Iraqi troops block IS attack west of Anbar

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

Security forces have repulsed an attack by Islamic State militants in western Anbar.

Army troops repelled an IS attack in al-Jazeera region, located between Annah and Rawa towns.

Thirteen villages were freed, while forty-five IS members and two suicide bombers were killed in three days, according to a statement issued earlier by the War Media Cell.Advance toward Rawa is Read the rest of this entry »

US coalition says Daesh has lost 95% of territory

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Daesh militant group has lost 95 per cent of the cross-border territory it declared three years ago in Iraq and Syria, the US-led coalition fighting it has said.

“Since our coalition was formed in 2014, Daesh has lost 95 per cent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria,” Washington’s envoy to the coalition, Brett McGurk, said late Wednesday after a meeting in Jordan.

“More than 7.5 million people have now been liberated from Daesh,” McGurk said in a statement, adding that the group’s finances are now “at their lowest levels to date.” Read the rest of this entry »

Trump calls on UN to extend probe on chemical weapons in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

US President Donald Trump on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to vote to renew a join investigative panel looking into possible chemical weapon attack by the Syrian regime, despite Russia’s veto threat.

“Need all on the UN Security Council to vote to renew the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) for Syria to ensure that Assad Regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again,” Read the rest of this entry »

Libya air strikes kill dozens of IS members in Sirte

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

Libya’s Air Force on Wednesday carried out air raids on Islamic State (IS) sites near the city of Sirte, killing dozens of militants and destroying all of their equipments, according to a military source.

“The air force carried out four raids targeting sites near the desert road leading to the town of Harawa, east of the city of Sirte, a site used by IS to store weapons and military vehicles,” an army officer said. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria counter-terrorism troops arrest 4 in Batna province

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

imgAlgerian counter-terrorism troops arrested on Sunday four individuals suspected of providing support to terrorists in the province of Batna, 400 km southeast of Algiers, Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The source specified that the four suspects were arrested after the exploitation of accurate intelligence by counter-terrorism troops. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisian-Algerian-Egyptian to hold meeting on Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

Minister of Foreign Affairs Khemaïes Jhinaoui will participate in a tripartite consultation meeting on Libya to be attended by the Foreign Ministers of Libya, Algeria and Egypt on Wednesday, November 15, 2017.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the meeting will examine the steps to take to implement the initiative of President Beji Caid Essebsi on Libya. Read the rest of this entry »

French President to visit Algeria

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron is due to visit Algeria on Dec. 6.

The visit was decided following consultations between Algerian and French competent institutions.

Macron was set to visit Algeria in September, but his visit was postponed to anther date. Read the rest of this entry »

Egyptian army arrets 74 militants, kills 3 in Sinai

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 16, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgEgypt’s armed forces said on Thursday that they have killed three “high-level” suspected militants and arrested 74 others in sweeps in the troubled northern Sinai Peninsula in recent days.

Five four-wheel-drive vehicles and four bomb-making workshops were destroyed in the raids, as well as ammunition and fuel stocks, military spokesman Col. Tamer el-Rifai said.

Security forces have been battling militants in northern Sinai for years in an insurgency that picked up after the 2013 military ouster of an elected but divisive Islamist president. Read the rest of this entry »

LATIN AMERICA AND THE IMF – PAST AND PROSPECTS (Case studies: Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela)

Author : Admin | Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The recent economic and social developments in Latin America and especially the prospect of an electoral year for nearly all of the countries in the region are closely watched by analysts who see that, while currently in all of these countries pragmatic and moderate candidates are dominating the polls, there is a high risk of hard populist turns to the right and the left that could radically change policies toward security, trade, the economy, and Latin America’s relationships with the world.

This risk is considered to be mainly the result of poor economic policy and large-scale corruption, but also a consequence of the policies enforced in Latin America by the international financial institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Recent developments

Starting with November 2017, nearly two out of three Latin Americans will choose a new leader over the next 12 months. Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil will hold presidential elections and other eight Latin American elections are scheduled in 2019, a process that is already seen as being the most consequential regional political realignment in a generation.

