Αυτοκαθορισμός

Αυτοκαθορισμός

Σάββατο, 8 Νοεμβρίου 2014

MESOP / Αναδημοσιεύσεις αναλύσεων και άρθρων..






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MESOP : AFTER CEMILY BAYIK CHOSE THE US THE FRIENDSHIP WITH BASHAR IS OVER

Assad regime establishes Arab militia to combat Kurds: activists

ARA News – 7 Nov. 2014 – Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – The Syrian regime called upon the residents of Hasakah province in northeast Syria to join the recently established pro-Assad militia of “al-Maghawir”, by distributing posters and leaflets through proponents working in al-Baath unions and partisan branches.General Mohammad Khadour, military governor of Hasakah province, invited the Arab residents to join the newly formed militia, claiming it will defend the area from extremist rebels. “Joining al-Maghawir is to participate in the efforts to eradicate terrorism in Hasakah and to defend the country’s dignity and land,” Khadour was quoted in one of the posters which appeared across Hasakah city. According to observers, the formation of an Arab militia in the area is meant to fight the Kurds rather than to combat terrorism, especially with the growing power of the Kurdish forces and their gains against militants of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS).

Local sources told ARA News that participants will receive salaries and be treated and reimbursed like soldiers in the army, by joining the national defense centers and army units in the city under the banner of al-Maghawir.
“Salaries will exceed 35,000 Syrian Pounds; that is why more than one thousand young men have already joined the forces,” an opposition activist told ARA News in Hasakah, under the condition of anonymity. “Moreover, civil servants will receive a 100% increase of their salaries, if they join, regardless of their workplace, the prerequisite is to already be an employee of one of the governmental institutions.”   Political activist Yusuf Suleiman from the city of Hasakah told ARA News “the regime attempts to use young men to support its presence and to use them later on in its ‘conspiracies’.” Suleiman accused the Syrian regime of nurturing sectarianism in the Kurdish-majority province of Hasakah.  “Establishing such a militia will guarantee Assad that the Kurds won’t be the only force in power in the area if the situation further deteriorate,” he told ARA News. “A Kurdish-Arab civil war could take place at any moment in the area.”  
Reporting by: Serbaz Yusuf – Source: ARA News





MESOP Syria Daily: What Now in the US War on Insurgents?

By Scott Lucas November 7, 2014 06:45 Updated -EAWORLDVIEW  -LATEST: Video — Claim of 15 Killed in Double Barrel-Bombing in al-Shaer in Aleppo
Both the US and insurgents appear to be assessing their next steps after Wednesday’s American airstrikes on parts of the insurgency in northwest Syria.
It was confirmed on Thursday that the US struck not only the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra — which was attacked with missiles on September 22, the first day of the American aerial intervention in Syria — but also the prominent group Ahrar al-Sham, part of Syria’s largest insurgent bloc Islamic Front.
Syria Developing: US Renews Attacks on Mysterious “Khorasan Group” — But Is It Actually Targeting Insurgents?
The US attacked Jabhat al-Nusra in Sarmada in Idlib Province, with one assault reportedly aiming at the vehicle of a senior commander. Another of the five airstrikes was on Ahrar al-Sham near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey.

Unnamed US officials put out the story that they were again trying to kill leading members of the “Khorasan Group”, a claimed terrorist cell planning an attack on the US. The Group was also the nominal target of the September 22 missiles, days after its threat was publicly declared by Washington for the first time.
There was no confirmation of the deaths of “Khorasan” members, although a Defense Department official fed the story to the US media that a French bombmaker, David (Daoud) Drugeon, was slain. A spokesman for US Central Command, General Lloyd Austin, declared that Drugeon was “one of the leadership elements and one of the most dangerous elements in the organization. Anytime we can take their leadership out, it’s a good thing.”
Meanwhile, activists posted video of civilian casualties, including four children.
Footage of the aftermath of the attack on Jabhat al-Nusra in the town of Harem:
The US attacks came days after Jabhat al-Nusra defeated the Syrian Revolutionary Front, which has been supported by the Americans, in a series of clashes in Idlib Province. Ahrar al-Sham said it was not involved in the fighting; however, the defection of SRF members to the group reportedly prompted SRF raids which led to the battle with Jabhat al-Nusra.
The US Central Command insisted that decimation of the “Khorasan Group” was its only objective and said, “The strikes were not in response to the Nusrah Front’s clashes with the Syrian moderate opposition, they added, and did not target the Nusrah Front as a whole.
Leading Ahrar al-Sham members revealed the American attack on their position. They denounced ““something that would not benefit anyone but the criminal regime” of President Assad; however, they did not indicate how they would react.
Jabhat al-Nusra also maintained silence on its next steps. On Tuesday, its leader Abu Mohammad al-Joulani hailed the victory over the Syrian Revolutionary Front, which he said had been supported by US and Saudi intelligence. He said the decision to “end” the SRF had been taken with Ahrar al-Sham and other factions.
The Islamist faction also moved into positions vacated by Harakat Hazm, another group provided with US-made heavy weapons. Jabhat al-Nusra attacked Harakat Hazm when the latter tried to stop reinforcements for the fight against the Syrian Revolutionary Front.
(Featured Photo: Jabhat al-Nusra position in Harem in Idlib Province, reportedly hit on Wednesday by US airstrike)




