Tuesday, March 15, 2016

784 Time for Sanctions against Saudi Arabia & Qatar, for Sponsoring Islamicist Terrorism


Newsletter published on 18 December 2015

(1) US threatens to bypass Baghdad and arm Sunnis against IS
(2) Iraqi Government refuses foreign troops on the ground
(3) Saudis' "Islamic alliance against terror" is a Sunni army to fight
Shiites (Iran, Iraq, Syria)
(4) Israel wants US to back a Sunni army invasion of Iraq/Syria
(5) Israel testing ways of defeating Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system
(6) Raqqa's Rockefellers: How Islamic State oil flows to Israel
(7) Jews at US Treasury sanction Syria over ISIS oil, but turn blind eye
to Turkey & Israel
(8) Wikileaks Cable from Hillary on Saudis financing Terrorists
(9) Time for Sanctions against Saudi Arabia, for Sponsoring Islamicist
Terrorism
(10) Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It
(11) Time to list Qatar as a Sponsor of Terrorism; apply Sanctions
against it
(12) Islamic destruction of Buddhas & artefacts in Iraq goes back to 10
Commandments, ban on idol-worship
(13) As Syria's Marxist left and Islamic right fell out, Arab Spring
turned into Islamicist Winter
(14) Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian ISIS camps –
Turkish MP

(1) US threatens to bypass Baghdad and arm Sunnis against IS

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/12/us-threat-bypass-baghdad-arm-sunnis-fight-isis.html

The US has put Baghdad on notice that it could lose military support if
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi doesn't do more to integrate Sunnis.

Congress and the Obama administration are demanding that Prime Minister
Haider al-Abadi do more to combat sectarianism.

Author Julian Pecquet

Posted December 1, 2015

Lawmakers of both parties have run out of patience with Shiite
sectarianism that is seen as a major obstacle preventing more Sunni
tribes from turning against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS).
Their frustration boiled over at a Dec. 1 hearing of the House Armed
Services panel during which legislators demanded that the Obama
administration turn the screws on Baghdad.

"Are we ... sitting side-by-side with them and being very clear in our
communication that the funding that they're getting by the will of the
American taxpayer is at risk and they will lose it if they don't
progress?" asked Rep. Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., a veteran of four combat
tours in Iraq. "That's the kind of leverage I'm talking about."

The top civilian and military defense officials both concurred.

"That's the kind of leverage I'm talking about, too," Defense Secretary
Ash Carter answered. "And the answer is yes."

And the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, said
he wouldn't hesitate to recommend that the US directly support other
actors on the ground if working with Abadi doesn't pan out. Many Sunnis
have been reluctant to fight IS because they feel discriminated against
by the government in Baghdad and threatened by Iran-backed Shiite militias.

"I don't personally have a better idea than to enable the current
government of Iraq to be successful, to provide the kind of stability
and security within which we won't see organizations like [IS]," he
said. "And if at any point in the future ... I believe that assumption —
that we can get there — no longer obtains, then I will recommend a
completely different campaign plan to get after [IS] inside of Iraq."

The comments come amid a renewed lobbying push by Sunni tribal leaders
intent on getting their concerns heard in Washington. They argue that
Iranian influence runs deep in Baghdad and that Abadi's hands are tied.

At least five different groups of Iraqi Sunni leaders have registered to
lobby on behalf of Sunni interests over the past 18 months, including
the nonprofit Peace Ambassadors for Iraq just last week. The nonprofit
is chaired by Sheikh Jamal al-Dhari, who recently told The Washington
Times that Russia has been courting Sunni tribal leaders frustrated by
US admonitions that they work out their concerns with Baghdad.

The Dec. 1 hearing and other recent statements by lawmakers suggest
their message is getting across.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called for the
creation of a 100,000-man strong Sunni Arab and Turkish force during a
visit to Baghdad this past weekend. The issue of Sunni dissatisfaction
has also bled into the presidential race.

"We need to lay the foundation for a second Sunni awakening," Democratic
presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton said in her Nov. 19 Council on
Foreign Relations speech. "We need to put sustained pressure on the
government in Baghdad to get its political house in order, move forward
with national reconciliation, and finally stand up a national guard.
Baghdad needs to accept, even embrace, arming Sunni and Kurdish forces
in the war against [IS]. But if Baghdad won’t do that, the coalition
should do so directly."

And Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a top-tier presidential candidate, has
called for the United States to deploy special operations troops to aid
a ground force of Sunni Arabs.

“It’s the only way to do it," he said Nov. 22. "They have to be defeated
by a ground force and have to be made up primarily of Sunnis."

The committee that grilled Carter and Dunford had previously taken the
lead in authorizing the Obama administration to directly support Kurdish
and Sunni forces. The provision is included in the annual defense bill
that President Barack Obama signed into law last week.

"What is our strategy to get Sunnis in Iraq to be willing to fight
[IS]?" asked the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash.
"What is the concrete, clear plan to make that happen?"

Carter said there were four "streams" through which the US is working
with Baghdad to get more Sunnis into the fight. He indicated frustration
with the progress with at least two of them.

"The first is through the Iraqi security forces themselves, which are
now in sectarian terms about 20% Sunni — that's one of the seeds of this
whole problem from the beginning and the collapse of the Iraqi security
forces," Carter said. "We'd like more."

The second stream, he said, is the Popular Mobilization Units, mostly
militias of Shiite tribal fighters that operate under the umbrella of
the Iraqi Ministry of Interior.

"This is where we have a problem: The Iraqi government has authorized
many more Shia than Sunni [units], Carter said. "We need them to
authorize more Sunni [units] and we are prepared to train them."

He said the elite US-trained Iraqi counterterrorism force and the
Kurdish peshmerga are the other two streams. He also said Sunni police
would also play a crucial role once IS is dislodged from Sunni areas.

"It's not going to work for Shia forces to participate in holding and
governing those," Carter said. "We need Sunni police forces and we're
working on them too, so that when Ramadi is recaptured, when Mosul is
recaptured, the peace can be kept there by people who are local."

Dunford said continued US military aid was contingent upon progress in
those areas. [...]

(2) Iraqi Government refuses foreign troops on the ground
http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/not-need-foreign-ground-troops-iraqi-ground-says-abadi/

We do not need foreign ground troops on the Iraqi ground, says Abadi

By Abdelhak Mamoun -

Dec 2, 2015

(IraqiNews.com) Baghdad –  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on
Tuesday, that Iraq does not need foreign troops on the ground, stressing
that any military operation in Iraq cannot be done without government
approval and coordination with Iraq.

Abadi said in a statement followed by IraqiNews.com, “The Iraqi Special
Forces and Anti-Terrorism Forces play a significant role in the battle
against ISIS,” adding that, “These forces continue to perform
successfully in various combat zones as well as the rest of the combat
formations, which have liberated large areas of the usurped land.”

The statement indicated that “al-Abadi welcomed supporting the Iraqi
forces with weapons, training and consultation, but there is no need for
foreign ground forces on the Iraqi land.”

(3) Saudis' "Islamic alliance against terror" is a Sunni army to fight
Shiites (Iran, Iraq, Syria)

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/12/18/pers-d18.html

Saudi Arabia and the “war on terror”

Bill Van Auken

18 December 2015

Speaking to the media during a visit to the giant Incirlik Air Base in
Turkey Tuesday, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter praised the Saudi
monarchy for proclaiming a new “Islamic alliance” against terrorism.

“We are happy with the alliance formed by Saudi Arabia and looking
forward for the steps being taken by them against terrorism,” Carter
declared.

No sooner was the Saudi announcement made, however, than a number of
countries raised questions about their inclusion, without their
knowledge, in the so-called alliance. Three predominantly Muslim
countries—Iraq, Syria and Iran—were excluded, leading to charges that
the Saudi monarchy is really only patching together a Sunni Muslim
alliance to prosecute its sectarian crusade against the region’s Shia
population.

A more fundamental question is what does the Saudi regime mean by
“terrorism”? Clearly, it is not referring to the various Al Qaeda-linked
groups fighting in Syria, all of which get substantial funding as well
as large numbers of fighters and their religious-ideological inspiration
from the Wahhabist Saudi kingdom.

This fact was confirmed by then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in
a classified 2009 cable declaring that “donors in Saudi Arabia
constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist
groups worldwide.”

This was further acknowledged by Vice President Joe Biden in a speech
delivered at Harvard last year. He admitted that the Saudi regime, along
with other US client despots in the Middle East, had “poured hundreds of
millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone
who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being
supplied were al-Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of
jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”

Of course what both Clinton and Biden sought to conceal was that this
operation was fully coordinated by the CIA out of a station in southern
Turkey. Washington had armed and funded similar groups in the US-NATO
war for regime change in Libya, and well before that had worked closely
with the Saudis in fomenting the Islamist war against the Soviet-backed
regime in Afghanistan, which gave rise to Al Qaeda.

So what does the Saudi monarchy view as terrorism? The answer can be
found in its prison cells, where three young men, all arrested when they
were minors, are awaiting death by beheading for the “crime” of
participating in peaceful protests against the relentless repression of
the US-backed regime in Riyadh.

