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M i d e a s t    Newsstand

Month: November, 2015

Iran Guard simulates capture of Al-Aqsa Mosque – Ali Akbar Dareini/AP

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Al aqsa

TEHRAN, Iran  — Thousands of paramilitary forces from Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard have held a war game simulating the capture of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque from Israeli control, state media reported Saturday.

It said forces stormed and “liberated” a replica of the mosque in the exercise. They say that 120 brigades from the Basij, the paramilitary unit of the Guard, participated in Friday’s exercise outside the holy city of Qom in central Iran.

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The Paris attacks — Passports revisited – Jean-Claude Paye/Voltairenet.org

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This is almost turning into a farce, albeit a tragic one: since 9/11 there has been one single terrorist attack in which the authors, who are supposed to try and remain unidentified, have not somehow left ID documents behind. For sociologist Jean-Claude Paye, what might look like repetitive asininity must be interpreted as a rhetorical device used by those in power to achieve sideration. It is because the official version is absurd that we may not, must not question it.

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Inside the surreal world of the Islamic State’s propaganda machine – Greg Miller, Souad Mekhennet/The Washington Post

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The assignments arrive on slips of paper, each bearing the black flag of the Islamic State, the seal of the terrorist group’s media emir, and the site of that day’s shoot.

“The paper just gives you the location,” never the details, said Abu Hajer al-Maghribi, who spent nearly a year as a cameraman for the Islamic State. Sometimes the job was to film prayers at a mosque, he said, or militants exchanging fire. But, inevitably, a slip would come with the coordinates to an unfolding bloodbath.

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With Paris, ISIS Has Declared War on Us. Here’s How We Should Respond – Brigadier General Peter B. Zwack (Ret.)/HuffPo

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  Italian poster: NATO Hands off Syria! No to Imperialism!

The ISIS attack in Paris was an attack on our global community. This will not end. We have to face this fact. The target of these attackers was non-combatant innocents. They will attack again. As much as we abhor the idea of more ground action in the Middle East, this is going to take concerted, long-term international military and civil action. It will involve major forces committed long-term in the nexus area encompassing ISIS root areas predominately in Iraq and Syria.

If asked to give advice as a recently retired military officer, this is what I’d suggest:

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Tangled Threads of US False Narratives – Robert Parry/Consortiumnews

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obama putin upsidedown cartoon_1870

Exclusive: Official Washington’s many false narratives about Russia and Syria have gotten so tangled that they have become a danger to the struggle against Sunni jihadist terrorism and conceivably a threat to the future of the planet, a risk that Robert Parry explores.

One way to view Official Washington is to envision a giant bubble that serves as a hothouse for growing genetically modified “group thinks.” Most inhabitants of the bubble praise these creations as glorious and beyond reproach, but a few dissenters note how strange and dangerous these products are. Those critics, however, are then banished from the bubble, leaving behind an evermore concentrated consensus.

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Hillary’s War Whoop – Mike Whiteney/CounterPunch

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If you’re one of the millions of Americans who think Hillary Clinton would make a lousy president, then pat yourself on the back because she pretty much proved it yesterday. In a presentation to the Council on Foreign Relations, Clinton made it clear that if she’s elected in 2016, she’s going to drag the country straight to war.  Invoking the same imagery as her ideological twin, George W. Bush, Clinton fulminated for more than an hour and a half on Syria, war, terrorism, war, no-fly zones, war, radical jihadism, war, and “metastasizing threats”, whatever the heck those are. Oh, and did I mention war?

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Anonymous Hackers link Zionism to Paris Attack

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Muslims Defend Islam From Being Hijacked by ISIS – Jonah Bromwich/The New York Times

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Muslims around the world who have condemned the deadly attacks in Paris carried out by militants of the Islamic State are speaking out to defend their religion.

The attacks that killed 129 people were not the work of Muslims, many say, adding that they see it as their responsibility to protect Islam from being hijacked by extremists.

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Will Convicted Israeli Spy Jonathan Pollard Become a Man Without a Country? – Paul Mcleary/Foreign Policy

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On Friday, after three decades behind bars, 61-year-old convicted spy Jonathan Pollard will emerge a free man from a federal prison in Butner, N.C. But what comes next for the man who for so long has been the subject of so much tension between the United States and Israel is an open question.

Pollard and his supporters insist it would be best for everyone if he is allowed to move to Israel since the hype surrounding his crimes, and his dubious celebrity, would make life in the United States “a circus,” as one U.S. congressman has said.

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Anonymous vs. ISIS: Netpolitik After the Paris Attacks – Charlie Fireston/HuffPo

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There have been many government and citizen reactions to the horrors of the Paris attacks of November 13, 2015. France is effectively declaring war on ISIS, legislatures debate their nation’s role in response, and many people around the globe show solidarity with the French people by personal acts such as laying wreaths or superimposing French flags on their Facebook profile pictures.

