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Bans may make Russia more independent: Lavrov

By , July 28, 2014 2:02 pm

Bans may make Russia more independent: Lavrov
By: Press TV on: 28.07.2014 [14:04 ] (93 reads)

Bans may make Russia more independent: Lavrov

Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:56AM GMT

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says West’s sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine would not achieve their goal and instead may make Moscow more economically independent.

Lavrov made the remarks at a news conference on Monday in the Russian capital Moscow.

“(Sanctions) simply cannot achieve (their aim) … I assure you, we will overcome any difficulties that may arise in certain areas of the economy, and maybe we will become more independent and more confident in our own strength,” said Lavrov.

The top Russian diplomat added that Moscow would not take tit-for-tat moves or act “hysterically” in response to imposed sanctions by the United States and the European Union.

Lavrov’s remarks come as members of the European Union are due to make a final decision on Tuesday on widening its sanctions against Russia.

The measures include closing EU’s capital markets to Russian state banks, an arms sales embargo and restrictions on dual-use and energy technologies.

On July 25, the European Union added another 15 Russian and Ukrainian individuals and 18 entities to its sanction list, bringing the totals of those affected by bans to 87 people and 20 organizations.

The European Union has been accusing Moscow of playing a key role in the crisis in eastern Ukraine, which broke out when Kiev launched military operations to silence pro-Russia protests in April.

Threats of sanctions against Russia intensified further after Malaysian Flight MH17, heading from the Dutch capital of Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was reportedly shot down on July 17, over Ukraine’s volatile Donetsk region.

Western powers accuse pro-Russia forces of downing the civilian airliner. The pro-Russians deny any involvement in the tragedy.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/07/28/373110/bans-may-make-russia-more-independent/

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Israeli Envoy: Our Military Deserves Nobel Peace Prize for Not Killing More Gazans

By , July 25, 2014 3:17 pm

Israeli Envoy: Our Military Deserves Nobel Peace Prize for Not Killing More Gazans
By: Jason Ditz on: 23.07.2014 [05:44 ] (127 reads)

Israeli Envoy: Our Military Deserves Nobel Peace Prize for Not Killing More Gazans
Says ‘Israeli Soldiers Are Dying So That innocent Palestinians Can Live’
by Jason Ditz, July 22, 2014

While the rest of the world stands aghast at the soaring civilian toll of Israel’s ongoing invasion of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer thinks the hundreds of dead civilians, many children, were proof of Israel’s remarkable mercy.

“The truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize,” Dermer insisted, “a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.” This speech was delivered less than 24 hours after Israel bombed a Gaza hospital.

“Israeli soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live,” Dermer claimed, going on to contrast Israel’s attacks on densely populated residential neighborhoods in Gaza to deadliest British carpet bombings of German cities during World War 2, which is apparently the standard by which he believes all wars are to be waged.

Lest you think this was an unusual outburst for Dermer, his speech also included a whole section calling Iran “the Great Evil” and another accusing human rights groups of “aiding Hamas” for complaining about all those dead children.

Dermer was appointed Israeli Ambassador to the US last year, replacing outgoing Michael Oren. His appointment was controversial because he had openly campaigned for Mitt Romney in 2012 and urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to distance himself from Obama in the lead-up to that election.

He was also controversial because of his history as an outspoken opponent of the two-state solution, which he dubbed “childish,” at a time when Israel was desperately trying to convince the US they were serious about peace. In the midst of an endlessly escalating war, his bellicosity is less out of place, though still remarkably undiplomatic.

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/07/22/israeli-envoy-our-military-deserves-nobel-peace-prize-for-not-killing-more-gazans/

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10 more questions Russian military pose to Ukraine, US over MH17 crash

By , July 22, 2014 8:22 am

10 more questions Russian military pose to Ukraine, US over MH17 crash
By: RT on: 22.07.2014 [06:35 ] (162 reads)

10 more questions Russian military pose to Ukraine, US over MH17 crash
Published time: July 21, 2014 23:23

Russia has released military monitoring data, which shows Kiev military jets tracking the MH17 plane shortly before the crash – and posed yet another set of questions to Ukraine and the US over the circumstances of the tragedy.

