Merkel Bows to Primitive Censorship: Comedian Faces Prosecution for Poem About Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

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Under section 103 of the criminal code, insults against organs or representatives of foreign states are punishable with up to three years in prison, or three months to five years if a court judges the insult to be slanderous.

 reports: Angela Merkel, has been criticised by members of her cabinet after acceding to a request from Ankara to prosecute a comedian who read out an offensive poem about the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The German chancellor insisted her government’s decision did not amount to a verdict on whether Jan Böhmermann was guilty or not, but should be understood as a reaffirmation of the judiciary’s independence.

“I consider this to be the wrong decision. Prosecuting satire on the basis of a lèse-majesté law is not appropriate to the modern age.”

— Thomas Oppermann, leader of the Social Democratic party’s parliamentary faction

“In a constitutional democracy, weighing up personal rights against freedom of the press and freedom of expression is not a matter for governments, but for public prosecutors and courts,” Merkel said in a press conference on Friday.

The chancellor expressed “grave concerns” about the prosecution of individual journalists in Turkey, as well as growing limitations to the right to protest, but emphasised Germany’s close diplomatic ties with the country.

Merkel was left with the final decision on whether Germany’s state prosecutor should start proceedings against Böhmermann after Erdoğan requested the comedian be prosecuted.

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“Throughout his reading, the comedian is advised by another comedian impersonating a media lawyer, who tells him this poem is precisely the sort of thing that does not qualify as satire and is therefore illegal.”

Under an obscure section of Germany’s criminal code, prosecution for insults against organs or representatives of foreign states requires both a notification from the offended party and an authorisation from the government.

Merkel and other ministers confirmed reports that there had been disagreements on how to handle the Böhmermann affair between ministers within her coalition government.

[Read the full story here, at The Guardian]

The foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said Social Democrat ministers, including himself and the justice minister Heiko Maas, had been overruled by Merkel in allowing the prosecution to proceed. “It is our view that the prosecution should not have been authorised,” Steinmeier said. “Freedom of the press, freedom of expression and artistic freedom are the highest goods requiring protection in our constitution.”

“I consider this to be the wrong decision,” said Thomas Oppermann, leader of the Social Democratic party’s parliamentary faction. “Prosecuting satire on the basis of a lèse-majesté law is not appropriate to the modern age.”

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The little-used paragraph of the German legal code that had allowed the Turkish president to request the prosecution is likely to be scrapped in the aftermath of the affair. Merkel said on Friday that she considered the law unnecessary, and that legal steps would be taken towards deleting it from the penal code within the next two years. Read the rest of this entry »


John Bolton: Why Benghazi Still Makes a Difference

Hillary Clinton may not see the point, but her testimony may tell us much about her ability to lead.

boltonJohn Bolton writes: Only in Perry Mason stories does the real culprit break down in open court. After Hillary Clinton’s now-immortal Capitol Hill outburst about investigations into the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya—“What difference, at this point, does it make?”—the former secretary of state and Democratic candidate for president is unlikely to offer any such spontaneity when she testifies Thursday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

“As the crisis unfolded that day in Benghazi, with violence also erupting in Tunis, Cairo and potentially elsewhere, Mrs. Clinton disappeared. Instead of staying at her desk, ‘on the bridge’ of the State Department’s seventh floor, Mrs. Clinton literally left the building. Why?”

Nonetheless, the committee’s work is utterly serious, its preparations extensive (and extensively stonewalled by Mrs. Clinton’s team) and its mission vital to our fight against still-metastasizing Islamist terrorism. Much is at stake. The hearing’s focus must be on the key policy and leadership implications of the mistakes made before, during and after the murders of Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11 three years ago.

“Imagine the effect on morale when, with colleagues in Libya in mortal peril, State Department personnel learned that their leader had gone home for the evening. There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton or President Obama did anything other than passively monitor events.”