The region experienced a leftist revival during the 2000s, with left-wing presidents from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua who benefited from the period of high commodity prices and relentless Chinese demand for natural resources. The trend began to reverse, both politically and economically, once commodity prices began falling in 2011. Restored to power, the region’s political moderates applied some of the IMF inspired measures and have produced positive economic results in recent years. Most of the region’s economies are growing after six years of crisis, but the growth is not yet seen by the average people.

In spite of Latin America’s economies improving, the liberal policies are seen as frustrating for many voters and faith in democratic politics around Latin America is at historic lows. The proportion of Latin Americans supporting democracy fell from 66 percent in 2014 to roughly 58 percent, with more than 40 percent saying they are prepared to support a military coup to tackle crime and corruption. Young people are especially disillusioned – with 20 million of Latin American aged 15-29 being unemployed. The prospect of low-paying jobs is forcing a good number into the informal economy, including crime.

Populists and strongmen

In the case of Brazil, President Michel Temer, who has overseen his country’s recovery this year has only a 3 percent popularity rating, largely owing to public disgust with far-reaching government corruption scandals and kickback schemes, and the fact that most Brazilians have yet to feel the stirrings of economic recovery. A majority of Brazil’s citizens are suspicious of existing political institutions: over 70 percent say they care less about the political parties competing for votes than the message of individual candidates, and more than 91 percent believe no political party is free of corruption.

The fact that almost 60 percent would like to see a president who does not belong to one of the big parties favors presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who at various points in his political career has advocated shutting down the National Congress and restoring military rule. Modeling himself on U.S. President Donald Trump, he has also long been an advocate of protectionist economic policies, looser gun laws, and repressive approaches to public security. Bolsonaro is currently on the second place in most of the polls for 2018, with a strong chance of even winning it.

In Mexico, the war of words with Washington has reduced the political space for cooperation. If pushed too far, Mexican voters may well prioritize domestic pride over economic probity. The political fortunes of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, a former mayor of Mexico City and a leftist nationalist, are rising. After two failed presidential runs in 2006 and 2012, AMLO, as he is known, is at the top of most of the polls for 2018. There is a real possibility López Obrador will be elected, initiating a hard left turn of the country.

Colombia’s political landscape is also getting more unstable, with many Colombians being upset with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos. Colombia’s former Vice President Germán Vargas Lleras and ex-mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro lead in the current polls, but as in Brazil, Colombians disapprove of traditional parties. The forces of the far right, including their standard-bearer, former President Álvaro Uribe (who served from 2002 to 2010) are gathering force.

An exception seems to be Argentina, where a more moderate path is seen as possible after the reforms pushed by President Mauricio Macri which are improving investment and household spending. In 2016, more than a decade after its economists were last welcomed in Buenos Aires, an IMF delegation has returned to Argentina for its first “article IV” economic consultation[1] in Argentina since its economists were last received in 2006. Roberto Cardarelli, who led the IMF team, said that “important progress has been made” since Mauricio Macri took office and unveiled a wave of reforms.

The October 2017 midterm vote in Argentina was considered a referendum on the reformist agenda and, after his governing coalition scored a resounding victory, President Macri said he will seek more sweeping reforms for Argentina, especially in tax, education and labor.

The conservative leader has been pushing a free-market reform agenda to try to overhaul Argentina’s economy, but his ordering of layoffs of state workers, the elimination of tariffs aimed at protecting local industry, and hikes in utility rates has also fueled labor unrest. Read the rest of this entry »

