Tuesday, December 08, 2015
TURKEY DEFENDS GROUND TROOPS IN IRAQ AS WAR ESCULATES.
Kerry's 'one state' comments cause consternation in Israel-Associated Press By DAN PERRY and JOSEF FEDERMAN-DEC 7,15-YAHOONEWS
JERUSALEM (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has set off a furor in Israel by suggesting that Israel was destroying itself as a Jewish state.Kerry told a conference on Israeli affairs in Washington on Saturday that through its continued occupation of the West Bank, Israel could make it impossible to partition the land between Jewish and Palestinian states. He said the alternative would have to be a "binational state" in which Jews and Palestinians live together in one state, ending Israel's Jewish majority."The one-state solution is no solution at all for a secure, Jewish, democratic Israel living in peace, it is simply not a viable option," Kerry said.The U.S., along with most of the international community, has long argued that a "two-state solution" — establishing a Palestinian state and ending Israel's control over millions of Palestinians in territories occupied in the 1967 war — is the best way of creating a long-term peace.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted angrily on Sunday, telling his Cabinet that "Israel will not be a binational state" and blaming the Palestinians for the failure of peace efforts. But despite Netanyahu's pledges, Jewish settlement of the West Bank continues apace, while confusion over his true intentions grows by the day. Meanwhile, Israel seems unable to stem a wave of stabbings and other attacks by Palestinian individuals, now in its third month, that has killed 19 Israelis and left over 100 Palestinians, most said by Israel to be attackers, dead.This situation has sharpened the country's half-century-old debate over the Palestinians. Opposition politicians, intellectuals and retired military commanders are issuing increasingly strident warnings that never-ending violence awaits if Israel continues to occupy millions of angry Palestinians who cannot vote in its national elections."If Israel were the Titanic and the binational apartheid state its iceberg ... then the collision with the iceberg has already occurred," wrote columnist Rogel Alpher in the Haaretz daily. "Without a diplomatic solution, we will continue to slowly sink into an existence of knifings, hatred and fear."Here's a look at the potential "one-state" outcome:-THE ARGUMENT FOR PULLING OUT OF THE WEST BANK-Ever since Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt in 1967, the question of the territories' fate has hung in the air.Israel's more dovish left wing has favored a pullout from most of the areas, hoping this will bring Israel recognition and peace in the region. But over two decades of failed peace talks have convinced many a deal is not possible.The left still favors a pullout, but the rationale has shifted to something more like nationalism: without a pullout, Israel would no longer be a Jewish-majority democracy because half of its population in effect will be Palestinians, most of them without true democratic rights.That's because while Israel proper — the area defined by 1949 cease-fire lines that ended the war surrounding Israel's establishment — has roughly 6.3 million Jews and 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel. Adding the West Bank and Gaza, demographers believe, would make the Arab and Jewish populations essentially equal.A pullout from the West Bank is complicated by the presence of Jewish settlers, numbering 400,000 and growing. Eventually the situation may become irreversible, with the Palestinians abandoning efforts to set up their own state and instead demanding annexation and voting rights as citizens of a single "binational" state. Israelis who fear this scenario and see a future of internecine conflict, global economic boycotts and increasing isolation want a pullout now, from at least most of the West Bank, even without an agreement with the Palestinians."If the Israelis don't hurry up to implement the two-state solution on the ground, they will lose," said Ahmed Qurei, a longtime Palestinian negotiator.-THE ARGUMENT FOR NOT PULLING OUT OF THE WEST BANK-For some Jewish Israelis, the West Bank is literally the Promised Land — full of biblical places like Hebron, Jericho, Bethlehem and Shilo that must be kept as a birthright, whatever the consequences.But this is a minority opinion, even among proponents of the occupation. The more common argument is rooted in security.Without the West Bank, Israel would be about 10 miles (about 15 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point, with the West Bank looming over population centers and surrounding Jerusalem on three sides. Meanwhile, Islamic radicals are on the march across the region. Such Israelis imagine a future in which some version of the Islamic State group seizes control of the West Bank and launches daily attacks at Israel. They conclude that prudence requires holding onto the West Bank; the Palestinians must be satisfied with their autonomy zones set up under interim agreements in the 1990s.-THE IMPACT OF GAZA-Israel pulled troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005 as part of a simple calculation: With the small but crowded territory neatly removed from the demographic equation, Jews still have a majority of some 60 percent. But the Islamic militants of Hamas seized control of Gaza, periodically firing rockets at Israel and leading the sides to three mini-wars to date. Many Israelis fear the West Bank will face a similar fate if Israeli withdraws. Meanwhile, the Palestinians and much of the world consider Gaza to still be occupied, since Israel blockades it and controls the airspace and sea access in an effort to minimize Hamas' ability to arm itself.