MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INSIDER:  Syrian Kurds remain wary of US plan for Turkish safe zone

Amberin Zaman March 26, 2019 –  AL MONITOR – Article Summary – The official was responding to the latest comments by Jim Jeffrey, the United States’ Syria envoy, about a proposed safe zone.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS INTEL BY MEIR AMIT INTELLIGENCE & TERRORISM INFORMATION CENTER – ISRAEL / ISIS’s Response to the Fall of Their Last Stronghold in al-Baghuz

Overview

On the eve of the fall of al-Baghuz Fawqani, the last stronghold of ISIS in the lower Euphrates Valley, ISIS began a media campaign. Its objectives are to encourage the organization’s fighters and supporters, and to send the message that ISIS has lost the battle but not the war.[1] A key person in the campaign is ISIS spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer. He issued a recording calling on organization operatives in all ISIS’s provinces to continue the path of jihad and expand their activities against the “infidel nations,” particularly the United States, “the enemy of Islam and the Muslims.”

  • Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer is a key ISIS media figure, who inherited the role of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the former spokesman. On March 18, 2019, ISIS’s al-Furqan Media Foundation issued a 45-minute recording made by Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer. Its title was “Being an honest [jihad fighter] before Allah, Allah kept his promise to him [of eternal life in paradise].” It is based on a hadith (the Muslim oral tradition) dealing with a dedicated jihad fighter at the dawn of Islam who was killed during jihad and became a shaheed, gaining eternal life in paradise. The title hints at the main message of the recording, which is a call to the organization’s fighters in all the ISIS provinces to adhere to the path of jihad and expand their activities.


The picture accompanying the recording. The Arabic reads, “Being an honest [jihad fighter] before Allah, Allah kept his promise to him [of eternal life in paradise]” (Shabakat Shumukh, March 18, 2019).

The main theme of Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer
  • The following was the main theme of Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer’s recording:
    • The importance of fulfilling the duty of jihad and being patient on the road to victory: Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer began by stressing the importance of jihad in Islam and the duty to wage jihad, which he considered the personal duty of every Muslim. He also stressed the importance of patience in achieving victory, saying Allah said that if believers have patience, despite the hardships, victory will be certain. He added that even if “the infidel nations” unite against the jihad fighters, nothing will harm them (the fighters) and they will continue to adhere to their faith until the promised victory.
    • Jihad fighters will be rewarded with paradise: Al-Muhajer stressed that jihad fighters are promised the reward of paradise. He spoke of the tradition from the dawn of Islam about a jihad fighter who was killed and became a shaheed, emphasizing that the fighters of ISIS’s Islamic State will have the same reward. Reaching paradise is, he said, “the great victory” and not a victory of this world. However, he said, the fate of all those who work against ISIS will be torture and agony in hell.
    • Jihad fighters defend Muslims and are a source of pride: Al-Muhajer related to the jihad operatives who fought in Mosul (which was ISIS’s “capital city” in Iraq), al-Raqqa (which was ISIS’s “capital city” in Syria) and Sirte (which was ISIS’s “capital city” in Libya). The operatives in those and other ISIS provinces are a source of pride for Islam, because they the fought so the word of Allah would be the one that mattered in this world, and the word of the “infidels” would be worthless.


Sending the message that ISIS defends Muslims: an operative from the ISIS pocket in al-Baghuz Fawqani on the eve of its fall speaks against the “Crusaders” (Christians and the international coalition) and claims ISIS is a shield for Muslims.

