Hollywood Superstar Shines A Spotlight On Jailed Kurdish Politician

16 April 2019 – MESOP  – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a severe case of Kurdophobia, but we may have to give the devil his due on this one.

He has somehow let Selahattin Demirtas pen Dawn, a work of twelve fictional short stories, from his Turkish prison cell in Edirne.  That is terrific news for Demirtas, the popular Kurdish member of the Turkish parliament since 2007, and even better news for his real-life inspired characters—Turks and Kurds alike—who people his stories.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg: Award-winning television and film actress Sarah Jessica Parker has acquired Dawn for her newly launched book imprint, SJP for Hogarth. The book will be published on April 23, 2019.

Think of the staggering possibilities: an American icon highlighting a campaign exposing Turkey’s cultural genocide against the Kurds!

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Kyle Orton Retweeted  – Ruslan Trad‏Verified account @ruslantrad  15 April 2019

The Syrian regime announced that it had received offers from UAE and Jordanian real estate companies for projects in Daraya, in accordance with Law No. 10 which has been criticized as an attempt to displace refugees.

Read this : Assad Plans to Seize New Ground in Damascus Suburbs Under Law 10 Monday April 15th, 2019 by Zaman Al Wasl (Opposition website)          

Using Law No. 10, Assad has received offers to rebuild destroyed homes in the Damascus suburb of Darayya, but many see this as opportunity for a land grab writes Zaman Al Wasl.

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Corruption increased in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2018: Commission of Integrity

April 15, 2019 by Editorial Staff in 1 Top News, Corruption  – EKURD NET  – HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— The Commission of Integrity has found that levels of corruption increased in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in 2018 compared with the previous year.The finding was included in the Commission’s annual report on corruption in the Kurdish Region, head of the Commission’s press office Sarkhel Hashim revealed during a press conference on Monday.“The amount of estimated [losses due to] corruption in 2018 were 275.72 billion Iraqi dinars ($231 million),” Hashim said, adding that it was an increase over 2017.

“Only 5.381 billion dinars was returned.”

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : KASHOGGI  ? NO HERO ! – The antisemitic tweets of murdered Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi

The tweets, still online as of April 14, 2019 show a pattern of anti-Jewish views that even hinted at references to the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion. By Seth J. Frantzman April 14, 2019 22:05  – Jerusalem Post

The late Saudi Arabian journalist, editor and kingdom-insider Jamal Khashoggi, writing on Twitter from 2011 until 2018, said Jews had no roots in historical Palestine, that one must know how to speak to Jews when meeting them, and that Jews were conspiring to divide al-Aqsa Mosque. The tweets, still online as of April 14, show a pattern of anti-Jewish views that even hinted at references to the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and complained that the West had laws preventing Holocaust denial.
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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS – TODAYS RELEVANT DEBATE : Saving Northeastern Syria – How Washington Can Help Strike a Deal Between Turkey and the Kurds

WEST KURDISTAN (SYRIA) –  By Merve Tahiroglu and Andrew Gabel – 9 April 2019 – FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Last month, fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a 60,000-strong Syrian militia that has been Washington’s primary partner in the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), captured the Syrian town of Baghouz, ISIS’ last remaining stronghold. Although ISIS has not been fully eliminated as an organization, Baghouz marked the final territorial defeat of the group, which at its peak in 2014 controlled nearly 40,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria.

Yet the territorial defeat of ISIS is not the end of the U.S. mission in Syria, where today some 2,000 American troops help the SDF administer and control the northeastern third of the country. Although U.S. President Donald Trump announced in December 2018 that he would be withdrawing all American forces from Syria, he has since partially reversed course—in March, Trump affirmed that he is “100%” in favor of leaving a residual presence of 400 U.S. troops in Syria.

The question now is how Washington can use this residual presence to secure its long-term interests in the country: countering Iranian influence, preventing a return of ISIS, isolating the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and protecting the people of northeastern Syria from further slaughter. Achieving these goals will require the United States to use its troop presence to prevent the Syrian regime from attempting to retake the country’s northeast with Iranian and Russian assistance. At the same time, the United States must reshape the SDF into a force capable of providing long-term stability on the ground.

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Iraq launches major anti-ISIS operations –  by Seth Frantzman


A major operation in Hamrin (جبال حمرين) was launched by Iraq last week to clear the mountain areas of ISIS remnants. It is part of a series of operations that are designed to destroy ISIS in Iraq this year. ISIS has put down roots in the mountainous areas since its defeat in Hawija and other areas in 2017. It continued operations from the rural areas, and was able to infiltrate neighbouring villages, carrying out attacks at night. It was also active near Lake Hamrin (لبحيرة حمرين).  It was part of a large strategy also involving areas near Makhmur and Anbar.

The operation began on April 11. Led by Iraqi CTS Lt. General Abdel-Wahab al-Sa’idi it covered areas in Saladin and Diyala provinces. According to David Witty, “1st & 2nd ISOF Brigades of Iraqi CTService are involved in pursuing ISIS in Hamrin Hills, making it biggest CTS operation since end of conventional fighting against ISIS.” It involved other units as well from the PMU in other areas and also support from the Coalition.

