Tag Archives: terrorism

Article: Grandmaster Putin’s Hard Lesson on Emptiness and Fullness

The ability to gain victory by changing and adapting according to the opponent is called genius. – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

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Haneul Na’avi
29 November 2015

Russia’s two-month long battle against the Islamic State has proven fruitful and elevated her status as a champion against global terrorism, but while the country has much to celebrate militarily and economically, its successes eventually placed it at cross-purposes with a key strategic ally.

The “stab in the back” heard round the world—Turkey’s surreptitious downing of a Russian SU-24 as it flew in Syria’s northwestern Latakia province—not only cost pilot Sergei Rumyantsev his life and constituted a war crime under Article 51 of the UN Charter, but reveals Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s ambivalent geopolitical ambitions. Turkey has become a servant of too many masters, forcing the ruling AKP in a predicament that it may not be able to control later.

On October 6, Reuters reported that “a MIG-29 fighter jet of unknown nationality and Syria-based missile systems ‘interfered’ with eight Turkish F-16 jets patrolling along the Syrian border”, yet a Middle East Monitor article shifted focus on Ankara’s concerns to a Russian Su-24 by stating that, in a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, “the military did not specify the type of plane but Turkish presidential sources and the Russian Ministry of Defense identified the aircraft as a Russian SU-24”. This created the perfect conditions for the Nov. 24 takedown of the Su-24, as the Syrian Arab Army commonly uses MIG-29 fighter jets, but Russia’s Sukhoi-24 fighters could come under Ankara’s crosshairs to escalate future provocations. In the article MEMO sources, they do not specify the type of plane which caused the provocation.

Continue reading Article: Grandmaster Putin’s Hard Lesson on Emptiness and Fullness

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TLD Rant: Turkey’s Transgressions

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Looks like the tail end of the Silk Road has been cut off, and good riddance. Erdogan proves once again that he is not to be trusted; Russia should simply cut its losses with this Caliphate-coddling nation while it still can.

What the country has done is an act of war, and can only be added to its repertoire of duplicitous treachery. When it is not killing members of the PKK and YGP, filling up its tanks at the ISIS Petrol Shoppe, or bromancing with al-Bagdhadi, it’s asserting its NATO foothold in Syria as it did when raiding northern Syria and shooting friendly targets (two, in fact). Even the childish and completely incompetent New York Times recognises the belligerence of Erdogan’s growing dictatorship:

“NATO countries have been concerned about Mr. Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies for some time, and NATO officials acknowledge that Turkey’s agenda in Syria does not always match that of Washington, Britain or France — let alone Russia.”

Continue reading TLD Rant: Turkey’s Transgressions

The Satire and the Faux: Reflections on Charlie Hebdo

Haneul Na’avi
22 Jan 2015

The massacre of employees at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris has fostered growing animosity between Westerners and the Muslim world. In nationalist rhetoric, the champions of French Secularity vowed to cheat the death of free speech and never to bow to terrorism, and the agency retaliated with record sales of its publication, with more insults to the Prophet Mohammed.

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One of many infamous Charlie Hebdo publications blamed for the attack [Photo: Panamza]

Nevertheless, the country did bow, not to the demands of al-Qaeda of the Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni sect claiming responsibility for the attack. Seeing their golden opportunity, French government officials capitalized on the assault in order to incrementally impose a wave of draconian policies to stifle the freedoms of its own citizens.

Shortly after the “Je Suis Charlie” demonstrations, French PM Manuel Valls openly announced the Republic would commission “the creation of 2,680 new positions in French military and intelligence agencies to monitor the population”, which would cost “425 mln EUR over three years, and would rise close to 735 mln EUR after personnel costs.

The bill passed amid condemnation of the recent “Law Strengthening the Provision Relating to the Fight against Terrorism”, in which EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove proclaimed “[it struck a] good balance between the demands of internal security and respect for individual liberties”. The bill, passed in the French Parliament last October, would bolster current UK and German anti-terror initiatives.


The law, opposed by the European Digital Rights organization and others, targets terrorism via “anti-democratic measures […] based on vague concepts whose application can easily be extended, such as “apologie du terrorisme” (apology of terrorism), and that restrict the right to freedom of movement (art. 1), freedom of the press (art. 4), freedom of information and communication (art. 9), the protection of journalistic sources (art. 11), the right to a fair trial (art. 13) or that are simply disproportionate (art. 12, 14)”, La Quadrature du Net stated.

