Archive for the ‘Iran’ Category
Following Telegraph Wonder Women’s coverage of the upsetting case, Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, who today spent her 80th day in prison without any formal charges, the UK Foreign Office are now meeting with her brother, who is based in London, for the first time tomorrow.
Ghoncheh Ghavami has been held in Tehran’s notoriously tough Evin Prison since June 30 with no idea when she will be released. She was detained after attending the sports match on June 20, which women had been previously banned from doing.
However, Miss Ghavami thought she was allowed to go because of a recent newspaper article which appeared to condone the attendance of women at volleyball games.
Miss Ghavami’s brother Iman, 28, speaking to Telegraph Wonder Women earlier today, said: “The Foreign Office called me this morning at 11am for a few minutes. The person I spoke to said they had read The Telegraph story and were going to arrange a meeting for me and a few officials at the Foreign Office to talk about my sister.
A ban on women attending football matches in Iran has been in place since 1979 – but this was extended to volleyball games in 2012.
Miss Ghavami was arrested immediately after the volleyball match but was then released. It was when she went to collect her belongings from the police station a few days later that she began being questioned about her dual nationality and was then detained without charge or notice.
Former Florida Rep. Allen West declared President Obama an Islamist who is intentionally working against the security of the United States.
“The only plausible explanation for many actions taken by President Obama and his administration is that they are working counter to the security of the United States of America,” the former Florida congressman and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel wrote in the post published Wednesday.
Among six example he gives to back up his point is Obama’s decision to release of five Taliban in exchange for Sgt. Bergdahl in May, providing weapons of support to the Egyptian government led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and negotiating with Hamas.
He also writes at length about Obama’s recent decision to lift a ban on Libyan’s attending U.S. flight schools and studying nuclear science, which had been in place since 1983.
“Can anyone explain what the strategy and objective is here in lifting this ban with a nation that is or should be on the terrorist watch list?” he asks. ”Sorry, but I can only explain this one way: Barack Hussein Obama is an Islamist in his foreign policy perspectives and supports their cause.”
“The pivot away from the Middle East seems to be nothing more than an opportunity to enable Islamists and their goals,” he continues. “Anyone supporting this Libyan ban being lifted is indeed an enemy of this state.”
Like the rest of the world, the U.S. government appeared to have been taken aback last month when Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, fell to an offensive by jihadis of the Islamic State that triggered the collapse of five Iraqi army divisions and carried the extremists to the threshold of Baghdad.
A review of the record shows, however, that the Obama administration wasn’t surprised at all.
In congressional testimony as far back as November, U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials made clear that the United States had been closely tracking the al Qaida spinoff since 2012, when it enlarged its operations from Iraq to civil war-torn Syria, seized an oil-rich province there and signed up thousands of foreign fighters who’d infiltrated Syria through NATO ally Turkey.
The testimony, which received little news media attention at the time, also showed that Obama administration officials were well aware of the group’s declared intention to turn its Syrian sanctuary into a springboard from which it would send men and materiel back into Iraq and unleash waves of suicide bombings there. And they knew that the Iraqi security forces couldn’t handle it.
Why Arab countries have so miserably failed to create democracy, happiness or (aside from the windfall of oil) wealth for their 350m people is one of the great questions of our time. What makes Arab society susceptible to vile regimes and fanatics bent on destroying them (and their perceived allies in the West)? No one suggests that the Arabs as a people lack talent or suffer from some pathological antipathy to democracy. But for the Arabs to wake from their nightmare, and for the world to feel safe, a great deal needs to change.
Islam, or at least modern reinterpretations of it, is at the core of some of the Arabs’ deep troubles. The faith’s claim, promoted by many of its leading lights, to combine spiritual and earthly authority, with no separation of mosque and state, has stunted the development of independent political institutions.
But religious extremism is a conduit for misery, not its fundamental cause (see article). While Islamic democracies elsewhere (such as Indonesia—see article) are doing fine, in the Arab world the very fabric of the state is weak. Few Arab countries have been nations for long.
Economic stagnation bred dissatisfaction. Monarchs and presidents-for-life defended themselves with secret police and goons. The mosque became a source of public services and one of the few places where people could gather and hear speeches. Islam was radicalised and the angry men who loathed their rulers came to hate the Western states that backed them.
Today the outlook is bloody. But ultimately fanatics devour themselves. Meanwhile, wherever possible, the moderate, secular Sunnis who comprise the majority of Arab Muslims need to make their voices heard.
The jihadists who overran Mosul last month have demolished ancient shrines and mosques in and around the historic northern Iraqi city, residents and social media posts said on Saturday.
At least four shrines to Sunni Arab or sufi figures have been demolished, while six Shia mosques, or husseiniyahs, have also been destroyed, across militant-held parts of northern Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital.
