Reader’s links for September 28, 2017

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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

92 Replies to “Reader’s links for September 28, 2017”

  1. IS reclusive leader rallies followers in purported new audio (abcnews, Sep 28, 2017)

    “The leader of the Islamic State group urged followers to burn their enemies everywhere and target “media centers of the infidels,” according to an audio recording released Thursday that the extremists said was by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    The reclusive leader of IS, who has only appeared in public once, also vowed to continue fighting and lavished praise on his jihadis for their valor in the battlefield — despite the militants’ loss of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in July.

    The recording was released by the IS-run al-Furqan outlet, which has in the past released messages from al-Baghdadi and other top figures of the extremist group. The voice in the over 46-minute-long audio sounded much like previous recordings of al-Baghdadi. His last previous purported message was released in November, also in an audio recording.

    “You soldiers of the caliphate, heroes of Islam and carriers of banners: light a fire against your enemies,” said al-Baghdadi, a shadowy cleric who has been surrounded by controversy since the Sunni terror group emerged from al-Qaida in Iraq, its forerunner.

    Russian officials said in June there was a “high probability” that al-Baghdadi had died in a Russian airstrike on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital. U.S. officials later said they believed he was still alive.

    Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts are unknown but he is believed to be in IS’ dwindling territory in eastern Syria. The IS-held cities of Raqqa and Deir el-Zour are under siege and likely too dangerous for him to hide in. Some IS leadership is believed to have gone to the nearby town of Mayadeen, and the group still holds a stretch of the Euphrates River from Deir el-Zour to the Iraqi border, as well as remote desert areas along the border.

    “You soldiers of Islam, supporters of the caliphate everywhere, step up your attacks and include the media centers of the infidels and the headquarters of their ideological war among your targets,” he said in the recording, apparently alluding to Western news outlets and research centers.

    “Don’t you dare allow the Crusaders and the apostates to enjoy a good and comfortable life at home while your brothers are enduring killings, shelling and destruction,” added al-Baghdadi, who reminded his followers of the rewards of martyrdom, including “72 wives” from among the maidens of paradise.

    He also lauded his fighters for what he called their valiant fight against U.S.-backed Iraqi forces that wrested control of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from IS after nearly nine months of fighting.

    “In Mosul, they defiantly stood firm on a land ruled by God’s laws against the infidels and nations of the cross … only leaving it over their skulls and dead bodies after nearly a year of fighting,” he said. “The sons of Islam will willingly continue to sacrifice their blood and bodies for the sake of their creator,” he defiantly declared.

    In the recording, he also consoled IS fighters over the number of major military setbacks suffered in recent months in both Iraq and Syria, but also made a passionate plea for them to rise up and never surrender.

    “You Sunnis of Iraq, Syria, Yemen and everywhere … get out of your beds and shake off oppression … return to your faith and restore your glory and eminence,” he said. In Yemen, Iranian-backed Shiite rebels are fighting forces loyal to the internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

    Addressing Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, he warned them against the “cunning” of the minority Alawites, an offshoot Shiite sect from which President Bashar Assad hails, as well as the designs of Turkey and Assad’s allies Russia and Iran.

    “What have you gained from the conferences of humiliation and the crumbs of supporters except appeasing the Alawites and surrendering your homes?” said al-Baghdadi, adding that Syria’s government forces, their allies and other forces fighting IS, would “not last an hour” without the air cover provided by the Russia or the U.S.-led coalition.

    Al-Baghdadi also spoke of what he called the United States’ waning global power, saying Russia was taking advantage of that to cast itself as the super power replacing America. Russia, he added, was in full control of the “Syrian file.”

    Citing examples of America’s perceived weakness, he referred to Russia’s annexation of Crimea and “North Korea’s nuclear threat against America and Japan.” Al-Baghdad’s reference to North Korea’s tussle with Washington and Tokyo over Pyongyang’s nuclear and long-range missile programs suggests that his message was recently recorded, perhaps in the past month or two.

    At the peak of its power in 2014 — when the Iraqi army crumbled amid the militants’ blitz — IS controlled about a third of both Syria and Iraq but has steadily lost ground in the face of a U.S.-led coalition that has backed Iraqi forces as well as Kurdish-led Syrian fighters battling the extremists across the border in Syria.

    Forces loyal to Syria’s Assad, backed by Russia and Iran, have also driven IS out of significant territory.

    The top priority for Muslims, al-Baghdadi says in the recording, is to “satisfy God.”

    “Victory against the enemies and the enemy of God comes next,” he said.

    The loss of Mosul was a deep symbolic blow to IS — it was after the group overran the city in June 2014 that the militants declared a caliphate stretching from northern Syria deep into the north and west of Iraq. And it was from Mosul’s famed al-Nuri Mosque that al-Baghdadi made his only public appearance at a Friday sermon, declaring the caliphate and calling on Muslims the world over to follow him.

    At the time, he vowed that IS would conquer “Rome,” and the entire world.

    Mosul was also the bureaucratic and financial hub of IS. Raiding Mosul’s central bank, and taxing and extorting the city’s wealthy inhabitants, made IS the world’s richest terrorist organization. Mosul’s vast industrial zones were converted into factories for weapons and explosives.