Middle east events and news

Author : Admin | Monday, November 13, 2017
Posted in category Special Analysis

EXCLUSIVE: New Group Claims Deadly Ambush On Egyptian Security Forces Southwest Of Cairo
On November 3, 2017, a hitherto unknown group that calls itself Ansar Al-Islam publicly claimed responsibility for the largescale ambush against Egyptian security forces which occurred on October 20, 2017, in the Al-Wahat Al-Bahriyyah area (“the Bahriyyah Oasis”) southwest of Cairo.
In New Audio, Osama Bin Laden’s Son Hamza Bin Laden ‎Calls On Muslims To Target Americans To Avenge His ‎Father, Urges Preparations For New Armed Uprising
On November 7, 2017, the Al-Qaeda media wing Al-Sahab released an audio recording by Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, on its Telegram channel. In the recording, titled “Osama… The Fighter Against Invaders And The Inciter of Rebellion Against Tyrants,” Hamza emphasizes his father’s role in igniting the spirit of jihad across the Muslim ummah and in transforming jihad from “the jihad of the elite to the jihad of the ummah.”
Pro-ISIS Kashmiri Group Declares Taliban Members Apostates And Denounces Their Treatment Of Women
On November 4, 2017, the pro-ISIS media project called “Did You Know?” released a 7-minute video with the title “The Deviation of the Taliban,” which argues that members of the Taliban should be considered disbelievers. The video was distributed on the group’s Telegram channel, and is said to be the first episode in a series. The decision to declare that Taliban adherents are apostates clearly places the project in the pro-ISIS and anti-Al-Qaeda camp on the jihadi ideological spectrum.
Iraqi Resistance Elements: The Units “Are Already Prepared To Begin Their Operations” Against The Americans In Iraq
On November 1, 2017, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar published an article quoting “Iraqi resistance” elements declaring their intent to attack U.S. troops in Iraq, who, according to the article, number between 7,000 and 25,000. (by memri.org)

Iraqi paramilitary troops repulse IS attack in Diyala

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, November 10, 2017

The pro-government paramilitary troops have repulsed an Islamic State attack against a security checkpoint in Diyala, a security source said on Thursday.

“Troops of al-Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] managed to repel an attack launched by IS to target a checkpoint in al-Bou Eissa village, north of Udhaim, in Diyala,” the source told Baghdad Today. Read the rest of this entry »

British FM calls on US to “keep pressure on Russia”

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News

Britain’s Foreign Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday urged the United State to “keep the pressure on Russia” over its involvement in Syria and Ukraine ahead of possible US-Russia talks.

Johnson, on an unexpected visit to Washington this week, praised Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s efforts in drawing Russia for talks on the Middle East and specifically Syria, where the US and Russian forces agreed to a ‘deconfliction’ zone in the south of the country, in an interview with Fox and Friends. He pushed for more pressure on the Russians to make a deal on Syria.

Johnson’s visiting Washington while President Donald Trump and Tillerson are in Asia. Trump was expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam on Thursday to discuss North Korea, but Tillerson told the press there was no conclusion on whether the two leaders would meet. Read the rest of this entry »

Pence, Turkish PM discuss Middle East situation

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Thursday “to reaffirm the enduring strategic partnership between the United States and Turkey,” the Office of the Vice President announced.

The two “expressed hope that their meeting would help to usher in a new chapter in US-Turkey relations, and agreed on the need for constructive dialogue, as friends and allies, on bilateral challenges,” the announcement said. Read the rest of this entry »

Syria announces victory over Daesh

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017

Syria’s army declared victory over Daesh on Thursday, saying its capture of the militants’ last town in the country marked the collapse of their project in the region.

The army and its allies are still fighting Daesh in desert areas near Albu Kamal, the last town the militant group had held in Syria, near the border with Iraq, the army said.

But the capture of the town ends Daesh’s era of territorial rule over the so-called caliphate that it proclaimed in 2014 across Iraq and Syria and in which millions suffered under its hardline, Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt to discuss Libya on Nov 15

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017

The tripartite meeting of Libya’s neighbouring countries (Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt) will be held on November 15 in Cairo, Egypt, Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said in a statement after his meeting with President Beji Caid Essebsi on Tuesday at Carthage Palace. Read the rest of this entry »

UN could send 900 extra troops to CAR

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

imgThe UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that would bolster the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic with 900 extra troops to help protect civilians, according to the text obtained by AFP on Tuesday.

The measure follows a request from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who has warned of a risk of ethnic cleansing in parts of the impoverished African country. Read the rest of this entry »

France pledges to increase aid to Sahel by one third

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

France said on Wednesday it will increase its development aid to the troubled Sahel by more than a third, linking the extra funds to the fight against jihadist groups in the vast African region.

The five nations in the sprawling area south of the Sahara – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger – pooled their military resources to create the G5 Sahel force, which began operations on November 1. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria, Mauritania to open first border post after 50 years

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, November 9, 2017

Maghreb neighbours Algeria and Mauritania are to open their first border post more than 50 years after independence from France, the Mauritanian news agency AMI reported on Thursday.

