong Un, who is believed to be 33 years old.

    The launch prompted South Korea and the United States to announce that they would explore the feasibility of deploying an advanced missile defense system in South Korea, which China and Russia both oppose, “at the earliest possible date.”

    North Korea’s state news agency carried a still picture of a white rocket that closely resembled a previously launched rocket, lifting off. Another showed Kim surrounded by cheering military officials at what appeared to be a command center.

    North Korea’s last long-range rocket launch, in 2012, put what it called a communications satellite into orbit, but no signal has ever been detected from it.

    “If it can communicate with the Kwangmyongsong-4, North Korea will learn about operating a satellite in space,” said David Wright, co-director and senior scientist at the Global Security Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

  7. Whistleblower: Obama admin. ordered records of suspect Muslims purged – starting in 2009
    By J.E. Dyer February 6, 2016

    At this point, does anyone not find this allegation believable?

    Philip Haney, a former analyst for the Department of Homeland Security, has blown the whistle more than once in the last couple of months. After the San Bernardino terror attack in December 2015, he came forward to tell America that – in 2012 – a tracking effort targeting extremist Deobandi Sunnis (and other, similar groups) was shut down, one that would probably have flagged both of the perpetrators.

    Haney argued strongly against that tracking effort being shut down, and became himself a target of retaliation within DHS. In media interviews in December, he suggested that Islamic influence groups in the U.S. – e.g., CAIR – “play a role in controlling the narrative” of law enforcement’s approach to terrorism.

    Now Haney has a new op-ed out at The Hill, in which he recounts his experience with databases maintained on the suspect ties of some Muslims in the U.S.

    According to Haney, when he was working at DHS in November 2009, the department ordered analysts to literally purge the records of hundreds of people with ties to designated Islamic terror organizations. It was especially galling, says Haney, that this order came down only weeks before the failed “underwear bombing” attempt on Christmas Day, 2009 – after which Obama criticized the very same analysts for failing to “integrate and understand the intelligence we already had” on such potential bombers.

    Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.” Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database

    • Former DHS employee: Dept. ordered me to scrub records of Muslims with terror ties
      By Ben Bowles February 6, 2016

      His name is Philip Haney, and he worked at the Department of Homeland Security for 15 years. He has a first-person account at The Hill chronicling his time in the agency under the Obama administration. It begins:

      Amid the chaos of the 2009 holiday travel season, jihadists planned to slaughter 290 innocent travelers on a Christmas Day flight from the Netherlands to Detroit, Michigan. Twenty-three-year old Nigerian Muslim Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab intended to detonate Northwest Airlines Flight 253, but the explosives in his underwear malfunctioned and brave passengers subdued him until he could be arrested. The graphic and traumatic defeat they planned for the United States failed, that time.

      Following the attempted attack, President Obama threw the intelligence community under the bus for its failure to “connect the dots.” He said, “this was not a failure to collect intelligence, it was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had.”

      The wholesale condemnation, Haney goes on to write, adversely affected morale at DHS, especially in light of administration efforts to “erase” those very “dots” the president complained were not being connected:

  8. CIVIL UNREST: Obama Dumps Muslim “Refugees” Into Texas Town – See more at:

    (Conservative Tribune) – The crime crisis born of the influx of Muslim refugees may no longer be limited to Europe. According to a former resident of Amarillo, Texas, it has already started in America.

    Karen Sherman, formerly of Amarillo, now of Missoula, Montana, stood in front of the local courthouse on Monday to warn citizens of just that. Should Obama’s plans to plant foreign migrants in Missoula succeed, those citizens could they could well be facing the kind of “civil unrest” Europe is dealing with now.

    In front of the courthouse, 120 residents gathered to listen to her tale, according to WND.

    “Amarillo is overrun with refugees,” Sherman said. She claimed the refugees have previously been given preferential treatment ahead of citizens in receiving benefits. “Now they’re expecting us to give them cars.”
    – See more at:

  9. Germany: Deggendorf protesters decry government’s asylum policy

    group of 100 protesters rallied in the Bavarian town of Deggendorf, Sunday, to denounce the German government’s asylum policy.

    SOT, Wjatscheslaw Seewald, protest organiser (in German): “We expect from the government that they should investigate and prosecute those refugees that are criminals. It (the government) should close the borders and protect the local population. It should do everything possible in order to guarantee peace now and in the future.”

    SOT, Bader, Protester (in Russian): “So white people are standing here. We are all European, it doesn’t matter Russian, German, whatever. But Islam is coming here and in that Islamic world, there will eventually be a situation where there will be no place for us, for our grandchildren, children. That is what I am concerned about.”