They are among 52 similar “terrorists” whose mass execution is expected
at any time. Two of them—Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was 17 at the time of
his arrest, and Abdullah al-Zaher, who was 15—in addition to being
sentenced to die by decapitation with a sword, are to be crucified,
their headless bodies mounted on crosses in a public space as an example
to anyone thinking of defying the House of Saud.

What the Saudi monarchy considers “terrorism,” moreover, was codified
into a new law last year. It establishes that terrorism includes “any
act” intended to, among other things, “insult the reputation of the
state,” “harm public order,” or “shake the security of society.”

Other acts defined as “terrorism” include: “Calling for atheist thought
in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic
religion on which this country is based,” as well as “Contact or
correspondence with any groups, currents [of thought], or individuals
hostile to the kingdom.”

The parents of Abdullah al-Zaher, now 19, have come forward to plead for
his life. They describe how he was tortured and beaten with iron rods
after his arrest until he signed a false confession that he was not even
allowed to read.

The Saudi regime has already executed at least 151 people this year, the
highest per capita rate of capital punishment of any country in the
world. [...]

(4) Israel wants US to back a Sunni army invasion of Iraq/Syria
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2015 18:40:19 +0530 Subject: [shamireaders] New
uncertainty for Israel

http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2015/12/11/israels-syrian-blues/

Israel’s Syrian blues

At the Brookings Institution in Washington last Friday, Israeli Defence
Minister Moshe Ya’alon gave an expose of his country’s perspectives on
the conflict in Syria. Ya’alon is a former chief of staff of Israeli
armed forces. His extensive remarks betrayed Israel’s acute dilemma on
the policy front following the traumatic defeat its diplomacy suffered
in attempting to forestall the Iran nuclear deal. Israel is finding it
hard to turn a new leaf, while other protagonists in the region and
indeed the Obama administration are moving on. Ya’alon made the
following points:

Russia is playing a “more significant role” than the US in the Syrian
conflict at present. This is not to Israel’s liking, because Russia
supports the ‘Shia axis’, which includes Iran, Syria (Assad regime),
Hezbollah, Houthis in Yemen and other Shia elements in Bahrain and Saudi
Arabia, etc.

Israel disfavors the Syrian peace process devolving upon the
UN-sponsored International Syria Support Group and the Vienna talks
because it recognizes Iran’s key role in reaching any settlement, which
can only lead to the consolidation of Iran’s ‘hegemony’ in Syria.

The geopolitics of the Middle East in general and in Syria are centred
around three groupings:
a) The “very solid” Shia axis which at present enjoys the support of
Russia, is anathema to Israel;
b) The Muslim Brotherhood axis which comprises Turkey, Qatar, and Gaza
(Hamas), which is “not on the same page” as with the US or Israel; and,
c) The Sunni Arab camp, “the most significant camp” in the region, which
lacks leadership, but brings together Israel with Saudi Arabia and other
GCC states, Egypt, Jordan, and Morocco.

The US should “orchestrate” and lead the Sunni Arab camp; in Syria, this
means defeating Daesh with the foot soldiers provided by Sunni Arabs and
Kurds, whom, therefore, Washington should ‘empower, support, finance and
arm’. The US should have done this from the very beginning, but it is
not yet “a lost cause. There is still a chance to do it”.

One of the dangerous implications of the Iran deal is that Tehran is
increasingly perceived as “a part of the solution” in Middle East’s hot
spots, whereas, a resurgent Iran is a more confident Iran which is all
set on the path to become a big military power. The S-300 missiles
supplied by Russia recently “are going to be operational within a couple
of weeks.” [...]

On the other hand, the S-300 missiles supplied by Russia recently are
becoming operational within the coming week or so and they will
considerably strengthen Iran’s air defence system. [...]

The crunch time comes if and when the military operations intensify in
the southern regions of Syria bordering the Golan Heights. The
instability in Syria is useful for Israel to disrupt the supply lines
for Hezbollah. But the new reality could be a strong Iranian-Hezbollah
presence in southern Syria in the approaches to the Golan Heights
enjoying Russian air cover. If that happens, Israel’s illegal annexation
of the Golan Heights could become a theatre for the forces of the
‘resistance’. Read Ya’alon’s extensive remarks here.

(5) Israel testing ways of defeating Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/russia/idUSKBN0TN10G20151204

Israel trained against Russian-made air defense system in Greece: sources

By Dan Williams and Karolina Tagaris

Fri Dec 4, 2015 | 11:18 AM EST

JERUSALEM/ATHENS (Reuters) - Israel has quietly tested ways of defeating
an advanced air-defence system that Russia has deployed in the Middle
East and that could limit Israel's ability to strike in Syria or Iran,
military and diplomatic sources said.

The sources said a Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system, sold to Cyprus 18
years ago but now located on the Greek island of Crete, had been
activated during joint drills between the Greek and Israeli air forces
in April-May this year.

The activation allowed Israel's warplanes to test how the S-300's
lock-on system works, gathering data on its powerful tracking radar and
how it might be blinded or bluffed.

One defense source in the region said Greece had done so at the request
of the United States, Israel’s chief ally, on at least one occasion in
the past year. It was unclear whether Israel had shared its findings
with its allies.

"Part of the maneuvers involved pitting Israeli jets against Greek
anti-aircraft systems," one source said. Two other sources said the
Crete S-300 was among the systems turned on.

The sources spoke to Reuters on condition they not be identified by name
or nationality. The Greek and Israeli militaries declined to confirm or
deny any use of the S-300 system during drills held in the Eastern
Mediterranean last April-May or similar exercises in 2012 and 2010.

A senior Greek Defence Ministry official, asked whether the system was
operating during Greek-Israeli military exercises, said: "At this moment
the S-300 is not in operation." He said Athens' general policy was not
to permit any other country to test the system's abilities.

The S-300, first deployed at the height of the Cold War in 1979, can
engage multiple aircraft and ballistic missiles up to 300 km (186 miles)
away. Israel is concerned by Russia's plan to supply S-300s to Iran.

Israel says Egypt, with which it has a cold peace, has bought a variant
of the system. The Israelis also worry about Moscow's announcement last
month that it will deploy the S-300 or the kindred system S-400 from its
own arsenal in Syria, in response to Turkey's shooting down of a Russian
jet there.

Israel has bombed Syrian targets on occasion and is loath to run up
against the Russians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met
President Vladimir Putin at least twice in recent weeks to discuss
coordination and try to avoid accidents.

LEARNING FROM FRIENDS

Igor Sutyagin, a Russian military expert with the Royal United Services
Institute in London, said that for Israel training against the Crete
S-300 would be "precisely what you need" to study the system's radar
frequency, pattern and reach.

"If you know all these details then you are perfectly fitted to
replicate this same signal, which means you have a chance to imitate, to
sort of bluff-echo" the S-300, he said.

"You can brutally jam it," he said. "You can take the signal and return
it, and then you send another ping which imitates the same signal. So
instead of one target, the radar operator sees three, five or 10 and he
does not know where to fire."

Tal Inbar, senior scholar for the Fisher Institute for Air and Space
Strategic Studies near Tel Aviv, said S-300s in areas where Israel
operates or might want to operate would challenge its advanced,
U.S.-backed military - but not insuperably so.

"In general, any system can be defeated this way or that. Some are
harder and some are easier," he said. "The rule of thumb is that if your
friends have a system that you are interested in, you can learn all
kinds of things about it."

The Crete S-300 was originally bought by Cyprus in 1997, triggering a
vitriolic response from Turkey, its decades-old adversary. Under
pressure from Britain and NATO, then Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides
agreed to store the S-300 on Crete. A 2007 Greek-Cypriot arms swap
formally transferred it to Athens.

Greece has experienced a boom in ties with Israel since Israel's
once-strong alliance with Turkey broke down in 2010.

After this year's joint drill, Israel's official air force journal said
maneuvers had involved all of Greece's air combat arm and "other
apparatuses". It offered no details, but quoted an Israeli air force
captain as saying the exercise had fostered "flexibility in thinking and
dealing with the unknown".

(Additional reporting by Michele Kambas in Nicosia and Renee Maltezou in
Athens; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Luke Baker and Janet McBride)

(6) Raqqa's Rockefellers: How Islamic State oil flows to Israel

http://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/features/2015/11/26/raqqas-rockefellers-how-islamic-state-oil-flows-to-israel/

By: Al-Araby al-Jadeed staff

26 November, 2015

Oil produced by the Islamic State group finances its bloodlust. But how
is it extracted, transported and sold? Who is buying it, and how does it
reach Israel?

Oil produced from fields under the control of the Islamic State group is
at the heart of a new investigation by al-Araby al-Jadeed. The black
gold is extracted, transported and sold, providing the armed group with
a vital financial lifeline.

But who buys it? Who finances the murderous brutality that has taken
over swathes of Iraq and Syria? How does it get from the ground to the
petrol tank, and who profits along the way?

The Islamic State group uses millions of dollars in oil revenues to
expand and manage vast areas under its control, home to around five
million civilians.

IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and
Turkish smuggling networks and mafias, who label it and sell it on as
barrels from the Kurdistan Regional Government.

It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via
knowing or unknowing middlemen, according to al-Araby's investigation.

The Islamic State group has told al-Araby that it did not intentionally
sell oil to Israel, blaming agents along the route to international markets.

Oil fields

All around IS-controlled oil fields in northern Iraq and eastern Syria,
there are signs that read: "Photography is strictly forbidden -
violators risk their safety." They have been signed in the name of the
IS group.

These oil fields are in production between seven and nine hours a day,
from sunset to sunrise, while production is mostly supervised by the
Iraqi workers and engineers who had previously been running operations,
kept on in their jobs by IS after it captured the territory.

IS is heavily dependent on its oil revenues. Its other income, such as
from donations and kidnap ransoms has slowly dwindled. Workers in IS oil
fields and their families are well looked after, because they are very
important to the group's financial survival.

IS oil extraction capacity developed further in 2015 when it obtained
hydraulic machines and electric pumps after taking control of the Allas
and Ajeel oil fields near the Iraqi city of Tikrit.

The group also seized the equipment of a small Asian oil company that
was developing an oil field close to the Iraqi city of Mosul before IS
overran the area last June.

IS oil production in Syria is focused on the Conoco and al-Taim oil
fields, west and northwest of Deir Ezzor, while in Iraq the group uses
al-Najma and al-Qayara fields near Mosul. A number of smaller fields in
both Iraq and Syria are used by the group for local energy needs.

According to estimates based on the number of oil tankers that leave
Iraq, in addition to al-Araby's sources in the Turkish town of Sirnak on
the border with Iraq, through which smuggled oil transits, IS is
producing an average of 30,000 barrels a day from the Iraqi and Syrian
oil fields it controls.

The export trek

Al-Araby has obtained information about how IS smuggles oil from a
colonel in the Iraqi Intelligence Services who we are keeping anonymous
for his security.

The information was verified by Kurdish security officials, employees at
the Ibrahim Khalil border crossing between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan,
and an official at one of three oil companies that deal in IS-smuggled oil.

The Iraqi colonel, who along with US investigators is working on a way
to stop terrorist finance streams, told al-Araby about the stages that
the smuggled oil goes through from the points of extraction in Iraqi oil
fields to its destination - notably including the port of Ashdod, Israel.

"After the oil is extracted and loaded, the oil tankers leave Nineveh
province and head north to the city of Zakho, 88km north of Mosul," the
colonel said. Zakho is a Kurdish city in Iraqi Kurdistan, right on the
border with Turkey.

"After IS oil lorries arrive in Zakho - normally 70 to 100 of them at a
time - they are met by oil smuggling mafias, a mix of Syrian and Iraqi
Kurds, in addition to some Turks and Iranians," the colonel continued.

"The person in charge of the oil shipment sells the oil to the highest
bidder," the colonel added. Competition between organised gangs has
reached fever pitch, and the assassination of mafia leaders has become
commonplace.

The highest bidder pays between 10 and 25 percent of the oil's value in
cash - US dollars - and the remainder is paid later, according to the
colonel.

The drivers hand over their vehicles to other drivers who carry permits
and papers to cross the border into Turkey with the shipment, the Iraqi
intelligence officer said. The original drivers are given empty lorries
to drive back to IS-controlled areas.

According to the colonel, these transactions usually take place in a
variety of locations on the outskirts of Zakho. The locations are agreed
by phone.

Before crossing any borders, the mafias transfer the crude oil to
privately owned rudimentary refineries, where the oil is heated and
again loaded onto lorries to transfer them across the Ibrahim Khalil
border crossing into Turkey.

The rudimentary refining, according to the colonel, is performed because
Turkish authorities do not allow crude oil to cross the border if it is
not licensed by the Iraqi government.

The initial refining stage is conducted to obtain documents that would
pass the oil off as oil by-products, which are allowed through the border.

According to the intelligence officer, border officials receive large
bribes from local Iraqi smuggling gangs and privately owned refineries.

Once in Turkey, the lorries continue to the town of Silopi, where the
oil is delivered to a person who goes by the aliases of Dr Farid, Hajji
Farid and Uncle Farid.

Uncle Farid is an Israeli-Greek dual national in his fifties. He is
usually accompanied by two strong-built men in a black Jeep Cherokee.
Because of the risk involved in taking a photo of Uncle Farid, a
representative drawing was made of him.

Once inside Turkey, IS oil is indistinguishable from oil sold by the
Kurdistan Regional Government, as both are sold as "illegal", "source
unknown" or "unlicensed" oil.

The companies that buy the KRG oil also buy IS-smuggled oil, according
to the colonel.

The route to Israel

After paying drivers, middlemen and bribes, IS' profit is $15 to $18 a
barrel. The group currently makes $19 million on average each month,
according to the intelligence officer.

Uncle Farid owns a licensed import-export business that he uses to
broker deals between the smuggling mafias that buy IS oil and the three
oil companies that export the oil to Israel.

Al-Araby has the names of these companies and details of their illegal
trades. One of these companies is also supported by a very high-profile
Western official.

The companies compete to buy the smuggled oil and then transfer it to
Israel through the Turkish ports of Mersin, Dortyol and Ceyhan,
according to the colonel.

Al-Araby has discovered several brokers who work in the same business as
Uncle Farid - but he remains the most influential and effective broker
when it comes to marketing smuggled oil.

A paper written by marine engineers George Kioukstsolou and Dr Alec D
Coutroubis at the University of Greenwich tracked the oil trade through
Ceyhan port, and found some correlation between IS military successes
and spikes in the oil output at the port.

In August, the Financial Times reported that Israel obtained up to 75
percent of its oil supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan. More than a third of
such exports go through the port of Ceyhan.

Kioukstsolou told al-Araby al-Jadeed that this suggests corruption by
middlemen and those at the lower end of the trade hierarchy - rather
than institutional abuse by multinational businesses or governments.

According to a European official at an international oil company who met
with al-Araby in a Gulf capital, Israel refines the oil only "once or
twice" because it does not have advanced refineries. It exports the oil
to Mediterranean countries - where the oil "gains a semi-legitimate
status" - for $30 to $35 a barrel.

"The oil is sold within a day or two to a number of private companies,
while the majority goes to an Italian refinery owned by one of the
largest shareholders in an Italian football club [name removed] where
the oil is refined and used locally," added the European oil official.

"Israel has in one way or another become the main marketer of IS oil.
Without them, most IS-produced oil would have remained going between
Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Even the three companies would not receive the
oil if they did not have a buyer in Israel," said the industry official.

According to him, most countries avoid dealing in this type of smuggled
oil, despite its alluring price, due to legal implications and the war
against the Islamic State group.

Delivery and payment

Al-Araby has discovered that IS uses a variety of ways to receive
payments for its smuggled oil - in a manner similar to other
international criminal networks.

First, IS receives a cash payment worth 10 to 25 percent of the oil's
value upon sale to the criminal gangs operating around the Turkish border.

Second, payments from oil trading companies are deposited in a private
Turkish bank account belonging to an anonymous Iraqi person, through
someone such as Uncle Farid, and then transferred to Mosul and Raqqa,
laundered through a number of currency exchange companies.

Third, oil payments are used to buy cars that are exported to Iraq,
where they are sold by IS operatives in Baghdad and southern cities, and
the funds transferred internally to the IS treasury.

IS responds

Hours before this investigation report was concluded, al-Araby was able
to talk via Skype to someone close to IS in the self-acclaimed capital
of the "caliphate," Raqqa, in Syria.

"To be fair, the [IS] organisation sells oil from caliphate territories
but does not aim to sell it to Israel or any other country," he said.
"It produces and sells it via mediators, then companies, who decide whom
to sell it to."

(7) Jews at US Treasury sanction Syria over ISIS oil, but turn blind eye
to Turkey & Israel


http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=1082

Jewmerica Sanctions Syria (Again!)

By Brother Nathanael Kapner

November 27, 2015 ©

Accusing Syria of buying oil from ISIS, Adam Szubin—a JEW, of
course—acting as US Treasury’s ‘Secretary for Terrorism and Financial
Intelligence,’ imposed sanctions on Syrian and Russian businessman he
claims are middlemen of the trade.

The individuals and entities listed by Szubin will have their US assets
frozen and barred from doing business with US companies or individuals.

Among those blacklisted are Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, a long-serving president
of the World Chess Federation, and George Haswani, a Syrian national,
and his company, Hesco Engineering and Construction.

Szubin claims that Haswani serves as a middleman for oil purchases by
the Syrian regime from ISIS, accusing him of operating “in areas
controlled by ISIS.”

How low can US Treasury Jews go? As low as hell of which they are citizens.

How about slapping sanctions on the big fish in Turkey and Israel?

FIRST OF ALL it is NOT ISIS’ oil. The oil belongs to the Syrian people.

ISIS captured most of Syria’s oil fields in central and eastern Syria,
having seized the country’s last oil field in September. (The fields
don’t personally belong to Assad.)

