Africa’s Sahel seeks new ways to fight terrorism

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 13, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

Heads of state from West Africa and France will gather in the French town of Pau to find new strategies against jihadists in the Sahel. But resistance to the presence of French troops in the African region is growing.

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Four Turkish soldiers killed in northeast Syria bomb attack: ministry

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 13, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Four Turkish soldiers were killed in a car bomb attack in northeast Syria on Wednesday, the Turkish Defense Ministry said in a statement overnight.

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Iraqi forces seize dozens of explosives, destroy 2 ISIS caves in Kirkuk

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 13, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Iraqi security forces announced on Thursday that they had seized dozens of explosive devices and destroyed two caves and Islamic State sites northwest of the disputed Kirkuk province.

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Airstrikes kill 8 Iran-backed militants near Syria-Iraq border, monitor says

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 13, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Airstrikes in eastern Syria killed eight fighters of the Iran-backed Iraqi militia in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces overnight, a war monitor said Friday.

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Canadian Delegation Heading to Iran over Plane Crash

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi says a 10-member Canadian delegation is coming to Iran in order to deal with the Canadian victims of the Wednesday crash.

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Iranian Gov’t Issues Statement on Ukrainian Plane Crash

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient
The Iranian government issued a statement on the tragic incident of a Ukrainian plane crash near Tehran after it just took off from Mehrabad International Airport on Wednesday morning.

A Boeing 737 plane carrying 180 passengers and crew, mostly Iranians, crashed shortly after takeoff from Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran early Wednesday, leaving no survivors.

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Anti-ISIS Coalition Countries Relocate Troops from Iraq after Iran Tensions

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Several member states of the anti-ISIS coalition announced Tuesday that they would be relocating their troops from Iraq following tensions with Iran over Washington’s killing last week of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

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Iran Fires on U.S. Forces at 2 Bases in Iraq, Calling It ‘Fierce Revenge’

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iraqi officials say the Iranian strikes, involving at least a dozen ballistic missiles, caused no American or Iraqi casualties. President Trump issued an upbeat appraisal.

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The History of Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki: Interview

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki was a Syrian rebel group based in west Aleppo countryside that was first formed towards the end of 2011. It was finally dissolved last year after being routed by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (of which Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki had once been a part). With the defeat of the group, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham seized the group’s strongholds, resources and weapons. More broadly, the defeat of the group allowed Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham to cementeven further its domination over the insurgent-held northwest of Syria based around Idlib and its environs.
To learn more about the history of Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki, I interviewed Sheikh Tawfiq Shihab al-Din, who led the movement from its inception until its dissolution. This interview was conducted on 4 January 2020. Any parenthetical insertions in square brackets are my own.

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What Happens Next with the Tensions Between Iran and the United States?

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran responded to the death of IRGC-QF Major General Qassim Soleimani by launching nearly two dozen ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases where American troops are stationed.

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Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

In the wake of an Iranian ballistic missile attack on air bases which house US forces in Iraq, the UN Secretary-General said on Wednesday that he would “continue his active engagement” to de-escalate tensions and avert full-scale war.

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Zarif: Iran informed Iraqi govt. of missile attack on US bases‎

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iranian Foreign Minister says Iran informed the Iraqi government of its retaliatory attack on US bases, reaffirming Tehran’s respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Arab country.

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Saudi Arabia Sought Dialogue With Iran. Then The U.S.-Iranian Conflict Escalated

Author : Mircea Birca | Friday, January 10, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

The U.S. killing of senior Iranian military commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani left many of America’s allies in the Middle East confused and nervous. That includes Saudi Arabia, the top regional rival of Iran.

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Iran Hits US Bases in Iraq in Retaliation Attacks after US Killing of Soleimani

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iran on Wednesday targeted two US airbases in Iraq, including the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq.

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Iran Expresses Regret over Tehran-Kiev Plane Crash

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi has expressed deep regret over the crash of a Ukrainian airline’s passenger plane in Tehran, which killed a number of Iranian citizens and foreign nationals, especially Ukrainians.

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Iran, Turkey Discuss IRGC Missile Attacks on US Base

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday.

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Esper: U.S. Continues to Deploy, Reposition Troops in Middle East

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The United States continues to deploy and reposition troops throughout the region of Iraq and Iran to bolster U.S. security and force protection and to be prepared for any contingency, Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper said.

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Libya Rebels Say They Seized Key Coastal City

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Magreb

Rebel forces in Libya say they have taken control of Sirte following what media reports describe as a rapid advance on the strategic coastal city.