  • Encouragement to continue the battle against the “infidels,” especially the United States:
    • According to Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer, ISIS operatives in the various provinces suffer hardships but they are the spearhead of Islam in the battle against the “infidel nations.” The United States stands at the head of the “infidel nations” and is “the enemy of Islam and Muslims, killing Muslims in cold blood.” He accused the United States of giving Iraq to the Shi’ites and Syria to the infidels, “the Alawite regime.” He added that the American declaration of having defeated ISIS is similar to the declarations made by other infidel leaders in the past, who were eventually defeated. Al-Muhajer stated that even senior officials in the American administration claim ISIS has not been defeated, and understand that the Islamic State exists and cannot be ignored.
    • Al-Muhajer added that many Islamic State fighters are active in Iraq and Syria, in Khorasan, West Africa and other provinces, and that 12,000 ISIS fighters will not easily be defeated. He said the United States is mistaken in thinking that by killing Sunnis it will succeed in imposing its policies on the region. He said the brutal American fighting against ISIS fighters and their families in al-Baghuz Fawqani will not bring about the destruction of the Islamic State. He threatened the United States, saying that “you will not have security, rather, your bodies will be dismembered [a hint at the fighting against the United States and launching terrorist attacks against it]. He then called on the United States to leave the region, saying that “the support of the dictators in the Arabian Peninsula will not help you.”
    • A call for attacks to avenge the mass-killing attacks in the two mosques in New Zealand: Al-Muhajer claimed Western leaders were crying crocodile tears over the killing of the Muslim worshippers in New Zealand, and called on ISIS operatives to avenge their deaths. He said that because of their hostility to Muslims, the leaders of the West do not recoil from attacking mosques in Syria and Iraq, and do not consider them holy places. He criticized the dictators in the Muslim world for not condemning the slaughter carried out by their masters [i.e., the leaders of the West]. He said the attack in New Zealand was another on the list of the series of catastrophes the “infidels” visited upon Muslims, which would continue in the future.
    • An appeal to Sunnis in Iraq to join ISIS: Al-Muhajer called on the Sunni tribes in Iraq not to cooperate with the Shi’ite regime, which oppresses Sunnis, and to fight alongside ISIS. He also called on them to join ISIS because, he said, ISIS would rescue them from Iran. He added that the Islamic State was expanding its activities in Iraq, and it would be worth their while to repent and join the ranks of ISIS, saying that even Baghdad is not safe from ISIS.
    • A warning to Sunnis and Sunni tribes in Syria, especially those living in the Euphrates Valley and to the east of it: Al-Muhajer warned them not to join the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS, and called on them to repent and join the organization instead, otherwise they would be severely hurt. He called on ISIS operatives in al-Hasakeh and al-Raqqa [which are controlled by the Kurds] to avenge the blood of their brothers. He called on ISIS operatives in Syria to use IEDs, snipers and car bombs to attack [the Kurds and Americans].
    • A call to jihad fighters in the various provinces to expand the campaign: Al-Muhajer appealed to ISIS fighters in Iraq, Syria, Khorasan, East Asia, West Africa, Libya, China, Somalia and the other provinces to expand the campaign and ignore claims that the organization had been weakened. He said the strength of the jihad fighters was in their faith, and called on them not to be deterred by difficulties, because the war was not over yet.
    • A message from ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Al-Muhajer said ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi recommended that jihad fighters adhere to their faith in Allah, and take care in using communications because of the risks involved [apparently a reference to the use of cell phones and the Internet]. He added that al-Baghdadi called on them to remain vigilant and obey their commanders. He also issued a call to ISIS members who were imprisoned, urging them to be patient and pray for the victory of the Islamic State.

MESOP NEWS : A KURDISH “AWAKENING” BY PKK (PYD) ? / MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS COMMENTARY BY FOREIGN AFFAIRS

The Kurdish Awakening – Unity, Betrayal, and the Future of the Middle East

By Henri J. Barkey  25. March 2019 – –  HENRY J. BARKEY is Bernard L. and Bertha F. Cohen Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations

We’ve been fighting for a long time in Syria,” said U.S. President Donald Trump in the last days of 2018. “Now it’s time for our troops to come back home.” The president’s surprise call for a rapid withdrawal of the nearly 2,000 U.S. troops stationed in Syria drew widespread criticism from members of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. But it came as an even greater shock to the United States’ main partner in the fight against the Islamic State (or ISIS), the Syrian Kurds. For weeks prior to the announcement, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been threatening to invade areas of northern Syria controlled by Kurdish militants. The only thing stopping him was the presence of U.S. troops. Removing them would leave the Kurds deeply exposed. “If [the Americans] will leave,” warned one Syrian Kurd, “we will curse them as traitors.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : ISRAEL IN DANGER ! – Syrians are practicing with the S-300, will they ever use it? – Report

Since the S-300 was deployed, it has been almost six months. It was supposed to not only be operational by now, but also have Syrians prepared to use it.

By Seth J. Frantzman – JERUSALEM POST – March 25, 2019 13:22 –  Syrian air defense personnel are already taking an active role in the training of the S-300 batteries that were deployed from Russia last September. According to a report at Maariv, they have reached advanced stages of training in the last months.