If any of US Treasury’s accusations were true, Assad is in the
unfortunate position of having to deal somehow with the glorified ISIS
mafia extortioners for Syria’s own oil resources in order to keep
military and civilian energy needs running.

The Syrian Minister of Petroleum said the allegations were untrue and
condemned the sides which have facilitated stealing and marketing the
Syrian oil.

He stressed that those sides are the same countries that made marketing
this stolen oil legitimate by Resolution 186 dated April 22, 2013 which
was issued by the European Union.

Contrary to Jew Szubin’s sanctions against a Syrian and Russian
businessman, the biggest conduit of ISIS crude are independent truckers,
who either sell the crude off to other middlemen or refine the oil
themselves in makeshift mobile refineries.

The bulk of oil products are sold in local markets directly to the
residents and gas stations, later sold to independent gas stations in
the ISIS mafia caliphate, or into parts of Syria and Iraq that ISIS
doesn’t control, or else smuggled into Turkey where it is sold in local
markets.

So, yes, ISIS gasoline is flowing through the engines of its enemies and
not just Syria, nor is the Syrian government facilitating it.

But don’t confuse the Jews who run US Treasury with facts.

THEN THERE IS TURKEY’S deep links with ISIS, including oil business
conducted by Turkish middlemen and government officials including the
Erdogan family.

There is substantial evidence that Bilal Erdogan, Prime Minister
Erdogan’s son, is directly involved in the black market oil business
with Islamic State.

“IS has big money from selling oil and are protected by the military of
an entire nation (Turkey). One can understand why they are acting so
boldly and blatantly,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin this past
Tuesday.

After Turkey refines the oil, it goes out on the world market, and then
Turkey uses the proceeds to buy and ship weapons to ISIS and other
anti-Assad terrorist bands.

IN ANY CASE, it’s far different to be forced to buy back your own stolen
oil from occupied energy fields for the sake of your own people, and
another for US-enabled Turkey to be in partnership with ISIS and buying
low-priced stolen oil from ISIS to line their own pockets.

The purpose of US bombings of ISIS-occupied oil fields is to destroy
Syria’s energy infrastructure. It’s nothing less than Jewmerica’s
bizarre twist on scorched earth warfare.

And the twisting of our Jew-ruined country continues.

But along comes Putin and he’s foiling Jewmerica’s wicked plans.

(8) Wikileaks Cable from Hillary on Saudis financing Terrorists
https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/09STATE131801_a.html

TERRORIST FINANCE: ACTION REQUEST FOR SENIOR LEVEL ENGAGEMENT ON
TERRORISM FINANCE

Date: 2009 December 30, 13:28 (Wednesday)

  Canonical ID: 09STATE131801_a

  [...] 7. (U) Saudi Arabia background (S/NF)

While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of
terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to
persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from
Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.

Due in part to intense focus by the USG over the last several years,
Saudi Arabia has begun to make important progress on this front and has
responded to terrorist financing concerns raised by the United States
through proactively investigating and detaining financial facilitators
of concern.

Still, donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of
funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide. Continued senior-level USG
engagement is needed to build on initial efforts and encourage the Saudi
government to take more steps to stem the flow of funds from Saudi
Arabia-based sources to terrorists and extremists worldwide. (S/NF)

The USG engages regularly with the Saudi Government on terrorist
financing. The establishment in 2008 of a Treasury attache office
presence in Riyadh contributes to robust interaction and information
sharing on the issue. Despite this presence, however, more needs to be
done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for
al-Qa'ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups, including
Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi
sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan.

In contrast to its increasingly aggressive efforts to disrupt
al-Qa'ida's access to funding from Saudi sources, Riyadh has taken only
limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and
LeT-groups that are also aligned with al-Qa'ida and focused on
undermining stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (S/NF)

Saudi Arabia has enacted important reforms to criminalize terrorist
financing and restrict the overseas flow of funds from Saudi-based
charities. However, these restrictions fail to include &multilateral
organizations8 such as the International Islamic Relief Organization
(IIRO), Muslim World League (MWL) and the World Assembly of Muslim Youth
(WAMY.) Intelligence suggests that these groups continue to send money
overseas and, at times, fund extremism overseas. In 2002, the Saudi
government promised to set up a &Charities Committee8 that would address
this issue, but has yet to do so. The establishment of such a mechanism,
however, is secondary to the primary U.S. goal of obtaining Saudi
acknowledgement of the scope of this problem and a commitment to take
decisive action.

(9) Time for Sanctions against Saudi Arabia, for Sponsoring Islamicist
Terrorism


http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/san-bernardino-isil-saudi-arabia-213421

Saudi Arabia Is Underwriting Terrorism. Let’s Start Making It Pay.

By Charles Kenny

December 07, 2015

We don’t know yet what happened to San Bernardino shooter Tashfeen Malik
during her many years living in Saudi Arabia, or what her U.S.-born
husband and accomplice, Syed Farook, might have experienced during his
two recent visits to the country. But it isn’t news that Saudi Arabia, a
supposed U.S. ally, has a long record of promoting religious extremism
at home and exporting it abroad. According to a Reuters report,
relatives of the Pakistani-born Malik say she and her father appeared to
have become more radicalized during years they spent in Saudi Arabia.
Between 1,500 and 2,500 Saudis have joined the fighting in Iraq and
Syria in part thanks to the close relationship between the ideology of
the Islamic State and of Saudi Wahabism. In the last month alone, Saudi
Arabia has declared its intent to behead 50 people across the country
and has threatened legal action against any who suggest beheading is
“ISIS-like.”

For years since 9/11, U.S. and Western officials have mostly looked the
other way at all this ideological support for extremism: Saudi oil was
just too important to the global economy, even though many of these
Saudi petro-dollars were underwriting repression at home and the growth
of Salafist fundamentalism abroad. But today, two things have changed:
first, the global cost of Saudi-backed extremism has continued to
climb—with the rise of ISIS and Boko Haram, the bombings in Beirut and
Paris and the shootings in San Bernardino.

The other factor that has changed is that there is no longer as much
economic justification for America to kowtow to the Saudi regime. With
Saudi Arabian dominance of the global oil market declining, and the
United States moving itself closer to energy independence—and the deal
to halt Iranian nuclear weapons technology moving ahead, neutralizing
for the moment at least the threat of a Mideast arms race—there has
never been a better time to reconsider America’s close relationship with
the House of Saud. That means moving toward a regime of sanctions
designed to pressure the ruling royal family toward respecting rights at
home and peace abroad. Other major nations appear to be recognizing the
same thing: “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of
looking away is over,” Sigmar Gabriel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
deputy, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.

It’s long past time, in other words, to make Saudi Arabia pay for its
ideological support of extremism. The United States should be pressuring
Saudi Arabia to reform and—if necessary—move on to targeted sanctions
modeled on those the United States has applied to Russia, Zimbabwe and
Venezuela. Such sanctions block the sale or transfer of money, goods or
services owned by specifically named individuals, and prevent those
named from entering the United States.

Saudi Arabia, of course, denies that it is involved in underwriting
extremism; it maintains, on the contrary, that it is part of the
coalition against Islamic State and it has been a victim of extremist
terror attacks. But the record of Saudi Arabia’s global support for
extremists suggests it should be on the shortlist for inclusion on the
State Sponsors of Terrorism list, at the least. Both the government and
individuals within the country have been a major source of support for
international terror groups before and since 2001—when most of the 9/11
bombers came from Saudi Arabia. In 2012, the Saudi ambassador to
Pakistan had multiple high-level contacts with the Haqqani network,
which was behind a 2011 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. In 2009,
then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Saudi donors were the
“most significant source of foreign funding to Sunni terrorist groups
worldwide,” and that Al Qaeda and the Taliban “probably raised millions
of dollars” in the country every year.

This support for radicalism abroad should come as little surprise given
that Islamic State is an ideological cousin of Saudi Arabia’s own
state-sponsored extremist Wahhabi sect—which the country has spent more
than $10 billion to promote worldwide through charitable organizations
like the World Assembly of Muslim Youth. The country will continue to
export extremism as long as it practices the same policies at home.

In fact, the country’s domestic human rights abuses are enough reason to
impose sanctions alone. Venezuela is under U.S. sanctions at the moment
for “erosion of human rights guarantees, persecution of political
opponents, curtailment of press freedoms, use of violence and human
rights violations.” It might be shorter to list the human rights Saudi
Arabia upholds than those it abuses. To quote the U.S. State Department
Human Rights Report, Saudi “citizens lack ... the right and legal means
to change their government” while there are “pervasive restrictions on
universal rights such as freedom of expression, including on the
internet, and freedom of assembly, association, movement, and religion;
and a lack of equal rights for women, children, and noncitizen
workers... torture and other abuses... [v]iolence against women,
trafficking in persons, and discrimination based on gender, religion,
sect, race, and ethnicity.”