Mauritanian Interior Minister Ahmedou Ould Abdallah and Algerian counterpart Noureddine Bedoui signed an accord Bedoui ended a visit to Nouakchott on Wednesday, according to AMI. Read the rest of this entry »

NATO defence ministers meeting starts in Brussels

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News

NATO’s defense ministers’ introductory meeting began in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, on Wednesday, as the allies are expected to confer on a range of issues including sending more troops to Afghanistan.

The defense ministers are to address a wide range of issues, including new commands to improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic and within Europe. Read the rest of this entry »

NATO to deploy RAF Typhoons to Romania in response to Russian air activity

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017

imgNATO has stepped up its air policing mission in response to increased Russian air activity around Eastern Europe in recent years.

Former chief whip Gavin Williamson will commit four RAF Typhoons as part of the Nato southern air policing mission, while speaking at the Nato defence ministerial meeting in Brussels.

They will be redeployed to work with the UK’s Romanian allies to police the Black Sea skies, the Ministry of Defence said. Read the rest of this entry »

NATO hopes Erbil, Baghdad to solve differences through peaceful dialogue

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017

imgThe North Atlantic Alliance Organization (NATO) supports constructive and peaceful dialogue between Erbil and Baghdad to resolve their differences, said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

“We would like very much to see constructive negotiations between the Peshmerga forces and the government of Baghdad,” Stoltenberg said on Tuesday, urging the sides not to return to violence.

“Any use of violence will undermine the fight against terrorism,” he argued. Read the rest of this entry »

US Defence Secretary to discuss IS with NATO counterparts

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has plenty of pressing issues as he begins talks with NATO allies on Wednesday. NATO defence ministers are meeting over two days at the alliance’s Brussels headquarters.

The talks will also look at efforts to revamp NATO’s command structure to help it better combat the rising threat from Russia. Read the rest of this entry »

EU to reopen border assistance mission’s bureau in Tripoli

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Libya Bettina Muscheidt has revealed in a meeting with the Libyan Foreign Minister of the Government of National Accord Mohammed Sayala that they will reopen the border assistance mission’s bureau in Libya’s capital Tripoli soon, not specifying a date for the comeback. Read the rest of this entry »

Mali: PM cancels visit to central town after at least 10 killed

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

At least 10 people died in attacks in Mali on Monday, as the prime minister cancelled a visit to a central town after a vehicle sent to protect his team hit a landmine.

A bus travelling in the restive north was blown up by a mine on Monday, killing at least four people, police and administrative officials said.

“A bus hit a mine near Ansongo,” a small town about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Gao, the regional hub, a Malian military officer in the area said. Read the rest of this entry »

AU force begins troop withdrawal from Somalia

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The African Union says it has begun its withdrawal from Somalia and will cut 1 000 troops by the end of this year as security responsibilities start to shift to the local military.

The continental body said on Tuesday that the move comes at a critical time, less than a month after the country’s worst attack killed more than 350 people. The Somalia-based al-Shabaab extremist group has been blamed.

The AU says its troop movements shouldn’t cause alarm, but the withdrawal has begun earlier than expected. Plans had said the first troops would leave in 2018.

The 22 000-strong African Union force in Somalia is expected to fully withdraw by the end of 2020. The United States military and others have expressed concern that Somalia’s security forces will not be ready by then.

French envoys meet Mali govt over raid deaths

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

France has sent high-level representatives to talk to the Malian government after a French anti-terror raid killed Malian troops held by the jihadists.

