MESOPOTAMIA NEWS Exclusive: Iraqi scientist says he helped ISIS make chemical weapons

By Joby Warrick– The Washington post – January 21 at 8:13 PM

IRBIL, Iraq — In the weeks after his city fell to the Islamic State, Iraqi scientist Suleiman al-Afari sat in his deserted government office and waited for the day when the terrorists would show up. The black-clad militants who had seized Mosul in 2014 were making their way through each of its bureaucracies, rounding up workers and managers who had not yet fled the city and pressing them into service. When his turn came, Afari, then a 49-year-old geologist with Iraq’s Ministry of Industry and Minerals, hoped his new bosses would simply let him keep his job. To his surprise, they offered him a new one:

Help us make chemical weapons, the Islamic State’s emissaries said.

Afari knew little about the subject, but he accepted the assignment. And so began his 15-month stint supervising the manufacture of lethal toxins for the world’s deadliest terrorist group.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE OIL BUSINESS OF „REVOLUTIONARY PKK/PYD-SDF)” WITH BASHAR AL ASSAD et.al.

 

SaadAbedine‏ @SaadAbedine Jan 21 – Reports that Ammar Soussi, a businessman close to Bashar #Assad’s cousin Rami Makhlouf, secured a contract to operate Jabisah gas/oil plant in Al-Shadadi, worth $12.5 million dollars, serving as a mediator between #Syria regime militias & the US acked #Kurdish #SDF #YPG

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : WHO DID IT / COUNTER-INSURGENCY ATTACKS ? – SDF’s statement about al-Shaddadi suicide explosion (SYRIA)

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) issued a statement about the suicide explosion that occurred by a booby-trapped vehicle, and targeted a joint patrol between their forces and a unit of the Global Coalition in al-Shaddadi district to the public opinion.

22 Jan 2019, Mon – 19:52 ANH NEWS DESK – On Monday, a booby-trapped vehicle was blasted by a suicide bomber at a checkpoint of the Internal Security Forces at 47 Bridge in al-Shaddadi countryside, targeting a joint patrol between SDF and a unite of the International Coalition to Fight IS.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS STARTER : HOW WILL THE U.S. WITHDRAWAL IMPACT ISRAEL’S STRATEGY IN SYRIA? / By Soufan Center

 – Tuesday, January 22, 2019    

  • The announced U.S. withdrawal from Syria is compelling Israel to recalibrate its strategy to prevent Iran from further expanding its influence.
  • Israel views Iran’s presence in Syria as an unacceptable threat that must be confronted, despite the risks of doing so.
  • Israeli leaders have secured the Trump administration’s unconditional backing to confront Iran inside Syria.
  • Iran is unlikely to provoke all-out conflict with Israel, especially given the asymmetry between the two countries’ conventional military capabilities.

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MESOP MIDEAST SPECIAL : THE OPEN WAR ISRAEL vs: TEHRAN STARTS

Tehran & Israel Trade Threats After Syria Attack

by Scott Lucas | Jan 22, 2019 | eaworldview –  Israeli and Iranian leaders have traded threats after Israel’s attacks on Iranian targets in Syria on Sunday night.

In its latest missile strikes, Israel hit about 10 pro-Assad targets, claiming some belonged to the Quds Force, the elite branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The Israel Defense Forces said they included a weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport, an Iranian intelligence site, and an Iranian training camp.Israel said it was responding to “dozens” of Iranian missiles fired on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Early on Sunday, there were explosions in southern Damascus, with Syrian State media claiming that they were from a rare Israeli daytime strike.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has set aside the Israeli military policy of no comment on attacks, said on Monday that “Iran will face the consequences of threatening to destroy Israel.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : TOGETHER AGAIN ? – KDP & PUK are drafting a 4-year agreement

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS COMMENTARY BY ALIZA MARCUS  

Aliza Marcus‏ @AlizaMarcus 28m28 minutes ago – Looks like PUK & KDP trying to agree on joint strategic vision on issues like relations with Turkey, Iran etc. will be interesting to see if they can come up with something concrete & stick to it

By Rudaw  – 21 Jan 2019 –  KDP and PUK are drafting a 4-year agreement – ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The two ruling parties of the Kurdistan Region are set to sign a four-year agreement outlining major policy positions in a bid to stabilize Kurdistan and strengthen its position in the region.

The main points of the new understanding between the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), according to information obtained by Rudaw, have been divided into governance, decision-making, political stances in the Kurdistan Region, relations with Baghdad, Kirkuk and the disputed territories, and relations with neighboring countries, especially Iran and Turkey.

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MESOPOTAMIA INSIDE NEWS : Erdogan seeks lifeline from Putin in Syria –

Erdogan at crossroad in Syria – by AL MONITOR 21 Jan 2019 –

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Jan. 23 to try to reset Turkey’s flailing Syria policy.

Putin wants the Syrian government to take control of eastern Syria, and eventually the entire country, following the withdrawal of US troops. Erdogan’s priority is that the People’s Protection Units, the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), do not cut a deal with Damascus that gives the Syrian Kurdish force a second wind after US forces leave.

“While US-bashing may be paying off as Turkey’s municipal election campaign intensifies, Ankara’s worries extend beyond US support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — which Turkey considers a terrorist group — and other Kurdish militias in Syria,” writes Pinar Tremblay. “Indeed, Ankara is deeply concerned about its fast-approaching isolation after years of clumsy efforts to be a game-changer in the region.”

