Daily Archives: February 24, 2014

Egypt strikes strongholds of Al Qaida ‘chief terrorists’ in Sinai


CAIRO — Egypt’s military has targeted the Al Qaida leadership in the Sinai Peninsula.

The military has been attacking strongholds of Ansar Beit Maqdis in northeastern Sinai in late February.

The military has designated several of these targets as containing the leadership of the shadowy Al Qaida-aligned militia in Egypt.

“There is evidence that several of the chief terrorists are in this area,” a military source said.

On Feb. 19, the Egyptian Air Force launched air-to-ground missiles against Ansar strongholds south of Sheik Zweid. The sources said the strongholds in the Muqata village were believed to contain at least several Ansar commanders and responsible for insurgency operations throughout Sinai.

The air strikes on Muqata were said to have killed 10 Ansar fighters. The sources said several of the casualties were believed to have been leading insurgency commanders.

“We tracked their movements for a long time, but we are still
investigating,” the source said.


The military has also conducted ground strikes against Ansar and its militia allies. On Feb. 19, the military was said to have raided two villages south of Sheik Zweid and six Islamist fighters were killed and another 10 were injured.

Ansar has been designated the leading insurgency threat to Egypt. The intelligence community has linked Ansar to the ousted Muslim Brotherhood, believed to have been cooperating with Al Qaida, particularly its leader, Ayman Zawahiri.

The sources said Ansar’s main presence was around Sheik Zweid, next to the Egyptian border with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. They said the military was destroying scores of huts, makeshift buildings and tunnels that linked the Gaza Strip to Sinai.

Egypt strikes strongholds of Al Qaida ‘chief terrorists’ in Sinai | World Tribune.

Seven Christians Found Shot Execution -Style on Libyan Beach


TRIPOLI — Seven Egyptian Christians were found shot dead on a beach in eastern Libya after they were abducted from their apartments, security officials and local residents said, in the second such execution-style killing this year.

Three years after the revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s weak government and army is struggling to impose state authority and control brigades of former rebels and Islamist militias in a country awash with weapons.

A police officer told Reuters the bodies were found with gunshots to the head outside Benghazi in the eastern region of the country — where assassinations, kidnappings and car bombs are common and Islamist gunmen are active

“They were killed by head shots in execution style,” a police officer said. “We don’t know who killed them.”

Local residents and an Egyptian worker, who asked not to be identified because of fears for their security, said unknown gunmen had arrived at the Benghazi building where the Egyptians lived and dragged them away after going door to door asking if residents were Christian or Muslim.

Security sources confirmed the Egyptians were Christians but no further details were immediately available about how they were killed or whether they were shot on the beach.

A spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry said the kidnappers had snatched eight Egyptians from their home but one had been able to escape. It did not give the religion of those killed but published seven names which appeared to be Christian.

No group claimed responsibility. Just last month, a British man and a New Zealand woman were shot execution-style on another beach 60 miles to the west of the capital Tripoli.

The hard-line Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia is active in the east of Libya. Its Benghazi branch is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by Washington, which blames the group for the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Deeply Bound to Ukraine, Putin Watches and Waits for Next Move


MOSCOW — The sudden collapse of the Kremlin-backed government in Ukraine has for now delivered a profound setback to President Vladimir V. Putin’s strategy to deepen political and economic ties with the country and thus keep it from embracing Europe.

Even as Russia celebrates the closing of Olympic Games that defied some dire expectations, Mr. Putin now faces the task of reasserting Russia’s influence in a country that it considers a fraternal ally, one with deep cultural, social and political connections that bind it to Moscow’s orbit regardless of its new government.

Russia still has enormous leverage and close allies in Ukraine, particularly in the east and on the Crimea Peninsula, home of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and a sizable ethnic Russian population that views the leaders of the political uprising that toppled President Viktor F. Yanukovych with disdain.

That has raised fears that Russia would use the disenchanted populations there as a pretext to intervene to reverse Ukraine’s new trajectory — even militarily, as the Kremlin did in two ethnic enclaves in 2008 in another former Soviet republic, Georgia.

The fears have been so palpable — and the subject of endless speculation in Ukraine and here in Russia — that President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, warned in a television interview on Sunday that it “would be a grave mistake” for Russia to use force. “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence return and the situation escalate,” Ms. Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

How exactly Russia responds remains to be seen, but the turmoil is certain to further strain relations with Europe and the United States, which officials here have denounced for meddling in Ukraine at the expense of Russia’s vital interests. At the same time, the United States and Europe have accused Russia of trying to impose its will there.

