Contributor’s links post for April 25, 2019

Daily Links Post graphic

Each day at just after midnight Eastern, a post like this one is created for contributors and readers of this site to upload news links and video links on the issues that concern this site. Most notably, Islam and its effects on Classical Civilization, and various forms of leftism from Soviet era communism, to postmodernism and all the flavours of galloping statism and totalitarianism such as Nazism and Fascism which are increasingly snuffing out the classical liberalism which created our near, miraculous civilization the West has been building since the time of Socrates.

This document was written around the time this site was created, for those who wish to understand what this site is about. And while our understanding of the world and events has grown since then, the basic ideas remain sound and true to the purpose.

So please post all links, thoughts and ideas that you feel will benefit the readers of this site to the comments under this post each day. And thank you all for your contributions.

This is the new Samizdat. We must use it while we can.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

129 Replies to “Contributor’s links post for April 25, 2019”

  1. Nicaragua is the next Venezuela
    Marion Smith and Carlos E. Ponce, Opinion contributors Published 7:00 a.m. ET April 25, 2019
    The Nicaraguan people are desperate for something better. And they need America to help make it happen. Without intervention, it will only get worse.

    This time last year, our nation was fixated on the Central American country. April 28, 2018 saw hundreds of thousands of protestors take to Nicaragua’s streets — the largest protests in a generation or more. Students, workers, priests, and farmers demanded reforms and the resignation of the dictator Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. Americans stood in solidarity with the marchers, believing that it marked the beginning of a democratic spring for the Nicaraguan people.

    Instead, the dictatorship tightened its grip. The past year saw the murder of more than 500 protesters, the imprisonment and disappearance of more than 1,200 others, and the flight of more than 50,000 Nicaraguans. But instead of ratcheting up the pressure, America’s leaders shifted attention from Nicaragua to Venezuela. Sadly, this only makes it more likely that Nicaragua will follow Venezuela’s failed path.

    Nicaragua today can be compared to Venezuela five years ago. Daniel Ortega is following Nicolas Maduro’s playbook to a tee.

  2. Maxim Brennet is a Trudeau fan:

    The Jewish family that owns a Winnipeg restaurant deny police allegations that they staged an anti-Semitic attack at the establishment last week.

    Often in tears and struggling to speak, BerMax Caffé and Bistro owner Oxana Berent pleaded with members of her community not to judge her and her family after police announced they had charged them with public mischief.

    “What is happening yesterday and today, it’s completely broke our family, our business, everything. It just broke us,” she told Ismaila Alfa, host of CBC Manitoba’s afternoon radio show, Up to Speed.

    Hate-crime attack on café staged, Winnipeg police say, after owners charged with mischief
    Oxana Berent, 48, her husband Alexander Berent, 56, and her son Maxim Berent, 29, are all due in court in May.

  3. Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Not Chaotic

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Though politicians and scholars harshly criticize President Donald Trump’s foreign policy as chaotic, his policymaking seems to be based upon a sound and consistent political approach, contrary to that of his predecessor in the White House. Several decisions taken by Trump can fall under the rubric of the political science theory known as “Supersession,” which stipulates that changing circumstances and the passage of time are formative guidelines to the handling of international conflicts.

    In his major address at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC (April 27, 2016) as the Republican presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump outlined his “America First” foreign policy approach. In so doing, he stated his manifesto: “Unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct. You cannot have a foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands that caution and restraint are really truly signs of strength.”

    More than two years into Trump’s tenure at the White House, his foreign policy continues to be subjected to harsh criticism and is frequently mocked as senseless and impulsive. The term “chaos” appears in many contexts to describe his administration, and the suggestion is often made that there is no “adult in the room.” The prevailing claim is that the administration is pursuing a strategy that weakens and isolates the US and is withdrawing from its role as a global leader while at the same time distancing potential allies and partners instead of working with them. Obama administration veterans label Trump’s foreign policy as a “Grand Strategic Train Wreck.”

  4. A top-moneyed progressive advocacy group has awarded its first endorsement of the 2020 election cycle to embattled U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who’s facing allegations of anti-Semitism and other controversies. announced its support for the Minnesota Democrat on Wednesday, saying it comes specifically because of criticism Omar has received following her comments.


    “Despite racist and anti-Muslim attacks to silence the first Black, Muslim congresswoman in the United States — and blatant attempts to incite violence against her and Muslim communities — Rep. Omar has continued to speak out for bold, progressive policies in order to fight for a society where all of us, not just the rich and powerful, can thrive,” the group’s statement reads.

  5. This man wanted to be a girl when his grandmother put him in a purple chiffon dress at age 4. He had gender reassignment surgery in the 1980’s and lived as a woman. Now, helps other people like him de-transition.

    And he has a most powerful message:

  6. Dog walkers at Howard University infringe on ‘black Mecca’, students say
    In an online forum, someone said they were told to leave by students while walking their dog on campus

    Gentrification has irritated yet another community of color. In Washington DC, students and alumni of Howard University are objecting to residents who walk their dogs on the campus, feeling these actions infringe on the campus and its history.

    The university is historically black and affectionately referred to as one of the Black Meccas of American society. It was founded in 1867 and has been located in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington for the entirety of its 152-year history.

    The area in question, the Upper Quadrangle, or the Yard as its known to students, is a large expanse of green space, has historical markers of black culture and is the site of homecoming celebrations.