Military officials – chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Andrey Kartopolov and chief of the Air Force Main Staff Lt. Gen. Igor Makushev – posed a number of questions to Kiev and Washington concerning the possible causes of the catastrophe in Eastern Ukraine that killed almost 300 people last Thursday.
1. Why did the MH17 plane leave the international corridor?

“Please note that the plane stayed within the corridor until it reached Donetsk but then it deviated from the route to the north,” said Kartopolov.
2. Was MH17 leaving the route a navigation mistake or was the crew following instructions by Ukrainian air traffic controllers in Dnepropetrovsk?

“The maximum deviation from the left border of the corridor was 14 km. Following that, we can see the plane maneuvering to return to the corridor, yet the Malaysian crew did not get a chance to complete the maneuver. At 17.20, the plane began to lose speed, and at 17.23 it disappeared from Russian radars.”
3. Why was a large group of air defense systems deployed to the militia-held area if the self-defense forces have no planes?

“As far as we know, the Ukrainian military had three or four air defense battalions equipped with Buk-M1 SAM systems deployed in the vicinity of Donetsk on the day of the crash. This system is capable of hitting targets within the range of 35 km at the altitude of up to 22 km.”

Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014. (RIA Novosti)

Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 14, 2014. (RIA Novosti)
4. Why did Kiev deploy Buk missile system right next to the militia-controlled area straight ahead of the tragedy?

“We have satellite photos of the places where Ukraine had its air defense units deployed in the southeastern parts of the country. The first three photos were made on July 14. The first photo shows Buk launchers 8 km northwest of Lugansk. You can clearly see a TELAR and two TELs. The second photo shows radars 5 km north of Donetsk. You can see two TARs along with other equipment and technical structures. The third photo shows air defense systems north of Donetsk. You can clearly see a TELAR launcher and about 60 military and auxiliary vehicles, tents for vehicles and other structures.

“Here’s a photo of the same area made on July 17. Please note that the launcher has disappeared. The fifth photo shows a battery of Buk missiles at the village of Zaroshchenskoye 50 km east of Donetsk and 8 km south of Shakhtyorsk on the morning of the same day. The sixth photo shows the same area on July 18. As you can see, the battery has left.”

No Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 17, 2014. (RIA Novosti)

No Buk missile defense units in Donetsk Region, 5km north of Donetsk city, on July 17, 2014. (RIA Novosti)
5. On the day of the crash Kiev increased activity on its Kupol-M1 9S18 radars, which are components of the Buk system in the area. Why?

“Also, July 17 saw increased activity on the part of Ukraine’s Kupol-M1 9S18 radars, which are part of the Buk system. Here on this chart you see that there were seven radars operating on July 15, eight radars operating on July 16, and nine radars operating on July 17 in the area. Then, starting with July 18, the intensity of radar activities radically decreased, and now there are no more than two or three radars operating a day. The reason behind this is yet to be found.”
6. What was a military plane doing on the route intended for civilian flights?

“There were three civilian planes in the area performing their regular flights at this time. There was a flight from Copenhagen to Singapore at 17:17, there was a flight from Paris to Taipei at 17:24, and then there was the flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.”

“Also, Russian monitoring systems registered that there was a Ukrainian Air Force jet, probably Su-25, climbing and approaching the Malaysian Boeing.”

“The Su-25 was 3-5 km away from the Malaysian plane. Su-25 is capable of climbing to the altitude of 10,000 meters for a short period of time. Its standard armament includes R60 air-to-air missiles, which are capable of locking and hitting targets from 12 km and which are guaranteed to hit the target from the distance of 5 km.”

7. Why was the military jet flying at almost the same time and the same altitude with a passenger plane?

“At 17:21’35, with the Boeing’s velocity having dropped to 200 kilometers per hour, a new mark detecting an airborne object appears at the spot of the Boeing’s destruction. This new airborne object was continuously detected for the duration of four minutes by the radar stations Ust-Donetsk and Buturinskaya. An air traffic controller requested the characteristics of the new airborne object, but was unable to get any readings on its parameters – most likely due to the fact that the new aircraft was not equipped with a secondary surveillance radar transponder, which is a distinctive feature of military aircraft,” said Makushev.

“Detecting the new aircraft became possible as it started to ascend. Further changes in the airborne object’s coordinates suggest that it was hovering above the Boeing 777’s crash site, monitoring of the situation.