  10. Night at one UK asylum center costs more than most exclusive hotels

    UK authorities have been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money on accommodation for failed asylum seekers. Housing at one refugee center has proven more costly than a luxury hotel.

  11. Syria: Thousands of refugees remain stranded on border with Turkey

    Refugees on the Syrian side of the Oncupinar border crossing continued to wait in the hope of entering into Turkey as they flee war and privation following a recent escalation of violence in and around Aleppo.

    Volunteers from the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a Turkish NGO, erected tents at a refugee camp near the border and began distributing humanitarian aid on Friday. Currently around 50,000 refugees are believed to be staying in the camp.

    • Turkey: Border with Syria remains closed to refugees fleeing Aleppo violence

      Refugees on the Syrian side of the Oncupinar border crossing continued to wait in the hope of entering into Turkey as they flee war and privation following a recent escalation of violence in and around Aleppo. The border remained shut to them, Sunday, although trucks are now permitted to travel through the crossing travelling into Syria.

    • Syria: Stranded refugees call on Turkey to ‘open the door’

      Refugees on the Syrian side of the Oncupinar border crossing continued to wait in the hope of entering into Turkey as they flee war and deprivation following a recent escalation of violence in and around Aleppo.

      SOT, Syrian refugee (Arabic): “We were displaced from Al Haidariyya, then we were displaced from Tel Rafat, we were hit, the entire countryside of the north is being hit. Where should the people go? This child where should she go? We don’t have any other than god and Turkey. We plead that Turkey and Erdogan open the door. By god maybe we can be saved from death. This child, what was her sin?”

      SOT, Syrian refugee (Arabic): “We’re from the suburbs of Aleppo; we’re fleeing from the Russian planes, and Daesh who won’t let us leave. Look at the state of the people; people are staying in tents under the rain, with the cold and hunger and the continuing bombing.”

    • UAE says it is ready to send ground troops to Syria

      Announcement comes after Syria issues threat, warning to send back any unwelcome foreign troops “in coffins”.

      The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is ready to send ground troops to Syria as part of an international coalition to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, a top official has said.

      The announcement comes just days after Saudi Arabia expressed the same position, saying that it was prepared to deploy troops to fight ISIL in Syria if the US-led coalition were to agree.

      “Our position throughout has been that a real campaign against [ISIL] has to include a ground force,” the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said at a news conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

      Gargash added that “US leadership on this” would also be a prerequisite for the UAE.

      He did not elaborate about how many troops the UAE could send – but added: “We are not talking about thousands of troops”.

      Saudi Arabia, which has targeted ISIL with air strikes since the campaign began in Syria in September 2014, said on Thursday it was ready to provide ground forces to defeat the armed group.

      “We know that air strikes cannot be enough and that a ground operation is needed. We need to combine both to achieve better results on the ground,” Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri told Al Jazeera on Thursday.

      ‘Wooden coffins’

      Syria, however, responded by warning against foreign intervention, threatening all foreign army soldiers who enter the country without President Bashar al-Assad’s government’s agreement.

      “Any ground intervention in Syria, without the consent of the Syrian government, will be considered an aggression that should be resisted by every Syrian citizen,” Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said on Saturday.

      “I regret to say that they will return home in wooden coffins.”

      Muallem appeared to indicate a boosted confidence that the government’s recent military advances against opposition fighters in Aleppo put it “on track” towards winning the five-year civil war.

      “Like it or not, our battlefield achievements indicate that we are headed towards the end of the crisis,” he said, before calling on rebel fighters to “come to their senses” and lay down their weapons.

      RT- UAE joins chorus of Arab monarchies ready to invade Syria

      Following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) stated on Sunday that it was ready to ground troops to Syria to fight Islamic State. Damascus earlier said it would send unwelcomed invaders back ‘in coffins.’

      The UAE’s preparedness to participate in a ground military operation in Syria was confirmed by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, who said that “US leadership on this” would be a prerequisite.

      “We are not talking about thousands of troops, but we are talking about troops on the ground that will lead the way … that will support … and I think our position remains the same and we will have to see how this progresses,” he added, as cited by Reuters.

      Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain said they would contribute troops for a ground operation in Syria, should the US choose to start one. The three countries are already participating in the aerial bombing campaign spearheaded by Washington. The US however has repeatedly said it would not send ground troops to fight Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and wants the Arab nations to do the fighting on the ground.

      The Syrian government warned that any foreign army entering Syria without an invitation would be considered an enemy and resisted.

      “Let no one think they can attack Syria or violate its sovereignty because I assure you any aggressor will return to their country in a wooden coffin,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Saturday.

      Iran, the key regional ally of Damascus and a rival of Saudi Arabia, said Riyadh lacked the courage to deliver on the premise.