Defence Minister Tiena Coulibaly met on October 31 with the French ambassador and the commander of France’s military force in Mali, according to a ministry communique received by AFP on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

Middle east events and news

Author : Admin | Monday, November 6, 2017
Posted in category Eurasia, Special Analysis

EXCLUSIVE: ISIS Claims Responsibility For New York Terror Attack
In the November 3, 2017 issue of its weekly news bulletin Al-Naba’, the Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the October 31, 2017 truck ramming in lower Manhattan.
EXCLUSIVE: Pro-ISIS Media Group Publishes Article Questioning Authenticity Of Bin Laden Abbottabad Files
On November 2, 2017, a media foundation affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS) published an article in which the author called on Muslims to question the authenticity of files recovered during the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
EXCLUSIVE: Lebanese Daily ‘Al-Akhbar’: Elements In Iraq Are Planning Confrontation With U.S.
On November 1, 2017, the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, which is close to Hizbullah, published a commentary piece about expected developments in Iraq following the end of the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS). It stated that elements in the resistance camp in Iraq – that is, the Iran-supported militias – are planning a confrontation with U.S. forces in the country.
ISIS Claims Responsibility For Suicide Attack In Kabul’s Diplomatic Quarter; Asserts That Personnel From The British And Canadian Embassies Among Victims
On November 1, 2017, the Islamic State (ISIS) Ministry of Information in the province of Khorasan (Pakistan-Afghanistan) claimed responsibility for the suicide attack carried out in the Kabul, Afghanistan Diplomatic Quarter on October 31, 2017.
Pro-ISIS Telegram Channels Continue Circulating Graphics Threatening 2018 World Cup; Threaten Manager Of National French Soccer TeamOn October 27, 2017, various pro-ISIS Telegram channels circulated new graphics threatening the 2018 World Cup as part of an ongoing campaign.
(by memri.org)

Iraqi forces to resume ops if handing over control of borders delayed

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017

Iraqi forces threatened on Wednesday to resume operations to capture northern Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)-held territory after accusing authorities there of delaying handing over control of Iraq’s borders with Turkey, Iran and Syria.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday declared a pause in an offensive that began on Oct. 16 to take over areas claimed both by his government and the autonomous KRG. Abadi ordered economic and military retaliation against the KRG after Iraqi Kurds voted for independence in September in a referendum that Baghdad declared illegal. Read the rest of this entry »

Iraqi forces liberate al-Qaim

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Friday announced the full liberation of the city of al-Qaim near the border with Syria from the Islamic State (IS) militants.

A statement by the premier’s office said Abadi, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of Iraqi forces, “congratulated the people of Iraq for the liberation of al-Qaim by the heroes.” Read the rest of this entry »

US calls for dialogue between Erbil, Baghdad

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had a phone conversation Friday in which they stressed the need for political negotiations between Erbil and Baghdad. Read the rest of this entry »

UN Chief calls on Security Concil to support Sahel Anti-Terror Force

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Stressing the urgent need to help Mali and other countries the Sahel address cross-border terrorism and organized crime, Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday invited the United Nations Security Council to “be ambitious” in deciding how the UN supports the region’s newly-established joint force. Read the rest of this entry »

Libyan factions split over army leadership

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Libyan factions involved in UN-brokered peace talks are still far apart on the issue of the leadership of a future national army, the head of one of two rival parliaments said on Monday.

Abdulrahman Swehli said delegations from both the Tripoli State Council that he leads and from a parliament based in eastern Libya were “almost there” on agreeing the structure and selection process for a new transitional government. Read the rest of this entry »

UN could increase peacekeepers in CAR

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The Security Council is deciding whether to increase the number of United Nations peacekeepers in the Central African Republic (CAR), one of the recommendations put forward by Secretary-General António Guterres for strengthening the operation, which was discussed at today’s meeting in New York. Read the rest of this entry »

Niger to let US forces arm drones in counter-terrorism fight

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, November 6, 2017
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Niger will allow US forces stationed in the country to arm the drones being used to track jihadists, having previously allowed their use only for surveillance, the government said on Saturday.

The decision comes a month after jihadists ambushed a joint US-Niger patrol in a volatile area near the border with Mali, killing four American soldiers and four Nigerien troops. Read the rest of this entry »

Afghanistan security forces kill 54 rebels in operations

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, November 3, 2017

At least 54 rebels were killed and several others sustained injuries during clashes with Afghan security forces in the past 24-hours across Afghanistan, said Ministry of Defense on Friday.

The casualties inflicted on the insurgents in Nangarhar, Ghazni, Paktia, Kandahar, Zabul, Farah, Balkh, Jawzjan, Faryab, Kunduz, Baghlan, and Helmand provinces of Afghanistan, a statement by the ministry said. Read the rest of this entry »