24 March: Global Action Day for Afrin

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The international campaign in defense of Afrin declared 24 March as Global Action Day for Afrin and urged all supporters to protest Turkish invasion. AFN The signatories of the campaign released a statement entitled “Supporting the resistance is an historical imperative” and called all to join the first Global Action Day for Afrin on 24 March 2018. The statement read as follows: “The criminal assault on Afrin constitutes a new phase in the Turkish state’s war on the Kurdish people. ... Read More »

Our authoritarian government has turned up the heat. But we can still fight back

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Australia’s accelerating militarisation and erosion of civil liberties must be resisted Scott Ludlam The Guardian There’s an old aphorism about the best way to boil a frog which holds that if that’s your thing, you sicko, you should turn the temperature up very, very slowly. Shock the frog with a sharp enough temperature increase and she’ll jump right out of the pot. Something similar applies, maybe, to the gentle stench of authoritarianism that now undeniably permeates Australian politics. Things that might… ... Read More »

How US gun culture compares with the world in five charts

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The United States. Home to liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the most mass shootings in the world. Kara Fox CNN America’s unique relationship to gun ownership — enshrined as a right in its constitution — is also in the middle of an emotional and divisive debate about the meaning of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Twenty-seven words that give its citizens the right to own guns and also, in the views of many critics, helped usher ... Read More »

Use of the word ‘radicalisation’ is ballooning – and it’s hiding the real causes of violence

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“Radicalisation” recently started appearing as an explanation for US high school shootings in my newsfeeds. Rob Faure Walker The Conversation In an article titled “Call the Florida shooting what it is: terrorism”, Teen Vogue explores the murderer’s connections to white supremacy and claims that “the source of their radicalisation” is the “main question currently plaguing our society”. This was the first time that I had noticed that the US media were using “radicalisation” as an explanation for this horrendous phenomenon. ... Read More »

Inside Syria: With its enemies diverted or fighting each other, Isis is making a swift and deadly comeback

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The Wars in Syria: In the second part of his new series, Patrick Cockburn finds a growing line of graves being dug after fresh battles between Kurdish fighters and soldiers of the so-called Islamic State. Yet, after the defeat of Isis was soundly declared last year, this should not be happening. Patrick Cockburn Independent Suleiman Khalaf, also known as Abu Fadi, was killed 10 days ago in a fight with Isis in eastern Syria when the vehicle he was in was ... Read More »

Winning the Post-ISIS Battle for Iraq in Sinjar

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Though the Islamic State (ISIS) is beaten in Iraq, the battle for the country’s political soul is not over. Baghdad should act to restore local governance in Sinjar, where ISIS terrorised the local community, and encourage the district’s displaced people to return home. ICG What’s new?  The Islamic State (ISIS) is defeated in Iraq, and its genocidal campaign against the Yazidis in Sinjar has ended. But Iran-backed Shiite militias – Popular Mobilisation Units – now control the district. Much of ... Read More »

The Female Quran Experts Fighting Radical Islam in Morocco

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“The women scholars here are even more important than men.” DINA TEMPLE-RASTON The Atlantic Morocco is in a region vulnerable to terrorist recruitment, but it hasn’t had a significant attack on its own soil since 2011, when terrorists bombed a Marrakesh café. Yet ethnic Moroccans have been at the center of ISIS attacks in Europe. The only alleged survivor of the 2015 Paris rampage is a Frenchman of Moroccan origin; his trial began last week. The men behind the Brussels ... Read More »

Secrecy legislation should be ‘redrafted from scratch’, journalist union says

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Bill contains prison terms of up to 20 years for dealing with or publishing protected information harmful to Australia Michael McGowan The Guardian The Turnbull government’s concessions on secrecy laws do not go far enough and the legislation should be “withdrawn and redrafted from scratch”, Australia’s journalist union has argued. This week the Coalition watered down its proposed foreign interference laws following pressure from media organisations, Labor and the Greens, which opposition leader Bill Shorten had said would see journalists ... Read More »