      “(The Saudis) have made such a claim, but I don’t think they are brave enough to do so … Even if they send troops, they would be definitely defeated … it would be suicide,” Iran’s Revolutionary guards Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said.

      Russia, which is providing air support to the Syrian government army in a campaign separate from the US-led coalition, dismissed the Saudi statement, pointing out the lack of progress in its other ongoing military operation in Yemen.

      Saudi Arabia sent its warplanes and troops to the neighboring country to fight against the Shiite rebels from the Ansar Allah movement, also known as the Houthis. The intervention, which the UAE is supporting militarily, resulted in significant civilian casualties and a humanitarian crisis, but has not seen a military victory.

    • DAILY MAIL – Turkey will open its border to 35,000 Syrian refugees ‘if necessary’ as Deputy Prime Minister says the country has ‘reached the end of its capacity’

      Syrian government offensive has forced thousands to flee Aleppo
      Some 35,000 have reached Turkey, who has closed its bordeers
      President Erdogan said he would only let Syrians in ‘if necessary’
      Deputy PM has said Turkey has no more capacity to take in refugees

  12. euronews – More problems at FYROM-Greek border slows refugees’ journey north

    Soldiers of the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia have begun erecting a second, bigger wall just five metres from the border fence with Greece it rushed to put up last November.

    • Children and families at the Greece-Macedonia border (DW, Feb 7, 2016)

      “More and more children are traveling alone on the Balkan route for refugees. It is feared that thousands could fall prey to criminals. DW’s Nemanja Rujevic reports from Gevgelija.

      Authorities are automatically suspicious when they encounter refugee children traveling through Europe. According to Europol, the EU law enforcement agency, 10,000 unaccompanied minors have apparently disappeared after entering the bloc, though many of those have likely fallen through the cracks of sloppy national bureaucracies.

      Aid workers in Gevgelija, a Macedonian town on the border with Greece, say the number of women and children on the run has been rising. According to statistics from the government of Macedonia, 75 percent of refugees who arrived in the country last summer were men, but now women and children make up two-thirds of the people seeking to transit the country en route to the European Union.

      “At first, people wanted to test the system,” said Jesper Frovin Jensen, who works for UNICEF in Gevgelija. “Young men broke the ice.” But as the situation in war zones has deteriorated, Jensen said, waiting at home is no longer an option for many people.

      “Besides, the smugglers cannot fill their ships in these weather conditions and are thus lowering prices,” the Danish aid worker said. “That is the green light for those who previously could not afford the journey.”

      And, with several countries trying to deny or delay reunification, families are increasingly fleeing together rather than sending a single member ahead – that means that children, too, must brave rough seas and the frozen wastelands of the Balkans.

      Refugees are not just coming to escape ongoing wars in their home countries or reunite with family members living in Europe: They also fear that “Fortress Europe” will soon pull up its last drawbridge. Many refugees are aware that the mood is changing in Europe at the moment. People who might have excitedly shown pictures of “Mama Merkel” on their cellphones just a few months ago worry that the welcome culture Germans had touted until recently will soon be history. “Mothers and their children are now in a hurry,” said Elma Dzankovic of the aid organization Legis.

      The helpers in Gevgelija have noticed the refugees’ increased urgency and find themselves having to remind their charges that they must wait for police permits before they are allowed to leave the camp and continue their journeys toward the European Union.

      Dzankovic thinks it is dangerous that there is no time for real social work. The volunteer knows that Macedonia alone has counted more than 18,000 unaccompanied minors.

      “We have come to realize that some people pretend the unaccompanied children are theirs in order to procure falsified documents,” she said, without citing the source of this information. People have terrible suspicions of child trafficking – even organ trafficking.

      “We are lacking qualified social workers and pedagogical professionals who can determine whether a child belongs to a family,” she said. “But the people only stay here for a few hours and the problem is then exported to the next country.”

      Critics also find fault with the way unaccompanied children are treated. Only the very small ones who cannot find any relatives around them are sent to a center in the Macedonian capital, Skopje. Otherwise, workers search for a so-called “guardian” who is prepared to take care of a minor on their journey. “These young people only have one thing on their minds: moving on,” said Frovin-Jensen, the UNICEF coordinator. “They will become even more vulnerable if they are denied the continuation of their journey with a familiar group of people.”

      Anamarija Schram knows how important it is for children to see familiar faces around them. The young Red Cross helper is responsible for reuniting families in Gevgelija.

      “Often, people lose their children on the road or family members get on different buses,” Schram said. Her job is often stressful. A few hours before reporters spoke to her, a boy had simply disappeared from the camp. She found him on a bridge a few hundred meters away. She said seeing his parents take their child in their arms was the greatest reward for her.”