-KEEP THE ARMY, REMOVE THE SETTLERS?-A paper published two weeks ago by a major Israeli think tank proposed a new unilateral solution in which settlers would be pulled out of most of the West Bank to create a situation more amenable to partition. The army would maintain its current positions until a better alternative emerged. The authors — economist Avner Halevi and Gilead Sher, a former chief negotiator with the Palestinians — said this would require removing about 100,000 settlers, while others living close to Israel's de facto border would remain pending a future negotiation. "The purpose of such a withdrawal would be to implement a temporary border that would create a reality of two nation-states," Sher and Halevi wrote.___A link to the think tank proposal: http://www.inss.org.il/index.aspx?id=4538&articleid=10981
23 Thus he said, The fourth beast (EU,REVIVED ROME) shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth,(7TH WORLD EMPIRE) which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.(TRADING BLOCKS-10 WORLD REGIONS/TRADE BLOCS)
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings(10 NATIONS-10 WORLD DIVISION WORLD GOVERNMENT) that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.(THE EU (EUROPEAN UNION) TAKES OVER IRAQ WHICH HAS SPLIT INTO 3-SUNNI-KURD-SHIA PARTS-AND THE REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE IS BROUGHT BACK TOGETHER-THE TWO LEGS OF DANIEL WESTERN LEG AND THE ISLAMIC LEG COMBINED AS 1)
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
EU defends intelligence agencies in wake of attacks By Nikolaj Nielsen-DEC 7,15- EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 18:41-The EU’s counter-terrorism chief spoke out in defence of European intelligence agencies amid criticism that French and Belgian authorities failed to apprehend some of the attackers in the lead up the Paris shootings despite warnings.Gilles de Kerchove, speaking to journalists in Brussels following the publication of a report on foreign fighters by the Strasbourg-based watchdog the Council of Europe, rejected notions member state security services are not working together to crack down on potential terrorists.“It would be inaccurate to suggest the security services are not working intensively together among themselves”, he said on Monday (7 December).Turkey had warned France twice about Ismael Omar Mostefai, the 29-year old French national who opened fire on concert-goers at the Bataclan on 13 November in Paris.And French law-enforcement authorities only learned Hasna Ait Boulahcen was the cousin of the so-called ring-leader, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, days after the Paris attacks despite having bugged her phone on a separate drug related investigation.Last week, the EU commissioner for migration Dimitris Avramopoulos said member states need to start sharing intelligence after interior ministers backed a plan to collect personal data of commercial airline passengers."To keep secrets today is a very naive approach. It is better to exchange information in order to better protect our citizen's saftey", he said.But Kerchove, who earlier this year told MEPs in the civil liberties committee to “never let a serious crisis go to waste”, said intelligence agencies simply cannot always reveal their methods or their information.“You don’t want people to know that you have a source or that you have Big Brother interception by satellite or that you have people infiltrating computers”, he said.He noted a so-called counter-terrorism group (CTG) had been set up in the wake of the September 11 2001 attacks in New York."I meet them every six months, the 28 heads of service plus Norway and Switzerland, and to say the least, they work day and night. It is not true that they do not exchange information or that they retain data", he said.He also said that intelligence agencies have to use a 'third party rule' to avoid overlap. If France shares intelligence with Belgium, then Belgium has to ask permission to share with another country like the Netherlands. The system is an additional constraint that needs to be streamlined, he said."We are trying to design a mechanism, a common platform, so that we can have as much information as possible."But such moves may not alleviate international concerns over Belgium's understaffed security services and broader issues on the inherent complexities of how Brussels is governed and policed.Belgium is now setting aside an additional €400 million to ramp up an intelligence agency, with prime minister Charles Michel making calls for an European intelligence agency or a structure similar to the CIA.“A European CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), these are my words. It is a necessity, I believe", said the Belgian PM.Kerchove says an EU CIA is not possible under current EU treaty rules but noted that nothing impedes Belgium from taking the initiative to set up a mini version with a handful of other member states.According to the Council of Europe report, drafted by Belgian socialist deputy Dirk van der Maelen, Belgium, along with Denmark and Sweden, has the highest concentration of nationals who leave to go fight alongside jihadists in Syria and Iraq.Van der Maelen said, citing French intelligence, that young women now make up to around 40 percent of those leaving to join the Islamic State."These women are younger than the young men who are leaving", he said.The European commission, for its part, proposed a directive on terrorism earlier this month.The new directive makes it a crime to train or travel abroad for terrorist purposes as well as aiding or abetting, inciting and attempting terrorist acts.