    In the online forum PoPville, a user said they were told to leave by students while walking their dog on campus on 9 April. While a few users defended the students and decided other area residents should respect the campus, others have derided the “entitlement” of the students and faculty. One user said: “I plan to walk my dog on the Howard campus as often as possible.” Another said, “These just sound like stupid college kids being stupid.”

    Note: If I were the dog walker in question, I would demand that they stop assuming my adopted child’s species! And stigmatizing xe with their prejudiced pre-conception of what constitutes a human being! Just imagine the damage they are doing to my child, referring to xe as ‘a dog’!

  7. “SICK. Far Left High School History Book Depicts President Trump as Mentally Ill and his Supporters as Violent Racists”
    by Jim Hoft – April 24, 2019

    Pearson textbooks & Common Core

    By Christel Swasey – April 17, 2013

      • “Weaponizing Children Against Freedom: Public School Crimes – Alex Newman”
        Liberty Sentinel – Published on April 14, 2019

  8. Mozambique court jails 37 over Cabo Delgado violence (thedefensepost, Apr 25, 2019)

    “A Mozambique court has sentenced 37 people to prison for involvement in violent attacks in the volatile northern Cabo Delgado province, a gas-rich region near the Tanzania border, a court official said on Thursday, April 25.

    Ten people were sentenced to a cumulative count of 40 years in prison for crimes including voluntary homicide and possession of prohibited weapons, Judge Geraldo Patricio said during his ruling on Wednesday.

    Another 24 defendants were jailed for 16 years for crimes against the state and association to commit a crime.

    Three others, all aged under 21, received 12 year sentences.

    The trial was the first of five criminal proceedings relating to the attacks, involving some 200 defendants.

    Out of those, the courts have acquitted 143 people while about 20 suspects fled before facing trial.

    “It was a very complex process, consisting of more than two thousand pages,” Zacarias Nhapatima, a court spokesman, told AFP.

    “The judge of the case has been able to thoroughly study case by case, to the point of giving a solution,” he said.

    Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado province is expected to become the center of a natural gas industry after promising offshore discoveries near Palma. The vast gas deposits could transform the impoverished country’s economy, with experts predicting that Mozambique could even become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

    But the country’s north has largely been excluded from the economic growth of the last 20 years, creating fertile ground for radical Islamist ideology.

    A hardline Islamist group has been blamed for deadly attacks in the province over the past 18 months, stoking unrest just as the government pushes ahead with exploration efforts.

    Since October 2017 remote communities have been terrorized – about 200 people have been killed and thousands forced from their homes.

    The Islamist group was originally known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama – Arabic for “followers of the prophet” – but commonly referred to by locals and officials as “Al-Shabaab,” although it has no known link to the notorious Somali jihadist group of the same name.

    Researchers have said the Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama leadership has links to Islamist groups based in Tanzania, Somalia, Kenya and in the Great Lakes region, where some also received training.

    But some analysts and journalists have questioned the official narrative blaming Islamists. Various other theories have been put forward, but access to the area is limited, making any theory difficult to substantiate.

    President Filipe Nyusi has vowed to “neutralize” the threat and sent heavy reinforcements to the region where hundreds of people have been arrested.

    Human Rights Watch has accused security forces of serious human rights violations, and several journalists have been arrested in the area.”

  9. US Official to Asharq Al-Awsat: Gulf States Took Measures to Curb Terror Financing (aawsat, Apr 25, 2019)

    “A US official acknowledged the laws and regulations adopted by Arab Gulf countries to counter terrorism.

    The State Department official told Asharq Al-Awsat that Gulf countries were achieving “major” progress in combating terror financing through a wide range of measures.

    He also noted that they have put on trial terrorists and their financiers.

    In 2017, the US and six Gulf countries established the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center that is aimed at building capabilities to target terror financing networks, continued the official.

    In October 2017 and May 2018, the center blacklisted terrorist enablers and financers, including individuals affiliated with the Hezbollah shura council, ISIS and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, he added.

    The State Department said that the Gulf countries have adopted laws that criminalize the financing of terrorism.

    These laws have been greatly effective in curbing terrorist activities.”

  10. Snuffing out Iran’s Oil Will Bring Stability to the World (aawsat, Apr 25, 2019)

    “When the US administration – in its strategy to deal with Iran – relied on a strong whip of sanctions, promising to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero and threatening anyone who deals with Tehran, the latter bet on US President Donald Trump’s failure to convince the world of his position.

    The rest of the world rebelled against the American actions. Even in July, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani mocked Trump’s threat to halt Iranian oil exports, saying his country had a dominant position in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

    Today, as Washington pursued its strategy by announcing that it would end all sanctions exemptions starting May 2 – the waivers that had so far allowed eight countries to buy Iranian oil without falling under US penalties – it dealt the strongest blow with the aim to reduce Iran’s crude oil exports to less than one million barrels per day, compared to 3.6 million barrels per day in 2016.

    The allies rallied against Iran have come to realize that the sanctions would have no effect on the structure of the regime unless the waivers are canceled, which has already happened.

    We can say that decreasing the export of Iranian oil is the effective way for the US strategy to exert pressure on Tehran. It is true that the declared goal of bringing Iran’s future oil exports to zero may be difficult and will take a long time, but it is certain that exports will decrease significantly, which will be painful for the Iranian economy.