  13. Brother, there is still beauty in the world.
    Rare moment this is.
    Roosh V, the dude who got worldwide publicity being accused of wanting legalizing rape, and organizing a worldwide “rape-meet up”, organized a press conference in a Washington DC hotel.
    This is a rare moment, when you can see mainstream media journalists OWNED, called on their bullshit in the most elegant way.
    A damn shame you can not see their faces.
    Dude is a monster.

  14. France: PRG supporters picket Islamic conference in Lille

    Supporters of the Radical Party of the Left (PRG) picketed an Islamic conference at the Grand Palais in Lille, Sunday, to protest against fundamentalism and the merging of politics and religion.

    SOT, Laurence Marchand-Taillade, national secretary of the Radical Left Party (French): “We are here to denounce fundamentalism, and not only Islamic fundamentalism.”

    SOT, Laurence Marchand-Taillade, national secretary of the Radical Left Party (French): “We don’t accept one religion which is politicised. France made a separation between religion and state. But a political religion wants to impose laws that are made by God and not those made by people.”

  15. Sangin ‘on verge of falling back into Afghan Taliban hands’ (BBC, Feb 7, 2016)

    “The key district of Sangin in the southern Afghan province of Helmand is once again on the verge of being overrun by the Taliban, according to an Afghan army commander.

    The commander, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BBC that most of the district had already been taken.

    He said the Afghan government now controls just a few square kilometres of Sangin city.
    The Afghan army and local governor’s office dismissed the claims.

    A spokesman for the Helmand governor acknowledged there had been security problems in the past but said there was no “serious threat” that could lead to the fall of Sangin.

    The unnamed commander warned that even the remaining areas under government control were under imminent threat.

    Almost a quarter of British military personnel killed during the UK’s combat mission in Afghanistan died defending Sangin…”

  16. German Police Search Homes of Suspected Extremists (abcnews, Feb 7, 2016)

    “German police have searched the homes of two men suspected of being part of an extremist organization.

    The dpa news agency cited a spokesman for German federal prosecutors confirming the raids Sunday near the western city of Mainz.

    The men are reportedly suspected of membership in a “foreign terrorist organization” active in Syria.

    News website Spiegel Online reported that one of the men, a 23-year-old, was a suspected former commander in the Islamic State group.

    It said the raid took place in the town of Sankt Johann.”

  17. Over 68,000 migrants entered Europe in January as Syria war intensifies (DW, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Tens of thousands of migrants have crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to arrive in Greece this year, the UN has said. The influx comes as fighting between government forces, Islamists and rebels intensifies in Syria.

    An estimated number of 68,023 people traveled across the Aegean Sea to Greece since the beginning of 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Sunday. At least 366 people lost their lives while to reach Europe, the report added.

    Meanwhile, Syrian troops advanced towards Tal Rifaat, one of the last rebel strongholds in the Aleppo province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP news agency.

    According to Syrian pro-government newspaper “al-Watan,” taking Tal Rifaat would be a major achievement for the regime, which could then gain control over all of Aleppo.

    The offensive was also causing people to flee the area. “The people there are very worried there could be a siege at any time. We expect a lot of people to get out of the city if the situation remains like this, if there is no improvement,” Ahmad Abdelaziz of the Syrian American Medical Society told the Associated Press.

    According to the UN, around 35,000 of those fleeing had gathered at the Turkish border on Saturday, waiting for Ankara to let them in.

    On Sunday, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said his country had “reached the limit of its capacity to absorb the refugees.”

    “But in the end, these people have nowhere else to go. Either they will die beneath the bombings or we will open our borders,” he added, as the European Union insisted it was part of Turkey’s international obligations to open its frontier to refugees. The EU has pledged 3 billion euros ($3.35 billion) to Ankara to help house and care for refugees and to stem the flow of people entering Europe.

    More discussions on the conflict and the consequent refugee crisis are planned for Monday when Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

    More than 260,000 people have died in Syria since the war began in 2011, and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, now backed by Russian airstrikes, went on the offensive against rebels and IS militants. Nearly 2.7 million people have found refuge in Turkey and over a million have crossed over to EU countries.”

  18. Slim asylum chances for 40 percent of refugees in Germany: report (DW, Feb 7, 2016)

    “The number of Syrians coming to the EU from Turkey has decreased considerably in January, according to a German newspaper. More Iraqis and Afghans are fleeing to the bloc, but have slim chances of receiving asylum.

    Nearly forty percent of migrants who entered the European Union (EU) in January do not have a realistic chance of getting asylum, the Sunday paper “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” (FAS) quoted a senior European Commission official as saying.

    The paper quoted statistics from the EU’s border agency, Frontex, indicating that only around 39 percent of the migrants coming into the bloc last month were Syrians, compared to 69 percent last year. Twenty-four percent were from Afghanistan, up from 18 percent, and 25 percent from Iraq, compared to 8 percent in 2015. The rest were from North Africa and the Balkans.