Beyond the floggings and beheadings meted out to those who dare suggest
reform, Saudi Arabia’s record on women is a sick form of gender
apartheid. They are banned from obtaining a passport, marrying,
traveling or going to college without the approval of their husband or
other male guardian. None may drive and they are also banned from most
jobs. And the treatment of blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10
years in jail and 1,000 lashes for suggesting the country embrace
women’s rights and freedom of thought, demonstrates a determined
commitment to curtail press freedom. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is sanctioned
because certain persons have been “undermining democratic institutions
or processes.” It would be hard to do that in Saudi Arabia, but only
because there is so little to undermine. ***

Yet we haven’t really even started this discussion about Saudi Arabia in
America. Indeed, the United States is still deeply implicated in Saudi
Arabia’s abuses. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research
Institute, the U.S. exported $934 million in arms to Saudi Arabia from
2005 to 2009. From 2010 to 2014, it exported $2.4 billion more. This
month, it approved another billion-dollar shipment. The U.S. provides
training, shares intelligence and gives logistics support to Saudi
Arabia’s military. And President Barack Obama rushed to Riyadh to pay
obeisance to the country’s new king, Salman, early in 2015, only days
after the death of his predecessor, Abdullah.

Many observers still suggest Saudi Arabia and its oil is simply too
important to U.S. interests to countenance a change in policy. But that
is based on a dated view of both the country’s economic power and the
impact of sanctions. Imposing an embargo on Saudi oil exports like the
one imposed against Iran for its nuclear program would surely have a
dramatic effect on global oil prices at least in the short term. But
targeted sanctions would not do that. And, regardless, Saudi Arabia’s
power over global—and in particular U.S.—energy markets is on the wane.

(10) Saudi Arabia, an ISIS That Has Made It
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/21/opinion/saudi-arabia-an-isis-that-has-made-it.html?_r=0

By KAMEL DAOUDNOV. 20, 2015

Black Daesh, white Daesh. The former slits throats, kills, stones, cuts
off hands, destroys humanity’s common heritage and despises archaeology,
women and non-Muslims. The latter is better dressed and neater but does
the same things. The Islamic State; Saudi Arabia. In its struggle
against terrorism, the West wages war on one, but shakes hands with the
other. This is a mechanism of denial, and denial has a price: preserving
the famous strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia at the risk of
forgetting that the kingdom also relies on an alliance with a religious
clergy that produces, legitimizes, spreads, preaches and defends
Wahhabism, the ultra-puritanical form of Islam that Daesh feeds on.

Wahhabism, a messianic radicalism that arose in the 18th century, hopes
to restore a fantasized caliphate centered on a desert, a sacred book,
and two holy sites, Mecca and Medina. Born in massacre and blood, it
manifests itself in a surreal relationship with women, a prohibition
against non-Muslims treading on sacred territory, and ferocious
religious laws. That translates into an obsessive hatred of imagery and
representation and therefore art, but also of the body, nakedness and
freedom. Saudi Arabia is a Daesh that has made it.

The West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia is striking: It salutes the
theocracy as its ally but pretends not to notice that it is the world’s
chief ideological sponsor of Islamist culture. The younger generations
of radicals in the so-called Arab world were not born jihadists. They
were suckled in the bosom of Fatwa Valley, a kind of Islamist Vatican
with a vast industry that produces theologians, religious laws, books,
and aggressive editorial policies and media campaigns.

One might counter: Isn’t Saudi Arabia itself a possible target of Daesh?
Yes, but to focus on that would be to overlook the strength of the ties
between the reigning family and the clergy that accounts for its
stability — and also, increasingly, for its precariousness. The Saudi
royals are caught in a perfect trap: Weakened by succession laws that
encourage turnover, they cling to ancestral ties between king and
preacher. The Saudi clergy produces Islamism, which both threatens the
country and gives legitimacy to the regime.

One has to live in the Muslim world to understand the immense
transformative influence of religious television channels on society by
accessing its weak links: households, women, rural areas. Islamist
culture is widespread in many countries — Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia,
Libya, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania. There are thousands of Islamist
newspapers and clergies that impose a unitary vision of the world,
tradition and clothing on the public space, on the wording of the
government’s laws and on the rituals of a society they deem to be
contaminated.

It is worth reading certain Islamist newspapers to see their reactions
to the attacks in Paris. The West is cast as a land of “infidels.” The
attacks were the result of the onslaught against Islam. Muslims and
Arabs have become the enemies of the secular and the Jews. The
Palestinian question is invoked along with the rape of Iraq and the
memory of colonial trauma, and packaged into a messianic discourse meant
to seduce the masses. Such talk spreads in the social spaces below,
while up above, political leaders send their condolences to France and
denounce a crime against humanity. This totally schizophrenic situation
parallels the West’s denial regarding Saudi Arabia.

All of which leaves one skeptical of Western democracies’ thunderous
declarations regarding the necessity of fighting terrorism. Their war
can only be myopic, for it targets the effect rather than the cause.
Since ISIS is first and foremost a culture, not a militia, how do you
prevent future generations from turning to jihadism when the influence
of Fatwa Valley and its clerics and its culture and its immense
editorial industry remains intact?

Is curing the disease therefore a simple matter? Hardly. Saudi Arabia
remains an ally of the West in the many chess games playing out in the
Middle East. It is preferred to Iran, that gray Daesh. And there’s the
trap. Denial creates the illusion of equilibrium. Jihadism is denounced
as the scourge of the century but no consideration is given to what
created it or supports it. This may allow saving face, but not saving lives.

Daesh has a mother: the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father:
Saudi Arabia and its religious-industrial complex. Until that point is
understood, battles may be won, but the war will be lost. Jihadists will
be killed, only to be reborn again in future generations and raised on
the same books.

The attacks in Paris have exposed this contradiction again, but as
happened after 9/11, it risks being erased from our analyses and our
consciences.

Kamel Daoud, a columnist for Quotidien d’Oran, is the author of “The
Meursault Investigation.” This essay was translated by John Cullen from
the French.

(11) Time to list Qatar as a Sponsor of Terrorism; apply Sanctions
against it

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/world/middleeast/qatars-support-of-extremists-alienates-allies-near-and-far.html?_r=0

Qatar’s Support of Islamists Alienates Allies Near and Far

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICKSEPT. 7, 2014

CAIRO — Standing at the front of a conference hall in Doha, the visiting
sheikh told his audience of wealthy Qataris that to help the battered
residents of Syria, they should not bother with donations to
humanitarian programs or the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

“Give your money to the ones who will spend it on jihad, not aid,”
implored the sheikh, Hajaj al-Ajmi, recently identified by the United
States government as a fund-raiser for Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

Qatar is a tiny, petroleum-rich Persian Gulf monarchy where the United
States has its largest military base in the Middle East. But for years
it has tacitly consented to open fund-raising by Sheikh Ajmi and others
like him. After his pitch, which he recorded in 2012 and which still
circulates on the Internet, a sportscaster from the government-owned
network, Al Jazeera, lauded him. “Sheikh Ajmi knows best” about helping
Syrians, the sportscaster, Mohamed Sadoun El-Kawary, declared from the
same stage.

Sheikh Ajmi’s career as fund-raiser is one example of how Qatar has for
many years helped support a spectrum of Islamist groups around the
region by providing safe haven, diplomatic mediation, financial aid and,
in certain instances, weapons. Photo

Sheikh Ajmi and at least a half-dozen others identified by the United
States as private fund-raisers for Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise operate
freely in Doha, often speaking at state-owned mosques and even
occasionally appearing on Al Jazeera. The state itself has provided at
least some form of assistance — whether sanctuary, media, money or
weapons — to the Taliban of Afghanistan, Hamas of Gaza, rebels from
Syria, militias in Libya and allies of the Muslim Brotherhood across the
region.

Now, however, Qatar is finding itself under withering attack by an
unlikely alignment of interests, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates, Egypt and Israel, which have all sought to portray it as a
godfather to terrorists everywhere. Some in Washington have accused it
of directly supporting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — an
extremist group so bloodthirsty that Al Qaeda has condemned it — a
charge that Western officials, independent analysts and Arab diplomats
critical of Qatar all call implausible and unsubstantiated.

“That is just disinformation,” said Michael Stephens, a researcher based
in Doha for the Royal United Services Institute, a British research
center. “I am not going to excuse what Qatar has done: It has been
grossly irresponsible when it comes to the Syrian conflict, like many
other countries,” he said. “But to say that Qatar is behind ISIS is just
rhetoric; it is politics getting in the way of things, and it blinds
people to real solutions.”

Propelling the barrage of accusations against Qatar is a regional
contest for power in which competing Persian Gulf monarchies have backed
opposing proxies in contested places like Gaza, Libya and especially
Egypt. In Egypt, Qatar and its Al Jazeera network backed the former
government led by politicians of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other gulf
monarchies long despised the Brotherhood because they saw it as a
well-organized force that could threaten their power at home, and they
backed the military takeover that removed the Islamist president.

Qatar is hardly the only gulf monarchy to allow open fund-raising by
sheikhs that the United States government has linked to Al Qaeda’s
Syrian franchise, the Nusra Front: Sheikh Ajmi and most of the others
are based in Kuwait and readily tap donors in Saudi Arabia, sometimes
even making their pitches on Saudi- and Kuwaiti-owned television
networks. United States Treasury officials have singled out both Qatar
and Kuwait as “permissive jurisdictions” for terrorist fund-raising.

