Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

An attack on one is an attack on all

November 15, 2015

At the heart of it is the failed and broken state system in the Arab world that has given IS space in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya. — Bruce Riedel, CIA veteran, Brookings Institution

France could invoke Article 5 of Nato Treaty, an attack on one is an attack on all.

If Isis thought they could intimidate France they have made one big mistake.

Tonight France has launched a massive attack on ISIS.

Friday night out

November 15, 2015
Paris 13 Novembre 2015

Paris 13 Novembre 2015

candles lit in Paris #unebougiepourParis

candles lit in Paris #unebougiepourParis

Paris 13 Novembre 2015

Paris 13 Novembre 2015

Those killed by  Isis on Friday night, were ordinary people relaxing, enjoying a Friday night out, eating out in restaurants, watching a football match, attending a rock concert.

One of the restaurants targeted was Algerian.

The Taliban in in Afghanistan outlawed alcohol, music, kite flying, dancing, football.

People enjoying themselves is not permitted by Muslim fundamentalists.

ISIS declares war on France

November 14, 2015
Paris Peace

Paris Peace

Listening to the radio last night, appalling news coming out of France. Coordinated terrorist attacks across Paris, many killed, ten o’clock 26 reported dead, midnight 36, early hours of the morning over one hundred, lunchtime today 126.

From eyewitness accounts, all the hallmarks of a commando style raid, only not against a military target but aimed at slaughtering ordinary innocent civilians.

France was already on heightened alert, due to host climate talks in a couple of weeks, and yet no warning, not even a whisper.

Not only well organised to carry out the attacks, well organised to have caches of weapons in place.

Where did they receive their training, where were they from?

We have had bombings in Turkey, in Lebanon, a Russian plane blasted out of the sky. Now coordinated attacks on Paris, and that follows on from the Charlie Hebdo massacre in January.

Last last night, France declared a State of Emergency, its borders were closed, roads in Paris were closed, people were advised to stay indoors.

The attack is seen as a declaration of war by ISIS. An attack on one Nato member is an attack on all.  France could invoke  Article 5.

The Schengen Agreement has to be suspended indefinitely, We cannot have the free flow of people, unchecked, across national borders.

We have to halt the flow of migrants into Europe, when we have not a clue who we are letting in. One of the Paris attackers is believed to be a Syrian who passed through Greece as a migrant. Isis in the past has said it will use migrants as a route into Europe.

The illegal migrant camps in France have to be broken up, breeding grounds for crime and terrorism.

For far too long we have been tolerant of Islamic extremists. We cannot allow women to wear the burka, with only their eyes visible through a narrow slit. We do not allow people to parade around wearing a Balaclava, so why a burka? If they do not like it they know what they can do they can head for Saudi Arabia.

There has to be military action against ISIS. Bombing is making the situation worse.

We have to cooperate with Russia.

We have to recognise we are in for the long haul. It could take ten years, it could take a generation.

Iraq, Libya, Syria, are failed states. We are dealing with the consequences of the break up of the Ottoman Empire, illegal wars by war criminals George W Bush and Tony Blair and climate change.

Post-WWII, we ran Germany, we had a programme of de-Nazification. This we will have to do in the Middle East. We have to give all a part in society, Kurds, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Shia, Sunni. This was the mistake we made in Iraq, and as a consequence the country fell apart.

We have Syrians, or at least they claim to be Syrian, literally fighting their way into and across Europe, fighting with border police, fighting with each other. Why are they not in their own country, fighting to recover it? Contrast with the Free French, Free Poles, who fought with the Allies to recover their countries.

Wealthy Arab countries should pay for the cost of recovering the Middle East, if they refuse, seize their assets in the West.

We have to move to renewables (we need to anyway to deal with climate change), to end the flow of money into the Middle East.

ISIS will not talk. Canon Andrew White invited ISIS to dinner. They offered to chop his head off.

Prior to Peal Harbour, Americans were opposed to entering WWII. After Pearl Harbour, they were queueing to enlist.

The attacks on Paris last night is a wake up call. We cannot let ISIS expand.

On facebook last night, a page to let people know you are safe. And yet no mention in the media.

This evening the London Eye and London Bridge are lit in the French colours to show we stand with the people of France. As are many other buildings around the world.

Sharm el-Sheikh luxury gulag for tourists

November 7, 2015
Russia crash site in Sinai

Russia crash site in Sinai

Surrounded by razor wire, Sharm el-Sheikh is little more than a gulag or prison camp for tourists.