MESOP : SALIH MUSLIM “PRAISES” PESHMERGA – A QUITE NEW SOUND & NEVER HEARD BEFORE

Aawsat – 7 Nov 2014 BEIRUT,— Allied Kurdish and Arab forces are continuing to advance against Islamic State group IS militants in and around the besieged border Kurdish city of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) co-president Salih Muslim said on Thursday.In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Muslim hailed the entrance of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters, backed by Iraqi Peshmerga forces, into the conflict, adding that the Kurdish forces are making “slow but steady” progress against the Islamist militants who are planting mines and IED’s to cover their retreat from certain areas.

International media reported that around 150 Peshmerga fighters had reinforced YPG units in the border city last week, bringing with them much needed weapons and ammunition. This represented the first time that Turkey had allowed ground troops from outside Syria to provide military assistance to Syrian Kurds. The PYD leader said that Kurdish Peshmerga forces have had an “effective” role in the battle, adding that the sophisticated arms that they are using have allowed them to target tanks and armored vehicles from long range, changing the military reality on the ground in Kobani.
He added that more Kurdish Peshmerga forces could enter the battle in the coming days and weeks. “We are not talking about specific numbers; it depends on what is required. The military leadership is discussing this issue freely on the basis that there are [now] no political restriction,” Muslim told Asharq Al-Awsat. However the Kurdish political leader issued an implicit criticism of Free Syrian Army (FSA) involvement in the battle for Kobani, saying that “FSA units that entered [Kobani] recently quickly took the decision to retreat based on the difficult circumstances of the battle and their inability to endure.”
However, Muslim denied that there were any problems between the FSA and YPG units, adding that the issue was based on disagreements among the various FSA units themselves over battle plans and coordination.  The PYD leader also praised the “effective” nature of air strikes by international forces on ISIS (IS) position, specifically praising the involvement of Arab air forces involved in the anti-ISIS alliance, saying this “confirms the Arab-Kurdish brotherhood.” His comments came on the same day that Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari said Baghdad would not accept any foreign military personnel on Iraqi soil, but would accept training from abroad for Iraqi forces. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara on Wednesday, Jaafari welcomed Turkey’s offer to train and equip members of the Iraqi military and police force in the fight against IS.




MESOP FLASH : Central Command general to ISIS: We can hear you

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN – November 7, 2014 — Updated 0655 GMT (1455 HKT)

Gen. Lloyd Austin heads the United States Central Command – Austin said he has seen evidence the U.S.-led coalition is gaining upper hand against ISIS – General wants Turkey to grant coalition more access, over-flight rights –  Lloyd Austin, who heads the U.S. Central Command, made those remarks at an event Thursday with the Atlantic Council, which was moderated by CNN anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper.  “What we want to do is take away the enemies’ ability to command and control, his ability to sustain himself, his ability to project combat power and his ability to move forces back and forth across the Iraq/Syria border.”