Before the attack, there was ample warning that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi wasn’t secure, with terrorist threats in the area multiplying. Even the International Red Cross had pulled out of Benghazi. After a string of requests from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli for more security, in mid-August came a joint Embassy-CIA recommendation to move the State Department’s people into the CIA’s Benghazi compound. The State Department in Washington was invariably unresponsive, even though, as Joint 51+ElROmDmL._SL250_Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey later testified, the rising terrorist threat in Libya was well known.

[Order John Bolton’s book “Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the United Nations and Abroad” from Amazon.com]

Given her self-proclaimed central role in deposing dictator Moammar Gadhafi, why was Mrs. Clinton so detached from the deteriorating situation in Libya? She has so far dodged the issue, pawning off such “technical” matters on her subordinates. Working in the State Department in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, I saw firsthand how Secretary of State James Baker dived into every detail of safeguarding U.S. diplomats stranded in Kuwait City. If earlier secretaries of state have been perfectly prepared to get their fingernails dirty in operational details when those under their responsibility were threatened, why wasn’t Mrs. Clinton?

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Libya was no backwater for Mrs. Clinton. It was one of President Obama’s highest foreign-policy priorities, touted by the administration as evidence of successfully “leading from behind,” averting a Gadhafi bloodbath through “humanitarian intervention,” and with democracy and stability to follow. So acknowledging that precisely the opposite was happening, and appropriately increasing security in Libya, would demonstrate failure. That was politically unacceptable.

As the crisis unfolded that day in Benghazi, with violence also erupting in Tunis, Cairo and potentially elsewhere, Mrs. Clinton disappeared. Instead of staying at her desk, “on the bridge” of the State Department’s seventh floor, Mrs. Clinton literally left the building. Why? Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] National Review’s Jay Nordlinger Talks ‘Children of Monsters’ on Morning Joe

September 22, 2015: National Review senior editor Jay Nordlinger joins Hugh Hewitt 41fbu6kJhwL._SL250_and MSNBC‘s Morning Joe to talk about his new book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators“.

[Order Jay Nordlinger’s book “Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators” from Amazon.com]

What’s it like to be the son or daughter of a dictator? A monster on the Stalin level? What’s it like to bear a name synonymous with oppression, terror, and evil?

Jay Nordlinger set out to answer that question, and does so in this book. He surveys 20 dictators in all. They are the worst of the worst: Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and so on. The book is not about them, really, though of course they figure in it. It’s about their children.

Some of them are absolute loyalists. They admire, revere, or worship their father. Some of them actually succeed their father as dictator—as in North Korea, Syria, and Haiti. Some of them have doubts. A couple of them become full-blown dissenters, even defectors. A few of the daughters have the experience of having their husband killed by their father. Most of these children are rocked by war, prison, exile, or other upheaval.

Obviously, the children have things in common. But they are also individuals, making of life what they can. The main thing they have in common is this: They have been dealt a very, very unusual hand. Read the rest of this entry »


VICE Journalists Charged With Working for ‘Terrorists’ in Turkey

Turkish authorities on Monday charged three Western news reporters in southeastern Turkey with working for a “terrorist organization,” said their employer VICE News on Monday, days after the journalists’ detention caused an outcry among human rights groups.

“Today the Turkish government has leveled baseless and alarmingly false charges of ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organization’ against three VICE News reporters, in an attempt to intimidate and censor their coverage.”

— A spokesman for VICE

Jake Hanrahan, Philip Pendlebury, as well as a fixer and a driver were detained by the Turkish authorities while reportedly filming clashes between police and supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the province of Diyarbakir.

On Monday, they were charged in a Turkish court, VICE said. Read the rest of this entry »


Syria Crisis: ISIS Deadly Return to Kobane

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The ISIS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb, followed by an assault from dozens of fighters from a number of directions.

Islamic State fighters have attacked the Syrian city of Kobane, months after being driven out in a symbolic battle that made international headlines.

They detonated car bombs and launched an assault. Kurdish media say at least 50 civilians have been killed, including 20 in a nearby village.

ISIS has recently suffered a string of defeats to Kurdish forces.

But in another attack on Thursday, it seized parts of the key north-eastern city of Hassakeh.