The Foreign Office has been warning against all but essential travel to the area for some time. OK, the gulag of Sharm el-Sheikh was not included within this advice, but on the map, a tiny speck in an area otherwise advised as not safe. Look again on the map, and check where Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya and Syria are. Remind yourself of the western tourists gunned down in Tunisia. Then ask yourself, is  Sharm el-Sheikh safe?

Security at the airport is lax to the point of non-existent.

Eye witnesses have spoken of bored, inattentive officials, of playing games on their mobile phones when supposedly doing security checks, of corrupt officials being bribed to fast track through security with no checks, of no checks for passengers carrying liquids.

Last week, a Russian airliner crashed, killing all those on board. We cannot know for certain the cause, pending a thorough investigation, but a US spy satellite saw a bright flash indicative of an explosion, the crash was indicative of an explosion, and British Intelligence report a bomb on board and US Intelligence has reported ISIS celebrating their downing of the plane.

UK has grounded all flights to Sharm el-Sheikh, leaving 20,000 tourists stranded. UK tour companies have suspended all holidays to Sharm el-Sheikh until further notice.

Today, 29 flights to Sharm el-Sheikh to pick up stranded British tourist. Egyptians only allowed six planes to land.  EasyJet had eight planes, only two allowed to land.

Those passengers who are allowed to travel, will only be able to carry hand luggage on board the plane. Their main luggage will not be allowed on board the plane in the hold will have to left behind.

Fascist military dictator President al-Sisi

Fascist military dictator President al-Sisi

Fascist military dictator President al-Sisi is a counter-terrorism embarrassment. A repressive regime, many Egyptians executed, many more in prison, journalists who report, are imprisoned, even those working for foreign media.

The repressive regime of al-Sisi, is creating the conditions which foster terrorism.

The lax security apart, it would not be difficult for ISIS to gain access to the airport, to plant bombs on board a plane.

Other European countries have followed UK lead and suspended flights. Russia has also now followed UK, and suspended flights.

Rusia last month started bombing Syria. Indiscriminate bombing of Syria many civilians casualties. This plays into the hands of ISIS.

The decadence of Sharm el-Sheikh is an affront to Islamic extremists.

For Egyptians, Egypt has been turned into one large prison camp under the repressive regime of al-Sisi.

During a visit to London, al-Sisi was dogged by demonstrations against his repressive regime. He was humiliated when during his visit, UK suspended all flights to Sharm el-Sheikh.

Anyone thinking of going to Egypt should think again. You are supporting directly and indirectly the repressive regime of al-Sisi.

Canon Andrew White on All Saints’ Day at St Paul’s Cathedral

November 2, 2015

Canon Andrew White on All Saints’ Day, ie Sunday 1 November 2015, at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The Revd Canon Andrew White, President of the Foundation for Reconciliation in the Middle East and ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, preaches the sermon at the Sung Eucharist service on All Saints’ Day at St Paul’s (Sunday 1 November 2015).

A very moving sermon from Canon Andrew White.

Syria: Russia launches missiles from warships

October 7, 2015

Last week, Russia launched airstrikes against targets in Syria.  A Russian general walked into the US Embassy in Iraq and gave one hour’s notice.

Two days ago, Russia violated Turkish airspace. Yesterday an emergency meating of Nato.

Today, Russia launched misslile attacks on targets in  Syria from ships in the Caspian Sea.

Russia is propping up the murderous Assad regime. Assad has killed more people than ISIS.

Bombing makes the siuation worse, more recruits for ISIS.

Shukee Begum: the British mother and children who escaped Isis

September 23, 2015

This story does not add up.

Women takes her children to join ISIS.

Then she ‘escapes’.

Now she wants to return to the UK?

Ortadoğu’da olanın özeti

September 15, 2015

Ortadoğu’da yaşananları anlatan ilginç çizgi film…

In The Middle East, about what happened, interesting cartoon…

Middle East dust storm

September 8, 2015
Cyprus dust storm map

Cyprus dust storm

Middle East dust storm across parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Iraq / NASA

Middle East dust storm across parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Cyprus and Iraq / NASA

Protaras barely visible in the dust storm

Protaras barely visible in the dust storm

visibilty reduced in the Syrian city of Homs

visibilty reduced in the Syrian city of Homs

We and most of the Middle East are in the midst of a huge dust/sand storm, people have literally died. — Canon Andrew White

Across the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean, a dust storm.