    Taking back Mosul from IS came at enormous cost and destruction, especially in the western part of the city. IS fighters had turned the city into a fortress, holding tens of thousands of civilians as human shields.”

  2. Dutch, allies drop call for inquiry into Yemen rights abuses (abcnews, Sep 28, 2017)

    “The Netherlands and several Western allies have dropped their call for an international Commission of Inquiry to monitor human rights violations in war-torn Yemen.

    A revision to a Dutch- and Canadian-led resolution Thursday at the Human Rights Council signaled the diplomatic heft of Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations who have helped fight rebels in Yemen and oppose any such commission.

    The United States, France and Britain, key arms suppliers to the Saudis, showed little appetite.

    The revised draft says an “international eminent group of experts” should monitor the human rights situation in Yemen instead. A vote is expected Friday.

    The retreat marks the Netherlands’ latest failed attempt at the U.N.-backed council to improve largely one-sided monitoring of a war that has killed over 10,000 civilians, many during coalition air strikes.”

  3. Armed military to replace cops on Danish streets and border (thelocal, Sep 28, 2017)

    “Starting Friday, armed soldiers from the Danish Armed Forces (Forsvaret) will replace police officers at both Denmark’s southern border to Germany and at potential terror targets in Copenhagen.

    According to the Danish National Police (Rigspolitiet) and Copenhagen Police, 160 soldiers will patrol the border and take over guard duties at Jewish institutions including the Great Synagogue in central Copenhagen. ..”

  4. Al Qarawiyyin Professors to Teach at Italian University’s New Islamic Studies Program (moroccoworldnews, Sep 28, 2017)

    “Professors from Fes’ Al Qarawiyyin University will be giving courses in Sharia and Islamic tradition to students of Islamic Studies in Italian University of Siena.

    The Italian University of Siena opened a new major for the training of imams, the first of its kind in Europe. The courses will be operational starting in the 2017-2018 academic year.

    The two universities signed a partnership agreement on Tuesday, September 26 for the launch of a training branch for imams in the Faculty of Humanities and Civilizational Communication of the Italian University.

    “This is to train imams able to defend the authentic image of Islam,” the president of Al Qarawiyyin, Amal Jalal, told Maghreb Press Agency (MAP) after the signing ceremony.

    Teachers from Al Qarawiyyin will provide classes in the areas of Sharia and Islamic tradition, fiqh al-mouâmalat (Islamic jurisprudence), civilizational communication, and the history of religions.

    They will teach Shariain the Arabic language for Islamic Studies majors, while other students will be able to take courses in French or English, he said…”

  5. Tax rises will boost Turkey’s defense: Finance Minister A?bal (hurriyetdailynews, Sep 28, 2017)

    “Many new tax measures introduced by the Turkish government aim to boost defense spending amid increased geopolitical risks, Finance Minister Naci A?bal said on Sept. 28.

    “Many tax rises will be transferred directly to the defense industry fund, as the fund is not a part of the central government budget,” A?bal said in a speech at the Istanbul Financial Summit, state-run Anadolu Agency reported…”

  6. Turkey halts flights to northern Iraq, issues travel warning (hurriyetdailynews, Sep 28, 2017)

    “Turkey has issued a new travel warning to Turkish nationals after Turkey’s consulate in Arbil announced that Turkish airline companies will halt flying to northern Iraq after 6:00 p.m. on Friday Sept. 29 until further notice at the request of Baghdad, following a referendum for independence held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

    In a statement posted on Twitter, the consulate said Iraq’s Civil Aviation Authority had announced the suspension of flights to and from Arbil, the administrative capital of northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, as well as Sulaymaniyah…”

    • Turkey, Iraq, Iran to work together against KRG: PM Y?ld?r?m (hurriyetdailynews, Sep 28, 2017)

      “Turkey, Iraq and Iran will hold a trilateral summit to coordinate steps to be taken against the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum, Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m said on Sept. 28.Turkey, Iraq and Iran will hold a trilateral summit to coordinate steps to be taken against the Iraqi Kurdish independence referendum, Prime Minister Binali Y?ld?r?m said on Sept. 28.

      His words came after a phone conversation he had with the Iranian deputy president on Sept. 28. He said the conversation focused on the developments in Iraq.

      “Iran is on the same page with us,” he told reporters, stressing that the Iraqi Kurds’ ambitions for independence could pose a risk to the stability and security of the region.

      “We will continue close cooperation with Iraq and Iran on this issue,” he said, adding that President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an will pay a visit to Iran on Oct. 4.

      Turkey will speak directly to Iraq’s central government on issues about borders, airports and economic relations, he said, noting that the three countries were doing their best to overcome the crisis caused by the referendum with the minimum damage.

      Y?ld?r?m also said Turkey would not hesitate to respond to any threats against its national security.