In many cases, several analysts said, Qatar has sought to balance a
wager on the future of political Islam as a force in the region with a
simultaneous desire not to alienate the West. It has turned a blind eye
to private fund-raising for Qaeda-linked groups to buy weapons in Syria,
for example, but it has not provided direct government funding or
weapons. At times, Mr. Stephens and other analysts said, Western
pressure has moved Qatar to at least partly suppress some of the overt
fund-raising.

Qatar openly provides a base for leaders of the Palestinian militant
group Hamas — deemed a terrorist organization by the United States and
Israel — as well as money to help prop up its government in Gaza. But
American and Israeli officials say Qatar has stopped short of providing
the group with weapons, as Iran does.

Qatar has allowed members of the Taliban to open an office and make
their homes in Doha, but as part of deals approved by Washington.

In Libya, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are now backing rival sides
in Libya’s escalating domestic unrest, each with unsavory ties: The
U.A.E. is backing former fighters for Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and
members of his ruling elite, while Qatar is backing a coalition that
includes militant Islamist groups.

During the 2011 uprising in Libya, Qatar supported an Islamist militia
in Benghazi known as Rafallah al-Sehati that had relatively
Western-friendly leaders but extremists in its ranks. The extremists
later broke away to form Ansar al-Shariah, the militant group that
played a role in the death of the American ambassador, J. Christopher
Stevens.

Now Qatar is still backing militias at least loosely allied with the
group in their fight against an anti-Islamist faction backed by the
United Arab Emirates.

But Qatar has also tried to draw lines, according to Western diplomats
and Islamists who have worked with Doha. Since the military ouster of
the Muslim Brotherhood’s government in Egypt, for example, Islamists in
exile say that Qatar has given them sanctuary but has pointedly refused
to provide money to the Brotherhood for fear of further alienating its
gulf neighbors who backed the takeover.

“They try to calibrate,” said one Brotherhood leader, speaking on
condition of anonymity to avoid alienating the Qataris.

Many analysts say it is Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood that
has drawn accusations from other gulf states that have charged that
Qatar is funding terrorism in Syria and elsewhere.

“The big falling-out is over Egypt, not Syria,” said Paul Salem, a
scholar at the Middle East Institute. Now, he said, Saudi Arabia, the
United Arab Emirates and the other gulf states “are putting the squeeze
on Qatar.”

Since the military takeover in Cairo, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates have all withdrawn their ambassadors from Doha. And
Israel, which once praised Qatar as the only gulf state to open
bilateral relations, appears to be capitalizing on the split to pressure
Qatar over its support for Hamas. Israel’s ambassador to the United
Nations, Ron Prosor, recently called Doha “Club Med for terrorists” in
an opinion article in The New York Times.

The United Arab Emirates have retained an American consulting firm,
Camstoll Group, staffed by several former United States Treasury
Department officials. Its public disclosure forms, filed as a registered
foreign agent, showed a pattern of conversations with journalists who
subsequently wrote articles critical of Qatar’s role in terrorist
fund-raising.

“All the gulf intelligence agencies are competing in Syria and everyone
is trying to get the lion’s share of the Syrian revolution,” Sheikh
Shafi al-Ajmi, also recently identified by the United States as a
fund-raiser for Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, said in an interview on the
Saudi-owned Rotana television network last summer.

He openly acknowledged his role buying weapons from the Western-backed
military councils, who sometimes received arms from Qatar. “When the
military councils sell the weapons they receive, guess who buys them?
It’s me,” he said.

He defended the Nusra Front despite its ties to Al Qaeda. “We should not
stop supplying them with weapons, because they are still fighting
Assad,” he said. And he shared a joke with the host about Kuwait’s
well-known role as the hub for Syrian rebel fund-raising. (Both Shafi
al-Ajmi and Hajaj al-Ajmi are Kuwaitis; lawyers for both have said they
raise money only for legitimate Syrian causes.)

Qatar says it opposes all “extremist groups,” including ISIS. “We are
repelled by their views, their violent methods and their ambitions,”
Khalid al-Attiyah, the Qatari foreign minister, said in a recent
statement about the allegations.

In early 2013, when the West stepped up pressure on Persian Gulf states
to crack down on Qaeda-linked fund-raisers, some complained that Qatar
was turning against them. Other sheikhs “were welcomed as heroes at a
conference in Doha and given lots of gifts, all to cut the support for
the Nusra Front and to support the military councils, the pagan
coalition,” Hamid Hamad Hamid Al-Ali, another Kuwaiti-born preacher
designated last month as a terrorist fund-raiser, protested in an
Internet posting in March 2013.

But social media posts and television appearances show that at least a
half-dozen United States-designated terrorist fund-raisers, some
designated years earlier, continued to frequent Doha.

In 2010, an arm of the Qatari government made a donation to help build a
$1.2 million mosque in Yemen for a sheikh, Abdel Wahab al-Humayqani,
designated as a fund-raiser for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
(Qatari Embassy officials and Yemeni government officials both attended
the opening.)

In 2011, Harith al-Dari, an Iraqi sheikh and tribal leader designated as
a terrorist fund-raiser in 2008, appeared on Al Jazeera praying at the
opening of a state-owned mosque in Doha just steps from the crown prince
of Qatar.

“Arab countries won’t let us in to discuss things with them and complain
to them — except one or two,” Sheikh Dari said in a television interview
in January. He spoke on Al Jazeera from Qatar, which was evidently among
the “one or two.”

Reporting was contributed by Mohamad Adam and Merna Thomas from Cairo,
Isabel Kershner from Jerusalem and Fares Akram from Gaza.

A version of this article appears in print on September 8, 2014, on page
A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Qatar’s Support of
Extremists Alienates Allies Near and Far.

(12) Islamic destruction of Buddhas & artefacts in Iraq goes back to 10
Commandments, ban on idol-worship

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/02/02/16788304-why-extreme-islamists-are-intent-on-destroying-cultural-artifacts

Why extreme Islamists are intent on destroying cultural artifacts

Saturday Feb 2, 2013 2:18 AM

{photo} A member of the Taliban stands near the remnants of a Buddha
statue in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, in March 2001. The militia blew up two
ancient Buddhas after a decree from their supreme commander to destroy
all of the country's statues. {end}

By Ian Johnston, Staff Writer, NBC News

LONDON -- They have destroyed the iconic Buddhas of Bamiyan, smashed
down the fabled “end of the world” gate in the ancient city of Timbuktu
and even called for the destruction of Egypt’s ancient pyramids and the
Sphinx.

Extreme Islamist movements across the world have developed a reputation
for the destruction of historic artifacts, monuments and buildings.

This week, officials confirmed that up to 2,000 manuscripts at Mali's
Ahmed Baba Institute had been destroyed or looted during a 10-month
occupation of Timbuktu by Islamist fighters. Some experts have compared
the texts to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

To many in the West, such actions are simply wanton vandalism. However,
experts say the thinking behind it is actually part of a wider tradition
of rooting out idol-worship and superstition found in Christianity and
Judaism as well as Islam.

French and Malian troops have retaken control of Timbuktu from Islamist
rebels. In the ancient city, much damage has been done, thousands of
priceless manuscripts have been destroyed. Tim Ewart reports.

Usama Hasan -- an Islamist for about 20 years, who now works to counter
extremism at the U.K.’s Quilliam Foundation -- said most Muslims had “a
kind of tolerant attitude" and a "live-and-let-live" approach toward
such things.

"Mainstream Muslim thinking tends to tolerate these historic artifacts,"
he said. "Even if they don’t agree with the superstitions, they don’t
want to provoke the community and don’t see it as a big deal."

But Hasan said he understood the mindset of those condemned as cultural
vandals “very well” as he “used to subscribe to it.”

He said that during his Islamist days he would say things like: “Yes,
let’s destroy the pyramids when we take over Egypt.”

"It’s very sad. You lose all that cultural heritage, music, history,
art, ancient books. If they (Islamists) don’t agree with what’s in them
… they seem to think it’s OK to burn these books," he said. "If you’re
not Muslim or don’t subscribe to the same narrow interpretation the
militants do, they will oppose everything you do and do so violently if
they need to."

Hasan said there were a number of stories explaining how the Sphinx lost
its nose, but one account suggests that a religious figure in the 14th
century, Saim El-Dahr, tried to get rid of it.

“There was a common belief that the Sphinx had some power over the level
of the River Nile … he wanted to smash the locals’ superstitious belief
in the power of the Sphinx and tried to destroy it,” he said.

Nov. 8: Until the fundamentalist Taliban government and its al-Qaida
allies destroyed them in 2001, two immensely important Buddha statues
were nestled in the Bamyan valley of Afghanistan. As NBC's Richard Engel
reports, the region is slowly coming back to life as the restoration of
the figures begins.