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The apparent two-pronged IS offensive came as Kurdish fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) cut a major supply line for IS near Raqqa.

Raqqa is the de facto capital of the caliphate whose creation IS announced a year ago after it captured large swathes of northern and western Iraq.

Kobane still matters to ISIS. It was never important strategically, but this latest attack shows that its loss, after five months of heavy street-to-street fighting and coalition aerial bombardment, still hurts ISIS.

The injured have been brought to hospital in Kobane

The injured have been brought to hospital in Kobane

As was the case last November when a huge vehicle bomb exploded at the same spot, questions are being asked if the attackers made it in from the Turkish side, and if so, why Turkey didn’t stop them.

Thursday’s assault is a reminder, too, that ISIS, despite recent losses in the area, is still very much active and capable of offensives. Overnight they also attacked Hassakeh to the east, a far bigger prize.

[Read the full text here, at BBC News]

Despite the narrative of the last few weeks, ISIS is far from being on the back foot.

Smoke rises over Kobane

Smoke rises over Kobane

The ISIS attack on Kobane began with militants detonating a car bomb, followed by an assault from dozens of fighters from a number of directions. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Inghemasiyoun’: Secret to ISIS Success: Shock Troops Who Fight to the Death

In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant looks through the scope of his rifle in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. Though best known for its horrific brutalities _ from its grotesque killings of captives to enslavement of women _ the Islamic State group has proved to be a highly organized and flexible fighting force, according to senior Iraqi military and intelligence officials and Syrian Kurdish commanders on the front lines. (Militant website via AP)

The IS calls them ‘Inghemasiyoun,’ Arabic for “those who immerse themselves.” The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bearded and wearing bright blue bandanas, the Islamic State group’s “special forces” unit gathered around their commander just before they attacked the central Syrian town of al-Sukhna. “Victory or martyrdom,” they screamed, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat.

“They tend to use their foreign fighters as suicide bombers. People go to the Islamic State looking to die, and the Islamic State is happy to help them.”

— Patrick Skinner, a former CIA officer who now directs special operations for The Soufan Group, a private geopolitical risk assessment company

The IS calls them “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves.” The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat. They are credited with many of the group’s stunning battlefield successes — including the capture of al-Sukhna in May after the scene shown in an online video released by the group.

“They cause chaos and then their main ground offensive begins,” said Redur Khalil, spokesman of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which have taken the lead in a string of military successes against the IS in Syria.

In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant fires artillery against Syrian government forces in Hama city, Syria. Special troops called "Inghemasiyoun," Arabic for "those who immerse themselves," are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group's arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death. (Militant website via AP)

In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant fires artillery against Syrian government forces in Hama city, Syria. Special troops called “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves,” are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death. (Militant website via AP)

“The fighters incorporate suicide bombings as a fearsome battlefield tactic to break through lines and demoralize enemies, and they are constantly honing them to make them more effective.”

Though best known for its horrific brutalities — from its grotesque killings of captives to enslavement of women — the Islamic State group has proved to be a highly organized and flexible fighting force, according to senior Iraqi military and intelligence officials and Syrian Kurdish commanders on the front lines.

Its tactics are often creative, whether it’s using a sandstorm as cover for an assault or a lone sniper tying himself to the top of a palm tree to pick off troops below. Its forces nimbly move between conventional and guerrilla warfare, using the latter to wear down their opponents before massed fighters backed by armored vehicles, Humvees and sometimes even artillery move to take over territory. The fighters incorporate suicide bombings as a fearsome battlefield tactic to break through lines and demoralize enemies, and they are constantly honing them to make them more effective. Recently, they beefed up the front armor of the vehicles used in those attacks to prevent gunfire from killing the driver or detonating explosives prematurely.

“The group is also flush with weaponry looted from Iraqi forces that fled its blitzkrieg a year ago, when IS overtook the northern city of Mosul and other areas.”

Those strategies are being carried over into new fronts, appearing in Egypt in last week’s dramatic attack by an IS-linked militant group against the military in the Sinai Peninsula.

Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London who embedded with Iraqi Kurdish fighters last fall, said IS local commanders are given leeway to operate as they see fit. They “have overall orders on strategy and are expected to come up with the most efficient ways of adapting it,” he said. The group “is very much success oriented, results oriented.” That’s a strong contrast to the rigid, inefficient and corrupt hierarchies of the Iraqi and Syrian militaries, where officers often fear taking any action without direct approval from higher up.

IS fighters are highly disciplined — swift execution is the punishment for deserting battle or falling asleep on guard duty, Iraqi officers said. The group is also flush with weaponry looted from Iraqi forces that fled its blitzkrieg a year ago, when IS overtook the northern city of Mosul and other areas. Much of the heavy weapons it holds — including artillery and tanks — have hardly been used, apparently on reserve for a future battle. Read the rest of this entry »


Turkish Prosecutor Taken Hostage in Istanbul

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Members of the illegal left-wing organization the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party Front have broken into a Turkish prosecutor’s office and taken him hostage

Yael Klein writes: The prosecutor, Mehmet Selim Kiraz, was targeted by the organization because he represented the state in the sensitive case of a young man’s death during anti-government protests in 2013. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was the Turkish prime minister at the time of the protests, exercised a very strict policy against the protestors. The young man was killed after the police used excessive force against the demonstrators, and the organization has taken Kiraz hostage as an act of protest against Erdogan.

Special Forces surrounding the building Photo Credit: Reuters / Channel 2 News

Special Forces surrounding the building Photo Credit: Reuters / Channel 2 News

The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front has issued a message in the social media, threatening to execute the prosecutor by 3:36 pm (local time) if its demands are not answered. The members of the organization demand that the police officers who caused the death of the young man in the 2013 protests confess to killing him on live television. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: ISIS Kidnap at Least 90 People from Christian Villages in Syria

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Sources say at least 90 have been abducted – mainly women and children. Up to 3,000 people are said to have been ‘displaced’ as a result of the raid

Julian Robinson reporting for MailOnline: Islamic State militants have kidnapped at least 90 people from Christian villages in Syria, it has been revealed.

The abductions are said to have taken place after ISIS seized two Assyrian villages from Kurdish forces in the northeast province of Hassakeh.

ISIS parades 'Kurdish Peshmerga' fighters in cages before mob

ISIS parades ‘Kurdish Peshmerga’ fighters in cages before mob

Dawn raids are reported to have happened on Monday in villages inhabited by the ancient Christian minority near the town of Tel Hmar, a mainly Assyrian town, in the western countryside of the city.

The kidnappings were revealed by the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The latest offensive coincides with a push by Syrian Kurds in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border since Sunday that had compounded losses for the militant group in Syria.

Brutal: The raid comes Isis murdered 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya

Brutal: The raid comes Isis murdered 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya

Sources are reported to have told the human rights watchdog that jihadists swooped to abduct dozens of civilians from the village of Tal Shamiram.

Initial reports put the figure at 56 – but others said the number was much higher.

The International Business Times quoted Nuri Kino, founder of A Demand for Action (ADFA), as saying the Syrian villages had been attacked at 5am with 3,000 people ‘displaced’. Read the rest of this entry »


After Liberation Of Kobane, Kurdish Battle With ISIS Is Not Over

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 reports: Kurdish forces in Kobani reportedly chased the Islamic State group militants from the Syrian city on Monday. This is an immediate win for the Kurds, both strategically and symbolically, but it doesn’t signal a complete ISIS defeat, nor does it signal the end of the Kurdish battle against militants — in Kobani and elsewhere.

The Islamic State militants “are still in the Kobani area, just outside of the city,” said Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum.  “So the fight is hardly over if the YPG [the Kurdish People’s Protection Units] wants to regain the autonomous canton [province] it once had. The YPG is the immediate winner but things still look very bleak for Kobani. The town is destroyed.”