As part of the training, the Syrian officers and soldiers are sitting “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the Russian experts. Russia sent the S-300 batteries to Syria in the wake of a downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian air defense in September. Syrian air defense mistakenly shot down the Russian plane during an Israeli air raid near Latakia. Syrian had long complained about and accused Israel of air strikes in Syria.

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40 reactions to announcement of defeat of ISIS in Sryia

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLER

by Seth Frantzman

The defeat of ISIS was announced by the US on March 22 and by the SDF on March 23.

Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and %100 territorial defeat of ISIS. On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible. #SDFDefeatedISIS

— Mustafa Bali (@mustefabali) March 23, 2019

The following is a roundup of reactions:

Maj. Gen Ghika: “The end of the so-called physical caliphate does not signal the end of the campaign, the Coalition remains committed to the enduring defeat of Daesh and building the capabilities of the Iraqi Security Forces.”

SDF statement

SDF Statement to Public Opinion about Defeating ISIS and Destructing the ‘Caliphate’ https://t.co/BCGexhIN4W pic.twitter.com/7oVb0dvZjd

— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) March 23, 2019

Coalition

Read the press release from @CJTFOIR following the liberation of the remaining territory previously held by Daesh in Syria. #CoalitionUnity https://t.co/6LLNbF1Y0i

— The Global Coalition (@coalition) March 23, 2019

More Coalition

“The end of the so called physical caliphate is a historic military accomplishment that brought together the largest Coalition in history, but the fight against Daesh and violent extremism is far from over.” – LG Paul LaCamera, CJTF-OIR commanding general https://t.co/1njsyDBUQt

— Inherent Resolve (@CJTFOIR) March 23, 2019

Lindsey Graham

Baghouz, the last stronghold of ISIS, has fallen.

Great job by the American military and our SDF allies.

Well done President @realdonaldtrump for allowing the military to take the gloves off to destroy the territorial Caliphate.https://t.co/eNiwMsp9hm

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 23, 2019

Germany

“Despite this success, ISIS continues to pose a serious threat. The mission of the @coalition has not yet been accomplished, because the inhuman ideology of ISIS has not been fully vanquished. We must continue to take a firm stand against hatred and terrorism.”
FM @HeikoMaas https://t.co/YUgZAJ0G8N

— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) March 23, 2019

Rukmini Callimachi

“I rushed to Syria on Jan. 28, thinking the last village under ISIS rule was about to fall. I stayed there for 3 weeks, waiting for a place the size of Central Park to be liberated. It took 2 months. Finally today, the SDF announced they had retaken Baghuz:”

I rushed to Syria on Jan. 28, thinking the last village under ISIS rule was about to fall. I stayed there for 3 weeks, waiting for a place the size of Central Park to be liberated. It took 2 months. Finally today, the SDF announced they had retaken Baghuz: https://t.co/GyV92PMcVu

— Rukmini Callimachi (@rcallimachi) March 23, 2019

France

The Syrian Democratic Forces have announced that the last bastion of Isis has fallen. I pay tribute to our partners and to the armies of the international coalition, of which France is a member. They fought the terrorists with determination, for our security. https://t.co/2GjO30khjC

— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) March 23, 2019

Jenan Moussa

“On a day like this, it’s necessary to remember those who fought ISIS & paid the ultimate price. Here a powerful pic (don’t know who took it) of The Martyrs’ Cemetery in Kobani.”

On a day like this, it’s necessary to remember those who fought ISIS & paid the ultimate price.

Here a powerful pic (don’t know who took it) of The Martyrs’ Cemetery in Kobani. @akhbar pic.twitter.com/YzjUUSoDJR

— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) March 23, 2019

Mahmoud Othman

The astounding victory for the #SDF over #ISIS proves that they are the key force to fight terror. The victory came at a high sacrifice by the brave women and men of SDF. The international community should include them as a key part of any future arrangement for #Syria. #Rojava pic.twitter.com/JRQZKg2quF

— Dr. Mahmoud Othman (@Drmahmoudothman) March 23, 2019

Josie Ensor

“Victory came at a high cost for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They suggest here they lost 11,000 fighters and more than 21,000 were injured in the battle against ISIS”