    Refugees coming from countries other than Syria have a lower chance of being recognized as asylum seekers, the report noted. Citizens of the Maghreb countries – including Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria – and the Balkan states are categorized as economic refugees. The German government is currently working on a law to designate some nations as safe regions and enable authorities to deport citizens from these countries more easily.

    The largest influx of refugees was recorded in October, with an average of 6,929 refugees arriving in Europe every day. The numbers had considerably decreased in January, when 60,466 refugees reached the bloc, the FAS reported.

    Meanwhile, aid workers have sounded an alarm for better shelters after refugees continued to flow into the Balkans from Greece despite the harsh winter. On Sunday, two women migrants died in Bulgaria because of freezing conditions, authorities said. They said one of the victims was a teenager and the other was between 30 and 40 years old.

    It is the second time that reports have emerged from Bulgaria of migrants dying as a result of hypothermia. In January, the frozen bodies of two men were found in mountains near the border with Serbia.”

  19. Berlin plagued by radical left-wing violence for second night in a row (DW, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Gangs of masked anarchists set fire to cars and threw stones in the Berlin neighborhood of Neukölln. An official has called the incident an act of terrorism.

    Frank Henkel, Berlin’s minister for internal affairs, condemned the violent acts committed by left-wing anarchists on Saturday night, the second night in a row the city has seen such violence.

    Between 50 and 100 rioters stormed through the neighborhood of Neukölln in the early hours of Sunday morning, setting fire to 20 cars and at throwing at least one stone at a police car. The previous night, between 20 and 40 masked rioters on bicycles burned 28 cars and smashed windows in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin.

    Calling the incidents “terrorist acts,” Henkel said, according to the German dpa news agency, the chaotic images showed “that with leftist anarchists only destruction follows, and that they have no respect for the property of their fellow citizens.”

    Police said there were no injuries and that no arrests were made. Henkel, however, said authorities were working to located the perpetrators
    “We will not let left-wing mobs rule the streets,” he said.

    According to the German newspaper “Taggesspiegel,” authorities were not still not sure if there was a connection between the back-to-back incidents and a left-wing “freedom demonstration” that took place in the Friedrichshain neighborhood of Berlin on Saturday, in which some 4,000 radical leftists gathered to protest against the police.”

    • I have been wondering when the left wing activists would start their street violence/direct action? The left has been setting the world up for their revolution and hopefully enough people are organized against them to start a counter revolution.

  20. Bosnians protest against hijab ban in judiciary (france24, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Some 2,000 people, mostly women, protested on Sunday in downtown Sarajevo against a recent ban on wearing a hijab headscarf in the majority Muslim country’s judicial institutions.

    “We gathered to protest against prejudices, discrimination and marginalisation,” Samira Zunic Velagic, one of the protest organisers, told the crowd.

    “The ban of wearing hijab in judicial insititious is a serious attack against Muslim honour, personality and identity, a violation … aimed at depriving them of their right to work,” she added.

    The protest was sparked by a recent decision of Bosnia’s high judicial council, a body tasked with supervising the functioning of the judiciary, to ban “religious signs” in judicial institutions.

    The decision which concerns judges and other employees in the sector, but does explicitly mention hijab — a scarf which covers hair, ears and neck — was strongly condemned by Bosnia’s Mulism political and religious leaders as well as numerous local Muslim associations.

    The protestors marched for around an hour through the capital’s centre carrying banners that read “Hijab is my Daily Choice,” “Hijab is my Right” or “Hijab is my Life.”

    “We came here to say that we are not the victims of this scarf. We came to defend our rights. It is our crown, our liberty, our honour,” Elisa Hamovac, a 33-year-old stay-at-home mother, wearing a light blue hijab, told AFP.

    Muslims make up around 40 percent of Bosnia’s population of 3.8 million and are mostly followers of a moderate form of Islam. The others are mostly Orthodox and Catholic Christians.

    Hijab was banned by the communist authorities while Bosnia was still part of the former Yugoslavia until 1992 when it proclaimed independence.

    Today many Muslim women wear hijab, with some being completely veiled. However, most are not veiled.”

  21. Policeman martyred, judges including six wounded in Logar explosion (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “A policeman has embraced martyrdom in a landmine explosion in Pul-i-Alam, capital of central Logar province.

    Governor’s spokesperson said the blast targeted vehicle of Haqiq-ur-Rahmand Haqmal, head of the appeal court around 9 am this morning.

    Saleem Salih added that a policeman who was with judges for their security died and six others sustained injuries.