 “The apparent thaw in Damascus’ relations with the Arab world is more bad news for Turkey, which is already having a difficult time coping with the rapid change in the balance of power in Syria,” writes Semih Idiz. “If President Bashar al-Assad is welcomed back to the Arab fold, as many expect, it will be the final nail in the coffin of Ankara’s Syria policy, which has been plagued with misjudgments, false assumptions and overambitious expectations from the start.”
 “As countries like Sudan, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Tunisia line up to favor the normalization of ties with Syria — and many expect Saudi Arabia to join them eventually — Ankara could end up facing an anti-Turkish Arab bloc it never expected,” adds Idiz. “Such a bloc could also complicate Turkey’s plans to enter northern Syria to clear the town of Manbij and territories east of the Euphrates River from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units … especially now that Damascus has declared its opposition to this incursion.”
 
“The disappointment in Ankara is deeper than meets the eye,” continues Tremblay. “Establishing friendly relations with all Muslim countries, particularly those in the Middle East, and bonding with Sunni Arabs have been among Erdogan’s major foreign policy goals. It’s been a tradition for Erdogan to greet several Arab cities during his election victory speeches. Through different agencies, such as the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency and the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), governments under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have spent billions of dollars in different parts of the Arab world. But Erdogan’s policies of embracing Arab Muslims have utterly failed. In the words of a senior Turkish diplomat in Ankara, ‘We lost the Middle East.’” 

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : THE MOST RELEVANT KURDISH BOOK TABLE 2019

 

 Charlotte Payen

Bookmarked by Jan Vindheim

The United States and the Kurds

 

Martin van Bruinessen – Bookmarked by Jan Vindheim

Kurds, states and tribes

 

Garabet K Moumdjian, Ph.D. – Bookmarked by Dogan Dogan

ARMENIAN INVOLVEMENT IN THE 1925 (ARARAT) AND 1937 (DERSIM) KURDISH REBELLIONS IN REPUBLICAN TURKEY: MAPPING THE ORIGINS OF ” HIDDEN ARMENIANS “

The sixth article in this issue is titled “Armenian Involvement in the 1925 (Ararat) and 1937 (Dersim) Kurdish Rebellions in Republican Turkey: Mapping the Origins of “Hidden Armenians”.” In this article Garabet K. Moumdjian focuses on Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun’s role in the Kurdish uprisings in the early Republican era. Although we find Moumdjian’s characterization of the tragic events of 1915 extra legem and unacceptable, his article provides hitherto unpublished Dashnak and other Armenian archival documents concerning the participation of Armenian militants in the…

Michael Talbot – Bookmarked by Dogan Dogan

“Jews, Be Ottomans! ” Zionism, Ottomanism, and Ottomanisation in the Hebrew-Language Press, 1890–1914

In recent years the study of national and civic identities in the later Ottoman period has revealed huge degrees of complexity among previously homogenised groups, none more so that the Jewish population of the Sublime State. Those Jews who moved to the Ottoman Empire from the 1880s as part of a burgeoning expression of Jewish nationalism developed a complex relationship with an Ottomanist identity that requires further consideration. Through an examination of the Hebrew-language press in Palestine, run largely by immigrant Zionist Jews, complemented by the archival records of the Ottoman…

 Djene Rhys Bajalan – Bookmarked by Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles

Pan-Kurdish Nationalism: Theory or Praxis?

 

 Khanna Omarkhali – Bookmarked by Jan Vindheim

The Kurds in the Former Soviet States from the Historical and Cultural Perspectives

Omarkhali, Khanna. ‘The Kurds in the former Soviet states from the historical and cultural perspectives’, in The Copernicus Journal of Political Studies. International Relations. Theory and Practice, 2(4), Piechowiak-Lamparska, J., Férez Gil, M. (eds.), Toruń, Dom Wydawniczy DUET, 2013, pp. 128–142. ISSN 2299-4335

https://www.academia.edu/

 

 

 

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS OPINION : Is Chechnya Putin’s blueprint for Syria?

By Anna Borshchevskaya, opinion contributor — 01/17/19 06:30 PM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

The Kremlin could barely contain its glee at Trump’s move. Putin praised the decision as “correct,” and Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the U.S. pullout creates good prospects for a “political solution” in Syria.

As Bashar Assad re-consolidates military control over the country with Russian and Iranian military support, international attention has turned to a “political solution” in Syria. With the United States largely vacating its remaining influence, what will Russia’s strategy be?

It pays to consider the Chechnya precedent. It was the Second Chechen War (1999-2009) that launched Putin’s political career, when in September 1999 a series of apartment bombings in several major cities shook Russia. Putin, then prime minister, immediately blamed Chechnya and declared, war which brought him from obscurity into the presidency.

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WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Arab League Splits Over Return of Assad Regime

 

Posted by Scott Lucas | Jan 19, 2019 |      EAWORLDVIEW – The Arab League has split over the readmission of Syria’s Assad regime after more than seven years.

At least eight heads of state were originally expected in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, but only the Somali and Mauritanian presidents will join Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit.Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said at a pre-summit meeting on Friday that the Assad regime should return to “our embrace” after its suspension over violent repression of the Syrian uprising.But the Arab League’s Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said on Thursday there was “no Arab agreement over the return of Syria”.

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