    Trump’s administration, when it abandoned the nuclear deal, knew that the mere withdrawal would be futile if it was not accompanied by pressure on the regime. Hence, the US sanctions are now targeted at driving Iran’s oil sales to zero.

    Consequently, mounting economic pressure, further financial crises and rising unemployment levels will lead to what is required to “change the behavior” of the Tehran regime, which will be deprived of 40 percent of its revenues from oil sales.

    Greece, Italy and Taiwan, for example, one of the top 10 buyers of Iranian oil, said they had permanently stopped their imports from Tehran, even though that they were under the US exemptions.

    Since the start of US sanctions on Iranian oil exports, there has been a remarkable decline in Iran’s role abroad, as it faces the risk of not being able to finance its agents in the Middle East, such as the militias that fight proxy wars in Syria, in addition, the Hezbollah party has started to openly show its financial crisis.

    Preventing Iran from obtaining the funds it needs to finance its foreign policy, its agents and its missile program, is the best solution to change its behavior without firing a single bullet. A stable Middle East cannot be envisioned if Iran continues to fund its militias throughout the Arab world.

    Apart from Iran’s repeated heroic rhetoric and its latest threat – perhaps the 100th – to close the Strait of Hormuz, the most telling description of its current reality was expressed by its Oil Minister, Bijan Zangeneh, who in February said US sanctions were tougher than the eight-year war his country had waged with Iraq.

    If the sanctions that allowed some exceptions to Tehran’s oil export had a huge impact on the country, what will be the case when Iran loses 20 percent of its income only a few days from now?!”

  11. New Iran guards Commander calls to expand operations against ‘enemies’ (memo, Apr 25, 2019)

    “The newly appointed Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps Hossein Salami has called to expand the group’s operations against its “enemies”, local media reported.

    “The Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards has crossed mountains and plains to end America’s dominance in the eastern Mediterranean, and reached the Red Sea, and turned the Islamic land to land of jihad,” he said.

    “We have to expand our capabilities from the region to the world, so the enemy has no safe point around the world,” he added…”

  12. Jordan bans imports of 194 Syrian goods (memo, Apr 25, 2019)

    “Jordan’s Minister of Industry, Trade, and Supply, Tariq Al-Hammouri, banned the import of some 194 Syrian goods on Wednesday, Addustour local newspaper has reported.

    The move came in response to a recent decision by the Syrian government, under which it had blocked the entry of a number of Jordanian goods under the pretext of being “self-sufficient.”

    The minister pointed out that the ban was based on “a decision issued on 12 December 2018 by the country’s Council of Ministers, under which the kingdom’s trade minister would take the necessary measures in regards to trading with Syria.”

    The list of banned imports comprised a variety of products, including a number of fizzy drinks, mineral water, animal and vegetable oils, poultry, meat and fish, coffee and tea, cucumber and tomatoes, and other types of vegetables and fruits.

    The decision is planned to come into effect on 1 May, according to the ministry statement.

    On Tuesday, Al-Hammouri said that his country’s economy was “progressing in the right track.” Citing official data, he pointed to Jordan’s “increasing exports and inward foreign direct investment, and developing the tourism sector.””

  13. UAE demands Germany fulfill arms export agreements (memo, Apr 25, 2019)

    “The UAE Ambassador to Berlin, Ali Abdulla Al-Ahmed, has demanded Germany honour arms export agreements signed with the Emirates, which Berlin has halted due to Abu Dhabi’s involvement in the war in Yemen.

    “We know that the German military industry is ready to deliver all of the goods. And we do expect the terms of the contracts committed to by all parties to be honoured,” Al-Ahmed told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA).

    “We have a very tough neighbourhood. You buy military equipment for a purpose. You do not want to use it, but sometimes you need to use it,” he added.

    He explained that some export agreements are decades old.

    The UAE ambassador added that any changes in the German government’s position due to “a new political position here in Germany”, is the country’s right, but “it should only apply to new contracts”.

    Germany stopped arms exports to the UAE and Saudi Arabia over their involvement in the war in Yemen which has led to the worst humanitarian crisis in modern history.

    The UAE is the second largest state in an Arab alliance led by Saudi Arabia that has been carrying out military operations in Yemen since 2015.”

  14. Runaway Saudi sisters demand Google, Apple remove ‘women-tracking’ app (alaraby, Apr 25, 2019)

    “Two Saudi sisters who have fled what they say is misogynistic abuse in their homeland have called on Apple and Google to delete a Saudi government app that allows male guardians to track women and prevent them from travelling.

    The app, called Absher (Good Tidings) allows Saudis to access government services and has been in operation for years, but it recently received global notoriety due to its people-tracking feature.

    Men can register their wives, sisters, and daughters as ‘dependents’ on the app. This enables them to receive notifications when their female relatives try to leave the Saudi kingdom and prevent them from doing so.

    Saudi male guardianship laws require women to have the consent of a male relative to obtain a passport, travel, or marry.

    The two sisters, Maha and Wafa al-Subaie, aged 25 and 28 respectively, fled to Georgia last week, saying that they were treated like ‘slaves’ by their family, who regularly threatened them. They called the Absher app ‘inhuman’.

