Reader’s links for Feb. 20 – 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

61 Replies to “Reader’s links for Feb. 20 – 2016”

  1. Afghan troops pull out of strategic Helmand district (reuters, Feb 20, 2016?

    “Afghan forces have pulled out of bases in Musa Qala, a strategic district of the southern province of Helmand, after months of heavy fighting with Taliban insurgents, officials said on Saturday.

    Helmand, a traditional heartland of the Taliban and one of the world’s biggest centers of opium production, has been threatened for months and the United States recently sent hundreds of soldiers to the province to bolster its defense.

    The commander of the Afghan army’s 215th corps, Mohammad Moeen Faqir, said troops had been ordered to pull back from Roshan Tower, their main base in Musa Qala, as well as other checkpoints to reinforce Gereshk, straddling the main Highway One which links Kabul with the south and west.

    “Their presence in the area did not mean anything,” he said. “We will use them in battle with enemies in other parts of Helmand province.”

    Fierce fighting has raged in Musa Qala and other parts of Helmand for months and the Taliban overran the district in August last year before they were driven back by Afghan forces backed by U.S. airstrikes…”

  2. Pakistan Army Claims Killing 5 Militants Near Afghan Border (abcnews, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Pakistan’s military says the country’s security forces have killed five “terrorists” in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border.

    In a statement, the military said the shootout took place Saturday in the Mohmand tribal region. It says the slain men were planning attacks, but did not provide details of their identities.

    The announcement came days after militants killed nine police officers in two ambushes in Mohmand.”

  3. What if? The uncharted waters of ‘Brexit’

    London (AFP) – A British exit from the European Union would leave the country in uncharted territory, no country having ever travelled that road, which spells freedom to eurosceptics but doom to the pro-Europe camp.

    As Britain gears up for a membership referendum, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker insists there is no plan B, while Downing Street maintains it has made no contingencies.

    After securing a deal on Britain’s ‘special status’ in the EU at a summit on Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would campaign for his country to stay in and warned those clamouring for a divorce that a post-EU future might be far from rosy.

  4. Cameron: Britain’s referendum on EU membership to be June 23

    Associated Press
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    LONDON (AP) — A historic referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union will be held on June 23, Prime Minister David Cameron announced Saturday, even as he declared his belief that the U.K. would be “safer and stronger” if it remained in the 28-nation bloc.

    Cameron spoke in front of his 10 Downing Street office after holding a rare Saturday Cabinet meeting and winning its agreement to recommend that Britain remain part of the EU rather than strike out on its own.

    Despite that support, some Cabinet figures are expected to back the “leave” campaign that wants Britain to carve its own path outside of the bureaucracy in Brussels.

  5. Kremlin says concerned by Turkey shelling Syrian territory

    MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin on Saturday expressed concern over Turkey’s shelling of Syria’s territory, saying such actions were whipping up further tension on the two countries’ border.

    “The Kremlin is concerned by the growing tension on the Syrian-Turkish border,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a teleconference with journalists.

    “In general, Russia believes that such cross-border shelling of Syria’s territory by Turkish artillery is inadmissible.”

    • Right now this seems to be the flash point that will cause the major league fighting to start. Once it starts the Chinese will start their land grabs over in that region.

  6. Two abducted Serbs believed killed in U.S. Libya raids on Islamic State

    BELGRADE/TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Two Serbian embassy staff members abducted in Libya in November are believed to have been among nearly 50 people killed on Friday in U.S. air strikes on a suspected Islamic State training camp, Serbia’s foreign minister said.

    U.S. officials said the site targeted in the strikes in Sabratha, western Libya, was a camp used by up to 60 militants including Tunisian Noureddine Chouchane, blamed for two attacks on tourists in Tunisia last year in which dozens were killed.

    Sladjana Stankovic, a Serbian communications officer, and Jovica Stepic, a driver, were taken hostage on Nov. 8 after their diplomatic convoy, including the ambassador, came under fire near Sabratha, a coastal city.

