Reader’s links on April 28 – 2016

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

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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

110 Replies to “Reader’s links on April 28 – 2016”

  1. Gun Carrying, Anti-Migration Populist Candidate Wins Presidential Election in Austria

    An opponent of increased Muslim immigration who is famed for carrying a gun everywhere he goes has triumphed in the first round of Austria’s presidential election.

    Norbert Hofer is the nominee of the Freedom Party, a populist right-wing political party that opposes Muslim immigration and is skeptical of the European Union. Hofer has attracted attention on the campaign trail by carrying a Glock handgun with him and posting a photo of himself at a shooting range. Hofer says he represents a trend of Austrians buying guns to protect themselves from the crime and uncertainty created in the wake of an unprecedented wave of foreign migrants.

    Hofer finished with 36.7 percent of Sunday’s presidential vote, far ahead of second-place finisher Alexander Van der Bellen, an independent tied to the Green Party who received 19.7 percent. Since no candidate received a majority in the vote, Hofer and Van der Bellen will have to face off in a May runoff.

    The result is a big shakeup in Austrian politics, which have been dominated since World War 2 by the conservative Austrian People’s Party and the socialist Social Democratic Party of Austria. Both parties were embarrassed Sunday, with their candidates finishing outside the top 3 and failing to get even 25 percent support combined.

    • OT- Richard,

      Though I follow these goings-on quite closely in my ~/Isr > Regions/ -Golan, -Lebanon/ -Diaspora, etc. files, I try to compartmentalize and avoid it here.

      Because I want to keep liking being here, not dreading it. This is still the only place I post.

      But this article is one you’ll understand so much better than most:
      Hezbollah Develops New Skills in Syria, Posing Challenges for Israel

      • Thank you, that was interesting in many ways.

        The combat experience in large scale ground war will help them all around the world (there are suppose to be a fairly large number of them in the US) but especially in the next war with Israel. The experience will also let them create larger units using the newly blooded troops as the cadre. It will be almost impossible to over estimate the increase in operational competence that combat gives to a unit. This is one thing the anti-war groups ignore when they protest our involvement, even the limited combat our trainers are involved in allows them to translate the fixed scenarios in the training operations into useful knowledge that can save lives in combat.

  2. On the Islamic terrorist attack on a Sikh Wedding in Germany:

    Die Welt, 28.04.2016
    Assassin attended prevention project for Salafists

    One of the young Islamists who carried out the attack on the Essen Sikh temple, attended the Salafist prevention project “Wegweiser” (“Guide”). He wanted to “break the neck” of a Jewish classmate.

    During the investigations of the bombing of the Sikh temple in Essen, evidence of an Islamist motive solidifies. According to investigators, the two suspects, two ethnic Turkish 16-year-olds, Mohammed B. from Essen, and Yussuf T. from Gelsenkirchen, are Salafists and sympathizers of the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS).

    In interrogations, both admitted the attack on April 16 on the temple during a Sikh-wedding, which injured 3 people. But they said their motif was “Enjoying making firecrackers”. Currently, there are no hints that the attackers worked on behalf of the IS, or that they were in networks, said a head of unit of North Rhine-Westphalia at the Interior Committee of Parliament.

    However, explosive details about the perpetrators surfaced: T. Yussuf from Gelsenkirchen was, after most recent discoveries, attending the prevention project “Wegweiser” (“Guide”). With this, the state of NRW intends to prevent young people from sliding into Islamism.

    The school management had first reported in October 2014 on suspicious behavior of T. He enthused about the IS. Later, he accordingly praised the Paris terrorist attacks and threatened a Jewish classmate to “break [her] neck”.

    He was also suspected of having planned to leave for jihad to Syria. On April 12 this year, four days before the attack on the Sikh temple, he and his parents attended the last “Guide” counselling.

    Despite this considerable kickback, NRW Interior Minister Ralf Jäger, and the head of the NRW Intelligence Service, Freier (both SPD), defended the voluntary prevention project [“Guide”], as there is a considerable demand for it. Currently, 160 adolescents with Salafist attitudes are being supported; more than 4600 requests have been received. The project is to be expanded nationwide.

    The accomplice Mohammed B. from Essen was active on the internet under the alias “kuffarkiller” (infidel killer), and has already been noticed criminally. He had committed a battey in the beginning of 2016. Besides, on April 15 this year – one day before the attack on the Sikh temple – he was in police custody for a burglary.