    “It gives men control over women”, said Wafa. “They have to remove it”. The app remains available on the Apple and Play stores. In February, Apple CEO Tim Cook promised to “take a look at” the Absher app.

    “If they remove this application, maybe the government will do something”, Wafa told Reuters.

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed concern over apps like Absher, saying that she would follow up the issue with tech companies.

    “Technology can, and should, be all about progress. But the hugely invasive powers that are being unleashed may do incalculable damage if there are not sufficient checks in place to respect human rights”, she said.

    Wafa and Maha have previously said that they were in danger of being found by their male relatives.

    Georgia does not require visas for visitors from Saudi Arabia and is commonly used as a transit station for people fleeing the restrictive kingdom.”

  15. Armed Students End Islamic Scholar Raissouni’s Lecture in North Morocco (moroccoworldnews, Apr 25, 2019)

    “Rabat – Students barred Ahmed Raissouni, the president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) from chairing a lecture on Wednesday at the Faculty of Human Sciences at Abdelmalek Saadi University in Martil, near the northern Moroccan city of Tetouan.

    The lecture, organized by the Student Renewal movement, “Attajdid Attolabi,” was interrupted 23 minutes after it began under the theme “Moroccan choices in religiosity and doctrine.”

    The students, carrying knives, attacked Raissouni and forced him to leave the symposium.

    Student Renewal shared a statement on Wednesday to condemn the attack.

    “We were surprised by a terrorist attack, in which knives were used and chairs by a faction called Al Kaidhiyin students,” wrote the movement.

    The statement added that some members of the movement received injuries. The movement described the attack as a criminal and flagrant attack which harmed “the value of science and diversity at the Moroccan university.”

    The movement said that it has filed complaints with the security forces in Martil.

    Student Renewal also expressed support for their members’ missions and initiatives.

    Raissouni has not commented on the incident yet but has shared several posts on his Facebook from Moroccan news outlets condemning the attacks on him.

    Raissouni is one of the most renowned scholars in Morocco.

    In November 2018, the International Union of Muslim Scholars elected the scholar as its president.

    The scholar, who previously served as vice president of IUMS, was born in 1953 in the village of Awlad Sultan in Larache, northern Morocco.

    Raissouni earned his bachelor’s degree in Islamic law at Al Quaraouiyine University in Fez in 1978.

    He also served on the executive board of the World Forum of Muslim Scholars and as secretary general of the Association of Graduates of Islamic Studies. Raissouni also holds a master’s degree from Mohammed V University in Rabat from 1989 and a Ph.D. degree from 1992.”

  16. Study: Moroccan Counter Terrorism More Successful Than Egypt, Tunisia (moroccoworldnews, Apr 25, 2019)

    “The Egmont Institute for International Relations, a think tank in Brussels, and the German Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation published a new study, Wednesday, April 24, on how Morocco addresses the issue of local jihadis and returning foreign fighters.

    The study asserts that Morocco “is by far the most advanced in dealing with returnees” compared to the other countries it surveyed, Egypt and Tunisia.

    The report, however, raised concerns about the security approaches in the three North African countries, and noted that Tunisia is seen as the biggest sender of foreign terrorist fighters to the Levant.

    The report looked at the effect the counter-terrorism policies of these countries has on Europe.

    Two reasons why these countries’ policies are of interest to Europe, the report stated, are that many Europeans who join terrorist organizations have North African heritage and any instability in North Africa “could have a damaging spillover effect for European security.”

    Terrorism in Morocco

    Although “more than a thousand” radicalized Moroccans joined ISIS in the Middle East, Morocco has experienced only one terrorist attack, the murder of two female Scandinavian backpackers near Imlil, since 2011 when a terrorist attacked the Argana cafe in Marrakech’s Jemaa El-Fna square.

    Morocco has, however, been a target for terrorists, according to Egmont.“ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi singled out Morocco as a potential target for terrorist attacks” in 2014. In 1996, the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM), a group of Moroccans fighting in Afghanistan, also threatened to attack Morocco.

    Most of the Moroccans who have joined terrorist groups in recent years have joined ISIS, and the rest joined other terrorist organizations both in Syria and Iraq.

    Egmont also recalled some of the positive outcomes of Morocco’s deradicalization approach. It stated that Mohammed Abdelouahab Rafiqui, alias Abou Hafs, was one of multiple former Salafi jihadis “reviewing their ideological stands” who later renounced the use of violence and is now advocating for a moderate version of Islam, including gender equity in inheritance and individual religious freedom.

    Moroccan foreign fighters

    Noting the scarcity of detailed information of Moroccan foreign fighters, the report extracted more comprehensive data from an internal document from the Central Bureau of Judiciary Investigation (BCIJ).

    BCIJ put the total number of Moroccan terrorist fighters who traveled to Syria and Iraq at 1,664, excluding Europeans of Moroccan descent. If the number included Europeans who have dual nationality with Morocco, it might increase to between 2,000 and 2,500. Out of the 1,664, 285 are women and 378 children.

    In contrast, the security and intelligence consultancy AICS estimated the number at 1,800.

    Most of the terrorist fighters joined ISIS, and 900 went to the conflict zone between June and December 2013. Some Moroccans joined Harakat sham al Islam and Jabhat Nusra instead of ISIS.