    “We are expecting identification of the victims, so formally we cannot confirm the information,” Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic told a news conference on Saturday.

    The mayor of Sabratha, Hussein al-Thwadi, said Libyan authorities had sent photos of the bodies to Serbian diplomats for an initial identification.

  7. CNN – Trump cites bullets dipped in pigs’ blood to deter Muslims

    Donald Trump cited an apocryphal story about a U.S. general who purportedly dipped bullets in pigs’ blood to execute Muslim prisoners a century ago in an effort to deter Islamic terrorism.

    • I don’t know if this happened or not, I do know that both Brits and Yanks use to kill a pig in front of a prisoner and make him watch them skin the animal. Once they had the skin they told the prisoner that either he told them what they wanted to know of they would wrap him in the skin before they killed him and would then bury him in the skin. That always broke the prisoner and got the info wanted.

        • After 9/11 a rich businessman in Missouri offered 1 million dried pig ear dog chews to the military to stuff in various openings of all the Moslems we killed in Afghanistan, he was turned down but the vast majority of jihadists would have stayed home if their chances of Paradise were destroyed by that tactic.

  8. REBEL MEDIA – Liberals lied to Canadians — and to the “refugees” they promised to help

    Brian Lilley’s thorough report shows that the Liberals knew the refugees they were bringing to Canada were not living in squalid camps but were already settled in safe countries. The justification Liberals used to rush the refugee process was entirely unnecessary and wasn’t good for refugees or Canadians.

  9. France: Pro-Piquemal rally organiser among four arrested in Calais

    A rally in support of former French Legion commander General Piquemal was dispersed on Saturday in Calais. The rally’s organiser Willy Destierdt was arrested by the police as he laid flowers at a monument to French soldiers killed in combat.

    refugee, raped TWO times, first time he was still ALLOWED to stay in Sweden, now finally after second time hes sentenced to deportation, HOWEVER officials say its UNLIKELY he will get deported due to safety condition in his Eritrea home country…. that is, that country is unsafe to send someone to, but lets bring thousands of them here? does it make any sense?????

  11. Nigeria: People Detained by Military Disappear in Northeast (abcnews, Feb 20, 2016)

    “First come the whispers, then accusations loud enough to raise alarms throughout Nigeria’s northeastern villages ravaged by extremist violence. Next, people accused of being Boko Haram are rounded up, sometimes by the military, sometimes by a civilian self-defense force. Many are never seen again.

    The murmurs exploded into a rare open-throated protest recently when a teacher and two middle-aged farmers were taken away in Duhu village. Women who knew the men insisted they did not belong to the Islamic extremist group, and marched to a nearby military base to demand their release. Instead, the men were shot to death and their bodies were dumped outside town.

    Nigeria’s military denied ever detaining elementary school teacher Habu Bello and farmers Idrisa Dele and Umaru Hammankadi last month. But several villagers told The Associated Press that they watched as the men were led away by uniformed soldiers who accused them of being Boko Haram fighters.

    Threats to civilians come from all sides and extrajudicial killings have not abated despite the president’s declaration of victory over Boko Haram. The insurgents have shown no mercy, but many people are equally afraid of the soldiers and the self-defense Vigilante Group of Nigeria.

    Now, they are learning to fear their own neighbors as well…”

  12. Egypt Author Jailed for Violating ‘Public Modesty’ (abcnews, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Egyptian author Ahmed Naji was sentenced to two years in jail on Saturday by a Cairo appeals court for publishing a sexually explicit excerpt of his novel that prosecutors said violated “public modesty.”

    It was the latest in a series of rulings against artistic works or speech deemed offensive to Islam or values in the overwhelmingly conservative country. The spike in such cases has taken place under the rule of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who overthrew an Islamist president and has called for religious reforms to combat extremism.

