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Sunday, November 1

Springtime for Turkey and other snapshots from a fast-moving train of events

Whatever the problem, the solution is more Islamist government 
Turkey, a NATO ally and candidate for EU membership, risks sliding into the sort of ethnic and sectarian strife that has torn Iraq and Syria to its south. In the view of some alarmed analysts, Turkey is starting to resemble its neighbors. “We are becoming more and more Syrianised and we are turning into more of a Middle Eastern country than a European country,” said veteran analyst Cengiz Candar.
-- Reuters, October 27, Turkey is looking more and more like its troubled neighbors


Did a U.S. announcement three days before the Turkey election that it was sending Special Forces to aid Kurdish fighters influence the vote? Do cats have whiskers?  
Turkey looked set to return to single-party rule after the Islamist-rooted AK Party swept to an unexpected victory in elections on Sunday, an outcome that will boost the power of President Tayyip Erdogan but may sharpen deep social divisions.
[...]
Erdogan's crackdowns on media freedoms and tightening grip on the judiciary, following a corruption investigation that was shut down as an attempt to overthrow him, have alarmed European leaders. A large number of journalists and others have faced court proceedings for "insulting the president".

Foreign capitals as well as Turkish media and other organisations will be watching closely for signs of whether a harsh climate will continue or government relaxes its grip.

Erdogan and the AKP have been a fierce critics, for example, of U.S. support for Kurdish militia fighters battling Islamic State (IS) across Turkey's border in neighbouring Syria.

"This (result) makes more difficult a strategy of using the Kurds against IS because AKP appeals to anti-Kurd sentiments," said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and sometime policy advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama.
-- Reuters Africa, Nov 1, Turkey set to return to single-party rule in boost for Erdogan

No photo op for Obama with grateful Yazidis if it's a purely Kurdish operation
The peshmerga in Sinjar are mainly affiliated with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which is accused of seeking to monopolize power by other groups arrayed against Islamic State. 

Many Yazidis lost faith in the KDP when its forces failed to protect them from Islamic State militants who attacked Sinjar in August 2014 and systematically slaughtered, enslaved and raped thousands of them. A Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) came to the rescue, evacuating thousands of Yazidis stranded on Sinjar mountain and establishing a permanent base there.
"We have been ready (to attack Sinjar town) for one year, but political struggles prevented it," said the commander of the PKK's military wing in Sinjar.

"The KDP is working with the Americans and they didn't allow us to go in".


U.S. getting good as Qaeda at coming up with new names for same fighters

Pundita, don't start

Say, I thought jihad in Afghanistan was to expel the Crusaders
Young boys and girls cluster around a small room in a village school in eastern Afghanistan. The teacher calls on a young boy.

“Stand up, Daud. What is this called?” he asks, handing the boy an AK-47.

“Kalashnikov,” the boy replies.

“Why do we use this?”

“To defend the faith,” Daud responds.

The school is run by fighters who pledged allegiance to ISIS — the terrorist group that declared an Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. They live among the locals in the village of Shaigal, take local wives and collect taxes. They seem to control every aspect of life.

The teacher, Abdullah Gul, tells the students what “jihad” means: “We must implement God’s religion over all people,” Gul tells the children in the below video. “God says do jihad until intrigue, idolatry and infidelity are finished in the world.”

-- FRONTLINE, Nov 1, ISIS in Afghanistan: School of Jihad (to be broadcast on PBS Nov 17)

Say, I thought there were only 10 Qaeda left in Afghanistan
-- VOA, Oct 31, US Attacks Massive Al-Qaida Camps in Southern Afghanistan

Watch out for splattering disinformation goo
(Russian gov catches Retuers with its hand in the cookie jar)

(Russian gov catches Paul Gregory with his hand in the cookie jar)

Ukrainian Wikileaks: McCain and Saakashvili are plotting to shoot down American plane in Syria to blame Russia [transcript]
(Aso, Tinker Bell is plotting to blow up the Kremlin and blame it on Americans)

Why bunker busters? Maybe because Syrian Army found IS has dug extensive tunnel networks in Syria? 
-- Sputnik, Oct 31, Trick or Treat: Russia Delivers Powerful Bombs to Islamic State's Doorstep

Is there a disconnect about Syria between French public and their government, or what?
RT, Oct 31 -  Le Figaro poll: Over 70% want Syria’s Assad to remain in power

Al JazeeraDoha-based Qatar state-funded broadcaster, caught with its hands in the cookie jar 
In the second half of December 2011, YouGov conducted a major poll commissioned by the Qatar Foundation throughout the Arab world. The key question was whether Bashar al-Assad should resign. 

The poll found that 55 percent of Syrians did not want Bashar al-Assad to resign as President; that is, 55 percent of Syrians wanted him to remain as President. Significantly, in a poll conducted in December 2010, that is, just before the outbreak of the current crisis, only 46 percent of Syrians considered Bashar a good president for Syria.

The YouGov poll also found that 68 percent of Syrians disapproved of the Arab League sanctions. In contrast, the YouGov poll showed that outside Syria 81 percent of Arabs “want President Assad to step down”. They based their opinion on the coverage of Syrian events on Arab satellite TV news channels.

In other words, Arab satellite news — such as Qatar-based al-Jazeera — has had a profound impact on non-Syrian regional public opinion, shaping it in favor of opposition to Assad, while domestic public opinion is actually more in favor of Assad.

Moreover, to reiterate: the US and West have allowed themselves to claim a moral imperative for intervention in Syria in support of non-Syrian objectives, and particularly objectives desired by Sunni radicals answerable to the Turkish and Qatari governments.
-- Yossef Bodansky, Why the West is Supporting an Anti-Western Solution in Syria, April 2012


Four from Al Jazeera. So, how is your boss' plan to overthrow Syria's government working out? 
Syrian teachers in Turkey say signs of brainwashing already evident in students from Raqqa and Deir El-Zor
The radical movement rules Raqqa, which it has declared the capital of its ‘caliphate,’ with an iron fist
Study based on testimony of 58 ex-fighters paints a picture of brutality, corruption and increasing disenchantment
Death of Syrian activist Ibrahim Abdulqader in Turkey a chilling reminder that ISIL has operatives across the region


All right, Pundita, let's not lay it on with a trowel.  

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