Austin said coalition airstrikes on Wednesday were focused on the Khorasan group. Senior military officials told CNN one of the targets was French bomb-maker David Drugeon. Austin said the military was still assessing the impact of those strikes and would not say whether or not Drugeon was killed.
But, he noted that “any time we can take their leadership out that’s a good thing.”
Austin said there is evidence that the U.S.-led coalition is gaining the upper hand against ISIS.
“They are afraid to congregate in any sizable formation. They know if we can see them, we’re going to engage them and we’re going to hit what we’re aiming at.”
Children say ISIS captured, beat them on way home from exams
We can hear you…
Austin also said the strikes have significantly degraded the group’s ability to communicate and added the coalition was able to listen in on ISIS communications.
 Key bomb maker killed in U.S. airstrike Officials: Terrorists survived airstrikes U.S. Gen.: Airstrikes are buying time
“As we listen to them, we know that the impact of the precision strikes is demoralizing to them.”
The general responded to questions about ISIS militants getting access to warplanes, after the militants were seen on their social media channels with a number of captured aircraft.
“I don’t think that’s currently a significant threat. I know I have some fighter pilots who are hopeful that happens,” he said, drawing chuckles from the crowd.
ISIS still has the capability to continue in the fight, the general said, despite what he pointed to as successes from the coalition side.
“I think the question is how soon can we get the Iraqi military up to speed to do what they need to do to hold those gains.”
Austin acknowledged the ISIS propaganda effort was having a major impact in recruitment for the group.”They really understand the value of dominating the media space. I think they’re about as good as I’ve seen.”
He said their numbers of committed fighters was likely between 9,000-17,000, a figure much lower than previous U.S. estimates.
Austin echoed other comments from military leaders that the fight against ISIS will be years long but said, “I don’t see it as decades. I see it as years.”
ISIS kills 300 members of Sunni tribe
‘Turkey has skin in the game’
One member of the coalition has caused a certain amount of controversy. Turkey has limited use of its airspace and military bases despite pledging to help in the effort.
 Why is ISIS so attractive to recruits? WH: ISIS advancements met with airstrikes U.S. envoy for Iraq: fighting ISIS “to the death”
“Turkey has skin in the game here, obviously. It’s got a set of concerns and we need to be mindful of that,” Austin said, adding that the coalition would “get it done” with or without more support from the Turks.
“The more access and over-flight rights we can get, the better off we’ll be.”
Tapper asked about speculation ISIS was receiving financing from U.S. ally Qatar, and how successful the coalition had been at stopping the outside funding of the group.
“I think some things have been done but I think most folks in U.S. government will tell you, there’s a lot more work that can be done and needs to be done,” Austin said.
The event was open to the media but cameras were prohibited from filming the session and a previously scheduled live stream of the event by the Atlantic Council was canceled at the request of CENTCOM.
CENTCOM said it agreed to the event under the auspices that it was a “scholarly discussion.” CNN and other broadcast outlets protested the decision. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/06/world/general-isis/index.html





MESOP : OBAMA DEALS WITH MULLAHS FOR GETTING A NUCLEAR DEAL

U.S. opens channels with Iran over ISIS

By Elise Labott and Jim Sciutto, CNN – November 7, 2014 — Updated 0058 GMT (0858 HKT) – Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama’s administration is trying to open channels of communication with Iran regarding the war on ISIS. Amid revelations that Obama sent a letter to Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last month pointing out the countries’ shared interest in beating ISIS, a senior U.S. official and a Western diplomat tell CNN that Washington has gone through the Iraqis to communicate with Iran.

The conversations do not include taking joint military action against ISIS targets, the sources said, but are seen as necessary to avert conflict in U.S. and Iranian operations.

Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer wouldn’t address specific outreach efforts in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, but said: “We work very closely with the Iraqis and the Iraqis have a relationship with the Iranians.”
 Photos: The ISIS terror threat Photos: The ISIS terror threat
The discussions through the Iraqis are informal and conducted on a case-by-case basis via the Iraqi military, the sources said. The channels have become necessary, the U.S. military official said, because the United States and Iran are now operating in the same spaces. As a result, “accommodations must be made indirectly,” this official said. This includes airspace management, so U.S. and Iranian forces do not conflict while carrying out military operations in the same airspace, CNN was told.
The revelation of the communications channel comes even as the military and administration continue to insist it is not cooperating with the Iranians on strategy or intelligence.
“With respect to Iran, we’re not coordinating with Iran, as you know,” said Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of U.S. Central Command, at an event moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Thursday, when asked how the United States prevents any accidental killing of Iranians who are on the ground advising Iraqi forces.
The White House also stressed it is not working alongside the Iranian military.
“The United States will not cooperate militarily with Iran in that effort. We won’t share intelligence with them,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday when asked about another communication between President Obama and Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Earnest would not acknowledge Obama’s letter, saying he would not talk about the “private correspondence” of the President.
 Video shows ISIS fighters trading women Why is ISIS so attractive to recruits? U.S. envoy for Iraq: fighting ISIS “to the death”
“I can tell you that the policy that the President and his administration have articulated about Iran remains unchanged. The United States is engaged in conversations with Iran in the context of the P-5-plus-1 talks to resolve the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Earnest said. “We have also discussed on the sidelines of those talks on at least a couple of occasions, the ongoing campaign that is being conducted against ISIL by the United States and 60 members of — now more than 60 — members who are part of this broader coalition.”
Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham blasted the Obama administration, saying it’s “outrageous” to reach out to the “same Iranian regime that has been complicit in the rise of ISIS by pushing a violent sectarian agenda throughout the Middle East.”
“The administration needs to understand that this Iranian regime cares more about trying to weaken America and push us out of the Middle East than cooperating with us,” McCain and Graham said in a joint statement. “Until we recognize that reality, and formulate a regional strategy to counter the Iranian regime’s malign influence, we will continue to harm U.S. national security interests, as well as our relationships with our closest regional allies and partners, in pursuit of the illusory goal of rapprochement with the current Iranian leadership. The consequences of this ill-conceived bargain would destroy the Syrians’ last best chance to live in freedom from the brutal Assad regime.”
ISIS kills 300 members of Sunni tribe
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said U.S.-Iran nuclear talks aren’t linked to U.S. cooperation with Iran in combating ISIS.
“We don’t look at it as a linked situation,” she said. “Our concerns about Iran’s engagement are more expansive than that. Obviously, we understand that they have concerns about the threat of ISIL, which they have expressed as well, but I would not look at it as a path to a different type of coordination.”
While the United States acknowledged notifying Iran before striking in Syria earlier this year, administration officials have said there is no cooperation between the countries in combating ISIS. Secretary of State John Kerry said there would be no “cooperation,” but the United States wanted to “de-conflict.”
“The United States will not cooperate militarily with Iran in that effort. We won’t share intelligence with them. But their interests in the outcome is something that’s been widely commented on — commented upon and something that on a couple of occasions has been discussed on the sidelines of other conversations,” Earnest said.
Central Command general to ISIS: We can hear you
While there are many other concerning aspects of Iranian behavior for the United States, including human rights and Americans in captivity, the nuclear deal is seen as the major impediment, one of the sources said.
 U.N. envoy to Syria: ISIS is stoppable ISIS brainwashing kids to fight New U.S. worry: ISIS foreign fighters
The administration did not notify its Mideast allies in Israel or the Gulf about the letter, the other source said.
In September, Khamenei said he rejected U.S. overtures to join the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS.
Report: Children say ISIS captured, beat them on way home from exams
In comments released by Iran’s FARS news agency, Khamenei detailed what he called “U.S. demands for cooperation.”
“During the hard days of Daesh’s attacks on Iraq, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq demanded our envoy in the country (Iraq) that Iran and the U.S. meet for negotiations and coordination on Daesh,” Khamenei said, using a derogatory nickname for ISIS. “Our ambassador reflected the issue to Iran and although some officials didn’t voice opposition, I opposed it and said we will not cooperate with the Americans in this regard since they have a corrupt intention and stained hands and how could we have cooperation with the Americans under such conditions?”
Referring to Kerry’s comments that Iran would not be invited to join the anti-ISIS coalition, Khamenei said, according to FARS, “The same U.S. secretary of state had personally demanded (Iranian Foreign Minister) Dr. (Mohammad Javad) Zarif, and called for cooperation with us on Daesh but Dr. Zarif had rejected his demand.” He added that Acting Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator in the nuclear talks, “repeated the same demand for cooperation with Iran” with her counterparts.

Opinion: Why West must roll back military involvement in Iraq, Syria
Obama has made at least two other overtures to the Supreme Leader since taking office in 2009.
News of the letter angered congressional opponents of a nuclear deal with Iran. They are already deeply discomforted by details of a possible agreement that have been emerging ahead of an end-of-November deadline.
One senior GOP congressional staffer told CNN’s Stephen Collinson that the letter was sending “shock waves” through Capitol Hill and suggested it would also anger Israel and U.S. allies in the Middle East who think the President is already going behind their backs to negotiate a “bad deal” with Iran. http://edition.cnn.com/2014/11/06/politics/obama-iran-isis-letter/index.html



Biker Gang Chic and ‘reverse Jihad’: the ‘Other’ Foreign Fighters

MESOP : THE EUROPEAN FIGHTING BATTALIONS IN MIDDLE EAST (PKK/PYD-ASSYRIANS-YEZIDI PLUS AMERICANS RECRUITED IN THE WEST)

By Shashi Jayakumar – Shashi Jayakumar is Senior Fellow and Deputy Head of the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.

Recent media reports on the journey by three members of the Dutch biker gang “No Surrender” to support Kurdish fighters against Islamic State (IS) point to an under-explored phenomenon — foreign fighters taking up arms against IS. Understanding this development may throw some light on how the conflict in Syria and Iraq might unfold.