“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate. This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”

— Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium

Nearly four months long, the battle for Kobani (sometimes spelled Kobane) has been a huge focal point in the anti-ISIS campaign. Around 80 percent of the U.S-led coalition airstrikes since September have been in or around Kobani. Iraqi Kurdish forces and some Free Syrian Army brigades banded together to help Syrian Kurds push back militants. While this now appears to have been a successful campaign, ISIS is still present in Kurdish territory and isn’t likely to halt its efforts to consolidate territory in northern Syria.

YPG Commander and official Spokesman Polat Can announces the liberation of Kobane via Twitter

YPG Commander and official Spokesman Polat Can announces the liberation of Kobane via Twitter

“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate,” Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, recently told International Business Times.  “This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”

ISIS fighters still control 350 towns and villages surrounding the city, where they can retreat and regroup.

“Soon the YPG will start clearing the villages,” said Kurdish analyst Mutlu Civiroglu. “They are technically under ISIS control but not really.”

“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs. Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”

However, Kurds are facing another threat just miles away in Hasakah, the last city in the Kurdish area of northern Syria with a significant regime presence, and a major energy and agricultural hub. In the last month, the YPG have had to battle the Syrian regime’s National Defense Forces, made up of local Arab tribesmen and Iranian reinforcements.

“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs,” Civiroglu said. “Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”

This month, ISIS has been quietly redeploying fighters to Hasakah, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Hasakah is just hours away from Iraq’s Ninawa province, making it a strategic launching point to attack Sinjar, where ISIS killed thousands of Yazidis this summer, and engage the already thinly stretched Iraqi peshmerga (Kurdish) forces in another battle. Read the rest of this entry »


Baghdad’s Christians Gather Defiantly for Christmas Eve Mass

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Iraq’s Christians once numbered about 1.5 million. There are now believed to be less than 500,000 out of a population estimated at 32 million, according to the US State Department’s 2013 International Religious Freedom Report.

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(Reuters) – Baghdad’s embattled Christian community worshipped defiantly Wednesday night at Christmas Eve mass.

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“The recent conditions have left us with a bit of sadness for our brethren, be they Christian or non-Christian, those who were displaced and harmed.”

The pews filled at Baghdad’s Sacred Heart church, as people remembered the darkest year in memory.

[PHOTOS: Christmas in an Iraqi Refugee Camp – Daily Mail, UK]

Blast walls shielded the church and seven policeman flanked the outside of the house of worship, in an indication of the government’s fear of an attack on the religious groups by jihadists who consider them non-believers.

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“Christianity is the religion of peace and we pray for these people to return to their homes. We pray for all evil to vanish.”

The congregation sang in unison: “Praise Jesus, our Lord. Oh praise him” as incense burnt in the darkened church.

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 “We celebrate the happiness of Christmas, but deep inside we carry the sadness of Iraq.”

The worshippers paid tribute to the thousands of Christians displaced this summer in northern Iraq when Islamic State seized the city of Mosul in June and in August pushed on toward Iraqi Kurdistan, over-running Christian towns on the Nineveh plain. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Unsubstantiated Report: ISIS Captures, Beheads Kurdish Female Fighter ‘Rehana’ in Kobane: War Propaganda?

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contributor-80x100-mchastainFor Brietbart.com writes: The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) reportedly beheaded a famous female Kurdish freedom fighter known only as “Rehana.” The Women Protection Units (YPG) soldier fought against the terrorist group in Kobane, a strategically important border town in Syria near Turkey.

[Also see – My Bravery Shames Them’: Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

A picture of Rehana making the V-sign became a widely-distributed image online, retweeted over 5,000 times. Reports claimed she killed over 100 Islamic State jihadists single-handedly. But now a picture of a militant holding her head is making the rounds on social media. The death is not confirmed.