    Mahmoud Othman, a lawyer representing Naji, said his client was taken into police custody after the hearing. The court also ordered the editor-in-chief of Egypt’s top literary magazine, Tarek el-Taher, to pay a 10,000-Egyptian pound ($1,277) fine for publishing the excerpt, according to Othman.

    The trial stems from a complaint filed by a private citizen and taken up by the prosecution after Akhbar al-Adab magazine published an excerpt from Naji’s novel, “The Use of Life,” in August 2014. The excerpt contains explicit descriptions of sexual acts and hashish use by the characters.

    Defense lawyers say the lawsuit was originally filed by a citizen who said his heartbeat fluctuated, his blood pressure dropped and he became severely ill upon reading the excerpt. The prosecution insisted the excerpt be treated as a work of journalism and not fiction.

    Naji was initially acquitted, but after the case garnered widespread media coverage, prosecutors appealed the verdict, and in the latest ruling he received the maximum penalty.

    He is not the first author to face legal troubles in Egypt…”

  13. Minister rejects EC critics over caps (thelocal, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Austria’s combative interior minister rejected Saturday EU criticism of its cap of 80 asylum claims per day, saying a letter of complaint to her from the bloc’s migration commissioner was “sent to the wrong address”.

    “It should be generally known that Austria does not have an external EU border and is therefore not the first safe country that these people (migrants) set foot in,” Johanna Mikl-Leitner told the Austria Press Agency (APA).

    “If everybody stuck to the content of the letter (from migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos), then Austria would not have a problem with it. But the letter was clearly sent to the wrong address,” Mikl-Leitner said.

    Instead, the complaints should be sent to safe countries that the migrants pass through on their way to Austria, she said, in a reference in particular to Greece, the main entry point in the European Union for migrants…”

  14. Prominent intellectuals back Merkel’s refugee policy (DW, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Eminent figures from inside and outside Germany have written an open letter supporting Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policy. The open letter ran with the headline “We can do it,” echoing Merkel’s oft-used phrase.

    More than 70 prominent personalities from the arts, culture, politics and civil society signed the half-page letter published on Saturday in the German newspaper “Die Welt,” giving support to Merkel as her steadfast stance on refugees comes under scrutiny at home and the crisis threatens European unity.

    “You have transformed our country. People no longer fear Germany; on the contrary: they want to come to Germany. After the horror and crimes that came out of Germany, this is a new, wonderful experience for us,” the signatories wrote.

    Among those putting their name on the letter were Nobel laureate for literature Herta Müller, the conductor and pianist Daniel Barenboim, holocaust survivor Margot Friedlander, actor Edgar Selge, producer Nico Hofmann and director Jürgen Flimm.

    “We wish you strength and success for the coming negotiations,” the group wrote, referring to tough EU talks on handling the refugee crisis. “Europe, this new Germany and the refugees need you.”

    Merkel has persisted with a multipronged approach to the refugee crisis, arguing for open borders and a European solution while attempting to tackle the root causes of refugee flight from Syria.

    While winning praise from many quarters, the German chancellor has seen her support drop among the public and even within her own party. In response, the government is quickly moving to reform and streamline asylum policy.

    The refugee crisis has tested the German vision for a united, open and stronger Europe, as the EU member states squabble over how to handle the refugee crisis, and throw up border controls amid a backlash against the influx of refugees.”

  15. Great Power Realignment – To Russia?

    The shelling of Syrian soldiers by the Turkish military is one more step back into Great Power politics — historic Turkish-Russian enmity played out over Kurds and Syrians. The U.S. appears to believe 21st century wars cannot be won by military force and that battling parties can be induced to set aside their national and religious aims for a negotiated “peace.” Meanwhile, the parties to the conflict are using their armies to pursue victory.