    The bomb detonated by the two Islamists was made of a converted fire extinguisher, filled with magnesium, sulfur and aluminum. It seems that during the Sikh marriage, the two perpetrators had tried in vain to enter the prayer room to carry out the attack there.
    If the bomb had detonated there, “with very high probability a large number of people would have been seriously injured or killed ,” said a head of unit of the Ministry. About 100 people attended the wedding in the Sikh temple. The explosion at the entrance injured a priest and two people gravely. There was considerable property damage.

    Both perpetrators were in contact with another 16-year Salafi from the Wesel district. He does not appear to be an accomplice in the bombing. The teenager had already made attempts to leave for jihad, which is why his papers were taken away from him.

  3. Germany: “We Need an Islam Law”
    Proposal seeks to ban foreign funding of mosques in Germany

    A senior German politician has called for an “Islam law” that would limit the influence of foreign imams and prohibit the foreign financing of mosques in Germany.

    The proposal — modelled on the Islam Law promulgated in Austria in February 2015 — is aimed at staving off extremism and promoting Muslim integration by developing a moderate “European Islam.”

    The move comes amid revelations that the Turkish government is paying the salaries of nearly 1,000 conservative imams in Germany who are leading mosques across the country. In addition, Saudi Arabia recently pledged to finance the construction of 200 mosques in Germany to serve migrants there.

    In an interview with the newspaper Die Welt, Andreas Scheuer, the General Secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said that Berlin should restrict Turkish financing of mosques in Germany and begin training and certifying its own imams. Otherwise, he argued, Muslim integration will be difficult or impossible to achieve. He said:

    “We need to become more critical in our dealings with political Islam, because it hinders Muslim integration in our country. We need an Islam Law. The financing of mosques or Islamic kindergartens from abroad, e.g. from Turkey or Saudi Arabia, should be banned. All imams need to be trained in Germany and share our core values.

    “It cannot be that we are importing different, partly extreme values ??from other countries. German must be the language of the mosques. Enlightened Europe must cultivate its own Islam.

    “We are still at the beginning of our efforts. We must start now. We cannot on the one hand enact an Integration Law and on the other side close our eyes to what is being preached in mosques and by whom.”

    • If I may add my own thoughts to this:
      I have been following this calling for an “Islam Law” for weeks now.
      Interestingly, the initial proposers were (and are) “moderate” Muslim public figures. “Moderate” Muslims are darlings of the liberal press (Die Zeit, etc.). They are supporters of Merkel and her “refugee” politics, and decry critics as Nazis – just like everyone else in the Red/Green spectre. But they are not very popular among Muslims at all. Immigrants usually do not want them as Imams (they prefer conservative Imams from Egypt, Turkey, etc.). The “moderates” receive a lot of support from liberal Germans, but profess that they are showered with insults and death threats from their fellow Muslims.
      Then, a few weeks ago, this idea of an “Islam Law” was born by “moderates”.
      What the “moderates” seem to be offering is, dear Germans, we can protect you from the fundamentalists, if you give us more influence and power. The proposed “Islam Law” would include creating more (tax payer funded) “Islamic studies” at universities, where the “moderates” could conveniently be assigned as professors, their students would make the future Islam teachers in public schools, and future Imams in mosques, if the ones from Turkey, Egypt, etc., need to leave. It would all sum up to more Islam, in other words, just this time even more powerful because sanctioned by laws.
      Taken all that into consideration, I am not quite sure where the benefit lies. After all, we have sufficient laws against funding of terrorism, against inciting any kind of hatred, etc. One might ask, why aren’t simply the existing laws applied?

  4. Turkey’s Fake War on Jihadis

    In theory, Turkey is part of the international coalition that fights the Islamic State (IS). Since it joined the fight last year, it has arrested scores of IS militants, made some efforts to seal its porous border with Syria and tagged IS as a terrorist organization. Turkish police have raided homes of suspected IS operatives. More recently, Turkey’s Interior Ministry updated its list of “wanted terrorists” to include 23 IS militants, and offered rewards of more than 42 million Turkish liras (more than $14 million) for any information leading to the suspects’ capture. But this is only part of the story.

    On March 24, a Turkish court released seven members of IS, including the commander of the jihadists’ operations on Turkish soil. A total of 96 suspects are on trial, including the seven men who were detained but released. All are free now, although the indictment against them claims that they

    “engaged in the activities of the terrorist organization called DAESH [Arabic acronym of IS]. The suspects had sent persons to the conflict zones; they applied pressure, force, violence and threats by using the name of the terrorist organization, and they had provided members and logistic support for the group.”