    Those wounded include Haqmal, head of the city court Abdul Basit and four civilians, Salih said.
    Taliban have claimed responsibility for the blast.

    Located some 60 km south of Kabul, Logar is comparatively a restive province of Afghanistan where armed militants are operating in a number of its districts.

    They often carry out attacks in the provincial capital as well.

    Besides Taliban, insurgents loyal to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami and Daesh also operate in Logar but most of the attacks in this province are carried out by Taliban.”

  22. NDS arrests would-be suicide bomber who had placed explosives on his head, covered with a cap (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has arrested a would-be suicide bomber who had placed explosive materials on his head and covered them with a cap.

    The terrorist had intended to get to his target inside the police headquarters of southern Helmand province.

    A statement released by NDS on Sunday states that Mohammad Musa S/P Haji Shinwari was prepared for suicide attack by Hafiz Mahmood, a Taliban guide for suicide bombings.

    According to the statement, Mohammad Musa was trying to enter into the police headquarters for attack but NDS detained him before he could reach to his target.

    The arrested terrorist has admitted carrying out a number of attacks in the past including bomb blast on a police vehicle.

    NDS statements usually do not contain exact date of the achievements but they come after recent activities.”

  23. Two Taliban commanders gunned down in Maidan Wardak (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Police have killed two Taliban commanders in Narkh District of central Maidan Wardak province, the Ministry of Interior announced on Sunday.

    According to a statement released by the ministry, one raid was conducted in Deh Muslim area last night in which Baryalai was gunned down along with his bodyguard.

    Baryalai was involved in most of the attacks on the cellular phone towers in the area.

    The second raid was conducted in Shah Kabuli area around 6 am this morning in which another Taliban commander by the name of Abdul Wahid was killed.

    Police have not suffered casualties in these operations, the press release adds.”

  24. 37 Daesh, Taliban militants killed in security operations (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “37 militants have been killed in newest security operations in different parts of the country, the Ministry of Defense announced on Sunday morning.

    According to a statement issued by the ministry, six of the terrorists killed were commanders of Taliban group.

    They include Qari Bashir and Haji Khalid who were collecting intelligence information for Taliban in Dand-e-Ghori District.

    Other important members of Taliban killed during these operations include Mullah Ismail, Mullah Mutahid, Haji Mullah and Mutaqi, the group’s commanders for Nad Ali and Marjah districts of Helmand District.

    Ministry of Defense press release adds that 21 other insurgents from Taliban and 14 from Daesh have been wounded in these operations.

    The operations were carried out in Kot District of Nangarhar, Guzara District of Herat, Dand-e-Ghori District of Baghlan, in Suzma Kala of Sar-e-Pul, Ali Abad of Kundoz, Nad Ali and Marjah districts of Helmand province.

    Four suspects were also detained by security forces during these operations.”

  25. Five ISI agents arrested in Badakhshan (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “The National Directorate of Security (NDS)—Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has arrested five agents of Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in northeastern Afghanistan.

    Security officials in Badakhshan province say the arrested ISI agents include two men and three women who had covered themselves as health workers in Baharak and Kisham districts.
    Officials add that police also took part in the operation to arrest the agents.

    Public Health Directorate of Badakhshan province says the arrested suspects do not have any documents to indicate that they are doctors or have received medical training.

    Earlier, residents of Wardooj District of Badakhshan province complained that a number of Pakistani generals have entered into their district and met Taliban commanders.

    Badakhshan was comparatively a peaceful province of Afghanistan but it has been witnessing its worst security since last year.”

  26. Unidentified gunmen kill three health workers in Kunar (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “A group of unidentified gunmen have killed three health workers in Ghazi Abad District of eastern Kunar province.

    Officials say the health workers were kidnapped from Sira Gul area of the same district a few days before and gunned down last night.

    Motive behind the incident is unknown but police say they have launched investigation into the case.

    Kunar which shares a long border with Pakistan is comparatively one of the restive provinces of Afghanistan where on several occasions efforts have been made for disrupting the medical and educational systems.”

  27. Faryab police rescue 80 passengers abducted by Taliban militants (khaama, Feb 7, 2016)

    “The Afghan National Police (ANP) forces have managed to rescue 80 passengers abducted by the Taliban militants in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.

    The provincial police commandment in a statement said the abducted passengers were rescued during a military operation.

    The statement further added that the passengers were kidnapped by Taliban militants around 5:00 pm local time from Maimana-Andkhoi highway in Qaramqol district.

    The passengers were travelling in two buses when the Taliban militants stopped their buses and kidnapped the civilians, the statement said, adding that the police forces immediately launched the operation following the incident.

    Provincial police chief Syed Aqa Andarabi said the Taliban militants managed to take six passengers with them but four of them were released later, however two others are still kept by the militants.