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors events in Syria, reported Isis militants beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2809260/Poster-girl-Kurdish-freedom-fighters-Kobane-captured-beheaded-ISIS.html#ixzz3HTSPmJZo  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors events in Syria, reported Isis militants beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women

[Daily Mail – Poster girl for Kurdish freedom fighters in Kobane is ‘captured and beheaded by ISIS killers’ who posted gruesome pictures online]

Female fighters are essential to the Kurds. The Women Protection Units (YPG) in Kobane are led by Mayass Abdo, who goes by Narin Afrin. All of the female Pershmerga are volunteers and are honored to fight against the terrorists. One such soldier, Dilar Gencxemis, blew herself up outside of Kobane, killing dozens of militants. Read the rest of this entry »


‘My Bravery Shames Them’: Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State

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When 19-year-old Dilar and her girlfriends learned last spring that a woman who taught at a local school had died fighting Islamic State, they made a pact: They would join an all-female Syrian Kurdish brigade named in the teacher’s honor.

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me. My bravery shames them.”

Her unit, the Martyr Warsin Brigade, saw action this summer in a tough battle against the extremist fighters for Ras al-Ayn, a town along the Turkish border. Dilar came away without injury and returned home to a hero’s welcome.

[Also see The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp]

Now, during her downtime, she and her female comrades stride with a swagger through their villages east of the embattled city of Kobani.

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me,” said Dilar, who didn’t want to give her family name. “My bravery shames them.”

“Really we have no differences. We do what the men do.”

As debate flares in Washington and other capitals about whether the battle against Islamic State can succeed without more boots—even U.S. ones—on the ground, Kurdish women have stepped up to defend their lands in Syria and Iraq. An estimated one-third of the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani are women, fighters and residents say, a figure that mirrors their role in other significant battles across Kurdish territories this year.

The monthlong battle over the city on the Turkish border is straining Islamic State, Kurdish politicians and U.S. officials say, and hampering its overall expansion strategy.

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The overriding motivation that Kurds give for fighting the insurgents is to save their ancestral homeland from destruction. Yet many women combatants also cite a more personal crusade. Across the territory in Syria and Iraq that it now controls, Islamic State has reinstituted slavery, prohibited women from working and threatened to kill those Muslims, including Kurds, who don’t adhere to their ideology.

“Sometimes we are so close to them without knowing it, because they hide in empty buildings.” 

“Islamic State are terrorists, inhuman,” said a 28-year-old female commander of both men and women in Kobani who uses the nom-de-guerre Afsin Kobane.

Ms. Kobane was a kindergarten teacher when she decided last year to join the female unit of the Syrian Kurdish resistance force, known as YPJ. Speaking by telephone from her post in the besieged city on the Turkish border, she said her mixed-gender unit had been fighting for more than a month and was holding a position only a half-mile from Islamic State fighters. Read the rest of this entry »


Onwaarschijnlijk Krijgers: Dutch Biker Gang Joins fight Against Islamic State in Iraq

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The three men are members of an infamous motorbike gang, No Surrender, the biggest biker club in the Netherlands

Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague: Three members of a Dutch motorcycle club with military backgrounds have gone to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS), a fellow biker says.

“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”

The three left for northern Iraq to help Kurds there after being horrified by news of IS atrocities, Klaas Otto told Dutch media.

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All are trained soldiers who have served abroad in the past, he said.

“They are trained guys with lots of experience – with foreign missions, too. They are extremely disciplined. They don’t drink any alcohol, not even on club evenings.”

Dutch prosecutors told BBC News that they were not necessarily breaking the law by fighting on the Kurdish side.

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Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said that signing up with organisations like IS or the Kurdish militant group PKK was banned but joining a foreign armed force was no longer forbidden.

But if there was proof that they were committing murders or rapes then “of course, it would be a different story”, he said.

The Netherlands’ defence ministry said it could not be held responsible for choices made by ex-servicemen.

The story emerged after photos began circulating on social media. One shows a man dressed in green military fatigues, clutching a Kalashnikov, sitting alongside a Kurdish fighter.

The Netherlands has a considerable Kurdish community. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Mail Online UK Reports on Ceylan Ozalp: ‘Did Kurdish Fighters’ Poster Girl Kill Herself to Avoid Being ISIS Hostage?’