    The release of terror suspects came in sharp contrast with another court decision that ruled for a trial, but while under detention, for four academics who had signed a petition calling for peace in Turkey’s Kurdish dispute. Unlike the IS militants, the academics remain behind bars.

    The Turkish government, which controls the judiciary almost in its entirety, relies on Islamist grassroots supporters of various flavors — from Islamists and ‘lite jihadists’ to radicals.

    Last year the Turkish pollster MetroPOLL found that one in every five Turks thought that the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris was the natural response to people who insulted Prophet Mohammed [only 16.4% of Turks thought of the incident as an attack on freedom of expression]. Among the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) voters, the rate of approval of the attack was 26.4%; and only 6.2% viewed it as an attack on free speech. Only 17.8% of AKP voters thought the attack was the work of radical Islamists. Three-quarters of AKP voters thought Muslims were aggrieved by the attack; while as few as 15.4% thought the victims were the cartoonists who were murdered. Two-thirds of AKP voters thought attacks on Islam by Christian Crusaders were continuing.

  5. TURKEY – Two Turkish journalists sentenced to two years in jail for Charlie Hebdo cover

    Two journalists were sentenced to two years in prison on April 28 for republishing in their columns a cover of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featuring an image of the Prophet Muhammad.

    Istanbul’s Second Criminal Court of First Instance sentenced daily Cumhuriyet journalists Ceyda Karan and Hikmet Çetinkaya to two years on charges of “openly encouraging hate and enmity among people via the press” for reprinting the caricature of the Islamic prophet after the Jan. 7, 2015, attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris that killed 12 people.

    However, the court ruled for the acquittal of the journalists on charges of “insulting people’s religious values” on the grounds that the criminal factors had not been constituted.

    Some 1,280 people had filed a criminal complaint against Karan and Çetinkaya for republishing in their columns the cover of Charlie Hebdo, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his daughters Esra Albayrak and Sümeyye Erdogan, his son Bilal Erdogan, his son-in-law Energy Minister Berat Albayrak and his adviser Mustafa Varank.

    The indictment prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office charged both Karan and Çetinkaya with “openly insulting religious values accepted by a section of the society” and “openly encouraging hate and enmity among people” by republishing the cartoon in their columns.

    Cumhuriyet faced security threats after it became one of five international publications that printed excerpts from the edition of Charlie Hebdo published following the attacks, in a show of solidarity with the killed cartoonists.

  6. Belgium: EU-Turkey deal is ‘only way to solve’ refugee crisis – Timmermans

    Members of the European Parliament discussed the legal aspects, democratic control and implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement during a plenary session in Brussels, Thursday.

    First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said that “we will condemn Greece to become a huge, huge refugee camp, with hundreds of thousands of refugees stuck” if measures are not taken soon, and that, in his view, the agreement with Turkey is the only way forward to solve the problem of the so-called refugee crisis.

  7. Germany: Steinmeier questions Trump’s ‘America First’ policy

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati for discussions at the German Foreign Office, in Berlin, Thursday.

    SOT, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (German): “I’ve read this morning reports about the last speech of the Republican candidate Trump. I have to say that from what I’ve read I can’t recognise yet a political line. ‘America First’ is a slogan that has appeared before in these speeches, and it is not entirely unknown in the rhetoric of the electoral campaigns in the US. It is decisive to see what this means for the political commitment of the US outside its own borders.”

    SOT, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister (German): “I can only hope that the electoral campaign the US doesn’t lose sight of reality. The world’s security structure has changed, it is not bipolar anymore. But it also cannot be shaped unilaterally. But, rather, the Iran conflict, Syria, Libya and others, make it clear that we will need a wide range of interested and engaged nation states, among them, is also the US and Russia, and there is, to some extent here, a cooperation between the two.”

    • The left has always opposed Western Nations putting our national interest first, we are now seeing the result of this with the Islamic invasion of Europe and the Hispanic invasion of the US. In both cases the left is saying that the only thing that we can do is let the invaders in and then support them.

    • Syria conflict: Aleppo in ‘catastrophic’ state says UN (BBC, Apr 28, 2016)

      “The UN says the situation in Syria’s city of Aleppo is catastrophic, after dozens of people were killed in attacks on targets including a hospital

      Air strikes on and around the Medecins sans Frontieres-backed al-Quds hospital killed at least 27 people, while more than 30 died in other attacks.

