Mullahs Masquerading as Patriots: Will it Work?

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

What do scoundrels do, when caught red handed in their shenanigans? According to an old proverb they wrap themselves in a flag and seek refuge in patriotism.

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India Promises Strong Response to Kashmir Attack

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, India, Pakistan, South East Asia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed a strong response to a deadly attack on security personnel in Indian Kashmir as New Delhi said that there was “incontrovertible evidence” that Pakistan had a “direct hand” in the assault and called for its complete isolation.

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Challenges abound as the Islamic Republic turns 40

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran

This February marks the 40th anniversary of Iran’s 1979 revolution and the birth of the Islamic Republic, but for those in power in Tehran, celebrating the victories of the past is easier than dealing with the problems of the present. Challenges abound on all sides. On the home front, the so-called moderates and hardliners will battle it out, but neither side wants a full-on political crisis as an anxious Iranian public watches U.S. sanctions further ravage the economy. On the foreign policy front, Tehran will engage in a game of cat and mouse with the United States, but the overall Iranian strategy will be the same as in 2018: to avoid giving President Donald Trump a pretext to pursue regime change more forcibly while hoping he will not be re-elected in 2020. Meanwhile, those expecting the Iranian regime to introduce any game-changing policies will likely be sorely disappointed.

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CEP Statement: WordPress Removes Neo-Nazi Website After CEP Publishes Findings

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen released the following statement today after a website from the white supremacist group Feuerkrieg Division (FKD) was taken offline by website management and blogging platform WordPress. The removal comes on the heels of a CEP report and letter addressed to WordPress that found FKD had been using a WordPress-hosted website for recruitment and propaganda purposes. FKD acknowledged CEP’s role in provoking WordPress action on its Gab account.
“WordPress took appropriate action in this instance by removing Feuerkrieg Division’s website. It is unfortunate though that WordPress still relies on the research and action of third party organizations, such as CEP, to flag extremist content for them, instead of proactively identifying such content itself.

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You can’t have Syria safe zone without Assad’s consent, Russia tells Turkey

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Russia has reminded Turkey that it must obtain the consent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government for its plan to create a safe zone in the northeastern part of the conflict-plagued Arab country.

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Iran Suicide Bombing Kills 27 Revolutionary Guards

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

A suicide bomber killed at least 27 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and wounded 13 on a bus in a restive region of southeast Iran on Wednesday, Iranian media reported. It was among the deadliest attacks in Iran in years.

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Hundreds flee as ferocious battle in Syria’s Daesh holdout enters 5th day

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, February 18, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

NEAR BAGHOUZ, SYRIA: The ferocious battle for Daesh’s last bastion in eastern Syria entered its fifth day on Wednesday, as exhausted families left the ever-shrinking scrap of land where holdout militants have been boxed in by Kurdish-led forces.

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Putin Threatening Democracies Worldwide, Pompeo Tells Slovaks

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is on a tour of Central Europe, warned on February 12 that Russian President Vladimir Putin poses a threat to democracies worldwide.

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NATO Discussing Its Response To ‘A World With More Russian Missiles’

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Russia continues to “develop and deploy” 9M729 cruise-missile systems in breach of a key Cold War-era nuclear arms control agreement.

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Poland Hosts Middle East Summit Spearheaded By United States

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

A major U.S.-organized Middle East conference is under way in Poland, a NATO member that has tightened cooperation with Washington as a counterweight to Russia’s influence in Central and Eastern Europe.

Iran appears to be the main focus of the February 13-14 conference in Warsaw, and Tehran has labeled the gathering as a hostile act and warned of unspecified consequences for Poland.

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Stoltenberg: NATO Mulls Options In Post-INF World, Doesn’t Want Arms Race With Russia

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said the alliance is studying a “wide range of options” to deal with alleged Russian violations of a major arms-control agreement, while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has accused Moscow of wanting to “dominate” Europe.

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Four Allies and one partner will create a regional Special Forces command

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

On Wednesday (13 February 2019), the Defence Ministers from Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to establish a Regional Special Operations Component Command (R-SOCC) in the margins of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels. Partner nation Austria will sign the LOI immediately following the NATO Defence Ministerial Meeting. This makes this initiative another example of close cooperation between NATO Allies and partners.

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Former U.S. Counterintelligence Agent Charged With Espionage on Behalf of Iran; Four Iranians Charged With a Cyber Campaign Targeting Her Former Colleagues

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Indictment Unsealed as U.S. Treasury Department Announces Economic Sanctions.

Monica Elfriede Witt, 39, a former U.S. service member and counterintelligence agent, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia for conspiracy to deliver and delivering national

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US strikes ISIS-held mosque as Syria battle intensifies

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The U.S. military said Tuesday it struck a mosque that had allegedly been used as an Islamic State control center, as American-allied Syrian forces battled the extremists in their last stronghold in eastern Syria amid reports of more civilian casualties.

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Russia demands US pull troops from Syria as Iran issues new threats – ‘Fulfil your PLEDGE’

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Russia has demanded the US pull troops out of Syria in a dire warning against Washington, as Moscow increases to roll-out withdrawal plans for the region.