    Last week, Turkey attacked Kurdish fighters who were struggling to connect Kurdish territory in northern Iraq with a Kurdish enclave in northern Syria along the Turkish border. The Kurds, backed by Russian air power, want to oust Turkish-backed Syrian rebels from the Azaz region, in order to create contiguous territory from northern Iraq to Syrian Kurdistan, and prevent the Syrian rebels from being resupplied by Turkey. The net effect is to boost Kurdish-Russian cooperation; to provide relief for Assad’s army in the north; to increase Turkey’s hostility toward Russia; and possibly to put Turkey on a collision course with the U.S. — if Ankara believes its position in NATO will protect it from Russian fallout. (It should be noted that although Turkish troops attacked Syrians, they stayed clear of threatening Russia directly.)

    The U.S. has urged both Turkey and the Kurds to decrease hostilities, but Turkey dismissed U.S. calls for a ceasefire. Attacks on the Kurds continued as Turkey began to fire on Syrian forces, and Turkey’s President Tayyip Recep Erdogan did not rule out a ground attack inside Syria.

    The history is Sunni Muslim Ottomans vs. Orthodox Christian Russians, beginning in 1568. The Armenian genocide, Russian massacres in Chechnya and Dagestan, and the desire for revenge on both sides of the Russian invasion of Afghanistan are just recent occurrences. The Kurds, oppressed by the Ottomans and then the Turks, had believed the U.S. would be their sponsor, both in Iraq and in the larger region claimed as Kurdistan. But for the non-jihadist and non-anti-Assad Kurds, anti-Turkish Russians are an equally compelling ally. Hence last week’s Russian air strikes against Turkish allies on behalf of the Kurds.

  16. Dismantled Terrorist Cell Planned to Attack Morocco Mall, OCP Headquarters (moroccoworldnews, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Rabat – The terrorist cell dismantled Thursday planned to attack sensitive locations to undermine the national economy, a source close to the investigation said Saturday, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

    The targets included the “Morocco Mall” shopping center in Casablanca, and the headquarters of the Chérifien Office of Phosphates (OCP) and the Moroccan Office of Tobacco, also in Casablanca.

    These sites were among a series of targets to be attacked by the terrorists, “using firearms and bomb attacks prior to the establishment of a governorate that swears allegiance to the Islamic state,” according to the same source.

    The terrorist cell also reportedly intended to carry out terrorist attacks against the Moroccan tourism industry, including hotel establishments such as “Sofitel” and “Al Madina” in Essaouira.

    Its 10 members planned to murder Western tourists in the city, to assassinate high public civil and military officials, to attack military barracks, especially in Meknes and Marrakech to seize firearms, as well as attack military units deployed at the Moroccan-Algerian border and police officers to take their weapons…”

  17. Wanted terrorist Zaki Zuweiri arrested (saudigazette, Feb 20, 2016)

    “RIYADH — Zaki Salman Hussein Zuweiri, wanted for committing several terrorist crimes in Qatif’s Al-Awamiyah town, has been arrested, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted security spokesman of the Ministry of Interior as saying on Saturday.

    The spokesman said the crimes committed by Zuweiri included firing at security patrols and police stations, stopping passersby at gunpoint and robbing them of their vehicles.

    He shot dead an expatriate on April 6, 2013, in Al-Awamiyah, robbed his vehicle and set it on fire.

    On the same day, he attacked another expatriate. He took him to a farm, shot him in the feet and robbed his vehicle.

    He participated in armed robberies of several shops and kidnapping and raping a male juvenile at gunpoint.”

  18. Gunmen attack convoy in Indian-held Kashmir, two army personnel dead (tribune, Feb 20, 2016)

    “SRINAGAR: Gunmen attacked a paramilitary convoy in restive Indian-held Kashmir on Saturday, killing two army men before entering a government-run training institute with 100 people inside, police said, with firing still ongoing.

    The militants, believed to be rebels opposed to Indian rule, assaulted a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy before paramilitaries engaged them in a firefight in the complex on the outskirts of Srinagar.

