Bashar al-Assad

Terrorists and Europe’s “Newspeak”

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Germany outlaws ‘Hezbollah fundraising group’

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A Lebanese flag appears behind Hezbollah's yellow flag in the Bekaa Valley on May 25, 2011
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A Lebanese flag appears behind Hezbollah‘s yellow flag in the Bekaa Valley on May 25, 2011 (AFP Photo/Joseph Eid)

Berlin (AFP) – German authorities banned a group Tuesday accused of raising millions for the Lebanese militant organisation Hezbollah and staged raids across the country against its members.

The interior ministry said it had outlawed the “Waisenkinderprojekt Libanon” (Orphan Children Project Lebanon) with immediate effect.

“The name of the group masks its actual purpose,” ministry state secretary Emily Haber said in a statement.

She said the organisation, based in the western city of Essen, had raised 3.3 million euros ($4.6 million) in donations between 2007 and 2013 for the Lebanese Shahid Foundation, an “integral” part of Hezbollah. Read the rest of this entry »

20 March SWJ Roundup

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Small Wars Journal Daily Roundup

Ukraine

Ukraine to Pull All Its Military From Crimea, Conceding Loss – NYT

Ukraine Makes Plans for Troops to Leave Crimea – WP

Ukraine ‘Planning Crimea Withdrawal’ – BBC

Pro-Russian Forces Seize Ukraine Navy HQ – VOA

Ukraine Forces Attacked by Pro-Russia Gunmen; Navy Facilities Seized – LAT

Russian Troops Take Over Another Ukrainian Naval Base in Crimea – Reuters

Ukraine Orders Troops to Leave Crimea, Russia Offers Better Pay – McClatchy

Cyber Peace Reigns Despite Russia, Ukraine Tensions – VOA

Russia’s Moves in Ukraine Seen as ‘Wake-Up Call’ for NATO – WP

US, NATO Warn Russia Faces ‘High Costs’ Over Crimea – VOA

NATO Secretary General: Russia Must Suffer Consequences – AFPS

US, European Allies to Step Up Sanctions on Russia – LAT

US Ponders Next Moves in Crimea Crisis – WP

Obama: No US ‘Military Excursion’ in Ukraine – WP

US Defense Chief Praises Ukraine’s Restraint in Crimea Crisis – Reuters

UN Chief Heads to Moscow, Kyiv – VOA

In Crimea, a Swell of Patriotism, But What is to Follow? – WP

For Moscow, Crimea May Prove an Expensive Prize – CSM

Ukraine Minister Says West Sure to Provide More Support – Reuters

Opinions on Ukraine from American and Foreign Media – VOA Roundup

A New Russian Order – WP Editorial

Russia and the Group of 8 – NYT Editorial

Saving Ukraine from Another Russian Heist – CSM Editorial

Crimea Shows US Can’t Step Back and Let Others Lead – CSM Opinion

A Fear of Russia – WP Opinion

A Way Forward for Ukraine – NYT Opinion

Crimea’s Silver Lining – WP Opinion

NATO’s Strategic Ace: Vladimir Putin – UPI Opinion

Putin’s Warped Reality – WP Opinion

How to Punish Putin – NYT Opinion

Making Putin Pay – WP Opinion

Why Sanctions Don’t Really Work – LAT Opinion

Russia / NATO

Russia’s Moves in Ukraine Seen as ‘Wake-Up Call’ for NATO – WP

Biden: US Will Respond to Aggression Against NATO Allies – VOA

Biden Signals Plans for More US Military Drills in the Baltics – USAT

Another Set of Wary Allies Seeks U.S. Reassurance – NYT

In Eastern Europe, Biden Finds Uncertain Allies – WP

European Leaders Seek Ways to Curb Dependence on Russian Gas – Reuters

NATO’s Strategic Ace: Vladimir Putin – UPI Opinion

Afghanistan

Watchdog: US May be Paying Salaries of ‘Ghost’ Afghan Policemen – S&S

Women Vital for Democratic Success in Afghanistan, UN Says – UPI

Razia Jan Fights to Educate Girls in Rural Afghanistan – CSM Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. reservist arrested after allegedly trying to enter Canada on his way to Syria to join Al-Qaeda-linked group

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In this file photo, cars line up to pass through the U.S. Customs station at Blaine, Washington to Canada on Dec. 20, 1999.

A U.S. National Guard reservist has been arrested on a Greyhound bus as he was trying to cross into Canada with the alleged intention of travelling to Syria to join an armed faction linked to Al-Qaeda.Nicholas Teausant, 20, was taken into custody at about 11:40 p.m. Sunday by U.S. Customs agents in Blaine, Wash. The California resident was allegedly on his way to Vancouver International airport.According to the FBI, he had repeatedly expressed his desire to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, or ISIS, an extremist group fighting to overthrown Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Read the rest of this entry »

Insight: After Syria, al Qaeda expanding in Lebanon

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Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) try to calm civilians demonstrating against the rebel infighting in Aleppo (Stringer . Reuters, / January 6, 2014)

Mariam Karouny Reuters  10:19 a.m. EST, January 30, 2014

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Faced with recent setbacks in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda is slowly but firmly gaining influence in Lebanon, helped by the country’s increasing sectarian violence and the turmoil caused by Syria’s civil war, sources close to the group say.
Lebanon, a small Mediterranean state with a fragile sectarian power sharing system, has seen the worst of the Syria’s war spillover with car bombs in Beirut and Tripoli, gunfights in city streets and rocket fire in the Bekaa Valley.
The violence is exacerbated by Lebanon’s own sectarian divisions and entrenching them. Shi’ite Hezbollah supports President Bashar al-Assad while his rebel opponents are backed by Sunni Muslims including Islamists and al Qaeda fighters.

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Turkey, Iran seek workaround on Syria

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sign documents in Tehran, Jan. 29, 2014. (photo by Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

“The international political intervention should target not [Syria‘s ruling] Baath [Party] but the actors whose proxy war Baath is fighting,” Taha Ozhan of Turkey’s SETA think-tank wrote on Jan. 25, pointing to Russia and Iran. As the chairman of SETA (Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research) — the main civic mouthpiece of Turkey’s deadlocked Syria policy — penned those lines, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was preparing to go to Tehran.

Summary⎙ Print Ankara and Tehran are attempting to normalize a relationship put off track by Syria.

Author Fehim Taştekin Posted February 2, 2014 Translator(s)Sibel Utku Bila

It was a slapdash article reflecting a grudge toward Russia and Iran for fending off regime change in Syria. Four days later, Erdogan was on a completely different track when he told his hosts that he felt like he was at his “second home” in Tehran.

The Turkey-Iran relationship has always been two-sided, but the Syrian crisis upset the balance, threatening the positive side. Erdogan was in Tehran to bolster that side. Back to a “win-win” mode, he set a target of $30 billion in bilateral trade for 2015. In 2013, the trade volume dropped to $13.5 billion from $21.8 billion the previous year.

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Russia plays the Iran card

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Russian President Vladimir Putin passes Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their meeting at the Kremlin, Jan. 16, 2014.  (photo by REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

The Geneva II conference to be held next week may be the most intriguing event in diplomacy since the Cold War. On the one hand, this is an example of the cooperation of major countries that want to resolve a regional conflict, each for its own reason. On the other hand, this is a classic “great game,” when all participants are afraid to miscalculate and miss out on the opportunities that will arise. All this is happening, yet the result is completely unpredictable. Even the process itself is unpredictable — a few days before the conference is set to begin, it is still unclear who will participate.

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