Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Turkey downs a Russian jet

November 25, 2015
Russian SU-24

Russian SU-24

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Turkey supports Isis

Neither our pilots nor our jet threatened the territory of Turkey. — Vladimir Putin

We do not intend to go to war with Turkey. — Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister

If Greece had downed every turkish aircraft for THAT level of airspace violation, today Turkey would only fly kites. — Maria Topalidou

Yesterday the world awoke to the alarming news, Turkey had shot down a Russian military jet. An act of crass stupidity and naked aggression by Turkey.

There was no response from the Russian plane, no missiles fired,  no evasive action, which would appear to indicate the pilots assumed they were safe in Syrian territory.

The bombing of Syria by Russia, an act of crass stupidity and naked aggression. Large numbers of civilians killed, and not an iota difference made to ISIS.

Russia is bombing any opponent of Assad. Assad a brutal dictator who is quite happy to bomb his own people. It is the repression of Assad, marginalisation of Sunnis, that and drought, that has given rise to Isis in Syria.

It was obvious in September, Russia bombing Syria, possible excursions in Turkey, would increase tensions in the region.

The world moves closer to WWIII.

Vladimir Putin has promised strong action against Turkey, but has ruled out military action. It looks like, no Russian tourists to Turkey, which will cause the Turkish tourist economy to collapse.

Turkey, until a bomb attack in Turkey, was supporting Isis. They allow the flow of people, weapons, money and oil across the border. Action by Turkey is to attack the Kurds, the only effective force fighting ISIS.

But the Kurds are only interested in establishing and safeguarding Kurdistan, they are not interested in the rest of Syria.

What happened yesterday?

Turkey says they warned the pilots, that there was an excursion into their airspace. The surviving Russian pilot says there was no warning, and that they were not in Turkish airspace. Americans say Russian plane was in Turkish airspace for a matter of seconds.

The second pilot was shot by Syrian forces on the ground. This was a war crime.

A tiny sliver of Turkish land projects into Syria. This may explain the discrepancy, if it was crossed.

Russian bombers regularly probe UK airspace. They are intercepted and escorted away.  They are not shot down.

Russian submarines enter Swedish waters. Swedish warships drop depth charges.

Had Russia retaliated against Turkey, it would have been an attack on Nato.

Russia has ruled out a military response, instead it will use economic sanctions. A boycott by Russian tourists. Not that will be difficult, as they lack money. Turkish tourist industry will collapse.

There is little support in Nato for Turkey’s action. David Cameron has been stupid enough to offer his support.

If we are to defeat Isis, we need the support of Russia.

violations of Greek airspace by Turkey

violations of Greek airspace by Turkey

Turkey regularly enters Greek airspace. Turkish warships appear off the coast of Cyprus.

Turkey says it is not an aggressor. Support of Isis, atrocities against the Kurds, occupation of northern Cyprus, exposes that lie.

In 2012, Turkey accused Syria of shooting down one of their F-4 Phantoms. At that time,  then prime minister and now president Erdoğan jumped up and down and condemned the Syrian military for their rash action. Hmm.

“A short-term border violation can never be a pretext for an attack” were the words he chose at the time, words that will no doubt come back to haunt him.

Turkey is a country where abuse of human rights is the norm.

ISIS survives largely because Turkey allows it to: the evidence

November 25, 2015


10505328_10154729840000012_6173827095010968907_n Kurdish (YPJ) frontline troops

The real frontline confronting ISIS is not US or French bombers (the latter currently targeting Raqqa, a city with 140,000 civilians, who are virtual prisoners of ISIS) but the Kurds of Iraq and northern Syria. Just over a week ago the combined Kurd forces, under the command of the Yezidis, liberated Sinjar from ISIS. For the Kurds, their war is not just about defeating ISIS, but about creating their own autonomous region – a region that would link all the Kurd cantons. This will not be easy, especially as the Iraq-based Kurds (Peshmerga) are allied with Iran and benefit from US support (nor are the Iraqi Kurds in any hurry to secede from Iraq). But the largest hurdle to an autonomous Kurdistan is Turkey, which not only has rekindled its war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party), but has done everything it can over the…

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In a tolerant society how do we deal with intolerance?

November 19, 2015
In a tolerant society how do we deal with intolerance?

In a tolerant society how do we deal with intolerance?

bags of money used to finance terrorism

bags of money used to finance terrorism

In a tolerant society how do we deal with intolerance, how should we deal with intolerance?

Moral Maze on Islamic terrorism last night. Where are the Muslims on the street demonstrating against ISIS, demonstrating against the atrocities in Paris last Friday night? When Muslims come to the West they should discard their cultural baggage. There is no support in the Koran for their Medieval ways. This from a Muslim academic.

Very valid point made at Europe is Kaput (discussion between Yanis Varoufakis and Slavoj Zizek, later joined by Julian Assange), in the West we must underscore our liberal values, we cannot allow ourselves to be cowed by the knee-jerk cry of Islamaphobia. We must oppose bastardisation of women,  forced marriage, hate crimes, honour killings.

Talking to an Iranian friend today, a Muslim.

A man and a woman in his shop. He politely asked why was the woman dressed the way she was, full burka, tiny slit for her eyes, please show me, here is a copy of The Koran? The man became abusive. My friend pointed out the man was in his shop, and he had asked a polite question. Man became more abusive. My friend told them they were a disgrace to all Muslims.

He had an imam from a mosque, an ignorant, uneducated fellow. Why do you not hang a sign outside your mosque condemning ISIS? Cannot, the man replied, the mosque would be bombed.

In Iran, in Turkey, there are academic centres of learning for The Koran. The clerics practising in UK, are illiterate, backward peasants from backward village cultures, who bring their ignorance with them.

On Radio 4 this evening a discussion, Paris: Could it happen here? Muslim extremists are not the fringe of Islamic culture in England.

Saudi Arabia is a main funder of terrorism, an exporter of a perversion of Islam.

We can stand by and do nothing about Isis. If we do, Isis will expand.

We need as Jeremy Corbyn has said, to cut off the funding. That means Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. We also have to deal with the oil from Isis finding its way onto the black market. These are necessary, but not sufficient conditions to defeat Isis.

Isis is a de facto country. We will not defeat Isis as David Cameron in his simplistic thinking seems to believe by bombing them, bombing is making the situation worse and bringing in more recruits.  We will only defeat Isis, by US, France, Germany and Russia, working together to defeat Isis on the ground, then occupation for many years until the democratic structures of the country are rebuilt, as we did with Nazi Germany.

We must remove Assad. Assad has killed more Syrians than Isis. It was repression by Assad that led to Isis.

We must not make the mistake of Iraq, where US contractors were brought in to rebuild the country, leaving Iraqis unemployed and penniless. Syrians must rebuild Syria.

The vote in the House of Commons on Syria, must be a free vote, with each MP free to make his or her own mind up, not told how to vote by Party Leaders.

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?