“Ukrainian officials earlier claimed that there were no Ukrainian military aircraft in the area of the crash that day. As you can see, that is not true.”
8. Where did the launcher – from the video circulated by Western media and showing a Buk system being moved allegedly from Ukraine to Russia – come from? As the video was made on the territory controlled by Kiev, where was the launcher being transported?

“I’d like to say that the information we have presented here is based on objective and reliable data from various technical systems – unlike the groundless accusations made against Russia,” said Kartopolov.

“For example, media circulated a video supposedly showing a Buk system being moved from Ukraine to Russia. This is clearly a fabrication. This video was made in the town of Krasnoarmeisk, as evidenced by the billboard you see in the background, advertising a car dealership at 34 Dnepropetrovsk Street. Krasnoarmeysk has been controlled by the Ukrainian military since May 11.”

9. Where is it right now? Why are some of the missiles missing on the launcher? When was the last time a missile was launched from it?

Screenshot from video posted on Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior account, showing a Buk system supposedly being moved from Ukraine to Russia with two out of three missiles.

Screenshot from video posted on Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior account, showing a Buk system supposedly being moved from Ukraine to Russia with two out of three missiles.
10. Why haven’t US officials revealed the evidence supporting claims that the MH17 was shot down by a missile launched by the militia?

“US officials claim they have satellite photographs proving the Malaysian airliner was shot down by a missile launched by the militia. But no one has seen these photographs so far. As far as we know, there was indeed a US satellite flying over southeastern Ukraine on July 17 from 17:06 to 17:21 Moscow time.

“This satellite is part of an experimental system designed to track and monitor the launches of missiles of various ranges. If our US colleagues have imagery from this satellite, they should release it for the international community to examine it in detail. This may be a coincidence, but the US satellite flew over Ukraine at exactly the same time when the Malaysian airliner crashed.”

Buk missile defense units in Zaroschinskoe, 50km south of Donetsk city and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

Buk missile defense units in Zaroschinskoe, 50km south of Donetsk city and 8km south of Shakhtyorsk, on July 17, 2014.Photo courtesy of the Russian Defense Ministry

This is not the first time Russia brings up questions on the plane crash. No explanations have followed with Kiev insisting they have full evidence of Russia being behind the attack, but so far only releasing tapes.

The USA, putting the blame on the self-defense forces, has yet refused to release any intelligence material. On Monday State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf described Russia’s statements as “propaganda and misinformation” – but when reporters asked her whether Washington would be releasing their intelligence and satellite data, Harf only replied “may be.” So far the US has been backing its statements by social media and “common sense.”

http://rt.com/news/174496-malaysia-crash-russia-questions/

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Obama To Putin: If You Like Your Russian Sanctions, Here Are Some More

By , July 16, 2014 4:19 pm

Obama To Putin: If You Like Your Russian Sanctions, Here Are Some More
By: Zerohedge on: 16.07.2014 [21:47 ] (70 reads)

Obama To Putin: If You Like Your Russian Sanctions, Here Are Some More – Live Feed
Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 07/16/2014 17:10 -0400

President Obama

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Having underperformed Russia by almost 20% since unleashing the first set of sanctions and sell recommendations, President Obama has decided enough is enough and has wielded the credit market ax in this round of sanctions for what the world is really not sure. As we noted here, of course, Russian firms can handle restricted access to US debt markets (probably better than American firms). Nevertheless, the teleprompter is up… the people are excited, and President Obama is about to explain how these sanctions (unilaterally placed on Russia since Europe did not back them) are different and better and “fair”…

Live Feed – due to start at 1715ET

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/themes/whitehouse/img/facebook_b…) no-repeat; padding-top: 13px; height: 30px; float: left;”>JOIN THE LIVE CHAT
VISIT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

And now we await the blowback, as just like the last round of US sanctions merely accelerated the Russia-China holy grail gas deal, so this one should should lead to a promptly completion of the BRIC bank. The only good outcome, considering the Fed is desperate for someone, anyone, to sell bonds, is that Russia and its $ 110 billion in TSYs, should promptly oblige

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-16/obama-putin-if-you-your-russian-sanctions-here-are-some-more-live-feed

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Children’s Lives in the Balance: Is One Worth More Than Another?