Mr. Putin’s envoy refused to sign the agreement mediated on Friday by three European foreign ministers to end two days of carnage in the capital, Kiev, only to have the agreement overtaken by a political upheaval that threatens to undercut Russia’s influence over any new government.

The Kremlin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, complained on Sunday that while Mr. Yanukovych had honored the terms of the agreement — which called for new elections and a return of constitutional powers to the Parliament — his political opponents had not. Instead, the Parliament has effectively seized power and is now rushing through an emboldened series of votes that have provoked rage among Russian lawmakers and commentators.

“It’s a confusing situation,” Mr. Peskov said in a telephone interview from Sochi, where Mr. Putin attended the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games. “We have to figure out what we are facing there. Is it a coup or what?”

Mr. Putin has not yet made any public statements about the latest events, as is often the case when he is confronted by unexpected challenges or crises. “Let’s wait and see,” Mr. Peskov said.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Yanukovych have spoken several times in recent weeks to discuss the situation there, but Mr. Peskov said he did not know whether they had spoken since Saturday, when Mr. Yanukovych’s legitimacy evaporated and he fled Kiev, leaving protesters swarming through his opulent presidential compound.

It is clear that Mr. Putin has followed the crisis intently, even as he attended to the Olympic festivities that he clearly has relished as a symbol of a new Russia. On Friday he met with his national security advisers on Friday and a day later dispatched two Russian lawmakers to a regional party congress in Eastern Ukraine that had been called to rally opposition to the new political authorities in Kiev.

Vladimir Lukin, the envoy Mr. Putin sent to Kiev at Mr. Yanukovych’s request during the negotiations with the Europeans, returned to Moscow and criticized the European foreign ministers for siding with “the nationalist-revolutionary terrorist Maidan,” referring to the square that has been the nucleus of the protests, and not the “legitimate government that they recognized.”

Only hours before the closing ceremony in Sochi, Mr. Putin spoke by telephone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. The Kremlin said in a statement only that they discussed the situation in Ukraine, Germany’s foreign office went further, saying that the two leaders agreed that “the territorial integrity of Ukraine must be preserved.”

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry for a second time in two days, and Russia later announced that it had recalled its ambassador in Kiev because of “the deteriorating situation” in the country. The State Department released a statement saying that Mr. Kerry expressed support for the votes in Ukraine’s Parliament and called on Russia to support the transition now underway.

As in Ukraine itself, there were already some signs that Russia had given up on Mr. Yanukovych, but that hardly meant that officials in Moscow would welcome the new government that emerges. Russia’s Foreign Ministry posted a photograph on Twitter of a World War II memorial being toppled in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, joining the many Lenin statues that have been pulled down. “Nazis comeback,” it said in muddled English.

A vote by Ukraine’s Parliament to curtail the Russian language’s role in its school curriculum, one of a flurry of new laws adopted, also prompted a similarly ominous warning from one of Russia’s deputy prime ministers, Dmitri O. Rogozin. “The main enemy — the Russian language,” he wrote on Twitter. “Then — all Russians in Ukraine. Then — all who are for a union with Russia.”

Others sounded more tempered. Russia has suspended the $15 billion in financial assistance it pledged to Ukraine in December, but its finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said Sunday that it was still possible to continue with the loans once a new government was formed. He also said Russia would abide by its current contracts to provide natural gas, something it has previously used as a lever when relations soured.

In the end, of all the problems that threatened to overshadow the Olympic Games in Sochi — terrorism, construction delays, even the weather — the one that materialized in Ukraine was one few expected.

Sergei A. Markov, a political strategist who advises the Kremlin, criticized what he called the “cynical geopolitical games” that European leaders have played in Ukraine, but also suggested that Russia, too, needed a new approach now. “It’s simply necessary for Moscow to reformat the Ukraine element of its foreign policy,” he told Interfax.

Deeply Bound to Ukraine, Putin Watches and Waits for Next Move – NYTimes.com.