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Russian AirForce Destroys ISIS-controlled Oilfield

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A Second Video of Syrian Arab Army, National Defence Forces and Russian AirForce Operations in Western Outskirts of Palmyra:

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From Riyadh to Paris via Kabul and Baghdad – Julio Godoy/InDepthNews

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Saudiyank

BERLIN – It happened at least twice in January and February 2014: U.S. senator John McCain expressly thanked “God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar and our Qatari friends” for supporting the Sunni Islamic opposition to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. The first time McCain said so to the U.S. television network CNN in January 2014, the second time one month later during a speech at the Munich Security conference.

McCain was simply referring to Saudi Arabian help to create the Islamic State guerrilla group terrorising its way to Damascus. Prince Bandar bin Sultan was once Saudi ambassador in Washington – curiously enough, during 2001, coinciding with the attacks against the World Trade Centre and Washington.

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Baiting Obama to ‘Shock and Awe’ – Paul R. Pillar/Consortiumnews

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Official Washington’s armchair warriors are pounding their drums again, demanding a larger U.S. invasion of Syria and decrying President Obama as “feckless” for showing some restraint. But these hawks offer little thinking about the consequences of another long-term occupation, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly made adjustments to what he probably considered privately to have been the best U.S. policy toward armed conflicts overseas, as he has had to cope with the pressures from public discourse in Washington, to count his available political capital, and to decide which political battles to fight at home while also deciding which military battles the United States should fight abroad.

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We Can Avoid Another Paris and Defeat ISIS If We Remember This History – Akbar Ahmed/HuffPo

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Arabic calligraphy

The terrible and tragic violence in Paris is France’s 9/11, commentators are saying. The reaction must ensure that the many precious lives lost and the suffering of the injured are not in vain. The scale of the tragedy should concentrate the mind to find a strategy to check and defeat the Islamic State. The first step is to understand the roots of the crisis, which lie both in the soil of France and far from it in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East and North Africa.

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The Blood Feud That Drives the Middle East – Kim Ghattas/Foreign Policy

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Saudi Arabia and Iran’s struggle for power is tearing apart the Arab world, even as diplomats frantically try to negotiate a truce.

Convincing the foreign ministers of two countries that are not ostensibly at war to sit down at the same table should be a straightforward affair. But when it comes to arch-rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran — two regional powers that have been hurling accusations at each other all year and fighting through proxies across the region — it was considerably more complicated. It took a phone call from President Barack Obama to the Saudi king, a trip to Riyadh by Secretary of State John Kerry, and a last-minute diplomatic dance to confirm that Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir would indeed attend the Oct. 30 Syria talks in Vienna.

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War: Thinking the Unthinkable – Bernard-Henri Lévy/HuffPo

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So it’s war.

A new kind of war. A war with and without borders, with and without states, a war doubly new because it blends the nonterritorial model of Al-Qaeda with the old territorial paradigm to which Daesh has returned.

But a war all the same.

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Return of the Demonized: a Great Catastrophic Earthquake Has Erupted -Dr. Michael Welton/CounterPunch

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Jurgen Habermas’ longing and yearning for Kant’s cosmopolitan world-order of perpetual peace seems far from even an intimation of fulfillment. It is as if a great catastrophic earthquake has erupted beneath the earth’s surface, setting free mighty, dark and malevolent forces that challenge any deep-seated commitment to communicative action and deliberative democracy in our postmetaphysical, multicultural and religiously pluralistic world.

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Lost on the ‘Dark Side’ in Syria – Alastair Crooke/Consortiumnews

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The full story of how the U.S. ended up allied with some Sunni extremists in Syria – while at war with others – is a convoluted tale dating back to President George W. Bush’s neocons venturing off into Vice President Cheney’s “dark side” to work with violent jihadists, writes British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

When, in early August, the Pentagon’s former highest ranking intelligence official, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said that it had been a “willful decision” by the “West” to back the establishment of “a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria” in order to bring pressure on the Syrian government, and then went on to confirm that the recently declassified 2012 U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency report on the rise of ISIS in Syria, had explicitly warned of the possibility of “an Islamic State” being declared “through a union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria,” there was almost silence in the mainstream media.

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Amplify Palestine! – NYC Cultural Boycott Pledge

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Adalah-NY is proud to announce the release of a new short video featuring eight leading artists, all with ties to New York, stating their support for the cultural boycott of Israel and calling on cultural workers to commit to Palestinian rights by pledging to uphold the boycott.

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Blowback – The Washington War Party’s Folly Comes Home To Roost – David Stockman/ContraCorner

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Exactly 26 years ago last week, peace was breaking out in a manner that the world had not experienced since June 1914. The Berlin Wall – the symbol of a century of state tyranny, grotesque mass warfare and the nuclear sword of Damocles hanging over the planet – had come tumbling down on November 9, 1989.