By , July 2, 2014 9:59 am
Palestinian-Children-Israel-Hamas-IDF-HumanRights

The deaths of children are always tragic, whether they are kidnapped Israeli teens or Palestinian youth killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers. (Photo: Tarek/Wikimedia)

With the news that the bodies of three missing Israeli teens had been found in a field not far from the stretch of road where they disappeared June 12, people everywhere reacted rightly with sorrow and anger.

Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, also 16, were students who lived with their families in a Jewish-only settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank. The settlement and others like it have been declared illegal by the International Court of Justice because they are located in occupied territory and impede Palestinians’ liberty of movement and right to employment, health and education. However, they were youth just starting out on life, sons and brothers whose families will forever grieve their horrific deaths. We must all condemn such violence.

We must also condemn the collective punishment and violence unleashed by the government of Israel in response. To date, the Israeli police and military have broken into and ransacked 1,500 homes, businesses and schools in its rampage, arresting more than 550 residents. More than half of the abducted individuals are being held without charge or trial, more than 100 have been injured and at least six have died – including a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the chest at point-blank range and a 78-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack during a house raid. As this article was written, the 680,000 residents of greater Hebron had been surrounded by angry troops and settlers, with ominous reports trickling out of death and mayhem.  

Imagine if similar homicides occurred in your town. Despite the tragedy of the crimes and the desperate desire to find the perpetrators, would civilized society countenance the widespread ransacking of property, imprisonment of hundreds and the death of innocents? No, of course not. So why should it be considered an acceptable response among a population pushed to desperation by decades of military occupation?

To fully understand just what happened and why, an analysis must begin before the June 12 disappearance of the three teenagers, residents of a Jewish-only settlement near the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank. Rather, it should start with April 23, when the two main Palestinian political factions, Fatah (which had governed the West Bank) and Hamas (which filled the same role for the Gaza Strip) announced formation of a unity government.

While the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority has long cooperated with Israeli security forces, Hamas continues to actively resist Israel’s control over the Palestinian territory. The announcement of the reconciliation between the Hamas and Fatah factions was condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was enraged when the United States and other governments instead took a wait-and-see approach.

When the three Israeli teens disappeared, Netanyahu immediately blamed Hamas, although it has reportedly denied responsibility, and launched a campaign to punish any person associated with the party, as well as those it wanted to target for other reasons (such as previously released prisoners). An informed observer cannot help but conclude that he seized on the personal tragedy of the families involved to pursue a broader political goal. Israel’s intention to “perform a root canal to uproot everything green [Hamas-related] in the West Bank” was announced on the national Army Radio, while Economy Minister Naftali Bennet promised to “turn membership of Hamas into an entry ticket to hell.” 

A high-ranking Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz  that the mass arrests are “a kind of thorough cleaning.” Israel, he said, had decided “to use the upcoming days to arrest anyone ‘infected’ with Hamas.” In one Israeli news source, an IDF officer even admitted that the operation had been planned ahead of time, and that its goal was not to find the boys, but provoke unrest.

With the discovery of the Israeli teens’ bodies, Israeli military and the settlers intensified the attack on Hebron and other towns, with a 17-year-old boy shot in the Jenin refugee camp. Renewing his vow that “Hamas will pay,” Netanyahu ordered an escalation of airstrikes on the Gaza Strip – more than 40 in just the first night, terrorizing the entire population of 1.8 million. Although the strikes in part are in retaliation for rockets shot into Israel by a faction that is not affiliated with Hamas, Netanyahu’s own words make the connection clear.

According to the prisoner advocacy group Addameer, about a quarter of the hundreds of arrested Palestinians are being placed in “administrative detention,” a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold individuals indefinitely based on secret information without charging them or allowing them to stand trial.  Israel routinely uses administrative detention in violation of the strict parameters established by international law, claiming to be in a continuous state of emergency since its inception in 1948. In addition, says Addameer, administrative detention is frequently used – in direct contravention to international law – for collective and criminal punishment rather than for the prevention of future threat.

Children and youth are frequently targets. Defence for Children International has documented the killing of more than 1,400 Palestinian children by Israeli soldiers or settlers since 2000, of which only 40 were found to be active participants in hostilities. That’s the equivalent of one Palestinian child killed by an Israeli every three days for the past 13 years.

In addition, a report issued this week by the Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights documents that 2,000-3,000 Palestinian minors have been seized and detained by Israeli forces every year for the last five years, an average of 200 a month, with some as young as 12.