President Obama, the ‘Permanent Revolutionary’

A protester who is against former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi holds a poster of U.S. President Barack Obama sporting a beard during a protest at Tahrir square in Cairo

Western propaganda about Ukraine, Syria, Venezuela, and a host of other so-called “human-rights files” around the world, is bejournal (“The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham. An al Qaeda-Linked Group Worth Befriending,” by Michael Doran et al.). Its authors actually tried to promote American rapprochement with Wahhabi and Saudi-sponsored jihadism around the world, as if this has not already happened. However,the mock ignorance behind this moral acrobatics seems to reflect a far more sinister design than even the larger and expanding rivalry into which the US is now locking itself with the Russian Federation.The first question that comes to mind, even if the authorsing churned out on an industrial scale these days. Working in unison with the politicians are NGOs like Human Rights Watch, which is currently beating the drum of war at a frenetic speed, much as we remember Amnesty International doing at the height of the Cold War.   True, the arguments presented to the public stand, almost invariably, on wild assumptions and claims that have no basis in reality except in the minds of armchair strategists, secret plotters and lunatics.  One recent example is an article in Foreign Affairs, a major establishment policy

are correct in distinguishing good from bad Wahhabi terrorists, is to what end? What do the authors hope Obama would achieve with such an alliance? Liberty? Some antiquated American version of “democracy”?

The tragedy is that the United States is operating, more than ever, under the cloak of “revolutionism,” one based on the notion that human rights must be practiced according to US values and whenever the US dictates.

Naturally, this new tribal redefinition of liberty requires the demolition of “regimes” that refuse to embrace such a divinely ordained “self-evident truth.” But because nobody has the patience to listen anymore, the Obama administration regularly has to issue military threats, sanctions, etc., just to be heard over the growing din of misery around the world.

Most disturbingly, the US has returned to its old tactic of deploying armed local militias, as it has done against Nicaragua, Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, of course Afghanistan under the Soviets, not to mention other nations. Bloodthirsty terrorists–and literally, cannibals who film themselves eating human flesh–apparently pose no problem. We nickname them freedom fighters–more offensively, “activists.”

Is this how human rights and democracy are to be established in countries we claim to care about? Or, is it a useful instrument with which to demolish states that the governments of both the US and Israel feel are blocking their view of the glorious future awaiting us all under Americo-Israeli “guidance.”

That is a cartoonish interpretation of the world at the intellectual level of Bibi the Bomber during his comical address at the UN. I say this because it has become amply clear the US is on a fast-track to the “dustbin of history” on this march (as the “evil Communist revolutionaries” once used to paint their capitalist opponents).

The purpose of using Saudi- and Gulf-sponsored armies of Wahhabi jihadists around the Islamic world, most devastatingly in Syria, is not to build anything, but to pave the way for direct foreign control in an increasingly desperate situation for the US and the EU on nearly every front (geopolitical, diplomatic and, for the EU, economic).

We get glimpses of the US’s survival strategy and its reach deep inside other countries, thanks to tapped conversations (like that of the US official caught mouthing off with expletives about the EU’s irrelevance) and the NSA revelations.

Unfortunately, in its desperation, the Atlantic Alliance is grasping straws, particularly the dry straw of borderless Israel, whose future as the only racially based state in the world, is now in serious doubt (judging from a wide range of political opinion inside the US itself).

True, the EU is increasingly irrelevant. To put it bluntly, though, it is not the EU that’s in question now. Western world hegemony as a whole is collapsing after around 150 years, all told. She wouldn’t have uttered those words otherwise, and this is not merely a passing phase in the history of the world.

The US’s pseudo-revolutionary strategy and rhetoric are not even meant to reestablish American domination anymore, a forlorn hope. Rather, they are designed for an orderly retreat, as far as humanly possible.

But this is not going very well either, thanks to the destructive and unabashadly tribal nature of American policies. The US has reduced itself to demolishing as many independent states as possible (partly at Israel’s behest)–any state that refuses to toe the line–before the coming collapse.

It need not be so.

Human rights have been an instrument of manipulation since the Cold War. But we should ask ourselves, who really disagrees with the idea of human dignity and rights. It’s not as if it was invented by the West. No, this instrument is being used as a Trojan horse or battering ram to destroy entire societies. It allows foreign puppeteers to move quickly from small street demonstrations to the dismantlement of economic infrastructure and the destruction of vital military installations.

After all, we invented these tactics during the war against Nazi Germany. Today, one has to be pretty desperate to embrace them with a straight face. And the Atlantic Alliance is desperate.

The United States has taken on an artificial mantle of “revolutionism” that seeks to emulate that of the Soviet Union. The Neocons have been at the forefront of this new, revolutionary conservative push (actually invented by pre-Nazi German ideologues and philosophers of the extreme right) since Pres. Reagan.   How Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski laments the lost historical opportunity offered to us with the collapse of the Soviet Union! We had a chance to build new relations with the East…maybe even a new, more tranquil world, God forbid!