For instance in other sectors “Last night, Brigade 23 from Badr Military Wing was involved in operations designed to spring ambushes against ISIS elements and it looks like 4 were wounded during clashes in Khanaqin subdistrict….Brigades 6, 31, and 51 of the PMF embark on a search operation from west of Tikrit until the shores of Lake Tharthar. This work area is next to the Saraya Salam zone which is to the south,” Tom Cat reports.

Important news on the first day involved the destruction of the ISIS media headquarters in Hamrin Hills during the operation.

“Iraqi CTService announces it has killed 12 to 15 ISIS in ongoing Hamrin Hills operation, discovered important ISIS documents & prevented ISIS from establishing a base. International Coalition aircraft destroyed 15 ISIS safe houses in the area,” writes David Witty.

Photo of commander of 2nd Battalion (ICTF), 1st ISOF Brigade, Iraqi CTService, in ISIS safe house in Harmin Hills.

— David M. Witty (@DavidMWitty1) April 11, 2019

Some details

Okay it’s time to let the cat out of the bag.

ISOF-1 with support from Coalition aircraft launch an operation on the southeast portion of Hamrin Mountains.

— TØM CΛT (@TomtheBasedCat) April 11, 2019

On April 13: “CTS Spokesman Sabah Nu’man said today in a news conference that the ISOF operation foiled a plan by ISIS to establish a formal base of operations in Hamrin. Also stated that Coalition target 15 caches and that media silence of the operation caught the enemy by surprise.”

OIR spokesman notes “ICTS announced the outcome of the joint operation, supported by the Iraqi Army Aviation, the Global Coalition Air Force, and other units from the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, to pursue Daesh fighters in Hamrin mountains.”

ICTS announced the outcome of the joint operation, supported by the Iraqi Army Aviation, the Global Coalition Air Force, and other units from the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, to pursue Daesh fighters in Hamrin mountains.

— OIR Spokesperson (@OIRSpox) April 13, 2019

Details on the media center

Da’ish underground media centre destroyed by #Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service during operations in the Himreen (Hamrin) mountains region this week.

The set-up was used to help publish Da’ish propaganda and its Al-Naba “newspaper”.

— H. Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) April 13, 2019

Shelly Kittleson has written about previous Hamrin (Hamreen) operations.

Elite CTS 1st and 2nd BGD’s, Iraqi army aviation and US-led coalition AF launch a sophisticated 48 hour air-assault operation against Daesh in Hamreen mountain range area, after the latter were forced out of their caves by the heavy rain torrents.

— Hasan (@Honor_Loyalty88) April 12, 2019

Nevertheless ISIS continues to be a global threat

Over the past seven days, #ISIS has conducted 105 military operations (the highest global figure since a long long time): 40 in #Iraq, 32 in #Syria, 9 in West Africa, 8 in #Khorasan, 5 in #Sinai, 5 in #Somalia, 3 in East Asia, 1 in #Yemen, 1 in #Libya and 1 in #Caucasus.

— Adam Bachaa (@Adam_Bachaa) April 12, 2019



MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BACKGROUND :  Putin exploits crisis in US-Turkish relations

Week in Review April 12, 2019 –  BY MAXIM SUCHKOV   Article Summary – The Russian president has suggested more defense cooperation with Turkey and says Turkey’s president may be willing to coordinate with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

Just four days after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left Moscow, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived on April 9 for a full day of meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, leading to agreements to expand trade, tourism and energy cooperation as well as hints at deepening defense ties and discussions about next steps in Syria.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : US  / TURKISH RELATIONS – OVER & OUTTurkish-American ties enter uncharted territory


Semih Idiz April 11, 2019  – AL MONITOR – Article Summary – The US-Turkish relationship is in such a bad state that the sides can’t even agree on what was discussed during high-level bilateral talks. The alliance between Turkey and the United States, in force since President Harry Truman unfolded his eponymous doctrine in 1947, is heading into the realm of the unknown. With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s refusal to change his foreign policy orientation, and Washington’s apparent determination to stick to its guns over contentious issues with Ankara, the nearly 70-year strategic relationship is on a collision course. The relationship is in such a bad state that the sides can’t even agree on what was discussed during recent high-level bilateral talks. This was the case following the meeting between Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on April 3.

State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement after the talks that Pompeo had warned Cavusoglu of “the potentially devastating consequences of unilateral Turkish military action” in northern Syria.

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Russia and Turkey are now deeply entwined on trade and defense


Russia’s alliance with Turkey underpins new regional strategy in Middle East.  – By Seth J. Frantzman – JERUSALEM POST – April 11, 2019 15:00

On April 8, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met in Moscow. The meeting comes as Russia is seeking to increase trade with Turkey, and Ankara has agreed to acquire Russia’s S-400 air defense system. The larger picture is that Moscow and Ankara are now becoming a key alliance that will shape the Middle East in the years to come. This comes as Washington says Turkey’s S-400 deal threatens relations with the US.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS FOCUS : Will Erdogan court Kurds after his party’s election loss?

READ IN:    Türkçe Fehim Tastekin April 10, 2019  – AL MONITOR – Article Summary

The Kurds’ role in Turkey’s recent local elections made them both losers and winners. What will their road map be now?

By backing the opposition, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) used a surgical strategy in Turkey’s local elections March 31 to help defeat the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Kurdish votes were the key to AKP’s loss in many areas, including big metropolises such as Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, and other important centers such as Antalya, Mersin and Artvin.

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