Algeria (SCF) – In many ways, the outcome of the Arab Spring is still in flux six years on. So far, little attention has been devoted to the largest country of Africa and the Arab world. Algeria has remained largely unaffected Read More
Middle East (NEO) – There’s a good chance that the dreams about peace and prosperity won’t betray the people of the Middle East this year around. It won’t be an exaggeration to state that that’s what the absolute majority of those Read More
Turkey (SCF) – Among the major geopolitical challenges of 2017 that could seriously alter the balance of power in the international arena, particular attention should be given to the developing situation in Turkey. The final weeks of 2016 showed increasing cooperation Read More
Syria (GPA) – The Islamic State released video of militants detonating bombs inside a crucial Hayyan gas facility over the weekend, effectively leaving millions of Syrians without heat for the winter. The gas facility was located in the eastern countryside of Read More
In a recent meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to the Iranian ayatollah, Iraqi Vice President and former Prime Minister Nouri al-Malaki thanked Iran for their assistance in fighting jihadists and criticized the Gulf States for colluding with these groups.
Maliki praised the Islamic Republic of Iran during a visit to Tehran to improve diplomatic and military relations. He thanked Iranian officials for the ongoing assistance they have provided during Iraq’s battle against takfiri militants such as the Islamic State (IS). The VP said despite many countries promising to assist in the campaign against jihadists, Iran was the only one to deliver on their promises.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has proposed ways to pave the way for creating a mechanism to uproot terrorism and extremism worldwide.
In an article published in the Iranian Review of Foreign Affairs on Friday, Zarif said, “The twin problems of terrorism and extremism, far beyond the never-ending polemics among politicians, stand out as the natural outcome of intrinsic failings in the current (and recent) international situation.”
Turkish President Recep Erdogan said in a press conference yesterday that he has proof of the US aiding terrorists in Syria such as the Kurdish YPG and PYD but also including the Islamic State (IS).
Erdogan said it was “very clear” that the US is arming and supporting “terrorist groups including Daesh (IS)” as well as the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) and PYD (Democratic Union Party). The US is currently at odds with Turkey over whether the YPG and PYD are actually terror groups and the US sees them as “reliable partners” in the war against IS despite Turkish claims of their connections to the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). The PKK is agreed to be a terrorist group by the US, EU and Turkey.
The US does work with some Kurdish groups under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which also includes some pro-Turkish elements of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). State Department spokesman Mark Toner addressed these claims in his daily press briefing saying that the US has “never provided weapons to the YPG.”
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced Saturday that the last refuge of the African terrorist organization and Islamic State affiliate Boko Haram has fallen to Nigerian troops.
The remnants of the terrorist organization were surrounded over the weekend in their final refuge, “camp zero” in the Sambisa forest in northern Nigeria. President Buhari congratulated the troops on a “long awaited” victory and the “final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave.”
Although this news means that Boko Haram has lost out on the area of land they held, it is probably not necessarily the end of their dangerous ideology. Much like the Islamic State organization that Boko Haram leaders pledged allegiance to in 2015; taking their physical territory may just prove to make the group turn to more violent tactics of insurgency.
A 23-year-old Danish woman who attracted international attention for joining the Kurds in battling Daesh has been imprisoned, stripped of her visa, and banned from international travel for 12 months by the Danish government.
Joanna Palani seemed a natural to attract international attention. The daughter of Iranian Kurds, Palani was born in a UN Iraqi refugee camp in 1993. In 2014, she dropped out of college, returning to her motherland to “fight for human rights for all people,” in her own words. Her father and grandfather were soldiers as well, and she has been operating firearms since the age of nine.
Government Forces Did Not Intervene, Respond.
An Iraqi government-backed militia on November 29, 2016, executed at least four men they suspected of affiliation with the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today. The men were killed without any judicial proceeding. Murder of prisoners in a conflict is a war crime.
Residents of the Shayalat al-Imam village said that Iraqi Security Forces were in the village when the Hashad al-Jabour militia executed the men and stood idly by while they witnessed at least one execution. The villagers did not see them take any steps to stop the killings or punish the killers. Some Hashad al-Asha`ri militias from Sunni tribes, including the Hashad al-Jabour, are members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which are fighting alongside the Iraqi troops to retake areas of northern Iraq from ISIS.
In one of his final moves in office, president Obama has committed another 2,300 US troops to Afghanistan to help the government curb the resurgence of the Taliban.
After a year of territorial gains by the Taliban in their fight against the weakened Afghani government, the US is sending around 2,300 troops from armor and aviation brigades to assist in attempting to turn the tide. The troops are being sent as part of operation Freedom’s Sentinel to “advise and assist” the Afghan security services in their ongoing fight.
The Afghan forces are also combating the still-active al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan as well as a new cell of the Islamic State that materialized in the country earlier this year. The US forces have have their work cut out for them judging by the failures of the Afghan government in the past few years as well as the rampant corruption within the security services.
Over 600 people, including more than 450 children, have been rescued from the Boko Haram extremist group, a Nigerian commander, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, has announced.
According to the commander, over a dozen Boko Haram fighters were eliminated as a result of the rescue operation conducted in Sambisa Forest in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State.
In an interview with RT, the Syrian President warned against taking statements by western governments at face value, as in Aleppo, they seemed to care more about saving terrorists than civilians. He also slammed the lackluster reaction to Daesh’s onslaught on Palmyra.
President Bashar Assad sat down for an interview with RT’s Maria Finoshina as the war in Syria has hit a new critical point with the Syrian Army’s liberation of Aleppo and Daesh’s return to Palmyra. Here’s a fragment of the interview, which is to be exclusively aired on RT on Wednesday.
Jets carrying out air strikes missed an Islamic State target and instead hit residential buildings. Dozens of people including women and children are assumed to have been killed.
Witnesses believe the strike was aiming for a Mosque frequently used by IS as a headquarters, but missed and instead hit residential buildings. It is likely that the strike came from the Iraqi Air Force (who are supported by the United States coalition). But it cannot yet be confirmed who is responsible.
What is interesting though is that BBC used the Islamic State’s news agency– Amaq– as a legitimate first-hand source. In fact, they even used a screenshot from a video on the group’s website. Here’s a screenshot from the BBC article:
Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube agreed to create a shared database of extremist materials to curb the spread of terrorist content online, a joint press release said.
According to the statement, the partnership implies that participating companies would be able to determine independently what image or video hashes to contribute to the database. It has also stressed that no personal information would be shared and matching content would not be automatically removed.