It was only a matter of time before the economically decrepit Soviet regime would be no more, and that the world’s vast arsenal of weapons and nuclear bombs could be dismantled.

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Disproportionate coverage of Paris attacks is not just the media’s fault – Folker Hanusch/TheConversation.com

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The horrendous terrorist attacks in Paris and the resulting blanket media coverage have once again raised questions about the proportionality of news coverage when it comes to reporting deadly events.

The argument goes that the Paris attacks are unfairly given more coverage than similar events in other places around the world – such as last Thursday’s bombings in Beirut, which killed 44 people, or the shooting of 147 people at a university in Kenya in April, to name just two examples.

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The French Republic taken hostage – Thierry Meyssan/Voltairenet.org

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The war which has now spread to Paris is incomprehensible for those French citizens who are ignorant of practically all the secret activities of their government in the Arab world, of its unnatural alliances with the Gulf dictators, and its active participation in international terrorism. These policies have never been discussed in Parliament, and the major media have rarely dared to take an interest in them.

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The Shadow of Algeria: the Lost Context of the Paris Attacks – Robert Fisk/CounterPunch

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It wasn’t just one of the attackers who vanished after the Paris massacre. Three nations whose history, action–and inaction–help to explain the slaughter by Isis have largely escaped attention in the near-hysterical response to the crimes against humanity in Paris: Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

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Israel studies director assaults Texas students – Ali Abunimah/Electronic Intifada

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Students at the University of Texas at Austin are calling for a professor to be investigated after he assaulted a group of students staging a Palestine solidarity protest.

The incident occurred just before a lecture on Friday promoting the Israeli military as an “offensive, daring, highly effective and initiative-driven army.”

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The Unmagnificent Seven: Naming ISIS Allies

by Taxi

I-096 Anti-War

The Mainstream Media is doing all it can to avoid addressing the obvious:  naming, dissecting and damning ISIS’s major backers and supporters.  There are no such informative and sanguine reports being penned or published by the elite media; they are instead too busy gatecrashing the funerals of the fallen, wiping errant tears and taking selfies.

As usual, wilted pathos and not sound reason is what’s being fed to the public after yet another  horrific series of terrorist attacks.
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In light of the Paris attacks, is it time to eradicate religion? – Miroslav Volf/The Washington Post

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Paris is where a long trail of blood and tears, meandering through the centuries and from continent to continent, has now stopped — for a brief while.

The Islamic State has taken the responsibility for the 129 dead and more than 350 injured, almost 100 of them seriously. In Paris as in many other places, the hands that pulled the triggers of Kalashnikov rifles and pulled the fuses of bombs to kill the innocent people belonged to men and women in whose hearts burned the fires of religious zeal.

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Living in Pitiless Times: Baghdad, Beirut and Paris – Vijay Prashad/CounterPunch

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A week of horrible carnage – bomb blasts in Beirut and Baghdad and then the cold-blooded shootings in Paris. Each of these acts of terror left dead bodies and wounded lives. There is nothing good that comes of them – only the pain of the victim and then more pain as powerful people take refuge in clichéd policies that once again turn the wheel of violence.

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After Paris, a Grim New Reality in the Terror War – Dan De Luce/Foreign Policy

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The West thought it could contain the Islamic State. Now Washington and its allies are facing new pressure to destroy it.

The Islamic State’s deadly terrorist attacks in Paris have exposed cracks in Western intelligence efforts and cast doubt on the underlying premises behind the U.S.-led war against the extremist group.

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Analysis: comparing Beirut and Paris bombing – Habib Battah/Al Jazeera English

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Just as innocent:  A Lebanese journalist asks why we categorise Lebanese victims as we mourn French ones.

Lebanon, Beirut – Because the Lebanese community is one of Australia’s largest and oldest immigrant groups, it was not entirely surprising to see Lebanon’s flag projected on to Sydney’s iconic Opera House as published by a local news site.

But that image of solidarity after last week’s Beirut bomb attacks proved to be a digitally altered fake, underscoring the double standard that lurks beneath the myth of global compassion for victims of such attacks.

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The best way for Americans to defeat the Islamic state is to end support for Jewish nationalism – Philip Weiss/Mondoweiss

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At last night’s Democratic debate in Iowa, Bernie Sanders responded to the Paris horror saying that we have to rid the earth of ISIS, that there’s a war for the soul of Islam, and the Muslim nations have to get their hands dirty too.

These belligerent and self-righteous statements were concerning because once again American leaders, and American Jews, are pure innocence when it comes to the religious dimension of the Middle East conflict. The hypocrisy would be appalling were it not so functional: the biggest impediment to both the reform of Islam and peace in the Middle East that Americans have the ability to remove is our support for a militant Jewish ideology that few Arabs and Muslims have ever accepted.

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