    Social media: a tool for mass destruction

    The report theorizes that Moroccans were drawn towards joining ISIS in 2012 when “sheikhs across the Sunni Islamic world called for the support of Sunni communities in Syria, which may have been interpreted by young Moroccans as an official endorsement of the war.”

    Morocco had joined the Group of Friends of the Syrian People, which recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people following the Syrian uprising in 2011.

    Recruiters in Syria propagated religious rhetoric with videos and pictures of the crimes the Assad regime had committed.

    Social media played a vital role in the recruitment process of terrorist groups. Citing Moroccan Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi, the report states that 80% of foreign terrorist fighters used Facebook and Twitter to join terrorist groups. In the first months of 2017 only, 377 Facebook and Twitter accounts with links to ISIS were deleted.

    Socio-economic background

    Based on data from the National Observatory for Human Development (ONDH), two-thirds of Moroccan foreign terrorist fighters are under the age of 25.

    Seventy-five percent come from deprived families living in the slums of cities like Casablanca, Sale, and especially the northern region of Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, where there are “high rates of illiteracy, school drop-out and unemployment.” Egmont describes the region as a “breeding ground for transnational terrorist networks.”

    The situation of foreign fighters returning from Syria after the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces defeated ISIS in its territory earlier this month is another problematic issue facing many countries.

    The study suggests that the returnees are posing a threat to Europe and North African countries.

    Morocco’s counter terrorism approach

    Morocco has stepped up its security measures in recent years especially with regards to terrorism. It has initiated a number of reforms. Since the creation of the BCIJ in 2015, under the supervision of the General Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST), between 2015 and 2018, Morocco had dismantled 57 terrorist cells. It arrested 3,129 people, 292 of whom had a criminal record, and foiled 361 terrorist actions.

    At the religious level, in 2015, Morocco created the Mohammed VI Institute for Training Imams, Morchidines and Morchidates, and the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Ulema, dedicated to supporting African theologians and scholars to promote religious tolerance.

    Morocco’s deradicalization policy has also catered for the country’s prisoners. Through the Moussalaha (an Arabic word for reconciliation) program, Morocco has mobilized authorities from the Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and members of religious councils, who visited approximately 5,000 incarcerated offenders in 2013 only.

    The report also highlights Morocco’s active engagement in worldwide forums on terrorism such as the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF).

    It also recalled a number of security mechanisms Morocco established, among which are the hadar (vigilance) mechanism, whereby Morocco deploys security forces to guard airports, train stations, and administrative buildings.

    Besides monitoring telephone calls and online searches, Morocco’s interior ministry mobilized 50,000 mqadmin (auxiliary agents) across the country to keep an eye on and report on “any unusual behaviour.”

    Morocco has cooperated with several European countries and has proven a valuable source of information because it helped detect the perpetrator of the November 2015 attack in Paris.

    Shortcomings in Morocco’s prevention policy

    Egmont noted that while Morocco has taken quantum leaps in combating terrorism through counter-terrorism and deradicalization programs, its approach has largely been security-driven.

    The report implied that Morocco’s counter-terrorism policy pays little attention to prevention and rehabilitation measures, especially for returning foreign fighters, except for the Moussalaha program.

    “[No] programmes have been put in place to tackle specifically the issue of returnees, who are treated like all other terrorists,” the report stated.”/

  17. Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan anymore: Imran Khan (khaama, Apr 25, 2019)

    “The Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has said Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan anymore.

    Describing the ongoing peace efforts ‘a historic opportunity for peace in the region’, Prime Minister said Pakistan was fully supporting the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

    “Afghanistan conflict has brought great suffering for both Afghanistan and Pakistan over last 40 years. Now, after a long wait, the Afghanistan Peace Process presents a historic opportunity for peace in the region and Pakistan is fully supporting the process including the next logical step of Intra Afghan Dialogue wherein Afghans will themselves decide upon the future of their country,” he said in a statement.

    Khan further added “In this backdrop, Pakistan is highly dismayed by the surge of violence in Afghanistan from all sides. The so-called offensives are condemnable and will undermine the peace process. It is not right to seek an edge in dialogue through coercion.”

    “Pakistan implores all parties to recognize the importance of the moment and seize it. Pakistan has committed all diplomatic and security capital to success of peace process. Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan anymore,” the statement added.”

  18. Security forces ‘neutralize’ 5 PKK terrorists in Turkey (aa, Apr 25, 2019)

    “Turkish security forces neutralized five PKK terrorists in an operation in the southeastern Diyarbakir province, the Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

    Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.

    The gendarmerie launched a counter-terrorism operation against the PKK in the rural area of Lice district, which is still underway.

    In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including many women and children.”

  19. ‘Political Islam’ seeks secession from France: Macron (aa, Apr 25, 2019)

    “French President Emmanuel Macron vowed Thursday to resist ‘political Islam’, which he said is a threat and seeks succession from the republic.

    Macron made the remarks during a press conference at the Elysee Palace to unveil his policy response to the Yellow Vest protests following a three-month-long national debate.

    “Political Islam wants to secede from our republic,” he said, asking the government to be “intractable” against it.

    “We are talking about people who, in the name of a religion, pursue a political project,” he said.

    He said the control of funds from abroad to some organizations should also be strengthened.

    Macron also noted that France’s 1905 law on secularism has been effective and should continue to be implemented.

    “We must not hide ourselves when we talk about secularism. We do not really talk about secularism. We talk about the communitarianism that has settled in certain neighborhoods of the republic,” he said, referring to Muslim communities in France.