The Cost of Escalating Violence in Afghanistan

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Taliban attacks in Kabul in late January 2017 are part of an escalation in violence in Afghanistan, where the civilian population is bearing the brunt of a particularly intense winter of fighting. Borhan Osman ICG Over one week, as many as 130 people, the overwhelming majority civilians, were killed in twin attacks claimed by the Taliban in Kabul. On 20 January, five Taliban suicide bombers attacked the Intercontinental Hotel, killing at least 22 people, mostly foreigners, after breaching the security of ... Read More »

Can the Taliban Be Stopped?

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The killing of 95 people in Kabul shows the group’s continued ability to strike at the heart of Afghanistan Krishnadev Calamur The Atlantic What does that mean for Donald Trump’s strategy there? Authorities in Afghanistan said at least 95 people were killed and about 158 others wounded on Saturday after Taliban militants drove an ambulance filled with explosives past a police checkpoint in Kabul and detonated the vehicle on a crowded street open mainly to government workers. Authorities expected the ... Read More »

How US went from supporting Syrian Kurds, to backing Turkey against them – in just 9 days

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US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been left flailing as Washington desperately struggles to avoid being shut out of Syria by its own allies – following a crisis it helped provoke just days ago. Igor Ogorodnev for RT For all the backpedaling and reframing the US officials are now doing, the chronology of the volte-face from Afrin to Ankara is startlingly straightforward. January 13 US-led coalition announces a 30,000-strong Kurdish SDF-led Border Security Force (BSF) to stave off a ... Read More »

How to Avoid Making ‘the Afghanistan Mistake’ in Africa

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Drones and special forces are no more likely to “end” terrorism in Africa than they have in Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. Lyle J. Goldstein The National Interest Africa policy is back in the news for all the wrong reasons. The president’s dreadful remark during the immigration discussion has not improved his standing among diplomats and does indeed threaten to cast Washington’s Africa policies under a new pall. However, this most recent blunder seems quite trivial in comparison to the four ... Read More »

“Don’t let Afrin become another Kobane”

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Academics and international human rights activists launched a petition calling upon world powers to act against Turkish aggression against Afrin ANF The petition, signed by academics and activists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Hardt and Debbi Bookchin, called for prevention of further Turkish attacks on Afrin. The full text of the petition reads as follows: “We, the undersigned academics and human rights activists, insist that the leaders of Russia, Iran, and the U.S. ensure that the sovereignty of Syrian borders is ... Read More »

Turkish troops shell Afrin to oust US-backed Kurdish militia

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Photo shows a portrait of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan from Afrin, along Syria’s northern border with Turkey (AFP) Al Arabiya AFP Turkey on Friday started shelling the Syrian town of Afrin held by a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers “terrorists” in a move to oust them, the defense minister said. The Turkish government has repeatedly warned that a full-scale operation against Syrian towns controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, including Afrin, is imminent after the ... Read More »

Turkey, Russia blast U.S.-backed Syria force as “terrorist army”

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BEIRUT – Russia, Turkey and the Syrian government on Monday denounced the U.S.-led coalition plans to form a Kurdish-led border force to secure the areas along Syria’s international border to the north with Turkey and to the east, with Iraq. CBS News AP The coalition told The Associated Press Monday that 230 new cadets have already been recruited to the force, which is anticipated to reach 30,000 troops in the next several years. According to the coalition, the core of ... Read More »

A New American Leader Rises in ISIS

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A two-year investigation identifies one of the very few Americans in the Islamic State’s upper ranks—and sheds light on the dynamics of radicalization Seamus Hughes, Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, and Bennett Clifford The Atlantic The clues are out there, if you know where to look. Scattered across far-flung corners of the internet, there is evidence that Zulfi Hoxha, the son of an Albanian-American pizza-shop owner from New Jersey, had sinister plans. First there’s the defunct Twitter profile, which at one point engaged ... Read More »