Tusk: UK reform talks are 'difficult' By Eric Maurice-DEC 7,15-EUOBSERVER
BRUSSELS, Today, 18:02-Ten days ahead of the next EU summit where UK demands for EU reforms will be discussed, European Council President Donald Tusk said that "issues raised by the British prime minister are difficult" and that "substantial political differences" remain.Tusk gave his assessment of the talks so far in a letter to EU leaders published Monday (7 December)."All in all it is my assessment that so far we have made good progress," he wrote in his letter. But he warned that "all member states and the institutions must show readiness for compromise for this process to succeed".While "geopolitcs is back in Europe," the Council chief noted. "Uncertainty about the future of the UK in the European Union is a destabilising factor"."That is why we must find a way to answer the British concerns as quickly as possible," he told EU leaders, hoping that a deal can be reached in February.-'No consensus'-Among the four baskets of reforms required by British prime minister David Cameron before putting his country's EU membership to a referendum, the main blocking point remains the demands for cuts in social benefits for EU citizens in the UK."There is presently no consensus on the request that people coming to Britain from the EU must live there and contribute for four years before they qualify for in-work benefits or social housing," Tusks noted.Cameron's demand on benefits has been characterised as 'highly problematic" by the EU Commission and several EU countries have expressed their opposition."Preservation of free movement is not a divisive issue but must remain the key objective for all member states and the European Union institutions," the prime ministers of the Czech republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia said in common statement on 3 December.Considered as one of Cameron's best allies, the Polish government said it would defend the interests of its citizens living in the UK."The only matter of absolute principle is differentiating between people within the EU based on their passport," Polish EU affairs minister Konrad Szymanski said last week.Cutting benefits of EU citizens "is so obviously discriminatory against EU citizens," a MEP closely following the talks told EUobserver last week. "We don't know how" to solve the problem.-'Set of principles'-On the three other baskets - economic governance; competitiveness; sovereignty - Tusk noted that talks held since Cameron laid out his demands a month ago show that "there is a strong will on the part of all sides to find solutions that respond to the British request while benefiting the European Union as a whole."On the first issue, Tusk suggested, the UK's partners could agree on "a set of principles" to let the eurozone further integrate "while avoiding any kind of discrimination" on non-euro countries.In the meantime, non-euro states would be able "to raise concerns, and have them heard … without this turning into a veto right."On competitiveness, which has been seen as the least problematic basket, "everybody agrees on the need to further work on better regulation and on lessening the burdens on business while maintaining high standards," Tusk wrote."Full use" of the internal market and development of EU international trade are also ground on which the UK and EU should easily agree.Cameron's demand that the reference to a "ever closer Union" ceases to apply to the UK is met with a cautious reminder that the concept "allows for various paths of integration for different countries"."Those that want to deepen integration can move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further," Tusk wrote.--'Far-reaching agenda'-But on this point as on others, much work remains to be done, first to find a political agreement and then to translate it into EU law."We need some more time to sort out the precise drafting on all of these issues, including the exact legal form the final deal will take," Tusk admitted in his letter.The Council chief left it to EU leaders to "address all the political dilemmas related to this process". Then, "based on a substantive political discussion we should be able to prepare a concrete proposal to be finally adopted in February".In short, Tusk told EU leaders: "Clearly this is a significant and far-reaching agenda."
EARTH DESTROYED WITH THE EARTH IN NOAHS DAY(BECAUSE OF SIN,VIOLENCE AND GODLESS PEOPLE)
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.(WORLD TERRORISM,MURDERS)(HAMAS IN HEBREW IS VIOLENCE)
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence (TERRORISM)(HAMAS) through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
22 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.