The regional attacks were the perfect chance to implement this new law. Unpopular legislature, pushed by an equally unpopular President (currently 8% according to YouGov statistics), achieved several aims for the struggling figurehead: (1) distracting the public from economic and foreign policy misadventures and (2) strengthening support of the current administration by nationalizing sentiment of the French people. Meanwhile, the Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects, the Kouachi brothers, and Mali-born Amedy Coulibaly, the prime suspect in the kosher supermarket attack, reveal startling connections.

Unity: Tens of thousands of people last night joined peaceful rallies in support of the people killed at the massacre in central Paris

Unity: Tens of thousands of people […] joined peaceful rallies in support of the people killed at the massacre in central Paris (Photo: AFP/ Getty Images)

France’s long history with Syria goes back to the Franco-Syrian War, but their open procurement of weapons and cash for “moderate rebels” in Syria and Iraq forms the foundation of the current crisis. A London Guardian article detailed how Hollande’s administration worked to remove Assad, and subsequently, warned about the consequences. “Some of the French cash has reached Islamist groups who were desperately short of ammunition and who had increasingly turned for help towards al-Qaida aligned jihadist groups in and around Aleppo,” Chulov writes.

The French President’s dual imperative of funding rebels in Syria and Libya, but expanding attacks on current IS militants in Iraq, has incited intense anger from IS. “France has suggested that rebels should be given ‘defensive weapons’ to use against the regime and was the first country to recognise a recalibrated political body as the legitimate voice of [the] Syrian people,” the article continues. They were veritably successful, as that ‘recalibrated political body’ is now the Islamic State; an unrelenting enemy with roots in the Mujahideen Shura Council of Iraq.

Shortly after taking office, Hollande pushed to invade Mali’s mineral-rich territories under the ruse of fighting terrorism. Just after the Sarkozy’s Libyan invasion, Hollande stepped in to extrapolate France’s imperialist agenda. Using the same tactics as in Syria, France, the US, and UK backed the Salafist, Tuareg al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM), to overthrow Jamahiriya leader Muammar Gaddafi. Asad Ismi writes extensively about this occurrence:

AQIM is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), the main proxy used by France, the United States, and Britain in their overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya. The AQIM militants fought alongside LIFG. Currently, France and the U.S. are also arming and financing Islamic fundamentalists in Syria to overthrow the secular government of Hafez Al-Assad.

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al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the Yemeni branch of the terrorist organization (Photo: WSN)

While warned of refusing to cooperate with Syria or Iran, Hollande has deployed the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in order to follow up on recent aerial assaults on IS targets in northeastern Iraq. Iraqi and Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s sanctioning of the Western-backed intervention has caused further resentment amongst the Islamic State’s Sunni members.

The failures and inertia of France’s intelligence community practically fostered the attack, as they failed to initiate basic protocols for properly monitoring risky security assets. The Kouachi brothers had traveled to Yemen to meet CIA asset Anwar al-Awlaki in 2011, three years after Cherif was released from Fleury-Mérogis prison; experts claim that this was what incited their radicalization. A Telegraph article evidences that they had been monitored since spring 2009 and that “French authorities stopped the surveillance in July – just six months before the Paris attacks – because they were deemed to be of low risk”.

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Saiif and Cherif Kouachi, primary suspects in the Jan. 7 Charlie Hebdo massacre (Photo: Belle News)

Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan opportunistically admonished France for failing to properly monitor the suspects. In a Jan. 17 speech, he harshly condemned the breakdown in intelligence efforts. “These people served 16-17 months in your prisons. Why didn’t you follow these people after they got out of jail? Isn’t your intelligence working? First, these countries should check themselves”, remarked the PM, whom is also guilty of coddling IS insurgents.

France’s tragic deaths were not simply payback for Charlie Hebdo’s satire of the Prophet, but symbolically reflected the anger of victims of France’s imperial ambitions and deteriorating domestic situation. Victims of aggression on both ends will require deep, reflective meditation to mend their troubled passions, and for the French Republic and other European leaders, they must take a step back from their own dark past in order to illuminate the truth.