In Cyprus, the figure speak for themselves:

  • Nicosia 1707mg
  • Larnaca 3242mg
  • Limassol 7649mg
  • Paphos 1250mg
  • Zygi 4670mg
  • Ayia Marina Xyliatou 288mg

Visibility reduced, temperatures soaring.

Several people needed treatment for respiratory problems in Cyprus and authorities urged people to stay indoors as a thick blanket of dust enveloped the island. Larnaca Airport closed and flights diverted to Paphos due to reduced visibility.  The dust was expected to start dissipating by Thursday, according Cypriot met office, but predicted it would take time before the situation returned to normal.

Israel’s environment ministry has warned the elderly, young and pregnant to stay indoors, as well as those with heart or breathing problems.

At least 80 people were taken to hospital with respiratory problems in Lebanon according to the state news agency.

Syria has suffered several years of drought. It is one cause of the civil war and the rise of ISIS. Farmers have moved to the city. Civil unrest, protest. Gunning down of peaceful protesters. Who in turn have armed themselves in self-protection. It has then escalated.

calima - haze caused by dust from Sahara

calima – haze caused by dust from Sahara

In Tenerife, Calima,  hot, dust-laden storm originating in the Sahara.

Humanity washed ashore

September 8, 2015

We are seeing mass movement of people on a Biblical scale. The largest movement we have seen since the Second World War.

The hot spots are Syria, Iraq and Libya. Countries that have imploded, that exist in name only, and when they did exist, they were artificial constructs, lines on a map drawn by the British and the French.

Not all are war-weary refugees, carrying their few wordily possessions. Many are from across Africa, from the Far East, willing to risk their lives to enter Europe for what they see as a better life.

The focus was in France, the camp known as the Jungle, migrants terrifying drivers trying to cross the English Channel.

A new route has opened up, maybe it was there all the time, but has become the focus of world attention. the crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Hungary has come in for a lot of stick, but all they were trying to do, was adhere to the rules, process the migrants, decide who was legit, who was not, but they have been overwhelmed by the sheer numbers, as has Greece.

Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

Syrian refugee camp in Jordan

The only obligation is to grant sanctuary on the first country of safety. For those fleeing Syria and Iraq, that is Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan. But these countries are overwhelmed.

Christians fled Baghdad, as was not safe. They fled to Minerva. Minerva was overrun by ISIS. They fled to Kurdistan, Syria. Syria no longer safe. Many have fled to Jordan.

How many killed in Palestine by the Israelis homes destroyed. The world turns a blind eye. An arms fair was recently held in London, to which flock the brutal dictators of the world armed with their shopping lists.

It has taken the body of a three-year old boy, washed ashore in Turkey, to stir the conscience of the world.

Political leaders paralysed. It has taken the people to act.

People have been driving across the Hungarian border to transport refugees on the long walk, only to be warned they will be arrested for people trafficking.

The Pope has asked that every singe Parish takes in a refugee family.

People have shown they are willing to help.

But whilst the are helping those who have made it to Europe, they may have made it far worse for those who have not.

People are being pushed by the conditions in their country. They are also being pulled by the El Dorado of Europe, the land of milk and honey, the streets paved with gold. If people now falsely believe that if they can reach Europe they will be allowed to stay, will now risk their lives. An act of kindness will result in many millions risking their lives, many more children washed ashore.

And what we are seeing now, is nothing like what we will see when climate change kicks in. One of the roots of the crisis on Syria is a drought of many years in Syria, forcing people from the countryside into the cities.

Since the uprising against Assad in March 2011, over 240,000 people have been killed, 4 million Syrians have fled their country, and over 7 million have been displaced.

Giles Fraser says let them all come, Green Party says no borders. Let us assume insanity prevails and we let them all in. Our cities will become like those in the Third World, surrounded by shanty towns.

Figures are bandied about. Many of which are false, as no one bothers to check, they simply regurgitate what they read, maybe in the hope that if regurgitated often enough, will become an accepted truth.

UK has accepted 260 (or is it 270) Syrian refugees. Will fill a Tube train, we are told.

Actually several hundred will fill a Tube train, but putting this to one side, the figure is from one programme. 5,000 Syrian refugees have been accepted from different programmes.

Germany will accept 800,000 migrants. This figure is not true.

800,000 is a projection of migrants into Germany, many of whom will be sent back. It is not how many Germany will accept. This is all migrants, not only from Syria, it includes migrants from Albania.

Germany has accepted 10-20,000 over one weekend. Germany Austria and Hungary have said this was due to exceptional circumstances, and are now tightening their restrictions.

Germany has said it may accept more migrants. This should be seen within the context of a projected labour shortage in Germany.