    The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the report so far.

    Faryab is among the volatile provinces in northern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups including the Taliban militants are actively operating in a number of its districts.

    The anti-government armed militant groups frequently carry out insurgency activities including kidnapping of civilians in the restive districts in the north.

    At least seven civilians were abducted by the anti-government armed militants in the summer of last year and were released after almost 13 in captivity.”

  28. ‘Muslim solidarity’ professor ‘parting ways’ with Christian college (RT, Feb 7, 2016)

    “A professor at a conservative Christian college in suburban Chicago who was suspended after saying Muslims and Christians “worship the same God” is now “parting ways” with her employers.

    Wheaton College announced the news this weekend in a joint statement with Professor Dr Larycia Hawkins.

    The private evangelical Protestant college released the statement between its president Philip Graham Ryken and the political science professor on its website.

    Both parties expressed mutual respect for each other saying, “while parting ways, both Wheaton College and Dr Hawkins wish the best for each other in their ongoing work.”

    No details were given on how they came to a decision of “parting ways.”….”

  29. Tunisia completes barrier along Libya border (aljazeera, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Tunisia has completed the construction of a barrier along its border with Libya, months after attacks on its capital and a beach resort that killed dozens of tourists.

    Defence Minister Farhat Horchani told reporters on Saturday that the construction of the project marked “an important day” for Tunisia in its struggle against “terrorism”.

    Two attacks claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group last year killed 59 foreign tourists, with Tunisian officials saying the assailants had trained in conflict-ridden Libya where ISIL is active.

    “Tunisia is capable of fighting against terrorism in an active and efficient way,” Horchani said during a tour of the barrier.

    The barrier, which is composed of sand banks and water-filled trenches, stretches some 200km from Ras Jedir on the Mediterranean coast to Dhiba further southwest.

    It covers about half the length of the frontier between the two neighbouring countries.

    Horchani said a second phase of the project will include installing electronic equipment with the help of Germany and the United States.

    He said the barrier, which Tunisia calls a “system of obstacles”, has already “proven its efficiency”.

    “On several occasions we have stopped and arrested people who were trying to smuggle weapons,” he said….”

  30. Second member of IS execution cell identified as Briton: report (reuters, Feb 7, 2016)

    “A second member of a British group of Islamic State militants dubbed “the Beatles” has been identified as 32-year-old Londoner Alexanda Kotey, according to a Washington Post and BuzzFeed investigation published on Sunday.

    The group, whose leader Mohammed Emwazi gained notoriety for appearing in videos showing the murders of Western hostages, are said by former hostages of Islamic State to have been assigned to guard foreign prisoners, and were nicknamed “the Beatles” due to their English accents.

    Londoner Emwazi, referred to by British media as “Jihadi John”, is believed to have been killed in a U.S. drone strike last year.

    The Washington Post and BuzzFeed said Kotey was a soccer fan who had grown up in West London and converted to Islam in his early 20s, after meeting a Muslim woman with whom he had two children. He had attended the same mosque as Emwazi, they reported.

    Kotey has a Greek Cypriot mother and Ghanaian father, and left Britain in 2009 to travel to Gaza as part of an aid convoy, the report said. The Washington Post said a U.S. intelligence official had confirmed that Kotey had traveled to Syria…”

  31. Egyptian police shoot four suspected militants in raid near Cairo (reuters, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Egyptian police shot dead four suspected Islamist militants inside a house a few miles from central Cairo, the interior ministry said on Sunday, the third such incident in as many weeks.

    It said the men belonged to Ajnad Misr, a group that emerged in January 2014 and has targeted security forces in and around Cairo. The suspects had opened fire first, it said.

    “Engagement resulted in the death of four known elements and the uncovering of an assault rifle, a 9mm pistol, an improvised firearm, a car previously used in many terrorist attacks, and a motorcycle without license plates,” a ministry statement said.

    The men were suspects in the killing of two policemen, a soldier and a civilian and they were also suspected of blowing up a police vehicle and bombing a security checkpoint, it said.

    Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai that gained momentum in mid-2013 when the military ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi after mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been killed.

    The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement but Egyptian security forces do not differentiate between it and groups such as Ajnad Misr and Islamic State.

    Islamic State-affiliated militants sometimes carry out attacks in Cairo and other cities but are most active in Sinai, a strategic peninsula bordering Israel, Gaza, and the Suez Canal…”

  32. Saudi King Salman calls for others not to interfere in kingdom (reuters, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday called on other countries not to interfere in the kingdom’s internal affairs in what appeared to be a rebuke to Riyadh’s main foe Iran, which it accuses of attempting to stir unrest.

