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
Syria (GPA) – The Syrian government has appealed to the United Nations to punish Israel for an alleged rocket attack on a major military airbase yesterday about two hours after a suicide bombing in Damascus. Last night Damascus was hit by 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.
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.
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.
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.
Earlier today the Syrian government accused Israel of an attack on an important airbase near the Syrian capital.
Reports differ on what kind of strike actually took place but Israel has made no comment. Pro-western media outlets such as Al Jazeera are saying it was possibly an explosion of an ammunition depot that caused the blaze.
The Lebanese news outlet Al Mayadeen claims the attack was carried out by an Israeli jet from Lebanon’s airspace targeting Hezbollah fighters and aiming to further destroy advanced weaponry.
Turkey is sending a message that its armed forces are still a strong and capable fighting force, despite large-scale purges of officers of the highest ranks.
Turkey, it appears, is itching for a fight in Iraq and Syria. Its August incursion into Syria, through the ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield, was no doubt an important turning point. No longer an active bystander to the conflict in Syria, Turkey became an actual participant in the civil war that has been waging for over five years.
There was a time when opinion polls showed that the military was the most trusted organization in the country, with 89 per cent of the population holding such views. However, this declined to 66 per cent by 2011 after the military was hit by the Ergenekon and Balyoz arrests, trials and convictions which alleged coup plotting within the military’s top brass. According to a recent survey, over the past six months trust in the army has continued to fall. This lack of faith and disappointment for the military has no doubt taken another plunge after the failed coup attempt of 15 July.
Questions and suspicion now embody three deaths of US military operatives in Jordan. Now, decide for yourself which is sketchier. That the men were working for the CIA, or their alleged killer was a man in Jordanian uniform? Despite an ongoing government terrorism investigation, news is as discreet as their Jordanian mission.
According to the Washington Post, this represents the deadliest CIA-involved incident since 2009. Sources claim the men were ambushed while en route to a Jordanian military training facility.
Jordan’s status as an important regional ally deeply sensitizes the incident. It’s now confirmed that the Americans received fire from a Jordanian soldier, shortly after their convoy was allowed through a security gate. As of yet, FBI can’t rule out the possibility of a “mistake” having occurred. The Jordanian government is launching a parallel, independent inquiry.
Another US soldier has died as the result of Iraq’s third American-involved war. The operative’s death both shadows the new Mosul offensive, and a massive US troop surge launched shortly before. Those forces, like this most recent casualty, are almost entirely dark shades of special forces.
Chief Petty Officer Jason C. “JJ” Finan died as a result of wounds sustained by an improvised explosive device. Few details are currently available, and officials are cautious to admit Finan was directly involved in the battle. Islamic State militants have held Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest, since the beginning of the war. Militants seized the town with American arms and vehicles, with many Iraqi forces retreating without a fight. Many Iraqi soldiers stripped their fatigues, vests, and put down their guns fleeing the Islamic State’s hard-charge from Syria.
A massive surge in British and American forces is foreshadowing alleged preparations for an equally massive offensive. What exactly they’ll be doing is unclear, as most are special forces. The move invokes ongoing frustrations related to the blackening out of Iraq’s third war. Now, citizens worldwide unanimously question the role of special forces in Iraq and Syria.
Washington announced the recent deployment of over 600 American forces to “assist” indigenous fighters.They’ll arrive in time for a rugged offensive aiming to retake Mosul from the Islamic State.