    Since last November, thousands of protesters wearing bright yellow vests — dubbed the Yellow Vests — have gathered in major French cities to protest Macron’s controversial fuel tax hikes and the deteriorating economic situation.

    Under pressure, Macron announced a rise in the minimum wage and scuttled the tax hikes.

    The protests grew into a broader movement aimed at tackling income inequality and are calling for giving citizens a stronger voice in government decision-making.

    At least 11 people died in the protests, around 8,400 were detained and over 2,000 were injured, and subsequently nearly 1,800 got prison sentences.”

  20. Over 1,000 irregular migrants held across Turkey (aa, Apr 25, 2019)

    “At least 1,030 irregular migrants were held across Turkey on Thursday, according to multiple security sources.

    Some 831 irregular migrants — Afghan, Pakistani, Algerian, South African, Somalis, Bangladeshi, Persian, Iraqi, Palestinian, Moroccan, Eritrean, Guinean, Egyptian, and Syrian nationals who had entered Turkey illegally — were held by gendarmerie forces in the northwestern Edirne province, a source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

    Separately, 44 Afghan and Pakistani nationals in the province including 10 children and five women in a rubber boat were held by the coast guard.

    The coast guard also held 74 irregular migrants who were in a rubber boat in the Aegean province of Izmir. The migrants, who were trying to illegally cross from Ayvacik to Greece, were Afghan nationals.

    The coast guard held 52 irregular migrants in the Aegean Aydin province, including 34 migrants in a rubber boat, while the rest were held after being captured by drones in Didim in the province.

    In another operation, gendarmerie forces held 67 irregular migrants trying to illegally cross to Greece in Seferihisar and Foca in the Aegean Izmir province.

    Also, six Afghan national migrants in a car were held by gendarmerie forces in the eastern Kars province.

    All the migrants were later referred to provincial migration directorates.

    Turkey has been the main route for refugees trying to cross to Europe, especially since the beginning of the civil war in Syria.

    Some 268,000 irregular migrants were held in Turkey in 2018, according to the Interior Ministry.”

  21. Italian migrant rescue ship judged unfit for sea by coastguard (thelocal, Apr 25, 2019)

    “An Italian aid ship that rescued 49 migrants off Libya last month has been declared unfit for rescue operations at sea, the Italian coastguard said on Wednesday.

    Mare Jonio was inspected in Marsala port in Sicily by members of the coastguard specialised in navigation safety.

    The boat was sanctioned for irregularities on board, the coastguard said in a statement, concluding that the ship did not meet rescue operation standards.

    It comes after Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini last week signed a directive against charity vessels rescuing migrants off Libya, targeting the Mare Jonio in particular.

    Salvini, head of the anti-immigrant League party, had warned that the Mare Jonio and others must obey the orders of authorities in foreign search and rescue regions — a reference to the Libyan coastguard.

    The Mare Jonio rescued 49 migrants off the North African country in March after refusing to wait for a Libyan coastguard boat that was in the vicinity.

    It took them to the Italian island of Lampedusa, where the ship was temporarily seized by the authorities as part of a probe into illegal immigration, before being given the all clear.

    There has been concern in Italy that recent violence in Libya will spark an exodus of people determined to seek safety in Europe.

    Salvini has repeatedly said Italian ports are closed to all those attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing.”

  22. What makes someone leave Denmark to fight as an Islamist militant? (thelocal, Apr 25, 2019)

    “A Danish scientist followed six Danish foreign fighters to try to understand what makes people leave security and safety in Denmark to fight for an extremist cause.
    This article was originally published on ScienceNordic and

    In the picture I am looking at, the two young men currently sitting in front of me are standing on an Iraqi battlefield. They are wearing army gear in non-matching camouflage. They each have their arm around a clerical militia commander.

    Elwan and Yosef may look at ease in the photos, but they simultaneously look out of place. Their tank tops are cut to reveal their biceps and their sports shoes stand out against the official-looking uniforms of their stern-faced commanders.

    Back in Denmark, Elwan and Yosef flick past ‘selfies’ of themselves posing on landscape hilltops, sunburned in shades of dark red with sunglasses on their foreheads, looking more like European tourists than the foreign fighters their story would reveal them to be.

    Elwan and Yosef are two of the six Danish foreign fighters I followed for several years, to come closer to an understanding of what happened when more than 150 Danes and 4,000 Europeans went to the Middle East to join Islamist militant movements fighting in the conflicts that followed in the wake of the Arab Spring.

    These foreign fighters appear to come from all strata of society and represent a broad spectrum – from young idealists to pious Salafi-jihadists or hardened criminals. Some sought a completely new life fighting jihad, while others went for the duration of their school holiday.

    Ideology, social marginalization or both?

    Journalists, policy makers and academics alike were taken aback by this phenomenon – why would young men who were born or brought up in the Danish welfare state choose to replace its comforts with the violent scenes of a far-removed conflict?

    As a decision, it goes against liberal democratic logic of striving for ‘the good life’: one generally defined by stability, safety and opportunity for economic advancement.

    There are also immediate concerns over how such motivations could reflect a desire to engage in terrorism ‘at home’.

