July, 2016 Security-Intelligence

 

By James M. Dorsey

A Turkish demand that Pakistan close 28 primary and secondary schools associated with controversial, self-exiled Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen has put the government in Islamabad in a quandary as it attempts to get a grip on an education sector in which militant Islamists and jihadists figure prominently.


Author Mohammed A. Salih
ERBIL, Iraq — Political wrangling between Iraq's federal government and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the north appears to have, for the time being, overshadowed planning for a military offensive to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS).

 Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

By GERSHON BASKIN
Arafat is no longer around and neither is Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and Liberman too might not be the same old Liberman we know from yesteryear. 
On Monday, during an open Q&A in the Knesset Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated: “Egypt is the most important and serious ally we have in the Middle East and among Arab states. I invested a lot of effort in building trust and cooperative relations.” This is a very interesting statement from the man who in 1998 suggested bombing the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support for Yasser Arafat.

Pro-Erdogan supporters hold up an effigy of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen during a demonstration at Taksim Square in Istanbul on July 18, 2016. Photo by Ozan Kose / AFP

CraigSHAW, AhmetŞIK

Last Friday’s coup in Turkey left us all with a world of questions. Did Erdoğan know about it? Did he plan it? Was his former comrade Fethullah Gülen behind it? We asked those in a position to know – our sources in Turkish intelligence services. They provided an insider's take on the run-up to the coup attempt, the events of that day, and the five-year political war between the Turkish president and his one-time ally.


By Pepe Escobar

"Information Clearing House" - "SCF" - Amidst an astonishing, relentless, wide-ranging purge that shows no signs of abating, with 60,000 – and counting – civil servants, academics, judges, prosecutors, policemen, soldiers jailed, fired, suspended or stripped of professional accreditation, it’s relatively established by now the Turkish government was very much informed a military coup was imminent on July 15. The information may have come from Russian intelligence, although neither Moscow nor Ankara will reveal any details. So, once and for all, this was no false flag.

AUTHOR, Pinar Tremblay

In the first hours of the failed coup attempt on July 15, the pro-government figures that appeared on television called upon the Religious Affairs Department (Diyanet) to rally the Turkish people in defense of democracy. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, along with Mehmet Gormez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, Turkey’s official religious body, encouraged people to take to the streets to show solidarity against the military coup attempt. Before midnight on July 15, Gormez had issued an order to all imams of the Turkish Republic to go to their mosques and call upon the people to do the same.

Turkish demonstrators rally against the coup attempt in Turkey at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 17, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Kemal Kirişci

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has responded to last week’s coup attempt with a hammer. Over the span of just a few days, more than 50,000 people have been fired from their jobs or detained on suspicions that they’re connected to the coup or to the Gülenist movement (which President Erdoğan blames for the coup attempt). Now emergency rule has been imposed, suggesting that more detentions may follow.


Author Kadri Gursel
As of July 21, 124 Turkish generals and admirals have been detained on charges of participating in the failed coup of July 15. This will significantly affect the integrity and performance of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), as the TSK's total number of generals and admirals was 358. In other words, almost 35% of all TSK generals and admirals are in detention for participating in a coup attempt outside the armed forces hierarchy.


By Ralph Peters

If today’s Western leaders possess one general trait, it’s a genius for self-deception. Insisting that Islamist terror has nothing to do with Islam, or that religion has no strategic impact, or that all human beings want freedom and democracy, amounts to declaring that up is down, right is left and night is day.

turkey-fertility-rate-2000

ANATOLY KARLIN
Turkey has a proud and rich history of military coups. As analysts tirelessly point out, they are even sanctioned by the Constitution as a means of preserving secularism.

ANADOLU AGENCY, BAKU
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev signed a verdict Wednesday to approve the protocol that the Turkish military has been allocated to manage buildings and structures in the country's military town.

AFP photo

Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) informed the country’s top generals hours before the coup attempt was initiated by a group of soldiers within the army on July 15, while Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar evaluated the information and issued all necessary warnings and orders against “this despicable and miserable attempt,” according to a statement published on the General Staff’s official website on July 19.

Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gather at Taksim Square in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Natasha Bertrand

Tension between the US and Turkey has escalated dramatically in the wake of Ankara's far-reaching crackdown on those suspected to have been involved in Friday's failed military coup. In addition to more than 2,000 members of the Turkish armed forces, Ankara has ordered that at least 50 high-level civil servants, 8,000 police officers, and 30 regional governors with alleged ties to the coup plotters be either arrested or fired, according to Reuters.


By Pepe Escobar

 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - When Turkish President/aspiring Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early Saturday morning, he declared the attempted coup against his government a failure, and a “gift from God.”

Soldiers suspected of being involved in the coup attempt are escorted by policemen as they arrive at a courthouse in the resort town of Marmaris, Turkey, July 17, 2016.

The notion that there was a list of arrests already prepared is sure to fuel speculation that President Erdogan himself staged the coup. The swift rounding up of judges and others after a failed coup in Turkey indicated the government had prepared a list beforehand, the E.U. commissioner dealing with Turkey's membership bid, Johannes Hahn, said Monday.

 

AHMET HAKAN

The first the coup plotters’ blunders was the assumption that by seizing two bridges and flying eight or 10 jets low to the ground one could take over the country. Their second stupid act was believing that by making state-run TRT television broadcast an out-of-date declaration, the whole business would be over, as if we were in the times of former failed coup leader Talat Aydemir.

MURAT YETKİN

The failed military coup attempt in Turkey started on the evening of July 15, leaving more than 200 killed, nearly 3,000 soldiers and almost as many judges and prosecutors detained, and plenty of embarrassment for Turkey for being the center of talk about a military coup, (even if it failed and there remain a lot of questions about it).


by Tyler Durden
Looking back at the failed Turkish coup, one question that nobody has been able to answer is why, if the coup was indeed a serious attempt at government overthrow, did the organizers not do the first thing that military coups have done since time immemorial: either capture, or simply eliminate the existing ruler, the vacationing president Erdogan?

We are witnessing the consolidation of a new form of authoritarianism with a populist streak.

By Ayşe Kadıoğlu
 "Information Clearing House" - "Open Democracy" - On the evening of July 15, 2016, a friend called around 10:30pm and said that both bridges connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul were closed by military barricades. Moreover, military jets were flying over Ankara skies. As someone living on the European side of Istanbul and commuting to the Asian side to my university on a daily basis and spending many hours in traffic in order to do that, I immediately knew that the closure of both bridges was a sign of something very extraordinary taking place.

 

By DARREN BOYLE FOR MAILONLINE

A US-based Turkish cleric accused of plotting a coup to overthrow the Ankara government has claimed President Recep Erdogan staged the rebellion himself to justify a major clampdown on opposition forces.
Fethullah Gulen, who was a former key ally of Erdogan has been blamed by the politician of using his contacts to develop a 'parallel structure' to overthrow the state.
Erdogan has called on US President Barack Obama to extradite Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania.

PHOTO: In this file photo, a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet lands at Incirlik air base in Adana, Turkey, Aug. 11, 2015.

By JUSTIN FISHEL MORGAN WINSOR MICHAEL EDISON HAYDEN
A coalition fighting ISIS has resumed operations at Turkish airbases following a weekend coup attempt in Turkey that led to a temporary lockdown at Incirlik air base. 
"After close coordination with our Turkish allies, they have reopened their airspace to military aircraft," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told ABC News. "As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed."

Paul R. Pillar
Before this week it had come to be broadly accepted conventional wisdom that the days of Turkish military coups were over. After a post-World War II history in which the military had taken over the government about once every ten years, in the last couple of decades the return to the barracks appeared to be final.


by Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Post
Israeli soldiers returning from the front with captured Lebanese and Hezbollah flags, July 25, 2006.
For those of us who took part in it, the war remains quiet and always just in view, like a suitcase filled with items of memory in the corner of a room.