      He stressed Turkey would not shy away from giving the harshest response to a national security threat posed on its border but it was not the first choice…”

  7. China and Pakistan Demonstrate Alliance, Flex Muscles During Joint Exercise (sputniknews, Sep 28, 2017)

    “For the first time ever, a Pakistani fighter pilot has flown a Chinese warplane during joint combat exercises between the two Asian nations. The exercises, which lasted through most of September, took place in Xinjiang, the westernmost province of China that borders Pakistan.

    The Shaheen-VI exercises, the latest in a series of annual joint drills between the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) that started in 2011, happened this year between September 5 and 25. They included many firsts, according to Chinese military sources, such as live-fire target practice, night warfare, and close support operations.

    But the biggest news from the exercise came when Air Vice Marshal Haseeb Paracha, head of PAF’s Southern Air Command, climbed into a Chinese J-11B fighter and flew a sortie as part of the exercises. This was the first time in history that a PAF pilot flew a PLAAF plane, a symbolic gesture of the tight bonds between Beijing and Islamabad…”

  8. Pakistan sets new rules of engagement with US (tribune, Sep 28, 2017)

    “In her original itinerary she was supposed to visit Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but she had sudden change of plan. Her office intimated the Foreign Office that the US president’s focal person for the region would also visit Islamabad to discuss the Donald Trump administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan.

    Pakistan, already upset by Trump’s diatribe, had other ideas. Just hours before Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Alice Wells was to land in the federal capital on August 28, she was informed by the Foreign Office to put off her visit.

    “The apparent snub was a clear message to the US that there would not be business as usual in the aftermath of the new roadmap unveiled by Trump for Afghanistan on August 21,” said a senior Foreign Office official.

    The official, who requested not to be named because of sensitivity of the issue, told The Express Tribune that Pakistan could not be taken for granted any more.

    “On the one hand you literally humiliate us and undermine our sacrifices in the fight against terrorism, and at the same time expect us to entertain US delegations [that too] at the time of their choosing,” the official said. “This will not work anymore.”

    The move was part of new rules of engagements Pakistan now intends to follow in its bilateral ties with the US in response to Trump’s Afghan plan.

    The official said strict protocols would now be followed in bilateral visits. No US delegation would be entertained without mutual agreement. Also, the government is looking to restore the protocol under which US delegations would be dealt with according to their official status.

    That means low-ranked US officials would not be given audience with senior Pakistani authorities. In the past, officials such as the assistant secretary of state used to meet the president and the prime minister.

    The departure from usual protocol began during former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf’s tenure during which low-ranked American officials used to frequently meet senior authorities…”

  9. US visas from ‘Muslim ban’ countries plummet (middleeasteye, Sep 28, 2017)

    “The number of US visas issued to visitors from the six nations listed on President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” has dropped by 44 percent, compared with the same period in 2016, according to a report by Politico based on US State Department data.

    Predominantly Muslim countries not included in the ban also experienced declines in visas to the US. There was an 8 percent drop in visas for visitors from the world’s 50 Muslim-majority countries.

    Non-immigrant visas to Syrians and Yemenis dropped by more than half, according to the analysis. The number of visitors from Iran, Sudan, Somalia and Libya also saw significant declines…”

  10. Italy proposes pilot plan to resettle migrants stranded in Libya (middleeasteye, Sep 28, 2017)

    “Italy, in a fresh bid to tackle a migration influx that has become a political headache, sketched proposals on Thursday to resettle around the world a thousand vulnerable migrants who are stranded in Libya.

    Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano pitched the idea before flying to Tripoli.

    It would begin as a pilot scheme with 1,000 migrants and entail “several countries around the world welcoming these people”, Alfano told a parliamentary committee in Rome.

    The process would be “revolutionary,” as it would provide details about these individuals for host countries that are unable to interview them because their embassies in Tripoli have been closed, he said.

    More than 600,000 people from Africa, Asia and the Middle East have arrived in Italy since 2014, many of them by sea from Libya. Rome is now looking hard at ways of discouraging migrants from crossing, including incentives for voluntary returns home and aid for the most vulnerable.

    Another migrant quota scheme, devised by the European Union (EU), wrapped up on Wednesday after two years.

    That programme has seen fewer than a fifth of a planned 160,000 Syrians and other asylum-seekers relocated around the bloc from Italy and Greece through compulsory quotas.

    It may be followed by a proposal to admit at least 50,000 of the “most vulnerable” persons in need of protection to Europe over the next two years.

    On Tuesday, Roberto Mignone, representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Libya, also spoke of negotiations in Tripoli to open a transit centre for migrants considered vulnerable – families with children and the sick – with the aim of a resettling them to other countries. It would be able to house 1,000 migrants.

    Currently, the UNHCR and other international agencies are waiting for a secure compound in Tripoli to which they can safely bring in expatriate staff.

    A contingent of 230 Nepalese troops is expected to arrive this week and to deploy at the site, which may be ready in November, Mignone said.

    Earlier this month, the United Nations accused the EU of “turning a blind eye” to the brutality faced by migrants held in Libya, and urged “serious action” to protect them.

    “Some migrants die of thirst, hunger or easily cured illnesses, some are tortured or beaten to death while working as slave labour, others are just casually murdered,” UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on 8 September.”

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