23 And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
24 The LORD shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.
Chicago police probe announced; no charges in 2nd shooting-Associated Press By Don Babwin and Eric Tucker, Associated Press-DEC 7,15-YAHOONEWS
CHICAGO (AP) -- A Chicago police officer will not be charged in the shooting of a 25-year-old black man who authorities said was armed with a gun as he ran away from officers, prosecutors announced Monday, the same day the federal government opened an investigation into patterns of racial disparity in the use of force by Chicago police.The Justice Department investigation, announced by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, comes nearly two weeks after the release of a video showing a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times.The investigation, which is separate from an existing federal investigation into last year's shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, will also review how the department disciplines officers and handles misconduct accusations. Justice Department officials say they use such patterns-and-practices investigations to identify systemic failings in troubled police departments and to improve trust between police and the communities they serve."This mistrust from members of the community makes it more difficult to gain help within investigations, to encourage the victims and the witnesses of crime to speak up and to fulfill the most basic responsibilities of public-safety officials," Lynch said. "And when suspicion and hostility is allowed to fester, it can erupt into unrest."The civil rights probe follows recent ones in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, and comes as the police department and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are under intense scrutiny over their handling of the October 2014 death of McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder Nov. 24, more than a year after the killing and just hours before the release of police dashboard camera footage showing the officer shooting the teenager.Emanuel, who initially said a federal civil rights investigation would be "misguided" but later reversed course, said the city needs comprehensive solutions in the wake of the video showing McDonald's death.Speaking at a news conference, Emanuel said the police department's challenges go beyond one case and he's making several reforms, including appointing a new leader for the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates shootings by police.The authority's new chief, Sharon Fairley, appeared with Emanuel at a Monday news conference at City Hall. The previous head resigned Sunday.Also Monday, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said there would be no charges against Officer George Hernandez in the shooting of 25-year- old Ronald Johnson, whom authorities say pointed a gun at police before he was killed on Oct. 12, 2014. Alvarez and Assistant State's Attorney Lynn McCarthy spent more than 30 minutes detailing evidence before showing the dashcam video, which similarly to the McDonald case has no audio. The state's attorney's office overlaid police radio communications.The video shows Johnson running from police across a street with several officers in pursuit, and then one officer shooting. Johnson is not on screen when he was struck by two bullets.The video was also slowed down to show what McCarthy said was a gun in Johnson's hand. Prosecutors say a loaded weapon was found in his hand after he was killed. She also said Johnson ignored officers' commands to stop and drop his weapon and had been in a physical altercation with at least one other officer before he was shot."We're in different times right now when we're talking about transparency and what the public wants to see," Alvarez said after showing the video of the shooting. "I have pretty much opened the door here."The attorney for the Johnson family, Michael Oppenheimer, said the prosecutors' investigation was a "joke" and an affront to Johnson's family and Cook County citizens.When asked why there was no audio on this video and others, Alvarez said: "That's a problem for the Chicago Police Department, and I think they need to answer to that. ... Time and time again we look at these videos, and there is not any audio."Alvarez has been criticized for not filing charges earlier in the McDonald case, in which the video shows the teen veering away from officers on a four-lane street when Van Dyke, seconds after exiting his squad car, opens fire from close range. The officer continues shooting after McDonald crumples to the ground and is barely moving.The Chicago City Council signed off on a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family even before the family filed a lawsuit, and city officials fought in court for months to keep the video from being released publicly. The city's early efforts to suppress the footage coincided with Emanuel's re-election campaign, when the mayor was seeking African-American votes in a tight race.Since the release of the McDonald video, Emanuel forced Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign and formed a task force to examine the police department. But protesters' calls for the mayor to resign — something he said he won't do — have grown louder.Politicians, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, called for the federal civil rights investigation. The Rev. Jesse Jackson said he hopes it would focus not only on the police department, but on Emanuel's office and the Cook County State's Attorney's office."All three of them — the police, City Hall and the prosecutor's office — are suspect," Jackson said. "We cannot trust them."The Justice Department has opened 23 investigations of police departments since the start of the Obama administration.If the Justice Department finds systemic violations, the investigations typically result in court-enforceable agreements between the federal government and the community that serve as blueprints for change and are overseen by an independent monitor. The federal government has the option of suing a police department that is unwilling to make changes.___Tucker contributed to this report from Washington, D.C.___This story has been corrected to show the name of the new head of the Independent Police Review Authority is Sharon Fairley, not Fairly.
