Saudi Arabia willing to send ground troops to Syria

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After recent military gains by Assad forces, Gulf kingdom ready to put boots on the ground in Syria’s escalating war. Saudi Arabia is prepared to deploy ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if US-led coalition leaders agree to the offer. Saudi’s air force has targeted ISIL with air strikes since the campaign began in Syria in September 2014, but the Gulf kingdom is now ready to provide ground forces to defeat ... Read More »

Israel hits back at France over threats to recognise Palestinian statehood

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Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Sunday for a more “sober” approach towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in dismissing a French peace initiative as only encouraging Palestinians to shun compromise. The Age – Jeffrey Heller * The proposal on Friday by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius for an international peace conference was the latest sign of Western frustration over the absence of movement toward a two-state solution since the collapse of US-brokered negotiations in 2014. Mr Fabius said that if ... Read More »

Should armed groups allied with al-Qaeda be included in Syria peace talks?

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No concessions to al-Qaeda allies at Geneva talks Al-Monitor Author: Week in Review Summary: Our answer is no; Erekat’s “main priority is not to allow IS to raise its flag in Palestine”; Turkey responds to Biden with fake news. In a potentially encouraging sign, the High Negotiations Committee, the Saudi-backed Syrian umbrella opposition group, has agreed to attend the UN-mediated Geneva peace conference. The committee is saying, however, that it will not meet with the government delegation until the Syrian military ceases ... Read More »

One quarter of Brits have witnessed a hate crime in the past year – poll

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A quarter of Britons have witnessed a hate crime in the last 12 months, new research released today says. Christian Today  Florence Taylor, Junior Staff Writer While three quarters of hate crime seen was verbal abuse, more than one fifth of 2,007 people surveyed had seen violent or hostile acts triggered by religion or belief. The release of the research, commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, coincides with Holocaust Memorial Day, which is themed “Don’t stand by.” The day commemorates ... Read More »

Islamic State supporters in Malaysia pledge revenge for arrests

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Bangkok: The south-east Asian wing of Islamic State has threatened revenge for the arrests of a growing number of its militants in Malaysia, prompting a further tightening of security in the Muslim-majority nation. Brisbane Times – Lindsay Murdoch, South-East Asia correspondent for Fairfax Media “If you catch us we will only increase in number but if you let us be, we will be closer to our goal of bringing back the rule of khalifah [caliph],” Malay-speaking militants warned in a video posted on an IS-sanctioned ... Read More »

Biden calls for ‘change of attitude’ by Turkish government

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US Vice President Joe Biden called for a “change of attitude” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan toward critics of Turkey’s increasingly destructive military campaign against Kurdish rebels and cities in southeast Turkey. Al-Monitor Author: Week in Review Summary: US Vice President Joe Biden says Turkey is setting the wrong example for the region. Speaking in Istanbul on Jan. 22, Biden said, “If you don’t have an ability to express your opinion, to criticize a policy, to offer competing ideas without fear of intimidation ... Read More »

Turkey ‘Cleansing’ It’s Kurdish Population – 200,000 Lives At Risk

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Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has condemned the Turkish government, accusing authorities of putting the lives of 200,000 Kurdish residents at risk by deliberately starving them of food, medical care, and targeting them during military operations. Your News Wire – by Sean Adl-Tabatabai  John Dalhuisen, Central Asia Programme Director for Amnesty, accused Turkey of targeting and punishing its Kurdish populations, “The operations currently being conducted under round-the-clock curfews are putting the lives of tens of thousands of people at risk and are beginning to resemble collective punishment“. reports: More than 150 ... Read More »

The Russian-Turkish crisis: A deficit of strategic depth

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It finally happened. November 24th, 2015 became a turning point for Russian-Turkish relations. The Journal of Turkish Weekly – Andrei Kortunov The two sides will probably never agree on who is to blame for the SU-24 tragedy nor on whether this was an unfortunate accident or a deliberately planned action. However, at least one thing should be clear to everybody: a long optimistic chapter in this bilateral relationship is over, and we are now entering a new, still very unclear and ... Read More »

