Robert Fisk: Saudi Arabia's executions were worthy of Isis

The executions were certainly an unprecedented Saudi way of welcoming in the New Year – if not quite as publicly spectacular as the firework display in Dubai which went ahead alongside the burning of one of the emirate’s finest hotels.

Saudi Arabia’s binge of head-choppings – 47 in all, including the learned Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, followed by a Koranic justification for the executions – was worthy of Isis. Perhaps that was the point. For this extraordinary bloodbath in the land of the Sunni Muslim al-Saud monarchy – clearly intended to infuriate the Iranians and the entire Shia world – re-sectarianised a religious conflict which Isis has itself done so much to promote.

Crisis of Confidence between Berlin and Ankara Indicates Fragility of US-Led Anti-ISIL Coalition

BERLIN, (ST)- The German “Der Spiegel” newspaper has reported that Berlin would supply Turkey with only limited intelligence information about the positions of ISIL terrorists in Syria, because the German administration has doubts about Erdogan’s government’s real stance towards this terrorist organization.

This lack of confidence indicates how fragile the alleged US-led coalition against ISIL is and uncovers that all the participants in this coalition want to achieve their interests under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

What Prevents France From Fully Embracing Russia's Anti-ISIL Plan?

Although both Russia and France agreed to join forces in the fight against ISIL, the unwillingness of the French government to work with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains a major stumbling block, according to Sputnik.

After their meeting in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Francois Hollande agreed to form a broad international coalition to fight Islamic extremism in the Middle East. The two countries would from now on share intelligence data on terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Paris terror attacks prove US-led strategy against ISIS has gone awry

The US and its allies now have either to wait the sound of the next explosion to be carried out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] in the center of their abodes or to adopt serious steps to counter terrorism.

In just a month ISIS terrorists carried out attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and France besides the daily terror attacks carried out by the same terrorist organization [ISIS, or IS, or ISIL] in Syria and Iraq.

The Washington post newspaper reported yesterday that a video released by an IS sub-group appears to show militants in Iraq praising the Paris shooting and warning that a similar attack could take place in Washington.

Russia's Achievements in Syria 'Anger' Washington

United States leadership has been annoyed and angered by Russia's achievements in its counterterrorism efforts in Syria, since Washington is backing several terrorist groups which are fighting to overthrow the Syrian, Contra Magazine asserted.

The US government and intelligence services "trained, armed and provided military support" to “al-Nusra Front, the so-called “Free Syrian Army” and other terrorist groups to destabilize and overthrow the government in Syria," the Austrian media outlet added.

U.S. Says 'Rebel'- Terrorists It Trained Surrendered Matériel in Syria

 WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Friday that an American-trained rebel commander in Syria had surrendered trucks and ammunition this week to forces affiliated with an offshoot of Al Qaeda.

Military officials, who days before had denied reports of the handover, called the disclosure “very concerning” and a violation of guidelines for the American training program for Syrian rebels, the New York Times reported.

United States Central Command said the ''rebel''- terrorists- commander told the military that he surrendered the American-provided ammunition and trucks early this week in exchange for safe passage through an area in which the Qaeda offshoot, the Nusra Front, operates.

The matériel “equated to roughly 25 percent” of the equipment issued to the ''rebel'' group led by the commander, who had recently completed the training program, said Col. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for Central Command, or Centcom.

The news came as Centcom was reeling from a series of alarming reports about the Syria training program, which has come under increasing criticism from Congress.

Last week, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, the head of Centcom, told a Senate committee that only four or five Syrians trained by the American military to confront the Islamic State remained in the fight — an acknowledgment that a $500 million program to raise an army of Syrian fighters had gone nowhere. General Austin also said that the United States would not reach its goal of training 5,000 Syrian fighters anytime soon.

Colonel Ryder said that Centcom was notified of the equipment handover at 1 p.m. on Friday. Earlier this week, the Nusra Front posted an image on Twitter of a rifle issued by the American-led coalition and announced that Syrian rebels trained by the United States had handed over their weapons as they re-entered Syria.

Centcom said Friday that its earlier denial of that claim had been based on statements by Syrian ''rebels'' that all personnel and equipment remained under their control. Military officials had also said that the image on Twitter was an old picture taken from the Facebook page of a rebel.

“In light of this new information, we wanted to ensure the public was informed as quickly as possible about the facts as we know them at this time,” Colonel Ryder said. “We are using all means at our disposal to look into what exactly happened and determine the appropriate response.”

 

M.A.

UK launches Twitter account to combat Islamic State propaganda

The Foreign Office has launched ‘UK against Isil’ to provide updates on government’s efforts to defeat terror group.

The government has launched a Twitter account to specifically counter social media propaganda by Islamic State, the Guardian reported.

UK Against Isil, which was launched on Thursday by the Foreign Office, aims to provide “updates on the UK government’s ongoing work to defeat Isil [Isis]”.