    “Two CRPF personnel died in the initial assault on the convoy and ten others were injured,” Javaid Gillani, inspector general of police for the region, told AFP, adding that militants then entered the complex.

    “All the civilians present inside the building have been evacuated,” Gillani said.

    Intermittent firing was still taking place inside the building, he said, adding that ten other personnel were injured and had been shifted to a military hospital.

    Witnesses said three militants entered the complex, which houses the government-run Entrepreneurship Development Institute on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar…”

  19. Islamic State claims responsibility for Faisalabad policemen killing (tribune, Feb 20, 2016)

    “FAISALABAD: Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for killing three police personnel in Faisalabad, police said on Saturday.

    On Friday, two terrorists riding a motorcycle opened fire on three policemen of Punjab Highway Police Patrol, including an assistant sub inspector (ASI), killing them near Merawala Bangla.

    Talking to The Express Tribune, a police investigator said they had seized as many as 40 pamphlets of IS, also known as Da’ish, from the site of the incident, claiming the responsibility for the deadly attack. They also threatened to carry out more attacks on the law enforcement agencies…”

  20. Government declares removing Daesh from its stronghold in Nangarhar (khaama, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Ministry of Defense announced on Saturday that all villages of Achin District have been cleared of the terrorists belonging to the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh.

    Achin was considered as a stronghold of the group in eastern Nangarhar province where they had established captivities and were also carrying out executions.

    Defense Ministry says 1,000 families internally displaced because militancy have returned to their homes in Achin.

    Officials are now discussing options to establish security posts in this district for preventing the possible return of Daesh.

    The civilians who have stood up with their arms against insurgency would be deployed in these posts.

    Meanwhile, spokesperson for the governor of Nangarhar province said that Operation Shaheen 18 launched against Daesh in Achin has been extended to the neighboring Nazyan District.

    When the network is dismantled in Nazyant District, new security posts would be established and civilians who have been fighting Daesh along with security forces would be stationed there, Ataullah Khogyani added.”

  21. Taliban bomb kill 6 member of a single family in Paktika province (khaama, Feb 20, 2016)

    “At least six members of a single family were killed in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion in eastern Paktika province of Afghanistan.

    The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the incident took place on Thursday afternoon at 2:00 pm in the vicinity of Wazkhwa district.

    MoI said the civilians were travelling in a motorcycle when it struck an IED planted by Taliban militants, leaving six dead, including four children.

    The Taliban militants group has not commented regarding the incident so far which comes amid rampant insurgency led by the group across the country during the recent months.

    Paktika is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where insurgents both from the Taliban group and the notorious Haqqani terrorist network are actively operating in a number of its districts.

    The anti-government armed militants are frequently using Improvised Explosive Device (IED) as the weapon of their choice to target the security forces but in majority of such attacks the civilians are targeted.

    This comes as the year 2015 was the deadliest for the civilians in Afghanistan, specifically for the children…”

  22. Armed Pakistani citizen arrested in special police raid in capital Kabul (khaama, Feb 20, 2016)

    “A Pakistani citizen armed with a pistol has been arrested during a special military operation conducted by special wing of the Afghan police from capital Kabul.

    The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said the Pakistani national was arrested from the vicinity of the capital, without providing further details.

    MoI said the suspect is in custody of the police and an investigation is underway to find out more details.

    The identity of the arrested individual has also not been disclosed by the security authorities so far who has been arrested amid tense security situation in the country.

    This comes as at least five Pakistani nationals were arrested during an operation conducted by the Afghan intelligence operatives in northeastern Badakhshan province.

    The National Directorate of Security (NDS) said two weeks ago that the Pakistani nationals were linked with the country’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and were covertly operating as doctors.

    This comes as the Afghan officials have long criticized Pakistani, specifically the country’s military intelligence – ISI, for interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.

    The Afghan officials have on numerous occasions slammed ISI for sheltering the anti-government armed militant groups in Pakistan who are staging deadly attacks in the country.”

