Reader’s Links: April 17, 2018

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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.

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

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

131 Replies to “Reader’s Links: April 17, 2018”

  1. UN Report: Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan at Near-record Level this Year (aawsat, Apr 17, 2018)
    https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1240606/un-report-civilian-casualties-afghanistan-near-record-level-year

    “An ambulance packed with explosives that detonated in Kabul and a pedestrian suicide bombing outside a Shiite shrine there were among the deadly incidents that led to a near-record 2,258 civilian casualties in Afghanistan during the first quarter of this year, UN officials reported this week.

    According to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, there were 763 conflict-related civilian deaths and 1,495 injuries across Afghanistan between January and March. Those figures were comparable with record-high levels of casualties reported during the same period in the past two years, as aggressive attacks by Taliban insurgents and ISIS increased.

    In an especially alarming sign, the report indicated the number of casualties caused by suicide bombings or by complex insurgent assaults with both bombs and guns was twice as high as during the first quarter of 2017, even as thousands of US military troops embarked on an ambitious effort to expand and bolster the performance of Afghan defense forces.

    The Western-backed war effort has continued to suffer from a number of problems, including low morale among Afghan troops and corruption among military officials. The Taliban have failed to capture any cities but control large portions of territory across the country, more than at any time since the war began in 2002. ISIS has mainly targeted urban Shiite communities, with dozens of attacks.

    The largest single spike in civilian casualties came during a 10-day period in January, when both Taliban and ISIS forces attacked numerous targets in Kabul, killing more than 150 people and wounding hundreds. They included the ambulance suicide attack near a hospital, a commando siege of a luxury hotel and an armed raid on a military training facility.

    A second deadly trend during the first three months of the year was a string of bombings and other attacks on Shiite communities, mosques and other targets, both in Kabul and in other cities including Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif. Most were claimed by ISIS. One March bombing near a shrine in Kabul, where Shiites had gathered to celebrate the Persian new year, killed 30 people and wounded scores.

    “Afghan civilians continue to suffer, caught in the conflict, in ways that are preventable. This must stop now,” Ingrid Hayden, the UN Secretary General’s deputy special representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement. “All parties to the conflict . . . must do everything in their power to protect civilians from harm.”

    The UN report said casualties caused by pro-government forces so far this year were slightly lower than the first part of last year, but that positive news was immediately dampened by the deadly Afghan air force bombing of a religious school in Kunduz province April 2, in which at least 30 civilians, including young students, were reportedly killed. Some residents said the number of dead was 50.

    Afghan military officials said the air attack was aimed at Taliban leaders in the compound and that several of them were killed.”

  2. Google to set up 5 Innovation Hub centers in Saudi Arabia (saudigazette, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/532956/SAUDI-ARABIA/Google-to-set-up-5-Innovation-Hub-centers-in-Saudi-Arabia

    “The Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming signed on Tuesday a final agreement with Google to set up five Google Innovation Hub centers in different regions of the Kingdom.

    The agreement, which was signed by Saud Al-Qahtani, adviser at the Royal Court and president of the federation, and Matt Prater, president of Google for the Europe, Africa and Middle East region, aims at combining the local talent in the production of prototypes, mobile applications and artificial intelligence.

    Speaking on the occasion, Al-Qahtani said that this agreement with a global company like Google would not have been possible without the vision and continuous support of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman.

    “This is a continuation of the successes of the Crown Prince’s visit to the United States. The agreement would contribute to attract Saudi boy and girl students who have talent and innovative skills,” he said, adding that this will be a center of international standards in the industry of advanced technologies and artificial intelligence…”

  3. 59 terror suspects from 7 nationalities netted in 24 days (saudigazette, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/532943/SAUDI-ARABIA/59-terror-suspects-of-7-nationalities-netted-in-24-days

    “As many as 59 terror suspects of seven nationalities were arrested during the past 24 days, according to the Presidency of the State Security.

    It said the suspects consist of 33 Saudis, 13 Turks, seven Yemenis, two Egyptians, two Afghans, a Kenyan and a Nigerian.

    For the first time this year, a citizen from Sri Lanka was arrested on March 7 and a Kenyan was nabbed on April 1.

    Terror suspects from the West included a Frenchman, two Canadians, three Russians and five Americans.