Similar reasoning was likely behind some actions of Islamists in Mali.
Breaking down the gate in Timbuktu was probably designed to show any
local people who still believed in the fable that it was not actually
true, Hasan said.

But while the Taliban justified the 2001 demolition of the Buddhas of
Bamiyan by saying they were idols, Hasan said there was more to it.

“The Taliban’s destruction of the statues was a political gesture. The
United Nations had sent money to restore these statues at the same time
there were sanctions [against Afghanistan],” he said. “The Taliban said
children were dying because of this … and the U.N. was more concerned
about statues than people.”

Noah Charney, professor of art history at the American University of
Rome, said that the destruction of idols dated back to biblical times,
when warring factions would destroy monuments of rivals that were
thought to have religious power.

NBC's Richard Engel travels to the legendary city of Timbuktu, which is
cradled within one of West Africa's poorest nations.

The Ten Commandments include a proscription against making “any graven
image” of anything in heaven or on Earth, but Charney said this had been
“quickly forgotten” or interpreted to mean only images of “false idols”
by many Christians.

The reason many Ancient Greek and Roman statues of gods are missing
their heads and arms is not faulty construction, Charney said. Instead,
it is often the legacy of the 6th-century Pope Gregory the Great.

“He found the classical statuary to be very beautiful, but there was a
danger people would revert back to their pagan ways” and start
worshiping them, Charney said. By removing the head and arms, which
often held items identifying the deity, the statue “lost all its power
because you don’t know which god it is.”

In seventh century Byzantium, clashes between Christians over the
alleged worship of icons gave rise to the term “iconoclasm,” meaning the
destruction of religious images.

The Reformation in the 16th century also saw many statues in churches
literally defaced by Protestants in Europe. [...]

In November, an ultraconservative religious figure in Egypt, Murgan
Salem al-Gohary, told local television that the Sphinx and pyramids at
Giza should be leveled, an idea that sparked headlines but is shared by
only a tiny minority of Egyptians.

“All Muslims are charged with applying the teachings of Islam to remove
such idols, as we did in Afghanistan when we destroyed the Buddha
statues,” he said.

While he celebrated the destruction of the two 6th-century statues --
one 180 feet, the other 125 feet high -- in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley
in March 2001, world cultural body UNESCO described it as a “tragic” act
that “shook the world.” [...]

(13) As Syria's Marxist left and Islamic right fell out, Arab Spring
turned into Islamicist Winter


http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-dirty-war-on-syria-bashar-al-assad-and-political-reform/5492661

America’s “Dirty War on Syria”: Bashar al Assad and Political Reform

By Prof. Tim Anderson

Global Research, December 04, 2015

[...] A mild mannered eye doctor, with part of his training in Britain,
Bashar al Assad was effectively conscripted to the Presidency by the
Ba’ath Party after the death of his father Hafez, in 2000. He was
expected on the one hand to maintain his father’s pluralist and
nationalist legacy, yet on the other hand develop important elements of
political and economic reform. President Hafez al Assad had brought
three decades of internal stability to Syria, after the turmoil of the
1960s. This allowed important social advances.

Social divisions were smoothed through strong pressures to identify as
Syrian, without regard for religion or community. There were substantial
improvements in education and health, including universal vaccination
and improved literacy for women. Between 1970 and 2010 infant mortality
fell from 132 to 14 (per 1,000), while maternal mortality fell from 482
to 45 (per 100,000). These were particularly good outcomes for a country
with very modest levels of GDP per capita (Sen, Al-Faisal and Al-Saleh
2012: 196). Electricity supply to rural areas rose from 2% in 1963 to
95% in 1992 (Hinnebusch 2012: 2). Traditions of social pluralism
combined with advances in education drove the human development of the
country well ahead of many of the more wealthy states in the region.

Nevertheless, while the system built by Hafez al Assad was socially
inclusive it also remained an authoritarian one-party system,
conditioned by war with Israel and periodic violent insurrection by the
Muslim Brotherhood. US intelligence observed that the crushing of the
Muslim Brotherhood’s insurrections in the early 1980s was welcomed by
most Syrians (DIA 1982, vii). Yet, after that, criticism of the
government was viewed with great suspicion. Sectarian groups were
banned, as was the acceptance of foreign funds for political purposes.
In that climate some opposition figures said that Syrians felt helpless,
and ‘did not know how to … take initiative or discuss and develop their
ideas’ (Wikas 2007: 6). The feared secret police (mukhabarat) were ever
vigilant for Zionist spies and new Muslim Brotherhood conspiracies, but
this meant they also harassed a wider range of government critics (Seale
1988: 335). From the secular opposition side, the Syrian Social
Nationalist Party was unhappy with the failed compromise left by Hafez
al Assad, by which the constitution required that the President be a
Muslim (al Akhbar, 22 Feb 2012). On top of this, there was resentment at
the corruption built on cronyism through Ba’ath Party networks. Bashar
faced all this when he came to the top job. [...]

The October 2005 gathering which created the ‘Damascus Declaration’,
pressing for democratic reform, is said to have been ‘the largest
opposition gathering in the history of Ba’ath Party rule’, since 1963.
It included Islamists, liberals, Marxists as well as Arab and Kurdish
nationalists (Rasas 2013). It cited principles of pluralism,
non-violence, opposition unity and democratic change (Ulutas 2011: 90).

The statement began with the assertion that Ba’athist rule had
disempowered people, claiming that ‘the authorities’ monopoly of
everything for more than 30 years has established an authoritarian,
totalitarian and cliquish regime that has led to a lack of [interest in]
politics in society, with people losing interest in public affairs’. The
Declaration called for ‘establishment of a democratic national regime …
peaceful, gradual, founded on accord and based on dialogue and
recognition of the other.’

It shunned violence and exclusion, gave qualified support for Islam as
‘the most prominent cultural component in the life of the nation’ and
rejected the idea of a one-party state. Emergency law, martial law and
special courts had to be abolished, with a ‘strengthen[ing] of the
national army’ while keeping it ‘outside the framework of political
conflict and the democratic game’. Popular organisations, trade unions
and other bodies had to be liberated ‘from the custodianship of the
state and from [Ba’athist] party and security hegemony’. It was a mostly
secular statement. The new system should ‘emphasize Syria’s affiliation
to the Arab Order’ with a view to Arab unity. There was a ‘rejection of
change that is brought in from abroad’ and a call for a ‘just democratic
solution’ for the ‘Kurdish issue in Syria’. The document ended calling
for a ‘national conference’ which would lead to the election of a
Constituent Assembly’ and a new constitution on the basis of a political
majority (Damascus Declaration 2005).

That level of opposition unity broke down fairly quickly, on perhaps
predictable lines. As Landis and Pace (2007: 46) put it ‘Leaders of the
Marxist left and Islamic right struggled to find common ground’, as
liberals, exiles, Kurds and Assyrians also participated (Uutas 2011:
90). First the Muslim Brotherhood (along with defected Ba’athist
Abdel-Halim Khaddam) created its own Islamist ‘Salvation Front’, in
2006. Then at the Damascus Declaration’s National Council meeting in
December 2007 the Socialist Union and Communist Action parties rejected
the liberal-Kurd parties’ ambition for an ‘external factor’ to help
bring about change. The socialist and communist parties, along with the
Kurdish Left Party (and later a second Kurdish party led by Nasreddin
Ibrahim), began to look for a ‘third way’ between the Damascus
Declaration and the Ba’athist Government. The Muslim Brotherhood left
altogether in early 2009 while in late 2009 the Kurdish groups (minus
the PYD) formed the Kurdish Political Council (Rasas 2013). The
Government also moved against some of the signatories. The Atassi Forum
was closed (Ulutas 2011: 91). In March 2005 the licenses of two US
funded channels (Al Hurra and Radio Sawa) were removed (Landis and Pace
2007: 57). This fragmentation destroyed any real possibility of a
unified opposition.

The basis for Islamist cooperation with pluralist, secular-nationalist
and left parties was always very thin, mainly based on complaints about
Baathist corruption and Government repression. But for a while they
shared some rhetoric. As Kawakibi (2007: 3) points out, the Brotherhood
‘often cites human rights as being the casualty of a repressive system’,
while being very selective of ‘those aspects which help their cause’.
Their own record on human rights is appalling. They had sat in the
Syrian parliament in the 1950s but, since then a fair amount of Syrian
authoritarianism has had to do with suppressing their sectarian
insurrections, including assassinations and massacres.

After the Damascus declaration a US report saw the ‘secular opposition’
as ‘all but powerless’, while suppression of the sectarian Islamists had
‘shaped the current government’s tactics and politics’(Wikas 2007: 12,
22). Nevertheless,Arab nationalism and regional solidarity remained
strong and the young President remained popular, in the region as well
as in Syria. In 2009 a six country poll which cited Israel and the USA
as the greatest threats to the region (at 88% and 77% respectively) also
put Bashar al Assad as the most popular Arab leader in the Middle East
(MESI 2009). That regional view was to change, after the2011 outbreak of
violence, as distinct from opinion within Syria.

