Germany bans neo-Nazi group Nordadler

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

This is the third ban of a right-wing extremist group in Germany so far this year. Police raided suspected group members across four federal states.

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Idlib to Tripoli: Turkey moves to dominate eastern Mediterranean

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Turkey

The first time Wael Amr got on a plane was not quite what he had hoped for. Air travel in films led him to imagine how glamorous it would be to leave Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province for an exotic holiday abroad.

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Egyptian court sentences 13 ‘Nusra’ convicts to life over joining terrorist group

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

The Cairo Criminal Court on Sunday handed life imprisonment sentence to 13 people over joining a terrorist group and ordered placing 16 defendants in the case on terror lists.

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Coalition Aircraft Destroys Islamic State Camps in Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

The U.S. military’s Central Command says three known Islamic State hiding places have been destroyed in rural Iraq.

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Intel report warns that far-right extremists may target Washington, D.C.

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The Trump administration is warning law enforcement and public safety officials that a far-right extremist movement known as “boogaloo” may be setting its sights on the nation’s capital.

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Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah calls for closer ties to China

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020

During a June 17 speech eulogizing former Palestinian Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shalah and Hezbollah commander Hajj Abu Ali Farhat, Hassan Nasrallah called for a realignment with China in an attempt to end Lebanon’s dependence on western aid during its economic crises.

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Dump China: Time to End Beijing’s Pernicious Tech Empire

Author : Mircea Birca | Saturday, June 27, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, South East Asia

China’s window of vulnerability… is only a few years at most. So this is the time for the world to act.

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China Calling: Slovaks Wonder What’s Behind Beijing’s Media Offensive

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

While experts debate the scope and aim of Chinese media offensive in Slovakia, surveys show that it is already having an effect on public opinion.

For years, Slovakia was fertile ground for public debates, disinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories believed to be linked to Russia’s propaganda machine.

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Pro-Kurdish Party Starts ‘Justice March’ in Turkey

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Turkey

The People’s Democratic Party has launched what it calls a march for ‘justice and democracy’ in response to President Erdogan’s growing crackdown on his critics.

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Turkey’s Plans for Hagia Sophia Strain Greek Relations

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Balkans, Eurasia, Turkey

Plans to convert the famous 6th-century building in Istanbul back into a mosque, after being a museum since 1935, have further tested relations with Greece – already damaged by over other regional and international disputes.

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Romanian Warning About Russian ‘Security Threat’ Riles Kremlin

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

The Kremlin has accused Bucharest of subservience, plagiarism and betraying its own interests, after a Romanian defence strategy described Russia as a threat to regional stability.

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US and EU Policy on Kosovo is in Disarray

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Balkans, Eurasia

The Trump administration is pushing for a quick deal between Pristina and Belgrade after the European Union failed to restart the dialogue – but the rift between the US and the EU is bad news for Kosovo itself.
While there have rarely been more envoys and special representatives mandated to help solve the Kosovo-Serbia dispute, it is hard to think of a time where there has been so little coordination, political vision and tangible plans to deal with unfinished business in the Western Balkans.

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North Macedonia, Greece: Rewriting History after Prespa

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Balkans, Eurasia

Arguments over statues and the teaching of history may be gripping the UK and US – but they are nothing new to North Macedonia, where they are being settled through diplomacy.

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German neo-Nazi planned politician’s murder ‘for years’

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

A German neo-Nazi went on trial Tuesday for the 2019 murder of a pro-refugee politician, with the court hearing that he allegedly began plotting the killing after the 2016 Islamist truck attack in Nice fuelled his hatred of foreigners.

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Turkey Begins Offensive Against Kurdish Rebels in North Iraq

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Turkey said Wednesday it has airlifted troops into northern Iraq for a cross-border ground operation against Turkey’s Kurdish rebels.

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Tajik Islamic State Recruiter Reportedly ‘Goes Missing’ From Syrian Prison

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

A notorious Islamic State recruiter who has been linked to terrorist attacks in Sweden, Russia, and Tajikistan, has gone missing from a prison in northern Syria, according to people with knowledge of his detention.

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Jihadi bride Shamima Begum who fled east London to join ISIS fights decision to revoke British citizenship

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

ISIS bride Shamima Begum was denied a fair hearing when she was stripped of her British citizenship and refused permission to fly back to the UK to fight her case, the High Court heard today.

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Nationwide protests grip Lebanon as currency tanks

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Anti-government protesters took to the streets in multiple Lebanese urban centers on Thursday, setting up burning barricades and forcing road closures as the country’s currency fell rapidly.

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Hay’at Tahrir al Sham reportedly arrests Uzbek jihadist leader

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Jihadists on social media have reported that a well-known Uzbek commander in Syria was recently arrested by Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS) in Idlib.

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Jihadist group confirms arrest of Uzbek commander

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia, South East Asia

Jabhat Ansar al Din (JaD), a longstanding pro-al Qaeda group in Syria, has confirmed the arrest of Abu Saloh al Uzbeki earlier this week. Uzbeki was the founder and former emir of Hay’at Tahrir al Sham’s Katibat al Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ).

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Iranian proxy in Iraq targets US bases

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Middle Orient

In a recently published video, the Iranian-backed front League of the Revolutionaries (LoR) claimed responsibility for recent attacks including the crash of an American C-130 military cargo plane and several rocket attacks against American-led coalition bases in Iraq.