Victory came at a high cost for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They suggest here they lost 11,000 fighters and more than 21,000 were injured in the battle against ISIS pic.twitter.com/IYbqRnaao2

— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) March 23, 2019

Shervan Darwish

Faisal Abu Laila … Adnan Abu Amjad and all our righteous martyrs … Let your soul rest in peace. Your comrades will continue the march and the duty pic.twitter.com/Z8AbQpiQeP

— Shervan Derwish (@shervanderwish) March 23, 2019

Yazda’s Murad

Our love and respect to the SDF for their historic role. Today they replaced ISIS black evil with a wonderful Kurdish Music!! https://t.co/icvSpukKv2

— Murad Ismael (@murad_ismael) March 23, 2019

Some details from the ceremony.

Brett McGurk: “Congratulations to the #SDF for this remarkable & historic achievement. This diverse force of Arabs, Kurds, and Christians did the hard fighting & suffered thousands of casualties over four difficult years, pursuing #ISIS town-to-town, block-by-block.”

The battle took 1,737 days – four times longer than liberation of western Europe from Nazis. It took 100,000 bombs, two national armies, bands of militias, might of the US, UK and French air forces and coalition of 70 countries to defeat the jihadists https://t.co/4svx9MpBVz

— Josie Ensor (@Josiensor) March 23, 2019

Josie Ensor: “The battle took 1,737 days – four times longer than liberation of western Europe from Nazis. It took 100,000 bombs, two national armies, bands of militias, might of the US, UK and French air forces and coalition of 70 countries to defeat the jihadists”

Hassan Hassan: “Syria owes a *great* deal of gratitude to the men & women of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The SDF should be seen as work in progress, a decentralization & democratic project that needs to succeed.”

Many won’t like it but I’ll say it:

Syria owes a *great* deal of gratitude to the men & women of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The SDF should be seen as work in progress, a decentralization & democratic project that needs to succeed. pic.twitter.com/Vfae0MbkGR

— Hassan Hassan (@hxhassan) March 23, 2019

Yazidi account on Twitter: “Lets congratulate the brave women & men who destroyed the Islamic State. After 1000s of deaths of innocent civilians & 1000s of Yazidi women & girls who were kidnapped & still missing. ISIS, finally, has been defeated militarily in #Syria, but not completely in terms or ideology.”

Jonathan Schanzer of FDD

Islamic State is no longer a state. Yet the problem persists. There will be another incarnation. And another. It doesn’t matter what the next group calls itself, or where it is based. Like it or not, the ideology of jihadism lives. And we haven’t figured out how to defeat it.

— Jonathan Schanzer (@JSchanzer) March 23, 2019

Pompeo

The territory ISIS once held in Iraq and Syria has been liberated. We congratulate the US military, SDF, and the @coalition on this incredible achievement. There is much work left to do to ensure the threat from radical Islamic terrorism is fully and finally defeated. #DefeatISIS

— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 23, 2019

Hassoun Mazen: “ISIS has remained inside my head. For years, I have had a recurring nightmare: I am back in Raqqa, with the group hunting the city to find me. For me, the end of ISIS is the end of my nightmares.”

Donald Trump Jr.

ISIS defeated! A really big deal. This is what happens when you let the guys in the field do what is needed to win rather than let Obama’s lawyer bureaucrats in DC call the shots. We’ve now understand full well how incompetent those bureaucrats really were on many levels. https://t.co/NdWPc5bHq4

— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 23, 2019

Charlie Kirk wonders what would have been had Obama still been in charge.

Karl Sharro

Isis is Isisn’t now

— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) March 24, 2019

International Volunteers

The #SDF and the @coalition have achieved something great together, a third of Syria has been liberated of #ISIS oppression and now Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens, Assyrians, Christian and Muslim are living together in peace after uniting to defend their homeland against terrorism #Syria https://t.co/vYfIxt9ooY

— International Volunteers Report (@VolunteerReport) March 23, 2019

Asra Nomani “As a Muslim feminist , this brings joy to my : the fall of the Islamic State. Let us remember too many who lost their lives & innocence fighting ISIS. Now let us end the ideology of Muslim supremacy & Islamist extremism. May peace, secular gov of”

Liz Sly: “I wish I could say this is the last time we will ever write about ISIS. But it’s a huge moment, to be relished by its victims & by those who fought bravely to defeat it. Our take on the demise of the caliphate,”

Louisa Loveluck: “An announcement that the Islamic State’s caliphate has finally been defeated would be hugely significant. But the battle against the group isn’t over by a long way.”