Germany now cannot cope. Munich cannot cope. Germany closed its borders, quickly followed by Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia.

One of the many ironies is the refusal of Israel to accept any Syrian refugees. Did not Free Europe take those Jews fleeing Nazi Occupied Europe? But then maybe a mixed blessing, as they would only house them on stolen Palestinian land.

And what of the wealthy Gulf States? We do not see the corrupt House of Saud welcoming refugees, and yet it is their meddling in the Middle East that has helped cause the refugee crisis.

For Syrians, be they in Turkey or Lebanon, or hoipng for a better life in Europe, they have no home to go to, many have walked for days, weeks, been on the move for years.

Syria and Palestine, resemble Germany in 1945.

The obligation of any country, is to provide safe sanctuary. That does not imply refugees can demand which country they be taken to.

The Law of Unintended Consequences, may well lead to more migrants dying as they engage in perilous journeys, the only ones to benefit being the people traffickers.

One option may be to create a safe haven in Libya, access to the sea, materials to build houses, a plot to grow food, a sharing gift economy.

To stop the flow of migrants the underlying causes have to be addressed. This is not a European problem, it is a problem of the Middle East.

In Syria, a tyrant to be deposed, ISIS to be defeated.

Yes, as Jeremy Cobyn has suggested, a meeting of all parties, talks (which David Cameron has dismissed out of hand). ISIS will not talk. They are an insurgency and can only be defeated by military means, which as a start, means arming the Kurds and providing whatever military support they request.

What was feared would happen, is already happening. Given the green light, you will be able to stay if you make the trip, tens of thousands are now making the trip. The transit countries are being overwhelmed by marauding migrant mobs. When officials try to process the migrants they are being met by violence.

Meanwhile, those left behind, the ones who are really suffering, are forgotten.

Until November last year Canon Andrew White, better known as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, was Chaplain of St. George’s Church in Baghdad, the only Anglican Church in Iraq. He was eventually forced to leave at the behest of the Archbishop of Canterbury following numerous death threats from ISIS militants, and now works as the founding and current President of the Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East (FRRME).

In a scathing statement, Canon White has now slammed Europe for its response to the migrant crisis. He says it is wrong to focus resources on those already in Europe, when those in real need are the ones left behind.

I am disappointed by Europe’s response to the refugee crisis. Not enough is being done to help the most vulnerable, particularly those who have fled religious persecution.

My charity is providing food, shelter and medicine for hundreds of Iraqi refugee families who have fled ISIS and are now in Jordan. Some have walked across the desert to find safety, with little more than the clothes on their backs.

When I see angry young men clashing with border police in Hungary and demanding to be let into other EU countries, I feel that the wrong people are at the front of the queue.

Europe needs to distinguish between those who are looking for a better life and those who are running for their lives, otherwise we risk failing those who need our help the most.

I would like to see more being done for the thousands of refugees, particularly Iraqi refugees, who are stranded in Jordan and other countries without any hope for the future.

Canon Andrew White is not the only one  urging Europe to look beyond the migrants on their doorstep to the wider picture.

Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael I told the Vatican Insider that there was “something strange” about European politicians encouraging migrants into their countries to take jobs in the care industry, looking after the sick and elderly.

I can confirm that it is not just displaced people who are fleeing. Priests tell me that there are also people who aren’t too badly off financially, people who work at banks for example, who are leaving. People who don’t really need to leave. They feel that a window of opportunity has opened up and they fear this window will soon close so they take advantage of it. Meanwhile, those who are poorer aren’t even considering leaving. Everyone is losing out. Those who are most able are leaving and they are the only ones who could rebuild all that has been destroyed in recent years.

Writing in the Spectator, Paul Collier pointed out the moral ambivalence of ushering into our countries to the “richer and more resourceful” refugees, rather than encouraging them to stay and rebuild their own countries.

If you resist the easy option taken by the chattering classes who claim the moral high ground by insisting on open borders, you can see that European policy is the result of moral confusion.

Let’s take the ‘duty of rescue’, which is official Europe’s rationale for fishing people out of the sea. People have a right to dream of a life in Europe, but Europe has a moral obligation to rescue, not to make dreams come true.

What does rescue imply and to whom does it apply? Just being poor does not make someone eligible for being ‘rescued’ by a life in Europe. Mass poverty has to be tackled, but the only way it can be done is for poor countries to catch up with the rich ones. There are ways in which we can help that process, but encouraging the mass emigration of their most enterprising young people is not one of them.


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