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Turkey Starts Military Deployment in Libya as International Pressure Rises

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Magreb

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Monday that Turkish forces would do their duty in Libya after being deployed to support the country’s besieged Government of National Accord.

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The Assassination of Qassem Soleimani Institutionalizes Anti-American Sentiment in Iran

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

The Trump administration’s strategic miscalculation in assassinating Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has institutionalized anti-American sentiment in Iran’s domestic politics and among the Iranian public. This has given Iran’s government the upper hand in confronting U.S. strategic goals in the greater Middle East region, consequently challenging America’s global position.

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Hezbollah Brigades official reportedly calls volunteers for suicide bombings

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient
Abu Ali al Askari’s Twitter statement calling for volunteers for suicide operations in Iraq.

Abu Ali al Askari, the security official for Iraq’s Hezbollah Brigades (or Kata’ib Hezbollah, KH), purportedly released a statement earlier today calling for volunteers for suicide bombings against US forces in Iraq.

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Muqtada al Sadr reactivates Mahdi Army, Promised Day Brigade

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient
Muqtada al Sadr’s statement in which he reactivates both the Mahdi Army and the Promised Day Brigade.

In the wake of the U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani and important militia leader Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr has reactivated two of his longstanding militia forces in Iraq.

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Palestinians in Syria: Another Year of Death and Misery

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The world, including the United Nations, Europe and other international human rights and “pro-Palestinian” organizations, have not moved to help the Palestinians of Syria in the past nine years — so, why should this year be any different?

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Turkish Military Contingent Deploys to Libya – Erdogan

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia, Middle Orient

The Libyan National Army (LNA) commander, Khalifa Haftar, announced a “decisive battle” for Tripoli. His opponents, the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), responded by asking Turkey to provide military support, prompting Haftar to declare a general mobilization of his forces to resist what he describes as a foreign invasion.

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A Region on Edge: Mideast Officials Scramble to Anticipate Iranian Retaliation

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran

No one knows where Iran may strike to avenge the killing Friday of its top general in a U.S. drone strike, but few believe Tehran won’t retaliate, and it has plenty of possible targets to pick proxies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen to carry out reprisals, warn analysts.

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Trump Threatens Iranian Cultural Sites

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

U.S President Donald Trump is threatening to hit Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliates for last week’s assassination of its top general Qassem Soleimani.

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Iran announces decision to take fifth step to scale back JCPOA commitments

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran

The Iranian government has issued a statement announcing its decision to take the fifth and final step in reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal it signed with world powers, which is officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

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Turkey’s interference in region encourages terrorism: Dar al-Ifta

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

“Turkey’s interference in the region creates a fertile environment for extremists and terrorist groups,” said the Observatory for Monitoring Takfiri Fatwas and Extremist Ideologies at Dar al-Ifta in a statement on Sunday.

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Hezbollah official says response of ‘axis of resistance’ to Soleimani killing will be decisive: al Mayadeen

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

A Lebanese Hezbollah official said the response of the Iran-backed “axis of resistance” to the killing of Iran’s military commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. air strike will be decisive, al-Mayadeen TV said on Saturday.

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There’s a winner from the US-Iran crisis, and it’s ISIS

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Terrorist group ISIS will likely be the winner as tensions between Washington and Tehran mount after the U.S. killing of Iran’s most powerful military commander, experts say.

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Conflict With Iran Threatens Fight Against ISIS

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

The American assassination of a top Iranian commander may make it impossible for American forces to stay in Iraq. That could ease an ISIS comeback.

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U.S. to designate Iran-backed Iraqi militia as foreign terrorist organization

Author : Mircea Birca | Tuesday, January 7, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

The United States plans to designate an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia as a foreign terrorist organization, the State Department said on Friday, accusing the Asaib Ahl al-Haq group of being a violent proxy of Tehran.

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Iran | Millions of Iranians Take Part in the Funeral of General Soleimani and his Companions

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 6, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia News

Millions of Iranians took part in the massive funeral of Lieutenant-General Qasem Soleimani and his martyred companions in Tehran.

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Images from Rally Commemoration of Soleimani

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 6, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Iranians Bid Farewell to Soleimani in Mashhad

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 6, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

Hundreds of thousands packed the streets of Iranian holy city of Mashhad to pay tribute to assassinated Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his companions, who were killed in a US drone strike in Iraq’s Baghdad early Friday.