The ‘caliphate’ is no more. But the Islamic State isn’t finished yet. By @LizSly & @leloveluck https://t.co/dVBIqvOELP

— Hassan Hassan (@hxhassan) March 23, 2019

William Roebuck: “We will continue to support our allies to ensure the region and the defeat of the threat of ISIS”. William Roebuck, senior US diplomat

Turkish Presidency: “The era of ambivalent attitude toward terrorist organizations must come to an end”

John Bolton: “Not long ago, ISIS controlled a vast amount of territory in the Middle East—we have now defeated its “caliphate.” The U.S. will continue to closely monitor the remnants of ISIS and continue to work alongside our Coalition partners to prevent any resurgence.”

Theresa May: “The liberation of the last Daesh-held territory wouldn’t have been possible without the immense courage of UK military and our allies. We will continue to do what is necessary to protect the British people, our Allies and partners from the threat Daesh poses.”

Michael Weiss: “Has ISIS been defeated? Nope. Losing territory doesn’t mean it’s still not a lethal and well-equipped terrorist insurgency. It’s mounted a serious comeback in Iraq already:”

Richard Hall “Does this mean Isis is defeated once and for all? Absolutely not. Dummy’s guide to the end of the caliphate here:”

Dilar Dirik “Baghouz. The grandchildren of Kawa the Blacksmith defeated ISIS and lit the ancient fire of Newroz on top of the mountains and hills in the country. “The tyranny is over!”, the women and men chant as they join the line dances of liberation. Newroz pîroz be!”

Wladimir Van Wilgenburg

Now that ISIS is militarily defeated in Baghouz, the SDF says the next phase will start: the battle against sleeper cells.

Here is my extensive analysis on the sleeper cell threat in all of northeastern Syria for @MidEast_Center https://t.co/l3Awk2Jzu0

— Wladimir (@vvanwilgenburg) March 23, 2019

Nervana Mahmoud; “Yes, I know that #ISIS as a group is far from defeated, but as state it is. Let’s share the bitter sweet taste of victory with those brave fighters.”

Lawk Ghafuri “Now after #ISIS is officially defeated in #Iraq & #Syria we need to raise our voices & fight to bring those ISIS members who are responsible of displacing, executing, murdering & sexually abusing civilians to face justice & punish them hard. It is time to confront them in courts.”

Quentin Sommerville “At least 6,000 Kurds and 2,000 Arab fighters died fighting IS in Syria. A momentous and hard fought victory that follows the group’s territorial defeat in Iraq at the end of 2017. The Islamic State group is still a threat. Beyond what remained of their caliphate, the fight against the group continues.”

Jane Arraf:

Celebration in #Rojava, #Syria for defeat of #ISIS territorial caliphate in last stand by US-backed #Kurdish forces in #Baghouz . No one here though thinks ISIS is gone. pic.twitter.com/CuorpILGJr

— jane arraf (@janearraf) March 23, 2019

Tragically a driver with an NBC team was killed by an IED.

“Muhamad Jumaa Alo, the driver who martyred today in #Baghouz out mine exploded at his car, other members of the team who were with him in the same vehicle were injured but all are fine.”

Mahmour Sheikh Ibrahim: “Isis geography has done and also officially but a lot of work still need to be done”

Diliman Abdulkader: “Congratulations to the SDF for defeating the Caliphate. 11,000 fighters lost their lives. 21,000 fighters injured.”

Seth J. Frantzman: “Thread: I’d like to be tweeting more about the defeat of ISIS after four years intensely covering this war; but I feel a bit of need to collect my thoughts. I want to understand what we’ve been though and what comes next. And to pause for all the victims.”