Turkey Is Back To Zero In Kurdish Issue

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Only two decades ago, everything Kurdish was a taboo. Breaking it had predictable consequences. Leading Kurdish lawmaker Leyla Zana, for example, had to spend ten years in prison for her political activism. The Huffington Post Sevda Zeynalova, Freelance Journalist Ahmet Kaya, a renowned singer, had to leave Turkey for singing in Kurdish. Local media reported that many Kurdish were allegedly thrown into acid wells for demanding more rights and freedoms. The rise of the PKK, a Kurdish rebel group, in the ... Read More »

Sarah Palin ties son’s arrest on domestic violence charge to military service

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Palin accuses Barack Obama of not supporting veterans and tells crowd at Donald Trump rally that her son Track came back ‘hardened’ from Iraq The Guardian – Tom McCarthy in New York @TeeMcSee Video – Sarah Palin talks about her son’s arrest for domestic abuse. Sarah Palin tied the arrest of her son on domestic abuse charges to his military service in a speech supporting Donald Trump on Wednesday, as she accused Barack Obama of not supporting veterans. “My own family, my son, ... Read More »

German defense minister in Turkey: Differences in fight against ‘IS’

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The German army has been flying reconnaissance missions over Syria and Iraq for the anti-“IS” coalition. The defense minister has lauded Germany’s role, despite open questions, reports DW’s Udo Bauer from Incirlik. DW  Author: Udo Bauer, Incirlik / gro Incirlik is enormous. The NATO base in southern Turkey has two runways and is like a city in itself. It’s where Turkish, US and, more recently, German soldiers live and work. The German minister pays them a visit and asks for ... Read More »

Nine years on: No solid steps taken in Hrant Dink assassination

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No solid legal steps have been taken in the nine years since Armenian-originjournalistHrant Dink was assassinated outside his office in Istanbul on Jan. 19, 2007, as thousands of people gathered to commemorate the late Agos editor-in-chief on the anniversary of his death. Hurriyet – İsmail Saymaz – Istanbul The large crowd filed past the military museum in the Şişli district at around 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 to walk toward the Agos office building to read a statement at the site ... Read More »

Turkey Was First Country to Recognize the Armenian Genocide…in 1918

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The Armenian Genocide is rarely discussed in the Turkish Parliament; even rarer are statements calling for its recognition. The Armenian Weekly – By Harut Sassounian * On Jan. 14, two of the three recently elected Armenian members of the Turkish Parliament boldly dared to raise the issue of the Armenian Genocide in their parliamentary remarks. Selina Dogan, representing the opposition Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP), made the following statement in parliament: “Since this issue concerns not only Armenians but also Turkey, ... Read More »

The Saudi Missions and the Mobs: Who Controls the Iranian Street?

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On 2 January 2016, an unidentified group of protesters torched the Saudi embassy in Iran. In this Q&A, Crisis Group Senior Iran Analyst Ali Vaez explains the context of the incident and the wider long-term implications of the attack. ICG – By Ali Vaez | @AliVaez About the author: Ali Vaez is Crisis Group’s Iran Senior Analyst. More about this author After the attack, many in the West – and in Iran – believed this was a clear attempt to undermine the authority ... Read More »

Iran To Host State-Sponsored Holocaust Denial Cartoon Contest

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Iran announced this week that authorities are hosting a state-sponsored contest to see who can create the best Holocaust denial cartoon. Breitbart – by JORDAN SCHACHTEL  The grand prize has been boosted this year to $50,000, up from $12,000, according to reports. Tehran will host the Holocaust denial cartoon event in June 2016, after gathering an expected hundreds of submissions from the Islamic world. Last year, Iran received 839 anti-Semitic cartoons for consideration. The state-sponsorship of this event by the Tehran ... Read More »

HDP invites Chomsky to Kurdistan

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Şırnak MP Faysal Sarıyıldız has invited American philosopher Professor Noam Chomsky who rejected Erdoğan’s invitation to Turkey, saying; “If I decide to go to Turkey, it will not be on his invitation, but as frequently before at the invitation of the many courageous dissidents, including Kurds who have been under severe attack for many years.” Chomsky was responding to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his comments on academics who signed a “We will not be ... Read More »