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U.S. reportedly targets 2 senior al Qaeda figures in airstrike in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Two al Qaeda leaders were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Syria’s Idlib province earlier today, according to jihadists on social media. Pictures of the car carrying them were posted on Telegram and other messaging applications.

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Kurdish Officials Fear Looming US Sanctions on Syria Could Hinder IS Fight

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Looming U.S. legislation that imposes stringent sanctions on the Syrian government has raised concerns among the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with Kurdish officials warning that including northeast Syria region in the sanctions could hinder their fight against the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

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The appeal of ISIS fades among Europeans who returned home from Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Since his release from prison two years ago, the former jihadist once known as Abu Aicha has made an impressive showing of turning his life around. The 27-year-old Belgian who traveled to Syria in 2013 says he rejects the Islamic State and prefers studying to fighting. His advice to other Muslim youths curious about the group: Stay away.

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Taliban denounces ‘deviant beliefs,’ including ‘satanic western and disbelieving ideologies’

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Afghanistan, Eurasia

As Western and Afghan officials cling to the hope that they can make peace with the Taliban and integrate the group into the government, the Taliban continues to display its true colors. In a recent video, the Taliban extolled the virtues of jihad and its Islamic Emirate while denouncing “deviants … who are trained in the poisonous deviant beliefs of atheism, communism, secularism, democracy, and other satanic western and disbelieving ideologies.”

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Russian air defense systems outmatched by Turkish drones in Syria and Libya

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Magreb
The Turkish-backed GNA is unique example of an army that uses drones as an essential tactical unit for close air support and strategy; I don’t mean that the US or Israel doesn’t use them; but the way you see here as a key major PART of the operation; not an addendum #dronewars pic.twitter.com/QxdU7xYVsu
— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) June 6, 2020

Recent conflicts in northwestern Syria and western Libya have showcased the increasing importance of Turkey’s drones and Russian missile defense systems. This has significant ramifications for the wider Middle East because it reveals the unprecedented strategic role drones and air defense are playing across the region.

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Hezbollah Called to Reform Amid Protests, Political Pressure, Possible Sanctions 

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Protests in Beirut in recent days over government corruption and mismanagement quickly escalated into rioting and sectarian violence that included clashes between Shi’ite Hezbollah supporters and other demonstrators. Analysts say there are now renewed calls for the powerful Hezbollah militia, also represented in the government and parliament, to disarm.
      
Analysts say Lebanon may be facing its biggest threat to stability since the end of the country’s 15-year civil war in 1990. A spiraling economic crisis, the coronavirus outbreak, and national protests have raised fears of a new slide into sectarian violence.

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Terrorism won’t be Turkey’s fate, Interior Minister Soylu says

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient, Turkey

Terrorism will soon no longer be a problem in Turkey, as the country has successfully destroyed a large number of them, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said, noting that the number of terrorists has been rapidly falling.

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US Envoy: ISIS still operates in disputed territories

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – Amb. James Jeffrey, US Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and Special Representative for Syria Engagement, briefed journalists on Friday on the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition, which was held the day before.

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Lebanese protesters call for Hezbollah disarmament, clashes ensue

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

As anti-government protests are renewed in Lebanon amidst a continuing economic crisis, some protesters called for the disarmament of the Hezbollah terrorist group, leading to violent clashes with Hezbollah supporters.

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Hezbollah dragging Lebanon closer to new civil war

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia, Middle Orient

Activists in Lebanon called on citizens to take to the streets at the weekend and finish the mission they started on Oct. 17 last year. The manifesto of the “October Meeting” — a more or less unitary body representing the protesters — highlighted three “nos.” No to a government that behaves like a farm, no to a state that acts like the politicians’ private company, and no to a state that is used as plunder by the politicians. The protesters were faced by Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal Movement. They felt threatened as the demands of the protesters could endanger their grip on the state. The confrontation resulted in armed clashes. The clashes died down, but if this trend is not contained it might threaten another civil war.

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Jordan Thwarts Terrorist Plot to Target Security Site

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

Trials at the Jordanian State Security Court have revealed that a third terrorist plot targeting a security site in Irbid governorate has been thwarted.

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Do Not Belittle Protesters In U.S By Calling Their Struggle A “Color Revolution”!

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

For almost a decade, I have been covering “Color Revolutions” in virtually all parts of the world. While making a film for TeleSur, I was facing Egyptian tanks, risking my life under sniper fire, getting roughed-up in the middle of clashes of the supporters of al-Sisi and Morsi.

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Turkey, the Gulf, and Libya: The economic impact of a growing geopolitical divide

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Africa, Eurasia

Turkish support for the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) in the Libyan civil war has added a new dimension to relations between Turkey and Gulf countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. But what impact have the growing geopolitical divides and diplomatic disagreements had on Turkish-Emirati and Turkish-Saudi economic relations?

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Troubled Waters: the Changing Security Environment in the Black Sea

Author : Mircea Birca | Sunday, June 21, 2020
Posted in category Eurasia

NATO member states and partners in the Black Sea have entered a new strategic adaptation phase after the annexation of Crimea and the subsequent focus on territorial defense. The last six years have been a challenge in strategic adaptation to new threats and challenges in the Black Sea, an increasingly militarized and volatile security environment. But success in adaptation has been limited by differing threat perceptions among member states, as well as by difficulties integrating Western defense planning. The Middle East Institute (MEI) Frontier Europe Initiative is pleased to host a panel of experts to discuss the challenges facing the Black Sea countries in adapting to the new security environment.

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