    Yemenis, with 320 terror suspects, top the list followed by Syrians (206) and Pakistanis (79).

    According to Nafethah, an electronic gate of the Interior Ministry, there are 71 terror suspects from Egypt, 23 from Sudan, 22 from Palestine, 19 from Jordan, 10 from India and 16 from Chad.

    There are 12 terror suspects from Bahrain, seven from Afghanistan, four from Ethiopia, and one each from Libya, Djibouti and Kenya.

    The Nafethah website said 14 Turkish terror suspects were arrested this year to increase their number to 17 while suspects from Iran rose to nine.

    The website said nine terror suspects were classified as of unknown nationalities.

    Three of them were currently under investigation at the Public Prosecution (PP).

    Two of them will soon be handed over to the PP and four are still being detained in the intelligence prison.

    There are 5305 suspects under detention, according to an updated list on the Nafethah website.”

    • Such precision!
      We’re supposed to be impressed by these sharp Saudi police. Compare them, as MbS has done, with the London police.

      (Add a zero or two for a more accurate estimates.)

  4. Trudeau must resolve case of Canadian tortured in Sudan: Amnesty (mee, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/trudeau-must-resolve-case-canadian-tortured-sudan-amnesty-1946817379

    “Rights groups have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take action to provide a just resolution to the case of a Canadian man who was detained and tortured in Sudan with the alleged involvement of Canadian intelligence officers.

    The federal government pulled out of mediated negotiations this week to reach a settlement in a $21.5m lawsuit brought by Abousfian Abdelrazik, who was detained in Sudan in 2003.

    Alex Neve, head of Amnesty International Canada, said on Tuesday the organisation was “deeply disappointed” by the Trudeau government’s decision.

    “Given the prolonged and persistent injustices at play and the unconscionable refusal of the government to even commence negotiations, it is clear that intervention from the prime minister is now urgently required to end this years-long travesty of justice,” Neve said in a statement.

    The prime minister’s office referred Middle East Eye’s request for comment to the office of Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, Ralph Goodale.

    Ministry spokesperson Scott Bardsley said in a brief email that the federal government “does not comment on settlement negotiations or ongoing court matters”…”

  5. ‘We shoot anyone we see’: Iraqi troops shield border as IS prowls Syrian desert (mee, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/islamic-state-iraq-syria-border-we-shoot-anyone-we-see-2028847634

    “The ramparts bristle with weapons at the ready: tank cannons, machine guns and sniper rifles jut from fortifications along a sand berm, all trained on the vast expanse of desert stretching across the horizon, as their operators scan for movement and prime themselves for the next attack.

    These Iraqi soldiers are on the last frontline against Islamic State, and in regular contact. But the territory they watch is not Iraq – it is Syrian borderland still controlled by IS, and attacks into Iraq are so regular – and so violent – that the guards are ordered to kill anything that moves…”

  6. Women accused of IS links sexually abused in Iraqi camps, says rights group (mee, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/women-accused-islamic-state-links-face-sex-abuse-iraqi-camps-1479805439

    “Women believed to have links to Islamic State suffer “harrowing” sexual exploitation and discrimination in Iraq’s refugee camps, a leading rights group said on Tuesday.

    Female-led households are abused, mistreated and deprived of food and health care but those seen as having ties to the militants are particularly targeted, Amnesty International said in a report.

    Islamic State swept through Iraq in 2014, enforcing a strict form of Islam and forcing more than two million people from their homes.

    The Amnesty report focused on camps in the Nineveh and Salahuddin provinces in Iraq’s north, regions that had been under militant control until taken back by US-led forces.

    Women were being sexually mistreated in each of the eight camps visited, Amnesty said.

    “Women who are perceived to have ties to IS are facing such a high degree of discrimination and very serious human rights violations,” Nicolette Waldman, Iraq researcher for Amnesty, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation…”

  7. Yemen’s Houthis release 18 Al-Qaeda fighters (memo, Apr 17, 2018)
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180417-yemens-houthis-release-18-al-qaeda-fighters/

    “Some 18 Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) officials have been released by Houthi fighters in a deal struck between the two armed groups, Aden Tomorrow reported today.

    The AQAP fighters were released in a deal which would see them assist with an uptick of fighting in Al-Bayda governorate, southern Yemen, between the Houthis, AQAP and the Saudi-led coalition.