Brzezinski uttered those words when the longevity of the so-called Postwar was being seriously debated. The Postwar Era, indeed, saw a lasting relative peace (no world wars) and economic growth. Not because of American leadership, wisdom and that irreverent pragmatism and down-to-earthiness that Old Worlders used to find so cute about “America.” Rather, it was because the world had been bled dry–nearly 85 million dead from two world wars.   This is the context against which the current preaching of “human rights” should be read today.

Western interference in the Ukraine may very well mark the official end of this “tranquil” period. Today, the US is a dangerous, destabilizing force, though one quickly running itself ragged. Who knows, it may have run aground already.

Anthony F. Shaker

Anthony F. Shaker is a Visiting Scholar at McGill University and a specialist in Islamic civilization and thought. He authored several works and was an elected member of the party executive council of the Official Opposition in the Canadian Parliament.


The lesson from Ukraine : Bezplatno does not exist


A handout picture released on December 10, 2013 by Ukrainian Union Opposition press services hows US Assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland (R) distributing cakes to protesters on the Independence Square in Kiev on December 10, 2013. AFP

After Libya, another criminal and murderous campaign by NATO, after Syria, where the FUKUS Axis (France, UK, US) bared their ugly teeth arming terrorists, cannibals, rapists, torturers and murderers (NATO’s demonic bedpals), we now have Ukraine, where a part of the population, blinded by youthful zeal, along with groups of thugs, bandits and terrorists and agents provocateurs from abroad (Libya, yes Libya, Syria, Moldova among them, including Islamist Fundamentalist terrorists), have brought havoc, mayhem and chaos to a country led by its democratically elected President.

It is inconceivable that the people of the Ukraine as a whole desire to fall into the hands of Satanic forces which control these thugs, who today, have won a victory in a localized battle, but whose very presence in “Euro-Maidan” (aka Independence Square) is an insult to the image of the country, a victory for criminals and murderers and a loud hurrah for those who believe that might is right and any country can be brought to its knees through kowtowing to external forces whipping up internal dissent.

How many of those demonstrating in Kiev and cheering that Timoshenko female (why does she wear that stupid wig? and what’s with the wheelchair?) remember why she was thrown into jail? How many of those demonstrating in Kiev were wearing Fascist insignia? How many of those demonstrating have ties to criminal organizations in Ukraine? How many of those demonstrating have clear links to terrorist organizations? How many were from Kiev, how many were bussed in from the furthest corners of Western Ukraine, how many were paid 30 Euro a day to come over the border from Moldova?


Nobody is defending that starry-eyed youngsters with a passion in their hearts should be shot dead on the street. But one thing is a peaceful demonstration, another is allowing it to be hijacked by criminals and murderers who not only shoot at the police but also, if we believe credible reports, even fired on their “own” side – the demonstrators – to whip up fury. That, ladies and gentlemen, smacks of CIA operational modus operandi.

Would anyone put it past them?

So now on D-Day plus one, the party is over and the nightmarish hangover begins. The Ukraine’s starry-eyed pro-Euro youngsters have awoken with a nasty gate-crasher sleeping in their midst – criminals, terrorists and foreign agents – whom they must expel from the house before he wakes up. Then they have to face the consequences of what they have done.

It would come as no surprise if that Timoshenko female miraculously rose from her wheelchair, allowing that blonde wig to fall to the ground and reveal a head bedecked with unkempt black hair (rather a different spectacle and a somewhat sinister one), proclaiming to all and sundry that the Euro Show is the way to go. (Cheers! Hoorays).

And the Euro Show will bring (violins) prosperity, the Euro Show will triple Ukraine’s Great Domestic Product at a stroke, the Euro Show will bring new and fresh opportunities for Ukraine’s youth, jobs, jobs, jobs, prospects, freedom an’ (cough) Democracy (the same type that is installed from 30,000 feet, the same type which yesteryear civilized savages with the Bible and the Bullet). (Silence violins).

(Silence). (Start slow drum beat). The rivers of Ukraine will turn into torrents of salt, the fruit of the tears of those starry-eyed Ukrainian youths caught up in a storm of someone else’s making, turning into tears of blood as they realize what they have done. The Euro Show is no more or less than a real-life version of the nightmarish Hostel films, where innocent young travelers are tortured to death in the most horrific way. In this case the victim is the Ukraine, and its future.

The European Union, the frontispiece of the International Monetary Fund and the dark workings from Washington whose dirty work the Union does, ably led by the FUKUS duo France and the UK, will bring no such opportunities.