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report

In a supreme effort to prevent ISIS suicide units from reaching Russia from Syria, Sergei Shoigu, Russia's
Defense Minister, has promoted the Russian commander in Syria, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov. to an expanded command as head of the South Russia military district.

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Crispian Cuss
Until recently much of the violence caused by extremists in Southeast Asia has been as much about local conditions as Islamist ideology. The return of local jihadists from the Middle East threatens to change this. As the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group continues to lose territory as it battles on all fronts in Iraq and Syria, so the nature of the threat in Southeast Asia is set to change.

By Alexandra Sander

At the end of June, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released a report counting U.S. counterterrorism drone strikes outside areas of active hostilities and resulting combatant and non-combatant deaths. The public release of these figures is part of a greater Obama administration endeavor to increase transparency surrounding drone strikes and further efforts to protect civilians.


by Jonathan Spyer, The Jerusalem Post
ISIS's pretensions to statehood are receding as it loses ground, but the organization is anything but defeated.
The latest wave of bombings by Islamic State confirm a pattern long observed. As it continues to lose ground in its heartland and its "provinces," so the organization turns back to an intensified focus on international terrorism. This is in line with previous experience of international Salafi-jihadi organizations.


DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry's visit to Israel Sunday, July 10 and the two conversations he held with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that day underscored the intensified ties between the two governments and their leaders, President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi and the prime minister.


Author Pinar Tremblay
When Istanbul Ataturk Airport was attacked by three suicide bombers June 28, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim appeared on television and said, “Early signs indicate the Islamic State [IS]” was responsible. In the following days, further evidence and arrests by Turkish security forces confirmed a well-planned IS attack. In addition, on June 29, CIA director John Brennan concurred with the Turkish authorities in an interview, also warning there could be similar attacks on American soil.

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THE SAKER 
A number of events have happened recently which point to the possibility that something might be brewing in the Syrian conflict. First and foremost, there was Erdogan’s apology to Russia which was really much more than just an apology.


 

by Mark Durie, The Spectator

 

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull thinks that his Iftar dinner guest, Shady Alsuleiman, should "reflect on what he has said" about homosexuals and adulterers.
A widely-publicised Iftar dinner, intended to show that Malcolm Turnbull gets what it means to be inclusive, ended badly after he was advised that one of his guests, Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, had taught that Islam prescribes death for adulterers, and homosexuals spread diseases. No rogue maverick, Australian-born Alsuleiman is the elected national president of the Australian National Imams Council.

Although insisting that "mutual respect is absolutely critical," Turnbull subjected this prominent Muslim leader to public humiliation. He regretted inviting him to dinner and counselled the sheikh "to reflect on what he has said and recant." In the middle of an election, wanting to limit fallout from the dinner-gone-wrong, held only days after the Orlando massacre, Turnbull stated that his no-longer-welcome guest's views are "wrong, unacceptable, and I condemn them."

Well, Mr. Turnbull may deplore Alsuleiman's teachings, but the real challenge is that these were not merely his personal views. The sheikh's teachings on homosexuality and adultery reflect the mainstream position of Islam, preached by many a Muslim scholar around the world today. Telling a sheikh to reject the sharia is like telling a pope to get over the virgin birth.

Western leaders pretend that the objectionable teachings of Muslim faith leaders are personal faults.

Many Australian Muslims will be disappointed at the treatment meted out to Sheikh Alsuleiman. An event designed to honour the Muslim community ended up providing a platform to denigrate one of their most respected leaders for promoting Islamic doctrines. Several Australian Muslim leaders have since dug in their heels to affirm support for the sharia position on homosexuals. So much for recanting.

While Turnbull refused to pass judgement on Islam itself, saying "there are different views of different issues, as there are in all religions," he also sent a message that he is prepared to disparage Australian Muslims' religious beliefs. It was a bitter pill for Muslims to swallow that this came in the form of a humiliating invite-to-disavow game of bait-and-switch, conducted during a pre-election media storm.

The cognitive dissonance is startling.

On the one hand, Mr. Turnbull has stated, "I reject and condemn any comments which disparage any group of Australians, whether on the basis of their race, their religion, their sexuality, their gender." On the other, he is willing to disparage one of Australia's most prominent Muslim religious leaders on the basis of his religious teachings.