  23. Killer of female journalist murders his wife in Balkh prison (khaama, Feb 20, 2016)

    “A suspected killer of a female journalist in northern Balkh province of Afghanistan has reportedly murdered his wife inside the prison.

    According to the local government officials, the victim (suspect’s wife) visited the prison to meet her husband who has been serving in connection to the murder of a journalist since last year.

    The provincial security chief Abdul Raziq Qaderi said the incident took place on Thursday and the suspect was looking to commit suicide as well after killing his wife.

    He said the man used a rope to strangle his wife to death and was on the verge of hanging himself as well when police arrived and prevented him.

    The man was held from Mazar-e-Sharif, the capital city of northern Balkh province of Afghanistan last year in connection to the murder of female journalist Palwasha Tokhi.

    Tokhi was murdered by unidentified men who stormed into her house in Mazar-e-Sharif city and repeatedly stabbed her, leaving her critically wounded.

    She was working as media analyst in a news network and was murdered shortly after returning to Afghanistan by completing her higher education studies in Thailand.”

  24. Two Haqqani commanders among six detained in Khost (khaama, Feb 20, 2016)

    “Six terrorists belonging to notorious Haqqani network have been detained in joint security operation in Sabari and Baak districts of Khost province.

    The National Directorate of Security (NDS) – Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said on Saturday that the arrested terrorists include Rahimullah and Sattar, two commanders of the network.

    Other four terrorists are identified as Awal Mir S/O Khan Mir, Seyal Mir S/O Khan Mir, Mohammad Amir S/O Janat Mir and Abdullah S/O Sayed Mir.

    Five Kalashnikovs, a binocular and two walky-talkies were confiscated from the possession of the terrorists.

    Initial investigation conducted from the group led NDS to seize a depot of ammunition which had a huge number of shells for heavy and light weapons.

    According to the statement, the Area of Operation ‘AO’ of the group was Sabari and Baak districts.”

  25. Reasons why Muslims are not ‘the new Jews’
    In 2006, the Sunday Times columnist India Knight wrote a piece arguing that Muslims are “the new Jews”, in which she attacked Jack Straw for asking female Muslim constituents consulting him at his Blackburn surgery to consider uncovering their noses and mouths in order to allow better communication.
    A decade later, so many sad souls have clambered aboard this ship of fools that it’s a wonder it stays afloat, so extreme is the level of dysentery masquerading as discourse which issues from it. Most recently, Holocaust Memorial Day was used by Islamists and their grisly groupies as the opening steps to a danse macabre of what-aboutery, comparing the Kindertransport to the current influx of refugees from the Muslim world and implying that if we do not welcome them all to our shores with open arms, we are as bad as the Nazis.
    How are Muslims not the New Jews? Let me count the ways.

    For a start, there seems to be no sign of any sort of Kindertransport in action – rather, the modus operandi would appear to be “women and children last” judging by the huge groups of able-bodied young men who have found their way to the West. And this of course leads to the sort of trouble we saw in Cologne. Though no one could accuse Jewish men of not being interested in sex, I don’t recall any accounts of marauding bands of Jewish youths mob-handedly molesting gentile women on the streets of countries which gave them refuge.

    Splendidly Chinese girls from poor homes are now the highest achieving group of school children in Britain.
    Muslims are not the new Jews – Jews are the new Jews and sadly Muslims now number greatly among their chief tormentors.

    But there is a greater issue at stake here, far beyond the different standards of behaviour displayed by Jewish refugees in the past and Muslim refugees now. Wherever the Jews have gone, they have enriched and opened up the host culture far beyond the extent even to which they have enriched and opened up themselves.

    Their gifts to us – Christianity, Marxism, Hollywood – are almost solely responsible for the freedom and dynamism of the Western world. Without these gifts, we would still be inarticulate semi-beasts who belonged to others and dreamed no dreams. (In parts of the Muslim world, this is still the lot of women.)