      UN envoy Jan Egeland said the next days would be vital for the humanitarian aid lifeline for much of Syria.

      The violence has left a partial truce hanging by a thread….”

  8. ITALY -Prosecutors says IS ordered Italian resident to attack Rome

    MILAN (AP) — Italian police have arrested four suspects in a foreign fighter investigation, including a Moroccan-born man living in Italy who had received Islamic State orders to carry out attacks on Rome during Holy Year, prosecutors said Thursday.

    Milan prosecutor Maurizio Romanelli told reporters that investigators intercepted communications from within IS territory ordering attacks in Italy, “with particular attention to the city of Rome” and focusing on the Holy Year pilgrimage now underway.

    He said the messages promoting lone-wolf attacks were “very strong, very serious and very efficient,” indicating that Islamic State’s current policy is to push for attacks in locations where foreign fighters are residing “as the best way of creating terror within Western countries.”

    Interior Minister Angelino Alfano told Sky TG24 “there was a serious intention to hit Italy,” and while they weren’t yet involved in the material preparations for an attack, “there was a decision, an accentuated willingness, to proceed.”

    Romanelli said authorities acted quickly to close the investigation, arresting four people in the northern Lombardy region and issuing arrest warrants for two others believed to be in IS territory.

    “This is a new profile, because it was not a generic indication, but an indication given to a specific person who was invited to act within the territory of the Italian state,” Romanelli said.

    He said the death in battle late last year of a foreign fighter with ties to the group within IS territory had contributed to the radicalization process. The fighter had been expelled from both Italy in 2015 and later from Switzerland before traveling to IS territory, where he was killed.

    Italian Premier Matteo Renzi praised the anti-extremists operation as “very important.”

    Authorities arrested the Moroccan-born man, identified as Abderrahim Moutahrrick, and his wife, Salma Bencharki, who allegedly were planning on traveling from their home in Lecco, north of Milan, to IS territory with their children aged 2 and 4. Romanelli said Moutahrrick had taken Italian citizenship and was an accomplished kick boxer.

    Another Moroccan man who was planning to travel with them, identified as Abderrahmaneth, 23, was arrested in the northern city of Varese, prosecutors said. It was the death of his elder brother that prosecutors identified as the radicalizing event.

    Prosecutors also issued arrest warrants for an Italian-Moroccan couple who left to join IS last year with three small children. Romanelli said that man, identified as Mohamed Koraichi, had become an IS fighter and had communicated the orders to carry out attacks in Italy while making arrangements for the other family to join IS.

    The fourth arrest was of Koraichi’s sister, prosecutors said.

  9. FBI arrests brother of San Bernardino terrorist and 2 others on marriage fraud charges

    Federal agents arrested three people, including the older brother of San Bernardino gunman Syed Rizwan Farook, on charges of marriage fraud, conspiracy and lying to federal investigators on Thursday morning, according to a criminal complaint.

    Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of Syed Rizwan Farook; his wife, Tatiana Farook; and her sister Mariya Chernykh were all arrested Thursday morning and charged in a five-count indictment filed in federal court that centers around a fraudulent marriage between Chernykh and Enrique Marquez, who has been charged with aiding in the deadly Dec. 2 attack at the Inland Regional Center.

    Two people were arrested at Raheel Farook’s home after the FBI conducted a search warrant Thursday morning, according to Sgt. Paul Mercado, a spokesman for the Corona Police Department. A second search warrant was served at Chernykh’s home in Ontario, federal prosecutors said.

    In the course of the investigation into the terrorist attack, federal investigators determined that Marquez received money to marry Chernykh, who took part in the wedding only in order to gain legal status in the U.S. FBI agents interrogated Chernykh as part of the probe into the terror attack, and prosecutors say she lied during those interviews, saying she lived with Marquez, when she actually resided in Ontario.

    All three are expected to appear in federal court later Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

    FBI agents have executed three search warrants at Raheel Farook’s home since Dec. 2, when Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, killed 14 people and wounded several more in a mass shooting at a conference room at the Inland Regional Center.

    The husband and wife died hours later in a gun battle with police. Federal agents searched the older brother’s home, where several Farook family members live, in the days after the shooting.

    They conducted a second search in February, after the investigation pivoted to a search for key evidence that might help the FBI track Farook and Malik’s movements after the Dec. 2 shooting. The hard drive of Farook’s laptop has eluded FBI agents and has become something of a holy grail in the investigation as the FBI tries to determine whether Farook and Malik had any help in planning or carrying out the attack.