23 Concerning Damascus.(SYRIA) Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea;(WAR SHIPS WITH NUKES COMING ON SYRIA) it cannot be quiet.
24 Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself to flee, and fear hath seized on her: anguish and sorrows have taken her, as a woman in travail.
25 How is the city of praise not left, the city of my joy!
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, and all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD of hosts.
27 And I will kindle a fire (NUKES OR BOMBS) in the wall of Damascus, and it shall consume the palaces of Benhadad.(ASSADS PALACES POSSIBLY IN DAMASCUS)
3 They (ARABS,MUSLIMS) have taken crafty counsel against thy people,(ISRAEL) and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they (MUSLIMS) have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:(TREATIES)
6 The tabernacles of Edom,(JORDAN) and the Ishmaelites;(ARABS) of Moab, PALESTINIANS,JORDAN) and the Hagarenes;(EGYPT)
7 Gebal,(HEZZBALLOH,LEBANON) and Ammon,(JORDAN) and Amalek;(SYRIA,ARABS,SINAI) the Philistines (PALESTINIANS) with the inhabitants of Tyre;(LEBANON)
Syria: 3 troops killed by US-led strikes; US blames Russia-Associated Press By ZEINA KARAM and BASSEM MROUE-DEC 7,15-YAHOONEWS
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria on Monday accused the U.S.-led coalition of bombing an army camp in the eastern part of the country, killing three Syrian soldiers and wounding 13, but a senior U.S. military official said the Pentagon is "certain" the strike was from a Russian warplane.The dispute over the deadly airstrike underscored the increasingly chaotic skies over Syria as various powers hit targets in the war-ravaged country. The U.S.-led alliance began its airstrikes in Syria in September 2014, while Russia's air campaign began a year later.In a letter to the United Nations, the government in Damascus said four aircraft from the coalition targeted the army camp in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Sunday night. In addition to the casualties among the troops, it said the attack destroyed armored and other vehicles, and a weapons and ammunition depot."This hampers efforts to combat terrorism and proves once again that this coalition lacks seriousness and credibility to effectively fight terrorism," according to the letter, which was published in Syrian state media. The government refers to all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad as "terrorists."It was the first time Syria has accused the U.S.-led coalition of hitting its troops.The U.S. denied the claim, saying four alliance airstrikes in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour all hit oil wells about 55 kilometers (34 miles) southeast of Ayyash."We did not strike any vehicles or personnel targets in this area. We have no indication any Syrian soldiers were even near our strikes," the coalition statement said, adding that it takes allegations of potential collateral damage seriously and investigates them.Moreover, a U.S. military official said Washington was "certain" it was a Russian airstrike that hit the camp. The official spoke on condition of anonymity and was unable to discuss the matter publicly.There was no immediate comment from Russian Defense Ministry.The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on activists in Syria, also reported the airstrikes and a similar death toll. The Observatory said the strikes were "believed" to have been carried out by the coalition.The planes hit the camp known as Sa'iqa, the Observatory said, though it gave a slightly different account, saying the camp is near the village of Ayyash in the western countryside of Deir el-Zour.A Facebook page used by Islamic State militants to post news said several coalition warplanes flew over IS positions about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, then headed toward areas controlled by the Syrian government and struck an arms depot in the village of Ayyash, west of Deir el-Zour. Several strong explosions were heard, it said.The city of Deir el-Zour is mainly held by the Islamic State group, but the Syrian government maintains a presence in some parts of it.The IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency released a video showing wide destruction in a residential neighborhood in Deir el-Zour, saying it was bombed by Russian warplanes. The video showed a wounded child being carried away and a dead boy was on a stretcher.The video appeared genuine and corresponded to other Associated Press reporting of the events.A U.S.-led coalition has been striking at IS targets in Syria for more than a year, and France and Britain recently began their own airstrikes. Russia is also carrying out airstrikes, in coordination with the Damascus government.The Obama administration has repeatedly called on Assad to step down. It has refrained from targeting his forces, fearful of being dragged deeper into the increasingly complex civil war.Russia began its campaign Sept. 30, saying its airstrikes are meant to weaken IS and other "terrorists" in Syria. Syrian troops backed by the Russian bombings have captured areas from IS in recent weeks. President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said in Moscow that Russian officials have repeatedly emphasized a coordinated effort in Syria against the extremists."An effective fight against these dangers is only possible on the platform of a united coalition and a full coordination of our joint actions," Peskov told reporters."We believe that international terrorism, in particular ISIL, which has effectively occupied a sizeable part of Syria and Iraq, poses an equal threat to all of us, all the nations," he said.