Turnbull has also said "It is vital in our multicultural society that every part feels included and that each of us gives to the other the mutual respect that each of them gives us." A video response posted on Sheikh Alsuleiman's Facebook page, and viewed more than 40,000 times, asks, "But that statement also includes respect for people's religious beliefs, doesn't it?"

Turnbull and others subscribe to the idea that the same basic values are channeled by all religions.

Turnbull appears to subscribe to the really bad idea that the same basic values are channeled by all religions. In 2011 on Q&A he praised Islam's moderation in embodying "universal values." This vacuous universalism has blinded him to the possibility that a religion might actually teach things that he would be duty-bound to disparage. No doubt the PM is also influenced by advice from ASIO not to alienate Muslims by criticising their religion. This policy is ultimately driven by fear of offending adherents of the one religion from which most terrorists are drawn; and why millions of dollars are directed to Muslim organisations, and not to Sikhs or Copts. Turnbull attempted to use a "shoot the messenger" strategy to minimise the cognitive dissonance of his conflicted statements, directing attention away from the religion onto an individual.

The fact remains that, whatever the sheikh's personal attitudes to gays, his teachings on adultery and homosexuality are not personal. Given his extensive training in sharia law, Alsuleiman's views could only be called personal if they had diverged from mainstream Islamic positions. But they did not.

Turnbull's staff might have googled the sheikh before they invited him to dinner. And as Alsuleiman's Facebook post put it, "the prime minister might have the same issue in future when inviting just about any other Muslim imam to any other function." Rather than calling out the sheikh as a hater, what is needed is to challenge the religious doctrines which have determined his preaching.

As long as our political leaders pretend that objectionable Islamic teachings are merely personal faults, while insisting that the religion of Islam is above reproach, we will stay stuck in this unhelpful place; where we tell a highly trained Muslim imam that we respect his religion, but denigrate his religious beliefs as bigotry. The conversation needs to be about Islamic sharia, not those who preach it.

Mark Durie is the pastor of an Anglican church, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Founder of the Institute for Spiritual Awareness. 

www.meforum.org/6106/its-not-personal-its-islam


Author Mustafa Saadoun
BAGHDAD — Most Shiite political parties in Iraq have their own armed groups, enjoying influence on the Iraqi street and engaging in the war against the Islamic State. Yet these groups all have different religious authorities and funding sources, and their stances towards domestic and foreign issues also differ.

They’re determined to start World War III, by Justin Raimondo
The Roman republic began its descent into empire as victorious generals – starting with one Julius Caesar – returned to claim the fruits of their victories, their final conquest being the republic itself. “Crossing the Rubicon” has today become a phrase meaning an event that cannot be undone, usually of ominous portent, and surely this applies to the machinations of one General Philip Breedlove, former Supreme Commander of NATO.

 Terror in US

By MICHAEL LAITMAN 
The San Bernardino and Orlando massacres are not isolated incidents; they are the beginning of a new, bloody era in America.
This week, America celebrated 240 years of independence. Much has changed in America since the original thirteen states agreed to unite under the premise that all men are created equal, and are endowed with the unalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Now, it seems, America is about to face a final, lethal blow to these truths, which are apparently no longer self-evident.

By Dan Goure
As NATO prepares for its summit in Warsaw, the leaders of the Alliance’s 28 nations will try to put a good face on what is clearly a deteriorating security situation on the Continent. Government officials, diplomats and military leaders are wringing their hands at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s apparent ability to run rings around the United States and its allies.


by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi 
A screenshot from the video lists the "wilayas" (provinces) of the Islamic State.
Readers of this blog will have known that a long-standing interest of mine has been the structure of Islamic State (IS) administration, focusing primarily on internal documents. To mark the start of Eid, IS has released via its central media outlet al-Furqan Media a video on the very subject, entitled 'Structure of the Caliphate'. Below are some observations of mine:

 

Project Syndicate, Jeffrey Sachs
NEW YORK – Deadly terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Dhaka, and Baghdad demonstrate the murderous reach of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia. The longer ISIS maintains its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, the longer its terrorist network will create such carnage.