The members of the Dutch biker gang are reportedly former members of the military. What precisely motivated them other than sympathy for the Kurds, is unknown. There are some suggestions that the biker gang’s involvement had been purely to support the distribution of aid — until IS’ recent gains and atrocities against minorities such as the Yezedis and Christians made them take up arms. “You can’t stay sitting on your couch,” said one of the gang when interviewed by the media.
Kurdish solidarity, Syriac Christians and Americans
A small number of individuals from the Kurdish diaspora in Europe are known to have returned to support their brethren, fighting with the YPG (the Kurdish People’s Protection Units in Syria) or the peshmerga in Iraq. Many more are involved through fundraising in Europe. Kurdish activists in Europe and Britain say that IS’ successes have caused more Kurds to make the journey to fight as it threatens the existence of the Kurdish people. It also puts at risk their dream of an autonomous Kurdish entity spanning the Kurdish areas in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey.
Syrian and Iraqi Christians have also begun to mobilise as regions formerly untouched by the conflict are now falling under the shadow of IS. Their situation — outmanned and largely outgunned — has not gone unheeded by members of the Syriac Christian diaspora. A Swiss of Syrian Christian origin, Johan Cosar, has been fighting for the Syriac Military Council (known as the MFS), a Christian militia group active in the mainly Kurdish region of Northeast Syria.
Cosar, a former soldier in the Swiss army, has imparted some of his military training to MFS fighters, and appears himself to have taken part in fighting against IS in joint MFS operations with the YPG. Reports suggest that there are several others like Cosar. A key motivating factor appears to be empathy for co-religionists. Another Swiss national active in Iraq, interviewed by the media, commented: “Someone has to take action to prevent the disappearance of Christians.”
Three Americans, all with some military experience, are known to be fighting with the YPG in Syria. They appear to see themselves as responding to the call of moral duty. As Jordan Matson, the most prominent of the Americans with the YPG, states in an interview: “I can’t just stand by (while men women and children are killed).” There is also some suggestion of rootlessness or psychological displacement. The Americans in question appear not to be deeply rooted in the US and may be searching for some sort of cause.
Implications and possibilities
None of the groups fighting IS or other jihadist elements in Syria or Iraq have issued a general call to arms for foreign fighters to come to their aid. Spokesmen for the Kurdish regional government in Iraq and peshmerga officials have indicated that what is needed are arms, not manpower. It is unlikely that the Kurdish forces in Iraq or Syria would issue such a call to foreign fighters in the near term, given that this would likely antagonise Western powers which are providing aid to them.
The network to bring such fighters in, however, is clearly in place. The Americans fighting with the YPG appear to have first got in touch with YPG elements on social media, while there are scattered indications of a similar underground railroad that assisted Europeans of Syriac Christian origin in making the journey to Iraq and Syria. Also in place is a rudimentary “cheerleading” element. One of the Americans fighting with the YPG (Jordan Matson) has taken up the role of answering questions from others (including, by his own account, hundreds of individuals from the West) considering going to join the anti-IS fight.
Some commentators have made comparisons with the “International Brigades” of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) — individuals largely drawn from various parts of the western world who fought against fascist forces. These comparisons are for the time being fanciful. There are, however, intriguing signs that some individuals without any direct religious or ethnic affiliation to the groups under threat by IS may consider joining the fight. Recent media reports suggest that citizens of Greece and Turkey (including individuals of non-Kurdish origin) have joined the YPG, motivated by the threat that IS poses to greater humanity.
But the most interesting of the “lone wolves” within this class is an unnamed individual (not thought to be of Kurdish or Muslim origin) from Britain’s elite Royal Marine Commandos; in October 2014 he was stopped by the authorities before he could execute his plan to fly to Turkey and link up with the peshmerga fighting IS.
Threat of larger inter-religious conflict?
If IS gains ground in a manner which imminently threatens genocide of Kurdish and Christian populations in Iraq and Syria, increasing numbers from the West may consider it their duty to fight for their ethnic brethren or co-religionists. Already, some websites with a fundamentalist Christian orientation have started to talk of a crusade or “reverse jihad” against IS. The related, longer-term possibility is that the clash against IS may acquire overtones of a larger inter-religious conflict.
There is also the question of the fate that awaits these anti-IS foreign fighters (should they survive) if and when they attempt to return to their home countries. US officials have stated that it is illegal for an American to fight for Syrian militia. But various EU states appear — for the time being at least — to be prepared to look the other way. The Dutch authorities have for example suggested that there is nothing to prevent Dutch Kurds from joining the anti-IS fight, and that such individuals do not face persecution on their return to the Netherlands.
Technically, however, it is still illegal to join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, which remains a proscribed terrorist organisation, and which has close links to the YPG. Unless the authorities make clear their stance on their citizens joining the anti-IS conflict, unofficial “boots on the ground” may arrive in greater numbers, whether governments like it or not.
http://www.eurasiareview.com





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