“The Israeli police or military typically break into homes in the middle of the night or take youth right off the streets without telling them what they are charged with or informing their parents, as required by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Ihsan Adel, legal adviser for Euro-Mid. “How is that different from the kidnapping of the Israeli students? And yet it is occurring every day, every year. Where is the international outrage?”

The Euro-Mid report states that rarely are youth informed why they are being arrested – at least, not until they are interrogated, without counsel from parents or attorneys – often while shackled to chairs and deprived of sleep. Yet article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (of which Israel is a signatory) states that youth and their parents must be informed of the reasons behind their detention, as well as allowed legal assistance.

UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the UN Commission on Human Rights each have found that Israel bases its punishments on confessions that its interrogators coerce from children who are not represented by lawyers. Is it surprising that an estimated 95 percent of these children “confess”?

Children are not pawns, pieces to be used in a game for purposes of publicity or leverage. That’s true for Palestinians and doubly so for Israelis, who operate from a position of unequal power – that of occupier. It is important to note here that the United States is culpable as well for Israel’s actions as de facto military dictator: Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. military aid, to the tune of an unrestricted $ 3 billion a year. That must stop.

Perhaps no one has expressed these basic principles of humanity better than columnist Gideon Levy, a rare voice of self-criticism in Israel. In a recent column that has gotten very little exposure, he compared the cases of Naftali Fraenkel, one of the murdered Israeli boys, and Mohammed Jihad Dodeen, the 14-year-old Palestinian killed during the Israeli mass arrests.

Levy wrote about the journey of Rachel Fraenkel, Naftali’s mother, to a meeting in Switzerland of the United Nations Human Rights Council. She told the group that “her Naftali is a good boy who loves to play guitar and soccer.” But, Levy observed, “Mohammed was also a good boy, who helped his father build their house during his school vacations and sold sweets to help support his family. Rachel wants to hug Naftali? Jihad, Mohammed’s bereaved father, also wants to hug his son. Incidentally, nobody brought him to Geneva. He remained alone with his mourning, at the wretched house whose construction hasn’t yet been finished, and perhaps never will be.”

Medea Benjamin is cofounder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights group Global Exchange. Pam Bailey is a freelance writer who has traveled extensively to the West Bank and Gaza.

Foreign Policy In Focus

Obama And Putin Talk On The Phone, Discuss Ukraine, Iraq, Syria; Obama Threatens With More “Costs”

By , June 23, 2014 3:56 pm

Obama And Putin Talk On The Phone, Discuss Ukraine, Iraq, Syria; Obama Threatens With More “Costs”
By: ZeroHedge on: 23.06.2014 [19:52 ] (119 reads)

Obama And Putin Talk On The Phone, Discuss Ukraine, Iraq, Syria; Obama Threatens With More “Costs”
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/23/2014 14:11 -0400

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It has been a while since Obama and Putin held one of their signature phone conversations purely for public theater and photo-op purposes. Moments ago, we learned that following weeks of silence, the world leaders had spoken earlier today, when first the Kremlin, the the White House, released details of the just conducted phone conversation.

From the Kremlin:

In accordance with a previous arrangement, a telephone conversation took place between Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama.

Discussed were various aspects of the acute internal crisis in Ukraine, the prospects of resolving the situation, including implementation of the peace plan put forward by the President Petro Poroshenko. Vladimir Putin stressed that for the normalization of the situation in the south-eastern regions, a key priority is the effective cessation of hostilities and the start of direct negotiations of the opposing sides. Also noted was the importance of urgent humanitarian issues including emergency assistance to the affected population.

During the exchange of views on other topical issues of the international agenda, Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama expressed serious concern regarding the militant activity in Iraq of the terrorist group “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” The Russian leader expressed support for efforts to combat Baghdad Islamists and to establish peace and security in the country.

Also noted was the situation in Syria in view of the completion of the removal of this country’s chemical weapons, as well as developments in the Iranian nuclear program.

The US takes was slightly different, and according to the new White House spokesman, Obama once again reverted to his favorite topic: costs. From Bloomberg

President Obama spoke with Russian President Putin this morning to urge him to use influence to promote peace and stability in Ukraine, White House spokesman Josh Earnest tells reporters.

Says Russia faces additional costs without concrete steps to advance peace.