Pictures posted on the internet by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group showed the Sunni and sufi shrines were demolished by bulldozers, while the Shia mosques and shrines were all destroyed by explosives. The photographs were part of an online statement titled “Demolishing shrines and idols in the state of Nineveh”.
Local residents confirmed that the buildings had been destroyed and that militants had occupied two cathedrals as well.
“We feel very sad for the demolition of these shrines, which we inherited from our fathers and grandfathers,” said Ahmed, a 51-year-old resident of Mosul. “They are landmarks in the city.”
The results were contradictory messages that encouraged radical Islamists. The conclusion radical Islamists drew was that even the Obama administration had admitted its anti-terrorism protocols were either morally questionable or ineffective.
Blaming a video maker instead of immediately taking out the known jihadists who had murdered Americans in Benghazi only reinforced that mixed message. So did exchanging five terrorist kingpins in Guantanamo for an alleged American military deserter in Afghanistan.
A series of empty Middle East red lines, deadlines, and withdrawal dates likewise reinforced the idea of American abdication.
We warned Syria of air strikes and then backed down. We surged in Afghanistan only to simultaneously announce a withdrawal date for our troops. We issued Iran lots of deadlines to stop enriching uranium, only to forget them and end sanctions in hope of negotiations.
But newly emboldened terrorists gambled that the old deterrence was stale and now existed mostly as Obama’s reset rhetoric. They gambled that it was a great time to go on the offensive. They may have been right.
Once more in the Middle East, Barack Obama is looking to blame others for a mess that has grown since 2009. But mostly he just wants out of the lose-lose region at any cost and wishes that someone would just make all the bad things go away.
Ever since Islamist militants emerged as the dominant force in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, much has been written about how groups such Isis, which is currently in the process of establishing an Islamic Caliphate in northern Iraq, should be distinguished from the mainstream al-Qaeda movement. Isis fighters are so extreme, or so the argument goes, that even al-Qaeda is appalled at their barbarous treatment of their fellow Muslims, to the extent that Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s somewhat isolated leader, has attempted to disown them.
But as transportation chiefs on both sides of the Atlantic are now giving active consideration to bringing in a security measures on flights to the US, it is clear that militant Islamist groups such as Isis and al-Qaeda have much more in common than was previously thought. And nothing is more guaranteed to forge a spirit of unity among these disparate Islamist groups than the tempting prospect of blowing up US-bound civilian airliners.
It is a truly alarming picture, and one that Western governments need to take seriously. The attitude of most politicians in Britain and America is that they want to avoid becoming involved in the violent conflicts in Iraq and Syria at any cost. But when you have radical Islamist groups like Isis and al-Qaeda united in their desire to commit atrocities in America and Europe, simply trying to ignore the problem is no longer an option they can afford.
The ISIS map of the world: Militants outline chilling five-year plan for global domination as they declare formation of caliphate – and change their name to the Islamic State
ISIS has formally declared the establishment of a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the vast stretches of the Middle East that have fallen under its control, and has outlined a vision to expand into Europe.
The announcement was described as the ‘most significant development in international jihadism since 9/11′.
Upon declaring a caliphate, the Sunni militants – whose brutality in attempting to establish control in Iraq and Syria has been branded too extreme even by Al Qaeda – demanded allegiance from Muslims around the world.
With brutal efficiency, ISIS has carved out a large chunk of territory that has effectively erased the border between Iraq and Syria and laid the foundations of its proto-state.
ISIS militants produce slick weekly magazine packed with English language Islamist propaganda designed to recruit and radicalise would-be extremists in the West
Islamist militants fighting in Iraq and Syria are producing a weekly English language magazine designed to recruit and radicalise would-be jihadists in the West.
The magazine, which is professionally designed and edited, is published by AlHayat Media Center – the propaganda wing of ISIS, the Sunni militant group whose brutal campaign to establish an Islamic state in the Middle East has been branded too extreme even by Al Qaeda.
ISIS already make extensive use of social media to keep in near-constant contact with supporters in the West – even selling branded merchandise such as T-shirts, baseball caps and cuddly toys.
Communications: The professionally designed and edited Islamic State Report is published by the AlHayat Media Center – ISIS’ propaganda wing. It is put out once a week, with four editions already released in June
And…. If you just realized…. Yes, ISIS or ISIL currently on the march in Iraq, came from Syria, fought in Syria and more than likely was armed by the U.S. inside Syria; and trained by the same CIA operatives used by the State Dept to send Syria weapons from Benghazi and Darnah back in Libya.
If Operation Zero Footprint in Libya was stupid, arming the Syrian branches of al-Qaeda two years after the FSA was thoroughly corrupted by al-Qaeda, is infinite degrees beyond stupid.
But that’s hindsight for ya….. or as Secretary Clinton would say “Whether they were, … at this point, what difference does it make?“