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 Daily Mail Online


Saving Kobanê: The Town that the World Can’t Afford to Lose to ISIS

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RackMultipart20140616-20920-17w6y1sWilliam Gourlay reports: Few people had heard of the Syrian town of Kobanê until recently. But since coming under sustained attack in the last fortnight by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the town has attracted international attention as at least 160,000 people have fled across the border to Turkey. Kobanê now stands as a barometer of the success – or possible failure – of the campaign to counter ISIS.

That the US-led coalition is not making a concerted effort to relieve Kobanê is puzzling to say the least. It appears that the PYD, which represents Syrian Kurds, has little direct contact with Western powers, so its appeals are not reaching appropriate ears.

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Ayn al-Arab, known by its predominantly Kurdish residents as Kobanê, is a district on the Syrian and Turkish border. European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr, CC BY-ND  Click to enlarge

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Despite being significantly outgunned, the Kurdish YPG militia have proven highly effective in their fight against ISIS, a struggle they have carried on for almost two years without outside support

Pressed hard against the Turkish border, Kobanê (also known as Ayn al-Arab) is one of several autonomous Kurdish territories within Syria. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia of Kobanê have been defending their homeland doggedly, but, significantly outnumbered and outgunned, they have steadily conceded territory.

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ISIS gangs are within kilometres of the town centre and thousands of Kobanê Kurds have fled into Turkey.

“While most Syrian Kurds are Sunni Muslims, amongst their ranks the YPG count local Syriac Christian units. They also include significant numbers of female fighters, some of whom have attracted the attention of Western media.”

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Kobanê, valiantly resisting ISIS thuggery, has become a rallying point for Kurds across the Middle East, Europe, the US and Australia. Many Turkish Kurds have attempted to cross the border to join to the fight against ISIS. Others maintain a vigil from the uplands around the Turkish border town of Suruç.

http://www.firatnews.com/news/guncel/kobane-ye-donusler-hizlandi.htm“Concerns are also raised about the PYD’s links with the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK initiated a terror campaign to establish a Kurdish state in Turkey in the 1980s…”

Turkish armed forces have not taken part in the hostilities, but after several stray ISIS shells landed in Turkish territory, tanks were brought into position at a vantage point overlooking Kobanê.

“…The Turkish government has been in negotiations with the PKK since late 2012, but still classifies the group as terrorist. The US, EU and Australia also list the PKK as a terrorist organisation, largely at the behest of Turkey.”

In the meantime, in a call for international help for the besieged Kurdish forces, activists have initiated a social media campaign and sit-ins in European capitals.

Saleh Muslim, leader of Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party, has appealedfor military aid, warning that if it is not forthcoming genocide is at hand. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: German Magazine BILD Features Ceylan Özalp Story — ‘Peshmerga Fighter: Suicide Out of Fear of ISIS Rape’

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Peschmerga-Kämpferin: Selbstmord aus Angst vor ISIS-Vergewaltigung – Politik Ausland – Bild.de

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This appeared online about an hour ago, the first I’m aware of the Ceylan Özalp story being picked up by traditional print media. Until now, we’ve only seen it in social media, and blogs. Note that BILD concludes, rather than begins, with the familiar disclaimer:

“The source for the fate of Ceylan Ozalp was not conclusively verify their validity is, however, the descriptions appears authentic.”

Though it’s a less-than-ideal Google translation from German to English, we can see that it remains an “as is” story. However, it includes graphics, maps, a video, and a little more background. Does BILDs confidence in its authenticity give it more credibility? Perhaps so. We’ll let the readers decide.

Turkish and French sites occasionally have references, and the BBC has coverage of Kurdish women fighters, but information about Ceylan Özalp is elusive, adding to her increasingly mythic status.

Since this particular European tabloid is the first mainstream news organization to put any effort into telling the story of Ceylan Özalp, I offer it here with minimal interference (other than this introduction) with the German-to-English translation errors untouched. To see it at BILD in the original formatting, go here.