    However, a statement published via AQAP’s open source network on Saturday claimed the 18 prisoners in Al-Bayda “attacked” prison guards and escaped without any mention of Houthi involvement…”

  8. Illegal border crossing: Iran security forces kill two Pakistanis (tribune, Apr 17, 2018)
    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1687557/1-iran-security-forces-kill-two-pakistanis-attempting-illegally-cross-border/ 

    “At least two Pakistanis were killed and five others were arrested when Iran’s border security forces acted against a group of people allegedly trying to enter the country illegally.

    According to security officials present on the border, on April 12 a group of 15 people belonging to different cities of Pakistan tried to illegally enter Iran.

    The Iranian Border Force fired on the people who crossed the border, killing two. Iranian force then arrested five people, while the remaining eight disappeared after crossing the border…”

  9. ISIS militants behead a child on charges of helping Afghan forces (khaama, Apr 17, 2018)
    https://www.khaama.com/isis-militants-behead-a-child-on-charges-of-helping-afghan-forces-04902/

    “Militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group have beheaded a child on charges of helping the security forces in northern Jawzjan province of Afghanistan.

    The local officials confirmed on Tuesday that the incident has takne place in the vicinity of Darzab district, home to several ISIS militants.

    Provincial security chief Abdul Hafiz Khashi said the child, believed to be 14-year-old, was beheaded by ISIS militants because he was taking food and water to the security forces in the area.

    Khashi further added that the victim has been identified as Rahimdad and was helping the security forces voluntarily.

    This comes as Afghan and US Special Forces are also busy conducting counter-terrorism operations against the terror group in North of the country…”

  10. Turkey slams EU for progess report, having ‘negativity’ against Turkey (hurriyetdailynews, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-slams-eu-for-progess-report-having-negativity-against-turkey-130471

    “The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on April 17 issued a written statement, slamming the European Commission’s progress report written on Turkey and released on the same day. The EU is “unwilling to understand the difficulties” Turkey is facing, the statement said.

    “The 2018 Turkey Country Report and the Enlargement Strategy Paper prepared by the European Commission were published today (April 17, 2018).

    Unfortunately, the European Commission showed that it was once again unwilling to understand the difficulties of the period we are passing through. Although we have explained these issues repeatedly supported by documentation, the Commission was unable to be objective and balanced.

    Turkey is fighting simultaneously against several terrorist organizations, particularly [Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and Fethullahist Terror Organization]. In this respect, we think that not mentioning in the report the threat from FETO that cowardly attacked our State, our Parliament and our people is a critical deficiency.

    In the report, although Turkey’s legitimate right to take immediate and proportional measures particularly following the 15 July terrorist coup attempt is reiterated, we observe that baseless allegations and accusations taken from obvious circles have also been included. Turkey continues its transparent cooperation with all related international partners including the European Union with regards to the measures taken in the context of the State of Emergency, firstly for the purpose of protecting its citizens’ democratic rights and freedoms, and conveys clearly the nature, the relevant security threats and legal frameworks of these measures to its addressees. This being the case, certain general allegations, accusations and comments targeting Turkey in the report are unacceptable.

    In fact, measures taken against the terrorist organizations contribute undeniably not only to our own national security but also to the security of EU member states. On this occasion, we find it necessary to reiterate that [Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Democratic Union Party and the People’s Protection Units] pose a serious threat against the public order and security of EU member states.

    On the other hand, it is totally wrong and unacceptable that the EU is positioning itself as a competent arbitrator or a court and attempting to render a judgment under the pretence of “Union solidarity” with regard to the disputes related to sovereignty.

    The Kardak Rocks and their territorial waters and airspace above them are exclusively under Turkish sovereignty.

    The support given as ‘carte blanche’ by the EU to member states in their disputes with third countries do not contribute to the resolution of those issues within the framework of good neighbourly relations and international law. Such a stance also contradicts the EU’s own values.

    Statements with regards to the Cyprus issue within the report is nothing beyond repeating the EU’s already known views based on wrong premises on the Cyprus issue. These expressions reflect the attitude of the Greek Cypriots which is the basic reason for the failure of the negotiation process and it sets yet another example of the exploitation by the Greek Cypriots of EU membership in its efforts for deadlock. The fact that the EU insists on this unilateral and distorted understanding reveals that it not only lacks strategical evaluation about the Eastern Mediterranean but also that it does not have the capacity to develop a long-term vision for the region.