    Debates on these questions have evolved around whether the ‘root cause’ is a religious or ideological radicalisation, or the consequences of socio-economic marginalisation. Although these two elements are not mutually exclusive, and many studies consider both factors, they appear to bite each other’s tail.

    Are such violent actions a consequence of radicalisation and dogma inherent in a particular religious ideology, or does the religious ideology merely provide a legitimising narrative for violent actions that grow out of frustrations caused by social marginalisation?

    What do they think about going?

    Although ‘Why do they go?’ is an important question, it may not be the best one to ask as a researcher, because of its in-built orientation towards simple answers to a difficult question.

    Instead, I sought to answer the related question of how becoming a foreign fighter came to seem meaningful and purposeful to each person I came to know. This meant taking religious ideology seriously while also remaining sensitive to their social realities.

    I broadened the focus to include their life stories prior to leaving, their experiences on the battlefield as well as of returning.

    What I encountered in my study was neither brainwashed cult members nor bloodthirsty terrorists but a far more human story about seeking out a chance at glory by fighting what they thought of as jihad.

    Rather than being mindlessly radicalised, these individuals actively sought out jihad as a vindication of the frustrations and anxieties of their lives. Therefore, their choice to fight jihad related as much to their position within Danish society as it did to religious creeds or Middle Eastern politics.

    God’s own weapons

    Now, let me introduce you properly to Elwan and Yosef, as well as some of the other participants. Elwan and Yosef are friends and grew up together in the concrete surroundings where we met.

    Their faces carry old scars, and their tattooed arms tell their own story. They have led chaotic existences on the fringes of society and appear as if they are not trying to succeed in life as much as avoid major tragedy.

    They were kicked out of school, have criminal convictions and are estranged from their families. Their time is mainly spent lifting weights in the local gym.

    Working out is no longer just about body image and vanity, but a form of worship of God by improving their bodies as his fighting tools.

    A chance at absolution

    A similar transformation happens in how they see themselves. Whereas before they were merely ‘thugs’ hustling to get by, they now see themselves as the soldiers of God. Elwan was not exactly looking forward to standing before God on judgement day and welcomes fighting jihad as an unexpected chance to redeem himself of his former sins.

    As well as forgiving all sins in the afterlife by the first drop of blood, Elwan explains, fighting jihad also levels him with society’s high achievers; efforts towards earning status through education or employment are insignificant compared to jihad, in his eyes.

    But only half of the six foreign fighters I follow have criminal backgrounds. Many led rather unremarkable and ‘straight’ lives before prior to fighting abroad. They were enrolled in education or hold stable jobs. Their frustrations were more indirect, yet a very real presence in their lives prior to going to fight.

    A telling example is how another fighter, Ameer, relays missing study group sessions at the public library in Copenhagen, because of his fear of being profiled according to [2015 Copenhagen attacks shooter, ed.] Omar el-Hussein’s stereotype by the heavily armed guards permanently installed by the synagogue entrance [opposite the library, ed.] since el-Hussein’s attack.

    He would carefully consider in advance what to wear, foregoing a ‘hoodie’ or other street wear. Or if the library visit was planned spontaneously, he would start to feel queasy and get sweaty palms as he turned down the narrow side street leading to the library.

    He also focused on seeming calm, as he was worried that nervousness could be seen as displaying suspicious behaviour. Sometimes, he would simply turn around and miss the study group session.

    A chance at vindication

    These experiences are mirrored by Samir, who tells of having been stopped on the street as a teenager while walking with his friends ordered to take turns opening each other’s jackets and patting down each other’s trousers, the police officer remarking ‘better you do it, if one of you is wearing a suicide vest’.

    “How do you look each other in the eyes after that?”, Samir asks rhetorically. He adds that he and his friends stopped spending time at playgrounds after police had approached them there and asked if they were selling drugs to minors – when they themselves were barely teenagers.

    His tone of voice turns dark as he tells about being stopped along with his younger brothers on the way home from the grocery shop, bags of vegetables in hand, to be quizzed about being a gang.

    Jihad as violent self-realisation

    Becoming a foreign fighter offered the promise of a solution, however partial and ultimately self-contradictory, to feelings of frustration regarding their moral place in the world.

    Rather than having been radicalised into a certain dogmatism, these men were actively shaping the purpose fighting abroad would serve for them.

    Yet, their fighting represented an ambiguous redemption, because the meanings that the journeys have for these men are negated by the communities and wider society to which they return.

    They are not greeted as returning heroes by their families or local communities upon return, but rather shunned, and excluded from marriage opportunities or the local mosque. Yet, giving in to social judgement would, for some, mean giving up the only thing they ever felt proud about.

    Instead, they cling to their view of having fought a moral fight and condemn the rest as hypocrites, separating them further from the social fabric they were already struggling to find their place in.

    What can we learn from talking to people?

    This glimpse into the experience of becoming a foreign fighter shows how religious creeds, Middle Eastern conflicts and frustrations regarding their positions within Danish society came together in how these men were actively shaping the purpose they attached to their journeys.

    Furthermore, it shows that talking to people to understand the logic of their (violent) actions may prove that concepts such as radicalisation are lacking in their abilities to grasp the many facets of the human experience.

    Finally, it suggests that when researchers show willingness to adopt new perspectives, seeing our own society through different lenses, we may uncover uneasy positions within it not otherwise visible to us.