[Do you have a source, or more information about the fate of Ceylan Özalp? If so, drop us a line]

The Kurdish soldier Ceylan Ozalp said to have shot herself after they had no more ammunition to fight against ISIS

When the terrorists had surrounded it to Ceylan Ozalp adopted by radio, took her gun and shot himself. Afraid of being raped by the jihadists like so many women before.

“To the Bitter End”: Peshmerga women fighting against ISIS

For days warriors deliver the terror militia Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria (ISIS, also IS) violent struggle for Kurdish enclave Ain Al-Arab (Kurdish: Kobane) and the surrounding villages. Already 300 villages are in the hands of terrorists, Ain Al-Arab have them surrounded from three sides. Only two kilometers – then they are in town!

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The embattled border town of Ain​​-al-Arab

The Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim told the news agency Reuters: When the ISIS-fighters should arrive in the city, “they will destroy everything and the people slaughtered.” Within a few days the decision would be like.

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[click image to go to video at BILD]

The brave Peshmerga fighters

Still trying fighters of the Kurdish people’s defense units, the jihadists to stop. With poor facilities face young, old and women terrorists in the way. Read the rest of this entry »


In Memory: Ceylan Ozalp, Kurdish YPG Fighter

Ceylan-Ozalp

 See – The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp

UPDATE 2: German Magazine BILD Features Ceylan Özalp Story — ‘Peshmerga Fighter: Suicide Out of Fear of ISIS Rape’

UPDATE 3: IBTimes Reports on Alleged Battlefield Suicide of YPG Fighter Ceylan Ozalp

UPDATE 4: AL Arabia Reports on Ceylan Ozalp Story; Verification Remains Elusive

Ceylan Ozalp (19), known from the BBC report about Kurdish YPG Women fighters led today with several comrades in the northern Syrian Kurdish city Kobani resistance against the ISIS terrorists.

In Kurdish areas of northern Syria, fighters have been battling Islamic State – or ISIS – for two years – and unlike Iraq’s kurdish forces, they get no help from the west. Gabriel Gatehouse has been northern Syria to meet some of those taking on the jihadists.

“We’re not scared of anything. We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by ISIS.”

— Ceylan Ozalp

Surrounded on all sides and set under attack, she lost all her friends. She fought alone against the supernumerary terrorists. When she had no more ammunition and recognized the hopeless situation, she said goodbye over her radio and killed herself with the last bullet so that she don’t to fall into the hands of the rapists. Read the rest of this entry »


These Women Are Coming to Kill You

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Women Warriors from the Turkish PKK have gone into into Iraq to tackle the jihadists

True Girl Power: Crack Unit of Heavily-Armed Female Soldiers Hunting ISIS Kidnappers

A crack unit of female soldiers is on the trail of Islamic State killers who have captured 3,000 innocent women in Iraq.

Thousands of non-Muslim women and girls have been kidnapped by Islamic Statet hugs on the rampage in the country over the past two weeks.

“Our support is just as important for the peshmerga as these US strikes – bombings alone cannot get rid of guerrilla groups.”

They face the terrifying prospect of being forced into marriage, sold as sex slaves or shot if they do not convert to Islam.

Now hundreds of women from the Turkish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ party) have crossed into Iraq to help push the IS fighters out of the north of Iraq.

“We will keep fighting until all of Kurdistan is safe.”

They are striking fear into the hearts of the Jihadist thugs who believe if they are killed by a woman in battle they will not reach heaven. Read the rest of this entry »


The One Thing Everyone in Israel Seems to Agree On: John Kerry Blew It


[VIDEO] The Hammer: ‘Can Anyone Rely on U.S. Under Obama?’

From The Corner: Since the U.S. cannot work with Iran, Iraq must choose between Iran and the U.S. for its ally, Charles Krauthammer said on a Fox News Special Report.

Iran’s objective is to support the Shi’ite government as a dictatorship, backing Iraqi prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki even though he lost the election 92-238 in parliament. The U.S. objective, however, is to form a coalition including the Kurds and the Shi’ite, along with Shi’ite moderates…(read more)

National Review Online