    Raheel Farook’s marriage to a Russian national also came under suspicion in the weeks after the December attack. The elder Farook and Enrique Marquez — a friend of Syed Rizwan Farook who has been charged with buying weapons used in the assault — were married to a pair of sisters from Western Russia: Tatiana and Mariya Chernykh.

    Tatiana was married to Raheel Farook, while Mariya was wed to Marquez in 2014. Late last year, Marquez was charged with marriage fraud after federal prosecutors accused him of receiving money to marry Mariya Chernykh.

    Records have shown Mariya Chernykh resided in Ontario and did not live with Marquez.

    In the days after the shooting, friends and neighbors of the brothers said they were polar opposites. While his younger brother has been named as the architect of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 2001, the elder Farook was a Navy veteran who received medals for service in the “Global War on Terrorism.”

    The older brother was the extrovert of the two, friends say, loud and sociable when compared with Rizwan Farook.

    While there has been no indication the elder Farook brother had any knowledge of his brother’s plans, police were called to his Corona home days after the attack at the Inland Regional Center because of a domestic disturbance. At the time, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office said the agency was reviewing the case.

    Calls to the district attorney’s office spokesman seeking additional comment Thursday were not immediately returned.

  10. ‘Outstanding’ rural nursery is downgraded by Ofsted for not teaching toddlers about ethnic diversity and not having enough pictures of black and Asian people on walls (dailymail, Apr 28, 2016)

    “Angry parents have slammed Ofsted for downgrading an ‘outstanding’ rural nursery to just ‘good’ because it does not teach toddlers about ethnic diversity.

    The education watchdog even penalised Town and Country Kiddies Nursery in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, for not having enough pictures of black and Asian people on the walls.

    In their report inspectors criticised the nursery – which caters for children aged from just eight weeks to 11 years as it also offers a kids’ club – for failing to teach youngsters about other cultures…”

  11. UK Police Charge 3 With Terrorism Offenses in Birmingham (abcnews, Apr 28, 2016)

    “British police on Thursday charged two men and a woman from Birmingham with terrorism-related offenses in a probe that began after the deadly extremist attacks on Paris and Brussels.

    West Midlands Police said the three have been charged with a variety of offenses under Britain’s terrorism laws.

    Police said Soumaya Boufassil, 29, and Mohammed Ali Ahmed, 26, were charged with intending to commit “acts of terrorism” or helping someone else to do so by raising money. Police said this happened between January 1, 2015 and April 8, 2016.

    Ahmed and Zakaria Boufassil, 26, were charged with entering into a deal in which money was made available to another person when they had reason to suspect it would be used for terrorism. Police said this happened on or before July 7, 2015.

    The three were among five people arrested April 14-15 in Birmingham and at London’s Gatwick Airport, and are to appear Friday in Westminster Magistrates Court in London….”

  12. Six refugee families refused admission to UK win legal action against Home Office (express, Apr 28, 2016)

    “SIX refugee families who were refused admission to the UK after landing in Cyprus 17 years ago have won their legal action against the Home Office.

    Home Secretary Theresa May has been ordered to reassess their case in light of today’s High Court judgement.

    If she is forced to let them in it could see the Mediterranean island become a new backdoor to Britain for African, Asian and Arab migrants looking for a better life in Europe…”

  13. JAILED: Would-be ISIS jihadi who posted ‘Happy 9/11’ given five years for terrorist tweets

    “A WOULD-BE jihadi was jailed for five years yesterday after wishing his social media followers a “Happy 911″ in a 8,000-tweet hate campaign.

    Security guard Mohammed Ameen was prevented from travelling to Syria to join the Islamic State after police intercepted him, the Old Bailey heard.

    Instead, he supported the ultra-barbaric terror group by bombarding the web with sick messages from his home in London. …”

  14. Two men and woman charged with terror offences over Paris and Brussels attacks (express, Apr 28, 2016)

    “TWO men and a woman have tonight been charged with terror offences as part of a British probe into the Paris and Brussels attacks.

    The men, both 26, and the woman, aged 29, were arrested after co-ordinated raids in Birmingham and at Gatwick Airport on the night of April 14, which Whitehall officials described at the time as “significant”.

    A fourth man arrested with them ? 40-year-old Fazal Sajjad Younis Khan Small Heath, Birmingham – was last week charged with possession of CS gas.

    He has been bailed to a separate address with strict conditions to appear before Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday, May 13.

    A 59-year-old man who was also held during the raids has been bailed without charge.