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes in the village of Khan in the northeastern province of Hassakeh killed 26 people, including seven children and four women. It said the strikes were believed to have been carried by the U.S.-led coalition supporting Kurdish fighters in the province.Airstrikes also hit several positions in the extremists' de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria, killing and wounding at least 32 fighters, according to several anti-IS activists. Media controlled by IS accused the Russians of being behind those attacks, saying civilians were killed.The coalition has focused primarily on disrupting the Islamic State group's oil income, stepping up airstrikes in recent weeks on oil fields and facilities.A new analysis by the conflict monitoring group IHS estimated the IS group's overall monthly revenue in late 2015 to be about $80 million, most of it coming from the collection of taxes in areas under its control in Syria and Iraq.The analysis of open source intelligence, including social media, said about half the revenues comes from taxation and confiscation, while about 43 percent comes from oil. Drug smuggling, the sale of electricity and donations make up the rest."Unlike al-Qaida, the Islamic State has not been dependent on money from foreign donors, to avoid leaving it vulnerable to their influence," said Columb Strack, senior analyst at IHS, and lead analyst for the IHS Conflict Monitor.IHS said the airstrikes have significantly degraded the group's refining capacity and ability to transport oil via tanker convoys. It did not elaborate.Iraq, meanwhile, demanded the withdrawal of additional Turkish forces sent in last week to expand an anti-IS training mission in the country's north, further highlighting the deep rifts among the various states battling IS, which have hindered efforts to roll back the extremist group.Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari warned that the deadline for the withdrawal of the additional Turkish forces expires Tuesday, after which Iraq will take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.Turkey says its troops have been stationed at a small base outside the IS-held city of Mosul since last year as part of a training mission coordinated with the Iraqi government. However, the arrival of additional Turkish forces Friday sparked an uproar in Baghdad.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has repeatedly called for the forces to be withdrawn, and a number of senior politicians have called the move a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.Turkey said Sunday that additional deployments to Iraq would be halted until Iraq's "sensitivities are overcome."U.S. officials say the deployment is part of an agreement between Turkey and Iraq and does not involve the U.S. or the coalition. The officials say the mission is to train and advise Iraqi forces so they can eventually take back Mosul, the country's second-largest city.___Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor in Washington, Adam Schreck in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Susannah George in Baghdad, and contributed to this report.
Turkey angered by rocket-brandishing on Russian naval ship passing Istanbul-Reuters-December 6, 2015 10:20 AM-YAHOONEWS
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey accused Russia of a "provocation" on Sunday after a serviceman on the deck of a Russian naval ship allegedly held a rocket launcher on his shoulder while the vessel passed through Istanbul.Relations have deteriorated sharply since Turkey last week became the first NATO member in more than half a century to down a Russian plane, which it said had violated its airspace while flying sorties over Syria. The pilot was killed.The NTV news channel broadcast photographs that it said showed a serviceman brandishing a rocket launcher on the deck of the landing ship Caesar Kunikov as it passed on Saturday through the Bosphorus Strait, which bisects the city of Istanbul. It said the ship was believed to be en route to Syria."For a Russian soldier to display a rocket launcher or something similar while passing on a Russian warship is a provocation," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters, according to the Hurriyet news site. "If we perceive a threatening situation, we will give the necessary response."The Bosphorus offers the only passage to the world's oceans for the Russian Black Sea fleet. A World War One-era treaty obliges Turkey to allow all ships to pass during peacetime.Turkey had considered Russia a strategic partner as its main energy supplier, despite deep differences over Syria. But since Turkey shot the plane down, Moscow has introduced economic sanctions including a ban on Turkish foods and other products worth as much as $1 billion.NTV said three NATO frigates with Canadian, Spanish and Portuguese flags had been moored in Istanbul as the Caesar Kunikov passed through.(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Turkey defends ground troops in Iraq as war escalates-Reuters By Daren Butler and Isabel Coles-DEC 7,15-YAHOONEWS