    “It is our right to defend ourselves, without interfering in the affairs of others. We call on others to not interfere in our affairs,” Salman said in a speech opening the annual Janadriya cultural festival in Riyadh, state news agency SPA reported.

    “We cooperate with our Arab and Muslim brothers in all areas in defending our lands and ensuring their independence and guarding their government systems as sanctioned by their peoples,” he added.

    Salman did not elaborate, but his remarks seemed aimed at Iran, which Riyadh accuses of destabilizing Arab states and spreading sectarianism by backing militias in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen and fomenting unrest in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

    Iran denies seeking to destabilize the region or incite sectarian hatred. It in turn accuses Riyadh of fomenting discord by backing rebels in Syria, going to war in Yemen and propagating an ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim school that declares Shi’ites heretical.

    The Saudi king, who succeeded to power a year ago after the death of his half-brother Abdullah, brought together a coalition of Arab states to back military action in Yemen to restore its government after it was ousted by an Iran-allied militia.”

  33. Egypt military court sentences 8 to death for targeting army personnel (ahram, Feb 8, 2016)–to-death-for-targe.aspx

    “Egypt’s military court handed eight defendants preliminary death sentences on Sunday after they were found guilty of planning attacks on Egyptian officials, including military and police personnel.
    Their case has been referred to Egypt’s Grand Mufti for further deliberation before the court issues its sentence.

    Egyptian law requires that the defendants’ case be referred to the Mufti, a senior Muslim cleric, for a consultative review. His opinion is non-binding on the court.

    The eight defendants were also found guilty of carrying out attacks, “as per instructions of the Muslim Brotherhood’s international organisation”, which destroyed electricity and communication pylons.

    The verdict can be appealed in front of the military court of cassation.

    The court will issue its ruling for the rest of the defendants, 20 in total, in the next court session once it receives the Mufti’s opinion on the death sentences.”

  34. Erdogan: US Should Choose Between Turkey, Kurdish Forces (abcnews, Feb 7, 2016)

    “Turkey’s president lashed out at the United States a week after President Barack Obama’s envoy visited a northern Syrian town that is under the control of Syrian Kurdish forces, which Ankara considers terrorists.

    In comments published Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Washington should choose between Turkey and the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, as its partner.

    That came after envoy Brett McGurk’s visit to Kobani, where the PYD’s military wing, aided by U.S.-led airstrikes, drove back Islamic State militants a year ago. Turkey considers the PYD a terrorist group because of its affiliation with Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.

    Erdogan said: “How can we trust you? Is it me that is your partner or is it the terrorists in Kobani?”

    In Washington, a State Department spokesman reiterated the longstanding U.S. policy that considers the PKK “to be a terrorist organization.”

    “We continue to call on the PKK to immediately cease its campaign of violence. A resumed political process offers the best hope for greater civil rights, security, and prosperity for all the citizens of Turkey,” said Noel Clay of the State Department.”

  35. Russia: Bahraini FM defends KSA, UAE statement on sending troops to Syria

    Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa commented on recent statements by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on their willingness to deploy ground forces to Syria, during a Skype interview with RT from the Russian city of Sochi, Sunday.

    SOT, Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Bahraini Foreign Minister (Arabic): “There are many events happening in the region. Perhaps, somebody can consider it as an escalation. But I don’t think that the position, recently declared by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and by the United Arab Emirates, is an escalation. Didn’t we agree that there is an enemy that surrounds us and exists in our region? This is ISIS, someone else, or terrorist militias. It is necessary to fight against this enemy and to confront it by all means. We all agree with it. But the problem is in positions assumed. We as well as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are part of the international coalition which has been existing since 2014 in order to fight terrorism. We all helped to fight against terrorism with our weapons. Now there is a question about the military presence on the ground. This question is just a part of [the policy], but not the new policy. The policy was developed earlier: we are fighting against Daesh [ISIS], we are fighting against terrorism, which is supported by countries in the region. We are fighting against all this. Regarding the question about the military presence on the ground, so it is only a part of the common task. Each state operates taking into account its opportunities. As for the matter of the principle of fighting terrorism, we are all obliged to do it.”

  36. VoA – German Artists to Memorialize Refugees with Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015. On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.

  37. Druze and Jews – we’re actually related by marriage – living together by G-d’s grace in the holy land of Israel. A story to warm the cockles:

    Druze and Jews forge special bond in memory of brave policeman
    After visiting the family of Zidan Seif, the brave Druze policeman who stopped the massacre at the Har Nof synagogue, giving his life for Jewish worshipers, Rabbi Yaakov Kermaier saw an opportunity to bring Jews and Druze together for Jethro’s Shabbat, when the story of Moses’ father-in-law, and the founder of the Druze religion, is told.,7340,L-4762603,00.html

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