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ISIS has stashed away millions to fund new wave of attacks against the West, UN experts warn

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, February 17, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

ISIS chiefs have stashed away millions to fund a new wave of attacks against Britain and the West – as the terror group faces being stamped out once and for all.

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Taliban Seeking Recognition of Qatar Office Ahead of Fresh Talks With US

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 15, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Taliban says it hopes ongoing negotiations with the United States would bring a long-demanded formal recognition for the insurgent group’s “political office” in Qatar, insisting it would help accelerate consultations over the endgame in the Afghan war.

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Senior Indonesian member of Islamic State killed in Syria-police

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, February 15, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

An Indonesian militant who appeared on an Islamic State propaganda video showing the execution of a hostage and was said to be close to the militant group’s leader was killed in Syria last month, an Indonesian police spokesman and his brother said.

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Russia Mulls Disconnecting From Internet In Test Of Cyberdefenses

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Russia is planning to temporarily disconnect from the global Internet in the coming weeks as it tests its defenses against cyberattacks.

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Despite falling attacks, ISIL terrorists remain ‘global threat’: UN report

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Though attacks were down last year, a new United Nations report to the Security Council on Monday shows that ISIL is still a global threat, despite evolving into a “covert” terrorism network, with countries continuing to face challenges from the growing scourge of violent extremism.

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Russia says 27 children of ISIL members arrive from Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

A group of 27 Russian children whose mothers are being held in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group have arrived home in Russia.

The children landed at Ramenskoye Airport, near Moscow, on Sunday.

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UN takes aim at Hezbollah with warning for Lebanon to stay out of foreign conflicts

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News, Middle Orient

The United Nations Security Council has taken aim at Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and its role in Syria, issuing a warning late on Friday for all Lebanese parties to dissociate themselves from any external conflicts.

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Coalition warplanes hit last Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

U.S.-led coalition warplanes struck Islamic State’s last stronghold in eastern Syria and hundreds of civilians fled the besieged enclave on Monday as U.S.-backed fighters pressed their campaign to seize it.

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Zarif In Lebanon Meets Hezbollah Leader Nasrallah. Pledges Support

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who arrived in Lebanon on Sunday met Hassan Nasrallah the leader of the militant group Hezbollah.

In recent days, Hezbollah has been pushing the idea of Lebanon officially accepting Iranian military assistance, which Zarif earlier said Iran would be looking forward to.

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Islamic State Militants Fight to Hold Onto Final Foothold in Eastern Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Thursday, February 14, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Islamic State group militants cornered in their last foothold in eastern Syria fought back with suicide car bombs, snipers and booby traps Monday, slowing Kurdish fighters advancing under the cover of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish news agencies and a Syrian war monitor said.

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Caught in Syria, foreign terrorist suspects may face trial in Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Their home countries don’t want them and holding trials in Syria isn’t an option: now suspected foreign terrorists could end up facing tough justice over the border in Iraq.

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U.S.-backed Syrian force launches ‘final battle’ against Islamic State

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News, Middle Orient

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) began an assault against the final Islamic State enclave in eastern Syria on Saturday, aiming to wipe out the last vestige of the jihadist group’s “caliphate” in the SDF’s area of operations.

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‘The fighting was intense’: witness tells of two-day attempt to kill Isis leader

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Foreign fighters reportedly executed after launching attack against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadiby Martin Chulov in Baghouz, eastern Syria.

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US-backed fighters launch final push to defeat IS in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian forces said Saturday they have launched a final push to defeat the Islamic State group in the last tiny pocket the extremists hold in eastern Syria.

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Votel: “Tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The top US commander in the war against ISIS aligned himself Sunday with the US intelligence community assessment that there are “tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters spread across Syria and Iraq.

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US-Backed Forces in Syria Push to Oust Last of IS Group

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they have recaptured 41 positions held by Islamic State militants as they seek to clear the last enclave the militant group controls in eastern Syria.

Mustafa Bali, an SDF spokesman, tweeted Sunday that SDF forces had destroyed fortifications in the Village of Baghuz, but that heavy fighting continued.

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Report: Russia Has Deployed More Medium-Range Cruise Missiles Than Previously Thought

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Russia has deployed its controversial 9M729 cruise missile at more locations than previously thought, a German newspaper reports.

Citing an unidentified Western intelligence source, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAZ) said on February 10 that missile battalions were stationed in Mozdok in North Ossetia and in Shuya, close to Moscow.

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India Successfully Test Fires Air-to-Air Version of Anti-Tank Missile – Reports

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

Metaphorically named Nag (meaning cobra), it can be launched from both land and air-based platforms. The strike range of the weapon is 4 km and 7 km respectively.

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Paris, Berlin Take First Step Toward Jet That Will Replace Rafale, Eurofighters

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia

Paris and Berlin, which have pushed the idea of creating a joint European army, unveiled their ambitious goal to design the new Future Combat Air System (FCAS), including a fighter and associated weapons in July 2017. It has taken them almost two years to proceed to taking concrete steps.

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Iraqi armed factions hit Daesh targets inside Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Iraqi armed factions said Thursday they have launched dozens of missiles targeting Daesh militants holed up in a Syrian village across the border.

The state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces said they fired 50 missiles at targets in Baghouz village, in the last speck of territory held by the extremists.

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