The Euro road will finance Ukrainians to sit on their backsides, will pay farmers not to work, will force factories to close, will scrap fishing fleets and will prepare the ground for the wholesale sell-out of that vastly wealthy country, the Ukraine, to the lobbies which control Washington and its EU puppet. Do the Ukrainians really believe the French would allow the competition from Ukraine’s huge farms, that the Germans would allow Ukraine’s factories to provide a cheaper alternative, that the Spanish would allow a rival fishing fleet to operate? Get real!

There will be no jobs, there will be no opportunities except to beg for money on the EU’s shit-shotten streets or serve Germans with beer and Wurst – or indeed, claim Social Benefit in the UK like everyone else – the Ukraine will be saddled with a massive debt repayment which will cripple its economy for decades to come, a burden from which it will never recover.

Those who have tried the Euro dream know what I am speaking about. While one can forgive Ukraine’s starry-eyed youth because they know not (fully) what they are doing, one cannot forget that there is a consequence for every action. Let us hope that Ukraine does not take what is sold as the easy option, because in today’s world, there is no bezplatno, there are no free lunches. Does anyone really believe that the EU is about prosperity? Then why are there over one million Poles in the UK?

As I write, President Yanukovich is still the democratically elected President of the Ukraine and there exists something called law and order. Not all Ukrainians are in Kiev, not all Ukrainians side with the starry-eyed youth on Euro-Maidan and the monsters hiding in their midst.

Timothy Bancroft-HincheyPravda.Ru

EU´s Ashton to visit Ukraine on Monday

BRUSSELS: EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will visit Ukraine on Monday for talks with key players after the weekend´s dramatic events, which saw parliament appoint an interim leader and ousted president Viktor Yanukovych flee.

She will meet “key stakeholders and discuss the support of the European Union for a lasting solution to the political crisis and measures to stabilise the economic situation,” a statement from her office said Sunday.

The European Union “follows the situation in Ukraine closely,” the statement said, calling on all sides in Ukraine to engage in “meaningful and inclusive dialogue leading to a lasting solution of the crisis”.

It also stressed that the solution must “protect the unity and territorial integrity of the country” and usher in a stable and democratic future

Dmitry Rogozin: If Ukrainian protests are peaceful, Catherine Ashton
 is a ballerina - English pravda.ru.


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin expressed his anger with 
the assessment of Ukrainian events by EU High Representative for Foreign
Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton.According to him, 75 people
have been killed in Kiev, of whom at least 15 are police officers."But
the head of European diplomacy Catherine Ashton continues to mutter 
about "the peaceful nature of the protests." If these are peaceful 
protests, then Ashton is a ballerina," the politician stated.
Earlier, Ashton stated that the EU continued to offer Ukraine to sign
the agreement on association and provide support on the path of reforms.

US losing game to Russia in Ukraine : Analyst


The United States is losing the game to Russia in Ukraine due to its miscalculated attempts at ousting the government in Kiev, an analyst writes in a column for the Press TV website.

“The problem with Washington’s plot to overthrow the elected government of Ukraine and install its minions is twofold,” Paul Craig Roberts wrote in a column on Sunday.

That “the chosen US puppets” have lost control of the protests to Nazism-linked armed radical elements is one of the problems, he said, adding that the other is the fact that “Russia regards an EU/NATO takeover of Ukraine as a strategic threat to Russian independence.”

“If the democratically elected Ukraine government is overthrown, the eastern and southern parts would rejoin Russia,” wrote Roberts.

He added that Western banks and corporations will then loot the western part and Russian missiles will target the NATO bases in Ukraine.

“It would be a defeat for Washington and their gullible Ukrainian dupes to see half of the country return to Russia,” the analyst wrote.

Roberts said Washington has ignored the fact that Ukraine’s “financially viable part” is dominated by the Russian culture.

He noted that Washington may have to “provoke a great power confrontation” in a last-ditch attempt to save face.

Ukraine has been rocked by anti-government protests since Yanukovych refrained from signing an Association Agreement with the EU on November 29, 2013, in favor of closer ties with Russia.

Ukraine’s newly-elected parliamentary speaker Oleksandr Turchyno announced on Sunday that lawmakers must form a national unity government in the Eastern European country by Tuesday.

President Viktor Yanukovych has reportedly departed from Kiev, but his whereabouts and legitimacy are still unclear.

Yanukovych said on Saturday that he had been forced to leave Kiev because of “vandalism, crime and a coup.”

“I don’t plan to leave the country. I don’t plan to resign. I am the legitimate president,” he stressed.


Footage purports to show Yanukovich escaping palace in helicopter

Grainy CCTV footage reportedly shows Ukrainian President Yanukovich leaving his suburban residence in a helicopter, just hours before he was ousted.