    Maja Touzari Greenwood, PhD, is a researcher in international security at the Danish Institute for International Studies”

  23. Sweden’s Supreme Court overturns deportation decision for convicted rapist (thelocal, Apr 25, 2019)

    “Sweden’s highest court has overturned a decision to deport a convicted rapist after ruling there was no “extraordinary reason” to expel him from the country.

    Two lower courts had ruled that the man, a 33-year-old Somali citizen, should be deported after serving a jail sentence for rape, but the Supreme Court overturned this decision while extending his jail sentence by four months. The reason for ruling against deportation was that his ties to Sweden were considered to be strong, although two of the five Supreme Court justices argued the seriousness of the crime outweighed this and that he should be expelled.

    The man was first found guilty of rape by Linköping District Court, after he forced himself on a woman he did not know while they both stayed overnight at a mutual friend’s apartment.

    He was found guilty based on witness statements from the victim and the apartment owner, as well as SMS messages and the fact his DNA was found on the victim.

    That court initially sentenced him to one year and ten months in jail, followed by expulsion from Sweden and a ban on returning for the next ten years.

    Perpetrators of serious crimes can be expelled from Sweden as part of their punishment if they do not hold Swedish citizenship. If the perpetrator has been resident in Sweden for at least five years, though, Swedish law dictates the court must find that there are “extraordinary reasons” for ordering a deportation.

    “The seriousness of the crime should be taken into consideration, and as a guideline the crime should have a penalty of at least one year for it to be a question of deportation,” Lina Zettergren, a Judge Referee at the Supreme Court with responsibility for preparing the cases and presenting proposals for decisions, told The Local.

    “But consideration should also be taken to the foreigner’s ties to Swedish society. In the judgment, consideration should be taken to factors such as living conditions, for example if the person has a property, is socially integrated, has learned Swedish, and so on, if the person has children and is in contact with them, if there are other family members, and the length of time the person has spent in Sweden,” Zettergren said.

    “The idea behind the requirement of ‘extraordinary reasons’ [if the perpetrator has been in Sweden for over five years] is that there should be a point where a foreigner has the right to feel secure in Sweden. It’s a complete judgment where all factors are weighed up, and which factors are decisive depends on the circumstances in the individual case. If the foreigner has a strong tie to Sweden, typically a more serious crime is required for deportation to occur.”

    Asked whether any crimes were considered serious enough that non-Swedes would always be deported, Zettergren said each case was considered individually.

    The perpetrator in the Linköping case had been living in Sweden with a residence permit for eight and a half years, and had no family in the country but had been working or studying for most of his time there.

    A second ruling from the Göta Court of Appeal upheld the initial judgment by the district court, which had been appealed by the defendant. He said he should not be deported because he belonged to a “persecuted clan” in his home country, but the appeals court confirmed the deportation order.

    The case was then taken to the Supreme Court, which found there was no reason to review the man’s guilt or the classification of the crime, but chose to allow an appeal of the deportation.

    Unlike the two earlier courts, the Supreme Court found that the man’s ties to Sweden “do not appear especially weak”, and it therefore overturned the deportation order. The court’s decision is likely to set a precedent for other courts in Sweden.

    In the ruling, the Supreme Court noted that the default position in cases where the defendant has lived in Sweden long-term should be not to deport them. Deportation should therefore only be carried out if the reasons in favour of deportation are significant and ‘extraordinary reason’ for deportation can be found.

    A statement from the court said that the most important factor was the seriousness of the crime, and that murders or organized crime were examples of those which would likely be considered as “extraordinary reasons”. But the perpetrator’s background in Sweden was also a factor, so that a criminal who had lived in Sweden for a longer time, and/or had a family and connection to Swedish society would be less likely to be deported.

    The court acknowledged in its ruling that there were “clear signs of flaws in his social adaptation to Sweden, partially through earlier criminal behaviour” including convictions for petty drugs offences, driving offences, and causing bodily harm. However, it also noted that he had been engaged in either studies, internships, or employment throughout his time in Sweden and had relatively good knowledge of the language, implying a strong tie to Sweden.

    On this basis, the court ruled that “there cannot be considered to be extraordinary reasons” to deport the perpetrator, and overturned the decision to deport him – despite two of the five court justices arguing that he should be deported.

    The two justices with dissenting opinions argued that the seriousness of the crime itself was “a severe reason for deportation”, and judged this to be “much stronger than the circumstances that speak against deportation”.

    The court extended the man’s jail sentence to two years and two months, and also ruled that he must pay the victim damages of 115,000 kronor (approximately $12,070). The victim told the Expressen tabloid that she considered the ruling “completely insane”.

    Following Expressen’s report of the case, politicians from the far-right Sweden Democrats and right-wing Moderate Party criticized the decision via Twitter. Moderate MP Hanif Bali wrote that “obviously a law change is needed”, while Sweden Democrat Adam Martinnen wrote: “rape is an extraordinarily good reason for deportation, always”.

    Asked whether the divided nature of the ruling implied a need for greater clarity in the law, the Supreme Court’s Lina Zettergren said that was a question for lawmakers.

    Justice Minister Morgan Johansson, a Social Democrat, has repeatedly stated that the “main rule” in cases of foreign criminals should be that they face expulsion. Speaking to Expressen after the judgment on the Linköping case, Johansson said “we want to increase the opportunities to deport [non-Swedes] because of crime”.”

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