U.S. Army soldiers in Al Muradia village, Iraq. Flickr/U.S. Army

By Paul R. Pillar
SINCE WORLD WAR II—the largest military effort ever by the United States, and one ending with clear victory—the use of U.S. military force overseas has exhibited two patterns. One is the increasing frequency and duration of the application of force. This trend has become especially noticeable since the turn of the twenty-first century, with the United States fighting its two longest major military campaigns, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Simultaneously, Washington has conducted combat operations in Libya, Syria and elsewhere, all under the indeterminate rubric of “war on terror.” An entire generation of Americans has come of age with its country perpetually at war.


by Efraim Inbar
BESA Center Perspectives

Hamas is deeply rooted in Palestinian society.
A senior Defense Ministry source in Israel said recently that a confrontation with Hamas is inevitable, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) must be prepared for it. The source added, significantly, that "the next round must be the last one for the Hamas government."

 

Tom Hussain
In a world of cause and effect, the nightmare that unfolded in Dhaka on Friday night was entirely predictable. Since the opposition-boycotted 2014 elections, the most violent in its history, Bangladesh has steadily descended into a cycle of polarising politics, pitting the avowedly secular nationalist government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed against the country's religious establishment, key allies of opposition leader Khaleda Zia.


By ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — In just the past few days, the Islamic State’s evolving brand of terrorism has revealed its deadly, shifting faces. n Istanbul last week, Turkish officials say, militants guided by the Islamic State conducted a coordinated suicide attack on the city’s main airport. In Bangladesh on Friday, a local extremist group that has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State butchered diners in a restaurant. And in Baghdad on Sunday, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed more than 140 people.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Mason fires its 5-inch light weight gun during a U.S.-China counter piracy exercise. Flickr/U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet

It's not just about the rocks.
Zidny Ilman

Recent skirmishes in the South China Sea between the Indonesian navy and China’s coast guard have reinvigorated public interest towards the region. Some applauded Indonesia’s resolve in defending her rightful maritime territory.

 Jobar, a district of Damascus controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra militants

Russia and Turkey have reached common understanding on the Syrian crisis, including fighting al-Nusra Front militants. During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara considers not only Daesh but also al-Nusra Front as terrorists.

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık (R) meets his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen in Ankara. AA photo

ANKARA - Reuters

Germany is pressing Turkey to allow German lawmakers to visit 250 German soldiers stationed at İncirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on June 1, after meeting her Turkish counterpart.


Author Pinar Tremblay

In early April, as renewed fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region made headlines in Turkey, there was little talk of the crucial role of Israeli weapons in the clashes. Only the daily Hurriyet reported on Azerbaijan's use of the Israeli Harop armed drone, which generated Armenian protests.

 Chinese navy frigate. Flickr/Charles W. Clark

Washington’s commitment to Tokyo may endanger American security.
Eric Hyer

China’s increasingly truculent behavior in the East and South China Seas has generated apprehension over China’s intentions and deepened U.S. concerns, especially over freedom of navigation, land reclamation and the potential militarization of disputed features by China.

imaratk
Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Stephen Blank
Despite the ongoing terrorist insurgency, Russian officials claim significant progress in pacifying and reintegrating the North Caucasus. For example, in 2015 alone, Ministry of Interior forces in the North Caucasus (VVMVD) allegedly killed over 70 militants.


by Michel Gurfinkiel
PJ Media

Originally published under the title "The Road to Brexit: How Merkel Thwarted Cameron's Smart Gamble."

Polls show mass migration was the number one concern of voters in the Brexit referendum.
There were many signposts on the road to Brexit. As early as 2001, the Swiss rejected access to the EU by an overwhelming 72.5%. Four years later, in 2005, both the French and the Dutch rejected a European constitutional treaty project in separate referendums. Polls indicated that similar referendums would have turned the same way in other places.