    In my opinion, mass Muslim immigration – and specifically, pandering on the part of vote-hungry politicians – is not only not likely to help us progress further but, in the areas I have outlined, is likely to actually take us backwards.

    • She needs to take Marxism out of the reasons we are free, that ideology is second only to Islam in the number of innocents it has killed.

  26. ‘Islam Can’t Be Modernised’ Says World’s ‘Greatest Arabic Poet’
    The writer regarded as the greatest Arabic language poet alive today has said Islam cannot be modernised.

    Adunis Asbar, known by his pen name Adonis, is a Syrian-born writer often considered one of the greatest living poets of the Arabic language. He has come under criticism for comments he made recently about Islam before receiving the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize, named after the famous pacifist and author of the classic World War One novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’.

    In an interview with Die Welt he talked about one of the most pressing issues in Germany since the migrant crisis began, the idea of being able to integrate migrants from predominately Muslim countries into European societies.

    Being raised a Muslim himself and having one of the greatest understandings of the language of the Quran, Adonis said: “You can not reform a religion. If they are reformed, [the original meaning] is separated from it. Therefore, modern Muslims and a modern Islam is already impossible. If there is no separation between religion and state, there will be no democracy especially without equality for women. Then we will keep a theocratic system. So it will end.”

    Laying down a heavy critique of the Islamic world, he added: “Arabs have no more creative force. Islam does not contribute to intellectual life, it suggests no discussion. It is no longer thought. It produces no thinking, no art, no science, no vision that could change the world. This repetition is the sign of its end. The Arabs will continue to exist, but they will not make the world better.”

  27. How War Is Redrawing Syria’s Demographic Map Forever
    Youssef Courbage, research director of the French Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) in Paris, notes that in Syria, the Alawites now have a fertility rate of slightly more than two children per woman, which is close to European averages, while the Sunnis still have five children per woman, though the Sunni urban upper classes had a fertility rate similar to the Alawite elites.

    So far, the Syrian civil war has killed some 90,000 regime soldiers and 80,000 rebels.

    The Alawite camp, which ruled over 21.5 million Syrians five years ago, now controls just 10 million, or 63% of the 16 million people still in the country. Of those Syrians still in the country, some 6.5 million have been uprooted, redrawing the communal map and contributing to the creation of more ethnically or religiously homogenous areas.

    Religious minorities (Alawite, Christians and Druse) that represented just 22% of Syria’s total population are now 41% of the population in the territory controlled by the regime in Damascus.

    The Sunnis form the great majority of refugees fleeing the country. One-fourth of Syria’s population – 5.3 million people – fled between 2011 and 2015. With this, the proportion of Alawites increased from 10% to 13% and the Arab Sunnis decreased from 64% to 61%. The proportion of the Christian community fell from 5% to 3%.

    The exile of several million Syrians has also had a profound effect on Jordan and Lebanon. In Jordan, the influx of 600,000 Syrians after the arrival of 1 million Iraqis has distinctly reduced the proportion of Palestinians in the population.

    In Lebanon, the arrival of 1.5 million Syrians has doubled the Sunni community there, far outnumbering the local Shia community.

  28. Europe migrant crisis: Razor wire fence failing in Hungary (BBC, Feb 21, 2016)

    “Police in Hungary say increasing numbers of migrants are breaching a razor wire fence built to stop them crossing the border from Serbia.

    In January, 550 people were caught getting through – up from 270 in December. More than 1,200 were caught in the first 20 days of February.

    Hungary caused controversy with the 4m (13ft) barrier, completed in September.

    However, several other countries have since introduced tough border controls to stop the influx of migrants.

    The number of people crossing from Serbia dropped after Hungary built the fence along the 175km (110-mile) border with its neighbour last year.

    But police say migrants are now increasingly getting through, mostly by cutting through or climbing over the barrier.

    Most are from Pakistan, Iran and Morocco, who are no longer admitted through other routes…”

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