Thread: I’d like to be tweeting more about the defeat of ISIS after four years intensely covering this war; but I feel a bit of need to collect my thoughts. I want to understand what we’ve been though and what comes next. And to pause for all the victims. #AfterISIS

— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) March 23, 2019

Lindsey Hilsum: “The wreckage of human souls: Our @Channel4News report on the end of the Caliphate.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS COMMENTARY BY FABRICE BALANCHE / THE FUTURE OF PKK/PYD IN SYRIA

Syria Kurd autonomy under threat after IS ‘caliphate’ falls / No Kurdish Recognition

Date created : 23/03/2019 – 08:28 – Beirut (AFP) – Now the Islamic State group’s “caliphate” has fallen, the hard-won limited autonomy of Syria’s Kurds will be left in peril if their key US ally goes ahead with its announced pullout. On Saturday, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced the end of the proto-state that the Sunni Arab extremist group declared across large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS FOCUS – Report: ISIS sleeper cells are now a threat in eastern Syria, and regional states may exploit them by Seth Frantzman

A new analysis by Wladimir Van Wilgenburg at The Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis examines the threat of ISIS sleeper cells in the wake of the defeat of ISIS in Baghuz. Regional states that oppose the role of the SDF and its US partners may also exploit them.

A link to the report.

Important #BREAKING analysis from @vvanwilgenburg about the threat of ISIS sleeper cells after the defeat of ISIS in Baghouz https://t.co/j8WcduKYgE

— Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis (@MidEast_Center) March 23, 2019

 

And he writes; The sleeper cell attacks increased, after US president Donald Trump’s announcement that the US would withdraw its troops in December. “The sleeper cells became more active in Manbij, Shadadi, and Raqqa,” Layla Mohammed, the co-head of the Raqqa Civil Council said in an interview.

More viawww.mesop.de

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS “FOR NOW THE END OF THE CALIPHATE”  : March 22 –  US says ISIS finally defeated in Baghuz, small clashes continue  by Seth Frantzman

 

The US has asserted that ISIS is defeated and no longer holds ground in Syria.Defense Department says Islamic State no longer holds any territory in Syria – White House spokeswoman.

Planes still flying over Baghouz. Airstrikes within the last hour. Machine gun fire in the distance. Is #ISIS totally defeated? Essentially yes, but there are still “hundreds” of holdouts per SDF. That’s what were seeing here in eastern #Syria.

— benwedeman (@bencnn) March 22, 2019

Pompeo said: “We’re close…..We need to finish out the last few square meters there in Syria. Still work to do.”

BREAKING: #SDF spokesman @mustefabali tells @VOA_Kurdish he cannot confirm @POTUS‘ comments on the end of #ISIS‘ caliphate in #Syria as SDF troops are still operating inside #Baghuz and additional airstrikes are being carried out

— Jeff Seldin (@jseldin) March 22, 2019

More news

.@StateDept has amended the terrorist designations of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (#ISIS) to include Amaq News Agency, Al Hayat Media Center, and other aliases. Read more: https://t.co/FtB7BO6P0u pic.twitter.com/kw8vdBig2d

— State Dept CT Bureau (@StateDeptCT) March 21, 2019

MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS COMMENTARY :  Iraq’s Kurds Weigh Their Options, Balancing the United States & Iran

 David Pollock – David Pollock is the Bernstein Fellow at The Washington Institute, focusing on regional political dynamics and related issues. – Also available in العربية  – March 20, 2019

A trip to Iraqi Kurdistan last week, my first since the abortive referendum on independence there in October 2017, revealed a political landscape at once utterly different and eerily familiar. In the former category is the new, widespread understanding—both among the leaders I met with and among their younger followers in business, academe, and the media—that Kurdish independence is a long-term aspiration, not a realistic near-term policy option. Along with this view is a sharp reduction in attempts to get more deeply involved with Kurdish issues in any of the neighboring countries beyond Iraq’s borders—either Syria, Turkey, or Iran.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS „SAMPLER“:  ISRAEL & GOLAN HEIGHTS

Sehr geehrter @HeikoMaas, Ihr britischer Amtskollege sagt es deutlich. Gibt es von Deutschland auch eine Stellungnahme? #Israel #UNO #UNHRC

Jeremy HuntVerified account @Jeremy_Hunt – 22 Mar 2019 – It cannot be right that Israel – the world’s only Jewish State – is the only nation the UN Human Rights Council dedicates an entire agenda item to. We must stand against discrimination. My OpEd on why tomorrow we’ll be voting against all Item 7 resolutions https://www.thejc.com/comment/comment/jeremy-hunt-un-human-rights-council-ignored-our-concerns-on-its-israel-approach-now-we-must-act-1.481829  …

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