With the rallies of February-March 2011 there was a further burst of
political activity, mainly in the regional towns, not so much in
Damascus and Aleppo (Ulutas 2011: 99-100). This time, however, things
were different. Most of the domestic opposition groups, just as they had
said in the 2005 declaration, did not support either armed attacks on
the state or the involvementof foreign powers. Most remained in Syria
and some, such as the Syrian Social National Party, rallied to the
government. Others, while not supporting he government, backed the state
and the army. Syria had seen sectarian Islamist violence before.

What became known in western circles as ‘the opposition’ were mostly
exiles and the Islamists who had initiated the violence. The exile
meetings began in Paris, Turkey and Brussels.A range of groups and
individuals attended these initial meetings, but they were poorly
coordinated, quickly came under foreign tutelage and the Muslim
Brotherhood quickly ‘took a leading role’ (Ulutas 2011: 91-94). Western
reports of the Islamist leadership were often generous, as the Muslim
Brotherhood was better organised and therefore the most likely partner
in any big power ‘regime change’ operation.

Hassan Mneimneh, for the Washington-based ‘Brussels Forum’, noted the
real fears in the region of an ‘Islamist winter’, as the Arab Spring had
handed the Islamists ‘an unexpected, maybe undeserved, victory’.
Nevertheless, he goes on to exaggerate the support held by Muslim
Brotherhood and other Salafist groups, claiming the Salafists appealed
to ‘a sizeable fraction of the electorate’, while the Muslim Brotherhood
could enjoy ‘a plurality or may even be a slim majority’(Mneimneh 2012:
1-4). [...]

In the climate of events in Egypt and Tunisia, but two months before the
violence broke out in Syria, President Assad said he would push for more
reforms. ‘If you don’t see the need of reform before what happened in
Egypt and Tunisia, it’s too late to do any reform’, he said. Specific to
his agenda were municipal elections, greater power for NGOs and a new
media law. His government had already increased heating oil subsidies
(Solomon and Spindle 2011). A general elections bill followed soon
after, although exiled critics reacted with scorn (Hatem 2011). Others
observed that Syria was quite different from Egypt, in that the
government had promoted social and educational improvements, had no
external debt, guaranteed minority rights and maintained a foreign
policy independent of the US-Israeli agenda. ‘When Bashar al- Assad says
that he supports political reform, many Syrians believe him … Syrians in
recent yearshave enjoyed greater religious freedoms, which includes the
Sunni majority’ (Hetou 2011). Syria was not Egypt.

A variety of civil ‘committees’ were formed in the social foment of
2011, many with a shifting character and with greater or lesser
affiliation to the political parties. These included the Local
Coordination Committees (LCC), the Federation of Coordination Committees
of the Syrian revolution (FCC) and the NationalAction Committee. While a
number began as neighbourhood groups, many of them became ‘more involved
in media coordination than leadership of the protest movement’ (Asi Abu
Najm 2011).The LCCs in mid 2011, while calling for ‘overthrowing the
regime’, rejected the call ‘to take up arms or call for military
intervention’, saying that ‘militarising the revolution would minimise
popular support and participation’(LCC 2011). By 2013, however,what
remained of the LCCs seemed well embedded with Islamist armed groups,
mainly reporting on their casualties (LCC 2013). With the Islamist
insurrection, lines between opposition groups began to harden, but
attempts to find common ground persisted. A Paris-Damascus paper
presented to opposition groups, minus the Muslim Brotherhood, was said
to have ‘wavered between reform and change but did not call for
overthrowing the government’. This was the basis for the creation of the
National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change in Syria (NCC), a
‘third way’ group created in June 2011. It included the Socialist Union
Party, the Marxist Left gathering, four of the Kurdish parties including
the PYD and some independents. It was said to represent ‘the Arabist,
Kurdish and Marxist left’ (Rasas 2013). [...]

The popularity of the Syrian President at home undermines attempts to
cast him as a monster, at least in Syria. The petro-monarchy of Qatar is
an open enemy of Syria, having put literally billions into the Islamist
armed groups (Khalaf and Smith 2013). However their own media channel
and polls have acknowledged Bashar’s popularity. In January 2011 Qatar’s
main media outlet Al Jazeera concluded that a revolution in Syria was
‘unlikely’ due to Assad’s popularity. While there was authoritarian
rule, ‘factors such as a relatively popular president and religious
diversity make an uprising in the country unlikely’ (Wikstrom 2011).
Bashar was popular amongst young people, said US analyst Joshua Landis.
‘They may not like the regime, they don’t like corruption … but they
tend to blame this on the people around him, the old guard’. People
wanted change, because of poverty, corruption and the political police;
but Syrians liked Assad’s support for pluralism and modernising reforms
(Wikstrom 2011).

The President’s popularity was shown in the early days, by the huge
pro-government rallies that came out in response to opposition rallies.
Robert Fisk, one of the few western journalists with a strong sense of
Arab history and an eye for detail, but often cynical as regards the
Syrian Government, made these observations:

     ‘Another pro-Assad rally was starting … it might have reached
200,000 by midday … there was no Saddam style trucking of the people to
Omayad Square [Damascus] … the only soldiers were standing with their
families. How does one report a pro-government demo during the Arab
Awakening? There were veiled women, old men, thousands of children …
were they coerced? I don’t think so’ (Fisk 2011).

Informed critics have observed that the violent conflict in Syria has
always been between a pluralist state and sectarian Islamists, backed by
the big powers. Iraqi-British analyst Sami Ramadani, a critic of the
government, maintains Syria has been run by ‘a ruthless, corrupt regime’
with a feared ‘security apparatus’. However he also says, because
‘reactionary forces’ backed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar very rapidly took
over from the ‘democratic resistance’, popular support shifted back to
the government (Ramadani 2012). He says the idea that Syria is a
sectarian Alawite regime was ‘highly exaggerated’. The government had
‘much wider circles of support’, including influential Sunni classes and
‘millions of women’ who fear the Salafis. Further, many of ‘the poor,
the unemployed and students’ who at first backed the protest movement,
were repulsed by groups such as the exile Syrian National Council and
the Free Syrian Army, which were ‘dominated by the Brotherhood’
(Ramadani 2012).

References omitted; visit the link to see them

(14) Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian ISIS camps –
Turkish MP


https://www.rt.com/news/325825-sarin-gas-syria-turkey/

Sarin materials brought via Turkey & mixed in Syrian ISIS camps –
Turkish MP to RT

Published time: 14 Dec, 2015 05:03 Edited time: 14 Dec, 2015 15:34

Islamic State terrorists in Syria received all necessary materials to
produce deadly sarin gas via Turkey, Turkish MP Eren Erdem has told RT,
insisting there are grounds to believe a cover up has taken place.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) member, Erdem,
brought up the issue for public discussion in parliament last week,
citing evidence from an abruptly-closed criminal case. He accused Ankara
of failing to investigate Turkish supply routes used to provide
terrorists with toxic sarin gas ingredients.

“There is data in this indictment. Chemical weapon materials are being
brought to Turkey and being put together in Syria in camps of ISIS which
was known as Iraqi Al Qaeda during that time," Erdem told RT.

Sarin gas is a military-grade chemical that was used in a notorious
attack on Ghouta and several other neighborhoods near the Syrian capital
of Damascus in 2013. The attacks were pinned on the Syrian leadership,
who in turn agreed to get rid of all chemical weapons stockpiles under a
UN-brokered deal amid an imminent threat of US intervention.

Addressing parliamentarians on Thursday, Erdem showed a copy of the
criminal case number 2013/120 that was opened by the General
Prosecutor's Office in the city of Adana in southern Turkey.

The investigation revealed that a number of Turkish citizens took part
in negotiations with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL)
representatives on the supply of sarin gas. Pointing to evidence cited
in the criminal case, he said that wiretapped phone conversations proved
that an Al-Qaeda militant, Hayyam Kasap, acquired sarin.

“These are all detected. There are phone recordings of this shipment
like ‘don't worry about the border, we’ll take care of it' and we also
see the bureaucracy is being used,” continued Erdem.

Based on the gathered evidence Adana authorities conducted raids and
arrested 13 suspects in the case. But a week later, inexplicably, the
case was closed and all the suspects immediately crossed the
Turkish-Syrian border, Erdem said.

“About the shipment, Republic prosecutor of Adana, Mehmet Ar?kan, made
an operation and the related people were detained. But as far as I
understand he was not an influential person in bureaucracy. A week
after, another public prosecutor was assigned, took over the indictment
and all the detainees were released. And they left Turkey crossing the
Syrian border,” he said.

“The phone recordings in the indictment showed all the details from how
the shipment was going to be made to how it was prepared, from the
content of the labs to the source of the materials. Which trucks were
going to be used, all dates etc. From A to Z, everything was discussed
and recorded. Despite all of this evidence, the suspects were released,”
he said.

“And the shipment happened,” Erdem added. “Because no one stopped them.
That’s why maybe the sarin gas used in Syria is a result of this.”

Speaking to RT, Erdem said that according to some evidence Turkish
Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation was also involved, with
some unconfirmed reports pointing in the direction of a government cover
up, with Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag’s involvement. [...]





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