One wonders if the latest disastrous intervention by John Kerry was also discussed, or if that was more of a unilateral “laughter” type comment by the Russian president.

Considering this is the nth+1 conversation between the two presidents which have so far achieved precisely nothing when it comes to joint efforts, one can be sure that this latest phone call will only “result” in a several thousand dollar phone bill on Obama’s hotline phone, invoiced promptly to the US taxpayers.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-23/obama-and-putin-talk-phone-discuss-ukraine-iraq-syria-obama-threatens-more-costs

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OPINION: US Meddling in Iraqi Affairs May Lead to More Civilian Casualties

By , June 20, 2014 9:01 am

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More than 90% of foreign companies operating in Iraq will not be affected by military operations

By , June 18, 2014 3:43 pm

http://theiraqijournal.com/more-than-90-of-foreign-companies-operating-in-iraq-will-not-be-affected-by-military-operations/

Please any Questions: send to breitlingcurrency@gmail.com I will get to your questions as soon as possible by personal e-mail, blog post or audio “If you Knew you could not fail, what would you try today?” Philippians 4:13

Iraqi Kurds Link Kirkuk to Own Oil Pipeline, Plan More Exports

By , June 18, 2014 9:22 am

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Assyrian International News Agency

Iraq Update: Jihadists Seize 2 More Iraqi Towns; Close To 30 Miles Of Baghdad; Iran Rushes To Help

By , June 13, 2014 4:28 pm

Iraq Update: Jihadists Seize 2 More Iraqi Towns; Close To 30 Miles Of Baghdad; Iran Rushes To Help
By: ZeroHedge on: 13.06.2014 [12:44 ] (198 reads)

Iraq Update: Jihadists Seize 2 More Iraqi Towns; Close To 30 Miles Of Baghdad; Iran Rushes To Help
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/13/2014 08:09 -0400

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While the US scrambles to figure out what the least painful way is to admit yet another humiliating foreign policy defeat, things in Iraq continue to deteriorate as the relentless blitzkrieg unleashed by the ISIS/ISIL Al-Qaeda spin off, which has shocked everyone by its speed and scale, takes two more towns, as it rushes for its target: Baghdad itself.

As Reuters reports, “Islamist rebel fighters captured two more Iraqi towns overnight in a relentless sweep south towards the capital Baghdad in a campaign to recreate a medieval caliphate carved out of fragmenting Iraq and Syria. Thrusting further to the southeast after their lightning seizure of the major Iraqi city of Mosul in the far north and the late dictator Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, ISIL entered two towns in Diyala province bordering Iran. Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the Sunni Muslim insurgents after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said.”

As the following map shows, as of this moment the Al Qaeda extremeists are now just 30 miles away from Baghdad and closing fast, although Iraqi forces may have succeded in halting the advance for now near the town of Samarra.

What the map above also shows is the extensive US presence in the region, one which however as Obama stated yesterday, he is so far unwilling to unleash on the ISIS army.

Obama said military action alone was no panacea against ISIL. He alluded to long-standing Western complaints that Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has done little to heal sectarian rifts that have left many of Iraq’s minority Sunnis, cut out of power since Saddam’s demise, aggrieved and keen for revenge.

“This should be also a wake-up call for the Iraqi government. There has to be a political component to this,” Obama said.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden assured Maliki by telephone that Washington was prepared to intensify and accelerate its security support. The White House had signaled on Wednesday it was looking to strengthen Iraqi forces rather than meet what one U.S. official said were past Iraqi requests for air strikes.

But fears of jihadist violence spreading may increase pressure for robust international action. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said international powers “must deal with the situation”.

In Mosul, ISIL staged a parade of American Humvee patrol vehicles seized from a collapsing Iraqi army in the two days since its fighters drove out of the desert and overran the city.

The parade can be seen in the clip below:

So will Baghdad fall as rapidly as all other cities in the north? For now that appears unlikely:

ISIL and its allies took control of Falluja at the start of the year. It lies just 50 km (30 miles) west of Maliki’s office. ISIL has set up military councils to run the towns they captured, residents said. “’Our final destination will be Baghdad, the decisive battle will be there’ – that’s what their leader kept repeating,” said a regional tribal figure.

The senior U.N. official in Iraq assured the Security Council that Baghdad was in “no immediate danger”. The council offered unanimous support to the government and condemned “terrorism”.