ISTANBUL/ERBIL (Reuters) - Turkey said on Monday it would not withdraw hundreds of soldiers who arrived last week at a base in northern Iraq, despite being ordered by Baghdad to pull them out within 48 hours.The sudden arrival of such a large and heavily armed Turkish contingent in a camp near the frontline in northern Iraq has added yet another controversial deployment to a war against Islamic State fighters that has drawn in most of the world's major powers.Ankara says the troops are there as part of an international mission to train and equip Iraqi forces to fight against Islamic State. The Iraqi government says it never invited such a force, and will take its case to the United Nations if they are not pulled out.Washington, which is leading an international coalition against Islamic State that includes Turkey, Arab states and European powers like Britain and France, has told Ankara and Baghdad to resolve the standoff, and says it does not support deployments in Iraq without Baghdad's consent.The Turkish troops' presence is an embarrassment for Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Abadi, under strong pressure from powerful Iran-backed Shi'ite political groups to kick them out.Shi'ite parties linked to militia groups armed and funded by Iran have also complained about U.S. plans to station special forces in Iraq to conduct raids and guide bombs against Islamic State. Political pressure on Abadi could make those plans more difficult to carry out.Political analysts saw last week's deployment in northern Iraq by Turkey, which has the second biggest army in NATO, as a bid to assert its influence in the face of increased Russian and Iranian involvement in Syria and Iraq."Turkey seems to be angling to prove to the Russians and Iranians that they will not be allowed to have either the Syrian or Iraqi war theaters only to themselves," said Aydin Selcen, former consul general of Turkey in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.-OUR DUTY-The troops arrived on Thursday with tanks and armored personnel carriers at a camp in territory held by Iraqi Kurds near the Islamic State-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Ankara said they were there to help protect a training mission close to the front line."It is our duty to provide security for our soldiers providing training there," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview on Turkey's Kanal 24 television."Everybody is present in Iraq ... The goal of all of them is clear. Train-and-equip advisory support is being provided. Our presence there is not a secret," he added.Abadi has called the Turkish deployment a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. Government spokesman Saad al-Hadithi said Iraq was still waiting for Turkey to respond officially."In case we have not received any positive signs before the deadline we set for the Turkish side, then we maintain our legal right to file a complaint to the Security Council to stop this serious violation to Iraqi sovereignty," he said.A senior Turkish official said Baghdad's objections had come as a surprise: "There was no single development ... that happened without informing the central government.""The military personnel for training will stay. Not because we want them (there) particularly but because there is a demand from the Iraqi side. The discussion with the central government still continues," the official told reporters.He said the total number of Turkish troops across Iraq was much less than 1,000 soldiers, with some having arrived from Turkey and others sent to the base from other parts of Iraq.Islamic State militants overran Mosul, Iraq's main northern city and home to around 2 million people, in June 2014. An expected counter-offensive by Iraqi forces has been repeatedly postponed because they are involved in fighting elsewhere.The U.S.-led coalition has been staging air strikes on Islamic State bases in both Iraq and Syria for more than a year.Russia joined the regional conflict with air strikes of its own on Syria two months ago, and like Iran is allied to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, who is opposed by Turkey, the United States and their allies. Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last month, causing a breakdown in relations with Moscow.-IRAQI ULTIMATUM-Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama's envoy to the global coalition to counter Islamic State, said on Twitter that Washington did not support missions in Iraq without permission of Baghdad, which he said also applied to U.S. missions there.The camp occupied by the Turkish troops is being used by a force called Hashid Watani, or national mobilization, made up of mainly Sunni Arab former Iraqi police and volunteers from Mosul.It is seen as a counterweight to Shi'ite militias that have grown in clout elsewhere in Iraq with Iranian backing, and was formed by former Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi, who has close relations with Turkey. A small number of Turkish trainers were already there before the latest deployment.The government of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, whose security forces control the area where the Turks are deployed, backed up Ankara's explanation: Thursday's deployment was intended to expand the capacity of the training base, said Safeen Dizayee, Kurdish government spokesman."The increase of personnel requires some protection."Although Turkey is strongly suspicious of Kurds in Syria, it has good relations with Iraq's Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani."Turkey, working through the Nujaifis and the Barzanis, is trying to establish its own sphere of influence in northern Iraq," said Aaron Stein, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk in Istanbul, Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad, Orhan Coskun and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Pravin Char, Peter Millership and Peter Graff)
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