    West Midlands Police said they worked with MI5 and Belgian and French authorities in an operation “to address any associated threat to the UK following the attacks in Europe”.

    All those arrested are being held in the West Midlands on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism…”

  15. Police in Switzerland arrest man suspected of being ringleader of the Cologne sex attacks (express, Apr 28, 2016)

    “POLICE in Switzerland have arrested a man they suspect of being one the main ringleaders of the frenzied sex attacks against hundreds of women in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

    The 19-year-old was arrested after he fled from a store where he and a friend were suspected to be in the process of stealing cigarettes and groceries.

    The pair ran from the premises in Konstanz, Germany, across the nearby border to Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, where they were arrested after a store detective followed them and alerted local police officers.

    The pilfered goods were found in the suspected Cologne attacker’s rucksack after the arrest on Wednesday.

    A check on his identity revealed he was one of the suspected “main suspects” in the frenzied sexual assaults and robberies carried out on hundreds of women on December 31 in and around the main station of Cologne.

    Police said that immigrant men, most of them asylum seekers, were responsible for the attacks which caused an earthquake in German attitudes to migrants reflected in a huge surge for anti-immigrant political parties….”

  16. Iran Asked Russia To Intervene In Syria 

    M E M R I
    Iranian Daily ‘Kayhan’:
    Iran Asked Russia To Intervene In Syria; Moscow Must Not Reach Any Agreement On Syria With Washington At Assad’s And Iran’s Expense; Tehran Is Providing Assad With Strategic Weapons

    In its April 11, 2016 editorial, the Iranian daily Kayhan, the mouthpiece of Iran’s ideological camp which is led by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, discussed Russia’s interests in Syria and the Middle East, and Iran-Russia relations. The editorial warned Moscow not to reach a secret agreement with Washington at the expense of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and Iran in exchange for Washington’s lifting its pressure on Russia over Ukraine and Crimea.

    It also underlined that such an agreement would in any case be doomed to failure, because it would not have Tehran’s knowledge or agreement, and stated that Tehran is opposed to Russia’s federal plan for Syria.

    Noting that while it is important to Russia, Syria is not strategic to it as it is to Iran and Hizbullah. Russia’s might in the region stems solely from its protection of the Iran-Hizbullah-Syria resistance axis, it said, adding that if Moscow sells out Assad and Syria, it will become a minor player in the region, like France and the U.K.

    The editorial revealed that the Russian military had entered Syria in October 2015 at Tehran’s request, and acknowledged that major parts of northern and southern Syria are directly controlled by Hizbullah and Iran. It added that Tehran has for some time been providing Assad with strategic weapons, and that Russia had withdrawn from Syria because its presence there was no longer needed.

    Excerpts from the editorial:

  17. Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Committee to examine Islamophobia in West

    With rising Islamophobia throughout the West, especially in the European Union, a subcommittee, Reviewing Hostility to Islam in Western Countries, established under Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, held a meeting on Wednesday and decided to examine Islamophobia starting in Germany where a large number of Turkish-origin people live. During the meeting, the subcommittee’s chairman and Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) Sakarya Deputy Ali ?hsan Yavuz said that the issue of hostility toward Islam is a serious matter and that they aim to compile a comprehensive report on it. He said that xenophobia and Islamophobia exist throughout Western countries and the subcommittee had finalized its roadmap at the meeting.

    The committee will compile a comprehensive report and seek cooperation from the Foreign Ministry, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (D?B) and other relevant organizations and institutions including civil society groups……..

  18. Millions of pounds could be in hands of ISIS in Syria after thousands of victims were targeted by Bank of Terror fraud gang (dailymail, Apr 29, 2016)

    “Millions of pounds may have been funnelled to ISIS after money defrauded from potentially thousands of victims could not be traced by authorities.

    Eleven men were part of the ‘bank of terror’ fraud in which conmen phoned elderly victims and tricked them into handing over their life savings by pretending to be police officers.

    At the Old Bailey nine men were jailed for their part in the conspiracy and two of the gang have already been sent to prison.

    Some of the pensioners were in their nineties when they had their savings stolen, and the average age of those targeted was 83.

    They posed as police officers to dupe elderly victims into handing over their money, which was then laundered and frittered away on foreign holidays and designer clothes.

    The investigation by officers from the National Terrorism Financial Investigation Unit uncovered 16 phone lines used to make 6,000 calls to around 4,000 different phone numbers.

    One victim, a 94-year-old man from north-west London, lost £130,000, while another victim lost £135,000…”

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