As with the concurrent war in Syria, the conflict cuts across global alliances. The United States and Western and Gulf Arab allies back the mainly Sunni revolt against the Iranian-backed Syrian President Assad, but have had to watch as ISIL and other Islamists have come to dominate large parts of Syria.

Now the Shi’ite Islamic Republic of Iran, which in the 1980s fought Saddam for eight years at a time when the Sunni Iraqi leader enjoyed quiet U.S. support, may share an interest with the “Great Satan” Washington in bolstering mutual ally Maliki.

The global oil benchmark prices have jumped, as concerns mounted that the violence could disrupt supplies from a major OPEC exporter. Iraq’s main oil export facilities are in the largely Shi’ite areas in the south and were “very, very safe”, Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.

Until they aren’t. As a reminder, ISIS’s immediate ambition is to create an independent religious state-entity/caliphate that looks like this:

Which probably is why none other than the country’s most senior Shiite cleric urged broad mobilization, telling people across the land to take arms:

A representative of Iraq’s most influential Shi’ite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, urged people in a sermon at Friday prayers to take up arms and defend their country from mostly Sunni insurgents.

Sheikh Abdulmehdi al-Karbalai, who was delivering the sermon at prayers in the city of Kerbala, holy to Iraq’s majority Shi’ites, said those killed fighting the militants would be martyrs.

“People who are capable of carrying arms and fighting the terrorists in defence of their country… should volunteer to join the security forces to achieve this sacred goal,” Karbalai said.

In response, worshippers chanted “Labbeik Ya Hussein”, meaning they would act at the behest of Imam Hussein, who is buried in a shrine in Kerbala.

But what virtually assures that it is only a moment of time before the situation spirals out of control is the arrival of Iran troops who are now being sent to guard Baghdad, and fight Al Qaeda:

Reports coming out of security sources in Iran say that two battalions of Quds Force troops from the nation’s Revolutionary Guard have deployed into neighboring Iraq to guard Shi’ite holy sites as well as the capital city of Baghdad. Some have also reportedly taken part in fighting in Tikrit.

The move comes in response to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) taking most of the country’s Sunni west, and moving dangerously close to Baghdad on multiple fronts. Iraq’s Shi’ite government is on good terms with Iran.

Earlier today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country can’t tolerate the growth of a terrorist group so close to their borders, and promised unspecified aid to the Maliki government.

Iran has already been aiding the Assad government in Syria against AQI’s advances there, albeit without much success. As the problem of this new AQI-run state grows, Iran is likely to try to increase support for its struggling allies, out of whose territory the state is being carved.

More from Reuters, which reports that Iran, a Shiite republic, is so alarmed by Sunni insurgent gains in Iraq that it may be willing to cooperate with Washington in helping Baghdad fight back, a senior Iranian official told Reuters. The idea is being discussed internally among the Islamic Republic’s leadership, the senior Iranian official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. The official had no word on whether the idea had been raised with any other party.

Officials say Iran will send its neighbor advisers and weaponry, although probably not troops, to help its ally Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki check what Tehran sees as a profound threat to regional stability, officials and analysts say.

Islamist militants have captured swathes of territory including the country’s second biggest city Mosul.

Tehran is open to the possibility of working with the United States to support Baghdad, the senior official said.

“We can work with Americans to end the insurgency in the Middle East,” the official said, referring to events in Iraq. “We are very influential in Iraq, Syria and many other countries.”

For many years, Iran has been aggrieved by what it sees as U.S. efforts to marginalize it. Tehran wants to be recognized as a significant player in regional security.

Rouhani on Thursday strongly condemned what he called violent acts by insurgent groups in the Middle East.

“Today, in our region, unfortunately, we are witnessing violence, killing, terror and displacement,” Rouhani said.

“Iran will not tolerate the terror and violence … we will fight against terrorism, factionalism and violence.”

That’s right: as a result of the epic US leftover mess in Iraq, it is now up to its arch nemesis Iran to get in and protect the country from none other than Al-Qaeda. And not only that, but Iran is prepared to work with the “great Statan”, America, to defend the middle east from Al-Qaeda!

And to think: this is only the beginning.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-06-13/iraq-update-jihadists-seize-2-more-iraqi-towns-close-30-miles-baghdad-ayatollah-urge

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