    Operation Olive Branch, referred to in the Enlargement Strategy Paper, is a counter-terrorism operation aimed at eliminating the terror threat against Turkey and on the basis of the right to self-defence. It has set an example on how to combat terrorism without harming civilians. For the success in fight against terrorism, the international community as a whole, including the EU, has to be consistent vis a vis terrorism and refrain from making distinctions among terrorist organisations.

    We think it is wrong for the European Commission to have made a distinction between Turkey and the ‘Western Balkans’ in the Enlargement Strategy Document. Creating such artificial distinctions between candidate countries is an example of the discrimination we have been subjected to in our accession process.

    As referred to in the Report, the cooperation and dialogue mechanisms with the EU in important areas will continue to work. However, we would like to reiterate that such mechanisms cannot substitute our accession process.

    We note the European Commission’s objective and constructive stance concerning the visa liberalisation dialogue and the update of the Customs Union between Turkey and the EU, and invite the other concerned institutions of the EU to channel their efforts towards finalising these issues. To that end, Turkey has done its fair part.

    It is inconsistent for the EU to allege that Turkey is distancing itself from the EU while it continues to obstruct Turkey’s accession process with artificial and political blockages.

    In sum, the report is far from understanding the realities of Turkey and thus far from serving its purpose. In addition, it places the unfair interests of its obvious members before a universal concept such as the rule of law and thus negates the EU’s own values.

    Despite all the negativity in the EU’s approach, EU membership continues to remain our strategic priority. With this understanding, as is customary, the Turkey Country Report and the Enlargement Strategy Document will be evaluated in coordination primarily with the EU Ministry and our relevant institutions, constructive criticism in these documents will be taken into consideration and our opinions will be forwarded to the Commission.””

  11. 6,846 undocumented Afghan migrants deported from Turkey in recent weeks (hurriyetdailynews, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/6-846-undocumented-afghan-migrants-deported-from-turkey-in-recent-weeks-130428

    “Turkish authorities have deported a total of 6,846 undocumented Afghan migrants back to Kabul in recent weeks, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 16, basing the figure on a written statement from the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Migration Management.

    The directorate said the migrants were deported from the eastern provinces of Erzurum, A?r?, and the western province of ?zmir on nine charter flights, as well as additional scheduled flights following the completion of deportation procedures.

    The undocumented migrants were reported to have entered Turkey through Iran via illegal means and were mostly captured in Erzurum.

    More migrants will be deported to Afghanistan through an additional four charter flights in the upcoming days, the directorate said.

    Turkey is a common transit country for migrants trying to reach Europe…”

    • Turkish authorities have deported a total of 6,846 undocumented Afghan migrants back to Kabul in recent weeks, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on April 16, basing the figure on a written statement from the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Migration Management.

      Where are the howls of outrage from pro-immigration mouthpieces?

      If Europe deported almost 7,000 illegal entrants in a single month’s time, the ensuing firestorm would take weeks to burn out. Probably with lots of CarBQs involved.

  12. Refugees in Yemen face harm and exploitation, says UNHCR (ansamed, Apr 17, 2018)
    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/generalnews/2018/04/17/refugees-in-yemen-face-harm-and-exploitation-says-unhcr_adec052a-ee03-4fa8-9d3c-5e21c06e7408.html

    “The UN Refugee Agency on Tuesday renewed its concern about the situation for newly-arrived refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Yemen. Many are arrested, detained, abused, and then pushed out to sea or forcibly returned by the very same smugglers who brought them to Yemen, the UNHCR said. Spokesperson William Spindler referred to growing accounts of extortion, trafficking and deportation, abuse inside detention facilities and physical and sexual violence.

    “Survivors have described being shot at, regular beatings, rapes of adults and children, humiliations including forced nudity, being forced to witness summary executions, and denial of food,” he said. Since February this year, UNHCR has been working on the situation of some 100 new arrivals to Yemen who have been arrested and kept in detention. “UNHCR is extremely concerned by a further worsening of the situation for newly-arrived refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Yemen. Unabated conflict, deteriorating economic conditions and now increasing criminality are exposing people to harm and exploitation,” Spindler said.”

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